Mujuru in new chicken scandal

Vice President Joice Mujuru reportedly directed Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Mr Ringson Chitsiko to issue her family business with a permit to import chickens from Brazil against a Government ban on such imports.

This was after she had allegedly struck a deal to import chickens from Brazil when she travelled to that country on official Government business in 2011.

This was despite an outcry by local poultry producers that chicken imports were killing local farmers.

VP Mujuru also used the opportunity to sign several other family deals.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told legislators attending a pre-budget seminar here that they should investigate the matter and establish who authorised the import permit.

Without mentioning VP Mujuru by name, Minister Chinamasa said the decision to issue the permit amounted to shooting “ourselves in the foot”.

The permit was issued even though Minister Chinamasa had invoked a legal instrument banning the importation of chickens to protect local farmers.

Earlier on, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa had grilled Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Cde Paddy Zhanda over the matter demanding to know who had issued the import permit.

Cde Zhanda would not reveal the name, only saying the chicken import permit had since been withdrawn.

He said the permit was withdrawn after it was discovered that people misrepresented to the ministry that the chickens were to be donated to the Zimbabwe National Army when in fact they were being sold on the open market.

“You have heard here from the horse’s mouth. In my mid-term statement I banned importation of chickens and so on.

“The very ministry which asked us to ban went ahead and issued the permit to undermine that very policy. Do you get the import of that?” asked Minister Chinamasa while addressing more than 300 MPs.

“Only Parliament can expose that, not just exposing to say the ministry but we want to know who did it and for what reason.”

Minister Chinamasa challenged the legislators to investigate the chicken import scandal to establish who gave such authority in the wake of a legal fiscal instrument banning such imports.

In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Deputy Minister Mutsvangwa named VP Mujuru as the culprit.

He accused her of conniving with Mr Chitsiko and circumventing the ban.

“There was a bigger political motive. The collapse of the poultry industry in Zimbabwe points to VP Mujuru and Permanent Secretary Chitsiko.

“They are very close connections and I have known them from my days when I was ambassador in China. They used to come,” said Deputy Minister Mutsvangwa.

“If you bring smuggled poultry and pig products from outside our borders at prices that are well below the local farmer, it means you are ruining the commercial farmer.

“That is exactly what happened. You have effectively sabotaged the land reform programme because no Zimbabwean farmer can be viable.”

Added Deputy Minister Mutsvangwa: “It was the most effective way of saying the land reform programme has failed and thereby justifying the return of the whites.”

He said VP Mujuru was delivering some of the imported chicken to the Zimbabwe National Army to buy their loyalty in her illegal regime change efforts.

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