By Daniel Chigundu
OUTSPOKEN Member of Parliament (MP) and gender activist Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga says she finds it hard to fight against Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa because she has a soft spot for him.
The Finance Minister was seeking Parliament’s approval for the US$98.6 million loan facility for TelOne from the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank).
Legislators took the opportunity to castigate the Minister for not following Constitutional procedure in acquiring loans and also for not giving the relevant Portfolio committee a chance to do consultation before seeking approval.
Adding her voice to the debate Misihairabwi-Mushonga said she was split on the issue because of her soft spot for the under pressure minister.
“I am a bit disappointed because I have a soft spot for Hon. Chinamasa and I have problems fighting against some of the proposals that he brings to the House. This is why I am a bit split around this particular issue and not quite clear on where to go.
“However, I would still insist that if we do agree as a House and approve this loan, firstly, it should be the last time that we are asked to approve something without letting the Portfolio Committee go the consultations that are necessary.
“Secondly, we should only approve a loan such as this under circumstances where we know where the money is going to go to and who is going to benefit. This second point is critical and important even when we have signed. It is important that he understands that we have approved this one on good faith and on the understanding that it is going to be distributed in a fair and just manner.
“Therefore, he has an obligation as the Minister to come back to this House and say that the amount of money that we have borrowed is so much and this is where it is going to go to. That, in my opinion will give me some safety net in going back to a Constituency and say this is what we have approved,” she said.
In his response Chinamasa urged Misihairabwi to continue having a soft spot him.
“I responded to the issue that was raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga when we were outside Parliament and I will not take Parliament’s time to repeat what I have already said.
“I liked the issue about you having a soft spot for me. Long live the soft spot,” said Chinamasa to rousing cheers.-ENDS