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Harare Cabinet Displeased With Widening Probe By Parliament

Zimbabwe's cabinet is moving to rein in parliamentarians who have been attempting to expose high-level corruption, fueling power-struggles in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The cabinet instructed Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to tell house speaker John Nkomo to clip the wings of a committee probing corruption at the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, and other committees deemed to be stepping out of line.

But Nkomo, tipped to succeed aging First Vice President Joseph Msika, declined to obey, ruling party sources said. Nkomo, aligned with Second Vice President Joyce Mujuru, is said to have told Chinamasa, reputedly aligned with ex-speaker Emerson Mnangagwa, that he is pleased with how parliament is handling the scandal.

Ruling party sources said Chinamasa then told ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo to bring three committee chairmen into line: Walter Mzembi, agriculture, David Butau, finance, and Enoch Porusungazi, industry and international trade.

Mzembi’s agriculture committee revealed that Zimbabwe is headed for more shortages of food because of poor preparation for the 2006-07 crop season. Butau’s finance committee blasted ministries for fiscal indiscipline, and Enoch Porusungazi’s panel is investigating charges that ministers, MPs and others looted the steel company.

For perspective on the cabinet-parliament face-off, reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to acting information minister Paul Mangwana, also the anti-corruption minister. Mangwana said some MPs have become overzealous.

Lawyer and political commentator Dewa Mavhinga commended speaker Nkomo and parliament for working hard to expose inefficiency and corruption.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...