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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 March 2016 42-40
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 3rd March, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): I move that notices of
presentation of Bills, number 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
HON. MATUKE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. GONESE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 8th March, 2016.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. GONESE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MATUKE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 8th March, 2016.
HON. MATUKE: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 and 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE
CONSULTATIONS WITH THE PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT
AND OTHER REGIONAL PARLIAMENTS
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move the
motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the Consultations with the Pan African
Parliament (PAP) and other Regional Parliaments on the provision of the
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in Africa, held in Midrand, South Africa, from 25th – 27th November, 2015.
HON. MUDEREDZWA: I second.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
(ACDEG) which entered into force on 15 February 2012, encourages Parliaments (national, regional and continental) as the guarantor of the constitutional order, to work with more collaboration, cooperation, interaction to facilitate the experience sharing and good practices on democratic principles and good governance.
It is against this background that the Department of Political
Affairs (DPA) of the African Union Commission (AUC), through the
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law Cluster of the African Governance Platform of the African Governance Architecture, with support from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) convened a consultative meeting with the Pan African Parliament and Regional Parliaments in order to promote Constitutionalism and Rule of Law in Africa.
The meeting was held at the Pan African Parliament Headquarters in Midrand, South Africa from 25th – 27th November, 2015. Delegates were drawn from representatives of the Pan African Parliament, Regional Parliaments, African Union Organs, African Union
Commission, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and some experts on Constitutionalism and Rule of Law. The Parliament of Zimbabwe was represented by Hon.
Objectives of the Consultative Meeting
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, let the
Hon. Member be heard in silence.
HON. MANDIPAKA: The Consultative Meeting targeted
relevant stakeholders on issues to do with the promotion of
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in African countries, particularly the role of Parliaments in strengthening and promoting
Constitutionalism. The consultations aimed at:-
- Engaging African Parliaments on their responsibility to promote
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law in Africa;
- Developing a capacity building initiative to strengthen the capacity of African Parliamentarian network in the area of
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law;
- Reinforcing coordination and increased interaction between the Pan African Parliament and the Regional Parliaments in order to facilitate more experience sharing and best practices to promote
Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law;
- Exchanging with Pan African Parliament (PAP) and Regional Parliaments on the strategy to engage member states in promoting values of Constitutionalism and Rule of Law;
- Identifying strategies to promote signing, ratification and implementation of AU shared values, particularly the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The welcome remarks were given by the first Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) Hon. Edwardo Joaquim Mudembwe and the Regional Director of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi.
The Opening Ceremony for the Consultative Meeting was done by the Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Khabele Matlosa, on behalf of the
Commissioner of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi.
The ceremony was followed by a series of presentations by experts and representatives from Regional Parliaments on issues to do with state of Constitutionalism in Africa, the role of Parliamentarians in promoting and defending Constitutionalism and Rule of Law in Africa. Delegates also shared experiences on best practices.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe, made a contribution on possible definitions of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law from an African perspective. The presentation also covered the role of the Legislature in promoting Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law, the independence of the Judiciary, the Zimbabwean Constitution and how proponents of the regime change agenda had used the hostile media to portray the country as one that does not respect the rule of law. The presentation was well received by other participants.
Discussions and Recommendations
In discussions, the Consultative Meeting acknowledged the central role played by African Parliaments in reinforcing good governance through democratic tenets such as Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law on the continent. The Consultative meeting further acknowledged the important role played by the African Charter on Democracy,
Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in providing an overarching normative framework on constitutional order was reiterated. It was recognised that engaging PAP, regional and national Parliament through instruments such as ACDEGs as the threshold would help to advance the agenda of democracy and good governance.
The consultative meeting emphasised that in order to enhance the role of PAP, there is need for sub-regional Parliaments to be equally functional instrumental in constitutionalism and rule of law discourse thereby complementing the objectives of PAP. The meeting also recalls the three traditional functions of Parliament in advancing constitutionalism including law making, representation and ensuring accountability through oversight. Five fundamental challenges that parliaments are confronted with on the subject of constitutionalism and rule of law were identified as follows:-
- Existence of constitution without constitutionalism;
- Pockets of military rule and coups on the Continent;
- Deliberate manipulation of constitutions to elongate tenures of sitting Presidents contrary to the letter and spirit to the
- The challenge of people’s power exercised through popular
protests and uprisings and;
- The challenge of “extremism”, a trend where alternative views are not tolerated.
AFRICAN CONSTITUNALISM, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES: STATE OF CONSTITUTIONALISM IN AFRICA.
The consultative meeting made the following observations:-
- That the powers of Parliaments are influenced by four main factors, namely:-
- The difference between national Parliaments and supranational Parliaments since the latter can only act within the powers conferred by sovereign states;
- The configuration in which Parliaments operate (unitary system or federal system); iii)The constitutional traditions (civil law/common law/Anglo-
American systems)and; iv) The systems of government (presidential/semipresidential/parliamentary.
- The need to address the following challenges in African
- Conflict between loyalty to party and fidelity to the
Constitution; ii) The uncertain role of parliamentary opposition parties iii) Resources constraints; and iv) Challenges associated with mixed systems where Members of Parliament also constitute the executive.
The meeting urged parliamentarians to consider themselves as coequals and not subordinate branches of Government. It also highlighted the need to recognize and respect the constitutionally defined mandates of Parliaments and the need to define the limit of party loyalty and constitutional duties. The major challenge identified by the Meeting was that parliament is institutionally weaker relative to the Executive. It further recognized the shared and reinforced roles that exist between national and supra-national Parliaments. To this end, the meeting called for further collaboration and cooperation towards promoting democracy and the rule of law.
DEVELOPMENT OF A PROPOSAL FOR A
PARLIAMENTARY COMMON ACTION PLAN TO PROMOTE
CONSTIUTIONALISM AND RULE OF LAW
The meeting identified the following three linked areas of intervention:-
- i) The need for further interaction between the PAP, national and regional parliaments; ii) The need for convening fora with relevant stakeholders and; iii) The modalities of selection of the actors
There is need for further interaction between the PAP, national and regional parliaments on the following actions:
- Establishment of PAP African Union Day during which national and regional parliaments will be briefed on various decisions taken at AU levels;
- Development of an effective collaboration and cooperation between the PAP and national and regional parliaments in order to push Member States to sign, ratify and implement protocols and treaties taken at AU level;
- Creation of a parliamentarian network in order to constantly discuss emerging issues regarding democracy and governance in general and constitutionalism and rule of law in particular;
- Organisation of a briefing event in the beginning of each legislation session in order to inform parliamentarians on their respective roles and responsibilities.
The meeting further noted the need for convening for a fora relevant stakeholders in paying attention to the modalities of selection of the actors. These should be large consultations organised at national level for key actors including parliamentarians, political parties, armed forces, media, academia and practitioners.
DEVELOPMENT OF A PROPOSAL FOR A CAPACITY
BUILDING DRAFT PROGRAMME FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS
ON CONSTITUTIONALISM AND RULE OF LAW
Proposals were made on capacity building workshops on specific areas for parliamentarians. These include:-
- Capacity Building workshops on culture of democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law
- Capacity building workshop on principles and independence of the three arms of Government;
- Experiences sharing workshops on defence of constitutionalism and rule of law for regional and national parliaments.
- Workshops on the role of parliaments;
- Experience pooling and exchanges on defence of constitutionalism among academia, political actors and civil society.
The meeting observed the importance of recognising the various levels of socio-economic and political development in the different African States when it comes to standard setting even on matters relating to constitutionalism and the rule of law.
It also further observed that the concept of term limits is not necessarily an ingredient of democracy and the accepted principle is that of limited government. The consultation acknowledged, however that the third term debate is useful but a misplaced discourse and must be canvassed in the context of the need for a culture of constitutionalism. The consultation therefore called on parliaments to ensure that provisions to extend or scrap term limit do not almost always result in civil unrest by having institutions that ensure that the processes of retaining power are fair.
- Another observation was on the issue of popular protests where clarity was needed on the motivating factors and the real drivers of such protests to ascertain and question their legitimacy;
- Lack of political will to faithfully implement constitutions was cited and observed as a critical challenge to constitutionalism and the rule of law; and
- It was further observed that PAP has great potential to act as a catalyst to continental integration, enhanced constitutionalism and the rule of law as well as the development of more equitable, representative and acceptable national constitutions if fully operationalised and supported.
The meeting recommended the following:-
- That the PAP should consider adopting a model law on unconstitutional changes of Government since this mandate is recognised in the protocol to the Treaty establishing the African
Economic Community Relating to the Pan African Parliament;
- Parliaments should fully exploit forums and mechanism such as the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights and the African
Commission on Human and People’s Rights that were already addressing disputes related to constitutionalism and the rule of law, alongside other innovative strategies of addressing challenges to constitutionalism and rule of law through parliaments including human rights violations;
- The supra-national parliaments must explore best practices from other international parliaments and contextualize best practices to clarify the relationship between regional parliaments and the Pan African Parliaments towards promoting constitutionalism and Rule of law; and
- That there is need for vigilance to ensure that the mandates of the continental and regional parliaments do not encroach on the legislative mandate of matters that should be best left to national parliaments and even regional assemblies within states as being the better placed organs to address the detail of subjects legislated on.
- That PAP has to consider addressing some lacunas in the provisions of the ACDEGs, some of which are couched in vague and very broad terms by offering detailed guidance, especially through model laws.
Generally, the Consultative Meeting was educative, informative, interactive and very vital in sharpening one’s understanding of the dynamics of Constitutionalism and the Rule of law.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
SPORT COMPETITIONS FOR PARLIAMENT
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House
that the Parliament Warriors Sports Club is organizing sports competitions between Members of Parliament and Parliament Members of Staff to be held on Friday, 11th March, 2016 from 1300-1700 hours.
The competitions will include among others football, netball, tennis and tug of war.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would
like to thank Hon. Mandipaka for presenting his report on the Pan
African Parliament (PAP), whose session he attended in South Africa.
Nevertheless, I would like to raise concerns that in any Parliament, you have to be representative of your constituency. I understand we have elected members that go and represent us in the PAP but they do not consult us as Parliamentarians as to what should be discussed in that Parliament. That is a cause of concern. Yes, the ideas that were discussed are ideal for a Parliament just like ours ...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mutseyami, can you
just move quietly.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Yes, the ideas were discussed especially where he pointed out that we need to observe constitutionalism. We are one of the Parliaments, two after having adopted a new Constitution which has not yet made sure that we adhere to the provisions in as far as aligning laws and Acts are concerned. We are moving at a very slow pace and it is a cause for concern. By the end of the day, we are operating unconstitutionally in most of the issues that are supposed to be running the Government in this country.
There is also an issue that was raised in his report that of insuring that Parliamentarians are pro-equals to the Executive. Unfortunately, maybe it is because of our party system, there is a tendency for
Parliamentarians to be looking upon themselves as being inferior to the Executive, hence this undermines our role to oversee how the Executive is operating in this country. In some instances, we have the abuse of being whipped into line when we are supposed to take the Executive to account. These are areas where we feel that the PAP should first and foremost be representative of the Parliamentarians in this House by ensuring that there is consultation before they go and sit there and start singing ideas that we will not have fed into them. At the end of the day, there should be cohesion.
If you look at the European Parliament for example, I am just looking at Parliaments in other continents, they represent the interests of the people from the country that they come from. They take their lead from those Parliamentarians that sit in their national Parliaments. It is important that whilst it is Parliament, it should be Pan African in terms of identity and representation of what they will be discussing in that particular forum.
There are certain issues that have been raised in the report, for example, in some states in Africa there is military rule. In some states in Africa there is no Constitution like in Somalia. What they have done is to gather tribal leaders who then elect their representatives into a so called Parliament. In Sudan, there is a Government that is in place without following its own Constitution which by now should have held elections. However, there is a war going on and the current leadership is imposing itself on the people of Sudan.
We have Libya where there are two Governments that have failed to merge into one Government. As a result, our pan africanism will not succeed until we have resolved the problems of these countries. We have Burundi where the President changes the Constitution so that he can remain in power for an indefinite period while people in that country are opposing that. I can give examples of countries where the very title pan africanism itself is under question.
As a country, we have an obligation when we go to the PAP to point out some of these shortfalls to ensure that we have indeed and in name pan africanism to be able to subsist on this continent.
On the issue of the rule of law, I know it is a case in court. However, when we are observing constitutionalism, what is going on in court at the moment about the public prosecutor is not constitutional because our Constitution says there are institutions that are supposed to be set to investigate before he is arrested. This is now being done after he has been arrested and he is appearing in court.
It is very important for us to participate in the PAP but it should be representative of the opinions of Parliamentarians in this country so that it plays its important role to ensure that where we have economic problems, there should be meeting of minds. When we go into the PAP, we should be able to discuss how we tackle these problems. Where there is misrule and non observance of the rule of law, there should be a meeting of minds in the PAP.
I would like to applaud the report that was given to us. It is an eye opener but let us change the rules and ensure that the PAP delegation represents this Parliament. I thank you.
HON. DR. MUKANDURI: Thank you Madam Speaker maám. I
want to thank the mover of this motion Hon. Mandipaka. It is important to note that as a Parliament, we are not a Parliament in isolation. We are not an island. We are living in an international world where there is the international system.
He has touched on two important concepts, constitutionalism and the rule of law. I take the case for Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe in terms of constitutionalism; we attained our independence in 1980 and we had a negotiated constitution that was negotiated in London at the Lanchester House. We had it for many years and we had some entrenched clauses where the former white Rhodesians had reserved seats in this Parliament and that was not democracy. That was accepted on the basis that this country should attain independence but that was a very bad philosophy.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members on the
front bench. If you cannot lower your voices please take your partner out.
HON. DR. MUKANDURI: On the issue of constitutionalism, of course the Hon. Member said there are some countries for example Somalia and Burundi. When we are discussing issues, we should be very rational. What is happening in Burundi is very disgusting, we do not support that. Burundi has a neighboring country which is Rwanda. Rwanda has changed its Constitution because it had a two term limit for the president but Rwanda got away with murder. They were allowed to change that Constitution but Burundi, for unknown reasons - it is bad for Burundi but good for Rwanda. I think as Africans, we should stick to the culture of constitutionalism. If we say the constitution allows two terms, that country should stick to two terms and should not be allowed to change its constitution to favour certain politicians.
In Southern Africa, we were not very familiar with the issues of coups. The report mentioned that there are some military coups that have taken place. In our region, we had Lesotho, where some military commanders tried to seize power by force and that has been condemned. We thank the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) that has also resolutely supported the issue of constitutionalism and now we have a Government which has been elected by the people of Lesotho, because military coups by and large are not good at all.
In Africa, the country that first had a military coup was Nigeria. It was in January 1965 when Major Nzeogwu took over power from a civilian Government. Thereafter 6 months after in Ghana, General
Angara seized power and it was like that in Nigeria in the late 1990s Brigadier Sani Abacha took over and he brought in his friends, the likes of Idi Abonga who became head of state and after that the current head of state Mutula. In Burkina Faso there was also a military coup and soon after that Thomas Sankara who had taken over power was deposed by another military coup. So there will not be any stability if we have a military coup. Of course the report said that there are certain countries where the military has powers – that is a praetorian state. Here, the civilian is head of state but the military still wields a lot of power. That is not democracy at all. If we take the democracy that was propelled by the people of say the United States of America and Roosevelt, democracy is the rule of law by the people, for the people and so it should be like that.
In Zimbabwe, after every five years, this country goes for elections and where there are problems, for example in July last year there was a Supreme Court ruling which resulted in mayhem in the labour bodies. A lot of workers were fired but Government took a constitutional route to change the Labour Act. It was brought to this House and we approved it and that is the rule of law. The President did not use any decree. In 2008, we had a GNU which was something that came about …
HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
Good afternoon Madam Speaker. Hon. Mukanduri’s presention is too much Pan Africanist but he stayed in America for many years, eating McDonalds food. He had more than 15 years of education in America, with the Americans and also went to France but he is presenting like a Pan Africanist.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. You
are out of order.
HON. DR. MUKANDURI: Thank Madam Speaker. I was saying that we had a GNU which came as a result of the 19th amendment to our Constitution. The GNU was bound by that Constitution. Some of us did not like some of the provisions of that Constitution but we were bound by the rule of law and by constitutionalism. We followed that constitution and in March 2013, after the Parliamentarians and other stakeholders had gone to the rural areas to seek the views of the Zimbabweans on what should be included in the new Constitution, this new Constitution was approved in March, 2013 and it was signed by the three Principals, headed by our current President. So we now have that new Constitution which we are following. We have the rule of law and no one does what he/she wants.
We also have separation of powers. Parliament sticks to its core role while the Executive does the same and so does the Judiciary. We should also be vigilant as stated by Hon. Mandipaka because we are a watchdog of the people, we represent the poor and the marginalized people, hence we should never ever tolerate any infringement to our Constitution. There should be adherence to the Constitution. Whoever tries to breach that Constitution should be brought before the courts of law.
Madam Speaker, I support the issue that we have Africa Day to celebrate the achievement of Africa. We should adhere to constitutionalism and the rule of law just like we are doing in
Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the best example where constitutionalism and the rule of law are upheld. In a nutshell Madam Speaker, I want to thank you.
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order Madam Speaker, the point of order emanates from the fact that Dr. Mukanduri has not been factual. He is calling upon the establishment of Africa Day yet we already have it on our calendar on 25 May of each year. I think as an academic, Hon. Mukanduri should know this, but I think it is because he stayed too long in America and in France and he does not realise that there is Africa Day. – [Laughter] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. What is wrong with Dr Mukanduri staying in America and France. Anyway Hon. Maridadi, he did not say we need to have Africa Day. He said we have Africa Day.
HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Mandipaka for the revealing report that he has presented to Parliament. He has had so many adjectives to describe the goodness of the presentations that they had in South Africa. I just want to dwell on one facet of the presentation, which is lack of resources to Parliament. Madam Speaker, I do not want to use too many adjectives because I might stand accused of terminological inexactitudes – [Laughter] – but I wish to hammer on the point that every week when we come to Parliament, as early as on a Tuesday, Hon. Members begin to ask if at the end of the week, they will have fuel coupons.
Lack of resources has tuned people into a psychosomatic disorder
– [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – of not – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
Hon. Machingura having remained standing.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: If I call for order, I mean even yourself. Are you debating Hon. Mandipaka’s motion? – [HON.
MEMBERS: Yes] – You can proceed.
HON. MACHINGURA: Madam Speaker, in the report – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let us have order Hon.
HON. MACHINGURA: In the report, it was mentioned that one
of the challenges that Parliaments are having is lack of resources. That is the issue I want to zero on. If people have what they are supposed to have, they will give their full attention to Parliament business. We have had recent complaints that Members of Parliament are not spending full time in the House. We can forgive most of them. I am not saying it is right, because they will be trying to see how best they can go back home on Thursday.
Madam Speaker, there is also this question of outside delegations. You will realise that people are not travelling as a full delegation because some are left out at the 11th hour due to lack of resources. If all the people who comprise a delegation are allowed to travel and attend to these presentations, they will all benefit. However, we will have to wait, some of us have to learn from our friends when they come back and make a presentation. I am not saying they will have left some things
out, but it could have been a good experience if all of them are given the opportunity to travel out and witness these things for ourselves.
Madam Speaker, I do not know which arm of Parliament avails resources to Parliament. We are pleading with them to avail resources to Parliament so that it can be able to execute its duties properly.
In the constituencies that we come from, we are often asked about CDF and we have told them that it is on the 2016 Budget. We are also pleading with you Madam Speaker that those who are responsible for availing resources should do so to ensure that our impact in our constituencies can be felt. With those few words, Hon. Speaker, I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI – MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam
Speaker. I also rise to thank colleagues who participated in the Pan
African Parliament and for the report that they have given to this House. I am also thankful for the opportunity given to us to speak about what we intend to do. I just want to deal with three issues raised in the report. The first issue is to do with constitutionalism. I think Hon. Mandipaka spoke very well on that particular issue. I want to add a few issues around that. One thing that we do not often debate in this House is the Separation of Powers, which we should be observing in line with the culture of constitutionalism.
My humble opinion Madam Speaker is, where we have a number
of challenges in this country. It is very difficult in this country to separate the Executive from the Legislature. I think that is a problem in itself. Let us just look at how laws are made in this country. The reason why you will find Members of Parliament - I used to be very angry at why Members of Parliament go quiet when we will be debating some of these bills. However, I think increasingly, Members of Parliament have realised that there is very little impact that they can make on a Bill that would have gone through a process by the Executive.
Madam Speaker, let me just take you back, before a Bill comes to this House, it goes through a pre-making stage and all that is done at
Cabinet level. By the time it comes here, the Government and/or the
Executive would have already made up its decision about what it is that they want to do. By the time it comes to this House, we are merely reduced to being rubber stamping Members. A lot of Members of Parliament have now realised that there is no point in shouting your voice hoarse, because at the end of the day, if the Executive has made a decision, that is what they will do.
Madam Speaker, we have seen examples when Ministers bring bills here, you would assume that they are excited about Members of
Parliament’s inputs into the Bill. However, they are irritated and get angry instead of allowing us to at least go through the motions of critiquing that particular Bill. That is the first one. The second issue which my colleague has raised here, which I think is important and I will not repeat what he said is resources. However, resources for us means going out there to speak to people about the legislation that we do here.
Madam Speaker, oftentimes when we sit on Committees, if we ask to go and conduct public hearings, we are told that there is no money or there are no resources. When we go out there, Members think that we are the ones pushing things on them without allowing them to contribute to the process. How do we contribute to a process when we do not have the resources? I will give you an example; we are going to be having the most important Bill that we have ever had in this country. This is a Bill that address all these issues of rule of law and constitutionalism, which is the MPRC Bill.
However, I can assure you that if we get anything from it, it will probably be one week of public hearings and yet it is a foundation to our future. Many times Members of Parliament have been asked to stop when they ask for compensation for Gukurahundi and they are shouted at. The fact of the matter is that there is no way we can come here and keep quiet. When we go back, that is the issue that our constituents will be pushing us to address. We therefore need to be given an opportunity not only through Portfolio Committees but also as individual Members of Parliament to go and do consultations in our constituencies so that we can come here and present. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Madam Speaker, how do I go and meet my constituents? For example, some of us who are Proportional Representatives, we are not only dealing with one constituency, we are at a provincial level. You want to talk to women at provincial level so that they can give an input to some of these bills. As alluded to by my colleague, you have no fuel, you have never been given an allowance and you have nothing. When people see us out there, they think we are the elite at the top – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Madam Speaker, some of us are no longer going to Church because you will be recognised in there to say, ‘ooh, we have Hon.
Members here, we have this project, please support us’ and yet in my purse I will be having just US$10. Thankfully, I have other Ministers who are members of my Church and they will stand up and say, ‘I am contributing with US$500.’ I will just be a poor cousin sitting there and looking very silly and poor.
Madam Speaker, what we are saying here is, we are not saying we want to be better than everybody else. We know that the people of this country are suffering, so when we raise these things it is not about
Members of Parliament. I know that tomorrow it will be ‘MPs shout for better packages’. We are not shouting for better packages. We are only asking for you to allow us to do the work that we are supposed to do.
The State is unable to provide roads, hospitals or take children to school. When I go in, I am being looked at as a representative of the State. So, if somebody wants to bury their child or school fees, they come to me. How do I do that when at the end of the day I do not even have the facility to just phone a Cabinet Minister to say, excuse me, I have 12 kids here that have been sent away by a headmaster. We have been reduced to paupers – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We sit here and pretend to be good but I am telling you the trauma that we find ourselves in.
Many times, I have been asked by a colleague for $10 to put a bit of fuel to go back home. It is a Member of Parliament that will be asking you that because at the end of the day, the situation is so bad. I know we are discussing the Pan-African Parliament, but charity begins at home – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We cannot go and pretend to be at a continental level and say all these wonderful things when at home we
are in a mess. The structure or face of a country is represented by the Legislature. If a legislator looks desperate, you have read in the papers and it is not a lie that Members of Parliament sell the few coupons that they have because at the end of the day, they are unable to survive. Where else have you seen a Member of Parliament selling coupons in the whole world? You only see it happening here in Zimbabwe and that in itself is an example.
Yet, Madam Speaker, if you do an example of the lives that the Executives lead; when Permanent Secretaries and directors of ministries travel, they travel in business class. The few times that we have been able to go on some trip, we are busy pushing around a person that you are to do oversight on, and they are saying; a-ah chef, and I am sure they are laughing and saying, what kind of a chef because you are moving to go to a place – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – and they are sitting in the main… So, we have an Executive …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Members.
Let us have order. Hon. Gabbuza, what is wrong? Can I have order in
the House? If you need to debate, you will have your chance. May the hon. Member be heard in silence please?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: What we are trying to
say here Madam Speaker is that we have an Executive that treats us like a poor cousin and we have a pretense of saying we have an oversight over the Executive. We have nothing – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – This is why sometimes if a Minister comes to a portfolio committee, people are thinking should I stand up or not because they are all looking so proper and well that automatically you think they must be my chef and not necessarily the person that you are supposed to do an oversight on.
So, we need to deal with those issues.
Lastly Madam Speaker, this Parliament cannot be put to a situation where the Executive decides how much they give us to be able to do our work. The moment somebody is responsible for giving you what you ought to have, that person has the power over you. We know resource allocation is an issue of power. We need to have our Parliamentary
Service Commission that is responsible for looking at Parliament itself.
It is very unfortunate and I have to apologise to my colleagues and the world, because when we were drafting the Constitution, we should have been much clearer on that particular point.
Sometimes I think if you are sitting in a particular space, you forget that tomorrow you could be behind that other space. Some of us, perhaps, when we were doing the Constitution, we were not fully cognisant with what is happening in terms of being a legislator and were thinking in the mind of an Executive. This is why even in terms of the parliamentary processes and procedures; you will find that we still gave a lot of power to the Executive and not necessarily to the Legislature. I think in terms of our Standing Rules and Orders which we can change as we see fit, we should be able to sit down again. I know we did them last time but we may have to review them so that they begin to bring to order that whole power game that exists.
The Judiciary does not have to beg. Look at what the Judiciary looks like. They get different cars and they even got farms and all sorts of things because they are seen as the special ones. The Executive does exactly the same. Who is a poor cousin? It is the Legislature and yet these are the people’s representatives. The Judiciary or Executive is not a people’s representative. The people’s representatives are ourselves and we need to start asking a question – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.], why is it that a person who represents the people out there is treated in the manner that we are treated.
Even when we go to the offices, the way a Personal Assistant will talk to you, for example, I once called the office of a Minister and asked to see the Minister. This person actually responded and said to me, Priscilla unofunga kuti uri ani iwewe. Unotopinda through inini ndini ndotokuudza kuti unoona sei Minister. I did not blame her because she has nothing that says I have anything that can raise an issue around her. The most important to her is the Minister alone. I think if we are going to deal with this particular issue, let us deal with it in the fullness of it.
In conclusion Madam Speaker, one of the issues around the Pan- African Parliament is that we were told that members would be elected. I think we need to push for that issue. Let us not just have people that go because a party says they go. Let us have people that are elected. Let us also have a properly organised executive like we do with the EU which is able to do legislative issues and answer to its Legislature. Right now, what we have in Pan-African Parliament is nothing but an NGO. You just go there and speak. It does not bind any member state on it because we do not have a structure that says this is the Executive or Legislature.
I think we need to push that before we even push the issue around a SADC Parliament. If we are going to have a SADC Parliament, the structure should be Executive and Legislature. Pan-African Parliament the structure should be Executive and Legislature. We cannot continue to call ourselves Pan-Africans when we cannot seed our sovereignty to do certain things as Africans. If we are going to be Africans, and this is why we have so many divisions. You want to go to the Security Council at the UN, one has been bribed and the other one not because there is nothing that is binding. We merely go there to have fun. In most instances when they go there, it is the Executive that goes. The
Legislature is left out.
Most of the time, we do not even know what they debate at the Pan African Parliament in terms of a summit. You cannot even have one legislator sitting there and be able to speak for the Legislature. So, until these structures acknowledge the role of the Legislature we will continue to be the poor cousins that we are being treated as. I am glad Madam Speaker that we have had this particular thing so that we can deal with the issue of saying, are we equal or somebody is lower than the other. If that is the case, go out there and tell people that these legislators are our servants and we as the Executive are the kings, and we will deal with it as such. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to
congratulate Hon. Mandipaka for the report which is astute, good, rich and I want to add my voice and in doing so, I want to get you back to the Constitution, first and foremost to the Preamble because the report that we are debating speaks to issues to do with constitutionality and the rule of law. I will get you to the Preamble and I will start exactly on the first sentence. It says “We the people of Zimbabwe. United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression”. That is going to be the subject of my debate. Lower down it says “Acknowledging the richness of our natural resources”.
I will take you to Section 3 of the Constitution and this is to form a rich part of the introduction and the body is not going to be very long but the introduction will be a little bit longer than the body. Section 3 says the “Founding Values and Principles
- Zimbabwe is founded on respect for the following values and principles –
- Supremacy of the Constitution;
- The rule of law; This was really ventilated at length by the mover of the motion.
- Fundamental human rights and freedoms;
- The nations’ diverse cultural, religious and traditional values;
- Recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each human being;
- Recognition of the equality of all human beings; I want you to mark that point.
- Gender equality;
- Good governance; and
- Recognition of and respect for the liberation struggle.
- The principles of good governance, which bind the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level, include-
- A multi party democratic political system which we have here as a nation;
- An electoral system based on-
- universal adult suffrage and equality of votes;
- free, far and regular elections like we conduct here in
- adequate representation of the electorate;”
I will not belabour you with the other sections, but I will quickly go to Section 14 and 20 and I will end my citations on those. Section 14 goes as follows:- “Empowerment and Employment Creation-
- The State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level must endeavour to facilitate and take measures to empower, through appropriate, transparent, fair and just affirmative action, all marginalised persons, groups and communities in Zimbabwe. Affirmative means deliberate skewing the boat towards those that were previously disadvantaged, in this case the previously marginalised black majority of this nation and not in Malawi.
- At all times, the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level must ensure that appropriate and adequate measures are undertaken to create employment for all
Zimbabweans, especially women and youths.”
I will go to Section 20 Madam Speaker, and end my citation.
Section 20 says and the heading is “Youths”
(1) The State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level must take reasonable measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that youths, that is to say people between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five years-.
Alas I am above that age Madam Speaker.
- Have access to appropriate education and training;
- Have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life; Madam Speaker, if we do not take affirmative action and adhere to this constitutionality, we are ultra vires the Constitution in terms of our operation. It would be folly for us to sit here and hear Hon. Mandipaka present..
HON. WADYAJENA: On a point of order! I just want to find out if the Hon. Member is debating Hon. Mandipaka’s report.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Member is debating
Hon. Mandipaka’s motion but he is concentrating on the Constitution.
HON. WADYAJENA: Okay. It is a clarification Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He is referring to the
Constitution. You are out of order.
HON. WADYAJENA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you can
continue but be very careful because you are now concentrating on the Constitution itself. Please concentrate on the report by Hon. Mandipaka because your reading from the Constitution, I think soonest you will be out of order.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you for your guidance and protection from Hon. Wadyajena. It would be folly for us to fly all the way to that forum if we do not uphold our own Constitution. Our Constitution speaks to taking care of the shrines of our fallen heroes. Our Constitution speaks volumes about affirmative action in the mining sector –[HON MARIDADI: Oh, uyo atotanga.]- It speaks volumes about affirmative action in terms of our natural resources. I read to you Section 3 of the Constitution, we are supposed to uphold the Constitution. If we believe that we are upholding the Constitution – if we do not deliberately take steps to give affirmative action and empower our youths, we are not upholding our Constitution.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. The
empowerment of youths and whatever you may think should be done; at times you can move motions but go along with the report by Hon.
Mandipaka. Please Hon. Nduna.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you. I will digress from the youths. I will go to the general populace. The Parliamentarians are here to show and see that laws are repealed for the good governance and order of the people of Zimbabwe. They are here to make sure that our laws are aligned to the Constitution lest we clog the courts with unnecessary litigation so that we can make sure that our Constitution is upheld. I want to talk of these Parliamentarians that Hon. Mandipaka spoke about when he presented his report. The Parliamentarians here in Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general, are there to make laws. If they do not make laws for the good governance of their own people including youths, their work comes to naught.
If we do not make sure that these laws are made optimally by these Parliamentarians that are here, then their use does not reside in this Parliament. We are not in this Parliament, in Harare in particular, to eat good food and to live in lavish hotels. We are here to make sure we burn midnight candles and make laws. It is in that regard that I have stood up to say, we need to speak for those people that are marginalised, that live in dormitories that were meant to be single quarters but now living as a family unit in those dormitories.
If we do not speak for them, we lose our first usage of representation. If we do not interrogate the Executive in the way they carry out their mandate in terms of repossessing those idle mines, we are not conducting our oversight role optimally… – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] - If we do not speak to the land redistribution… THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Maridadi
you are out of order because you are obstructing my vision.
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The thrust of Hon. Mandipaka’s motion is to talk about constitutionalism. That member states must adhere to their constitution and that Members of Parliament must be given a status that is deserving of Parliament. We are not talking about youths, the good food that we eat and all those things. He is out of order. Madam Speaker, please help us – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. I go along with the point of order by Hon. Maridadi. Hon. Nduna please, I think you have to understand what is coming up from the ground when you are debating. Would you please go along with Hon.
Mandipaka’s report because at times you are diverting so that the impact of that report becomes diluted somehow. So please, I think you should wind up.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, thank you for protecting me from Hon. Maridadi. As I conclude, Hon. Mandipaka touched on the roles of Parliament which I have also optimally ventilated and it is not an isolated situation. It should not be different, the way we conduct our business here in Zimbabwe from that which is conducted in other countries, in particular the SADC region.
Madam Speaker, a lot of countries believe that we, as a nation, are a role model because we are constitutionally prone. We adhere to the
Constitution. However, we need to take bold steps to keep aligned to the Constitution. We need to take bold steps, deliberate steps to empower our own people. I know we have left it to the courts of this nation because there are sections of the Constitution that need to be aligned; the laws that need to be aligned. There are a plethora of them.
However, let us take a bold step and take our mandates to its fullest. We have to burn the midnight candles, come and align laws here so that we can free the artisanal miners of Chegutu, the artisanal miners of this nation, so that we can optimally utilise and benefit from our Godgiven natural resources. God bless Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. CHINANZVAVANA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for
according me this opportunity to add my voice on this report which was tabled by Hon. Mandipaka, which has taught us how other Parliaments are doing it in Africa. The roles and Parliament have been articulated. They have talked about the Constitution which is clear on how the Government is run; that it is run by the three arms of the State which are the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, However, of these three arms of the state, we see that there is another arm which is not straight.
This is the Legislature.
This Legislature is not free to do its work. It is being oppressed like one of the previous speakers said. We are seen as if we are inferior. So, I think that we should follow our Constitution which shows that the three arms are equal. We do not see the equality of these three arms of the State because even the things that we should use so that we do our work properly; we find that we are facing challenges.
Let us look at our representative role. Mr. Speaker, how can we represent our people when we are not fully equipped? As Members of Parliament, we are ridiculed because when we go back to the people, we do not have anything to show. There are a lot of challenges that people are facing. We once had a Constituency Development Fund because it was necessary that when you go back to the people, at least you can work with the people for the betterment of their lives, but these days, people are not sure whether we are really representing them. This shows that things are not well in the constituencies. We are even afraid of going back to the people and it is very difficult to reach people because we do not have transport.
Last month some of us came, but we were not given cars to go back to our constituencies and those who have cars do not have fuel for the vehicles. For us to go back to the rural areas to do our representative role and also to hear their problems – yes, I can go and gather people under a tree, but how do I get there as their representative. That is not the only thing, because even if you look at your Hon. Members, some of them their lives are in a sorry state. I once did my survey… - [THE
TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Inaudible interjection.] –
Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the problem is probably I did not hear what he said. Looking at some of our members and looking at myself without pointing at others, at times we look at our clothes which are supposed to be dry cleaned, but they are now being hand washed. We cannot take our clothes for drying cleaning. We cannot stop that because we do not have the resources. Most of us are using public transport. It is a waste of money to take our clothes for dry cleaning because we are using public transport.
Mr. Speaker, what we are saying is for us to go to Pan African Parliament, we do not have the confidence and we do not have enough clothes. Those in the Executive are really looked after well, but the rest of us are not enjoying that. It is not that we are ridiculing them, but as their representatives, there should be a difference. A few days ago, we heard that the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that we are not supposed to be issued with diplomatic passports. We will ask him when he comes.
When we go and mingle with others, we do not feel confident because we are not getting the honour that we deserve in our country. If there is no equality here, because ‘charity begins at home’, so if I am not treated well in my own country, there is no way I can be treated well outside. As an example, the other time Hon. Chinotimba once said that he was insulted by a policeman outside the gate here at Parliament. If he was a Minister, no one was going to insult him. He was insulted because he had wrongly parked his car because the car park is small. How can someone called an Hon. Member park outside which cannot be done to a Minister?
So, we are pleading with you Mr. Speaker that that should be looked into so that we get the respect we deserve so that we build our confidence. Even if we are given nothing, I can go to the people and represent them well. As it is, it is like we are naked. We want to thank those who have tabled this report that we should learn from what other countries are doing but we should start here at home, so that our sovereignty should not go astray. Thank you.
HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker and good afternoon Sir and how are you? May I also…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order,
HON. J. TSHUMA: May I also congratulate Hon. Mandipaka for
brining in a pertinent issue into this House. We as parliamentarians play an oversight role to the Executive. This means that we are the overseers of the Executive. So, why are we not at par with the Executive? We are not asking for body guards, but we are asking to be at par with them in terms of resource allocation. They are given an off road car and a nice Mercedes Benz. We are only given one car. They are accorded their status in so many places and we are not accorded that, yet we are the overseers. We are supposed to be the people overseeing those people. Where is the equality?
Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not want to come here and just talk. I have just come here to emphasise on one thing. We want to be equal. Let us have that equal power. We are one of the three arms of State, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. So, let us be put on an equal footing because after all, the Executive is chosen after they have been elected to be Members of Parliament. You start by being a Member of Parliament and then you become a Minister. So, this means that we are equal. Let us hope that report by Hon. Mandipaka will open up the eyes of whoever is making us not to be equal.
We want the diplomatic passports before April. We must have the diplomatic passports. We even want a second car. We need to have it. Right now, if you go outside by the parking lot, there are 4 X 4s and I am told they are for the judges. We do not have that. So, let us have that because we are supposed to be all equal, the three arms. That is all I want to talk about today. Let us be equal. I thank you.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank Hon. Mandipaka for his report which is very good. The report of Hon. Mandipaka has brought all the Members of Parliament together. They have become united because this is a good report. So, we want to thank you Hon. Mandipaka for this insight. It is very true Mr. Speaker that there are three arms of State which should be equal. As Hon. Members, when the Budget is being presented, it is us who will be applauding so that the budget would pass. This is where it all starts. You cannot say that if a herd boy takes all the cows in the kraal, then you start complaining. If we say we want to be equal, it does not work because when the budget was presented, we applauded in agreement. All the arms were represented and the budgets were allocated according to the three budgets and we applauded that it was a good budget.
Hon. Speaker, we ululated when we saw that the allocations were different but because Hon. Mandipaka has presented his report, the issue about diplomatic passports that we are talking about is the one that is important. When we go out on our airports, we are treated as servants. We are not seen as people. When we travel with you, you take your own route which is not congested. I will go and use the normal one where I will be pushed and shoveled. Some of us are really conscious about our presentation. We really want to look good and want to represent our country well, but it will not be seen because when you get to your destination, you will be dirty.
Some of us even fall down when we are shoveled and you get to your destination dirty, but there will be a line which is not congested. When we get into the plane, you go into the Economy Class. It is like you are in a chicken bus. Hon. Speaker, I think you should plead on our behalf. We should have talked about this when we were doing our budget. However, a diplomatic passport does not need a budget, what it only needs is for you to look into it. The same way people have had faith in us is the reason why they have chosen us to represent them in Parliament. I think Mr. Speaker you should also be on our side, representing us. If you give us the diplomatic passports, it will not do any harm to us but rather help us when we go out representing our country, smartly dressed like I am, we will be confident as Zimbabweans.
With our President, R.G Mugabe, who is also a Continental leader, we should have diplomatic passports. Wherever our President goes, he is very confident but his Parliamentarians are being seen shoveled. Our President is very educated and we love him but we should also be seen in the same vein with him.
I want to thank Hon., Mandipaka for this report. I think Hon. Members of Parliament; we should be wise during budget presentation and be critical on the budget.
HON. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I also rise to add my voice to Hon. Mandipaka’s motion and the seconder Hon. Chimanikire. Hon. Speaker, I speak with a heavy heart because if at all we say the State is comprised of three arms of governance and in those three arms, the other one is not recognised, it worries me so much. Again, it boils down to the issue of, saying coming into this House the motions that we debate is nothing but just a talk shop. What it calls down to at the end of the day, people will not take parliamentary business seriously.
You can see the way Members of Parliament are whipped, ofcourse whipping system is there but there are times when Members of
Parliament are supposed to look at national issues above partisan politics but we end up just supporting an issue for the sack of supporting, on partisan basis, because Parliament is not being taken seriously. If Parliament was really being taken seriously as one of the three arms of governance, definitely then we as Members of Parliament would rise to the situation of having to debate on issues without having to put a party first but being Members of Parliament For Zimbabwe –[HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-.
Mr. Speaker, I shall not talk about other issues that have already been raised but sometimes if one repeats, it means it is a serious issue deserving emphasis. We are saying the Executive ought to do something about it. The issue of diplomatic passports is not an issue that has been raised for the first time, in terms of Parliamentary Reforms, that was in 1996, I was one of the Members of that Committee in 1995. We were the pioneers to engineer whatever Reforms of Parliament we are enjoying today. It was an issue again that we raised in 1996 and we are now talking of 2016, we are still talking of one and the same issue 20 years later that Members of Parliament should be given the respect and dignity that they deserve. We have the kind of governance that has got Members of Parliament, whether we like it or not and we need to acknowledge that.
It is surprising Mr. Speaker that the Executive is not only comprised of Ministers but it also includes Permanent Secretaries,
Directors and their deputies, and all those have the red passports. However, the same Executive denies the Members of Parliament to have a diplomatic passport. I find it quite awkward for Hon. Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to actually come out guns blazing in the media to say the Executives’ position is that Members of Parliament will not access diplomatic passports, period! I cannot go further to say why Members of Parliament cannot have diplomatic passport. I mean what is so special about a diplomatic passport? Now, they are even making us more curious and want to have those diplomatic passports by their refusal. What is it in that red passport? We want to know as Members of Parliament. Remember, we are the ones who are here to make laws, to allow that Executive to have those red passports but they cannot allow
us to have them – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-. That is funny. To me, it is really awkward.
To repeat what the other Hon. Member has said earlier on, to say that the Executive peg our packages is wrong. Why should we allow the Executive to peg our packages? The Executive that we are talking about has got a package which is way above everybody else and which does not commensurate with the salaries which they are earning. So, in this instance, what picture are we imaging to the members of public at the end of the day? For example, we are saying we are all Members of
Parliament, that Minister and myself a back bencher ,are all Members of Parliament. It is a privilege that you are actually picked from the basket of Members of Parliament and be appointed a Minister. The moment you are appointed a Minister, you automatically say you are different from the Member of Parliament. Members of Parliament as back benchers are taken as a buffer between the Executive and the generality of Zimbabweans. We are a buffer zone because the way the public sees us as Members of Parliament in the general sense of Members of Parliament, the Ministers including ourselves, they use a blanket definition. Members of the public do not see the separation between a Member of Parliament as a back bencher like myself and a Minister who is a Member of Parliament as well.
The Members of Parliament as Ministers are the ones who actually execute the implementation of the budget and naturally if I am a Minister, I will make sure that the biggest chunk will go to my constituency because of the influence that I have in the Executive. It is natural because I want to retain my seat, but a general Member of Parliament and back bencher like me and the majority of us who do not sit in the cabinet or control a budget are left at the periphery in terms of PSIP, public projects which are supposed to be supported by the public funds. You do not have any influence.
Since the land reform program that took place, there are communities that have been divided in my Constituency because there is no foot bridge. If Mutare river is in flood for a week or two, it means that those children from the other side of Old Mutare cannot cross the river for two weeks until the river subsides. There is complete division yet most of the health services and everything else is on the other side of the river. So as long as that foot bridge is not there, the Government should finance that important project. For a Member of Parliament within the Executive and sits in the cabinet and gets a vote, the budget will not come to fund that project in my constituency because as I said early on, it is natural that ngoma inorira ichiti pangu pangu. To look at another constituency, that will be extra and also considering at the financial constraints that we have; we do not have enough funds. I am just trying to show the power that the Executive wields over the Legislature yet it is supposed to be the other way round as Hon. Mahoka said earlier on.
Why are we whipped to pass a budget? Members of Parliament, I am saying it is high time that we show that we have got teeth that bite. When we are talking about national issues, let us rise above partisan politics and let us speak as national leaders who are representatives of people who elected us to be in this House. That is how I feel and that is how I see it.
The way Members of Parliament (MPs) are denigrated is painful. I can give you an example. I am one person who thinks twice whether to go to a national state event or not. I went to attend the late Hon.
Kangai’s burial. I literally fought with the CIO officer who was manning the seating arrangements. I told him that I fought before, I will keep on fighting and I will fight you, I am ready. I had to go to that extent. How denigrating it is? It is amazing that this is the President’s office which behaves like that when they are interacting with MPs. I had to pull a chair. He had to pull that chair from me because I wanted to sit. He said the seats were reserved for the Kangai family. I told him that I was one of the late Kangai’s relative because I am muera Shumba and he is also muShumba, so how do you distinguish….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order. Order Hon. Member.
Could I remind Hon. Members to confine your debates along the motion at hand? –[HON. MEMBERS: Ndiyo motion yacho iyoyo!]- Hon.
Member, you may resume your debate.
- ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I thought the motion is about the differentiation of powers; the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature. That is constitutionalism and I am talking about denigration of MPs and I am giving a practical example which I personally experienced as an MP with the President’s office personnel. I do not want to speak of abstract things –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order. Order Hon. Members.
Can the Hon Member be heard in silence please?
- ZINDI: What is amazing is that while the officers will be fighting an MP that he or she does not have the status to go and sit in the VIP arranged seats, you find some ordinary Zimbabwean who do not have any distinguished social status sitting on these seats right under the eyes of the same President’s office officers. I have seen musicians sitting on the VIP arranged seats but MPs are not allowed to go and sit there.
Now, if you notice, most MPs are no longer attending state functions. It is because of the treatment which is denigrating that MPs go through. We are talking about these issues in this House so that something be done in the President’s office. It is the Executive and we should be given equal status.
If there are judges coming to the Heroes Acre for any burial there, they will be having an escort but an MP is told to park his or her car down and then he or she goes up the hill. If it is a Minister, it is the same thing. Even in this institution, a Minister goes through the Mandela entrance without an ID. He or she is never asked but an MP is harassed for that. What is the difference?
I talked earlier about being a buffer. The CDF was introduced so that MPs could respond to the immediate needs of the electorate that elected them, but it is never taken seriously for MPs to go back with that CDF and do small projects. The people will be appreciative that our representative is making sure that at least that piece of cake we are getting, no matter how small is getting to us.
We get requests from our constituencies wanting money to send children to school, to go for medical attention and so forth. We subsidise the Parliament when we sit here, we are subsidising it. When there is no fuel, whether you like it or not, you just have got to find your way to Parliament and that is subsidising it. I am told some are even hitchhiking and using the Ford Ranger as a pirate taxi. What I am saying is that it boils down to not constitutionally holding the office of a legislator the way it is supposed to be accorded its status.
Then on being a buffer, as I said earlier on, the way the public sees Members of Parliament is they think that we all live the same life-style and get the same perks. But alas, it is not, but very different. What I want to recommend, if at all that is possible, is to have a forum where we can educate our electorate so that they know the difference between a back bencher and a Minister, in order for them to appreciate the life of a Member of Parliament. On so many occasions, I have been asked why we have not repealed some of the laws which they feel are not in the best interest of the Zimbabweans. They do not understand that it is not the Member of Parliament who initiates the law making process but the Executive. All these issues are not understood by our electorate. So, there is need for this Parliament as an institution to educate our electorate through an awareness campaign for them to understand. On this note, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MAWERE: I want to start by thanking Hon. Mandipaka for moving this motion and Hon. Chimanikire for seconding the motion. I also want to add my voice to the debate and let me hasten to say that it is very disheartening to see Hon. Members being seen as herdmen or herdboys who look after cattle in the rural areas. People are not giving us the respect that we deserve. We are seen as touts in the streets. What is very surprising is that the lack of respect is cascading down from the top. In Mutoko, I was manhandled when Vice President Mphoko came to tour. In my constituency, they knew me as their MP but the body guards or his aides manhandled me. They would not let me in where the Vice President was addressing yet the chief, herdmen and teachers were in attendance. It is like they are being sent to manhandle us. I think it is high time that we should get the honour that we deserve. Our dignity should be brought back.
Now, on the issue of diplomatic passports, what is there in a diplomatic passport that stops 1000 people from having them? What effect does it have? They have been lying to us that people at the top are the ones who are refusing but it is because they are heartless people. I think we should take this issue further. We lose nothing because I think here in Africa; it is only the Parliament of Zimbabwe which is looked down upon. What is the reason for that? We are even educated people.
The other thing that is happening is that as MPs, when we buy our cars, it is like getting money from loan sharks yet in Ministries, those entitled to cars buy them at book value though we are the ones who do the donkey work. What is fuelling all this is mostly corruption. It is like they have been sent to treat us the way they do. In Ministries, people have even bought 10 cars. I think the problem is with us because we are not doing our job. We should put in place a law that a person should only buy a car once and remove the law that is there which mandates people to buy new cars after every 5 years. Some of the economic wars that we are fighting are self-created. I think a person should be entitled to buy a car once or twice.
When we look at their jobs, those people who ill-treat us are also their relatives. There is nepotism in Ministries. We should look at the departments and not allow people using the same surnames to be in the same department. People should be vetted and declare their relationships so that people are not promoted on relational basis. The heads should not be part of the boards handling promotions or trials of their relatives. I think we should put in place a law to curb all this. As Parliamentarians, we are the ones who should stand up because we are the ones who build the foundations of Government. We should not jump with the common wagon but should work with one voice, unite and come up with one thing, which will bring out results, thereby enabling
us to stamp out corruption. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, order.
Can you give the Hon. Member on the floor the opportunity to be heard in silence? If you have something that you want to say, I will give you an opportunity to contribute.
*HON. MAWERE: It is up to us Hon. Members since the ball is in our hands, for the country to remain corrupt or to stop the corruption. We should come up with mechanisms to stop corruption. As people sit in their offices; say in Mukwati building, you would think they are talking to their workmates yet it will be the whole village that is employed in that department. That comes to light when a relative dies and no one is left in the office as they will all go to attend their relative’s funeral. Those who get employed through nepotism should come through the ballot box or merit because they want to look after each other. With these few words, I want to thank Hon. Mandipaka for bringing this report before us and Hon. Chimanikire for seconding it. I think we should continue advocating for democracy. I thank you.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I want to thank Hon. Mandipaka for the job well done and also Hon. Chimanikire. Besides being an Hon. Member, Hon. Chimanikire has a background of trade unionism. He was part of the people who were in the Welfare Committee for Parliament when Hon. Thokozani Khupe was part of the Executive.
We had a system where all Members of Parliament had to meet under the Welfare Committee. It was a meeting to identify the welfare needs of Members of Parliament. Through that Welfare Committee – I am giving the historical background so that people can understand. The Seventh Session of Parliament never paid a cent for the vehicles they got. It was achieved through the Welfare Committee. Divided you fall.
It is in the same Constitution that where there is Freedom of Association, why are Members of Parliament scared of meeting and discuss their way forward? Sekuru vakanditaurira kuti ukapfuya imbwa dzinosvinura at different stages. I am happy that at least people are beginning to see – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – because when we went for COPAC, I did not go on the basis of principle. Members were supposed to receive US$75 per day, but Hon. Members accepted US$20 per day. Poverty is a system that attacks your mind first.
If you take ownership of poverty, you die poor – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – We are where we are because our mental preparedness has accepted and honoured poverty as a brother in our life. As Hon. Members, we must make sure that we put up a fight against poverty because poverty removes your dignity, even the way you walk or respond to events. People say iwe and you say inini here because you are panicking and in a state of confusion out of poverty.
The Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) must look at the needs of the Hon. Members. The issue of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) came into this august House, the simple answer was that there is no law. The same Members of Parliament have passed several pieces of legislation without asking where the CDF is.
There is no way we can have sovereignty when Parliamentary programmes are sponsored by donors. When a donor sponsors you, you have to play to their tune and you will have to follow what they have to say. I do not understand why Parliamentary Progarammes should be donor funded.
We designed a budget and in it we did not put our travelling and sitting allowances. However, we continue to complain, not because there is a problem that has been raised by Hon. Mandipaka, but it is just like an opportunity created for cowards. Cowards die many times before their actual deaths – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – we are where we are because of our own making because we fear the unknown.
Hon. Speaker, finally, when we come here as Hon. Members of Parliament, there is no way I should queue for my fuel coupons, I must get them in an envelope, with my name written on it. This is unlike a situation to say ‘you come, next, sign here,’ and so on. It is like we are buying tickets from a rank marshal. It is not acceptable, it is not dignified. Our coupons must be put in an envelope and when I get there, I am told Hon .Mudarikwa here is your envelope,’ and so on. There is no dignity for Parliamentarians. There is nobody who is going to stand for you. No one will chew some meat for you and put it in your mouth, if I chew the meat I swallow it – [Laughter] – It is the African tradition where we used to get some traditional herbs chewed by our grandmother and put into your mouth. That time is over, we are a developed nation, we must make our own decisions. Thank you very much Hon .Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear].
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would
like to debate on this report which has been tabled by Hon. Mandipaka and seconded by Hon. Chimanikire. I am happy that we have been given an opportunity to articulate all our challenges. What I want to say is that our President once led the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) at the same time. He said our country is ranked above others because he is a good leader who led Africa. I have not heard of any other leader who was given an opportunity to lead AU and SADC at the same time, they will be given the duties separately. Our President led the two organisations at the same time.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am looking at the expertise of our President. I want to give you an example; I went to China with my family and other 18 people. I had to remove shoes, belt and jacket and queue with my children at the security check and I was not bothered by that. However, I travelled again the other time with other Members of Parliament and we were subjected to the same security routine. The other time I went with some businessmen when they wanted to show me how they run their mining companies.
The reason I went is that one of the company produces not less than ten tonnes of gold. So, I went there to see how he is doing it. Let me tell you what happened because they ended up asking me who I was.
We arrived at the airport and they had diplomatic passports as businessmen. They would wait for me stripping myself. Then when my passport expired, I went with it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and left it there, and requested for a diplomatic passport because I had been an embarrassment to the business people I had travelled with because it was a shameful process. What I am saying is that we should be issued with diplomatic passports because we are doing Government work. If you are a good representative in your constituency, these business people want to travel with us so that we copy their way of doing business and implement in our country.
Let me give you a life example, I got some investors and took them to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development because they wanted to takeover ZIMASCO. The Minister was not there but the Deputy
Minister informed me that they were visiting my constituency with the people because they wanted to do the launch. So, I got into my car and drove using my own fuel since we were not getting any coupons from Parliament. We were in a convoy but my car was due for service so I was not speeding – [Laughter].
So, they arrived before me and got into the plant, and I got there late after they had started the meeting. The doors were closed and the
Minister’s aide said I was not to enter. I said this was my constituency.
He said he had been given the instruction not to allow me in but because I knew my rights and the people who were inside I was the one who had brought them. So, I bulldozed my way and got into the meeting. I was given a seat and I noticed that the police, ministry, engineers from the province and people from the President’s office were there. I just wondered why I was the only one who was being chased away– [Laughter] – After the Minister had finished addressing the meeting he said, honourable we are not going to allow you to talk because these are
Government issues. So, I asked myself, ‘so, I am not part of Government now’. I even looked at myself and said I am not from the opposition party and this Government is ZANU PF. I asked myself a lot of questions.
What I want to say is that, Ministers we agree when we are
Members of Parliament but when they are chosen or elevated to be Ministers they change – [Laughter] – Even when you are greeting them, you have to show that respect. Mr. Speaker Sir, I think we should have workshops with Ministers. They visit our constituencies without alerting us and can even engage those whom we beat during the primary elections. The people that we are representing do not regard these Ministers highly because they think that they want people to fight. I think the workshops should be directed to the Ministers because they should know that for them to get that post is because they were Members of Parliament – [Laughter]. They should know that we are even ready to take up their posts – [Laughter] – because we have the requisite qualifications – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
Coming to committees Mr. Speaker, the way these Chairpersons are chosen is very dangerous because you find that these committees are not bringing anything out yet the people are educated and there are engineers. One is supposed to chair the Committee on Mines yet he is a holder of a catering degree – [Laughter] – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections]. Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that our country and the ministries through committees are not performing very well because that Chairperson does not know what is gold. I am the one who is supposed to teach them because I have a mine and was once a President of the Gold Miners Association. So, I have to educate them about the laws and everything. We take half a year trying to educate the Chairperson.
Besides that, he is appointed as a Minister and we have to choose another Chairperson. We also have to come out with results and then another one is chosen to replace him, maybe someone who was in the
Finance or Public Service and Labour Committee now to lead the Mines Committee. We go through the same process of teaching him. Do you think anything good comes out of that committee? I think the way of thinking and doing business should stop. We should look at people’s curriculum vitaes, even mine do not skip it …
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): I
think you are now digressing from the motion. Stick to the motion –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Order in the House.
Please confine yourself to the motion because I think you are digressing.
* HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for
guiding me but what I want to say is that we are Members of Parliament, all of us and our qualities are not being balanced, that is why you heard me touching on these issues. What I want to say is this, when something is being done wrongly, I think you heard the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare when she talked about NSSA that it was now a family business. This is because we are not listening to and respecting each other. All these people have been chosen by 21 000 people but if you want to give them advice they do not listen to you. This is where it has led us as a country because it is been run as a family system. For example, as we travel I have greeted some CEOs, all those people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]. Thank you.
*HON. NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving
me the opportunity to make my contribution. I would like to say thank to Hon. Mandipaka and the seconder of the motion. I would also want to congratulate this august House and say that we have now matured and we are people who are doing business avoiding partisan divisions – we have seen this in other countries.
I gave an example of what happened in Tanzania where we were told that whosoever indulges in party politics during Parliament business becomes an enemy of the august House and therefore when we are in this august House we represent the nation and not party interests. I am so glad to say that we are all in unison on items of common interest and I feel this should be the trend in our business.
We say we are a people who are looked down upon on the African continent. We have a very low status. When we were elected into
Parliament, we had a Welfare Committee which was comprised of Hon.
Members from all the parties represented in Parliament. This Welfare Committee would discuss all the issues pertaining to the welfare of workers without mentioning Hon. Mandipaka to present us because when an issue is raised by an individual, it goes on like that without any reference. But if this is done by a committee it is easy to make a follow up on issues. We were very much surprised when this year we did not have this committee appointed. My wish, our wish is that this committee should be appointed and the welfare of Members of Parliament be upheld.
Let me talk about the transport issue, we were asked to make research from other Parliaments in the SADC region. We held discussions with other Parliaments and with the help of our Chief
Whips, we contacted other countries and we were told that in Rwanda, Members of Parliament have loans given to them. The cars are given to them and not on credit. When a Member of Parliament is doing parliamentary business he is paid for the mileage used during the parliamentary business because he will be on Parliament, and not personal business. In Zimbabwe, we have Ministers who benefit twice. In the first place they are given a car by Parliament on that privilege and when as a Minister he is also given an official car. Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe, the only car that you get from Parliament is used in such a way that when five years expires, the car will be destroyed. It will be a wreck and when you meet a former Member of Parliament after five years, you get so surprised and say, is this Hon. Maridadi or not? In order for you to run a constituency you need to use your own money.
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was only allocated once and when the money was allocated, there was a witch hunt exercise on people who had abused that fund and yet there are some expenses which you can use without getting a receipt. I will take an example of the expenses which are used during a funeral. You take your money and use it in running a funeral and you do not get any receipts. But Members of Parliament were tossed around, tormented, persecuted and yet they had done a good job. As Parliament, we need to perform an oversight role and that is our job. Let us adopt the Rwanda model whereby Members of Parliament are given US$3 000 per month as allowances and this money is used for the upkeep and welfare of the constituencies. But nobody could take that one up because the CDF was never revived and the welfare was never done.
Unfortunately, when CDF was not given, people are always suspicious that some of those who were not reelected, maybe they were voted out because they had abused the CDF and therefore we appeal to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to tell the nation that this money was only issued once and was never given twice because people think that Members of Parliament abused that fund and clear their names.
Talking of dignity, we acknowledge the dignity we receive when we go to these international forums, but let me come back to this august House. When we are sitting in this House we are crushed. A woman is crushed between two men. Does that retain a woman’s dignity? We may talk about dignity away from home but let us start with this Parliament. The Administration of Parliament and Government was aware that there was going to be an increase in the number of women Members of Parliament during this Parliament. Talk of the proportional representation, 60 women were to be added but there was no construction of a new Parliament because as we speak, we should have constructed a new Parliament which would accommodate all those people. Now we are being crushed as women and at times abused. My child once asked, “is that how you sit when you are in Parliament?”. In the past Parliament was not accessible and when they come now because it is accessible, they get surprised at seeing Members of Parliament who are crushed together.
We need to have permanent sitting places which should be reserved for a Member of Parliament even when you are absent. We saw it in Uganda and Rwanda. We need to have special reserved places. In our case you have to be as early as possible in order for you to get a seat in this august House.
We are Members of Parliament who have no offices. When members of the public want to meet us, they need to see us in our offices but as of now we hold our meetings in Africa Unity Square next to
Parliament building and yet people will be discussing serious business. There is no Member of Parliament with an office, therefore we are reduced to paupers.
When we go to the constituencies, the Parliamentary Constituency
Information Centres no longer exist. We need to have those offices so that we meet with our constituents in those places so that we retain our dignity. We need to be held in high esteem. I will conclude by discussing foreign trips. There is a time whereby if a trip has been proposed, it is directed to the Chairperson of the Committee on Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Labode but unfortunately, that chance is given to another person for unknown reason. Therefore, my plea is whenever these invitations for outside trips are brought in they should inform this House. We also talk about passports, when a ticket is bought by a funding partner that ticket is not upgraded. I will be in the economy class and the director who will be traveling with me will be in the firstcalls but I am supposed to be in first-class too. Who has a higher status the Member of Parliament in the economy or the director in the business class? I am therefore appealing to the Executive who say the ticket should not be upgraded why?
We noticed that they will have to upgrade the tickets like they do for the staff members who are directors. At times when we are in the economy class, you feel ashamed you sometimes try and hide your face because members of public will be coming to you and greeting you and saying hello Hon. Member but your status is so low that you are not proud of it. My plea is that when there are two tickets we should all be in the same class.
We have noticed that in some countries such as Uganda, we have Staff of Parliament and Members of Parliament travelling in the same class if it is the economy, this will show the status which we have like in the three arms, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. We also noticed that talking in terms of cars, the Judiciary have Ford Rangers and another car and in the Judiciary, it is the same but Members of Parliament have the lowest class of cars in the trinity.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sure you were also in the past Parliament. Do you know that we have Members of Parliament who had to wind up their business in the last Parliament because they could not afford to service their cars? Some of us can no longer afford servicing our cars and especially on the ball joints, the car breaks down and the Member of
Parliament cannot afford that. The Member of Parliament will die because of poor servicing of cars and when the Member of Parliament dies a bi-election is going to be held and yet money could have been saved by giving this Member of Parliament enough money to service the car. So, that is why we say a stitch in time saves time.
I will conclude by thanking Hon. Members especially Hon. Mandipaka and say let us not be ashamed of bringing motions which have to do with our welfare because we are the people who propose the passing of the budget. When we are talking of the budget we are whipped into line to support the budget but this is our chance to look at our welfare. In some instances, Members of Parliament engage in corrupt activities because their welfare and remuneration are not equivalent or commensurate with their expenses.
We are not able to take care of our constituencies nor to service and repair our cars. Please, let us take care of our welfare. I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. RUNGANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MARIDADI: I second.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 8th March, 2016.
On a motion by HON. RUNGANI seconded by HON.
CHITINDI, the House adjourned at One Minute past Five ‘o clock p.m.
until Tuesday, 8th March, 2016.