Norton legislator Temba Mliswa wants Justice Wadyajena to recuse himself as chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.In a letter to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Mliswa said Wadyajena should recuse himself because he is conflicted in the matter of Command Agriculture.
Mliswa argues Wadyajena has past disputes between himself and Mr. Kuda Tagwirei, a financial facilitator for the Command Agriculture programme. In one case Mliswa says Wadyajena blocked the parking area at Mr. Tagwirei’s offices with his branded cars in an attempt to intimidate Mr. Tagwirei to pay for a certain amount in a claims dispute between the two parties. Due to this unsavoury action, the then Government leaders intervened and facilitated an amicable agreement that Hon. Wadyajena receive an out of court settlement from Mr. Tagwirei to the tune of $2,500,000.00 which obligation was fulfilled and ordinarily should have brought the matter to a close.
Mliswa’s letter comes two days after Mliswa was chased away from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement where he had barged into a meeting for an unspecified agenda. We publish Mliswa’s letter to Mudenda below:
RE: LETTER OF CONCERN PERTAINING TO THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT
I hereby submit my official concern regarding Hon. Justice Wadyajena’s Chairmanship of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture with respect to the enquiries pertaining to Command Agriculture.
Unfortunately Hon. Wadyajena, as competent as he may be, is conflicted in the matter of Command Agriculture. The point of conflict arises from past business disputes as encountered between himself and Mr. Kuda Tagwirei, a financial facilitator for the Command Agriculture programme.
During the period of the 8th Parliament, Hon. Wadyajena was the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation. In an unprecedented and unprofessional move unbefitting of his Honourable Parliamentary role, Hon. Wadyajena blocked the parking area at Mr. Tagwirei’s offices with his branded cars in an attempt to intimidate Mr. Tagwirei to pay for a certain amount in a claims dispute between the two parties. Due to this unsavoury action, the then Government leaders intervened and facilitated an amicable agreement that Hon. Wadyajena receive an out of court settlement from Mr. Tagwirei to the tune of $2,500,000.00 which obligation was fulfilled and ordinarily should have brought the matter to a close.
However, it did not. Now that we are in the 8th Parliament and Hon. Wadyajena is the current Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, he has unscrupulously gone on to recently bring the matter before the courts again in a bid to seek additional payment. Whilst I would not hasten to judge and label Hon. Wadyajena’s actions as extortionist, the fact that he is currently at loggerheads with Mr. Tagwirei, heightens the propensity for Hon. Wadyajena to use the Parliamentary Committee as a platform to settle personal scores. The current suit is sub judice and as such I therefore cannot delve into any further details. It is however quite self-evident that Hon. Wadyajena is conflicted.
Command Agriculture is a crucial and integral aspect for the findings and deliberations of that Committee and if the Committee Chair is continuously conflicted, how will the Committee properly and effectively dispense of its duty? In instances where the Chairman firstly drove his cars to coerce a position displaying traits of extortion and where the same Honourable is now in court with the same individual – conflict then takes a center stage.
I submit as evidence of Hon. Wadyajena’s confliction, a copy of the Plaintiffs (Hon. Wadyajena) Declaration outlining his recent claim before the courts.
Whilst it has come to my attention that Hon. Wadyajena has recommended that I be removed from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement on the allegations that I am compromised, I believe that the burden of proof lies with him to produce such evidence to substantiate his claims. His assertions result more from the fact that as a people’s representative, I have brought to the fore these concerns as presented to me and as is in the public domain through print and electronic media and therefore no secret. Such a bold move as alleged by Hon. Wadyajena against me, has the propensity to cause disrepute to my person in both my honourable and professional capacity. The Hon. Wadyajena has purportedly acted in a manner that I consider malicious and unfortunate particularly when one considers the issues surrounding his conduct.
I have therefore called him out on his being conflicted in any dealings concerning Mr. Tagwirei. In all matters concerning Mr Tagwirei it is my view that the Honourable should recuse himself forthwith from the Committee. It is not that Mr. Tagwirei cannot be invited before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, but that such Committee due to the convoluted issues between the two parties, Hon. Wadyajena should not be the one to preside over such commit..
My appointment is by virtue of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) – it is the body responsible for such appointments. I have every right to select any group or Committee for as long as I am deemed competent and capable. Hon. Wadyajena should understand his limitations in terms of power and influence and relegate them only where they are deemed appropriate. The issue in fact that should be addressed by that very Committee now that Hon Wadyajena has brought it up himself is that for how long will Hon Wadyajena continue to recuse himself from the integral issue of Command Agriculture that is in his Committee’s purview, For as long as there are issues of conflict, the Committee will be held back by the seemingly self-serving and personalised Hon. Wadyajena.
I will not be surprised if after this expose Hon Wadyajena would like to suggest that I am captured by Mr Tagwirei and hence I am in defense of him. This is not correct notwithstanding any relationship that I may or may not have with Mr Tagwirei. I have already advised that Mr Tagwirei may be called before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee but the Committee at the time should not be presided over by the Hon Wadyajena. There have been certain incidents wherein my own independence may have caused disrepute to the Parliamentary processes and had they been founded, if I had been called upon to so recuse myself, I would have done so. A case in point is that of Obert Mpofu wherein the allegation of conflict was made but proved to be unfounded.
Being a Chaimerson of a Parliamentary Committee does not make it your Committee. It still belongs to and holds the values of Parliament and I therefore pray that the Honourable Speaker of Parliament intervenes in this matter to wisely address the concerns as raised. I humbly stand guided accordingly.