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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 09 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 48 NO 8
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 9th November, 2021
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
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [H. B. 4, 2021] and all Statutory Instruments published in the Government Gazette during the month of September and October 2021; except for Statutory Instrument 234 of 2021 which is still under consideration.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of national importance Madam Speaker. There is an excessive drug abuse across the country. It would be good for us to understand the measures Government is taking to curb that while there is unemployment and many other reasons that it has gotten to a level where it has become a way of life. My Constituency itself is a hotspot. Out of the three youths you come across, each of them is intoxicated and I am wondering what we should do. I am hoping that it must be declared a national disaster. It has to be declared a national disaster so that Government comes up with measures of ensuring that there are rehabilitation centres and hospitals to start taking care of them to see how best they can get out of this situation.
Madam Speaker, I see a situation, if Government does not move up the ladder with what is going on, we have no nation to talk about, no generation to talk about and it is costly. It is expensive and when they are intoxicated, they can do anything. They are stealing and you cannot report your child for stealing. So crime rate increases and abuse as well with other parties and so forth. So Madam Speaker, it is important that it is declared a national disaster and Government comes up with measures of curbing, it or else the situation as I have said, is totally out of hand. Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. Your point of national interest is valid. Sure, the issue of drug abuse has become a pandemic. I think we can ask the responsible Minister to come to this House with a Ministerial Statement so that Hon. Members of Parliament can have chances to interrogate the Minister on how the Government is intending to deal with this issue of drug abuse. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker. Good afternoon Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon Hon. Nduna.
HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, my point of privilege is based on Information Communication Technology (ICT). I have just come from attending a lecture at the University of Zimbabwe which you ably proposed and gave me a recommendation to go and attend a Law First Degree. I have observed in the class of 350 kids that I am in, there was a question raised by the lecturer in particular, Prof. Stewart on ICT gadgets or laptops. How many children that were attending the Law School if at all had laptops with them and to that end Madam Speaker, only half of the class had sight of the laptop, used the laptop and the majority of the kids are coming from A’ level. My point exactly is that at university they do not use manual writing pads, they use laptops but some of these kids have never seen a laptop and do not own one, at least 50% of the 350 of them.
Whilst Government is conducting school computerisation programme and the community computer centres that are championed by the Minister of ICT, it is my clarion call and fervent view that for us to move with speed and expeditiously in that regard, would it please the Minister of ICT to roll-out that programme using the Members of Parliament, the 210 of them so that they can expeditiously computerise the schools and that when these children come from schools they can now be endowed with the attitude of computer learning so that we do not hamper their learning in information, communication and technology?
Having said that Madam Speaker, ICT is a low hanging fruit and if it can be embraced in the establishment of a gateway solution or systems that can be used as an accounting or auditing and billing platform for terminating international calls because there are trillion and trillions of dollars arising from ICT inclusion, I pray that the Minister of ICT comes to the House and presents a plan that includes Members of Parliament to give students ICT gadgets first and foremost, and also try and ameliorate the challenges that the Law School at the Law Faculty, children in the University of Zimbabwe have in providing them with ICT gadgets before Friday because they have got their first exam and they do not have ICT gadgets. Thank you
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, on that issue, I advise you to ask the Minister of ICT tomorrow. Please, if you may ask it tomorrow to the Minister of ICT.
(v)HON. NDUNA: I thank you Madam Speaker, I am perennially indebted to your guidance.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker, I rise on a matter of national importance. The Glasgow COP26 Conference has been topical both domestically and internationally. Zimbabwe has been part of the global event. I would wish if the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would come before this august House with a report or Ministerial Statement because we believe this is an important event, given the circumstances that we find ourselves in as Zimbabwe, you know the Cyclone Idai and other calamites that have fallen us as a nation. So, I kindly seek your indulgence Madam Speaker, to compel the Hon. Minister to bring us a Ministerial Statement.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mushoriwa but my understanding is that the Minister is still in Scotland. I am not sure if he is back in the country but I will find out and convey the message. I am also being advised that we have a parliamentary delegation which is attending the conference. They will come with a report which they will present to the House and the Minister will also be able to answer to that report.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order is that today is Government Business. I remember the Speaker, when the Acting President was here, Vice President Chiwenga - he was very clear in defending that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days that the Ministers must be here and it was a Thursday, but they have got a lot of work to do in terms of pushing Bills and so forth. Why are they not here to push Bills, because that is also important? The SONA in itself had about five Bills which have not seen the end of the day. So, I do not know how serious the Ministers are in terms of pushing Bills because they cannot like this. The First is going to elapse and then they are extended again to the next session. I do not know, maybe the Government Chief Whip can assist us. Did they all go with the President to Scotland on that 100 flight seater?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ministers, I am sure are attending a Cabinet meeting and I am sure they will be joining us after the Cabinet meeting. Thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I was going to say today is Government Business. The main person we expect for such a day is the Leader of Government business, otherwise the Hon. Member’s concern is misplaced though he is my friend – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] - The Leader of Government business is coming and the Ministers will come after Cabinet.
HON. H. MGUNI: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am for also giving me the opportunity to contribute to the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa called upon all of us to heighten our definition with regards to continued vaccination in order to meet our desire to national herd immunity target. I welcome his call and plead with the people of Zimbabwe to vaccinate in order for the country to reach herd immunity and be able to live in the new normal.
His Excellency also discussed an upward growth trajectory of our economy with this year’s projection being at 7.8% economic growth and the higher prediction being based on a good 2021 agricultural season and international mineral commodity prices, stable inflation, exchange rate, as well as the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. I welcome this positive projection and urge business owners in various rural areas to continue to follow price regulations and not to drive up the prices of goods and adhere to the trade loans in order for us to bring fruits to the projected economic growth. I also urge the people of the country, especially those in rural areas to adhere to COVID-19 regulations that include and are not limited to wearing of masks and washing of hands in order to ensure containment of the pandemic and a successful agricultural business.
The President also reiterated on our call for the urgent and unconditional removal of sanctions against our beloved Zimbabwe that had an impact on our economy. I strongly support the reiteration of our call as this would experience even better economic growth without hindrances offered by the sanctions.
His Excellency also commended the rising number of young people undertaking farming businesses in the country. He stated that this new crop of young farmers show us that the land that we fought for will remain for posterity. He discussed the performance of two key crops, namely cumulative tobacco sales with export earnings surpassing US$598 000 and cotton production which also increased by 100% to 92 000 metric tonnes. Indeed, the land for which our war veterans so bravely fought for is in good hands. I encourage the youth around the country, especially in Mangwe, to take more interest in farming so that they can contribute to Zimbabwe’s agricultural exports and economic growth and help our beloved Zimbabwe to win back the title – the breadbasket of Africa.
His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa discussed Government’s effort to fix agriculture into perspective and stated that after two years, there will be real successes. Indeed, this has been a success in rural areas such as the Mangwe Constituency where families have grown their food and do not need hand-outs as much as they used to do. Some of the farmers who have converted into business people have begun production for gain. I encourage people all over the country and the people of Mangwe to continue with the entrepreneurship spirit that has been encouraged by His Excellency Cde Mnangagwa. I thank you.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to contribute to the motion on the State of the Nation address by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. I would like to thank Hon. Mutambisi who raised the motion as well as Hon. T. Moyo who seconded the motion.
By just listening to His Excellency’s address, you cannot miss the clarity, vision, trajectory and the progress that the country is on under the New Dispensation. Clearly, the address by His Excellency demonstrated the Government’s commitment and serious determination for economic progress. Not only was the statement powerful in itself but it also had many examples of real milestones that the Government has achieved in taking the country forward, that the majority of the people in here would agree with me that we are moving from one point to another on an uphill trajectory.
I would like to first of all, in terms of the content, applaud His Excellency for highlighting the import substitution strategy as well as the local content policy. I believe this is an important area if we are going to see more development in our country and by highlighting it, His Excellency was very clear that this is the direction that we need to go; that we must see more local products that are being made by locals on the supermarket shelves. I believe that Zimbabweans in the private sector, politically active and non-politically active, if we unite in supporting this policy by the President, we can achieve far much more.
Madam Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to call upon the Government to support an aggressive implementation of this policy. Not only can we achieve success economically but we can substitute imports or substitute the exportation of dividends by ensuring that a lot of the products are being made locally. I am going to give you an example; I am a Member of Parliament for Nyanga South Constituency and in Nyanga South, we have some of the most attractive tourist destinations, among them the Troutbeck Resort and Montclair. I am sure most Hon. Members of Parliament have been there and enjoyed the hospitality. However, when you walk in there, they will give you water coming from Harare, purified Harare water, yet you will be in an area which probably has the most amount of natural springs in the country. Those natural springs produce pure water that has export value.
I believe that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, through the budget process, must make available resources for the importation of machinery for water bottling for every district that has those springs. How do we help the economy by doing that? We have a lot of big investors who have come from outside the country to bottle our water so we can drink it. They purify our Harare water, they sell it to us, when they get their profits, they change the money and ship those profits outside the country yet we can employ our young Zimbabweans in Nyanga and many other districts where we have water to produce water for consumption by Zimbabweans. I am sure we have water in every district.
Not only are we substituting imports, we are creating employment and make sure that we do not export foreign currency that is made by those who are profiteering. We have invested in water bottling in our country. However, for that to happen, I believe that the Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, can actually come up with a package that basically says, we are going to import for every district, a water bottling plant that must produce water that will be consumed by Members of Parliament when they are attending a workshop at Montclaire or Troutbeck Resort. I think it is embarrassing to have water coming from Harare so that the people in Nyanga can drink, yet we have the finest water that is reputed in the country. I believe that the President’s vision can be supported in this particular way.
The same applies to timber; we have huge forestry in Nyanga but we buy furniture in Harare, from China and South Africa. When you look at the price of some of the machinery to produce furniture, it is not expensive. When we look at the work that is being done by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education in terms training the skills that are able to use basic machinery to produce furniture and when you go to some of the most active industrial places here in Harare, you will see individuals making furniture. It will honestly be embarrassing that we are importing furniture.
Perhaps in support of the President’s vision, we need resources which are directly targeted at all districts where there is timber to produce locally and supply locally. Therefore, we will be supporting His Excellency’s vision which he spoke about in the State of the Nation Address, that we must continue the efforts towards import substitution and making sure that we are producing to avoid the continued outflow of foreign currency.
We have investors who have come in my district for instance, to cut timber. Locals are hiring equipment in order to cut that timber but I believe that we can, in support of His Excellency’s vision that he clearly articulated in the State of the Nation Address, make resources available to our young men and women who are in desperate need of employment to buy the machinery, make available the foreign currency in order for them to be able to import the machinery for the timber harvesting happening in these areas. I go back again to the point that some of these basic areas, if we allow foreigners to come and invest in them, it is their right to make the profits and ship them out of the country. However, this can be saved and we keep them in our country if we allow our locals to do that because this is not sophisticated investment. I believe that the President’s vision as articulated in his address can be supported through some of these strategies.
This policy can be super-successful because we have the skills. We have the resources that we are producing but we are not converting them and the link is not yet there between what the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is doing and producing excellent human resources and the financing to make sure that those excellent human resources are employing themselves and being employed in industries in which we have the resources. I spoke of Nyanga but the timber industry can be promoted in Chimanimani District, in Matebeleland Region where we have hard wood timber which is huge in terms of the export market.
His Excellency the President, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa spoke about how the Government is investing and scaling up power generation and this in line with the attraction of investment in our country. We must attract investment in Zimbabwe and if Zimbabwe is open for business, which it is as the President has made it very clear through that mantra, we must invest in infrastructure, which allows investment to be able to exist. So the President is not just talking, he is demonstrating that we were not just talking about being open for business. We are putting the building blocks to ensure that those who are coming to invest have access to the power that they require. We must applaud His Excellency the President and the Government for that effort. He mentioned in his address that investment is going into Hwange to make sure that we produce more thermal power because we have huge resources of coal and we still have the time to make use of our coal to generate the electricity that we require.
At the same time, the Government has also been promoting the use of solar energy and we must continue to support the Government and His Excellency on the need to use solar energy. Here lies another opportunity that we are missing which I believe all of us as Zimbabweans, Government, Parliamentarians and the private sector should actually take the lead in promoting. If we walk around to see who are the biggest importers of solar equipment, solar panels, batteries, lithium and gel batteries, they are non- Zimbabweans, they are investors who are coming from the countries where they are manufacturing that equipment.
So where is the opportunity in the solar value chain for locals? For sustainable development to take place and for us to support the President fully in his vision, I believe that we need to make sure that there are resources being directed either by the Government or by industry towards the support of domestic retail industry, particularly where you are retailing imported products.
Madam Speaker, I cannot understand why it is not possible to make sure that the banks are given a particular amount of money or a fund is put in place where young people, groups of women, able-bodied men are able to access those facilities in order to import the solar equipment and we roll-out a huge solar energy system in our country. Again, as long as we are going to allow those who manufacture in their countries to come and also retail them in our country, we are letting go the opportunity of keeping that foreign currency that they make as profit in this country – we are allowing it to leave the country. It is their right when they have invested in the country to take that foreign currency out, but we can avoid it because there is nothing sophisticated about selling solar panels and there is nothing sophisticated about selling lithium batteries. Our young people coming out of colleges and universities are able to do that but what they require is an enabling facility to be able to do that. I think that we can support His Excellency’s vision through that specific focus where funds, either through the budget or through incentives to the financial sector, are put in place to make sure that they are accessed by locals who want to be in this business of importing and deploying solar infrastructure.
Madam Speaker, the President must be applauded for he spoke during his State of the Nation Address about the growth of the mining industry. He spoke about the $12 billion mining industry that we are targeting and we are seeing a lot of the work that the President is doing, commissioning new mines that have been revived, new projects – Greenfield projects and Brownfield projects. So we must applaud the President and his Ministers for the work that is being done. As we do this, we must support the President by ensuring that this $12 billion economy in the mining sector is not only shared by the big investors who are coming from outside the country. The Zimbabweans in the communities where these resources are coming from must equally see and benefit from that $12 billion economy.
For many years, we have had this impression that building a school, putting up a road, power line, internet access and a clinic is community investment. This is self-interest investment because you find that the mining houses themselves benefit from that infrastructure, so they are doing it partially for themselves, and at the same time for the community. I believe, in support of His Excellency’s vision, we need to get to a point where we say, this is not recognised as community reinvestment but community reinvestment must be something that is sustainable. If you are extracting huge resources out of this country and making billions or hundreds and millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars, we need to see something within the community that will be sustainable…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mandiwanzira, you are left with five minutes.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker. So I believe that we must then start to encourage the investment. As we are attracting this $12 billion, we must begin to see investment that is going towards building of dams and irrigation schemes. I was most impressed Madam Speaker, to see an initiative launched by His Excellency the President with Zimplats –a lot of cattle, that is sustainable community reinvestment. You can tell that the mine is not putting anything of self interest in the community; it is really empowering the community. I am saying that the opportunity is now.
Zimbabwe is an attractive destination because of the huge mineral resources that we have. When we have these huge mineral resources, this is the best time that we have to call for our pound of flesh nekuti munhu wese arikuda kuuya kuno uku Madam Speaker because arikuziva kuti tine coal ne lithium yakawanda. This is the time we must say, tirikuda zvakati, our price must go up. We must say, okay you can access our lithium but we are expecting you to build a dam in that area, you can access our lithium but we expect you to build a hospital and not just a small clinic because the hospital will always be there to assist the community.
Madam Speaker, in support of His Excellency’s vision, I believe the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development can also look at how we issue claims. How we allow people to access claims - I think it must be the right of locals to access claims easily but …
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of Order Madam Speaker! My point of order arises from that fact that we want the Hon. Member to be given an additional five minutes on top of the five minutes that you had ruled.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. MANDIWANZIRA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would also like to thank the Hon. Member for his gesture and the generosity that I be awarded more time. I really appreciate.
Madam Speaker, the point I was making is that when we are on top of the world in terms of resources and everybody is interested in what we have, it cannot be business as usual. We really need to put our price tag up so that we are benefiting in this time where we are on demand. If you are on demand or when a product is on demand, the price must go up. So in this particular case, I believe our price to the investors who are coming must be up so that our communities really get to benefit. Our price must be up so that our locals have the advantage - I was making the point around how mining claims are accessed.
I come from Nyanga. Two years ago, I went to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, a whole range that has potential gold had been pegged. I went to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and said, ‘I have not seen any mining activity in this area, who is mining?’ There was a company with a very foreign name and the officials confirmed that it was a non-Zimbabwean - two and a half years later, the place is still like that. It means that the potential answer is that they are speculating. I believe it is fair for Zimbabweans to speculate because it is their country but if we have foreigners who are coming to speculate, peg huge areas, do not allow locals to access that space, they go in just looking for other investors or to sell to others and no progress is taking place in the country. I think that it is an unfair advantage – it is disadvantaging our people.
I believe that when commodity prices are very high and are in demand as they are at the moment, perhaps the Minister may consider to support His Excellency’s vision to say, well for Zimbabweans, it is business as usual. If you want to peg an area, just do as you have always done, but if you are a foreigner because it is not the same anywhere else in the world to get a mining claim like it is easy to get a mining claim here for a foreigner, we must then say we are welcoming investors and we would like foreigners to come and get as much claims as possible in order for them to exploit it so that they do not speculate. We must also be able to put a system that says, put USD$250 000.00 in a secure deposit at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in order to get the licence to go and peg our ground. If they do not exploit that resource for three years, that is okay because their money is sitting at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is being used to sustain our economy. It can only be done now when we are attractive.
I am suggesting Madam Speaker, that as we support His Excellency’s vision, clarity as expressed in his State of the Nation Address, we must take advantage of some of these opportunities that are being brought about by the attractiveness of our country as a result of the resources that we have. Madam Speaker, His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa spoke about the agricultural output, particularly the almost 210 million kgs of tobacco that has been produced by our farmers. We must applaud those farmers for doing a great job; they are earning the country a lot of foreign currency. It made me think about some complaints I have heard from industry where the complaints, whether justified or unjustified, that there is one company or there is one bank that has monopolised Command Agriculture and I am saying if there is foreign currency that can be made from tobacco, if our farmers, wherever they are, are able to produce 210kg of tobacco, why are we not having those who are interested to come in and start command tobacco farming? Put your own money there and earn the forex. So we have opportunities to support His Excellency’s vision through the private sector, through financial institutions and not complain about others, but to take our own space and occupy that space as Zimbabweans in support of the vision and clarity that His Excellency the President expressed through the State of the Nation Address.
So command tobacco is an opportunity, command soya beans is an opportunity. If we complain that so and so was given everything, why do we not go on to tobacco because I have not heard of command tobacco but it is said the forex is there. I think if we open and broaden our minds as Zimbabweans, we will see opportunities and we can take the country forward.
Madam Speaker, in conclusion and as I commend His Excellency’s State of the Nation Address and debate it, I would like to point out the fact that while a lot of this development is taking place, a lot of the foreign companies, foreign contractors will come and get opportunities in our country, which is fantastic. They will impart their skills and share their technologies with our local people. That is excellent. At the same time, we have also seen how the Government has demonstrated its commitment and belief in our local contractors, especially as we drive along the Harare-Masvingo to Beitbridge Road that the locals equally have the capacity and can do it. The Government must be applauded for that, but where foreigners are getting contracts, I believe it is important to support sustainable development that there must be a strict rule that a certain percentage of that value of the contract is spent on locals because it is very possible that a company from country X will be granted a contract to do a road. Everything on that road – equipment, Bitumen will come from that X country. We have seen examples of even food coming from that X country, and I am not talking about any particular individual country. It can be any country, but unless we put strict rules that say if you get a $100 million contract, 40% you have to spend on locals, you have a chance that the contractor will not look for an investor from X country who is making quarry so that they can buy from them. They will look for a local who is making quarry to buy from them and that way, we can achieve sustainable development. That is what I would like to encourage as I debate the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President.
Madam Speaker, as I end, I would like to thank His Excellency on the success of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out that this country has seen and experienced. That success is phenomenal and it is being celebrated everywhere. I believe Madam Speaker, something that has not been pointed out is the fact that it is the success of our foreign policy that has seen part of that successful roll-out. It is the relationship this Government has built with the People’s Republic of China why we have been able to access sinovac and sinopharm and for Zimbabweans, I think it is a reason to celebrate. China was the first country to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Coronavirus within its shores. I did not say it started in China, but I said China was the first country to publicly acknowledge, which means they have taken the time to understand this virus and develop vaccines that are able to deal significantly with this virus. Thus, we have been able to access these vaccines and roll-out to the extent that this Government has rolled out, is good reason to thank and celebrate the efforts of President, Cde Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to add my voice to the motion moved by Hon. Mutambisi seconded by Hon. T. Moyo, on the State of the Nation Address that was given to Parliament by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa.
I would want to touch on a number of issues that the President raised in his speech that I think as a House, we should take note of and make sure that these things are solved once and for all or a solution is made to make sure that we try and solve them as Parliament.
The first one is on education. The President clearly said that we must attain proficiency in education, both in primary and higher education. Madam Speaker, while we appreciate and all look forward to this, I think there are some things that we should look at that hinder the country to have such education in Zimbabwe. For example, Madam Speaker, I went to our primary school where I stay. The teacher to pupil ratio is about 1 teacher to 60 pupils in a class. When I was growing up and was going to primary school, I learnt that we should have a good teacher rapport in every subject that a student is undertaking. My question Madam Speaker is, if a class has got 60 pupils, how does a teacher have a one on one rapport with a student?
My worry is that teachers’ colleges are training teachers each and every year and we have graduations where I attend as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education each and every day, but those teachers are not employed. What kind of a system do we have as a country? A system that trains, that encourages its own people and its own youths to go and train. They undergo training and some of them even sell whatever they have. Some of them work just to get money to train themselves and after that they are deemed unemployable in the same system that trained them. While they do not have jobs, the students in classrooms do not have teachers. It is food for thought Madam Speaker and as a country, we should start to be serious. If we are saying these people are now redundant and their education cannot fit in the country or in the direction we need to take as a country, then we must stop taking, and teaching them things that they will not use in their lives. So I want that point to be taken and the Ministry, when answering on this, to give us a response as to how do we train people that we deem are not useful to our country?
Secondly Madam Speaker, still on that, if we have 60 pupils in that classroom in this COVID era, what are we saying? We are saying we want to fight COVID yet we have children packed in a classroom like bags of potatoes. I think we are not serious. We should look in the inner depth of ourselves. I also acknowledge what the President talked about the issue of innovation for a knowledge driven economy. Madam Speaker, this is a very important aspect in our education system where we are now looking at heritage based and Education 5.0 which is taking us from the kind of education which we had into a more practical and a more visible way of learning where a student learns something that he can do or use in starting his or her own business. We welcome this type of education and we think that the country will put resources in innovation hubs and industrial parks to make sure that the vision that has been given by the Minister of Education attains its intended purpose so that we have an education system that will drive the economic growth of this country.
We have been in other countries like Turkey where we saw that their economy is driven by education. Whatever they sell or whatever they grow under agriculture is driven by their education system. You would find their colleges and universities working every day to try and come up with new technological ways. I always talk about Pfumvudza as a good initiative Madam Speaker but we are using backward system of farming. Whilst it is producing results, you labour hard to produce a tonne of maize and to me it is very backward. We are saying our education system should come up with innovations and new ways of doing our agriculture. We know that Zimbabwe is an agricultural country so we should bank on our education – [Technical glitch] – instead of the way we have been doing whereby somebody comes to the field without even wanting to go back, rather, it should be exciting and interesting. It should be something that somebody is looking forward to be doing tomorrow and we can attain that by investing more in our education system and looking more in the practical side of education.
Madam Speaker, the President also spoke about how youths are now being worn away by the issue of drug substance abuse. This has become a sad scenario especially in places where we stay. I stay in Gwanda, it is so sad that it has come in the eyes of the President that the drug substance abuse is taking away the livelihoods. My worry Madam Speaker is we now have barons, the rich people that are exploiting our children and our youths. These people are known in their areas and you just go and ask where can I go and get mutoriro. My worry is these people are not being arrested and brought to book. Whilst we must help the youths that are abusing drugs, we should also look at the root cause. How are they getting the drugs? If they were to import them from South Africa, the youths will not have money to do that but because they are buying them from their next door neighbours, they are accessible.
I would want to challenge the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police department to say why they are not arresting these people? Is there something we should know as parliamentarians or as a country that is feeding into the economy that makes these people not to be arrested. It is my plea and prayer that the issue of drug abuse should be put to an end by arresting the perpetrators that exploit our youths because they know that they are not employed, there are no industrial parks and industrial centres where they can go and train themselves. They have nothing to do but to abuse drugs.
Madam Speaker, I will also go to the issue of gender that was spoken by the President to a greater length. It is so sad that 21 years after independence, we are still talking about gender equality. By this time, we should be able to follow the Constitution and make sure that in whatever we do, in every organisation and wherever there is a structure, there is gender equality. If there is gender equality, we would be able to address some of the painful issues in our country such as gender based violence, sexual harassment and some violations. These things come because women are always seen as weaker people and vulnerable. If you are employed at a company with qualifications to become a manager, you will not get that position. For you to get that position, you will have to go through exploitation and abuse. As a woman, you have to go through difficult space to get a position that rightfully belongs to you. It is my plea that as Government and as a country, let us ensure that gender equality is attained at all times. Madam Speaker, I would not be able to speak about everything that I have, I would like to give time for others. Having said that, I thank you Madam Speaker and I rest my case.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank very much Madam Speaker. Good afternoon to you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon.
(v)HON. MOKONE: I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the State of the Nation Address by the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa. Madam Speaker, my point of departure would be the issue of digitalisation. The President spoke passionately about many Bills that are pending and still to be passed by Parliament. Amongst the Bills, we have a Media Bill that we are expecting to sail through in this Parliament. In line with this, I would like to passionately speak about the issue of digitalisation which is a topical issue these days. Madam Speaker, there is need for us to prioritise the issue of digitalisation so that it is completed. Let me bring to your attention that the digitalisation programme was started in 2015 and up to date, it has not been completed. This is affecting the communication system to citizens of this country, hence the need to speed up the digitalisation process.
Madam Speaker, let me move on the issue of health which the President also passionately spoke about. The President praised the health institutions for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. However, let me bring it to your attention that where I come from in Matabeleland South, COVID-19 exposed us greatly. Matabeleland South has got 13 districts and more than 160 wards. In those wards, there are no ward clinics. They only have major hospitals in the districts. As a stopgap measure, I would like to recommend to the august House that we have ward clinics. For instance, Gwanda town has a population of more than 11 000 people, but you will discover that Gwanda Town only has one major polyclinic which is Karama Polyclinic in the locations of Gwanda. So if that one clinic is the one that is serving more than eleven thousand people, I think it does not speak well of us as parliamentarians. There is need for us to actually invest in clinics in our wards. Recently in Matebeleland South, Manama Hospital had its roof taken by the wind. I think as this House, there is also need to speed up the repair of this hospital.
I move on to the issue of education. Let me give you a quote from Erasmus. Erasmus once said that “nothing but education defines the future of a person and of a nation”. There is need for us to actually invest in our education sector. The teachers are complaining that they are not paid well and our infrastructure is bad. There is need for us to remunerate the teachers very well so that they execute their duties in a proper manner. You will agree with me that COVID-19 actually meant that a lot of learners lost a lot of time because of the lockdowns. There is need for us to actually see to it that teachers are well remunerated so that they do not waste time going on strikes. There is also need again since everything is now done online, to actually have special courses for teachers because you will agree with me that some of the teachers that we have are not IT literate, so there is need for the Ministry to do refresher courses for the teachers that are not IT literate.
On the issue of mining, if we look at the province I come from, Matebeleland South, mining is the backbone of that province. The province is rich in gold, cement and other minerals. Therefore, there is need for us to invest in the small scale miners because the equipment is very expensive, so the miners need our help.
The economy of Matebeleland South is also agrarian in nature. The soils in Matebeleland South are very good but some would want to farm. There is need for us to invest in water reservoirs. There is a dam that is not yet complete, that is Tuli-Manyange. I am sure there is need for us to speed up that process so that we actually harvest water using that dam.
Madam Speaker, if I can also bring to your attention that I am one of the people who was actually vocal on the issue of drug abuse. There is need for this Government to see to it that our kids are protected from drug abuse.
My last point will be the issue of youths and women. There is need to actually see to it that these vulnerable groups are well catered for in everything, be it social or economical, there is need that we include them. I will also include another group of vulnerable people, which is the group of people living with disabilities. There is also need for us when we are doing our budget to include people with disabilities. Thank you.
(v) HON. NHAMBURO: I would like to start by thanking our President, His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa, for the State of the Nation Address which was so good. I would like to thank him very much for being such a visionary and encouraging the majority of the citizenry and that helped the COVID-19 cases to be low. I would like to also appreciate and encourage the citizens and obey the rules that we are given to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I would like to applaud the leadership of President Mnangagwa that has seen the economy growing and thank him for ensuring that the economy grows by 7%. That has contributed to the development of this country.
I want to appreciate the SONA for also touching on the issue of the foreign currency system that has stabilised prices. Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza /Intwasa, the climate smart agriculture system has also led to the success of agriculture that has contributed to the improvement of people’s livelihood. We also would like to applaud that we had a bumper harvest which has seen export substitution, so that way we are saving foreign currency. That foreign currency can be channelled to other projects. I also would like to applaud the inter-ministerial committee that was set up by the President which is looking into the fight against drug abuse, especially by the youths and that shows that the President is very much worried about the future of this country. If we conquer that problem, then the future will be bright.
I also would to thank the President for the road rehabilitation and development going on, including in the rural areas. I would like to really applaud the President for this wonderful job he is doing as the rural areas are now accessible. Finally, I want to show my gratitude for the devolution agenda which has brought development in rural areas and infrastructure such as schools and health facilities. We are now building schools and medical facilities in rural areas which have brought so much joy to the citizens of Zimbabwe. Thank you.
(v)HON. M. M. MPOFU: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important motion raised by Hon. Mutambisi and seconded by Hon. T. Moyo. May I take this golden opportunity to thank His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the SONA presented on 7th October, 2021 in this august House. The much anticipated address points to positively further move our developmental agenda forward as a peace loving and hardworking nation. Most people put their hopes in this Second Republic to improve our livelihoods.
Our President is an always visionary leader and his efforts need to be supported by all Zimbabweans for the Vision 2030. As people from a rural constituency, we have embraced the President’s speech and now want to move forward as indicated in the address. We acknowledge that the economy can be grown extensively when all resources such as gold are properly harnessed, as buttressed by the good rains last season and envisaged by the normal to above rainfall which will help in bolstering the agricultural sector, leading to the enhancement of food security and people’s livelihoods.
The President alluded to the fact that Government will avail inputs to all potential farmers in the country to maximise propagated hectarage. I would like to thank His Excellency for the gigantic efforts to ensure that sufficiency in the agriculture sector. However, there is a serious challenge of transporting the inputs to the intended beneficiaries because it is a fact that this year it has been loud and clear that no one should compel villagers to contribute towards transportation of inputs.
On the other hand, GMB does have enough trucks to withstand the pressure of the programme and there is a possibility that in some areas, inputs would be distributed late unless there is a prompt intervention by Government to ensure speedy transportation of these inputs. I am quite confident that whilst the inputs are in place on time, there will be a repeat of last year’s bumper harvest.
His Excellency said that payment of farmers has been enhanced and this will encourage more farmers in future to deliver their produce to GMB. However, on the ground, there is need for an improved payment system because GMB has been ordering people to go to towns to open bank accounts. This does not augur well with our rural constituencies with some farmers who ended up sending their produce to the parallel market which are paying cash in United Stated Dollars.
Allow me to thank the President for approving the IFAD and Government’s revitalisation of irrigation schemes. In Silobela where I come from, I have got two irrigation schemes; exchange irrigation schemes in Mayoka have been rehabilitated and for the first time in the history of this scheme, over 50 hectares have been put under irrigation. This will contribute immensely in reducing the wheat input bill by the Government of Zimbabwe.
Turning to the mining sector, I would like to thank His Excellency for being true to his word on the resuscitation of closed mines and injecting finances to align mining giants like in Silobela, Jena Mines has marginally increased gold and created more employment for our community. I hope and believe that increased gold output will ensure availability of foreign currency in our economy. There is a lot of leakages through unregistered hammer and ball mills which are all over the shore producing the precious mineral which eventually finds its way into the parallel market. Stern measures should be put in place to stop these leakages which are bleeding our economy.
On the availability of dipping chemicals for cattle – these are very essential and were distributed to the community but the other arms of Government should complement His Excellency’s vision by ensuring that water sources are also rehabilitated. Of late, water has been a huge challenge for watering and for domestic use. I hope devolution funds will go a long way in ensuring that tangible development is visible on the ground if they are utilised properly. A lot of livestock succumbed to January and tick-borne disease. Let us bear in mind that livestock is the main bank for our farmers, especially in our rural areas. Technical arms of Government should complement Government efforts to come up with recommended dipping regimes during the course of the year. At the present moment, technical backstopping is lacking in the rural areas but the Government employees who are tasked to work with the farmers are always available in the vicinity and offering lip service to the farmers.
Allow me to thank His Excellency for a job well done in combating the COVID-19 scourge which was threatening all humanity on this planet. The restrictive measures in the form of lockdowns, although they were painful, they worked very well in reducing infections and COVID-19 related diseases. May the Ministry of Health continue to avail vaccines so that people continue to be vaccinated because at the present moment, the process has slowed down and this will compromise our bid to rescue our expected target on the Vaccination Programme.
I would also like to support the President on the removal of sanctions. These sanctions are hurting us as a nation. I would also like to thank the President on the Road Rehabilitation Scheme. Our Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane Road was rehabilitated. This road was no longer trafficable but the President, according to his words, has rehabilitated that road. We are also looking forward to the Sogwala-Lahleka-Zhombe Road to be rehabilitated; the Python-Gove- Donso Road to be rehabilitated and also Mavoye Cross Road. We have bridges like Python-Somoza Bridge which needs to be attended to. We know that the President will do that. We do not have bridges that connect us to Loreto Hospital and we hope that the Ministry of Transport will also look at that and help us.
I heard our Minister of Health and Child Care, the Vice President saying that Silobela Hospital is one of the hospitals which are earmarked for rehabilitation this year. We are very thankful for that because our nurses and some staff were now using wards and mothers’ shelters as their bedrooms because of lack of accommodation. Thank you very much for allowing me to air my view on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The President is the first citizen of this country. It is only in order for Members of Parliament to pronounce his second name properly. I have been following debates and so far about three members of the august House have been pronouncing his second name as Mnangarwa. This is a source of discomfort. More-so, if it is coming from members of the ruling party. I wish you would invite members to ensure that they pronounce the second name of the President correctly.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): I am sure that is noted. The name of His Excellency the President is E.D. Mnangagwa.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: Exactly and not Mnangarwa.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you for that, it is quite true and it is important for us to pronounce it the right way. With the Shona dialects, ‘gwa’ can be ‘rwa’ but for the first citizen, it is good for us to be pronouncing it correctly.
(V)HON. NDEBELE: It is unforgiveable, we cannot hide behind a finger.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I totally agree with you and I share the same sentiments. May Hon. Members please pronounce the President’s name correctly – Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. I am sure that Hon. Members have taken note.
(V)HON. MUSAKWA: I would like to contribute on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by His Excellency which was underpinned by the stability in the economy. The President mentioned that he was bode by the growth trajectory that is being exhibited in the economy of 7.8% which was underpinned mostly by agriculture where our tobacco earnings had surpassed 589.6 million by the time of the speech and also a remarkable growth in the mining sector. This shows the nation that His Excellency has got his hands fully on the wheel and the economy is in the right hands. This is evidenced by the growth that he mentioned.
I also want to commend the President on the manner in which he handled and is still handling the disease which has caused havoc globally. We have seen that through interventions of prevention, treatment as well as the massive Vaccination Programme; we have seen that the disease in Zimbabwe could have gone out of control but under his capable hands, it has been brought under control where we are now recording as low as 34 cases per day in a country of over 15 million people. This is quite remarkable and commendable.
I also want to commend the President on the efforts he is doing in infrastructure development, where it is evident that in the country there is a lot of road rehabilitation going on through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme through the national road construction like the Harare-Beitbridge, it is quite commendable. The State of the Nation emphasises the continued work by the Government to pull in this trajectory.
I also want to encourage the Government to stabilise power supplies which are a bit erratic at the moment but the President emphasised in his Speech that the Government will leave no stone unturned to make sure that coal-fired thermal stations are rehabilitated and new installations like Hwange 7 and 8 are going to be concluded in the near future. This shows the Government’s commitment to stabilise and improve the power sector which is a major catalyst in economic development and industrial growth. This is quite commendable as most industries are dependent on power.
In short, I would like to say that the President touched on everything from agriculture, mining, tourism and hospitality, the financial sector and it is quite commendable. I would like to commend him for that. I thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity so that I could air my views on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. BRG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. I also want to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Mutambisi, seconded by Hon. T. Moyo for this very important debate that we are conducting as a House.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, not since independence has it been more interesting and exciting to talk about nation-building in this country. When you listen to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Speech by His Excellency, he galvanises the whole nation to recommit everyone to serve the motherland whole-heatedly towards improving the quality of life for all and lasting development which leaves no one and no place behind. Those are words of a statesman Madam Speaker Ma’am, words that can be equated to the transformation that took place in the People’s Republic of China during the Deng Xiaoping’s era that propelled China from a developing country to a world leader. I think this is the time for Zimbabweans wherever we are, to realise that this is an opportunity for us to propel the country forward in development.
I wish to applaud His Excellency for those profound words which actually resonate well with what is happening on the ground. The Second Republic is really showing that everybody in Zimbabwe is important and has to enjoy the fruits and benefits of independence. When the President says, no person and no place will be left behind, we feel proud that at last, places that have been previously marginalised and did not have network, radio and television signals, roads and have marginalised agriculture are going to see development coming their way. Places that have not had high pass rates – I come from a region and Constituency where, one month ago, there was an opportunity to send students to our National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and we looked around the entire district, we only found two students who could qualify to go to NUST, out of the more than 40 old schools. We are saying to ourselves, we are only good enough to produce only two students to go to the National University of Science and Technology.
This is the time that those who have been left behind previously now need to come on board and join the development that is for us all. Madam Speaker Ma’am, in my view, opportunities in those marginalised areas should come in the form of affirmative action both from tertiary institutions and also secondary schools. We need to assist everybody to come on board so that when we get to Vision 2030, no one is left behind so that everybody embraces this clarion call.
Coming to opportunities that the President and the new dispensation had given to the mining sector, the $12 billion economy, the previous speaker mentioned that the $12 billion needs to be visible on the ground. However, my emphasis that I want to make is that, while it has been noble to grant concessions and an Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) to mining companies, the conditions under which they are operating in the communal and rural areas – they are sidelining our youths that have the capacity and potential to be miners as well. Where relationships are established between EPOs and miners, the lord-serf relationship of the Medieval Village times is coming into play where the tributary miners work virtually and literally for nothing except for the benefit of the EPO owner. We are saying these are the people whom we need to empower, not individual EPO holders. We need to ensure that our youths and women, get the opportunities to bag claims, mine and get these resources. This is the empowerment we can give if at all.
I would also like to applaud the President, Cde. E. D Mnangagwa on the issue of the alignment of laws. Given where we are coming from, only 42 laws remain to be aligned to the Constitution. This is a commendable fit given that we had a new Constitution only in 2013 and all these are planned to be aligned in the next Session of Parliament. Of importance to us as a Committee on Defence and Home Affairs are the laws that have to do with registration of birth and death in this country. This is a challenge in the Constituency where I come from, the majority of youngsters and old people do not have birth certificates. It is a nightmare to get birth certificates and we hope that when the new laws are realigned, they will make it easy and cheaper for people to get birth certificates from wherever they are, where they can get them online because currently, it is very costly for individuals to get birth certificates, travelling long distances only to be turned away at birth issuance centres and these sub offices need to be established in all parts of the country so that people have easy access to birth certificates. Undocumented people are a security risk and it is our clarion call or plea that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage does all it can to ensure that births are recorded for every person in this country.
Then the issue of women’s youth and war veterans’ bank, Madam Speaker Ma’am, we want to applaud the Government for establishing these banks. However, the observation is that the lending conditions are still prohibitive for these groups of Zimbabweans. Our plea is for rates to be lowered, conditions to be more flexible and friendlier as well for the war veterans – what they prefer most are mortgages rather than loans because some of them really do not need loans. They do not need to get into business, all they need is to survive for the last days of their lives. They just require soft loans for immediate requirement and not difficult things where they will be forced to provide collateral security in terms of their own investments, i.e. houses.
The eagerly awaited Devolution Bill, I am glad is being given priority and this Bill comes with several amendments to several Bills, like the Urban Councils Amendment Bill, RDC Amendment Bill and so forth. This will facilitate and speed up the empowerment of local communities, particularly on issues of the resources that we have in our local communities. In mining, agriculture, water and development – we hope that this will be done in the current session so that when we go onto the 23 plebiscites, this is behind us because the nation is eagerly awaiting for resources to be properly allocated. Yes, admittedly, Government has been allocating devolution funds but this is not enough. We need laws that cover how these funds are used so that there is transparency and adequate accountability.
Finally Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would want to talk about the NSSA pensions. My plea is that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare needs to review these pensions. Yes, they reviewed them upwards from USD$15.00 to USD$45.00 and now they are going to be USD$60.00 per month per individual but who can live off with USD$60.00 a month? These are people who have contributed to the development of this country; worked hard all their lives, they toiled making major investments some of which is the pride of country or even not a pride of the region and to expect them to live off on USD$60.00 per month is really not being fair to them and to our seniors. My suggestion is that the pension should at least be reviewed upwards to a minimum of about USD$200.00 per month for all pensioners, including war veterans so that at least they have a decent life.
Let us honour them for what they did for this country, for looking after us, for bringing us to this world, then looking after us and building this country to what it is. Instead of them to live as paupers for all their lives and medication, housing and electricity is expensive – they cannot afford these things. So why not make them enjoy for the rest of their lives? Let the young people work hard. We have a lot of affluent people in this country who are splashing money everywhere but our pensioners, the people who really worked so hard are not benefiting at all. If people can build $500 000.00 million dollar homes – that money is obviously not coming through the banks. Those people must be taxed so that our pensioners are looked after, as well as pension funds and insurance companies – are the people who are making a lot of investments using money that was contributed by the pensioners? They drive nice cars and give themselves good salaries but the people who contributed and toiled are getting nothing; they are living in abject poverty. My plea is for these pensions to be reviewed upwards, let us look after our own. There is no one who will come from another country to look after our own Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Finally, there is the issue of rural development. I am glad that the Government has seen it important to change the nomenclature of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to end with rural development because that is what our people really want and that is where emphasis should be put. If we are going to be bringing everybody on board towards Vision 2030 – those are the people who need to be brought on board, not the urbanites because already they have some of the amenities but the people in the rural areas who do not have amenities like water, cooking facilities, electricity, roads, decent houses, let alone ablution facilities, these are the people who need to be brought on board and in their work places, agriculture in particular. We want industry to come to the party and develop agriculture, they must develop the tools.
Our old people are still being expected to use hoes that were used 100 years ago. Why not bring modern technology that is motorized or use electrical motors to till the land, cultivate the land or to spray the crops with chemicals? Industry is just watching. We see these things everywhere, why not get franchise manufacturing or assembling of these items which are manufactured or produced in China and India and bring them home here? Our industry is saying there is no business but the business is there, rural people are there – they cannot be using hoes when industry is there. What is industry doing? They need to come to the party and make sure that they support agriculture and mining. There is no reason why our mining equipment is still coming from China instead of being made locally. Our industry is just standing akimbo and the Chinese are bringing all that equipment and getting all the foreign currency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I look forward to a very fruitful Fourth Session of this House. I am so grateful that you gave me this opportunity to add my voice to the President’s State of the Nation Address. I rest my case. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 10th November, 2021.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Four Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.