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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 June 2016 42-63
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 8th June, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to recognise the
presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of students and teachers from Fountain Academy of Harare. You are most welcome – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
TABLING OF AUDIT REPORT
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADANHA):
Madam Speaker, I lay before the House a follow-up audit report of the Auditor General on the management of Government vehicles by the CMED (Pvt.) Limited. I thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. KWARAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, in the absence of the Minister, may I direct it to the Leader of the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House is
not yet here.
HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did not recognise you.
HON. MUNENGAMI: I was thinking that maybe you can postpone Question Time for thirty minutes to allow the ministers to come in since there is no one in front.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: She was directing the
question to another Minister who is here. Hon. Kwaramba do you still have your question?
HON. KWARAMBA: I will wait Madam Speaker.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Since we do not have any Minister, with the exception of Hon. Made and Hon. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am suggesting that we only have about three or four Cabinet Ministers who are in this House, so I am suggesting for the postponement of the Questions Without Notice in order to allow the Ministers to come in. We do have some other questions which might also need the Leader of the House. I do not know whether Hon. Tshinga Dube might be the Leader of the House since he is sitting to the extreme right. Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, there is a
proposal but I think those with questions where the Minister is here can proceed.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I think we need clarification. First and foremost, this situation where we have got only three or so ministers needs an explanation – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I have not finished. It is a point of order Madam Speaker. We need clarity, are the ministers going to come at a later stage? There are two issues which we have raised before in this august House that we need somebody who is designated as the acting Leader of the House so that we know whom to direct our policy questions to. That aspect has not been clarified.
More importantly, we have said before, in terms of our
Constitution, it is very clear that Ministers have an obligation to attend Parliament to answer questions on a Wednesday. We have said that political parties must be aware of this so that they do not schedule their National Executives, Politburo, Central Committee or other meetings on such a day – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We have said this before. The business of the House must take precedence so that all political parties must be aware that on a Wednesday, especially when you have come from a two week adjournment, there are burning issues arising from various Constituencies. The House has not been sitting for the last two weeks. We end up not knowing whether Ministers are running away from answering questions or whether it is.....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I have heard
everything you are saying.
HON. GONESE: I think it is important Madam Speaker because as the custodian and as the presiding officer of this august House, it is quite important. The reason why Hon. Munengami .......
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: How can you continue saying
the same thing on and on?
HON. GONESE: I am not saying the same thing because I think we need a definite response. There is one aspect which has not been responded to.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is it?
HON. GONESE: One specific aspect about the Leader of the House. We need that clarification so that we know to whom members are going to direct their questions.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Gonese and
also I take note of what you are saying but it does not stop us from asking questions to those Ministers who are here, who are very much able to respond to whatever you are saying.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I think it is not adequate to
just take note. It is not the first time. This is not the first time this issue has come up. It has come up on many occasions and we think that the only way – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – To make this point clear, I think for that reason, it is preferable to stand over the issue of Questions Without Notice until such a time that we have a sufficient number of Ministers that Members can direct their questions to whoever is the responsible Minister; not a situation where we are confined just to issues relating to agriculture because the Majority of the Ministers are not there.
So I strongly suggest Madam Speaker that we stand over Question Time, if the Ministers are not there, we cannot proceed.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, the issue of the
Leader of the House, once we are told of someone who is appointed by the President to take the position of the Leader of the House, we will advise you. However, to those Hon. Members with questions to
Ministers who are here, they can ask. So, can we please proceed!
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. May the Minister enlighten us on the rumours that we are hearing that we have some of our Members of Parliament who have been given diplomatic passports yet some did not get? We want you to enlighten us as to whether it is true or false? If it is true, how can you discriminate against Members of Parliament that others get diplomatic passports and others do not get –[HON. MEMBERS: Chinos, Chinos ]- I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON.
MGUNI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The question posed by Hon. Chinotimba is misdirected and should be re-directed to the Minister of
Foreign Affairs. I thank you.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: Supplementary...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon.
Chinotimba, your question should be directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
HON. MUKUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to our Minister who has done his work very well – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Minister Made. We have been reading in the press that there are tenders that have been made concerning grain. With the drought and the hunger that we are facing; we would want to find out how this has gone in order to address the situation.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): Thank
you Madam Speaker. I did not quite understand the question raised by Hon. Mukupe, through you, can he repeat the question.
*HON. MAONDERA: On a point of order! Madam Speaker, we
once mentioned that there is not much room in this House; people are standing in the corner. They are standing in the corner like rats because of in adequate space; this is an issue that needs to be addressed. So, we are not sure whether those Hon. Members standing in the corner are demonstrating or it is because of the poor seating capacity? – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DPEUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Gonese, I
think you are the Chief Whip of the opposition side, order please!
HON. CHAPFIKA: On a point of order! – [HON. MEMBERS:
Ruling, ruling.] - Madam Speaker…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What I said is that the
Standing Rules and Orders Committee are looking into that issue.
HON. CHAPFIKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The point that Hon. Maondera has raised is important but he referred to those Hon. Members at the back as rats, so may he withdraw because rates will never stand. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members
on my left side; order please! Hon. Mukupe, the Minister has requested that you repeat your question.
*HON. MUKUPE: Thank you Hon. Chair. I said that my
question is directed to one of the best Ministers in President Mugabe’s
Government, Hon. Made – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - we have read in the newspapers that there are tenders that have been coming out concerning grain, so with the current drought and situation in the country, I would like the Minister to enlighten the House on how far they have gone to address the issues of drought in the nation. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I would
like to thank the Hon. Member for raising the question on where we are
– [HON. MEMBERS: Whispering]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, would you
please lower your whispers so that the Hon. Member will hear the response from the Minister – [HON. T. KHUMALO: Buda ndikumamise panze.] – ah, Hon. Member would you please stand up and withdraw what you have said because at times you ought to behave as Hon.
HON. T. KHUMALO: I withdraw.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I want
to assure the Hon. Member that indeed, we are continuing to import the maize that is due for importation so that we augment our supplies, particularly for the rural areas. The private sector is also importing mainly as millers for the urban areas but I would also want to indicate that our farmers locally are also delivering to the Grain Marketing Board. As we are talking, where we had not expected any grain at all due to the drought, farmers have already delivered, updating the figure that I reported on in the media. We are now close to 35 thousand metric tonnes. On top of that, Government is paying through Grain Marketing Board all the farmers that are delivering the maize. So I want to assure the House that so far our programme is moving well. In terms of delivering the food to the rural areas, there are some areas where we continue to have challenges in transportation but that matter is being address. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to
thank the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on the update of importation of grain in the country. I also want to find out from him that as the grain is coming in - as has been happening in the past, is it Government policy that as the food is distributed, a person should produce a ZANU PF card in order to get the grain? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order let us have order
*HON. DR. MADE: I want to thank the Hon. Member, he has
raised a very important question and it will help me to enlighten the issue. There is nothing that is being taken to the rural areas, especially concerning food or farming implements that require one to disclose his or her party. There is no such arrangement that I am aware of that requires that. If the Hon. Member has evidence of such things happening, he should bring it forward so that we address the issue. On the issue of food, His Excellency, the President said that no one should be denied of food. I thank you.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker, can the
Minister confirm that the importation of maize from other countries, especially from Zambia, is an admittance of a failed agricultural strategy - considering that we are importing maize from a country which was also affected by the El Nino induced drought. I thank you.
HON. DR. MADE: I want to thank the Hon. Member and respond
very clearly that it is not because of a failed agricultural strategy. I thank you.
HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I would like to know what measures have been put in place to ensure that the
Nambya language is examined at O’ level next year. The first group of students who studied Nambya at secondary schools are now in Form 3, are there any measures that have been put in place to ensure that the language is examined at O’ level next year?
With your indulgenced Madam Speaker, I would like to know also from the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development whether any measures have been put in place to ensure that the language is taught...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you asking two
questions? No we allow one question. Hon. Minister, can you please answer that question.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam Speaker.
The natural and logical sequencing of the development of indigenous languages follows that when pupils sit the Grade 7 examination, they proceed to study the same language if they so wish at O’ level and therefore to say that they are now in Form 3 is to acknowledge that the Ministry is already doing well at what is set out to achieve. So, next year they will sit for examination as expected. I thank you.
HON. KHUPE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to Minister Dr. Dokora. What is Government policy in regards to the teacher/pupil ratio? I am asking this question because if you look at Matabeleland North for instance, the teacher/pupil ratio is 1:80 as opposed to 1:20 and we were advised that temporary teachers are no longer being employed. Qualified teacher who left the country and came back and where re-employed have since been removed so there is a serious shortage of teachers, one teacher is supposed to be teaching 80 children, all ECD children. So, what is Government policy?
HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker, the
Hon. Member asks a question and then provides what appears to be an answer because she is asking what the teacher/pupil ratio is and then she proceeds to say it is 1:20. My Ministry operates on the establishment which is agreed between itself and the Public Service Commission as employer which allows for 1:20 for the infant which is the ECD (A) and
(B), as currently constituted 1:40 from Grade 1 to Grade 7; and then
1:33 between Form 1 and Form 4 and then for technical/vocational disciplines, it is 1:100 learners and then at A level it is 1:25, that is the agreed ratio with the employer for purposes of budgetary control et cetera.
The fact that in some areas, there are larger numbers of learners in a class is a matter of recruitment patterns, distribution of the establishment which is in employment. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker, given those
figures, why are most schools operating at below 50%, of their establishment-beginning this term and yet Government is not recruiting but qualified teachers are on the streets. Has there been a change in policy?
HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Hon. Deputy Speaker. I have
responded to this matter in previous sessions to say that – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members
behind there, we are hearing your voices here. Please, we want to hear the answer.
HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Madam Speaker. At any
moment as we begin a new term, my Ministry, Public Service, Labour and Social Service and the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development, establish what is called an establishment control. In other words, how many teachers we can have who can be anticipated in the budget and therefore the allocation of resources. If there has been some delay experienced in the transition between term one and two, that I acknowledge, but the establishment control has since been communicated to my Ministry and up and down the country they are ensuring where it is now agreed, they will be recruiting teachers for that purpose. Thank you.
HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order. The Minister who has just responded to this very important question promised this House in our previous sitting – and we have a very functional memory system. He indicated that he was going to give a Ministerial Statement. That Ministerial Statement has not come. We hear that the national pledge is wreaking havoc without that national statement from the Minister.
Hon. Dr. Made having yelled at Hon. Chamisa.
HON. CHAMISA: Mr. Made stop just saying haaa, this is a very serious issue. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
Hon. Chamisa, there is no Mr. in this House.
HON. CHAMISA: Sorry, Hon. Minister Made was yelling at me,
that is why I had to respond that way.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: But I think you have to
address the Chair. I am the one who is supposed to talk to him.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Chair for protecting me from Hon. Made. I really appreciate, he is terrorising me Madam Speaker. My point of order has to do with the promise given by the Minister. It is a very important one because it left Parliament hanging in terms of what he had promised. Has he forgotten? Does he need a reminder from us?
HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am
conscious of the fact that the Hon. Member who has raised this point of order could possibly not forget that he pleaded with me not to make a
Ministerial Statement at a particular time – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Can we have
order and hear the answer.
HON. DR. DOKORA: But that notwithstanding, I took counsel from the Hon. Speaker and the advice was that we should delay that to enable the Constitutional Court to proceed.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is
directed to the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees. Minister, what is Government policy concerning war collaborators in terms of their vetting because they have been waiting for 13 years without the vetting being completed. We seek enlightenment in this august House to know their status as of now.
THE MINISTER OF WELFARE SERVICES FOR WAR
VETERANS, WAR COLLABORATORS, FORMER POLITICAL DETAINEES AND RESTRICTEES (HON. T. J. DUBE): Madam
Speaker Maám, I wish to thank the Hon. Member for asking a very pertinent question; a question which is causing a lot of crisis of expectations. The thing is, it is true that it has taken long, but you must go back to the history of our country and find that most of these problems, we were pre-occupied by other problems, including those of the war veterans themselves.
When we started working on this matter, the problem of war collaborators, former political detainees and restrictees was not acted upon at the same with those of war veterans. Now we are working very hard to align the laws of the vetting of Mujibas and Chimbwidos, as well as many other groups that fall…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, would you
please address the Chair?
HON. T.J. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. We are now
seriously addressing the problem of vetting of the collaborators and any other groups that are supposed to be included in this. We are now working on the alignment of the laws…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister. I
can see the question is number 11 on today’s Order Paper. You will
attend to it with statistics.
HON. M. MAWERE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question
is directed to the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Minister, we hear through the press that Zimbabwe is campaigning to become Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. We also hear it through gossip. Is it true and how prepared are you?
THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
INDUSTRY (HON. DR. MZEMBI): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question, to which I owe Parliament a statement at some stage in the future. I wish to first and foremost confirm that yes; my candidature for an impending post or vacancy for the position of
Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation is actually confirmed. I have been nominated by Zimbabwe and His Excellency, the President has authorised my entry into the race.
With regards to our chances for clinching the position. I wish to state that we are at a very early exploratory stage of the race and in due course I would like to bring forward to Parliament after July, a statement in which I will be appealing to Parliament and the rest of the country to support our candidature. Otherwise yes, we are officially a candidate in this race.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister.
*HON. CHIDHAKWA: Minister we thank you your confirmation
that you are a candidate. Is it not possible that we also hire other companies that we hire during elections such as Nikuvu to help us campaign?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Order Hon. Members.
Would you please lower your voices because we want to hear the supplementary question?
*HON. CHIDHAKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I said that
we are happy that the Minister confirmed that he is a candidate. As a nation we realised that we had a company that assisted us during elections known as Nikuvu. Can we not hire the same company to assist in campaigning?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon Member, you are
out of order. Anyway, you have taken your chance to debate.
HON. CHINANZVAVANA: My question is directed to the
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Considering that Zimbabwe is an agro based economy, may we know what considerations exempted Agri- science on STEM, now that we are considering that we have to boost our production in the country and we cannot do without agriculture? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Madam Speaker, I would request the Hon.
Member to rephrase her question.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members! I think
it is because we are making a lot of noise. Hon. Member the Minister did not hear you. He did not understand the question.
HON. CHINANZVAVANA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon.
Minister. What considerations were there that exempted Agri-Science to be considered on the STEM programme considering that we are an agro- based economy and we thought STEM is to boost production in all industrial areas.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Chief-
whip, I am sorry that Hon. Members on that side are making a lot of noise and we cannot hear. Hon. Minister did you hear the question?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for a very pertinent question.
Agriculture is a science and the basic foundational course for science is
Chemistry and Biology. That is why it is included there because there is no way we can stematise agriculture if we do not have the foundational courses of science. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question
is directed to the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. What is Government policy vis-a-vis the deferment of university students from writing their examinations because they have not paid fees. Why are you penalizing the students by denying them the right to write their examinations after having spent years at the university and then only dismiss them on the day of writing the examination?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. DR. GANDAWA): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for that pertinent question. The Government policy states that there is no student that is not allowed to write examinations because they have not paid their fees. That is the
Government policy. It would help the Zimbabwean populace to exactly know which university has prohibited students from writing examinations so that we could deal with the matter at the administrative level. Otherwise, all students must write examinations whilst they are looking for the fees in order to pay. We should not be disadvantaging students because we are all aware that the situation and the economy is not performing very well. We would be glad to get to know the institutions that have prohibited the students from writing the examinations so that we can deal with the matter at the administrative level.
HON. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Minister. Just to put you in the picture, NUST, MSU, ZOU and Lupane State University students were denied. We had to come in to stop the university from doing that. So, we need a communiqué to those tertiary institutions to the effect that they cannot penalize the kids but the parents.
*HON. KAUNDIKIZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Hon. Dr. Made. What is Government policy concerning farmers who lost their receipts in the past four or five years before you paid them?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May you repeat your
*HON. KAUNDIKIZA: My question is …
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay the Minister has
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I want
to thank the Hon. Member for asking a pertinent question.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Could you please raise your
*HON. DR. MADE: I am raising my voice. Government policy is that GMB cannot pay if you cannot produce a receipt.
*HON. KAUNDIKIZA: This is a supplementary question. If you go to the Ministry of Home Affairs, to the Registrar’s Office, if you lost your documents they are able to find your information after paying a searching fee. Why is it that the GMB does not have such a facility to assist farmers if they happen to misplace or lose their receipts, since the receipts originated from GMB?
*HON. DR MADE: What the Hon. Member has said, like I said,
the farmer needs to have his receipts and if he/she does not have them, how did she lose that receipt?
*HON. MANDIPAKA: My supplementary question goes to
Minister Made. He mentioned that the policy is that if you lose your receipt you are not supposed to get your money. My question is, is there no other alternative that the officials can check in the receipt books to ensure that the person did not get his money from the receipt books? I thank you.
- DR. MADE: On the supplementary raised by Hon.
Mandipaka, the reason why we are saying that is, there are some who come and give false information that they delivered maize but without the proof. So, the policy is every farmer who has delivered maize to GMB should explain how that receipt was misplaced or lost.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order please. Let us have
order. Order Hon. Members! I would like to assist the Minister. I think what the Hon. Members are requesting for is that misplacing or losing a receipt is not anything out of this world, but we have an office where the receipt originated from. Was that book thrown away because this would assist the person who will have lost or misplaced the receipt?
- DR. MADE: Of all the farmers that we have who are supposed to get paid, we do not have farmers who have such queries that are being raised in this House. I know what I am saying. We do not have farmers who have raised such issues.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Member?
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My point of order Madam Speaker is
that firstly Hon. Mukupe should withdraw the statement that he said concerning the Minister because this has reflected that as a Minister, he is failing. Secondly, the Minister cannot tell us ...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you are
out of order and can you please take your seat.
HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question
is directed to the Minister of Agriculutre, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development...-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. May
the Hon. Member please continue?
HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question
is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development. We hear and witness a lot of work going on at the ARDA
Estates and there are joint ventures that are taking place within ARDA Estates. May I know what policy Government has in terms of the companies that have those joint ventures, the sharing arrangements and how the proceeds are going to be disposed of after the harvest? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I want
to thank the Hon. Member for raising that question. The issue of the joint ventures relates to the agreed position on the investment that is put on the projects, then the operational costs on an annual basis. So, there is an agreed percentage on a project by project that is given to the sharing mechanism that is agreed upon on those particular projects. I thank you.
HON. MATANGIRA: My supplementary question to the Minister is on the contracts. In my constituency, people are getting peanuts, as low as 5% of the net value of the production. Is it Government policy that a percentage is not reached at in the contracts because our people are going back to slavery again? Thank you.
HON. DR. MADE: Madam Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Matangira for raising that important question. This is why we say before farmers sign contracts, they must make sure that the contracts are brought to the Minister of Lands first and foremost because of the matter of contracts, particularly relating to A1/A2, which is on Government acquired land. So we do not want to have a situation where contractors are coming to repossess land. We have said this again and again. After it has been cleared by the Minister of Lands, we look at the contract as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. These two Ministries must be notified of any contract agreement before the farmer finalises that situation. I want to thank Hon.
Matangira for that question.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. Minister of Health, is it Government policy that when patients have been admitted in hospitals, they find themselves in a position where they are weak, cannot pay the money which is required and are detained, especially women. This has happened in some of the general hospitals. I want to say one day I called you about a case and it repeated itself again. I have heard that when people are discharged from hospital, when they have no money, they are not allowed to go and look for the money, instead they are detained in verandahs. Is it Government policy? If it is not Government policy can we have a communiqué which goes to all hospitals and to the public to say this is not acceptable?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. DR. MUSIIWA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for raising this question and I want to apologise on behalf of the Ministry. It is not Government policy to detain patients who have not paid. Government policy is for patients to access treatment. In cases where they are assessed and we feel they must pay, a payment arrangement must then be made where the patients are discharged and be able to go and find money to pay when they are able to pay. In the instances where this has been reported to me, I have taken action particularly in the case that the Hon. Member has referred to, I actually made it a point to follow up with the administration and made sure that such action is not taken.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: My supplementary question is that the Minister is confirming that it is not Government policy. That same patient has been in hospital from Friday to Monday detained after your instruction, which means it is like turning a blind eye or involved in corruption and there is no action taken when such things happen, then it means that becomes policy by mere negligence. Can the Minister confirm that he is taking action to communicate to the public to say this is not acceptable and if it happens, they must have a route where to complain?
HON. DR. MUSIIWA: I understand what you are saying and I want to assure this House that we will take action, and particularly for those administrative hospitals that do not follow instructions. We have actually given instructions that it is not Government’s policy and it is not acceptable for them to detain patients. Thank you.
HON. WADYAJENA: Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of privilege. I want to dispel rumours that I am dead – [HON. MEMBERS:
Laughter.] – Madam Speaker, there are …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Wadyajena, please
resume your seat.
HON. WADYAJENA: Madam Speaker, the messages are saying I
perished in a car accident during the course of parliamentary business.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: But people are seeing you.
HON. WADYAJENA: How do I know they are seeing me? –
[HON. MEMBERS: Laughter].
+HON. D. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Minister, it is known that people are allowed to demonstrate. It is permitted and it is there in the Constitution. Minister, I am asking this question because there are workers who have been demonstrating, I do not know whether they are still demonstrating up to now. I would like to know what Government has done about their grievances. Here I am talking about the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers. What has Government done about their grievances? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADANHA): I
would like to start by thanking Hon. Sibanda for a very important question. It is now in the public domain that some workers at NRZ are on strike. Now, what is actually happening at NRZ is, as we all know that the situation at NRZ is that the entity is not actually operating at a profit. Why? Because our railway line is now dilapidated and secondly, the rolling stock is now old to perform efficiently. So, what is happening now is that workers have gone on strike but the reason why workers have gone on strike is not actually that workers are not being paid. Workers are being paid a certain percentage every month and the other remaining percentage which is not being paid accumulatively, can amount to something like 12 months’ salary arrears.
What is the NRZ doing as an entity? NRZ since the start of the strike is encouraging workers to go back to work because at least they are receiving something and are operating at a loss. Some workers have since returned but some remain on strike. The NRZ is concerned and we are going to continue encouraging workers to go back to work. Then another solution that NRZ has adopted is the legal way to at least try and see how best this problem can be resolved legally. So, NRZ is doing everything possible to actually pay its workers. Definitely, I agree that when workers work, they must be paid their salaries but the
problem is that the entity is running at a loss from problems that I have already alluded to. Thank you.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Minister, what corrective measures are you taking towards paying the full amount to the workers so that there is sanity in the system?
HON. MADANHA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like this House to know that NRZ has embarked on a programme to actually recapitalise the entity. Right now we are talking to quite a number of investors who are interested in investing in National Railways of
Zimbabwe. So, the sooner this deal is finalised, the better. However, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is also talking to Treasury so that we can secure funding to pay off the workers. Once this is done, I think everybody will be paid and the problem will be solved. I thank you.
HON. SITHOLE: I want to ask the Hon. Minister to confirm to the House if NRZ is still a going concern. Thank you.
HON. MADANHA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Operating
without profit does not indicate that you are no longer a going concern. NRZ is a going concern unless if someone has information to the contrary and you can make it available to the House. However, as far as we are concerned, we are doing business, we are now in the process of revamping NRZ and we have a number of investors willing to investors.
So, the business of NRZ is going to continue.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My
question is directed to Hon. Hlongwane, the Minister of Sport and Recreation. Firstly, we want to say congratulations for the success of the National soccer team. However, would you please enlighten us on the news circulating on social media that the success of our National team is being credited to the anointed shooters which are being sold, hence the goals that came through – [Laughter.] – on the other hand, we are also hearing others saying there juju was used by the National team for them to win excessively. Would you please enlighten us whether we won fairly without the use of anointed shoes – [Laughter.] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, there is no question which can be answered.
HON. MAPIKI: My question is directed to the Minister of
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Hon. Made. What is Government policy on the irrigation equipment which is assembled in the A2 farming areas? It is not working since there is no water yet the Government needs to pay for that equipment and its not working.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I would
like to thank Hon. Mapiki for his question concerning irrigation equipment in the A2 or A1 farming areas. We have a programme which is being run so that we identify areas with water sources so that we resume the irrigation projects. I would like to assure this House that there is a national programme relating to national irrigation and revitalization of that project, particularly for the A2 and A1 farming areas in the resettlement areas.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: I would like to thank the Minister for the response given. However, as you had admitted that there is a project to address this issue, are you aware that the infrastructure has been in place for a number of years, it is getting obsolete and is being vandalised. Are you going to address this issue when there is absolutely nothing in those areas – Hon. Kasukuwere can you please stop greeting the Minister so that he can understand what I am saying – [Laughter] – Thank you. Will you be able to address these issues because some of the equipment had been stolen whilst some are being vandalised?
*HON. DR. MADE: I would like to thank the Hon. Member. I think the Hon. Member did not understand Hon. Mapiki’s question. Hon. Mapiki said that there is equipment which is already there. I am not surprised because Hon. Mapiki said there is equipment…
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let Hon. Munengami as his
question for the second time.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: My supplementary question is – The Hon. Minister could not understand the question because he was being greeted –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Do not talk about that, ask your supplementary question.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Hon. Minister, my question was, Hon. Mapiki asked about the existing equipment and I asked my question based on the same equipment to say; Do you know that this equipment has been there for a long time and it is becoming obsolete, it is being stolen and vandalised. This being the case, when you go there to carry out irrigation projects, how will you do the operations without the equipment?
HON. DR. MADE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I addressed the question to say Hon. Mapiki asked the question knowing that there is equipment which is still there and should be put to use so that A2 and A1 irrigation schemes to include every area with water are revitalised.
That is how I responded to the question.
HON. CHASI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question concerns a question that has been on the agenda in this country since
- I want to direct my question to the Hon. Minister of Welfare
Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees. The question relating to war veterans continues to be unresolved.
A lot of these people are dying as a result of the ailments that were a result of the war. Their children are not able to go to school because some of them cannot make a living because of the injuries that they sustained during the war. When we made this Constitution, we translated the rights into legal rights to ensure that they are enforceable. This is contained in Section 84 of the Constitution and in terms of Section 84(2), the Constitution contemplates that there will be a law that will come into place and will make it very clear and mandatory what the war veterans and other related classes of persons are entitled to. This means that they can go to court and enforce if they are not given those rights. I would like to know from the Hon. Minister, when we can expect this law to come into place. It is now 36 years. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WELFARE SERVICES FOR WAR
VETERANS, WAR COLLABORATORS, FORMER POLITICAL DETAINEES AND RESTRICTEES (HON. T. J. DUBE): Hon.
Madam Speaker, the answer is contained within the answer to question number 11 and I will answer when it is presented – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. MAONDERA: Madam Speaker, may the Lord help us. My point of order is that if we have Ministers who are sleeping in Parliament not knowing......
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Hon. Member. Hon. Minister, question number 11 is talking about vetting of war collaborators and so forth. It is different from the question which is coming from Hon. Chasi.
THE MINISTER OF WELFARE SERVICES FOR WAR
VETERANS, WAR COLLABORATORS, FORMERS POLITICAL DETAINEES AND RESTRICTEES (HON. T. J. DUBE): Madam
Speaker, – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – You are talking rubbish. I want to thank Hon. Chasi for raising this question. This question has been raised many times and we have tried very hard to answer through the press and from – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order please. Hon. Members, there are so many meetings in this House, can we do the same business please.
*HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. If we have our elderly Ministers in the country, let us give them respect. We are not respecting him when he is responding to the questions. Let us listen to them when they are talking. We are disturbing him from doing his job.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are even disturbing him because he was about to answer – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Minister, do have an answer or you want to talk about it on number 11.
HON. T. J. DUBE: I should go to number 11.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No.
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to Minister Kasukuwere. Hon Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I was here before you Mukwangwariwa, shut up [Laughter] – Hon. Minister is it Government policy – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: On a point of order Madam
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: The Hon. Member is telling me
to keep quiet when I have not said anything to him and he used unparliamentary words. He said shut up.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I do not think
you instruct another Hon. Member to shut up. If you said that you have to withdraw.
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I withdraw the words that I was here before he came. My question to Minister Kasukuwere is that I realise that you are appointing Commissioners with companies to run councils. I believe we are fighting corruption but it seems you are, in a way still providing ground for corruption as these commissioners are engaged in corrupt activities using their owned companies?
*THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I would be more grateful if you can provide me with the details of the names of the companies or the commissioners that you are talking about because we do not want corruption – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members
you are wasting our time.
*HON. KASUKUWERE: Madam Speaker, I really appreciate
that the Hon. Member said that we are fighting corruption and that is very true. There was a lot of corruption and a lot of fraud that was taking place such that the lives of the people in cities, access to water, accessible roads as well as their health was becoming a concern. I am happy that Hon. Chibaya also raised this and it shows he has the concerns of the people at heart. I thank you.
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker for the response that I got. Hon. Minister Kasukuwere, the evidence is here with me. The Commissioner that you appointed, known as Eng. V. Choga in Gweru is the same person who owns the company known as ZIT which did the audit and water infrastructure in Gweru. He was paid $222 000. So, I am saying the evidence is there and it is transparent. You also have to fight this corruption. You are removing this and are increasing the level of corruption through these commissioners. Are these commissioners you are bringing in not taking money from the councils and bring it to you?
*HON. KASUKUWERE: From what I know as the Minister of
Local Government, we had three Commissions that we appointed. For Eng. Choga, I am not aware of him, unless you are the one who appointed him. Should I sit down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ROSE MPOFU: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. What is the
point of order?
+HON. ROSE MPOFU: Madam Speaker, my point of order is that we are sick and tired of people who come here and want to play in parliament. Each time they see that there are cameras; they want to come here and make a lot of noise. Madam Speaker – [Hon. Members:
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Ini handina
kunzwisisa, Hon. Member murikutii?
+HON. MPOFU: Thank you Madam Speaker. People are taking what they are seeing on Television happening in South Africa, they are bringing it here. We are sick and tired of that, if they do not want they must leave this Parliament and go; we are tired – [HON. MEMBERS:
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! I would advise
Hon. Chibaya to put your question in written form for next week because according to our time – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.]- Order, order! It is alright, the Minister can respond now.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam Speaker for your protection. With the evidence that I was given by the Hon. Member, I would be happy if you were to give this evidence promptly, there is nothing that we hide. If he is there and has done such practices, I promise that you that by tomorrow, 0800hrs we would have taken measures.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order! That question only had one supplementary question and as a matter of practice and procedure, normally…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon Member,
you take a lot of time uchitaura – there is no need.
HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to find out
from the Minister that whether the mansion he has built has nothing to do with corruption, since he is also fighting corruption. I thank you.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order! The point of order
is based on my question on Privileges of Parliamentarians. I had requested that the Minister of Finance should come and give us a Policy Statement on financial issues, including the bank notes which are going to be introduced, so I would want to know whether the Speaker as promised yesterday, has had an answer from the Minister if he is coming. If he is not, will he be able to come tomorrow?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we have not
yet received any response from the Minister, so we are pursuing.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
WITHDRAWAL OF OFFER LETTERS FOR FARMS IN
- 1. HON. CHIDHAKWA asked the Minister of Lands and Rural
Resettlement to explain;
- Why the Government has allocated farms in Nyatsime area that belong to Chitungwiza Municipality without withdrawing offer letters.
- Whether the state will withdraw the offer letter and when?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL
RESETLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): May I start by thanking
Hon. Chidhakwa for asking this question. There is need for the farms to be mentioned by name so as to allow me to respond properly but I shall however, proceed to respond in general. There are farms in Nyatsime area which were acquired by the State from the former white farmers as rural agricultural land and the same were allocated to different people under A1, A2 and then peri-urban farming schemes. The farms were requested for urban development by Chitungwiza Municipality sometime in 2013, and the same were handed over to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in 2013, with a condition that my Ministry will need to first re- allocate the affected farmers before the Municipality could start operations. To date, we have managed to re-allocate some of the farmers and are only left with a few.
Therefore, the offer letters will be withdrawn when alternative land is obtained for the farmers or if another arrangement is made for compensation through the Ministry of Local Government.
HON. CHIDHAKWA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Hon. Minister,
the land that you are referring to, there are people who were allocated stands in 2007. People have paid a lot of money towards purchasing those stands. Now, those people do not know exactly what is going to happen, you can imagine from 2007 to 2016, it is a very long period, somebody could have already developed that stand.
Now, if you are saying you do not even know when you are going to identify another piece of land to re-allocate those other farmers, it means, that is going to take a very long period again for those people to be allocated their stands, yet they have already paid money. What is the Government going to do for those who have already paid their money?
Some are even dying before they are allocated their stands. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWAMA: Hon. Chidhakwa, It is a mistake that was done by Chitungwiza Municipality to allocate the stands without following the correct procedures. The procedures is that they were supposed to apply for that land because it was agriculture before land reform. So, they were supposed to apply to the Ministry of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing and then Ministry of
Local Government applies to the Ministry of Lands and Rural
Resettlement. At this stage we had already handed over the six farms to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing but we are still waiting for these people who are there to be given some other area to resettle.
PROMOTION OF DOMESTIC TOURISM
- HON. ZHOU asked the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality
- to state the steps the Ministry is taking to promote domestic tourism for example in places like Mberengwa, where the liberation freedom fighters were receiving treatment;
- To explain why these places are not on the Zimbabwe map.
THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
INDUSTRY (HON. ENG. MZEMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I wish
to thank the Hon. Member for appreciating through his question, the value of domestic tourism. Indeed, I wish to share with him that the new national tourism policy gives more prominence to the development and promotion of domestic tourism, with the realization that domestic tourism is the anchor upon which international tourism should be built. To this extend, my Ministry is undertaking the following measures:-
- Finalizing in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority, the drive towards the ‘know your Zimbabwe, know your country’ campaign that will see every Zimbabwean being exposed to the endowments that our nation is blessed with. We should see vigorous awareness campaigns that are targeting the domestic market.
- Engaging the hospitality sector to come up with packages that are affordable to our people.
- In collaboration with other Ministries and parastatals, various forms of domestic tourism are either already under development or are planned for development. These include historical, cultural, heritage, religious, sport, culinary and agro-tourism amongst others.
- The promotion of school tourism in order to instill in young school children the value of tourism at an early age. With support from the African Development Bank and the Japan International Corporation Agency, countrywide surveys to identify functional, non functional and new community based tourism enterprises, what we commonly refer to as CBTs are being undertaken. A capacity development programme is being developed for the CBTs in order to ensure their viability. Viable CBTs will provide an increased number of diversified and unique tourism products. CBTs will facilitate:
- The empowerment of communities so that they actively participate and benefit from value addition and beneficiation of tourism resources that are resident in their communities.
- Capacitate communities to own and viably manage their
CBTs, develop diverse and unique tourism products and services that they can successfully market to domestic and international tourists. iii) Create employment for communities thereby increasing their incomes and finally ensure sustainable development and management of natural resources in communities.
In part b): The Hon. Member asked us to explain why these places are not on the Zimbabwean map. All tourism products in the country need to be packaged and incorporated on the Zimbabwe Tourism map for marketing purposes. This is being done for existing products, new products that are under development which will in due course include places in Mberengwa, where liberation freedom fighters were receiving treatment and similar reach liberation war sites will need to be developed, packaged and marketed to both domestic and international
These products are national pride issues and we are proud to market them. Before I take leave, and sit down, I just wish to underscore that the success of domestic tourism is anchored by the ability of the nation to raise a middle class that can afford the products. So, we must all work conscientiously to raise a middle class that can afford those products and begin to holiday and enjoy our products. I also wish to share with you a benchmark statistic, I have just come back from the People’s Republic of China, apart from providing 120 million our bound tourists, the success of China tourism is anchored on their ability to raise a middle class in their country of 300 to 400 million people. Recently they shared with us that domestic trips alone are accounting for 4.1 billion visits in their own country. I wish, going forward that as we capture national tourism statistics; we also capture domestic tourism trips that are being done by our people for whatever reason, religious, liberation, site visits and others. I thank you so much.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My
supplementary is directed to Dr. Mzembi. I want to thank him firstly for the good job that he is doing for this nation as well as the Ministry. He is one of the few Ministers who give us information on what is happening. My question is on the issue of domestic tourism, which you mentioned. It is possible for people who have areas or communities for example where wars were fought that people can come and tour the areas. It is possible to get funding or to find partners or investors who can assist in this domestic tourism, I know you always assist but is it possible to get such partnerships.
*HON. ENG. MZEMBI: I want to thank the Hon. Member for
the question that he raised and I thank him for congratulating us for the work that we are doing in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. I first want to enlighten this House that for us to progress in terms of tourism in this country as well as to also bring up domestic tourism in our communities and the liberation sites where the wars were fought – I want to let him know that firstly, we have agreed with our funders that we need to relook at the map of Zimbabwe and look at the tourism master planning that will show us new products that we are talking about. We will start with what you mentioned as well as the water bodies. Wherever there is water, there is tourism, tourism and water cannot be separated. There is nowhere where you get tourism and there is no water, whether it is abroad or here in Africa. As you come in as a tourist, the first thing you want is to bath and then all sports are conducted in water; including water sports such as boating and surfing, diving and agriculture. All these happen around those areas. So, we are doing the maps and we are plotting all the areas where there are water bodies. All those areas will be designated for tourism and all this is in the plan that we are drawing to redraw the tourism map of Zimbabwe.
On the issue of funding that is earmarked for such projects, yesterday Hon. Chinamasa, in Cabinet, noted 4 Ministries which he is going to channel money that is coming from AfriExim Bank. He said that money will also benefit the tourism sector. What I can tell Members of Parliament is that I do not have funds that will address each person’s constituency, but I have an office and you are aware of where it is, opposite Joina City. I have an open door policy. You can pay us a visit individually and give us projects in your constituencies. We have officers who will address this but we do not have teams to go and do that in your different constituencies.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary
question to the Hon. Minister is based on your tourism strategy that you spoke about. In it, do you have a deliberate place where you have placed the US$150 million infrastructure at Victoria Falls Airport in order to market that place; in order to optimally utilise it so that we do not have it becoming a white elephant. Also what is it in that strategy that you are doing to promote the uni-visa system, taking into account global best practices, such as the one in the Scandanavian countries, Germany and Switzerland that have formed seamless borders using one visa system. I thank you.
HON. DR. MZEMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank
Hon. Nduna for his question. He is asking a very important question -
“are we going to make optimal use of Victoria Falls Airport”; the intention is certainly, yes. How do we perceive it from our broad strategy for tourism development in the country? It is the game changer – game changer to the extent that I can share with Hon. Nduna that I have done benchmark visits to two other falls in the world. Igwazu which is bordered between Brazil, Agentina and Paraguay and Niagara
Falls, which is shared between Canada and the United States of America (USA). In both instances, I was able to establish that every square metre of the falls area in both Igwazu and Niagara is a cost centre of some sort. It must generate revenue that is predetermined and known, which is unlike our case.
I was also able to establish that the Niagara Falls, for example, is a US$30 billion economy between the USA and Canada whereas in our instance between Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is a US$1 billion economy. We were able to understand and agreed that the opportunity, going forward with the Victoria Falls, is actually in closing that gap between US$1 billion and US$30 billion. So, we have a US$29 billion gap. How do we close it? We close it through planting of infrastructure; starting with our gates; our ports of entry.
This is why, prior to the UNWTO General Assembly, we inspired this airport project so that it would go forward to receive and process more visitors between us and the Zambians across the border at Herikombula before development of the two new airport we were processing half a million visitors. We anticipate that Victoria Falls alone will process between 1.8million to 2 million visitors per year. If you combine the added on infrastructure from Zambia, we should be doing between 3 to 4 million visitors going forward.
If each visitor comes to spend in the Victoria Falls; our average spent for international tourism is US$1.2 per visitor. You can do your own computation and see how much US$1.2 times 4 million will give you. It is US$4.8 billion, which is bigger than the size of our fiscal budget, just coming through Victoria Falls alone. So, yes, we intend to make it active but I am not responsible for the signing up of airlines. It is done by another enabler Ministry. We are collectively looking at now, making sure that by the time we commission Victoria Falls Airport, we at least have five airline agreements that will activate and make this airport not redundant but active. I am aware of efforts that are taking place within the enabler Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural
Development. I thank you.
*HON. A. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My
question is directed to the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. He talked about religion and he said those religious groups always assist us. I see that they come in big numbers to attend their conferences here; can we not use religious tourism to improve our tourism sector?
*HON. DR. MZEMBI: Hon. Mnangagwa, I want to thank you for
that pertinent question. Most people that we see in religious sects, indifferent – this last weekend we saw a lot of them from PHD as well as from UFI. There is a difference between religious tourists and congregants who come to worship. Most are congregants; for us to say that person is a tourist, that person will have visited and spent a day in Zimbabwe and spend money paying hotel bills. If you visit from Masvingo to Harare just to worship and sleep in Harare, if we do not know the mode of transport you used and where you slept, we do not have the means to track whether you were a tourist.
We urge those people who come here to see prophets Magaya and Makandiwa to also register their lodges and pay the required taxes to the tourism sectors - the 2% levy as well as in the hotels where they stay. Those who come and stay with relatives for some time, they may be eight, there is no contribution to tourism. We are actually encouraging the religious sector to register these and for them to pay taxes. Firstly, from the buses and cars that they use to transport people, those should be registered and ensure that all cars that are extending hire services to the public should pay the intended taxes. We realised that they always ferry people using their buses, but they forget that once they start doing that they are already in our books in terms of remitting taxes.
For those who go and stay in the lodges they also need to pay and those who have built their own accommodation also need to register what they have built. We engaged them and they appeared to understand what we were talking about in terms of paying taxes. I have not seen them opposing that measure. So, we have embarked on a project to make sure that they register so that they pay taxes to
Government. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I thought I said that was the
last supplementary question. I am sorry, you may put your question in writing if you want some explanation from the Minister.
ENROLMENT OF NURSES BY TRAINING COLLEGES
- HON.P. ZHOU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain why nurses training colleges continue to enroll nurses for training while the majority of graduates from these colleges remain unemployed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. MUSIIWA): Thank you. Nurse Training intakes have been already been scaled down by more than 40 %. It is true that about 4 000 nurses who completed training were not offered jobs by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Many nurses have looked for employment in the in the private sector within and outside the country. although we have Currently, over 5000 nurses who have not been absorbed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care if it had been properly resourced would be able to take about 5000 if we have the funds were available.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care trains nurses for all health institutions in Zimbabwe including the private sector. The student nurses also form part of the workforce as they train. If training was to be stopped, more registered nurses would need to be employed as general nurses. If training is to be stopped completely it is not easy to restart.
Training is part of this nation’s human capital development. The demand to employ our locally trained nurses in the region and abroad is a testament to training human capital development.
*HON. MAPIKI: My supplementary to the Minister is that can it be Government policy that the nurses that are trained and are seated at home should be employed as village health workers than for them to get village health workers to assist people in communities.
*HON. MUSIIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Mapiki for raising that question. I may answer it in this manner, the registered nurse and the as village health worker are different in that the village health worker at the present moment is a voluntary worker. There is no money they receive every month except for the little allowance that they get. So we still say if money was available we would have employed the registered nurse than the village health worker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I know that at some point we imported doctors from Cuba and Cuba gave us doctors for a very long time. At some point we also got labour from China. They exported their prisoners to this country. Would we not be able to think outside the box and also export our technocrats to other countries to places like Sudan, Angola and also in reciprocation to Cuba and also get remuneration for the same …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member Nduna. If
you want the Minister to answer, that is a separate question to what is obtaining here. You may put it in writing so that he can respond. I am told it is already on the Order Paper the question that you are trying to raise. So we will give the Minister a chance when we come to that question.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My question was to the Minister of Health. He has mentioned that we are training human capital is it not possible that as a Government we also have nurses that we put in a pool. We should also to engage other countries for our children to get jobs in those countries. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, before we
embark on these supplementary questions or whatever we need to ask.
Let us first of all go through the Order Paper and see if that question is not asked again. So you are asking a question that has been already asked on the Order Paper.
CONSTRUCTION OF CLINIC IN DZVAIRO VILLAGE
- HON. CHITURA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain whether there are plans to construct a clinic in Dzvairo village which is under Chief Makoni.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. MUSIIWA): Thank you. Dzvairo Village is about 10 km away from the next Clinic (Tsanzaguru) which is in the urban set up that of Rusape Town Council. The Ministry has realised the need to construct a health facility in this area. In liaison with Makoni Rural District Council, the Ministry has plans to construct a Rural Health Centre in Dzvairo Village and a site has already been identified. The major challenge at the present moment is the limited fiscus space, due to the prevailing economic conditions. Once resources become available this project is a priority in terms of providing health infrastructure development in the
District. I thank you.
INCREASE OF LABORATORIES AT GOVERNMENT
- HON. CHITURA: asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state whether the Ministry has plans to increase the number of laboratories at government hospitals considering that citizens are forced to seek laboratory services from private sector whose rates are beyond the reach of many.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. MUSIIWA): Thank you. The issue around Laboratory Services provision does not hinge on the number of current Laboratories only. Government has made effort to decentralise laboratory services through the introduction of point of care machines in rural health centres as well as clinics in the urban areas. This has seen an increase in the number of CD4 tests done on patients. In this view, Viral Load technology is also underway.
As for the existing laboratories, challenges have been found in terms of staffing due to frozen posts as well as lack of equipment and reagents. Most of the funding is currently from the Global Fund and it supports vertical programmes, namely malaria, TB and HIV. This leaves challenges in the diagnosis of non-communicable diseases like cancers, diabetes and other communicable diseases like Ebola, typhoid, diarrhoea diseases, etcetera. Therefore, a separate budget of these conditions needs to be availed to have the laboratories run at full throttle.
Increasing the number of laboratories is not the solution as the current tiered system can cater for the needs as long as the challenges are addressed. Currently, we have hundred and twenty six (126) laboratories in the country.
HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Minister, Bindura Hospital is running out of very essential drugs and what plans are underway in order for you to replace some of these essential drugs?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):
Order, where is it related to Question number 5. That does not arise and your supplementary question is not connected to the question that has been asked here.
HON. MUSANHI: I am asking about policy as to what are they going to do to replace essential drugs in essential hospitals.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Please
resume your seat and reserve that question for next week.
SHORTAGE OF PATHOLOGISTS AT GOVERNMENT
- HON. T. ZHOU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain measures the Ministry has put in place to address the shortages of pathologists at Government hospitals in view of the fact that there is currently one Cuban Pathologist who is based at Parirenyatwa Group of
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Pathologists specialise in different sub-specialties such as Forensic Pathology, Histopathology,
Hematology, Microbiology, Chemical Pathology and Transfusion
Medicine. The University of Zimbabwe is able to train
Histopathologists who among other things are the experts who
diagonose Cancer. There are two Histopathologists in Bulawayo, one based at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and the second one based at Mpilo Central Hospital. These two cover the five provinces of
Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Midlands and
Masvingo. Harare has three Histopathologists who are based at Parirenyatwa Hospital and are responsible for training and service for the other five provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland East,
Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Harare. While they can also handle minor forensic cases, the major ones such as murder and dfecomposed bodies require the expertise of a Forensic Pathologist.
Training is not yet locally available for the other sub-specialties. However, there is one Hematologist based at Mpilo Central Hospital and four in Harare who are lecturers with the University of Zimbabwe. They are planning to commence post graduate training as well.
The major challenge is the shortage of Forensic Pathologists and since 1980, the nation has relied on expatriates from India, Tanzania, Nigeria and now Cuba. We currently have three Cuban Forensic Pathologists in the service with two based in Bulawayo and one based in Harare. The nature of Forensic pathology is that it is a medico-legal specialty and the Pathologists have to testify in court on very contentious life and death cases such as murder. Zimbabwe’s legal system is adversarial in nature and the atmosphere in courts is very hostile. The outcome of that hostile due process is that none of the Zimbabwean Doctors have chosen Forensic Pathology for a career. Other jurisdictions have protected their forensic experts by creating the office of a Coroner who then creates a buffer between the Forensic experts and the courts.
Consultations between the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs have been conducted over the last two decades. Cabinet then approved the enactment of a Coroner’s legislation to be spearheaded by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in July 2014. As Ministry of Health and Child Care, we were promised by the Office of the Attorney General that the draft Coroner’s Bill would be ready for consultations by the end of December 2015. However, that did not materialise and we are still waiting.
Some of our doctors have expressed interest in taking up Forensic speciality and we have linked them with the University of Natal in South Africa since we do not have local training in Zimbabwe. However, that also is a futile exercise unless they are covered by the Coroner and we urge Parliament to assist in expediting the passing of the Coroner’s Bill.
POLICY COMPELLING EXPECTANT MOTHERS TO ENSURE
PREVENTION OF HIV FROM MOTHER TO CHILD
- HON. MAHIYA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House whether there is any policy that compels HIV Positive expectant mothers to ensure that mother to child transmission of HIV is prevented.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. All pregnant women presenting to antenatal clinics to book their pregnancies receive group education sessions on pregnancy care including the benefits of one knowing their HIV status. This is what we call the group counselling session. In this session, women are informed that they can receive an HIV test at booking, but that is not mandatory. They are also informed that they will receive antiretroviral treatment for life “Option B+” if they test HIV positive. Those who do not wish to be tested are not forced to test. After the group education session, individual women then go on for consultation with the health care provider who offers the HIV test, to which women have the right to opt-out. Those women who opt-out receive more detailed counselling in subsequent visits to deal with some of the reasons why they may not wish to be tested in this particular visit.
Even taking antiretroviral treatment is a voluntary decision that a woman takes should she be found to be HIV positive, as some women may not be ready to take ART for life. Some women may want to concur with their male partners/husbands before taking antiretroviral treatment.
In the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV programme, acceptance for HIV testing is very high with 99% of pregnant women presenting for antenatal clinic accepting to test.
Among those who are found to be HIV positive, 98% are initiated on ART. However, relative to all established HIV positive pregnant women in need of ART including some who may not have come for the ANC, the country population coverage for ARVs for prevention from mother to child transmission drops to 85% and certainly there are about 7% of pregnant women who do not book for antenatal at all and therefore miss the opportunity for delivering HIV free children. These include women of certain cultures and certain religions and some who are limited from accessing care because of the distance to the facilities and some because of cost. Thank you.
IMPROVEMENT OF CANCER SCREENING COVERAGE
- HON. MAHIYA asked the Deputy Minister of Health and Child
Care to state the measures that the Ministry is taking to improve the percentage of cancer screening coverage which is currently less than 5% nationwide.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Mahiya for asking this question and it is another very pertinent question about the coverage of cancer screening. I want to alert this House that access to cervical cancer screening has greatly improved with most of the provincial hospitals now offering Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid Services. In addition to the provincial hospitals, supporting Visual Inspection with acetic acid programme, each province has at least three or more district/mission hospitals offering Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid Services. The screening is free of charge and is included in the routine duties of our Health Care Workers.
We also have a programme of prevention and control of cervical cancer that is being spearheaded by the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe. It has managed to provide psychological support to cancer clients and their families through individual family counseling and support groups to enable them to cope with their condition and to reduce stigma and discrimination. In 2015, the Association embarked on breast and cervical cancer education and screening outreach projects, 200km from the city of Harare. A baseline survey and an end line project evaluation was done (see results on www.cancerzimbabwe.org). This project saw 4 228 women screened for cervical cancer and 3 316 women being screened for breast cancer.
Partners in Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid programme include MSF Belgium which is running a Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid programme in Gutu District while MSF Holland is in Epworth. This is a positive development, especially bearing in mind that cervical cancer accounts for a third of the total cancer burden in Zimbabwe.
We also have a programme at Parirenyatwa Hospital where we have oncologists collaborating with the Breast Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Jenny Edge and Prof. Ken Boffard from Cape Town, South Africa. We are also training our Health Care workers under the Ministry of Health and Child Care through the oncologists in the identification of breast cancer and screening.
At Mpilo Central Hospital, we have a mammography machine purchased by the National Aids Council. The Ministry of Health and Child Care and their partners are training Health Care Workers on the use of this new machine. I thank you.
ADVERTISEMENT INVITING NURSES TO SEEK EMPLOYMENT
IN SOUTH SUDAN
- HON. MASIYA asked the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care:
- to state whether he is aware of the advertisement in the media inviting state registered nurses to seek employment in South Sudan;
- if so, can the Minister appraise the House of their employment benefits and allay fears that they may be exploited;
- to assure the House that the nurses will be safe from the civil wars in
South Sudan; and
- to indicate how many Zimbabwean nurses have taken this offer.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE
(HON. DR. MUSIIWA): I would like to thank Hon. Masiya for asking this question. I think this is a topical question and most members wanted to find out. Well, both the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the South Sudan Embassy were not aware of the adverts in the media inviting state registered nurses to seek employment in South Sudan. This was only brought to our attention through the question in Parliament. If there are any advertisements to be done, this will have to be discussed by the Minister of Health and Child Care and the Health Services Board, guided by consultations at the appropriate levels.
However, I want to alert the House that as a Government and Ministry, we have over 5 000 nurses that we have trained and are not employed. So, we are at the moment negotiating protocols with four separate governments and one of them is South Sudan. Should the Government to government agreement be finalised, such issues with then be looked into with the advice of the Attorney General.
And to assure the House that nurses will be safe from the civil wars in South Sudan, this will be discussed with the South Sudanese Government at the appropriate time. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through their embassies will be able to give guidance on security matters.
Since this is still work-in-progress, we do not have the exact numbers of nurses that have taken this offer. We are hopeful that once the agreement is in place, then we will be able to work with the numbers also taking into consideration our own requirements.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):
Hon. Minister, maybe for clarification. How would you then have the numbers when you are not dealing with this issue at the moment because that is the question here? You seem to have said you were not aware of the advert as a Ministry and you only got involved when this question was posed to your Ministry by the Hon. Member. Can you be clear because we do not want to end with a situation that we had with Kuwait.
If you could come up exactly with what your Ministry is doing.
HON. DR. MUSIIWA: The first part of the question was whether we were aware that there were adverts in the press and it is to that question that we said the Ministry was not aware because we had not been alerted that there were such adverts. However, at the moment if there were any adverts, they are not emanating from the Ministry because we do not have a government to government agreement with that of South Sudan. In the absence of such an agreement, it would then be not possible for the Ministry to give guidance. Thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: The Minister indicated that they are working on a government to government agreement. Could the Minister highlight to the House, how in those proposals you intend the country to benefit, financially or otherwise? How are you proposing to benefit as a country?
HON. DR. MUSIIWA: I want to thank the Hon. Member for
seeking this clarification. However, it would be a bit difficult to preempt the negotiations at this stage but suffice to say, as a country we have already committed resources in the training of the nurses. Any trained human resources, if they are not utilised, that training becomes redundant. So, we are going to benefit by making sure our human resources are committed, so that in future even when we need them and want to come back home, they will still be useable.
In any case, as I said, human resource is very important. In this relationship, we expect to get at least some remittance when they are employed outside the country. We are also hoping for a fair compensation from those Governments for the training costs that we incurred. This is normal practice. I thank you.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO) in terms of Standing Order
FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT ON HARNESSING
BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC
HON. DR. MATARUSE: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development on Harnessing Biotechnology for Socio-Economic
HON. MACHINGURA: I second.
HON. DR. MATARUSE: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me a chance to present a report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher and
Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development on
Harnessing Biotechnology for Socio-Economic Development.
Mr. Speaker Sir, please allow me to start by defining biotechnology. Biotechnology refers to any technological process which involves parts of living organisms or living organisms to produce new products or improve existing products. Biotechnology is one of the emerging technologies with a huge potential to empower people to attain food and nutritional security. It has been identified as one of the most promising tools that can bring about rapid and sustainable socioeconomic development in Zimbabwe.
In order to complement the role of biotechnology, the Zimbabwean Government has put in place an institutional framework for harnessing biotechnology to address challenges in agriculture, health, energy, environment, industrial development, employment and growing export receipts. However, despite the efforts of the Government in promoting biotechnology, many people are still not aware of opportunities and benefits presented by the technology.
It is therefore against this background that the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology
Development found it important to conduct an inquiry on the benefits and opportunities of biotechnology.
In conducting the enquiry, the Committee was motivated to achieve the following issues;
To understand the role of the National Biotechnology Authority;
- To assess the benefits of the National Biotechnology and Biosafety to the nation and;
- To offer policy recommendations that might harness biotechnology for socio-economic development.
In order to get more information on biotechnology, the Committee used the multi-pronged approach.
- The Portfolio Committee invited the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to explain Government policy regarding the use of Biotechnology in Zimbabwe.
- The Committee attended a sensitisation workshop on the 28th of March, 2014 at the Harare International Conference Centre. The workshop deliberated on Biotechnology and its applications, regional experiences in biotechnology and biosafety.
The Committee had an opportunity to tour the National Biotechnology Authority premises in order to understand the nature of projects being run by the Authority and the benefits of biotechnology and biosafety to the nation.
- The Committee received oral evidence from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development on the use of Biotechnology in Zimbabwe.
Submissions from the National Biotechnology Authority
- Biotechnology has been identified as one of the most promising tools that can bring about rapid and sustained socio-economic development in Zimbabwe. This has prompted the Government of Zimbabwe to establish the National Biotechnology Authority which is mandated with advising Government on all aspects of biotechnology and ensuring that biosafety and biosecurity measures are done in accordance with the provisions of the
National Biotechnology Act of 2006.
In order to complement the role of biotechnology, the Zimbabwean Government put in place an institutional framework for harnessing biotechnology to address challenges in agriculture, health, energy, environment, industrial development, employment and growing export receipts.
- In 1998, Zimbabwe set up a National Biosafety Framework; through the amendment of the Research Act to provide for the management of potentially harmful technologies and undertakings. In 2000, the Research (Biosafety) Regulations were developed and gazetted and the Biosafety Board was established. The National Biotechnology Policy was developed in 2005. The Government, through the National Biotechnology Policy agreed to allocate 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) towards biotechnology research, development, application and regulation. To reinforce the policy framework, a new law establishing the National Biotechnology
Authority (NBA) came into effect – the National Biotechnology
Authority Act of 2006 [Chapter 14:31]. The NBA Act of 2006
replaced the Research Amendment Act of 1998 and repealed the
Research (Biosafety) Regulations of 2000, whilst the National Biotechnology Authority replaced the Biosafety Board.
- Zimbabwe is a signatory to both the Convention of Biological
Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB). The
National Biotechnology Authority (NBA) represents the
Government of Zimbabwe at the United Nations Convention as the National Focal Point of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The NBA has established a Biosafety Clearing-House as one of the ways of fulfilling obligations of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. A BCH facilitates the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with Living Modified Organisms.
Although Zimbabwe has made significant strides in legal and institutional frameworks for managing and supporting biotechnology, many people are still not aware of biotechnology and its applications.
Limited biotechnology awareness may prevent the nation from realising the potential benefits and opportunities presented by the technology.
To date, awareness initiatives have seen policy makers, researchers and senior Government officials going to Burkina Faso in 2012 to tour Bt-cotton fields in Burkina Faso. Officials have also visited Malawi.
The delegation that visited Burkina Faso noted that farmers who grow Bt-cotton reported the following benefits; reduction of pesticide sprays from 10 to 2 per season, reduction of health problems from pesticides, increased yields, increased income, improved quality of yields and time and labour savings.
Biotechnology and indeed, other emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, nano-biotechnology, synthetic biology, etc, have impacts whose effects are being felt in the whole world. Already the origin of anthrax (Bacillus anthrasis), Ebola virus, and HIV/AIDS virus can be linked to biotechnology. These technologies are part of the future and deserve a special recognition by Governments, especially in Third World countries; otherwise we remain net importers of products and processes of these technologies. In Zimbabwe, for example, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are on the market whilst the Government has a policy that does not allow the growing of GMOs in the country.
These GMOs which are already on the market will continue to impact the environment systems, food production systems, pharmaceutical and biological warfare and bioterrorism issues. The sooner our government recognises this, the better, because necessary precautions will be taken.
The potential benefits from the use of biotechnology in Zimbabwe include:
- Medical biotechnology: A good health system is an important priority for all governments worldwide. It is also one of the fastest growing opportunities for employment in the medical research field. Zimbabwe is poised to benefit from new and effective vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tools that have been developed by the medical biotechnology for cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Current attempts to grow tobacco carrying the antibodies to fight Ebola virus are underway in other countries. Insulin tobacco is being grown to produce hormone insulin which treats diabetes.
- Industrial biotechnology: Industrial biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms which are biotechnology products to make bio-based products in sectors as diverse as chemicals, food and feed, heathcare, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and energy. Industrial biotechnology holds promise by avoiding the use of limited fossil resources as starting materials, but in some instances it competes with edible feed stocks. The predication on use of biotechnology stretching up to 2030 indicates an upward spiral use of biotechnology in bio-fuels from non-edible biomass (OECD, 2013).
- Environmental Biotechnology: The primary role of environmental biotechnology is to develop better approaches for sustainable development and for understanding processes in the natural environment. The driving force of biotechnology is the ability of microorganisms to utilize various carbon sources naturally occurring as pollutants. There is an increasing interest in environmental biotechnology owing to a worldwide need to feed the world’s growing population and issues to deal with maintaining a clean environment. (AU 3063, Report). For instance, with biotechnology, environmentally friendly products like plastics that are non-bio-degradable (that can disappear after being disposed due to dissolution through the sun’s heat) can be manufactured.
- Agricultural Biotechnology: Challenges facing our agriculture sector are predominantly low yields and cost of production (pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers). These challenges can be reduced when alternative agricultural technologies are applied. One such technology with a lot of potential is modern biotechnology. On the world markets, transgenic crops which have been commercially released include maize, soya bean, cotton, oil seed rape, sugar beet, alfalfa, pawpaw and squash. Virus resistance and herbicide tolerance are among some of the most common traits for these transgenic crops and the list is growing on daily basis (ISSA global report, 2015). The Government of Zimbabwe has a zero tolerance to GM crops and products but research has to be promoted. While on the other hand, other
Southern African Development Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa countries such as Malawi have also started Bt cotton field trials. South Africa adopted biotechnology 17-18 years ago growing 70% of its maize and 95% of its soya beans has greatly improved in its production and is now able to supply and feed its population more than what it used to do in the past before they adopted the use of biotechnology as well as producing surplus which they export hence earning foreign currency.
Are GMO Foods Safe?
- GMO crops are subjected to rigorous risk assessment before they are released into the market. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) all GMO foods which are available on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not
likely to cause any health risks. In addition, to date there is no record of any effects of GMO foods to human health. These sentiments have also been echoed by other international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the European Commission, the French Academy of medicine, the American Medical Association and the American Society of Toxicology which have all concluded that GMO foods are safe for human health. Locally the National Biotechnology authority ensures enforcement of risk assessment procedures are done and they comply with regulatory requirements. Zimbabwe has managed to establish capacity for effective regulation and management of potentially harmful technologies and undertakings.
National Biotechnology Authority Operational Challenges
- The N.B.A has a number of challenges to be addressed for it to fully execute its mandate activities.
- National Bio-safety Reference Laboratory
- As a National Competent Authority, the NBA is mandated to establish a National Bio-safety reference laboratory manning all Bio-safety Levels from 1 to 4. A facility of this kind is currently lacking in Zimbabwe and its construction will give Zimbabwe the capacity to handle high risk category living microorganisms. It is important that Zimbabwe through NBA requires such a facility in order to be able to bench mark our test results with other biotechnology laboratories in the region and beyond. Currently, many analytical centres, research and academic institutions are relying on foreign laboratories for advanced analysis. NBA will generate income by carrying out various analytical tests (gene analysis, particle analysis, drug analysis and forensics) for our regional and local clients on a recovery basis. Furthermore, the laboratory facility will also offer training of good laboratory practices and for capacity building. Consequently, as a nation we fail to deal with cases of emergency that need research for instance
Ebola, if the Level 4 Reference Laboratory is not in place.
- The Committee noted that NBA is one of the few scientific and technological research institutions without an Institutional farm.
- The Committee also noted the lack of resources for establishing offices at all points of entry.
- The vehicle fleet available for surveillance and monitoring activities are more than 8 years old and needs to be replaced.
Submissions from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and
- The Zimbabwe Perspective on Agricultural Biotechnology.
- Agricultural biotechnology applications have been used and still continue to be around the world including Zimbabwe, in crop improvement and in production of bio-fertilizers and biopesticides. A good example of bio-fertilizer in Zimbabwe is that of the rhizobium inoculants technology for enhancement of biological nitrogen fixation in grain legumes (soya bean, cowpeas, groundnuts, sugar bean and pea) and pasture legumes (Lucerne, lab lab, sun hemp and velvet bean and alfalfa). The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development has a factory in Marondera for manufacturing such bio-fertilisers. These biotechnological applications are derived from conventional biotechnology rather than from bio-engineering to create GMOs.
- Currently, Zimbabwe has varieties of various major crops developed using conventional biotechnology. Examples include those major crops such as maize, wheat, soya bean, cotton and tobacco. Zimbabwean institutions involved in conventional plant breeding include the Department of Research and Specialist Services (Crop Breeding Institute and Cotton Research Institute) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; the Tobacco Research Board – a parastatal in the same Ministry; the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre (SIRDC) and private seed companies.
- Zimbabwe continues to achieve high genetic yields of crops using conventional crop improvement, aided by use of nonbiotechnological applications. The demand for Zimbabwean varieties has increased both in the SADC region and other markets in Africa. Seed Co. has used the opportunity of having good genetics to penetrate markets in 15 African countries with crop varieties bred in Zimbabwe and maize has taken the leading position in that expansion. Other smaller seed companies operating in Zimbabwe are also tapping into opportunities available in the SADC region to export seed of selected crop varieties. Genetic modification is relatively new technology and it is difficult to tell what the long term effects would be from eating foods produced from GM crops. Most developing countries do not have the means to produce GM food or monitor their impact on the environment. Researchers at New York University found that BT toxins from decaying stalks and residues of BT maize leached into the soil and stay there for nearly a year. The fear was that with more BT cotton in the soil, pests will develop resistance to it and growers of organic food crops would lose the use of natural soil born Bt for pest control. For Zimbabwe it is important to invest in key-agricultural drivers, inputs, irrigation, mechanization for increasing productive and production using the currently available good genetics.
A worst case scenario would be where conventional crop growers turn to more toxic pesticides due to pesticide resistance created in the environment by pesticide resistance GM crops. That would increase pesticide use rather than decrease it. There is also the threat that niche organic crops would be contaminated with GM crops from the drift of genetic altered pollen. This creates a dilemma for organic crop growers, to illustrate the point, the United States Department of Agriculture regulation for organic food crops and specifically prohibit GMO’s. The current debate and uncertainty surrounding bio-engineering GMO products makes it imperative for Zimbabwe to be cautious and keep the later out of food and field chains. Currently the genetic potential of national crop variety is good. There is also great potential to sell and select some of the indigenous franchise to de-completely productive for feeding animals.
Therefore, the issue of availability of affordable and accessible inputs should be the main pre-occupation for increasing productive productivity yields and quality of products at the farm level and for increasing the overall national crop and livestock production in the country. Investment in irrigation development would be another key driver for increasing crop productivity and production using the available genetics. If the later investment are dovetailed with investment in appropriately gradiated mechanism to suit various levels of farm sizes that exists in the country, both human food and livestock feed security will be greatly enhanced.
ZIMBABWE NATIONAL FARMERS UNION VIEWS ON
Zimbabwe National Farmers Union recognizes and respects
Ministry of Agriculture’s policy which is clear that Zimbabwe is a non GMO country. The union views that about 29 biotech countries in the world, 19 are industrialized. Another 30 are importers of biotech products approving use of biotech products and 75% of the world’s populations live in these 59 countries.
The following are the Union’s view on biotechnology
- There is need to mount comprehensive participatory research trials on biotech agric projects to arm stakeholders with an adequate information base to support the anti biotech-agricultural stance.
- Biotech products be they imported, donated or grown, go a long way in improving household incomes and at times nutritional quality of staple foods but should be bio-safety and environmentally friendly.
- There is need to complement AU, COMESA efforts since there is evidence that these communities seek to strategise use of biotech agriculture to combat the drastic effects of poverty and malnutrition.
- It has a role to facilitate ascertaining domestic and functional biosafety systems that are international binding.
- Article 4 of the COMESA treaty calls for member state to establish a Customs Union that seeks to simplify and harmonise trade documents and procedures. In which case Zimbabwe becomes an active recipient of these products as international and local traders seek to maximise profits from our multi-currency basket.
- Our borders are porous and have been allowing the importation of
- The time is now to perhaps demystify the knowns and unknowns of Biotech Agriculture so that it is included in education curricula as Government policy.
- The Biotech Council of Zimbabwe plays a central role as a panel of experts to advise on issues relating to risk assessment and standardize a more transparent cost effective share on handling and managing Biotech Agric.
The farmers Union calls for comprehensive participatory trials so that there is adequate evidence for farmers to be able to do evidence based tests.
In addition, the Farmers Union also noted that risk assessment Committees are in place in all COMESA Member States to assess and ascertain the level of adversity in GMO products
The Vice President of the Farmers Union went to Malawi to see Bt Cotton trials and noted that the trials were meant to boost resistance on myotis bollworms and it will save the use of pesticides.
4.6 WORKSHOP RECOMMENDATIONS
It was observed that due to financial constrains, a few people had the opportunity to tour biotechnology fields hence a need exists to disseminate the information to a wider audience including policy makers, scientists and the general public. Awareness creation amongst senior Government officials and Members of Parliament is key because they form an integral part of the policy making process in Zimbabwe. In addition, they have the potential to create awareness amongst legislators and senior Government officials.
In view of the above reasons, the national Biotechnology Authority organised a one day workshop to create awareness amongst Legislators and senior Government officials.
After several discussions on how to promote adoption of biotechnology, the meeting came up with the following recommendations
- Need to have ‘seeing-is-believing’ tours for Legislators to countries which have adopted biotechnology.
- Need for Zimbabwe to work with regional bodies for financial and technical support.
- Need for Zimbabwe to support research and to solve problems so as to generate solutions using Biotechnology.
- Need for universities to produce students with industrial experience as well as entrepreneurial skills to promote innovation and biotechnology enterprises.
4.7 TRIP TO MALAWI
The Committee Chairperson had the opportunity to travel to
Malawi to see Bt cotton trials and noted the following:
- The BT gene is effective in controlling bollworm damage
- The test variety DP 486 BG II (yields twice as much as control released) varieties (IRM 81 and DP 486 NIV)
- Committee Observations
The Committee made the following observations:
- That the situation that prompted the adoption and implementation of biotechnology in particular Genetically Modified Organisms in Burkina Faso can be compared to the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe. These conditions include under population in agriculture and the ultimate result of failure to feed the ever increasing population in both the rural and the urban areas.
- Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) observed that biotechnology has the capacity to significantly meet or even exceed the needs of the rapidly expanding and increasingly urbanized population.
This can be supported by example of countries like Brazil, India, Iran, China and our own neighbor South Africa which has adopted biotechnology 17-18 years ago, growing 70% of its maize and 95% of its soya beans has greatly improved in its production and is able to supply and feed its population more than what it used to do in the past before they adopted the use of biotechnology.
- Despite a strong ‘no’ or zero tolerance to the adoption of G.M foods, the Zimbabwean market is flourished by products imported as processed and semi-processed made from G.M crops for example cooking oil.
- Zimbabwe has adequate and excellent legal framework on biosafety and biotechnology. However, we lack action in implementing those issues that are drafted on the paper.
- So much about biotechnology is accepted in Zimbabwe but GMOs in particular has been neglected and undermined and is not tolerated.
- The National Biotechnology Authority has not capacity to deal with other issues, hence the need to be upgraded. They need a farm for field trials and other experiments and a Level 4 Bio-safety Reference Laboratory.
- There is very little effort that is being exhibited in as much as research in the country, especially where biotechnology is concerned.
- The National Biotechnology Authority, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization, Irrigation Development are not complementing each other. They are not working together in as much as science and biotechnology is concerned.
- There is also poor labeling of GM products on the market, hence consumers or the general public are not in a position to distinguish between GM products and non GM products.
- Other technologies are not being fully adopted, for instance
- That is impossible to import GMO seeds at the moment because of the zero tolerance stance on GM products.
- It has been noted that there is not even a single animal that was developed through the use of genetically modified organisms especially for food hence rubbing off the notion that the market has been flourished by GM chickens and meat.
The Committee recommends that:
- The Government should fund the National Biotechnology
Authority to urgently establish the Biotechnology Fund for the purpose of promotion of biotechnology research and development and for training of skilled, competent and efficient manpower in the field of biotechnology. The fund could thus be availed to anyone whose undertakings could be calculated to promote biotechnology research. The country is lagging behind in the application of biotechnology, a field which has potential to contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development of the country (ZIMASSET).
- The Ministry of Lands should urgently allocate a Farm to
NBA to carry out research and confined field trials (CFTs by January 2016). It is a Bio-safety requirement that CFTs have to be conducted before a permit for research undertaking or a general release of biotechnology products into the environment is allowed.
- There should be the intensification of scientific research with the supervision from the National Biotechnology Authority and at the same time engaging students from Higher and Tertiary Institutions.
- There is need for construction of a level 4 laboratory for proper scientific analysis.
- There is need to conduct confined field trials of BT cotton, maize and soya bean.
- The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development need to work together for the agenda of BT Cotton, maize and soya bean research.
- There is need for policy review in order to fully embrace Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Crops in Zimbabwe in line with regional and international trends.
- There is need to allow the importation of GMO seeds by the beginning of 2016 (January) especially for research.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION
AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): Mr.
Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE,
MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- MADE), the House adjourned at Twenty One Minutes past Five o’