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Mnangagwa disowns public procurement disclosures decree

by Staff reporter
10 May 2023 at 19:25hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has disowned a controversial order issued through his office directing blocking of public disclosure on government procurement of construction, medicines and drugs in a bizarre twist to the controversial decree.

Gazetted as general notice 635 of 2023, the shocking directive prevented reporting of murky public procurement.

The statutory instrument issued under chief secretary to the president and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, read, "It is hereby notified that the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has, in terms of section 3(6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] declared the following to be of national interest and shall not be publicly disclosed-construction equipment and materials: biomedical and medical equipment; medicines and drugs (pharmaceuticals); vehicles including ambulances; laboratory equipment, chemicals and accessories; hospital protective equipment; and repairs and maintenance services of hospital equipment and machinery."

The issuing of the decree ignited public outrage amid claims the Zanu-PF led administration was trying to camouflash rampant corruption within government corruption.

In a surprise u-turn to the directive Wednesday, Sibanda issued another statement dismissing the decree which he said was issued without authorisation by Mnangagwa.

"His Excellency the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa has been made aware of some document gazetted as General Notice 635 of 2023, purporting to place the procurement of certain goods outside public scrutiny, on grounds of "national interest".

"Upon further investigations, it has come to light that the so-called Government Gazetted Notice is nullity, having been published without authorisation, and without the signature of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, as is the norm," read the statement.

Sibanda said investigations have been instituted to determine how the "illegal" document was leaked.

"While further investigations are underway, Government wishes to advise the public that, on the instruction of His Excellency the President, the document in question has been rescinded as it has no standing at law, policy and in terms of set Government in procedures. It thus should be disregarded.

"Government remains committed as ever to managing a transparent public procurement policy and process as required by the law of the country," he said.

To add to government confusion, Information ministry secretary and government spokesperson Nick Mangwana had defended the controversial document saying it was meant to cut the red tape in the purchase of life-saving material.

"So, the import of the General Notice is not to avoid public accountability but to allow lifesaving procurement.

"Supposing there is an urgent need for certain theatre sundries, without the ‘Notice', it would mean the hospital would need to publish a tender first, and go through the long drawn process putting patient safety and life at risk.

"This ‘Notice' gives room for direct procurement of such sundries without the need for bureaucratic procurement processes," he said.

"What I have given here is the explanation that we got from the @MoHCCZim. Our phones were ringing off the hook for a rationale for this instrument. The above is how they explained it."

Source - zimlive