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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 06 OCTOBER 2020 VOL 46 NO 71
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 6th October 2020
The National Assembly met at A Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MR. B. NCUBE OF THE ZIMBABWE PEOPLE’S REVOLUTIONARY ARMY (ZIPRA) VETERANS, MR. M. DHLIWAYO OF ZIMBABWE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION, AND MR. NDANISO MPANDE
THE HON. SPEAKER: On 22nd September 2020, Parliament received a petition from Mr. B. Ncube of the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) Veterans of 45 Moffat Avenue, Hillside, Bulawayo. The petitioner beseeched Parliament to amend the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act to include non-combatant cadres who were stationed at other transit camps other than Zambia and Mozambique. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.
On 21st September 2020, Parliament also received a petition from Mr. M. Dhliwayo of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association of 26B, Seke Road, Hatfield, Harare, requesting Parliament to conduct an inquiry into the escalating violence and anarchy perpetrated by machete wielding gangs which are threatening the sustainability and livelihood of artisanal and small-scale miners. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.
On 30th September 2020, Parliament further received a petition from Mr. Ndaniso Mpande of 12 Lawley Street, Gwanda requesting Parliament to come up with a Bill which accords Matabeleland region status of an independent territory. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioner was notified accordingly.
INVITATION TO A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that there will be a Roman Catholic Church service tomorrow, Wednesday, 7th October 2020, at 1230 hours in the Senate Chamber. All catholic and non-catholic members are invited.”
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like the Hon. Members to know that their welfare issues will be dealt with tomorrow. I would also like to commend the Speaker for having allowed some of us in Kariba to air out our concerns on the welfare. Hon. Members, let me say that it is not the fault of the Speaker but at times it is our fault. We get whipped to a point where you do not even talk about your welfare. We met with other Members of Parliament so that we could come up with a very detailed list of your concerns so that it is not known to be an agenda driven by anybody else. Sadly, Members of the ruling party did not attend. I do not know whether you are immune to the welfare situation that some of us are facing.
I am the last person to stand before this House before the Speaker to talk about our welfare because I am quite ok, I am blessed, but it is the office of the Member of Parliament which I think is important to respect more than anything else. So it is also equally important that when dealing with issues of welfare of Members of Parliament, may party politics not come in. The Head of Parliament is the Speaker. You are paid by Parliament where you are accountable to the people because you represent the people. May we not be misguided as adults and not be told to come and discuss pertinent issues which affect your very own families.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for having listened to us and once again I must concede to the fact that we have ourselves to blame. We pass the budget, we do everything but we seem not to look after ourselves. Mr. Speaker has got his own package which he negotiates on his own. We also must be able to be diligent in negotiating our packages through a formal process which we all know when the budget is being passed. So, I would like you to know that he has given us time tomorrow to air the concerns of the Members of Parliament whether MDC, independent or ZANU-PF, we remain the same. I have committed myself to stand up for the rightful things of this country and standing up for your welfare is only proper, for we must represent people without any compromise. I thank you. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, perhaps some Members were mesmerised by your articulation of the issue but let it be as it may the meeting will take place tomorrow and it will represent everybody. We have invited the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to be present so that we deal with issues concretely in his presence and then we map the way forward accordingly.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that today’s ....
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before you continue, I do not see any sanitizer here. What is happening? You cannot proceed without sanitizing that phone.
HON. TOGAREPI: I always carry some sanitizer with me. I move that Orders of the day1 to 9 be stood over until Order number 10 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. PATRICK CHIDAKWA
HON. TOGAREPI: I move the motion in my name: That this House expresses its profound sorrow on the sudden and untimely death on Saturday, 12th September 2020 of the Hon. Patrick Chidakwa, the Members of Parliament for Marondera East Constituency.
Places on record its appreciation of the services which the late Hon. Member rendered to Parliament and the nation and
Resolves that its deepest sympathy be conveyed to the Chidakwa family, relatives and the entire Marondera East Constituency.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
*HON. TOGAREPI: I stand here with very much pain through the loss of our Hon, Member Hon. Chidakwa. Hon. Chidakwa as we all in this House know was a person who was very dedicated to his work, a person who had been here for a long time and wanted to contribute constructively for the progression of our country. Hon. Chidakwa was a person who never wanted to argue with any other person but in most instances, he wanted to get wisdom and was concerned with ensuring that Zimbabwe moves forward. People of Marondera East Constituency lost a man because he was committed to his work. We in this august House also lost a Member who was well-versed in his field, especially local government. He was an expert in terms of local government and as we engaged him every time, his commitment and hope was that Zimbabwe will develop, especially local authorities. He also urged Members to be committed to serving the people so that our country could develop.
Hon. Chidakwa is a person whom I worked with in Government and I never heard him argue or having misunderstandings with anyone. However, what I saw in him was a man who was committed and did not hate anyone. He was patriotic. He would always speak constructive words and help you to learn from him. So, as Members of Parliament, I urge us to learn something from Hon. Chidakwa. You can succeed in your business or your work as a good person working well with others. The constituents whom we represent think that when we come here our aim is to take forward their request. Those people who nominated us want to hear our voices as we contribute to national development and peace in the nation. You find that if we do not have such best practices, we end up engaging in activities and behaviours that our constituents do not look forward to. Hon. Chidakwa was someone who was even willing to assist other Members of Parliament in the knowledge of their roles. He was committed to working as a team. He never used to abscond Parliament or Committees because he knew that he represented the people who wanted to see him working for them. I am sure you are aware that death creeps in and gives no notice; it has taken our colleague who was working well.
As a nation and as Parliament, we need to continue working hard to ensure that we build our nation so that our image is positive as was reflected by Hon. Chidakwa through his life. I hope that all of us, as we learn from this, we will be committed to our work so that Parliament and our nation can succeed. With these few words, I want to say to Hon. Chidakwa’s family, you lost a father figure and the nation lost a committed cadre. As Parliament, we also lost a colleague who was a hard worker. May his soul rest in peace and may the family be consoled and comforted during this moment of bereavement. We hope that his replacement will reflect the same characteristic and personality as that of Hon. Chidakwa. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before I call upon the seconder of this motion, there has been a request by the Hon. Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to table a notice of motion. I shall allow that before the seconder of the motion by Hon. Togarepi – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Parliament starts at Quarter past Two o’clock, Hon. Minister where were you?] – I had been informed in advance that she will excuse herself from Cabinet. That is what she has done, everything is in order.
The Hon. Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Hon. S. Nyoni) having given notice to table a motion on 8th of October for the House to take note of the Annual Reports of the Gender Commission for the years, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order concerns the motion that has been moved by Hon. Minister Nyoni. The Constitution in terms of the seven institutions built to promote democracy in our country has a clear provision that they must provide annual reports. She is bringing us…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Please use the parliamentary nomenclature, the Hon. Minister and not ‘she.’
HON. SIKHALA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Sikhala.
HON. SIKHALA: So Mr. Speaker Sir, we cannot be taken for granted for us to consider things that should have been considered during its material time. These reports are out of time. What she should have done to respect this Parliament was for her to come and seek condonation that there are reports which have been deferred from 2015, which I beg Parliament to consider from the Gender Commission. What she has done is for her to simply take Parliament for granted to say, ‘I am coming here to table the reports,’ without seeking the indulgence of this House to say, we did not comply with the provisions of the Constitution.’ Parliament is here as an institution to uphold the Constitution. We can never ever allow the Executive to come and violate the Constitution left, right and centre. In terms of the separation of powers, the three arms of Government are equal and our role and duty is for us to hold the Executive to account to be accountable in their actions. Hon. Minister, I am holding you accountable [Laughter.] – for derelict of duty on what we have been expecting from your office. These reports are delayed and we are expecting you to seek the indulgence of this Hon. House for us to consider your deferred reports. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, I have got ears that listen very carefully. Hon. Sikhala, you cannot hold the Hon. Minister by yourself to account. It is the House; that part I will not accept because you are being pugilistic. Thank you. Hon. Minister, I think it is in order that you seek condonation from the House for the delay – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. S. NYONI): My apologies Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought I would do the seeking of the condonation on the day if they allow me. I want to apologise to the House and seek condonation and ask that I table the so mentioned report to Parliament.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister you have sought for condonation then we will allow you to table the motion – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Chikwinya.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I am just exercising what I learnt from the workshop.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Usapinde panyanga usati wasvika. The Hon. Minister has sought condonation for the delay in submitting the motion in terms of Section 3 (23) of the Constitution.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I respect your ruling but I am at pains in trying to understand the procedure that you are following here. Firstly, why I am at pains understanding what we are doing is; if she had not come to table the report in retrospect all of them, was Parliament going to keep quiet? What is the procedure for Parliament to ensure that reports are tabled timeously? The Hon. Minister came of her own volition and there is no procedure in our Standing Rules and Orders that says when you are late, you seek condonation to present something that you are supposed to present to Parliament. So, I am actually at pains to say if we debate here and we say we do not want that report to be presented, is that constitutional? The need to present the report that we are seeking from Parliament, what is the question that we are debating because the reports are supposed to be presented, so, I am at pains to find out unless if Parliament had written to the Minister to say reports are late. We want you to come and explain why the reports are late, then I would appreciate. The pain of not appreciating what you are doing is if Parliament votes to say Minister, do not bring the report, is that correct? I stand guided Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister, I did not expect that response from you. Section 323 says, “Every Commission must submit to Parliament through the responsible Minister, an annual report describing full its operations and activities. The report being submitted not later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates”. It is a constitutional mandate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We cannot circumvent that, the Constitution has not been followed. Hon. Minister, you are being misdirected here. We will proceed and it is your responsibility...
HON. ZIYAMBI: What if I table the report?
THE HON. SPEAKER: You will be guilty of contempt – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order. Hon. Minister you cannot address the Chair whilst seated. That is number 1, and in terms of Section 107(II) of the Constitution, again the Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers are answerable to Parliament on Committee work and we cannot, if there has been some dereliction of duty, we have to seek condonation. It is the Constitution and if my ruling is not acceptable, please go to the Constitutional Court.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My contribution is that it actually gives Parliament an opportunity to interact with not only the Minister before us today but the Executive at large. There are a number of Commission reports that are behind their time. Perhaps it is an opportunity for you Hon. Minister as you are going to be presenting your report, if we are going to give you the condonation. We are not fighting with the Executive but we actually want to understand the reason why Commissions are failing to produce in this session and time. We are about to approach our budget session, and if it an issue of incapacitation due to lack of budgetary support, we want is to actually understand why these independent Commissions for that matter are not playing their part and being able to report to Parliament in time. Is it an issue of the Minister not demanding the reports in time? So, perhaps as we are going to deposit the reports in our pigeon holes, we would actually want to see the event as they speak to those reports so that at least we understand whether it is the Executive which was given the report in 2015 and sat on it and they are trying to bring it today or the Commission could not produce a report in 2015 and they are now producing it only in 2020.
So, it is not a matter of fighting and when we are following these procedures, we simply want to put back what we agreed as Zimbabweans in the Constitution and we had put our wisdom together when we agreed to the extent that these reports must be produced only three months into a year because the recommendations in those reports need parliamentary response, so that at least those Commissions play their expected roles in the communities in time. So, this is my point Hon. Speaker. Hon. Minister when you hear us saying you must seek condonation, we are simply trying to create an opportunity for us to understand each other so that next time we have reports in time. For example, before the Finance Commission is a motion for condonation by the Ministry of Finance where they seek condonation on the Finance Bill, the whole debate is about understanding why we are failing to come to Parliament in time and this is what we expect the Executive to come and bring to Parliament so that at least we understand each other and we respond to issues in time. As I sit down, remember during the Cyclone Idai, we were lambasted by the communities for failing to respond in time. We debated the Cyclone Idai report six months after what happened in Chimanimani, we cannot be seen to be doing the same with even such reports by the Gender Commission. We are in a month whereby we are celebrating breast cancer and we are going to be going towards the month of the 16 days against gender based violence. We must be seen to be working in time with our communities. So, Hon. Minister, do not see us as if we are fighting you. We are simply making sure that we do our things in time as we respond to our communities as part of our duties. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The reason why we now have the Gender Commission was out of the outcry that was coming out of the women especially; how they were being treated unfairly. The purpose of the Commission being expected to produce reports was to enable us to evaluate the performance of the Commission itself and also the impact of the Commission to the lives of the people, especially the women who celebrated when the Gender Commission was established. So, the timeous submission of reports is so important that whatever the issues that might come out of that report that needs urgent response –
HON. TOGAREPI: My point of order, is with all due respect, I think the issue here is not about whether the report came early or late. Those debates that we are now doing should be done when the report has either been accepted or not then we debate the value of it being early or late. – [HON. T. MLISWA: But at this juncture, I think the issue is do we give the condonation or not? She is seeking condonation and it has not been given yet.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members your comments should be brief. We need to go to the substance of whether we condone or not, that is the request from the Hon. Minister. Can you wind up?
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to underline the fact that it is important to produce reports on time. This is not the only report. We are going to see Ministers coming to seek condonation. I was just underlining the fact that a report which is produced on time will allow us to interrogate it and even the Commission before it even changes because sometimes you find a report that comes after the Commission that was responsible has since left office and that does not help us.
THE HON. SPEAKER: On that one, a record is a record; whether there is a new Commission or not, a record still stands.
HON. T. MLISWA: Section 119 of the Constitution talks about protecting the Constitution and good governance. Section 112 talks about Parliament having power to ensure that provisions of the Constitution are upheld. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is twofold. I also put blame on the Portfolio Committees of Parliament. They are the ones that are also responsible for ensuring that Ministers comply. In her seeking condonation, I would say because of that too, we must also take a proper review of the Chairpersons of these Committees. They are not performing according to task.
As a result, we are found wanting and what happened today is Parliament exercising its due diligence to ensure that things are done properly; that is the Committees not working should do their work. They need to make sure that Ministers do notbecome a bit reluctant to do what they have to do. Committees must wake up and Parliament must review the Chairpersons so that this does not happen again. Moving forward, the Leader of Government Business here Mr. Speaker, may take this as a lesson to implore this to all other Ministers to seek condonation immediately or else I will be moving a motion to hold them in contempt.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think Hon. Mliswa you have pointed out one other very important aspect; it is not only the Executive who must account. Parliament itself through its Committees, relevant Committees for that matter must hold the individual ministries to account where such reports have passed much of the preceding year. So that observation is quite correct and the observation you make is also in terms of Section 167 (2) of the Constitution where we may endanger Parliament to be scrutinised by the Constitutional Court for failing to act in terms of Section 119 of the Constitution. From the debate, I want to understand that the Hon. Minister seeking condonation is accepted with those observations by the Hon. Members who have spoken – [HON> MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – May I now request the Minister to table the motion accordingly.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. S. NYONI): Let me start by thanking the Hon. Members for a very informative and educative debate. It is taken well and with my apologies. Hon. Speaker, I also want to thank the House for giving my Ministry the condonation.
Debate on motion on condolences on the Death of Hon. P. Chidakwa resumed.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to take this opportunity to thank Hon. Togarepi for raising the motion for us to mourn our dearly departed colleague, Hon. Chidakwa who was the Member of Parliament for Marondera East. Hon. Speaker, I want first to address Hon. Members in this august House including you as the head of this House; my deepest condolences. This Ninth Parliament has lost a number of Hon. Members which has not been the case before. That is why I said I would want to pass my deepest condolences to the House. I knew Hon. Chidakwa and he once sat opposite me. I asked the Hon. Member who was seated next to me because I never thought he was a Hon. Member of Parliament. He saw me pointing to him and when I went out and sat by the dining hall, he asked me to approach him. He asked me if I knew him and he told me who he was.
Since that time, he became known to me and I began to communicate with him. He was a very quiet, soft spoken and humble person. I even teased at him because of his softness and humble nature how he managed to say the slogan. I accused him of rigging and he said that no, the elections were free and fair. I want to say that the family and the constituency has lost a cadre and we as Members of Parliament need to comfort them because they lost a representative and we lost a loved one. The vacuum can never be filled by anyone. We know that replacements can be found but whoever is going to fill his shoes might not have the character that Hon. Chidakwa. We need to mourn with those who are bereaved because when all of us are in mourning, we expect our friends and relatives to come and share the grief with us.
Hon. Chidakwa was a good man. I do not think anyone can ever say I had misunderstandings with him. We are talking about what each and every one of us knew about him. The interaction that we had with him was positive. I would like to say to the Chidakwa family and the Marondera East family, it is not the end of the world, but God takes those whom he wants at a time that we cannot determine.
At the time Hon. Chidakwa met his death, we were all shocked. People started showing us pictures and told us that he had just passed away. As I stand here Hon. Speaker, I can be gone tomorrow morning because heaven has its own agenda. My challenge to all of us here is that had it been you today who had passed away; had you been Hon. Chidakwa, MP for Marondera East – what would people say at your funeral? That is why it is important for us to understand when we talk of dignity and integrity. We need to know how we behave in our interactions. Some people end up with so many enemies and conflicts but that was not the case with Hon. Chidakwa. That is why I felt compelled to second this motion because he was someone that I communicated and worked with.
It is not a joke Hon. Speaker – since 2018, we are left with a few years to 2023 as Parliament. To the Chidakwa family and Marondera East Constituency, we mourn Hon. Chidakwa as a family and we will try by all means to continue with the work. May his dear departed soul rest in peace. I thank you.
*HON. DZUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to support the motion that was raised by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mpariwa in mourning Hon. Chidakwa. I am from Mashonaland East and most of the time I travelled with Hon. Chidakwa to Parliament. We used to sit in this House to discuss. We went together to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls for pre-budget. Our pigeon holes were next to each other - [HON. SIKHALA: That is not possible, you name is Dzuma and his was Chidakwa.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Sikhala, may you respect the solemnity of the motion please.
*HON. DZUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My surname is Dzuma and his was Chidakwa. That is why I said our pigeon holes were next to each other.
Hon. Chidakwa left us dumbfounded and pained. I remember when I once talked to him when he was still alive how I wish what we discussed at Bulawayo pre-budget – we are only here for five years and if we consider the time that we spend in the Constituency, it is equivalent to ten years. I was saying that our five years should be made ten years and should be pensionable. Look at the number of MPs who are passing away without any pension because there is a ten year cap for a person to be able to get a pension. Mr. Speaker Sir, ten years is too much. I think that should be reduced to five years. In the event of death like what has happened to Hon. Chidakwa, the family that is left behind can also have a source of income.
We discussed this in Bulawayo and the Minister of Finance responded to it but I realised that it was not put on record. My request is that we should go back to our areas with a pension after five years. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: For that policy to be changed, it is within your jurisdiction. If the policy is not acceptable to members in this august House, you have the mandate to interrogate that policy and to ensure that you change the policy to suit what you want as you have raised.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my condolences to the Chidakwa family, my condolences to you the Speaker of the National House of Assembly and Members of Parliament of one of our colleagues. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to lament that we do not really know each other as Members of Parliament outside Parliament and it is quite unfortunate. There is a tendency for on to procrastinate and think that at some point I will know a certain Member of Parliament in the course of our work and our tenure, but I have seen that most of the ones that you think you probably want to know better and more, the time never comes. The next thing, one is not with us. This can only be achieved through interactive activities, sport being one of them…
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think we have a technical hitch. You need to be linked up so that the rest of the Members can follow your debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: It is through activities such as sport, dinners and social events that can get us to know each other. We meet in Parliament and I must say that some of the Members, I personally do not know their names. That is the truth. Only when somebody is no more then you hear about them, which is sad. It is important that we encourage more social events whether we have a quarterly dinner where we just meet. Not only that, those who are married bring their spouses with them so that we know each other. It is only when a death happens that you then know and ubuntu which we really live by does not talk well of us without knowing who the partner to this one is only when one dies and so forth. These are some of the issues we must also deal with.
The other issue which I think is important Mr. Speaker Sir is that I knew Hon. Chidakwa from a personal point of view through his brother Simba who was at Peter House. We played rugby and we did sport together. He is not one of those who comes from a background which is not well to do. They are a good family with their wealth and is the one who represented people in earnest. Unfortunately, he was not able to project himself in the House. Hon. Members, may I remind you that you have a right to give a maiden speech to this Parliament. It does not have to be the Speaker saying speak. You can do a maiden speech to just thank your constituents, say what you want to say.
I can see most of the Members of Parliament who are not with us today never had that opportunity and never did it. It is important that we know more about you and people know about you through the maiden speech. At times we go to funerals and it is sad that people say that he never said anything. May we seize on this opportunity and I challenge all Members of Parliament to have a go at it so that at least you thank your communities and constituents where you have come from. For a very long time we tend to procrastinate and say I will have a thank you party for the constituents but that never happens. I have always said that before I do it in the physical, I will use my mouth to say thank you. It is a gift that God has given us and amongst our whole ubuntu it is well accepted, it is well received by just saying those remarks.
Hon. Dzuma articulately and eloquently spoke about the pension. You equally responded in a very sober and accurate manner and said the ball is in your hands. Hon. Members, the time has got to arrive where we see the picture of a better Zimbabwe through MPs who are well remunerated, not yourself but the institution of Parliament, the Members of Parliament, where conditions are better from a health care point of view, it is important. That can only happen when we sit in this House and be able to pass a budget on health which makes us certain that if anything happens to me, I am okay. The first thing - I am trying to come up with a state of art hospital in Norton where I have said if anything happens to me in Norton, will I go to Harare to be treated or in Norton. I equally challenge you to fight for the facilities in your own constituencies. We are lucky, we can come to Harare, we can go to West End, what about the people in the constituency who cannot afford it? The onus is equally on us to have state of the art health centres. There is nothing as great as you being sick and being treated, or if then God has his ways, you do die in an institution which is within your constituency. It makes it easy.
With COVID, it did not help Mr. Speaker because we could not go and pay our respect in the manner that we are used to. I am hoping that the memorial which would be held, hoping that the COVID situation would have improved, we are all there to be able to support each other. Other Members died when they did not get their cars. Mr. Speaker Sir, I must say this from my heart to other Members that you are certainly considerate in many ways. In being considerate, it is my humble submission that we find ways of giving people cars which were meant for them even if they die. At times people go and take loans to be able to use the car that they are using in anticipation of a vehicle from Parliament which then will not come.
Now, the family is left with that burden and they cannot go anywhere. May Parliament ensure that what belongs to Caesar is given to Caesar when time comes so that we do not burden these families? They will always hate this institution. They will look at us and say look at them. When we go and campaign, we use our resources. There is no party or anyone who gives resources. We leave our families poor but when we die, they are even poorer. They then develop a very nasty negative attitude on this institution that a look at my husband, he worked for the people, I cooked for him but I am in a worse off situations. It is important that we also plan for the life of others after death especially the families, the mothers and the children who are left behind from an education point of view. Mr. Speaker Sir, we are getting to a point where we are half way or over half way of our tenure and if we count how many Members of Parliament have passed on you would probably think it is a race. You do not know who is next. For me at times you see me being who I am – this institution is great. I do what I do because of this institution. You are loving people and you are forgiving people. The little time we have in this world if at all I have wronged you from today, I am sorry. Say to the other person, may we love each other and may we do things for who we are. I said a lot to the mothers the other day, being African I am trying to find something to say sorry to, whether it is a chicken or so because I know what it means. I said I am finding something, a way to get there. Kukwira gomo hupoterera pachivanhu. Kana ndirikuenda kunemadzimambo kana kunana sekuru ndezvimwe. So, yes may we just love each other and smile at each other. May we stand for each other for the only time that we spend is with us only not even with our families. Look at the time we spend driving to Parliament and living in hotels without our families. You go to the constituencies and only have a weekend with the family. So we spend more time together and because of that may we be one family. That is my prayer to God that we may see each other as one family and may we respect and forgive each other for anything.
Hon. Chidakwa was somebody – Mr. Speaker, I lamented the day I wish it was a football match where there is substitution but in Parliament there is no substitution. The day he actually heckled you caught him red handed and you told him to leave. I do not know if you remember. That was the only time he spoke. If it was a football match, I would have said may I go so he could continue playing. I wish for that. I went outside and he said aah ko imimi vamwe vacho hamubatwe sei. Nhasi ndabatwa, pandaedza kutaura ndabva ndabatwa and I said Hon. Chidakwa, it happens and at least you said something. Unfortunately Hansard did not record the heckling but I remember that time and Hon. Speaker, you were on duty also; heckling after the Chief Whip had told him and he was kicked out. That was the only time he ever really was out there.
May his soul rest in peace, a great man indeed! May the constituency of Marondera East find solace in knowing that he was a quiet man and once again Hon. Members, let us talk in this Parliament and let us share. Those who have not spoken, say something. Thank your constituency and your families because it is very important. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to talk about how I feel on the loss of one of the Hon Members, Cde. Chidakwa. As I am representing the Nkayi South community and the entire Zimbabwe, I am saddened by the loss of Hon. Chidakwa, his family and Zimbabwe as a whole following his loss. Hon. Chidakwa was one of the Members who talked about uniting people all the time.
Some of the things I cherish about him during his life time, firstly I noted that he was not feeling well even though I was not his doctor. I did not have time to talk to his doctor but I noticed that he was that kind of person who did not want to talk about things that would hurt others. Even if we were talking to him, he was that kind of person who showed love to everyone and he was humble.
There is one thing I like about the late Hon. Member. Hon. Chidakwa was always present in Parliament. Even if he was not feeling well he always came to Parliament. He could come and fulfil his promises he made when he took oath. He could be seen talking to everyone and this clearly shows that he was a Member of Parliament representing his community and Zimbabwe as a whole. He was a good friend to everyone in Parliament. When talking to him, you could easily tell he was doing a lot in his constituency. He was representing his community well.
He used to be friends with women Parliamentarians and I was one of his best friends. He used to talk to everyone despite political affiliation. Hon. Chidakwa used to share sweets with everyone. I can talk about this because everyone remembers how he used to buy sweets and share with everyone. We were seen waiting for him by the door side because we knew he would bring some sweets for us. He could bring an envelope full of sweets for everyone. He was handsome and everyone knows that – that is the truth. Hon. Chidakwa has gone and there is no other Hon. who can buy some sweets especially to us women. The small things you have shows how you relate with other people and your background. Are you a stingy person or are you a humble person so that you can share with your communities. Even if you become a Minister, are you going to share what you have? Some of the small things start with sharing sweets.
The first time I heard that he had gone, I got confused. It might have been caused by the fact that we are not used to some of the surnames, so I ended up asking Hon. O. Sibanda to send me his picture. That is when I realised it was Hon. Chidakwa. I was touched, I cried because he was a man who was humble and showed love to everyone.
I and him used to do some funny things here in the House. We used to sit on the Ministers benches where we are not supposed to be and the Chief Whip would give us a warning about sitting in that area. We used to make fun out of that. I am trying to show that Hon. Chidakwa was so kind to everyone. He was someone who showed love to almost everyone here in Parliament. When we are talking about some important issues especially the laws of Zimbabwe, we can do much because we are always showing that we understand each other when we are in this House. I wish when everyone takes oath here in Parliament they to love one another and fulfill their promises. They are supposed to be sharing everything they have, whether big or small; they need to be sharing as Hon. Members. We are not supposed to be in Parliament fighting with each other but to work together.
As a woman, I am saddened by the loss of Hon. Chidakwa because I still remember that I used to work hand in hand with him. We were always having fun and doing funny things in the House. I feel sorry for Hon. Chidakwa’s family especially the children, how they are surviving and so on. I know that if you are no longer coming to Parliament you face so many challenges like hunger. When someone spends a lot of time without coming to Parliament, you can see that some of them are not well in terms of their health. After adjourning the Parliament Session, you could see that the first day when we came here, everyone would be having a lot of energy, looking fresh, loving each other and willing to work together as Members of Parliament since we are getting enough to feed our families and the communities who voted for us.
I can say more about what others have already said on the late Hon. Chidakwa. However, when we are here in Parliament, we should know how many children we have and what challenges we face. When you are a Member of Parliament, you need to be respected and taken care of especially on the first day. If someone dies on the first day, what will happen? I am heart-broken on what is happening in the late Hon. Chidakwa’s family, especially looking at the life of his widow. She used to be looked after but as I am talking now, she is alone and no one is taking care of her and the whole family. With these words, I think I have said a lot about the late Hon. Chidakwa. Everyone worked very well with Hon. Chidakwa and loved him because he was always humble to everyone. I cannot even remember day when he interpreted wrongly one of the Hon. Members; he loved by every Member of Parliament in the House. We have learnt a lot about the way he did his things, especially in Parliament and the way he was worked in Committees which he represented. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
++HON. GWANETSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice on the motion raised by the Chief Whip of the ruling party on the death of our friend. He was a hero, a respected hero, very humble and peaceful man. He was a respected person. We are mourning with Hon. Chidakwa’s family and his constituency, which is Marondera East and his province, Mashonaland East. He was someone who always came and represented his constituency, so we are in mourning.
I want to add my voice on the motion. Ten years for one to be eligible for pension are too many. As Parliament, it is important to analyse these issues and recommend that if a person comes to Parliament representing people, his/her family must be beneficiaries. Hon Chidakwa was a respectable person and all of us must follow suite. We must also be respectable.
I stood up to honour of our fellow Members of Parliament who went to be with the Lord. I believe that the people of Marondera East will elect a respectable person and humble person to represent them. With these few words, I want to thank all who spoke about our friend, and hero, Hon. Chidakwa. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to pass my condolences to the Chidakwa family. Hon. Chidakwa was in the same Committee with me, the Budget and Finance. We managed to travel on a number of occasions together. All the calls that Hon. Chidakwa received were basically to do with his constituency. You would hear him saying makadii henyu cement yazouya here, ndichaona kana ndadzoka ndikawana macoupons ndogozotakura cement. He was actually funding the constituency.
What is sad about that is Hon. Chidakwa did not get his parliamentary vehicle. It is certain that he is not going to get that vehicle. If you look at how much he spent on his constituency and how much he used his vehicle that he bought using his own money, how it depreciated during that particular time; it is sad to know there is no compensation. He performed his duties as a Member of Parliament; he did all what the constituency would expect him to do. So, Mr. Speaker, it is sad that as one gets into this House as a Member of Parliament, he or she does not know the full benefits for a Member of Parliament, even the family does not know. The family did not even know he was supposed to get his vehicle in August 2018. This is the normal procedure with all other Parliaments. The moment Members of Parliament are sworn in, their benefits are spelt out and if they are to get vehicles, they all get their vehicles without any hustle. Hon. Chidakwa passed on and his family will not get anything. It is not fair Mr. Speaker. How does this Parliament response to this problem.
The Budget and Finance Committee was privileged to be around Kwekwe during that particular weekend when Hon. Chidakwa was buried in Gokwe. So, as a Committee, we then resolved that people attend the burial. Imagine there were only two other Members of Parliament who were there, Hon. Chikomba who is also from Gokwe and Hon. Hungwe. They were the only other Hon. Members apart from the Committee Members who attended the funeral and I think this was very unfair and it is not good.
Parliament itself should have made arrangements that Members of Parliament go and attend that funeral. What impression were we going to leave to the family if the Budget and Finance Committee had not gone there. It is really pathetic. As much as we would want to debate in this House, we must also have cared about our colleague. I implore the Chief Whips to ensure that whenever this happens, there must coordination of events and do what Parliament is expected to do.
The family must be briefed what they must expect from Parliament in such events. Yes, people say being a Member of Parliament is not a full time job but I tell you, if you were an accountant in an accounting firm and you are elected as Member of Parliament; they will not be able to retain you as their accountant. That is impossible. You will have to leave your job, so you will be a Member of Parliament full time. Look at the activities that we are expected to do in our constituencies; events that we are expected to attend as Members of Parliament.
So, Mr. Speaker Sir, as we debate such motions, Parliament itself must take note of the concerns being raised by Members of Parliament and the Executive too must also look at Parliament as an equal partner, it is important.
On the conditions of service, because you will have left everything else to serve your country, the issue of pension becomes paramount and it becomes very, very important. Why is it important? It is the reason why we have intra-party politics violence. You come to this House, you do not want to resign because the day you resign, you become so poor. If there are conditions that are favourable for a person who would have served his country, it also becomes easy to pass on the button and expect other people to come. This is not an unreasonable expectation of anybody who would have served this country at this particular level.
In Nigeria, they always ask each other, if a police officer ill-treats a Member of Parliament, what they normally say is unombova number ani, asking the police officer, because you are harassing me, what number are you in the presidential list. A Member of Parliament is around number 7 or 8, if I am not mistaken in Zimbabwe but look at the conditions of a Member of Parliament. It is so evident when a Member of Parliament passes on, his family all of a sudden is forgotten and they are left with nothing.
I think it is important that this is seriously considered because we all know it is a fact that we will all die, we do not know when as the Roman Catholics say, we do not know where and how this will happen but we will eventually die. It is written that we will die; we must also look at what will happen thereafter. So, I think it is very important that it must be very clear what happens when a Member of Parliament dies? What happens because of some unforeseen circumstances during his or her term as a parliamentarian, he or she ceases to be a Member of Parliament? If he is given a vehicle, duty issues must be very clear and explained to a Member of Parliament. It is just good for a Member of Parliament to know his or her full entitlements so that when time comes, we know exactly and the family is also told in written form that this is what you expect to get from Parliament and then they can follow up those things.
I say to Hon. Chidakwa, he did his best for his constituency. I would always hear him responding to the people in the constituency – okay this car has so many bags, it will leave so many bags at this particular school and so many bags at that particular police post. It is his cement, using his own vehicle but when he dies, the family does not know what it is entitled to.
Finally the issue of healthcare itself; Hon. Chidakwa eventually died in South Africa and this is a serious indictment. When we fall sick, we must be sure of our hospitals that I am going to get the best care that I should. South Africa has even university hospitals. In Zimbabwe right now, we do not have a single university hospital. It is where our professors and students can learn and introduce different treatment systems or medicine regimes that they can use. If we do not have that, then we are not developing as a country. We are also exporting a lot of money for healthcare.
The moment Hon. Chidakwa felt sick, he should have said in Marondera the top hospital that I have nearest my constituency is this one and the family would have taken him there. They might be a shortage of some sort of equipment necessary and then one is referred to one of our top hospitals in Zimbabwe. I think it is important as we debate that we also take stock of what we already have, what we have done right and what we have not done well. On the health sector, we must make sure that we improve on it so that whoever falls sick is rushed to a local hospital.
To Hon. Chidakwa, I hope you have managed to travel well and you are in the safe hands of the Almighty God. We are all travelling the same oute; it is only that we have not yet got to our destination but one day or the other, we will meet with you where you are. Probably you will be in a position to even welcome us. Thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to say a few words on the late Hon. P. Chidakwa. My relationship with Hon. Chidakwa dates back to the period 2013 to 2018 when he was the Chairperson of Marondera Rural District Council and I was the mayor of the City of Kadoma. We were both in the presidiums of our respective associations. He was in the RDCZ and I was in the presidium of UCAZ. He was a passionate man when it comes to development. He was a peace loving man.
From our interaction, when it came to development, he was never political. He would look at both and I can see that trait of a leader in him continued when he was elected Member of Parliament for Marondera East Constituency. The loss of Hon. Chidakwa is not only a loss to his family but also to the people of Marondera East and the nation of Zimbabwe as a whole. I encourage my fellow Hon. Members to be apolitical when it comes to issues of development and take after Hon. P. Chidakwa.
We also interacted in the Portfolio Committee of Local Government and Public Works. That passion of development continued in the way he contributed in the Committee. Here in Parliament, he always asked questions pertaining to service delivery which is really commendable and the gap is going to be felt in the Committee as well as in this august House. I say to the family of Hon. P. Chidakwa, may the Lord comfort them and to my fellow Hon. Members, may the Lord continue to comfort you as well because Hon. Chidakwa has left a void which I think will be difficult to fill. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th October, 2020.
RECOMMITTAL TO COMMITTEE STAGE
ZIMBABWE MEDIA COMMISSION BILL [H. B. 8, 2019]
First order read: Recommittal to Committee: Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill [H. B. 8, 2019].
House in Committee.
On Clause 28:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that we withdraw Clause 28. We will bring another Bill to deal with those issues.
Motion put and agreed to.
Clause 21 now Clause 29, put and agreed to.
First and Second Schedules put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
FORESTRY AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 19, 2019].
Second Order read: Second reading: Forest Amendment Bill [H. B 19, 2019].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me to present the Second Reading speech on the Forest Amendment Bill [H. B. 19, 2019].
Hon. Speaker Sir, environmental rights, such as in the sense of an inalienable right of the people to a wholesome and safe environment, first achieved statutory recognition in the Environment Management Act of 2001. That right was later enshrined in section 73 of our Constitution which merits quotation in full:
‘(1) Every person has the right –
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well being; and
(b) to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation.
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promotion economic and social development.
(2) The State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it to achieve the progressive realisation of the rights set out in this section’
Mr. Speaker, when we think about a healthy environment, few of us can imagine such a thing without thinking about forests as part of that environment. The current Forest Act, as supplemented by other laws and regulations, for instance the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] provides for a fairly good framework in the management of forests. Nonetheless, Zimbabwe’s wooded areas continue to suffer environmental degradation through veld fires, the burning of vegetation and illegal tree cutting. Uncontrolled burning can result in the loss of lives and property while uncontrolled destruction of trees and other vegetation can result in the loss of livelihoods.
With regard to veld fires, these are a hazard to the environment in that by destroying flora and fauna they have an impact on biodiversity with consequences even for the fertility of our soils. All our efforts at agricultural revival will, if veld fires are not properly controlled, come to naught through the reversal of the hard earned gains achieved by our people over the years.
With regard to illegal tree cutting, Mr. Speaker Sir, its magnitude is now such that deforestation and forest degradation have reached unprecedented levels. With as estimated aggregate national deforestation rate of 330 000 hectares per annum, legislative measures need to be put in place to prevent further deforestation and forest degradation. Tree cutting and burning on a wide scale exacerbate climate change and global warming by in the first place releasing tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and in the second place preventing the precipitation needed for rainfall to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Legislative measures for the management and control of forest fires and the burning of other vegetation are mainly provided for under the Forest Act [Chapter 19:05] with supportive provisions being located in the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27]. Offences range from burning of vegetation by land holders to incidental burning by other persons, while maximum penalties range from three months to five years of custodial sentences with fines ranging from a maximum of $100 to $700 respectively. These are upper limits that leave room for the courts of law to pass higher sentences. As Members can judge for themselves, these sanctions are no longer deterrent enough.
Further, the Forest Act does not comprehensively anticipate the possible consequences of veld fires such as death and loss of property. Police and the courts need to be guided as to what aggravating factors should be taken into account when deciding whether to charge and punish offenders with stiffer charges and penalties. It is beyond question, Mr. Speaker Sir that the weakness of the sentencing framework under the Forest Act contributes to the current unsustainable depletion of natural resource resulting in environmental degradation. At the end of my speech, Mr. Speaker Sir, I append a table depicting fire incidences between 2009 and 2018. I will not read the table but urge Hon. Members to read it when it is published in the Hansard.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (2018 2020) recognises the need to effectively manage the environment by targeting the following-
- Protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems;
- Sustainable management of forests;
- Fighting the veld fire scourge;
- Combating desertification; as well as
- Halting and reversing land degradation and loss of bio-diversity.
The Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is mandated to put in place measures to ensure that these aspirations are achieved.
With this in mind, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has looked at ways of improving the Forestry Act and their efforts are embodied in the Bill before you. In the light of what I have said about the inadequate sentencing framework, the Bill before you introduced mandatory sentences to deter would be offenders and give the courts scope to consider aggravating features of offences when sentencing offenders.
The Bill, Mr. Speaker Sir, also provides a regulatory framework that promotes an inter-disciplinary approach to sustainable fire management and control. This Bill does away with some of the archaic provisions of the forest laws, plugs in the gaps and updates and aligns forest laws to the Constitution, a long overdue exercise. To these ends the Bill will, if passed, introduce a multi-sectoral and decentralised approach to fire management.
Ø Introduce a multi-sectoral and decentralisation approach to fire management that includes local authorities, AREX officials, the transport sector, gender structure and traditional leaders, among others.
Ø Enhance the regulatory responsibilities of the Forestry Commission through decentralisation.
Ø It will advance gender equality in line with the Constitution by requiring equal gender representations on the Forestry Commission as well as inclusion of persons holding recognised qualification or demonstrable knowledge in forestry, environmental planning and management, finance and management, business and administration, ecology and legal expertise.
The Memorandum to the Bill helpfully sets forth all the most conspicuous features of the proposed legislation and I will not rehearse them for you except to draw your attention to three clauses of the Bill in particular, which illustrate the point about the decentralisation of the regulatory functions of the Forestry Commission.
Section 68 of the Act currently provides that all disputes between land owners or occupiers regarding the sufficiency of land cleared for the creation of fireguards are referred to the Secretary responsible for environment. Clause 6 of the Bill seeks to decentralise the dispute resolution mechanism to forestry officers who should work with environmental officers.
In terms of Section 69 of the Act as it presently stands where vegetation on any land is such that the prescribed boundary fireguard of 18 metres width is not sufficient to protecting adjacent properties from risk of fire, the Minister may in addition to other measures issue an order to increase the size of the fireguard. In recognition of the high risk posed by veld fires and the need for immediate action, Clause 7 of the Bill seeks to decentralise such authority to forest and environmental officers. The Office of the Minister will become an appeal authority. Clause 7 further seeks to criminalise any failure to comply with the orders.
In line with Section 4 of the Act which establishes the Commission as a body corporate, Clause 15 of the Bill seeks to enlarge on the Commission’s power to institute and maintain civil proceedings in courts of law on behalf of the Commission to recover its revenues from fees and other sources.
In conclusion, I urge Hon. Members to pass this Bill to protect and enhance the rights of our people to a healthy and wholesome environment, now and for future generation. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir, and I move that the Bill be now read a second time. I thank you.
Hon. Biti having expressed the zeal to debate on the Bill virtually
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Speaker Sir, I am advised that the Acting Chair is not in the House. So, I am not so sure, I seek your indulgence that we adjourn debate until the Committee Report is presented and then we can debate.
HON. BITI: It is already adjourned, so I will come once the Committee has presented its report Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): In fact, that is procedural and thank you very much for your understanding Hon. Biti.
HON. BITI: And good afternoon to you Sir?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Good afternoon to you Hon. Biti.
HON. BITI: God Bless you Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You too, thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th October, 2020.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 3 to 29 be stood over until Order of of the Day, No. 30 has been disposed of. Thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL RTD. PERRANCE SHIRI
Thirtieth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the death of Hon. Sen. for Mashonaland Central Province, Air Chief Marshall Rtd. Perrance Shiri.
Question again proposed.
HON. A. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this important opportunity to make a contribution in remembrance of one of the iconic sons of our country. At a personal level, I am not one who can claim to have personal knowledge or any close personal interaction with Hon. Shiri, but what I know and what I would like to say is that I knew him as one of the icons of the liberation struggle.
In many ways, this gives us an opportunity through him to reflect on the role of very special people of this country. These special people were just very ordinary. They were our brothers, sisters, uncles, relatives in many other ways but in their ordinariness they chose to be extra ordinary because they took up a very extra ordinary task to say, I am going to lay down my life so that my people and my country can be free. As the Bible tells us Mr. Speaker Sir, no other love can anyone show than that a brother should lay down his life for his brother. It is only certain therefore that we should remember Hon. Shiri, not just as one person but a collection of values, a collection of commitments which we should all emulate as Zimbabweans, values relating to the love for one’s country, values to be able to commit and sacrifice for one’s country and values of hard work. Mr. Speaker Sir, when the good Lord called the Hon. Member, in my constituency we had launched a massive and significant irrigation scheme of 1080 ha. I am sure it is going to be the biggest in the Midlands Province at its completion. That was because there was a man at the helm of our agrarian revolution who was committed to the President’s vision of helping to realise Vision 2030 of making this country a middle income country.
It is therefore with sadness that when the news came even in the constituency, I remember that very weekend we had meetings of the committee responsible at the irrigation scheme and no one could believe it. People felt that fate had robbed them, not only of the hero they knew from the liberation struggle but from the hero they had now in the agrarian revolution and indeed because of the strong foundation he laid which still promises to fulfill and to help fulfill our 2030 Vision, whose very critical component would be the eradication of hunger and the establishment of food security in our country. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to say may his soul rest in peace. May his family find grace and solace in the knowledge that this was a soldier who fought his battles well. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The untimely death of Rtd. Chief Air Marshal Perrance Shiri was indeed a shocking event. The passing on of Hon. Shiri who was then the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement left an irreparable loss, not only to his family but also to the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. Mr. Speaker Sir, death robbed us of a true revolutionary fighter, valiant hero and one of Zimbabwe’s esteemed military commanders. People make history. Rtd. Chief Air Marshall Perrance Shiri was among the revolutionary people of Zimbabwe as they made their history of the liberation of Zimbabwe from the yoke of colonialism and imperialism. He indeed played a pivotal role. Mr. Speaker Sir, as people make history, work creates the future. A scientific analysis of the late Hon. Shiri’s modus operandi signifies that he believed in hard work. Work at the end of the day is the fundamental force that drives the progress of human society.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I will turn to the book, ‘The Governance of China’, a book which was written by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jin Ping and it says; “To achieve our goals and create a bright future we must rely closely on the people, always act in their interests and work in an industrious, honest and creative way. We often say, ‘empty talk harms the country, while hard work makes it flourish’. This means we must first get down to work. That quotation Mr. Speaker Sir, from President Xi Jin Pin summarises the character and work ethic of Hon. Shiri.
May I, Mr. Speaker Sir, take this opportunity to thank Hon. Themba Mliswa for moving this motion. In conveying my utmost condolences and sympathies to the Shiri family, I do hope that the lessons derived from Hon. Shiri’s life will continue to shine as a bright revolutionary star for all to see and emulate. Mr. Speaker Sir, the name of the late Rtd. Chief Air Marshall Perrance Shiri shall indeed live forever. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to talk about the death of Hon. Shiri. Cde. Shiri was a person who was easy to approach and you would think that tomorrow you could see him. We worked with him especially myself. I worked with him with my constituents in Rushinga. He was my Senator. Even right now, I just imagine that if I go to his office I will see him but unfortunately he is no more. He was someone who was easy to work with and was easy to approach. He was someone who was good at moulding people and encouraging development. The work he has done and the fruits brought by his hard work are something tangible. These things will remain the same forever. His name and his works will forever be cherished because it is a sign that he was good at working with other people and working for the country’s development.
Looking at the issue of agriculture, it was successful and if you go to many farms, you see there is wheat. If you walk into rural areas like Rushinga, it is an area which had water problems and people used to travel 90kms to go to Ruya or Mazowe river to fetch water. As Minister of Agriculture and Water, he managed to end this problem for the people of Rushinga. People of Rushinga are the ones who will suffer much loss because he managed to bring them out of this perennial water problem since 1980. People of Rushinga are in pain because of the death of Cde. Shiri. Rushinga is an area where war was fought for a long time and this area was ignored by the old dispensation. However, through the leadership of Cde. Shiri, Rushinga is now better. People are now able to bath.
Rushinga is a big constituency though it does not have many people. People spend a lot of time sleeping at boreholes and water sources but through Cde Shiri, he managed to intervene and end the water problems. People are now able to sleep in their houses and do irrigation. They installed solar powered gadgets whereas we used to survive on eating dry okra. We did not know that in summer we could eat fresh vegetables from the garden. Right now people in Rushinga are grateful for the job done by Cde Shiri. We also have tap water in Rushinga just as any other places in Zimbabwe. Cde Shiri dealt with the places that were lagging behind in development; places like Rushinga. Rushinga is an area where the war of liberation was fought since the 1960s to 1980. It was war throughout. We had a short period of peace and in 1987, the war of Matsanga began. Cde. Shiri had keen interest for areas which were lagging behind because of the war – the border areas are the areas he focused much on. For example, Mbire, Rushinga, Muzarabani, Mutoko, and Mudzi are the areas he looked at so that the people’s lives could be improved greatly.
Looking at people like myself, if there had not been war in Rushinga, maybe I could have been a professor but I did not manage to be one. Cde Shiri managed to go to the liberation struggle to liberate our country and also liberated us from issues of hunger so that there is food abundance in Zimbabwe. We are saying God, it is well you took him but he left a deep wound in our hearts. Therefore Cde Shiri, rest in peace. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I would also like to add my voice to the motion which is currently under debate; the motion regarding the late Air Chief Marshall Perrance Shiri. I think I was one of the very fortunate people to have met him one on one just after independence. Hon. Sen. Shiri was on his way from Joko, Mutoko to Chiredzi with my uncle Patrick Chengetaivatema who happened to be his detachment commander, one of his DCs in Tete province. When they were on their way, they came via our home and Patrick said tonodya kwavatete. Then they came and two huge trucks stopped at our home and my mother ran away to hide. I also ran and hid in the kitchen. Then when we heard the voice of sekuru Patrick saying panavanhu here pano I recognised the voice then I went out to meet them. He said where is your mom and I told him she was in hiding as she thought the soldiers were back and he assured us there were no more soldiers because the war was over. Then my mother came out and cooked for them and we all ate.
He was a very humble and cheerful man. On their way back, they passed through again and they left us some goodies. At some stage in history, we then met again several times on different occasions. He remained very humble until the time of his death. I then met him at Watershed College where his son Titus happened to be in the same class with my first born son and the son of the late Gen Armstrong Gunda. He said what do you want here and I told him my son was also there. Then he said you actually grew to be a father of a child who is of school going age. He still remembered me as a small boy and I told him I had grown to be a father. He was very caring and he would go to Watershed and my son would say daddy do not bother coming, Titus’s dad came and left us enough money and groceries. That was the man. By so doing, he taught us a lesson that when you visit your child and you had something, you would give all the children. The other time I met him and he said do not bother going to Watershed, Gunda has already gone and he will take care of the boys. He was very fatherly and very caring. There was no problem that you would take to him and he would not solve. He always took his time to listen and he would say you know with
You, hushamwari hwedu hunobva kure kubva kumadzisekuru edu nemadzibaba edu. He loved history and he would say iwe Chinamhora neni Mangwende we have always been friends from way back in the years and the friendship does not end. So, let me say, Moyo, Mangwende rest in peace from Chinamhora for the last time. I thank you.
*HON. DZUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to debate and testify on the good deeds by our late Hon. Sen. Perrance Shiri. We remember him for the great job that he did of fighting for our total independence. I say that because I am one of the liberation war fighters who joined the struggle outside the country together with the late Hon. Minister. He went to join the liberation struggle before us and we followed in 1976. This means that there is a gap of two to four years between the time he left and when we joined. This means that they are the founders of the liberation struggle.
He showed bravery and we followed suit. I remember that we spoke the language of those whom we trained with outside the country like Tanzania where we both went whilst Hon. Shiri was a Commander at that time. When we wanted to say good morning, we would say, habari za asubuhi, which is Swahili. Good afternoon, we say habari za mchana mzuri, good evening, habari za jioni, it is all Swahili. As we were marching with Hon. Perrance Shiri, they would say ‘go suwa, which means putting your legs together, go upande, separating the legs. They would say, right turn is called upande wa kulia, left turn is called upande wa kushoto and about turn is called kuhusu upande, forward march is call mbele tembeya. It is the language that we spoke whilst we were outside the country with the late Hon. Shiri as we were being trained by those who did not speak or know Shona, Ndebele or our other languages.
I remember the late Hon. Shiri when the economy was hard hit by hard times. He was the Commander of the Air Force and he travelled to the rural areas by foot so that he could restore order. I thank the late Hon. Shiri and I remember him. During the recent period on the programme of maguta, he made sure that the nation thrives and maximise production. I remember him arriving in Buhera District at Maneta under Hon. Nyashanu, he visited Tangwena and the irrigation schemes where Hon. Mutomba presides. He also visited the Constituency of Hon. Dzuma around Marovanyati area and other areas and developed those dams so that they could be put to use as can be witnessed today. He also alleviated the plight of domestic water shortages for villagers and came up with a $5.4 million facility at the Murambinda Water Plant which is one of the projects which have neared completion and if possible, the President of the country will officially open it in the near future. The tunnels and pipes have already been put in place and all the people now look forward to receiving taped water through the work that was tirelessly done by the late Hon. Shiri. We cannot have a replacement for Hon. Shiri, it will be very difficult and we grieve every day and night and ask God why this has to happen.
We pray that such people who were given an opportunity to work by our President, His Excellency, Hon. Mnangagwa live long in order to finish their mission for a while rather than to have them stolen in our midst. It is God’s time and we cannot dispute. All of us wait for our own time which we do not know now and if we knew, we would store drums of fuel so that we can run away but it is something which comes to us unaware.
When we heard about his passing on, it was a shocker and we even thought it was the usual lies spread on the social media and we could not comprehend the news. Whilst we were here in Parliament we would approach him and lean towards him, speaking to him as he was very humble and would talk to everyone without any condition. If he could not answer your concerns there and then, he would ask you to come to his offices at Ngungunyana Building at KG 6. When I arrived at KG6 to speak to him, the secretaries told us that he had travelled to the countryside as there had been a problem of an illness there. They did not tell me the truth that he was also not well and I went back. The following morning that is when I heard about his illness and subsequent passing on. It was so touching and painful to hear such news. So, I say to the late Hon. Shiri, the work that you did, we are testifying in this House that you did well and we witnessed it and were satisfied as a nation. We left the foreign land and came back home together, we say to you, rest in peace, we are with you, you did a great job and we are satisfied with the irrigation schemes. Most countries are doing well because of irrigation programmes, like Sudan which is a desert but for survival, they have the Gezira Scheme which we can all testify to be a strategy which is making other countries thrive. So, we have also taken heed of such schemes so that we survive on these irrigation schemes pioneered by the late Hon. Shiri under the blessings of the President of the country. I will not continue to waste others’ time to contribute to this debate; I will let them add on to my voice. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. BUSHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My gadget is experiencing network problems. However, I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to add my voice on the life of Hon. Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri who passed on. I first heard about this man when I was still a young man when he was the Commander of the Tete Province. They would say that our Commander was a brave man who was a hero and full of prowess. In our home area, there were 14 people who went for the liberation struggle but we sang the liberation war songs. A lot of people had come from the Bushu area and we did not know that there was a battle at Tembwe and six have gone there.
Hon. Shiri ensured that at least one person remained from each family as others went for the war. Others died during that time but Hon. Shiri lived for some years whilst fighting for the liberation struggle. Saturday to Tuesday, when he was suspected to have contracted COVID 19, he was gone, such a good, brave and strong man. It really affected us and we were greatly saddened in Mashonaland Central because he had become our leader in the Politburo. He was our leader in the Senate. He was a Minister whom we were proud of, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Honestly speaking, in terms of leadership, he had learnt a lot from the time of the liberation struggle until he retired as Air Chief Marshal and became the representative of an area as a Senator. When you get to know that he presided over a number of people, you would not think that he was such a brave cadre.
He had a strong deep voice and that would help us to understand the type of man he was but he was very humble. You would be surprised that with the popularity that he had, when you meet him, you would be shocked. I remember that as a leader in Mashonaland Central, when there was a lot of conflict, Hon. Shiri would intervene and iron out the differences to solve the conflict. He was soft spoken and spoke a lot of wise words.
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order. You cannot pass between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking. Can you go back the way you have come from?
HON. BUSHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will proceed by saying that when there was conflict in Mashonaland Central, Hon. Shiri would come to resolve it. People would see light and the conflict would be resolved. They respected him. I also want to say, we were so proud of him. As the Minister who came from Mashonaland Central, the whole nation can witness that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement was doing well and he was doing a good job. People witnessed the irrigation schemes that he promoted and implemented. Even the input schemes, fertilizers and seed were availed on time. He was a good leader and planner. I want to say that as a family from Mashonaland Central, Shamva South in particular, it was a great loss for us because he used to come and assist us as MPs. He used to come and give food hampers to the vulnerable families. He provided maize and rice to the communities and he used to come down to the local level and sit under a tree talking to the people of the community. Sometimes when we hold meetings, we always think that he would come and join us because each time he attended a meeting, people would rise up in honour of him. So, we want to say to the Shiri family, we grieve together in this loss as well as the nation. I want to say to this gallant soldier, rest in peace and we hope that God and our ancestral spirits will be with him. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th October, 2020.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes Past Five o’clock p.m.