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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 02 SEPTEMBER 2020 VOL 46 NO 60

 PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 2nd September, 2020

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcements.  I have to inform the House that ZANU PF Party has assigned Hon. Esther Nyathi to serve on the following Portfolio Committees: (a) Information, Media and Broadcasting Services. (b) Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM ZIMBABWE PARENTS OF HANDICAPPED CHILDREN, DEAF ZIMBABWE TRUST AND WOMEN INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that on 7th July, 2020, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children beseeching Parliament to facilitate provisions of free or subsidised medication for children living with epilepsy.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care.

          I also wish to advise the House that on 20th July, 2020, Parliament received a petition from Deaf Zimbabwe Trust beseeching Parliament to amend and align Section 193 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act with the Constitution and domesticate the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities.  The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

          Furthermore, on 22nd July, 2020, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Women Institute of Development beseeching Parliament to engage with Government regarding the need to urgently address the Bulawayo water crisis to ensure the promotion of the right to safe, clean and portable water to the residents.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and Local Government and Public Works.

CONTRIBUTIONS BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

          THE HON SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that in order to maintain social distancing, Hon. Members can make their contributions from wherever they are connected from.

COVID – 19 RESULTS

          THE HON SPEAKER: I have another very important announcement.  Following the testing of COVID – 19 to Members of Parliament and staff on Monday, 31st August, 2020 and Tuesday, 1st September, 2020 we have been advised that the City of Harare and Parliament Clinic will be contacting only those who tested positive to Covid-19 from today until Friday, 4th September, 2020.  Consequently, those who do not receive any call by Friday, 4 September, 2020 would have tested negative to Covid-19.

We urge those who test positive to strictly observe the World Health Organisation guidelines on isolation as advised by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Parliament Clinic.   We also urge you to remain very calm and positive and we would like to assure you that we are together in this Covid-19 pandemic.  You will be in our prayers everyday and we wish you a speedy recovery.

Further details that relate to those who have tested positive will be given by the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Medical Team that has been assisting Parliament of Zimbabwe.  I must say before we opened for this session here, there were quite a number of Members of Parliament and two staff members who had tested positive, but I was very pleased to learn that they have taken the results well and all of them have recovered – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – However, this animal called Covid-19 is a strange one.  I am aware of the people who tested negative and after one or two weeks they went back to get tested, they were positive.

So, being negative is a guarantee that at that particular moment we have been found negative but the testing will have to continue.  It is a question of Parliament Administration putting together the necessary testing kits so that at least every two weeks or so we are retested – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear, asi kanorwadza.] – Hakarwadzi kanotokonya chete – [Laughter.] – Well, it is better to have the discomfort so that you will be on the knowing side.  I think it is better that way – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM HON. MINISTERS

I have to inform the House that I have received the following apologies from the following Hon. Ministers:

Hon. Dr. Muswere       - The Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services,

Hon. Kazembe    -The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage,

Hon. W. Chitando  -The Minister Mines and Mining Development,

Hon. J. B. Matiza         - The Minister Transport and Infrastructural Development

Hon. D. Garwe   -        The Minister National Housing and Social Amenities,

Hon. C. Mathema        - The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education

Hon. J. G. Moyo          - The Minister of Local Government and Public Works

Hon. Dr. S. Kanhutu-Nzenza         - The Minister of Industry and Commerce.

I want to believe that these Ministers have got their Deputies who I see are around.  In terms of the Constitution, they are allowed to answer questions from the floor.

HON. BITI:  Ko Minister of Health.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I did not receive any communication from the Minister of Health – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Ko Hon. Minister Soda] – [Laughter.] – But the Deputy is around.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on a point of privilege; you did touch on the issue that I am going to raise.  It is the issue around communicating from various places.  I am not sure what arrangements have been made today, but yesterday some of us were trying to engage in the debate that was taking place.  We did raise our hands on virtual and we were not able to be recognised.  I kept on raising my voice and at one time I said on a point of order and some of my colleagues who were in here could hear me and kept on saying she is trying to come in and we were unable to come in.

          So in terms of virtual, it can only work when it becomes possible for us to engage in the debate.  We kept on raising hands but there was no response even on the chat.  We were actually sitting in Parliament with you yesterday but it was difficult to engage in any debate at that time.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Were you properly linked?

          THE HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Yes, I was properly linked.  I could see the Minister debating and people being asked to come in.  I was actually getting desperate, I put my hand up on virtual and at one time I said on a point of order and I could hear Hon. Madzimure saying Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is trying to come in but it was not possible.  So you can only see what is going on but if the Presiding Officer is unable to bring you in so that you can speak, it becomes very difficult.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, yesterday we had a technical problem but your hand was recognised and because of the panel being short, we could not proceed with your desire to interface.  That is why we kindly said if you could be around so that you are given the opportunity to debate accordingly.

          So far, there is Hon. Toffa, you are appearing on the screen.  Also there is a chat where you can write and indicate how you want to contribute and I will try to cast an eagle’s eye assisted by the technical people here to recognise you.

We are in a learning process. I am sure that should be appreciated in the circumstances.

HON. BITI: I rise on a matter of national importance, namely the land question. There are three things that have happened in the last few months that are of major concern to every decent Zimbabwean. The first one was the enactment of Statutory Instrument 42 of 2020. Statutory Instrument 42 of 2020 says that any former white farmer can apply to the Minister of Lands for his own farm and the Minister of Lands has got the powers of granting him his original farm or another farm.

The second thing that has happened is the execution in June of 2020, of the Global Compensation Agreement in respect of which the Government of Zimbabwe undertook to compensate former owners of land, the huge amount of US$3.5bn half of which must be paid by next year.

The third thing that has happened is the joint statement by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Lands made on 29th August 2020 in respect of which the two esteemed ministers announced that there will be compensation and a return to the erstwhile owners of all land that was covered by BIPPA Agreements and that the present black owners of that land will be dispossessed of that land.

We are concerned about three things, the first is that the whole essence of the liberation struggle was around land and therefore, the three things that the Government has done is a betrayal of the Land Reform Programme. Chairman Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! The Hon. Member who was speaking is exceptionally a seasoned Member of Parliament. Today is question time and the issues so raised could have been raised by way of questions to seek clarification from the responsible Minister or Ministry. The Ministry, I believe is represented and they could have easily answered. The Leader of Government Business is here. Alternatively, the Hon. Member could raise issue by way of a motion and then there will be full debate on the matter to his satisfaction and perhaps the satisfaction of the House. To that extent, the point of privilege is suspended. Let us have the cue that I have indicated and I also give leeway to Hon Biti to ask a question in that regard later.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What is Government’s policy regarding the desiltation of water bodies particularly dams and rivers in an effort to improve the holding capacities most needed for irrigation?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you do not seem to be connected. Can you link up please?

          HON. T. MOYO: I did not get today’s ID. What I have is yesterday’s ID and password.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: It is still the same.

          HON. T. MOYO: Yesterday I was connected but today it is not connecting.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you should have approached the staff. The links have been sent to your emails

HON. T. MOYO: I opened and here is nothing?

THE HON. SPEAKER: If you have a problem, come forward. We will suspend your question for the time being. Hon. Moyo, approach the Chair to be assisted.

HON. NDUNA: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government as it relates to mines and those that are involved in resource extraction and rehabilitation of road infrastructure, maintenance, rejuvenation and reconstruction. What is Government’s policy in relationship to the miners who extract within your local authorities as it relates to the aforesaid?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Your question is not clear.  One moment you are talking of miners and the next moment you are talking about local authorities.

          HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, as it relates to the miners in the local authority areas, what is Government policy in relation to those miners rehabilitating the infrastructure, in particular the road network where they are conducting their mining operations in the local authority purview.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Mining permits are given by who?

          HON. NDUNA:  They are given by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development with the consent of the local authorities.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Nduna for that question.  Whenever a miner gets a licence, they are supposed to get a permit from EMA and within that permit, they are supposed to rehabilitate wherever they use the land.  So, before they even finish all the mining, they are supposed to rehabilitate according to their permit.  Thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  What is Government policy regarding de-siltation of water bodies, particularly dams and rivers in an effort to improve their holding capacity mostly needed for irrigation? I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Leader of Government Business, if I may address myself to you.  There are two deputies in this Ministry and they are not here.  This is totally unacceptable.  You have three Ministers, one substantive Minister and two deputies and all of them are not here.  It is not right in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution.  Hon. Leader of Government Business, you may assist.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  First of all, my apologies; you are very right that at least one of them must have been here.  That message was communicated and even His Excellency has emphasised the need to respect Parliament.  Be that as it may, from what I heard from the Hon. Member, he wants to know the Government policy as regards de-siltation of dams to ensure that we increase the catchment of those particular dams.  From what I heard from him, he knows that the Government has indeed a policy but what may perhaps be slow is the implementation of that programme of de-silting our dams, which is ongoing and it is an administrative process to ensure that most of our dams are de-silted and the holding capacity of the dams is increased.  Thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO:  With the onset of the rainy season which is around the corner, I am aware the process might have taken in some areas but what can be done to expedite the process of de-siltation.  Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  That question is an impossibility.  When you have issues of false moisture, there is nothing we can do.  Let me also remind the Hon. Members that it is easier if you submit your intention to ask questions to your whips.  It is easier that way.  You may help us to circumvent the challenges of ICT.

          HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  What policy measures is the Government taking to ensure that pensioners who throng banks on scheduled pay days do indeed get their monies in cash without fail at the banks?  Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Member for the question. I think this is a question that we have also addressed in our past sessions where we have said we are giving priority to pensioners when they go to the banks to collect their pensions.  But what is happening is, in line with our monetary policies, in terms of the cash injection that we are putting in the economy, we are following a drip feed policy where we are not just injecting a lot of money since it is going to be inflationary.  So, in light of that and also together with the issue of Covid-19, we had said it is very important that people make use of their mobile banking in order to minimize handling cash.  I would say this is what we are encouraging our pensioners to do.

  However, the Central Bank had also communicated to the banks to make sure that every bank has got a dedicated teller who is dispensing cash strictly for the pensioners.  I thank you.

HON. P. D. Sibanda having crossed the floor.

HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Speaker, we have Hon. P. D. Sibanda here, using very derogatory and racist language against other Members.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, can you take your seat where you belong?

HON. MATEU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The $30 that the pensioners are receiving is also attracting ridiculous bank charges from some of the banks.  What can be done by the Ministry to ensure that pensioners who are getting the paltry $30 are given that money in full?  I thank you.

HON. CHIDUWA: What we have done to make sure that the pensioners get their full $30 is for Treasury to absorb all the costs; that is when it comes to ATM cards and any related charges.  So we have done that to make sure that the pensioners will get their full $30.  Anything outside that arrangement means there is need to engage our banks again.

HON. MADZIMURE: The $30 that the pensioners are getting attracts USD1.50 cents per every USD10 transaction that you make from your Nostro account to your ZWL account.  May the Minister inform the House the correct position whether it is individual banks that are doing so or it is the Ministry that instructed that particular charge?

HON. CHIDUWA: As I have said, we have instructed for the pensioners to get the full $30 which means that if there is anything that is happening outside that arrangement, then it is something being done by the banks, hence we are going to engage them.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, do not engage, crack the whip so that they follow Government policy.

HON. PHULU: I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  What is the Government policy with regards to the treatment of Covid-19 for those patients who would have reached critical conditions?  We have heard other countries talking about treatment protocols; others are talking about remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine and so forth.  What is our policy in that regard not merely on prevention and testing, beyond treatment and testing?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member and I request him to put that in writing so that he can get a detailed treatment protocol of all the drugs that are being used.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of Government business, again we have a fully fledged deputy Minister of Health and Child Care and he has not tendered his apology.  These Ministers are undermining the Presidency totally.  There is no apology tendered and the Hon. Leader of Government Business cannot know everything.  May I appeal again through you, if next these Ministers do not come, there must be someone from the floor to raise a point of order and move a motion accordingly so that we can then charge Hon. Ministers for Contempt of Parliament.  They are undermining the Government.  I thank you.

HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order!  Mr. Speaker, it is common cause that we have the pandemic and I do not expect that a Minister can come to day and say they need to research on a protocol. We all know that the moment that you get infected by Coronavirus, you will obviously go through a process where you can deteriorate or you can start recovering.  However, the Government should have understood the protocols. For a Minister to stand up and say, the Minister needs to come and pronounce a statement as far as the protocol is concerned, I do not think we are doing enough because people are dying and they need to hear from Government. The protocol must be written down; it must be known by head not to wait for a statement to be issued in the House. It ceases to become a pandemic if this is the way we deal with the issue of the pandemic.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Let me say the Hon. Leader of Government Business was humble enough to respond in the manner he responded and I think we will go by that response and Hon. Phulu can put the question down for a comprehensive answer not-withstanding what I have observed that the Deputy Minister should have been here to answer the questions.

HON. PHULU:  On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker Sir.  Do I write it down in the normal course as a written question or do I get a special dispensation that I write it down, I give it to someone and it is dealt with next week.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Just put it through appeal on the Order Paper.

HON. PHULU:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I will do so. However, my question is basically being relegated to an endless dark hole.  It will never emerge in the near future.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  It will emerge.  If you put it down today, tomorrow it will be on the Order Paper for next Wednesday.  So I do not think that is a bottomless hole.

HON. PHULU.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, as long as I am there it will not be a bottomless hole.

HON. J. SITHOLE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  What is Government policy towards allocation of stands to persons with disabilities on the waiting list?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO):  Thank you.  There are some areas that I missed, can someone fill me in.  I just heard about waiting list and also the disabled.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is Government policy on allocation of land to disabled people?

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you to Hon. Sithole for that question.  For anybody to get a residential stand or to be considered, they have to be on the waiting list and on the waiting list we have special categories like the war veterans, the disabled.  Those are given special treatment and as such, if they go to the local authority they are given first preference.  They do not have to go on the waiting list where all the residents go.  So they get special treatment with the local authority.  Thank you.

HON. J. SITHOLE:  My follow up question is, are there any measures that have been taken to ensure that the land which is allocated to persons with disabilities is going into the rightful hands?

HON. CHOMBO:  It is unfortunate that I have had a current incident with Kuwadzana disabled which is Tashinga.  They had that problem whereby they were allocated but did not get the land. As local government, we intervened and made sure that land that was put aside for them, they got it.  You know in any department there can be some shenanigans going on but we make sure as a Ministry that the local authorities adhere to that policy.  Thank you.

HON. MADZIMURE:  How do local authorities ascertain the level of disability that makes one qualify?  Regarding war veterans, we know they have got percentages.  They go through an assessment which tells you at what percentage you are.  How are the local authorities going to determine the qualifying cases?

HON. CHOMBO:  Definitely as a Ministry, we are not qualified to be able to qualify how disabled a person is but there are visible disabilities and there are other disabilities which you can get a letter from the social welfare and they present that and we also consider that.  Thank you.

HON. MUSAKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development or alternatively the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  It concerns Government policy regarding subsidised mealie meal.  What ratios, if any, exist for the authorised distributors as to the percentage of subsidised and non-subsidised mealie meal they are supposed to carry or stock because sometimes, you find that a 30 tonne truck is delivered and they tell you that only 5 tonnes is subsidised, the rest is not.

I want to know Government policy as to the percentages they should carry regarding the subsidised mealie meal because people are suffering.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  We have heard the question.  Next time Hon. Deputy Minister can you bring your gadget please.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  In terms of the subsidised roller meal, our thrust is to make sure that the subsidised roller meal reaches every corner of the country.  We do not have a specific ratio, but we would want that anybody who wants the subsidised roller meal should get it and at the moment Silo Food Industries is the one that is milling the subsidised roller meal, so literally all the maize they are getting from GMB is targeted towards subsidised roller meal.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The question was what is the percentage of subsidisation.  Is it 10% of the reserved price or is it 50% of the reserved price.

HON. CHIDUWA:  In terms of what is coming from Silo Food Industries which is milling the subsidised roller meal it is 100%.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  100%? – [HON. MEMBERS:  It cannot be 100% we are not getting it for free.] – Just a minute.  Allow the Minister to explain himself – [HON. MEMBERS:  Then it is a donation.] -

          HON. CHIDUWA: The way I understood the question is when a 30 ton truck is coming, you sometimes find that only 5% is for subsidized and 25 tons is non-subsidised. So what is the ratio between the subsidized and non-subsidised. That is the way I understood the question.

          HON. MUSAKWA: My supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir is what follow-up mechanisms does the Ministry have to enforce compliance and what measures are they taking to make sure that the targeted people, the vulnerable access that mealie-meal because in most cases, it is bought by shop owners and the ordinary public targeted by that mealie-meal will buy from the shop owners at inflated prices. What follow-up measures are in place?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. In terms of compliance mechanisms that are in place, that is being managed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and for us, we manage the subsidy - but compliance is under Industry and Commerce.

          HON. TOFA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government with regards the dire water situation in Bulawayo. What is Government’s policy to deal with the current and immediate desperate situation in Bulawayo?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you very much Hon. Toffa for the question. Of course, we are seized with the issue of the Bulawayo water situation and we have been going up and down to try to rectify it. If you recall in the newspapers, the President - to show the seriousness of Bulawayo water situation, visited the place a week or so ago and promised the nation that it is going to be on his priority list to make sure that Bulawayo water situation is addressed. As a Ministry, we have been there many times to try to address that. We have engaged companies that are trying to make sure that they address the immediate and also the long term. We have realised that there is a problem of water in Bulawayo but there is a system problem whereby some of the pipes the way they were constructed, there are some areas which are now rusted and that needs some maintenance and so forth. We are trying to address that immediate problem to make sure that we get water, but we are putting in place long term measures to make sure that we will not have that perennial problem of water in Bulawayo.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also see in the immediate past that there has been allocation of devolution funds to try and alleviate the plight of the unsuspecting innocent citizens in terms of water and sewer reticulation. To what extent have you continued to go on that trajectory in the release of devolution funds to provide clean potable drinking water?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Nduna for that follow up question. We have dispatched the devolution funds to all the local authorities and as you know, that our resources financial are limited. Whatever we get from the Ministry of Finance we have disbursed but because of the pandemic, some of the money has been diverted to address some immediate problems like making sure that we have the isolation centres up and running...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, you are addressing the Chair please!

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. CHOMBO): I am sorry Hon. Speaker Sir. The little resources that have been disbursed to the local authorities have been outstretched and some of the money that was supposed to be going to address the water situation has been outstretched and not been able to address the water situation as required. Thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE: My supplementary question is that we have always known that we have the Zambezi Water Project as the panacea to the water shortage in Bulawayo and this has been said over and over again. Can the Minister explain what the progress is so far regarding harnessing water from the Zambezi River?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Madzimure for that question. The Zambezi Water Project is a national project. It does not fall under the Ministry of Local Government, but as Local Government we go out of our way to make sure that we also engage the relevant Ministries to make sure that they speed up that project to alleviate the water problems in Bulawayo.

          HON. CHINYANGANYA: thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. What is Government policy regarding the 2% transactional tax on pensioners?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. If I may get clarity – is it the 2% for the transaction charges for the electronic? If it is so, at the moment we are applying the 2% on all transactions. So there is no variation that is specific to any group.

          HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for the response. My supplementary question is what the Ministry is going to do to make sure that pensioners are exempted from the 2% transactional tax because they have been feeding into the fiscus during their working time?  It is high time they should be exempted from the transactional tax so that they enjoy the discount amount and the timeline when they will start to be exempted?  I thank you.

          HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  In terms of improving the standard of living for our pensioners, it can be done through the suggestion that was given by the Hon. Member to exempt the pensioners from the transactional tax or we can revise the pensions upwards.  As for the administrative burden, it is easier to adjust the pensions upwards.  This is what we are working on and we have issued a statement before to say we will continue to look at the conditions of living for the pensioners.

          *HON. E. NCUBE:    Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What are the Ministry’s plans with regards to the availability of livestock vaccines during this Covid – 19 era where we cannot move to towns to get such vaccines?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS on behalf of THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Government is in the process of procuring more vaccines and indeed there is a programme to look into that to ensure that all our livestock get the necessary vaccines.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and in his absence to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on 29th June, 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe represented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, through the late Minister Shiri; may his soul rest in peace, executed a Global Compensation Agreement with representatives of former commercial White farmers in the global sum of US$3.5 billion in respect of compensation for improvements.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear in terms of Section 295 (4), which makes it very clear that compensation can only be payable if there is an Act of Parliament.  I would like to ask the Minister of Justice, on what legal basis that agreement was executed where there is no Act of Parliament defining assessment and the methodology of payment.  In addition, why was that agreement which imposes fiscal obligations on the Consolidated Revenue Fund executed outside the approval of Parliament?

Lastly, on 29th August on Monday, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Lands advised that they will be compensating farmers who were covered by BIPPA through land as well.  That same compensation is again covered by Section 295 (4), which demands that there has to be an Act of Parliament.  So, why is Government acting outside the law and why is the Government reversing the Land Reform Programme?  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question which allows us to clarify certain issues.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of agricultural land is covered in Section 72 of the Constitution and Section 295 as the Hon. Member has alluded to.  If you go to Section 72, it clearly spells out that agricultural land is vested in the State and it also indicates how it is acquired.  It then indicates also that - if you go to Section 72, it will actually give a rider that, “subject to Section 295” … So some of the provisions of Section 72 are overridden by Section 295” ...

If you go to the Constitution, it indicates that there is need for compensation for improvements for a certain category of former White farmers; compensation for improvements only.  This is the category of farmers that is covered by the Global Compensation Agreement signed in the month of August, 2020.  The Hon. Member is indicating that there is no Act of Parliament.  Mr. Speaker, I submit that it is not true.  We have the Land Acquisition Act which has provision for that.  Perhaps the Hon. Member wanted us to have a specific Act to deal with compensation alone.  That Act allows us, hence we had that particular Statutory Instrument.  So if he is not comfortable with that, that particular Act has provisions.

He then goes on to say why we had an agreement outside Parliament.  Mr. Speaker Sir, all agreements including treaties are signed first before they come to Parliament.  I do not know why he is agitated to have the agreement coming to Parliament first before it is signed.  The Executive makes a decision that we want to sign this agreement then it will take the necessary steps to get Parliament approval.  So, I do not see why he is saying that the Executive does not want Parliament approval.  In any event, if we decide that we want to use tax payers’ money, the Appropriation Bill covers the required amount and it will be approved here.  I am not sure where he is getting it from.

Then the second category of farmers that the Minister spoke about includes indigenous farmers and farms that were covered by bilateral agreements.  Again, this is in the Constitution.  The Constitution clearly states that we have to pay compensation for both the land and the improvements.  What we are doing is - we had an exercise; a land audit and we are saying there is an indigenous farmer whose farm was taken away.  The Constitution acknowledges that the farm was not supposed to have been taken in the first place.

          So, I was saying in terms of Section 295, there are two categories of farmers that have to be compensated for both the land and improvements.  Our thrust is on productivity on the farms and we are undertaking a land audit.  What we are saying is; where it is possible to give back to the indigenous farmer that particular farm that he had, we are looking into it but where the situation dictates that it is not practical, we look for an alternative land.  Lastly, we then talk about full compensation.  This is our thrust; is the land still available, can we give it back, if not possible can we give an alternative land.  That is in compensation for that particular land and it speaks to what the Constitution is saying.

          Hon. Speaker, there is another category of farmers.  After Independence, we had bilateral agreements and I want to remind Hon. Members that the land was stolen.  You do not transfer a right that you did not have.  So in 1980, whatever agreements that we did and we gave those white farmers the land through bilateral agreements, they become more or less like the indigenous farmer because they got that right from us. We cannot take away a right that we gave them when they bought those farms.  We are saying these BIPPA farms are about 37 and again if the farm is still available the first option is to return the farm.  If it is not available, we look for an alternative.  If it is not available, then we speak about the compensation process in terms of monetary value.

Mr. Speaker Sir, there is nowhere in the agreement where it speaks about reversal of the land reform.  The first category that I spoke about, the Constitution is very clear. The forefathers who stole must pay compensation for the land, not Zimbabweans.  So, Zimbabweans must not be afraid, nobody is going to be chased away from any farm.  We are following due process to say you can go back if it is possible because that black bought the farm that was stolen from his forefathers and we cannot punish that particular individual twice.  That is the process.  The laws are there, the enabling legislation is there according to the Constitution and we are putting in place administrative processes to ensure that we move forward and we focus on productivity so that we increase our productivity and we have closure regarding this land reform process.  I think it is now at its tail end  and we are working towards closing this process and ensuring that it is a closed chapter – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. BITI:  The statement by the Minister of Lands and the Minister of Finance for the 29th August, 2020 was very clear that BIPPA beneficiaries will be awarded their erstwhile land and they are many - they are more than 37.  What are you doing by taking away land that is already owned and occupied by black people who are occupying those BIPPA farms?  The solution should simply be to pay the compensation instead of taking away the land.  Over and above this Hon. Speaker, you already have Statutory Instrument 62 of 2020 which allows the Minister of Lands on application to give the former white farmer his original farm upon application.  Hon. Speaker Sir, if this is not a reversal of the Land Reform Programme, I do not know what else it is.  Thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for his question.  I listened attentively to what he was saying. He said there are farmers on the farms, why disturb them?  In my earlier response, I said where it is possible. I do not see why he is arguing with me because what he is saying is exactly what the two Ministers said.  To say that where it is possible to give back the land we will do that, but if the circumstances dictate that it is not possible, we look for alternative land.  We have done an audit and we know that we have several pieces of land that are unoccupied, abandoned or unused.  In trying to rationalise, we are doing all these permutations to say what is possible for us to have closure.  Again, he cites Statutory Instrument 62. It speaks to those two categories of farmers; the black indigenous farmers and the BIPPA farmers.  It does not speak to all the categories.  If he has a list of several BIPPA farmers, perhaps he may need to approach the Minister of Lands, to say that all our land was covered by BIPPA farmers.  But what I know is, they are not many and we are not reversing the land reform. Exactly what he is saying, that is what we are thinking to say if it is possible and the circumstances dictate that we can give back that farm, then we will do that.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. PHULU: Parliament can craft an appropriate formula for assessment of compensation and all these other things that are covered in the Statutory Instrument. Is that not the position that the Government will follow?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Indeed it speaks about compensation. In any legislation, it allows you to issue regulations and procedures. When you bring a Statutory Instrument, it is Parliament that approves Statutory Instruments. If Parliament rejects a Statutory Instrument, it does not see the light of the day. All subsidiary legislation is approved in the august House.

          The Land Acquisition Act speaks about compensation and that is why I said there is an Act that we use to make regulations and the SI to give effect to that particular section that deals with compensation for land. The Executive will be doing itself a disservice by bringing issues of coming up with formulas for compensation to Parliament. We must simply separate functions. The Executive does what is has to do, it brings to Parliament for approval and once it comes here, you can debate whether what we have done is correct or not. But for the process to originate from here, that is not the correct procedure. What we are doing is the correct process and we will continue doing that and bring whatever we will have done to Parliament if need be. If we need to have funds appropriated, Parliament will approve the funds. I thank you.

          HON. NDEBELE: I wish to check with the Minister, he has mentioned something very important – the completion of the land audit, when is Government, by way of policy, likely to make public; province by province, the results of the audit that he was speaking to so that as a nation, we put closure to the land question so that allocations are not done surreptitiously in the middle of the night.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The last part of your question should be withdrawn because you have no empirical evidence of surreptitious allocation of land.

          HON. NDEBELE: With all due respect Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw that.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Appreciated.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank Hon Ndebele for his request that the land audit results be published. I will forward that to the relevant minister for his consideration. It is not an unreasonable request. I am happy that he withdrew the last statement as per your instruction.

          HON. NDEBELE: There is something that you have taught us overtime that to every commitment we must attach timelines. Could the minister favour us with a possible timeline so that the desk takes note of that and it does not fall through and we get to know when he is likely to make public the allocation?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: There is no big deal. The report is there. Completed already.

          HON. SHAMU: What is Government’s horticulture development policy?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank Hon Shamu for the question. My understanding pursuant to what I responded to in terms of our thrust now, is to increase productivity on land and horticulture is part of our agricultural produce. Our thrust now is that we need to ensure that all our land is very productive and our thrust is to ensure that there is productivity including horticulture. If he has got specific issues that he wants to zero in on, he can put the question in writing so that they can actually give a detailed policy statement to say that in terms of horticulture, our thrust is to focus on these particular commodities and these ones are not our priority at the moment. That is the suggestion I can give.

          THE HON SPEAKER: Hon Shamu, I am sure you are quite happy with that. A detailed proposal will be given next week.

          HON. SHAMU: I will abide by your ruling.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Leader of Government Business, if we can have a Ministerial Statement next week on that one.

          HON. M. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What is Government’s position on ensuring the availability of social welfare because it is now almost a month without the distribution of food?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Our policy is very clear in terms of food mitigation.  We have several programmes that are in place in rural areas and it has expanded even to some of our urban areas whereby we give grain in terms of food mitigation.  As the Hon. Member is aware, we have had successive droughts and we are in the process of importing maize.  The process of importation in the midst of Covid has been very slow indeed.  So in some areas, we have shortages of grain and in others we have it but all efforts are being done to ensure that we have grain and our people do not starve.  I thank you.

          HON. O. SIBANDA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Sibanda, can you link up properly, we cannot hear you.  Perhaps he has got some internet connectivity problem.

          HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  In view of the recoveries that we are now recording as far as Covid is concerned in our country which now stands officially at 85%, it means we are doing quite well.  Can the Government consider the issue of relaxing some regulations like the curfew so that economic activities can pick up?  Can also the Government consider relaxing the time for starting business from 8 am to 7 am and in the evening to get up to even 6pm.  This is because manufacturers have been subsidising workers whilst they are not working up to the standard requirements of all the industries that produce products.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you get your times correctly for the curfew?

          HON. MADZIMURE:  The curfew starts from 6 a.m. to 8 in the evening.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  From where?

          HON. MADZIMURE:  From 6 in the morning to 8 in the evening – [Laughter.] –

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I would like to thank Hon. Madzimure for that very important observation.  Whilst I appreciate the percentage which he has alluded to on the success story of our recoveries as 85%, I need to correct that statistics are still at 80%.  What he did not mention also is that whilst the percentage of recoveries is increasing, the percentage of infections is also increasing.  So, there ought to be some balance.

The success story is pointing to the good mechanisms that we have put in place including the curfew which we introduced after a very scientific review which analyses our capacity and capability.  Decisions that we make are informed whilst thorough research is done.  If and when we are satisfied that the environment is conducive, we will consider that.  At the moment, there is equilibrium between increases in infections and increases in the recoveries, so it is important that we  continuously review as we improve.  I thank you.

HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Hon. Minister for the response.  There is one question that you did not attend to, the issue of relaxing the time that manufacturers can open their factories and also the time they can knock off.  This is in view of the fact that we now have longer days than nights, which means workers still have got enough time to commute between their homes and workplaces.  We now have longer days than the nights.

HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I have already alluded to the responsibility of the taskforce to make sure that we review with the whole essence of ensuring that the health of our people remains paramount.  This is the work of scientists and we stand guided by them.  under normal circumstances, work begins at 8 o’clock and ends at 5 o’clock but we are assessing as I have already mentioned that we will continuously assess as we did to make sure that we moved the working hours to 4:30 and so we will continuously review.  Therefore, if you would allow the taskforce to do its work.

HON. NDEBELE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I am glad everything seems to be evidence driven, but Hon. Speaker, if local transmissions are on the spike - what scientific data informs the intention by ZIMSEC to run public examinations in the near future?

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Hon. Speaker, I agree that we are guided by evidence based decisions.  We do have eight pillars of experts who study the situation within our region and also we work very closely with W.H.O.  At the moment, as I have alluded to, we have reached an equilibrium stage in our statistics and we are satisfied that our interventions are bearing fruit - which Hon. Madzimure pointed to.  In that case, a lot of research was done by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education ,together with the Ministry of health and they are responsible for making recommendations to the task force and the task force also recommends to Cabinet.

          So at the moment we are very satisfied that it is the statistics, the interaction which they undertook with all relevant stakeholders  that has been done and both indicated that they are happy.  All measures have been put in place to make sure that the environment will be safe to allow examinations to take place.  So with that situation we want to assure the nation that as I have indicated, everything is science based, we undertake research to make sure our level of error is minimal.  I submit.

          HON. MATEWU: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  There is an emerging catastrophe in our local authorities, because in most of the local authorities fuel is now charged in USD.  Now, service delivery has been affected because our councils do not have foreign currency, they charge their rates in ZWL.  What is your Ministry doing to ensure that service delivery is not affected in terms of collecting rubbish and so forth and that our local authorities can actually access fuel in RTGS as they do not charge their residents in USD?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Matewu for such a question.  The local authorities charge in RTGS but they can also charge equivalent for those who would want to pay in forex using the auction rate.

          However, let me hasten to say the local authorities; if they have a problem financially, they can apply for a supplementary budget but as of now, we do not have any local authority that has come forward with a supplementary budget to augment their financials.

          HON. MATEWU: The question here is not about a supplementary budget but how then do they get the foreign currency.  For example, they are already charging in RTGS so where can they buy that USD because most banks are unable to sell people USD.  So, where do you expect the local authorities to get that USD even if they are charging in RTGS?

          HON. CHOMBO: We have an auction system which is open to everybody and we have a lot of service stations that are currently selling fuel at RTGS.  As I have said before, I do not have any local authority that has come to our Ministry or to seek assistance in the procurement of fuel but if you have such, my Ministry is open to assist as we are there to deliver service.  I thank you.

          HON. NDEBELE: The mere mention of the USD speaks volumes about the elephant in the room, I just want to check with the Executive, if at all the argument that we are in the de-dollarisation stage still subsists.

          HON. CHOMBO: I think that question is best addressed by the Minister of Finance but my Ministry is not in the dollarization stage – which I would want to specifically state.  Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  What I would want to state is that we have not dollarized, what we have is the dual usage of the USD and the RTGS and the conversion of the USD should be done at the ruling auction rate.  So, in line with the submission that has been done by the Hon. Member, in cases where local authorities would want to charge in USD, it should not be forced but it is allowed. What I would want to state is we have not dollarised.  What we have is the dual usage of the United States dollar and the RTGs and the conversion of the United States dollar should be done at the ruling auctioning rate.  So in line with the submission that has been done by the Hon. Member in cases where local authorities would want to charge in United States dollars, it should not be forced, but it is allowed for the local authorities to charge either in United States dollars or in RTGS, but the conversion should be done at the ruling auction rate for that week.  Thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  We are going to suspend questions 1 to questions 7 and then we will go to question number 8.

REPLACEMENT OF ELECTRICITY POLES AND CABLES IN MBERENGWA EAST CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the collapsed electricity poles and cables in Wards 3 and 8 in Mberengwa East Constituency will be replaced as they pose grave danger to people and animals.

Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Reports were made by clients and a complaint was received via the Mberengwa East MP Hon. Raidza on the above faults in ward 3 and 8 of the constituency in the last week of November 2019.  This was at a time when there were numerous faults due to the early rains.  However, the faults in both wards were resolved in December 2019.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

REPAIR OF ELECTRICITY TRANSFORMERS IN HIGHFIELD WEST CONSTITUENCY

  1. HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when vandalised electricity transformers in Highfield West Constituency as reported to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority under Case Reference Number 24/17 six months ago will be repaired.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):

REPORT ON VANDALISED TRANSFORMERS IN HIGHFIELD – HARARE SOUTH DISTRICT
ITEM Substation number Location Transformer size CauseFault Comment Date of Replacement
1 2417 New Canaan 315kVA Vandalism Replaced 24/04/20
2 2482 Western Triangle 315kVA Vandalism Replaced 16/05/20
3 2418 Western Triangle 315kVA Vandalism Not yet replaced Awaiting delivery of new transformers
4 2195 New Canaan 315kVA Vandalism Not yet replaced Awaiting delivery of new transformers
ZETDC has placed orders with various suppliers to procure transformers and deliveries are expected in the second to the third quarter of 2020

INSTALLATION OF JOTSHOLO-DANDANDA ELECTRICITY POWER LINE

  1.  HON. M. NKOMO asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House as to when Jotsholo – Dandanda electricity power line would be erected.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): The line needs about 52x12.6m long wood poles.  There was a shortage of poles in the country but orders have now been placed with this particular line being targeted for repair as soon as possible.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME IN KARIBA-NYAMINYAMI DISTRICTS

  1. HON. HOUGHTON asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House when the Rural Electrification Programme will be done in the following areas in Kariba-Nyaminyami Districts:-
  2.       MvurAmachena Primary School.
  3.       Negande Clinic, Secondary School and Chief Negande.
  4.       Chilimba Primary and Secondary Schools.
  5.       Mola Primary and Secondary Schools, Clinic and Chief Mola.
  6.       Mayovhe Primary School
  7.       Chalala Primary School.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Due to inadequate capacity on the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC)’s electricity grid network, the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) managed to extend the electricity grid network only up to Siakobvu Rural Service, beyond which voltages were below unacceptable levels. To ensure that there is adequate capacity on the ZETDC’s grid in areas including Kariba-Nyaminyami, ZETDC is currently constructing a 132 kV line linking Karoi 132/33 kV and Alaska 330/132 kV substations. Once the Alaska to Karoi line is completed by 2022, the electricity grid network can be extended to Kariba-Nyaminyami area without any capacity challenges.

          The electrification of the institutions in Kariba-Nyaminyami will require a substantial amount of resources as the distances to be covered are long. REF will need to first construct a 28 km 33kV line from Magororo Primary School in Hurungwe to link with the existing 33kV line going to Siakobvu. Thereafter, the grid will be extended from the existing Siakobvu line as indicated in the table below:

Table 1: Planned Implementation Programme for Kariba-Nyaminyami Area.

Name of Institution High Voltage Line (kV) Distance from the Existing Grid Network Planned Year for Project Implementation
Backbone line from Magororo to Siakobvu 33kV line 33 28km 2021
Mamvuramachena Primary School 33 10km 2021
Negande Clinic, Secondary School and Chief 33 28km 2022
Chilimba Primary and Secondary Schools 33 41km 2023
Mola Primary and Secondary Schools, Clinic and Chief 33kV 33km 2023
Mayovhe Primary 33kV 48km 2023
Chalala Primary School 33kV 55km 2024

MEASURES TO CURB THEFT AND VANDALISM OF POWER CABLES

  1. HON. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to explain measures being put in place to curb stealing of power cables.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Vandalism of distribution transformers and conductors has been on the rise during the past five years. This has resulted in losses of about US$2 million per year. The vandalism scourge is a serious drawback to the economy due to lack of guarantee of security of electricity supply.

          The fight against vandalism requires an all stakeholders approach but in the meantime ZESA has put in place strategies to curb this menace as outlined below:

1.1           Physical Protection Target Hardening

Screening and barricading of substation is done for both pole mounted and ground mounted distribution transformers in all ZETDC regions. ZETDC is also in the process of blocking drain valves on distribution transformers to make it difficult for thieves to open and drain oil.

1.2           Installation of Intruder Detection Systems

ZETDC has resolved to install intruder detection systems on approximately 27 000 distribution transformers nation-wide at an approximate cost of US$13 500 000.00 but due to financial resource limitations, this will be done in a phased manner. About 80 transformers have been installed as a pilot project. Contracts are now in place to install 8 000 sites this year 2020.

1.3           Copper Harvesting

ZETDC has an arrangement with Central African Cables (Pvt) Ltd (CAFCA) where copper conductor is harvested and exchanged for aluminium. This has seen a decline in vandalism of distribution lines where implemented. This is an on-going exercise which is expected to significantly reduce this scourge.

1.4           Lobbying for Cancellation of Copper Licences

The issuing of copper licences perpetuates theft of copper as licenced dealers will absorb the contraband and sell it as scrap while some will quickly smelt it into ingots before exporting it. ZESA has been lobbying for the scrapping of copper licences in favour of a centralized system for disposal of non-ferrous metals. There have been complexities in this area, which is compounded by the existence of multiple legislation; i.e. Copper Control Act Chapter 14:06, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) Act Chapter 21:04 (S.I. 39/2005: Definition of a mineral) and Electricity Act Chapter 13:19, Second Hand Goods Act, among others. ZESA continues to engage Government for assistance in this regard.

1.5           Stakeholder Engagement and Cooperation

ZESA Holdings Loss Control work with the complimentary arms of Government (e.g. CID, MFFU, SARPCCO and Interpol for cross border investigation) in the fight against vandalism of electricity infrastructure.

1.6           Anti-vandalism Campaigns

ZETDC conducts anti-vandalism awareness campaigns through electronic audio, visual and print media to solicit for public involvement in the fight against this scourge. The campaigns are an important part of the activities at any public exhibition that the utility participates.

1.7           Community Participation in Protecting Assets

ZETDC encourages clients to form neighbourhood watch committees that guard against the vandalism of electricity infrastructure. This has been received well and some communities have mobilised resources to protect transformers in their communities. Clients also cooperate in responding to alarms when there is an intrusion.

1.8           Security for Replacement/New Transformers

It has been agreed that before installing a replacement or new transformer, ZETDC has to ensure that the transformer is adequately protected against theft and vandalism. All the Customer Service Centres work with clients to ensure that this is achieved.

1.9           Stiffer Penalties

The problem of theft and vandalism of transformers and lines to get copper and oil is a serious threat to the operation of ZESA. It would be very much appreciated the 10 year mandatory sentence could be reviewed in line with what is obtaining in the Southern African Region. In South Africa, the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, Number 18 of 2015 provides for a 30 year jail term. The organisation will continue to engage Government on cancellation of copper licences while implementing strategies within ZESA’s control. On the other hand, ZESA will continue to lobby for harmonisation of legislation to ensure that there is order.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF FUEL FILLING STATIONS THAT SELL IN FOREIGN CURRENCY

  1. HON. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House the criteria used in selecting fuel filling stations to sell fuel in foreign currency.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA ZHEMU):  During this period characterised by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allows holders of free funds to pay for goods and services in foreign currency.  The bank published Statutory Instrument 85 of 2020 specifically to allow for this at law.  The service stations that are currently selling fuel in foreign currency are those that have their own free funds and can get customers who can either be individuals, NGOs, corporates and embassies who are also able to pay in foreign currency.  The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe continues to make available funds to oil companies to sell fuel to the rest of the customers who do not have access to foreign currency.  Such fuel is sold in local currency.

The Exchange Control Circular 8 of 2019 produced by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development provided for the implementation of Direct Fuel Import (DFIs).  The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) is currently working on the criteria for designating retail sites which will sell fuel in foreign currency (DFI sites).  DFI Regulations outlining the implementation modalities will be announced soon.

Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 2 has been disposed of.

          HON. MHONA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON DEVELOPMENT OF PARLIAMENTARIANS AND THE RUSSIA-AFRICA PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE HELD IN MOSCOW

          HON. K. PARADZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to present a report of the International Forum on Development of Parliamentarians and the Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference held in Moscow

          HON. MHONA: I second.

          HON. K. PARADZA:

1.0    Introduction

1.1          The 2nd International Forum on the “Development of Parliamentarism” was held in Moscow, Russia from 01 to 3 July 2019. The Conference discussed the broad framework of legislative support for trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and the African countries and the exchange of legislative experience. The programme included issues on; International Security and Stability, the Development of a Digital Economy, Youth and Environmental Policies.

1.2    The delegation led by Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly included the following Members and Officers of Parliament:

Hon. Kindness Paradza, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Martin Khumalo, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Joana Mamombe, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Chido Madiwa, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Masango Matambanadzo, Member of Parliament;

Ms. Martha Mushandinga, Principal Executive Officer to the Hon. Speaker;

Mr. Robert Sibanda, Security-Aide to the Honourable Speaker.

1.3    Upon arrival, the Hon. Adv. Mudenda expressed gratitude for the solid relations between Zimbabwe and Russia. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the synergy between Russia and Africa as they develop and solidify cooperation between and among Legislative Assemblies.

2.0              Attendance

2.1    The International Conference was attended by 38 African delegations, 25 at the level of Speakers of National Parliaments, 10 at the level of Deputy Speakers, 300 Members of Parliament and 50 experts. This event has become landmark event in Russian-Africa relations.

3.0    OFFICIAL PLENARY OF THE FORUM

3.1    During the Official opening addresses, it became apparent that the following areas of cooperation need to be enhanced through mutual cooperation: -

3.1.1 The Chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin is convinced that cultural, educational and humanitarian cooperation are important areas that need to be developed and intensified in the current Russian-African relations.

3.1.2 Hon. Volodin suggested the need for continued discussion on issues of harmonising legislation in the scientific and educational spheres, and reminded that hundreds of thousands of African students studied in the Soviet Union and Russia, and now 17 000 African students, a majority of them on private contracts were studying in the Russian Federation.

3.1.3 Hon. Volodin reiterated that, "strengthening all aspects of relations with African countries, including humanitarian and trade and economic cooperation was now the priority for Russia. The development of Inter-parliamentary relations should intensify cooperation between Russia and African countries."

3.1.4   Parliamentarians, academic researchers and experts called for an increase in the number of Government scholarships and grants for the training of specialists for Africa as a significant part of developing and building trust as well as mutual understanding in the current Russian-African relations.

3.1.5   There is need for a broad-based interactive dialogue between Africa and Russia in the fields of education, health care, demography and culture as integral part of future bilateral cooperation.

3.1.6   To stimulate growth and cultural hegemony, there is need to enhance linguistic programmes as has been in the past where African students embraced Russian culture and were engaged in fields of specialisation such as medicine and engineering. These educational programmes need to be broadened.

3.1.7   Russia has set up Centres of Science and Culture in Egypt, Zambia, Morocco, Congo, Tanzania, Tunisia and Ethiopia. Russia is ready to expand the network of its centres and humanitarian ties in general.

3.1.8   The Deputy Head of the State Duma, Hon. Olga Timofeeva urged the two partners to take advantage of the interaction in the field of medicine. The African continent has become a major source of outbound medical tourism. However, there is need to note that Africans are interested in developing their own health care system with other countries playing a complementary role.

3.1.9   There is need to enhance Parliamentary Diplomacy as a mechanism to build humanitarian ties. The role of Parliamentary Diplomacy cannot be overemphasized as an adjunct to the Executive interface in foreign policy initiatives.

3.1.10                     Science should play a part in the development of cooperation between Russia and Africa. Without technological breakthrough in ecology, health and education, the two partners are not able to break the deadlock needed to solve the problems that both the Russian people and the people of Africa are facing. By training specialists, Russia should contribute to future of Russian citizens and the people of Africa in their continental development.

3.1.11                     During this session, it became apparent that Russia was triumphantly returning to Africa after several years of hiatus. Africa should take advantage of this reawakening in the multilateral economic and trade relationships with Russia.

4.0.   Addresses by Speakers and Heads of Delegations to the Conference

4.1    Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, expressed gratitude to the warm welcome by the State Duma and the Russian Federation and felt extremely most welcome to the friendly country.

4.2    Furthermore, the Hon. Speaker posited that the Second Russia – Africa Parliamentary Conference affirmed Russia’s undiluted commitment to cementing strong political and economic ties with Africa under the pedestal of the Development of Parliamentarism. The Hon. Speaker implored both parties to approach this mutual partnership with an open mind, noting that sustainable socio-economic development has to be anchored upon sound Parliamentarism, the cradle of constitutional democracy legality and the rule of law. Zimbabwe welcomes this innovative initiative which must live up to the warranted shared socio-economic development between Russia and Africa on the apex of bilateral and multilateral axis.

4.3    The Hon Speaker affirmed that Africa recognises and acknowledges that Russia has transformed itself from a centrally planned economy to a globally integrated market-based economy which is ready to do business with Africa. Africa is now fast becoming the world's powerhouse of business opportunities offering immense scope for Russian businesses in areas as diverse as agricultural products, machinery, mining, auto components, chemicals, Information Communication Technology and other digital enabling services.

4.4    Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda also pointed out that the Conference is another opportunity to compare positions, develop solutions and give impetus to further cooperation between Russia and Africa but more importantly, an opportunity to turn words into concrete actions. Hon. Mudenda argued that it was distinctively evident from the large number of African delegations that had been invited to Moscow over the past few years, that a marked new chapter to re-activate relations with Africa had been born. He however cautioned that Russia's influence might not take roots anytime soon if the Conference declarations are not vigorously and promptly implemented.

4.5    The Chairman of the State Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, reiterated the need to strengthen the between Russia and Africa, including humanitarian and trade and economic cooperation as one of the priorities. The development of inter-parliamentary relations should intensify cooperation between the two parties. There is need for mutual cooperation on equal basis.

4.6    The Deputy Foreign Minister in Russia, Hon. Mikhail Bogdanov, pointed out that Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it.

4.7    Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the Russian Federation, H. E.  Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya appreciated efforts to use Conference platforms to exchange views on common problems, issues for the African continent and the Russian Federation.

4.8    The President of the Senate from the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, emphasized that the interaction and cooperation in the area of culture, science and art is necessary to guarantee future generations benefits from the cooperation.

4.9    The Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Hon. Patrick Matibini stressed the need to develop multifaceted relations between Russia and the entire African continent. Furthermore, the Presiding Officer praised efforts in developing Inter-parliamentary relations and noted that the relations are still "very influential and really promising”. Hon. Matibini reiterated the need to intensify bilateral cooperation in areas of education, medicine, technology and agriculture.

4.10 The Chairperson of the National Council of Namibia, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams, highlighted the previous educational assistance received from Russia and appreciated the impact of the huge number of doctors and other specialists in their country who studied during the Soviet Republic and now in the Russian Federation. These worthy efforts have always translated further into greater development, thus appealing to Russian authorities to maintain that appreciable level of socio-cultural and humanitarian assistance to African countries.

4.11  The President of the National Assembly of Mali, Hon. IssakaSidibé, reminded the Conference that Africa should address challenges related to migration, education and the impact of climate change on the environment. Parliamentarians should work for the benefit of the nationals. Cooperation should be enhanced to eliminate inequality in the economic world order.

4.12  Hon. Dias dos Santos confided with the meeting that the Forum on “Development of Parliamentarism” and regular Conferences on “Russia-Africa” could become a catalyst and conduit to addressing many pressing global and regional issues. He cited international terrorism one of the key threats facing the world and the decision to counter it should be found together. He marshalled the meeting to guard against the growing number of young people being recruited into terrorism.

5.0    International Security Dialogue: Legislators for Peace and Stability

5.1    The session drew participants from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North and South America. The major focus was the rise in international terrorism which is a threat to world peace. Delegates condemned the superpowers that have the tendency of sponsoring terrorist activities as a way of destabilising internal democratic processes, especially those developing nations that are rich in natural resources like oil, gas and minerals.

5.2     The delegates noted that State-sponsored terrorism had destabilised such countries as Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and India. They observed with concern how some developed nations continue to destabilise and interfere in the internal affairs of many developing nations. The escalation in organised crime, drug trafficking, tribal and old historical conflicts were also identified as other ancillary threats to world peace. The proliferation of small arms, especially in conflict zones like Libya, East and Central Africa also came under the spotlight.

5.3    The major worry was that some of these terrorist attacks involved the use of biological and chemical weapons, especially in Syria and other hot spots. The fear among some delegates was that if left unchecked, some of these terrorists would one day acquire nuclear weapons and use these weapons of mass destruction to wipe out human life the earth.

 5.4   The negative effects of such terrorist attacks is the rise in the number of refugees and migrants, a phenomenon that is threatening all continents. Global warming, climate change, desertification, poverty, human trafficking and forced migration were also identified as threats to world peace and stability.

 5.5   Participants in this Session agreed to use the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) as a platform to petition the United Nations so that model laws can be crafted and subsequently domesticated as a measure to combat terrorism.

5.6   Participants came to a consensus position  that a global common list of terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda, ISIS or Boko Haram should be drawn and widely circulated to alert the whole world  to know so that individual countries can take precautionary measures to counter them.

5.7    There was agreement to share intelligence among member states on the activities of these terrorist organisations. Participants also called on the superpowers to stop funding, arming or colluding with terrorists as a means of driving their own foreign political agendas.

6.0    Lawmaking and Legal Framework for the Digital Future:

Challenges and Solutions 

6.1           The major thrust of this Session was to build consensus on two main issues:-

6.1.1   Developing legislation to facilitate equity in the access of the digital world to all – the main question for this challenge was in addressing the gap between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”.

6.1.2   Developing a balance between freedom of expression and the protection of other people’s rights.

6.2    The Session received 14 presentations from Eastern, Western Europe and from Africa. The Session noted that the discourse would have benefitted from engagement with the digital giants such as Apple, Facebook and Huawei who have in the absence of laws themselves defined the rules that govern the digital world.

6.3    The second consensus was the need to Parliaments to develop a united ideological position on what defines the digital world. There is need for consensus building with regards empowering the marginalised communities with digital capacity.

6.4    Debate centred also on the management of the digital world through legislation and need to restrict the aggression of the digital world. It was noted that the digital world should be regulated to avoid the pitfalls of:

-                  The spread of false information (Fake news)

-                  Threats on the sovereignty of states.

-                  Threats on service provision such as power supply on banking system.

6.5    The African presentations focused largely on the challenging of transiting from using the digital world use in facilitating “democratic” changes such as in Egypt and Tunisia as well as ensuring that the digital world is transformed to a more developmental use and hence striking the balance between democracy versus development in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

6.6    The session dealt in depth with the challenges of the digital worker but has limited on solutions to manage that world in the context of the threats posed by the 4th Industrial Revolution which is driven by artificial intelligence being anchored on the 5G digital platform.

7.0    The Role of Youth in the Development of Parliamentarism: Experiences and Priorities

7.1  Representatives from different countries took turns to share their experiences of the implementation of the youth policies and institutions in their own countries.

7.2  The focus of this theme was to create a platform for shared experiences and outlining priorities of young people towards improving parliamentary practice and inclusion.

7.3  The session also addressed developmental problems and perspectives of humanitarian law as well as understanding the legal voids in National and International law. These perspectives focused on the prohibition of cyber-attacks against civilian population and civil infrastructure, restriction of remote and autonomous weapon systems and regulation of military artificial intelligence.

7.4  The discussion also centered on emerging trends and identifiable voids within the legislative framework across countries in the restriction of wide-area explosive weapons used in cities, enhancing protection of journalists covering military conflicts, enhancing protection of cultural heritage sites, ensuring delivery of humanitarian aid and services as well as the harmonisation of national approaches to organisation of acceptance of refugees and recognition of their international legal status, especially as they affect young people.

7.5  The round table discussion noted with major concern the diminished total number of Young Parliamentarians in the world, with only 2% of total Members of Parliament under the age of 35. This means that there is very little representation of young people’s issues in lawmaking which leads to only a few young persons contributing to the development of Parliamentarism. The designed systems and institutions in most of the countries deter young people from participating in parliamentary processes, hence the need to open more institutions to allow young people to participate more effectively.

7.6  The round table also noted with concern that in many countries where there are institutions that support the participation and contribution of young people there is a lot of interference from the State, thereby diluting the independent thinking of young people. Also, the lack of access to information by young people is one of the major contributors to their low participation in the development of Parliamentarism. Emphasis was therefore put on the need to avail more avenues for the access of information by young people and promote a culture of public interest research to counter this challenge of lack of access to information.

7.7  Furthermore, the round table analysed how countries are progressing in the implementation of institutions and policies that encourage youth participation in parliamentary programmes. A special mention was made of the global institutions like the United Nations where international youth conferences are held regularly and UNESCO that plays a critical role to ensure civil awareness and democratic participation of youths. In addition, there is a growing positive trend in most of the countries of establishing youth institutions like Youth Parliaments to give space to young people to contribute to the legislative sphere of development.

8.0        Role of Legal Regulation in Poverty and Inequality Reduction:

8.1.   The discussion centred on the following key issues on the sub-theme:

8.1.1   Combating poverty and inequalities in socio-economic development as one of the main priorities of international cooperation;

8.1.2   The norms and principles of social policy aimed at overcoming poverty and inequality as consolidated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Conventions on Economic, Social and Cultural rights should be embraced by Parliament;

8.1.3   The enhancement of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly; and the

8.1.4   The propagation of global and regional initiatives to combat poverty and inequalities as encapsulated by African Union’s Agenda 2063 should be shared globally.

8.1.5   It is instructive to note that the represented countries agreed on the vital role Parliaments in alleviating poverty and inequalities in their national development agenda.  Parliaments are central to any discourse on development, they approve budgets from which development projects are funded or not funded.

9.0    Russia African Humanitarian Cooperation – A Parliamentary Dimension

9.1    This discussion was attended by seventy three countries from Africa in an effort to strengthen their multilateral ties with Russia.

9.2    Russia highlighted the humanitarian aid it provides for Africa which has no political strings. The discussion centred on the need to contextualize aid since most countries have development needs unique to each one of them at a bilateral level.

9.3    Most countries in Southern African reiterated the need to get support in the areas such as education, health, access to water and sanitation, poverty reduction and developmental inequalities.

9.4    It was agreed that other areas of cooperation should include the improvement of governance and putting an end to the scourge of corruption.

9.5    The attending countries looked forward to a forum that will create a balance between the rich and the poor countries. This had the ripple effect of curbing migration, thus gravitating the African continent to a zone that attracts domestic growth for increased employment opportunities in Africa.

          10.0  Role of Parliaments on International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Cooperation

                   10.1  This session was led by academics from universities of four (4) countries who sought to define International Human Law with special emphasis on the need to ensure that the growing trend wherein super powers, through other powerful global geo-political groupings are setting new international roles that are circumventing long standing Humanitarian International Law and tenets.

                   10.2  The major thrust of their interventions has brought about the following critical perspectives and impact on International Humanitarian Rule as it impinges on International Peace and stability;

10.2.1                     seeking  to reduce the number of victims due to military operation;

10.2.2                     mitigating humanitarian calamitous consequences;

10.2.3 reducing international conflicts;

10.2.4 curtailing organised crime and terrorism; and

10.2.5 ameliorating the problem associated with refugees.

10.3  In the end, it was agreed that there was need for the domestication of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Furthermore, by national Parliaments, States should make a deliberate commitment to ensure that they ratify the international treaties in the sphere of international law and provide oversight on the Government implementation of the same. The round table discussion also advocated for the training of state security organs on International Humanitarian Law.

     The session concluded with a call for the strengthening of inter-parliamentary cooperation on the promotion and respect for International Humanitarian Law, particularly the need for parliaments to collectively advocate for strict adherence to it and its attendant rules.

                   11.0    Recommendations

                   11.1  The Parliamentarians gathered at the conference forum agreed that it was unacceptable to use of Inter-parliamentary Institutions and forums for political provocations and extremist actions.

                   11.2 Forum participants appealed for the inter-parliamentary cooperation channels to promote the comprehensive improvement of the global economic management systems in order to resolve the skewed crisis in the global economy to ensure greater economic and financial stability through the harmonisation of international trade relations that should result in sustainable dynamic growth.

                   11.3  Parliamentarians should further improve the lawmaking process in the interests of their sovereign peoples.

                   11.4  Broaden Parliamentary cooperation to ensure that there is sustainable development, international and regional security, environmental well-being, enough stamina to fight poverty and inequality, establish collaborative efforts in countering terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, illegal migration and other common challenging security risks.

                   11.5  The Forum urged Parliamentarians to use all the opportunities of Inter-parliamentary cooperation to remove barriers and promote inclusive, equal and mutually respectful dialogue, eliminate emerging threats to peace and security, resolve disagreements in strict compliance with the fundamental norms of international law, reduce conflict potential and confrontation in the world, build trust and develop a constructive unifying agenda for international cooperation.

                   11.6  The meeting condemned the methods of resolving international disputes through use of force and sanctions pressure. This was seen as a destabilising tool which was against international law and violated the interests of other people by militating against achieving sustainable development goals. It is unacceptable to use political sanctions and other repressive measures against Parliamentarians including restricting the rights of national delegations to travel to Inter-parliamentary fora. This contravenes the fundamental democratic values, principles of international law and the development of Parliamentarism.

                   11.7  The meeting noted that the conditions of global digital transformation and transition of the world economy to a new technological paradigm is at hand. There is need to develop a common vision and harmonisation of approaches to law making in the digital era which requires intensive inter-parliamentary coordination, exchange of legislative practices and close cooperation in the development of uniform international standards. These initiatives become the key for inclusive economic growth.

                   11.9  Parliaments and Inter-parliamentary cooperation should play a significant role in the adoption of the principles of responsible behavior in the information space and formation of a safe and open global information environment. The media, civil society and all the stakeholders involved in dissemination of mass information and development of regulations in this area, must take concerted efforts in countering disinformation and “fake news”.

                   11.10 There is need to further expand parliamentary support for development of international humanitarian cooperation as well as cooperation in education, science, technology, culture, health care, sports, tourist exchanges, youth contacts and more active involvement of young people in the process of developing and making decisions on social, economic and political issues of national and global nature. The youths are the future of both Africa and Russia as well as the world at large.

                   11.11 Focus should be on a comprehensive intensification of a broad, equitable, political and economic cooperation with African countries and their institutions to ensure sustainable development for inclusive growth.

                   11.12  The Conference expressed readiness to expand the exchange of legislative experience between Africa and Russia in key areas of trade and investment. This Forum should be a platform to create a favourable legal environment and eliminate obstacles towards building a comprehensive mutually beneficial partnership in areas that include trade and investment, promotion of structural transformation and the transformation of Africa into a prosperous and secure continent.

         12.0  Bilateral Meeting between Hon Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, and the Chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin       

12.1  Introduction

The Hon. Speaker expressed gratitude to the host Speaker on behalf of the delegation for the warm reception in Moscow. Furthermore, he conveyed fraternal greetings from the people of Zimbabwe and expressed their deep appreciation of the humanitarian assistance received from Russia following on the aftermath of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in terms ameliorating the victims’ livelihoods and their ravaged infrastructure.

          12.2  Appreciation for the Second Invitation

The Hon. Speaker appreciated that this was the second time his delegation had been invited to Russia for the Conference. It was therefore imperative that the decisions of the Conference should be implemented timeously to avoid the pitfalls of being labelled a talk shop. The invitation is an open testament of the strong bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Russia. Russia stood by Zimbabwe throughout the liberation struggle and Zimbabwe remains deeply indebted for this solidarity during the liberation.

12.3 Theme of the Conference

12.3.1 The Hon. Speaker acknowledged to his counterpart the theme of the Conference which dovetailed well with the progress being made in Zimbabwe and Africa whereby Parliaments are increasingly playing a role of championing development as the directly elected representatives of the electorate. The representative and oversight roles of the legislature cannot be overemphasized as the institution of Parliament should be accountable to the people who elected the Members of Parliaments.

12.3.2 He informed the State Duma Speaker that Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy, hence its configuration of a delegation from all parties represented in Parliament. Zimbabwe believes in a multiparty political system to ensure that that the voices of different people from different political persuasions can be heard in Parliament.

12.3.3 The Hon. Speaker averred that there was need to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations to spur rapid economic growth in Africa. It is apparent that the developed world needs to stand shoulder to shoulder with Africa as the world moves towards the fourth industrial revolution grounded in digital economies. As far as the implementation aspect after the Conference, the Hon. Speaker of Zimbabwe expressed hope that Russia and Africa will come up with very solid protocols and international agreements in order to enhance the political as well as the economic relations between Africa and Russia in a practical mode.

          12.4     Russia’s View of Development Cooperation

          In response, the Chairman of the State Duma, indicated that Russia upholds and respects the platforms of international cooperation such as at the United Nations. In this regard, fora as the current meetings of Parliamentarians provide a bridge through which Russia can participate meaningfully in the development of Africa. Russia can also do well with taping from the experience of seasoned politicians in the mould of Speakers and Parliamentarians from Africa.

13.0     RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation Action Timeline
13.1 Heightening Bilateral Relations between the State Duma and Parliament of Zimbabwe. Invitation for the Chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin, to pay a Bilateral Visit October 2019
13.2 Move to ensure greater economic and financial stability, harmonisation of international trade relations, sustainable and dynamic growth through improved investment laws. Establish a mutual framework of partnership between the two Parliaments to exchange views and ideas through bilateral benchmarking visits. October 2019
12.3 Strengthen digital framework for interaction and the curtailment of fake news Identify key actors in the digital world to finance programmes that are aimed at countering the proliferation of fake news November 2019
13.4 Establishment of a Zimbabwe- Russia Friendship Association Establish a Zimbabwe -Russia Friendship Association to champion mutual cooperation between the two parties September 2019
13.5 Rapid Implementation of Resolutions of the Forum to ensure that Zimbabwe benefits from the emerging  cooperation between Russia and Africa Arrange a meeting between Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Embassy of Russia in Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for rapid implementation of resolutions October 2019

          14.0  CONCLUSION

14.1  H.E. President Vladimir Putin graced the International Parliamentary Conference by delivering a closing speech on the 3rd July 2019. In his address to the delegates, President Putin applauded the relations between Russia and Africa and underscored that “African nations have achieved steady progress in social, economic, scientific and technological development and have played an increasingly important role in addressing pressing issues on the international agenda”. Thus, Russia fully supports the efforts of African partners to resolve local conflicts and crises, counter terrorism and extremism, drug trafficking and trans-border crime, and confront other challenges and threats to regional and global security.

14.2  It was agreed that the Forum should be an annual event for purposes of implementing resolutions arising from the Forum timeously.

14.3  The meeting ended with both parties pledging to ensuring that the resolutions of the Forum should be followed up with speed so that they are timeously implemented for the good of the people of Africa and Russia.

3

Hon. Advocate Jacob Franis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimmbabwe and Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 3rd September, 2020.

          On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Fifteen Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. 

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