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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 APRIL 2024 VOL 50 NO 45

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 11th April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

     HON. HADEBE: I am rising on a point of privilege Madam Speaker. I wanted to remind the House that Parliament Business starts at 2.05 p.m. Next time if anyone comes late, we will chase them away. Thank you very much.

      THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Member for reminding us. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a crisis because our generator is not working well and we do not have ZESA. So, they are trying to fix the generator…

Hon. Hadebe, I am advised that the time for sitting is 2.15 p.m. and so, we are on point although we had some delays because of the generator.  My apologies Hon. Members, we were supposed to have a break because they wanted to sort the generator.  I am advised that they have sorted it and now we can proceed with the Business of the Day.

MOTION

 LAW FOR THE PROVISION OF LAND TENURE SECURITY

First order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact a law providing security of tenure to all the land, including communal land.

Question again proposed.

HON. MHETU: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker! I think, they were supposed to have time allocated for points of national interest.  

THE. ACTING SPEAKER: Not Today Hon. Member. – [HON. MHETU: Why, today is a Thursday?] – Hon. Member, not today. – [HON. MHETU: But we have been raising points of national interests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.] – Yes, but not today Hon. Member. – [HON. MHETU: For what reason Madam Speaker?] – Order Hon. Member, the Chair has ruled, there are no points of privileges today Hon. Member. – [HON. MHETU: Madam Speaker …] Order Hon. Member, order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Members.

HON. NDUDZO: Thank you Madam Speaker and good afternoon to you.

THE. ACTING SPEAKER: Good afternoon, Hon. Member.

HON. NDUDZO: I wish to thank the Hon. Member who raised a motion on the very important subject of land tenure…

THE. ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Ndudzo. Hon. Member on my left, whatever you are saying there nce, this is not right. Stop it, we want to proceed with the business of the day.  I do not want to mention you, let us have order.  You may proceed Hon. Ndudzo

HON. NDUDZO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Land is an extremely sensitive and emotional issue which at all times, requires slow, cautious and meticulous treatment and consideration.  You will note Madam Speaker that all historians concur on one point that, of all wars that have been fought since the beginning of time to date, the central point of disputation has always been on the subject of control of land.  There has not been a war that has been fought in the world where land and control of land was not a central issue.  I therefore, wish to first deal with two misconceptions that are inherent in the motion, as it was presented, before I make my further submissions.  

The first misconception inherent in the motion is the conflation and convolution of communal and agricultural land.  The two are distinctly separate and in my view, it would seem the motion is wrongly premised on an assumption that the laws and principles that are applicable to agricultural land in terms of the leasehold resettlement scheme is the same with land that is gazetted and which we regard as communal land.

The second misconception arising from the motion is also a misapprehension or misunderstanding of the meaning of land tenure.  It seems clear that there is an assumption that land tenure is a synonym of title deeds which are issued in terms of the Deeds Registry Act and that is not correct.  Sociologically, land tenure simply refers to the relationship between people and the land.  The aspects of control, access, allocation, distribution, reallocation, re- arrangements and whatever plans that may be put in place in a particular territory in respect of land, the systems that are put in place will tell us the land tenure that exists. So, the law simply provides the legal framework upon which the relationship between a particular people and land is defined.  

So, to get started Madam Speaker, so that I will be able to narrow down my debate to the aspect of communal land, there exists four land tenure systems in Zimbabwe.   The first one is the freehold which is also the private land.  We have freehold title in most urban areas where people have title deeds and they privately own land.  We also have freehold title on some farms where people have title deeds for their farms.  

Then the second form of land tenure that exists in Zimbabwe is what we call State land.  This would refer to land such as land allocated to the Parks and Wildlife Authority, such as the land we have in Hwange, and Gonarezhou that is wholly owned by the State and  is designated for a particular purpose, the same with gazetted forestry land - that is the second genre of land tenure that we have in Zimbabwe.  

Thirdly, we have the leasehold tenure system that refers largely to gazzeted State land under the A1, A2 model schemes.  This is land which was formally owned by the colonisers that has been recovered by the natives of this land and is being redistributed by the Government of the people of Zimbabwe - that is a separate form of land tenure.

Lastly, we have land that we refer to as communal land.  Globally, it is known as ancestral land, the land which one would say, I inherited this land from my fore-fathers who also inherited it from their fore-fathers.  So, when we speak of land tenure, we must be very clear on what we speak of.  

Madam Speaker, you will note that before Zimbabwe was colonised, all the land within the territory presently called Zimbabwe was communally owned by the people of Zimbabwe under the custodianship of their chiefs.  No one had a title deed, no one had a lease, no one had a permit, no one had a document but there was no doubt on any day that the people wholly owned their land and they had full and unfettered rights to that land.

      You will note that on 15th November 1884, 14 European powers together with the United States of America, convened at a conference in Berlin and set in motion what has become to be known as the scramble for Africa.  Shockingly, the European powers in their arrogance, had the merit to sit in some conference in Germany to divide and apportion for themselves land which wholly belonged to Africans and which land was on a separate continent where you had to cross oceans to be able to access that land.

      The present boundaries of Africa, as we have them when people say Zimbabwe is separated from South Africa by the Limpopo River, and Zimbabwe is separated from Zambia by the Zambezi River, are all artificial creations of the Berlin Conference of 1884 which were added in 1885.

 You will note, Madam Speaker, consequent to the shenanigans that had been commenced at Berlin, on the 30th of October 1888, Charles Rudd and his other two accomplices acting for and on behalf of Cecil John Rhodes, fraudulently obtained a concession from King Lobengula in terms of which they purported to arrogate to themselves exclusive rights to prospect and to own all minerals within the territory of Zimbabwe.  Their real intention was clearly to utilise that concession to colonise the great people of Zimbabwe.

 That having been done, you will notice that in 1889, the Boer Edwardo Lippert also acquired what was called the Lippert Concession which was intended to grant him rights to parcel out farming land in Mashonaland.  We know that Lippert sold his concession to Cecil John Rhodes and armed with the two concessions, John Rhodes was able to convince the crown in England for him to be granted a royal charter.

  On 6 May 1890, a very sad chapter commenced when the British South African Company, with its two contingents of the Pioneer Column and the British South Africa Police, set off on a mission to subjugate colonise, and steal the land of the natives of this country.  

We are all aware that the dispossession of our land was a forcible exercise that was strongly resisted by the natives of this land in the first Chimurenga wars.  The first one was from 1893 to 1894 and the second one from 1896 to 1897.  There was never any voluntary or conceptual giving up of our land.  Blood was shed, and kings were executed with people defending their land and territory so that they could perpetuate the land tenure system that they had been accustomed to.

We are aware that through the provisions of the Matabeleland Order and Council of 1894, the first court of Southern Rhodesia was established to resolve land disputes.  The judge who set in that court was an employee of the British South African Company.  All the orders and judgments that were being made were manifestly against the wishes of the locals and were subsequently supported by the native reserve Order and Counsel of 1898 which was the first piece of legislation in Southern Rhodesia after the conquest of the locals where land was being parceled, heavily skewed in favour of the colonial contingent of the Europeans.

We know that by 1900, the Land Occupation Conditions Act was enacted to further entrench the rights of the colonial invaders.  We know that all over Europe, adverts were made inviting Europeans to come and be part of the occupation of Rhodesia and the privy council in the United Kingdom in 1919 in the case of Rhodesia, made a ruling justifying the colonisation of Zimbabwe based on the Royal Charter, the Rudd Concession and the Lippert Concession.  This paved the way for the most draconian piece of legislation that has ever been promulgated in this territory in 1930 known as the Land Apportionment Act.  The Land Apportionment Act reserved the most fertile, the best land of this country to the Europeans in a clear racial segregatory manner.  A very small population of occupiers was allocated the greater portion of the land.  The rest of our people were confined to native reserves on rocky, infertile, and arid pieces of land.

The arrogance of the colonial legislature in 1930 did not end with the Land Apportionment Act.  When there were cries all over the country because people were now being driven out of their ancestral land, what was the response of the colonial government?  They passed what they called the native purchase areas of 1930.  They said if you are a native and you also want to own a good piece of land, you can go and buy it but who had the means, who had the money, and who could be subjugated to the double jeopardy of losing your ancestral land and at the same time being asked to pay for it?

The complaints continued as the infractions and invasion continued and in 1951, the colonial Government passed what it called the Native Land Husbandry Act. They said the reasons why you were complaining was because you were not practicing good agricultural methods and means and that some of you were keeping too many cattle on a small piece of land.  So, we know that the Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951 was an instrument that was used to steal millions of cattle.  People lost their livestock because they had to pave way for the colonial masters.  That was a very clear act of primitive accumulation because the process of primitive accumulation is by nature, a process where force is ruthlessly used.  The European powers all over the world, post the Berlin Conference were in a contest of ruthlessness.  We know that in the Americas, the natives were subjected to even worse processes of extermination, which is why if you go to South America today, you will find Caucasian people of Spanish and Portuguese origin and because the origins of that land, the natives of those lands were wiped away.  If you go to the United States of America, you will struggle to come across the natives who are the Red Indians.  All these acts were meant to steal and protect the colonisers from the vengeance that would obviously follow from the native upon losing their land.

      The Communal Land Act we have presently, which was last amended in 1982, is simply a successor in title to the Tribal Trust Land Act of 1965, where whilst the rights had been duly accorded for title and rights and other entitlements because if you were part of the colonial contingent, you were not only titled to land, but you would be given title for that land, but then you would also be assisted by the State with capital and resources to make sure that you are able to be productive.  The Africans on the other hand were stripped of all rights and title and were left marooned in rocky places where they could be moved any time.  This is why the land was called reserve.  It was reserved for further appropriation and redistribution as and when the colonial Government would deem it necessary to do so.

      Therefore, you will note that the central issue in the execution and prosecution of the Second Chimurenga war was the reclamation of ancestral land, the reclamation of land by the locals.  All the other issues were red herrings.  At the epicentre of the liberation war was the issue of land where the locals were seeking to be restored their precolonial rights to full and unfettered control and access of their land.

      At the Lancaster House, there were so many other things that were discussed, but the sticking issue became land tenure.  So many weeks and months were spent in negotiation because the colonial masters even after they had been defeated, were adamant that there ought not to be land appropriation.  As a result, we underwent a very painful period of 10 years where the Government of Zimbabwe could only acquire land through a willing seller and willing buyer method.

     All the undertakings that had been made at Lancaster by the colonial masters were all not fulfilled particularly when Tony Blair became the Prime Minister of Britain and in 1997, he was very categoric.

     THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Ndudzo.  Hon. Members on my left, please let us have order.  On my left, Hon. Member Order!

     HON. NDUDZO:  In 1997 the British refused – [HON. MEMEBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

     Power outage.

      THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, order please!  Let us have order!  Hon. Members be quiet.  Let us be patient Hon. Members, they are sorting out the ZESA challenge.  The generator will be on very soon.  Let us be patient.

Power restored.

     THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members!  Please proceed Hon. Ndudzo, but you are left with only three minutes.

     HON. MUGWADI:  I move that the Hon. Member’s time be extended by 10 minutes.

     HON. MUSHIPE:  I second.

      THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.   Hon. Mugwadi, you said you are requesting to extend with how many minutes?

HON. MUGWADI:  In fact, if I had your honour, Madam Speaker 15 minutes.

HON. MUSHIPE:  I second.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I can only allow five minutes – [AN HON. MEMBER:  We have objected.] – According to the standing rules he is allowed.

      HON. KARENYI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I think this is an opportunity…

     THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Karenyi.  I think I have heard your point.  Your objection is sustained - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Mavunga.  – [HON. NDUDZO: Madam Speaker, you had already made a ruling that I was left with three minutes.  That ruling still stands.] -. Okay, you can proceed Hon. Ndudzo.

      HON. NDUDZO: I am indebted Madam Speaker.  It was in 1997, when Tony Blair was very categoric in his rejection of the colonial obligation to compensate Zimbabweans for the land as has been undertaken by its predecessors at Lancaster.  You will note that when it became very clear that the locals of this country were so keen on the recovery of their land, a series of events were set in motion by the beneficiaries of the colonial festive.  You are aware that the Westminster Foundation in 1998 began to fund subversive individuals to – [ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]– to fund neo-liberal political parties with the sole intention of derailing land reform.  You are aware that in 1998…

      THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Ndudzo.  Order Hon. Members.  There is a Member on my left side who is chewing a gum and is making a lot of noise. Please be quiet, I would ask you to go out, throw away your chewing gum. We are not allowed to eat in the House.  I do not want to mention your name, you know yourself.  Please do so.  You may proceed Hon. Ndudzo.

      HON. NDUDZO:  Madam Speaker, a lot happened and you are aware that in 1998/1999, we had a Constitutional Commission and the central issue in that whole constitutional process was the land clause, which culminated into a referendum in 2000.  You are aware that a lot of money was spend by neo-colonial forces to make sure that the referendum would not allow the people of Zimbabwe to reclaim their land without compensation.  It is at that juncture that my people whom I represent, the great people of Svosve – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear,] – became so fed up with the shenanigans of the colonisers and their surrogates and took it upon themselves to reclaim their land, which they had owned for centuries.  That is what set in motion the Land Reform Programme.

      HON. BAJILA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  At 1456 hours, you granted Hon. Ndudzo three minutes to round up his speech.  Now the time is 1459 hours.  I thank you.

     THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Bajila, I am being assisted by Clerks-at-the Table, not you Hon. Members.  You can proceed Hon. Ndudzo.  

      HON. NDUDZO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  The native of this land became united in the reclamation of their land.  Today, Zimbabwe is a distinct nation among the nations of the world; among the nations of Africa, in that the natives of this land have control of the primary means of production, which is land itself.  There can never be tolerance of any suggestions of that land to be subject to a process where it can be transferred and be taken away from the people of this country.  

What we therefore need in this country, is to protect the rights of the natives from our ancestral land.  Secondly, we need to entrench the non-transferability of communal land.  If you read the Bible in 1 Kings Chapter 21, you will read of King Nabboth Vineyard, that there is no value, there is no price which can be equal to ancestral land.

[Time Limit]

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Ndudzo, your time is up.

HON. KARENYI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I rise to say that today as Members of Parliament, we have learnt a lesson that if one of us is debating and one has requested for an extension of time, both sides should agree to the extension of time.  We observed that Members on the other side, whenever there is a request for an extension of time from this side, they simply deny it, which is a bad habit.  They must learn today that it is important that we must be given additional time.  This is a lesson we all learnt today.  Thank you.  

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  We are not in this House to fix each other.  Please, let us bear that in our minds.

      HON. S. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Before I proceed…

     THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.  Order, Hon. Members.  Order, Hon. Ziyambi.  Hon. Members please, may we hear the Member in silence.  You may proceed Hon. Ziyambi.

     HON. S. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was saying, before I proceed, I just want to applaud the debate by Hon. Ndudzo, this is very important.  He chronicled part of our history, where we came from, where we are because of the part of history.  My task now is very simple, I would not take much of the House’s time because most of the issues have been tackled, not by Hon. Ndudzo only but by some of the Hon. Members on my side here.  I would like to applaud all of them for debating so well on this issue.

     I would like to agree with the speakers from the previous session, who said that land cannot be sold.  Land cannot be sold, it cannot be sold – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]– As Zimbabweans, we cannot afford to take chances with our land.  We have learnt the hard way.  The issuance of title deeds to communal land owners has the potential to create a market for land.  This market for land is not something that we want at the current situation in Zimbabwe.  Yes, it is not enough for me to continue with my debate without referring to a part of history, some of which has been said by my predecessors and many people in this House.

      I would like to start with the Land Apportionment Act of 1930. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 marked the officilisation of land imbalance in Zimbabwe between the blacks and the white minority. The Act saw the relegation of the black majority to areas unsuitable for agricultural purposes known as Tribal Trust Lands (TTL). On the other hand, the whites apportioned themselves with vast tracts of fertile land suitable for agricultural purposes. This then, from 1930, became the arrangement which favoured and benefitted the small white population in the then Rhodesia and disadvantaged the black majority for many years.

To further solidify their upper hand, they crafted the Land Tenure Act in 1969. This tenure Act gave the whites the opportunity to have title deeds for the land that they had illegally possessed. This was to protect them by giving them total ownership and power to borrow. However, the First Chimurenga as we all know, was a response to the encroachment and appropriation of land by the European settlers. This saw Nehanda Nyakasikana, Kaguvi and Lobengula becoming symbols of resistance and ultimately leading to their capture and brutal execution. This was because of land.

      Communal lands, Madam Speaker, are often tied to ancestral heritage and cultural identity. The system where chiefs allocate land is part of the traditional governance structure and respects historical ties and community cohesion. This land is held in accordance with customary law and chiefs act as custodians, ensuring the community’s rights and interests are protected. The Second Chimurenga was a guerrilla war from 1966 to 1979, which led to the end of white minority rule in Rhodesia and establishment of Zimbabwe as an independent state or nation.

In the resettlement areas, offer letters are the documents making a citizen’s ownership of the land. Some are given 99-year leases in resettlement areas. This system is currently working as Government can control and keep track of who is where and owners do not have the right to sell the land because the land belongs to the state. This system is suitable as unscrupulous individuals or owners can be dispossessed of the land and another citizen can be made to benefit.

Communal land in Zimbabwe has always been under the custody of local leaders such as chiefs and headmen. So far, this system has worked with ancestral land passed from generation to generation. Let us therefore always not wish to discard everything that is originally of our own design to adopt foreign practices. The other Hon. Member in this House said there are people in Zimbabwe who always want to be Americans when in fact they are not Americans, but Zimbabweans. Our culture is our culture; we cannot run away from our culture. We are Zimbabweans.

Madam Speaker, it does not make sense and it is not practical to give title deeds to a very small portion of land, which rightfully belongs to a large number of people in communal lands. This will create a lot of conflicts and fights within families. So far, families have a way of managing their land and this cannot be disturbed. If we give title deeds to communal lands, it is a potential disaster in this country. Even the whites when they crafted the Land Tenure Act, they did not even want communal lands to have title deeds in communal lands. So where are we getting this concept from of giving title to communal ancestral land.

Title deeds could lead to the fragmentation and eventual sell of communal lands to erstwhile colonisers which may undermine the security of livelihoods for many who depend on these lands for subsistence farming and grazing. Selling land could lead to the concentration in the hands of a few, potentially displacing the rural economy. So this debate on land tenure systems and title deeds found its way in this House through a backdoor. It is my humble submission that this debate should be dismissed forthwith. So I submit.

*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to add my voice on the land issue. First and foremost, as Zimbabweans, we should understand that since the time of Mbuya Nehanda, their wish was for free Zimbabweans. The greatest form of liberation that led them to battle was the issue of the land because the colonisers who were coming had seen an opportunity that the Zimbabwean land could be possessed. So the issue of the land is the reason why there is always this war. When it started, it was the concept of “Child of the Soil” “Mwana wevhu” and up to date, you know that leads us to connecting with our Zimbabwean soil because we fought for the liberation of this country.

Those who would remember, and I am happy that others were talking about the history of this country. Those that know the history of why we are on the opposite side and because of our ages, it is because of the land. If people are not given title over the land, the land would be misused. Those that know would know that in 1987-1989 up until the creation of the Movement for Democratic Change, it was land to the people and not to the politicians. What we were fighting for was that people should have the land and that then triggered the Government of the day to come up with the Land Reform Programme.

*HON. MAPIKI: My point of order is that the Hon. Member, we had asked him to go to Tarshish, but he has gone to Nineveh. He has gone off tangent in terms of the debate. Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mapiki, your point of order is dismissed.

*HON. CHIDZIVA: I wanted to bring in that element of that history because we are in opposition as a result of the fight against the people. For the land, I am here as opposition because I am fighting for the land. This is another element of the fight for the land. The fight for the land cannot end without the Zimbabwean people getting title deeds to the land. To those that are in the know, our land in the communal lands, you will know this is where we have buried our ancestors.

     *HON. MUGWADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Member who is debating has used a word in a sentence that at the moment there is war for the land in Zimbabwe. I do not know in this august House where we hear that we are at war over the issue of the land. If the Hon. Member was speaking in English which is used by other Members of this august House, it means there is no war over the land in Zimbabwe. Can he use any better word so that he cannot over-emphasise or misguide this House in terms of the definition of the war? I thank you.

      *HON. CHIDZIVA: Madam Speaker, when I spoke using vernacular and the word hondo, I am talking about disagreement which leads to conflict that has to be resolved so that we can go ahead and say it has been resolved. I will proceed by saying that the issue of the land brings us together because it takes us back to totems of each and every one of us. We go back to our totems and touch or grab scent and talk to one’s ancestors. If one has not yet had a right to this land, it means that you will be removed from the areas that you value as residents as was the case that happened in Seke, Mutoko and Mvuma.

      Those people no longer can connect with their ancestors or their traditional way of life. It is important that when we talk about the issue of the land tenure and the right to land, the movers of this motion, we requested that they be given title deeds to the land. It helps everyone that no white man can come and chase you away from your piece of land. There is no Chinese that can come and remove you from the piece of land if you have title to it. There will be no evictions if you have title to that land.

     As has been said before by the white men, they had title deeds because they wanted to remove you from the land hence, they did not give the title deeds to the blacks. As Zimbabweans, we must have the appropriate people who now have title deeds. You know that this land, in other words, if you are in certain places, I talked about the liberation and that there is need for liberation in terms of the land. If you are not a member of a particular political party and you live in Chidziva Village, you can be removed from Chidziva Village because you have no right to that piece of land that you have. People will not be free to live in the country.

If you do not support that particular ideology, you are removed from that land because you have no right to that land. If you have got the right to that land, no one can remove you from it. That is how we connect the liberation of the person to the land. If you want Zimbabweans to be free or liberated or feel that they belong to this country, they are children of the country. This soil is where we live today.

     This is where we are going to be interred and it is going to be our final resting places. It important that we need to have our rights even if we are dead. It is important to have title deeds for our land. If we get to a stage where we think we want to sell the land – what we need is, we are not going to sell the land, but do not want to be moved away from the land. We want to remain in occupancy of our land, no matter who is going to come tomorrow, do not address the issue about the sale of the land when people are busy suffering from being evicted from the land that they occupied.

People should have their rights to live to their ancestors’ land where their umbilical cords are buried.

*HON. MALINGANISO: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Hon. Member is now shouting. He spoke about being at war and we now became afraid when others debate, they speak normally and we listen.  This is an august House, we should not be quarrelling with one another. I thank you Madam Speaker.

     *HON.  CHIDZIVA: Thank you, Hon. Speaker, let them forgive me.  On the issue of the land, I become possessed.  If your father were a village head, you would not have said that.

     *HON. SHONGEDZA: On a point of order. My point of order is that the Hon. Member is threatening us. They do not know where the land came from.  He was a young child when the war was being fought.  He was a sellout.  

     THE. ACTING SPEAKER: I think you must withdraw the word sellout.

     *HON. SHONGEDZA: I withdraw Madam Speaker.

     THE. ACTING SPEAKER:   Thank you Hon. Shongedza.  Please proceed Hon. Member.

     *HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Madam Speaker…

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members!  In terms of Standing Order Number 111, Hon. Members are advised not to engage in tedious repetition, but to come up with new ideas instead of repeating the same things that have already been debated. You may proceed Hon. Member.

*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I do not have much to say, only to say I would like to thank Hon. Clifford Hlatywayo for the motion that he brought forward.  I think all of us, in the end, will see the importance of this motion because it is our hope that we do not look down upon those who started the liberation struggle.  I thank you.

      *HON. C. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maám. I also want to add my voice on this motion that was brought by Hon. Hlatywayo.  I think from the onset, we need to bring each other to speed as to why the land?  Land ownership in Zimbabwe is rooted in the liberation war as alluded to, but I will try to make sure that I will also take a different route in my debate.

Those who fought for land fought for the means of production.  The means of production we have the land, the labour and the capital.  When we are talking about the land, it is not just the soil, but we are talking about the soil, that which is on top of the land and that which is found under the land. By this, we are talking about our forests, water, and minerals - all this constitute the land.    Then when we defined ourselves and when we had acquired our land, the country was vey precise in terms of placing the role of land in the development agenda of Zimbabwe.  The land is the economy and Hon. Members, I would want to link what we have done so far with the land, especially on tobacco, mining and wheat production.  We are a food secure country outside the EL-Niño weather phenomenon.  If you look at last year, for the first time in the history of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is wheat secure.  

We have managed to construct a number of dams because we own the land.  So if you check where we want to go now, our economic development trajectory which is in vision 2030 and National Development Strategy One (1), is rooted in the land.   Vision 2030 under NDS1, we have got priority areas, infrastructure development.  Under infrastructure development, whether you are looking at rail, road, energy or water, all these require land.  So if you link the vision 2030, its realisation requires land.  

There is priority area on food security, and in order for us to realise food security, we need land.  There is priority area on housing, to realise housing we need land.  Devolution, under devolution, the main thrust of devolution is local economic development, and local economic development says, develop your area using the resources that you have around you and it requires land.  Mining development, now that we are discovering a lot of minerals, imagine if we had no ownership of land and all of a sudden lithium happens to be at someone’s plot.  Imagine the platinum now, the oil and gas - all these if the land was in the private hands, we were not going to be able to access these as Zimbabweans… – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -   

Land, for those who aspire to lead this country, it is the economy that determines the political super structure, if you do not own land, you can forget about having power in Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  So the policy on land in terms of the ownership is non-negotiable and irrevocable – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  What we can only do now is to talk about production.  What we should do in order that we till the land and I am happy that our banks now accept the 99-year leases and the focus is now on production.  The beauty of the 99-year leases is, the ownership of land is rooted in those who are present and those who are not yet born. It then means there is even a chance for future governments to redistribute the land in line with the population sizes.

  So, imagine if we are going to share it amongst ourselves now and we say this one belongs to you and it is yours forever.  We will not get the chance to redistribute the land in the future. So, the 99-year lease will allow us to re-look at the land sizes as we focus on intensive agriculture.

 So, I would want to totally dismiss the motion as it was submitted by Hon. Hlatywayo but to also take this opportunity to say the motion is a reminder to all of us as Zimbabweans.  Hon. Members mentioned the importance of ownership of land, which is quite laudable.  However, I think what we need to agree on as Zimbabweans is the issue of ownership of land is non-negotiable.  We are looking at sustainable tenure, at the moment we have sanction-induced poverty and sanction-induced economic instability and if we had title deeds, given the hardship, one would easily sell the title.  Once the title is gone, I tell you we will start to hear about being a member of the International Court of Justice or arbitration and all that.  

So, Hon. Members, we should not allow a situation where we will lose what we have.  Land is the economy and the economy is the one that determines the political superstructure.  I so submit.

HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to vigorously defend and to ultimately block the attempt of reversal to this land that we have as enshrined in the motion brought into this House.

 I am glad and at the same time reminding the august House that we are debating and I have been observing that some Members seem to be making jokes out of what we are debating here.  We are only eight days away from celebrating 44 years after independence and Hon. Members, you are reminded that if you are indeed a patriotic Zimbabwean, we must meet in Murambinda next week, on the 18th of April, 2024.

I would not do justice or bring exactly the facts around this issue of land without having to refer back, unfortunately the previous speakers have detailed the historical and death sentence.   So, I am not going to dwell much on what has been said.

However, let me quickly get into 99 as we get into 2000, the New Millennium when our forefathers, and chiefs decided to take back the land for our people.  It surprised me that some of the people who had a different ideology of thinking that the land was supposed to remain with the minority white people are now, to some extent, kind of agreeing that the land indeed belongs to the Zimbabweans but in a different way, which to me, to some extent has a hidden agenda.  

When the land was then taken back; let me not talk about the Second Chimurenga, some people with a different ideology which they currently still have were criticising it heavily.  In analysing, they were saying we should not take the land, and if you ask, they were saying why should we take the land that does not belong to us.  Why are we taking someone’s land? I once said in this august House, last year on the 28th of November, this is an emotional matter because I did not have the privilege of seeing my father. After all, he had gone to war for the reason of this topic we are discussing about.  Therefore, whenever we are debating, we should not bring jokes here.

After we took the land they then said, it was good to take the land but the way it was taken.  My question is still unanswered even today, what then were we supposed to do in getting our land?  Did we need to use any means besides the way we got it? Surely, if someone robbed me and I meet with him with whatever they have stolen from me, I will not have any formula for taking it back. The thief has no right to tell me how I should take it back; you do not lecture me on my property or something that belongs to me. So, the question of how we took it back is none of the business of the Western.  The way how we took it back is non-negotiable and it brings emotions when it comes to this issue.  

Madam Speaker, when we moved, they then said well, we kind of agree that it was necessary to take it in that manner but what are you doing with the land? In some instances, they will be posing very valid questions but the problem that has happened; Hon. Togarepi once spoke about it.  If we were not debating, beaming on these screens, some of the Members here would not be debating because they have got people whom they want to show off that they are defending them in this august House. However, let me remind Zimbabweans that we are not defending anyone outside Zimbabwe, we are only defending Zimbabweans here.

Madam Speaker, I happen to also have some relatives who live abroad, and one of my relatives there is kind of living miserably. I asked him to come back home and get a piece of land so that he can do some production and he answered, I do not come to share looted parcel.  I said really, we still have people who think like that.  Then I was reminded that it is very difficult to liberate the mind of a happy slave to some extent.  Let me say that again, it is very difficult because it is the intention of the colonial masters that the power of the oppressors stays in the oppressed person such that they speak on their behalf even when they are not there.  

      On many occasions, I have been the go between, especially when we are going with the bride token, not bride price.  I always tell the people that I will be accompanying that when you are given nice chairs and sofas to sit on, do not attempt to sit on those ones up until we finish.  In Shona I quote, ‘hero sadza nyamukute uchienda kunonyudza’.  You will not be able to come back.  If you speak when you are a son-in-law before you finish handing over the bribe token, you are going to be punished for that.  It is a trap.

       My question is, what is it that we cannot do because we are not holding title deeds?  The best undisputed title deed, biblically, culturally, socially is not that piece of paper.  The graveyard of our own forefathers are a proof and testimony that it is and they are indeed undisputed title deeds.  Even in the rural area, if you come from Murombedzi in the communal lands, the only proof that you have about who owns that piece of land, just show people to say there pakarara madzibaba nemadzitateguru edu.  It is proof of a title deed.

      Madam Speaker, if we check many other countries that have failed this trap, right now I can give examples like Uganda and Kenya, the land is in the hands of the private players as we speak.  Now when the land is fully controlled by individuals, when the land is no longer distributed by the State, there is chaos that is yet to come.  We are creating and giving an opportunity of the new revolution of land barons that will sell it back.  Mind you, those so called colonial masters have looted.  They left so many shafts when they looted our gold and minerals and they have reserved them there.  They will come back and buy this land from our own indigenous people.  At the end, we will be left with nothing.  Let me clearly say Madam Speaker, anyone who can debate in support of this motion is stealing ignorantly from future generations – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -   

     Madam Speaker, there should be a difference between a lease holder and the property owner and in this case, rural settlement areas known as reserved area, commercial agricultural land and mining, land should only be used and remain state owned properties while citizens remain as 99-year lease holders, renewable, who will be there after 100 years.  It is just as good as you have been given it for a lifetime and our children will inherit it and renew it.

      Let me also remind this august House that even in the UK and America, the citizens there do not own title deeds to the land that they have built on.  They have got only sectional title deeds of the dwelling properties, not the land.  Meaning to say if the house is sitting on 200sqm, that is only what you own.  The rest is owned by the State.  So why do we need to start something that is not implemented by those who want to be choir masters of human rights.

      Madam Speaker, in my view this is a total trap that is to some extent going to short change our own Zimbabwe.  Madam Speaker, tittle deeds can be made available like I said for only property that falls under the Ministry of Local Government, such as those in peri-urban local authorities like growth points, towns and cities, while sectional title deeds may be issued to those who wish to have them only in those areas.

      Madam Speaker, the issue of the title deeds is not a clear issue here.  I am sure there are other issues behind which we are not seeing, but we are glad that we once got trapped with the issue of title deeds.  If we look back when Cecil John Rhodes came, he occupied the whole land of Zimbabwe and named it after himself, Southern Rhodesia Northern Rhodesia, but he followed by subdividing it into what was then called estates.  Many are to be reminded of the charter estates and many other estates around.

     That was a testimony of holding on to a bigger piece of land of many thousands of hectares.  They went on to subdivide it to ranges and they went on to subdivide it to farms and issued title deeds.  They started selling that land to our own Government, the same Government that went to war for the same issue of land     

       THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Ganyiwa, you are left with five minutes.

       HON. GANDIWA:  I am sure five minutes is enough for me to conclude Madam Speaker.  What I am trying to bring here, Madam Speaker, is that even at present day, issuing of title deeds to the communal lands and farming land to the people that never paid any cent to have it is a total fraud.  How can you issue a title deed to a piece of land that you have not even paid any cent for?  How can we officiate and legalise fraud at its highest level?

Madam Speaker, this is a trap.  In Shona and I quote, we say ‘inyasha dzei kubvisa mwana wemvana madziwa.’ inyasha dzei kubvisa mwana wemvana madzihwa, iyo mvana yacho yakatsvuka kudaro, murikudei? There are issues in here.  So, the best way to deal with it, we should only – like Hon. Chiduwa said, talk about production and let it be a subject to be discussed by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans.  We do not want anyone from outside who will start criticising to say we have taken back the land but what have you done with it.  It is like you are telling me that you are wasting this beautiful wife, why can you not make seven children with her?  I do whatever I want.  This motion should not be given further opportunity to be debated but to be totally dismissed.  I thank you.

     *HON. L. MUNEMO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I will add a few words to the debate.  I would like to add my voice on the issue of land tenure. Firstly, this country came after the liberation struggle, meaning there was something which was done the wrong way before.  All our ancestors had their settlement.  When Whites came, they then taught us the systems on which they wanted us to live.  We then went on, then we started a liberation struggle, up to the extent when we liberated the country because it is important for us to have this land.

If somebody is given land to say you now own it.  It is very true just like what was said by the former speaker, Hon. Chiduwa, you can discover that there are minerals  on that piece of land, we can improve the economy by having those minerals.  If we give it to someone for good, then we will  not have anything.  Other people will languish in poverty.

      I would like to give you an example of what happened in Scotland.  Part of their rural area, has less than people  who bought Scotland.  They have other people who own pieces of land in Scotland but they do not stay in that country  meaning, if we say willing buyer willing seller, it would not end well  We can say Scotland is ours but when those people stay in other countries - we do not want to follow that in our country Zimbabwe. If land is sold, people will do whatever they want, meaning to say if anything comes out of that land, if you discover something like minerals from that place, that person can easily say, he or she does not want to sell those minerals.

      There is a man by the name Marcus Garvey , he spoke in English “ people without their past history, origin and culture,  are like a tree without roots”  meaning to say if you are a true Zimbabwean, if you do not know the history of your country – when you simply think and believe it has to be sold and owned by a few people, you are just like a tree without roots.  It is only in a short space of time; you can easily be taken down.  I  remember when Zimbabwe was still under colonialism, those settlers got the rich parts of the land.  Us as the Mutapa tribe, were taken to those poor soils and  that is where war of the land started.   I am only saying  that land must not be sold.  They left the land after they were defeated. Land must not be sold.  I do not want to continue debating.

I would like to emphasise to you that we have to be strong and not to follow the likes of those people from the West.  People from countries like Scotland, are  fighting to get back their land,  that is what we do not  want to happen in Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

     HON. W. MAPOSA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Thank you very much for giving me this time to add my voice on the land tenure. Land Reform in Zimbabwe, the paper begins with an ethical case for land redistribution in Zimbabwe, based on principles of social justice and equity.  Drawing a brief history of land in Zimbabwe from the first European expulsion up to the independence of the economy that is farming, commercial sector is more efficient than peasant sectors.

      Conflicts of land in Zimbabwe is one of the big news, and stories of today but the media tends to exaggerate the extent to which events unfold.  They are historically contingent and driven by happenings as they stand. Instead, the situation should be seen as structural in the historic process of the colonial rule and subsequent international diplomacy and intervention.  In fact, similar processes are unfolding in our neighbouring countries, that  is, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.  I just want to take you back to  the fourth, when Hon. Bhajila debated, I hope he is  in the House.  I want him to take a paper and pen so that he writes what is there.

In South Africa, South Africans own 13% of the land.  This is the black majority, 87% is owned by the white minority.  I just want to take back Hon. Bhajila, who told us about what is happening in South Africa?  An ethical case of land distribution, it will be argued first that there is a strong moral case for radical redistribution of land in Zimbabwe. Such depends on appreciation of the origins of the country, land ownership.  So, therefore, the historical outline of land acquisition exploited from the initial European settlers in the 19th Century from British rule up to 1980.  How many came to be British, the Berlin Conference of 1884, I hope my Hon. is writing because land is irreversible…

      HON. MAPOSA: 87% is owned by the white minority. I just want to track back to Hon. Bajila who told us about what is happening in South Africa. An ethical case for land distribution; it will be argued first that there is a strong moral case for a radical distribution of land in Zimbabwe. Such a case would depend on appreciation of the origins of the country’s land ownership. So, there follows a historical outline of land acquisition and expropriation from the initial European settlements in the 19th Century to Independence from British rule up to 1980.

How land came to the British? The Berlin Conference of 1884 defined the broad limits of expansion of each of the European powers. I hope my Hon. Member is writing because land is irreplaceable and I am referring to Hon. Bajila because when he spoke on the 4th, it was not correct. As part of this exercise, the British Government in 1888 declared the existence of a British sphere of interest between Botswana and the Zambezi. Thus, Mashonaland and Matebeleland were allocated by the European powers to British influence. In that year, our King Lobengula was misled into signing a mining concession which effectively granted Cecil Rhodes the right to occupy Mashonaland. Land theft occurred right up to the 1970s and many expatriate landowners still claim their rights over specific landholdings that they had previously farmed.

Madam Speaker, land is irreversible. I want our Hon. Members to take paper and pen so that I elaborate what happened with the land which is not irreversible:

1979/80 Lancaster House Agreement materialised funding the voluntary sale only compensation; full market price convertible to foreign currency.

1983 stalling of the Land Reform Programme.

1991 Amended Constitution allowing compulsory acquisition of land with little compensation or right to appeal.

1992 Land Acquisition Act. The right of the Government to acquire land by compulsion.

1997 Decision to implement the 1992 Act and undertake compulsory purchase of land.

1998(Sept) International conference donor support for voluntary sales only.

1998(Nov) Compulsory acquisition orders issued. Dispossessed farmers to be compensated (at fair market value)

2000(May) Amendment to the Constitution and the 1992 Act permitting compulsory acquisition of land without compensation.

2000(July) Programme started, land expropriated without compensation

Madam Speaker, could land reform be reversed? No. As we have seen, Government has now declared the programme complete and I do

not know why we are debating this land in this House yet it is complete. Of course, we can only speculate. To some extent, it would depend on what the programme had accomplished by then.

      In conclusion, it would be difficult to talk of reversing the land reform. I urge the Government, international community and the opposition, if possible, to alleviate Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. It should be remembered that the roots of this crisis can be traced back to the introduction of policies under ESAP in 1991. Instead, whether by accident or design, the Government is pursuing the only available route to recovery. I, therefore, propose that we dismiss this motion. Thank you so much Hon. Speaker.

     HON. TOGAREPI: I come forward to debate this very emotional motion raised by Hon. Hlatywayo. A motion about land and land tenure. Land was the number one grievance that made the people of Zimbabwe, the black majority to fight against colonialism. I think everyone who debates or who wants to talk about land must have that in mind that land defines a people.

Land cannot be owned by a section of a society or people depriving others of that land and you do not see people fighting. There are countries in the world today who are fighting for football grounds, small portions of land. Thousands and thousands of people have died fighting for that small piece of land. Land and survival of the people of any country or nationalist, you cannot separate them from their land. Wars have been fought.

If you compare reasons for many countries going to war, you will find not less than 80% of those wars are related to the land issue and today we sit in this product – this House is a product of the liberation struggle – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – debating to reverse all what we fought for – [HON. MEMBERS: Tichatorwa. Wanga uripo here?] – Madam Speaker, I was listening very well when others were debating. I would not want somebody to interrupt me because that person is a surrogate of imperialism – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –  I would not want that. I listened. You have your opinion; I will listen to it and I will debate to give you my side of the story. ‘Don’t’. The land issue is emotional. I punctuated that when I started. It is very emotional.

The idea of coming up with  title deeds, let me explain how I see it. Look, when we embarked on the land reform in 2000, we were taking land slightly above 4 000 white minority who had 70% of the agricultural land and gave it to our people and others did not get the land because it was limited. If the Government one day and I am sure the progressive Government should decide that the population has increased those who demand or who want land have become many. The land that was given to Hon. Karikoga is big and we would want him to remain with a little portion and redistribute the other to other people. How will they do it when Hon. Karikoga now has a title deed? We are creating another war.

Any idea of coming up with title deeds to land which was repossessed not for me who has got the land but for all the people of Zimbabwe is not good. I am only holding it for the people of Zimbabwe and when they want it, they must be able to take it. I cannot claim to say that the land that I got is mine and mine alone. Why? I did not pay a cent. I was only at the right place at the right time when the land was redistributed, I got that land but it should remain State property. Should the State want to redistribute that land, it must have the power and the right to do it.  Every person and future generations have the same rights that I have today on the same land. So, for those who are trying to sell or come up with title deeds, it is the strategy of the enemy.  The strategy of those who owned land illegally in the fist place and parceled it out and got title deeds to it.  They have now lost the game because we took our land.  Now they want to come back and say can you parcel it out, give title deeds, they bring in monies they go after stealing our gold and our minerals.

They will come and buy that land and when they buy it, it is now sold by our people, they will say we have title deeds and we bought it from your people and this is now our land.  Zimbabwe will wake up sold on an auction floor.  Is that what we want? All agricultural land, whoever wants to sell title, sell it in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and urban centres, sell it. When we are talking of our communal land and our agricultural land, it is not owned by an individual.  Every individual has got a chance to use the land, if you get there ahead of others then you can use it.  When the time comes for others to get that land, there should not be a reason for you to resist.  We are better of after the liberation struggle now because we got that land.  

We got that land and gave it to everyone who has land today for free.   It is now easier to take it and give it to anyone else who wants land and there will not be any problem because nobody paid a cent.  What paid for the land is the blood of our people who died to liberate this country.  The main reason why we went to war was land.  

Madam Speaker, I will tell you a very short story.  There was this guy who kept a monkey on a leash on its waist and the chain destroyed the waist.  There came a good man who saw that the monkey was injured, leashed on a tree.  He said why are you keeping this monkey leashed like this and injured. He fought the owner of the monkey or the guy who claimed that he was the owner of the monkey and he won.  He untied the monkey, the monkey instead of running away now that it was free, the monkey went up the tree to go back to its tormentor.

The reason is that some of us were freed from colonialism, what was freed was their bodies but the brain remained colonised.  Up to today, they think money can be the major reason for our existence as a country.  This country Zimbabwe, cannot be owned by an individual, it should never. I thought some of the people that I see who were opposing the view of the Land Reform Programme thought the land was not going to be taken from whites, would be the first to defend that land must never be titled because they do not have the land. There will come an opportunity for their children and descendants to get land.  They are here now giving us title to those who agreed on the land reform and we got the land.  Your children will be poor because you have already relegated your people and future generations without land.  

You must not defend anyone owning the land. Those who fought for this country, some died and they never had an opportunity to have title to this land.  They did not fight for themselves, they fought for you and  me. Why should we who are the first heirs to this land decide to own it at the expense of those who are coming and those who had no chance to get the land when it was redistributed?  Why should we think we are special? Anyone who will sectionalise this land, create title deeds, and deny others the right to get this land is an author of future turmoil and is an author of future war.  People will fight for this land because the same people will remind you how did you get this land that today you have got title to?  

We asked the whites, Madam Speaker, when we were taking the land in 2000; you stole this land. This land belongs to our forefathers and you took the land after fighting a war in Malaysia, in Burma there, and came here to be compensated for your fighting outside Zimbabwe and got fertile land here. Now, you have got title to the land that belonged to our forefathers, we want it back and we took it back.  It will come again if we are not clever, not responsible if we are incited or excited by other forces to try and sell our birthright, the right by every Zimbabwean to own land or to be part of the land; we will create another war.  Let us not be fooled, excitement should never influence our mind.  

So, Madam Speaker, it is interesting that we find everyone wanting to discuss or debate about land. The mover of this motion, I think he just wanted to jolt us and make us rethink about who we are, our relationship to our land.  It was good for that not to propagate or to push for title deeds for communal land or for any piece of land that was acquired.  It is a process of the revolution that made us take the land.  If we are real Zimbabweans, we should therefore advocate for our land to be owned by a single individual because that single individual got that land ahead of you.  So, he must have title and you are now asked to look for money to buy it from me but I got it for nothing.

Madam Speaker, I really want to encourage the Hon. Members here from the two sides of the political divide that let us talk about other things.  Let us not play with the land.  It is deep, some of us who are going against this, we have relatives that died fighting for this land.  Will they be happy that you do not get land and when you want land you are going to buy when I got it through the land reform for free.  Those relatives of yours who died fighting for this land, will they be happy when you are asked to fork out a million dollars to buy the same land that I got for free?  That mentality must just go.  Go and throw it in the dustbin, it is not correct.  

If there is anyone Madam Speaker who has land today, who believes that that land is for him, is for her or his descendants, that mentality must be cleaned.  Otherwise, we need to go to the madzibabas and clean that mind.  It is very dangerous; this land belongs to all of us.  This land is our land together.  We are in this Parliament built on this land because it is ours.  If all this and land was titled by other people, would we come on this hill and build this beautiful Parliament?  Will we have the same freedom that we have, I agree with leasing.  Government remains with the right to take the land back.  Some will tell you when they are drunk from taking too much chibuku that Hon Togarepi has 50ha, but he is doing nothing with it.  Let me tell you today that every revolution has a duty.  There was a duty to go to war to fight to get this land.  The other stage of the revolution was to go and take it from the whites.  Maybe I was part of that, but if your child, who is a good farmer and an expert farmer comes tomorrow, he must find the land in the hands of a black man and use it for the future growth of this country.  So your mind must tell you that the land is with Togarepi today, but tomorrow when my descendants come and they want this land, it is easily accessible because Togarepi got it for free.

HON.  P. DUBE:  On a point of order.  With all due respect, Hon. Togarepi continuously refers to either this side or that side during the debate.  I think the rules are very clear that he should address you so that we do not feel he is just referring to anyone.  I think the rules are very clear.

      THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Okay, Hon. but I did not see him pointing at anyone or hear him referring to any side.  He neither referred to the left nor right side.  If he pointed maybe he was pointing at the Clerks-at-the-Table.

       HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker I hear you.  Hon Members, I am talking to you as representatives of the people.  I am raising these issues and surely as the Chair, you will hear me.  Hon. Members, as representatives of the people, I urge all of you to go and tell the people of Zimbabwe that Zimbabwe and its land belongs to them.  Nobody must have preference to that land above others.  Where-ever you come from and whatever your view is, you are part of the ownership of this land and you must defend it.  Whether it is owned by me today, defend it for future generations.  If it is owned by you today, I will defend it for future generations.  The Zimbabwean land cannot be priced.  The blood of our people, young and old is pricier for this land to be sold for a song.  On the 18th April, when we celebrate the independence of Zimbabwe, the major cause of celebration was reclamation of our land.  We can talk about one man one vote and everything else, but you cannot have that right without ownership of that land.  So I really pray that the Hon. Member in my view, without going deep into his mind or what influenced him to come up with this motion – but if you ask me, I think he just wanted to remind us that 18th April was coming and the land is in the hands of the black people of Zimbabwe.  We must never sell it.  So, the motion cannot be adopted, it is misplaced and not serving our interest as a people.  I thank you.

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

     HON. KAMBUZUMA:  I second.

     Motion put and agreed to.

      Debate to resume Tuesday, 7th May, 2024.

MOTION

PROTECTION OF DEPOSITORS AND INVESTORS DEPOSITS IN BANKS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.

      Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on Protection of Depositors and Investors Deposits in Banks and other Financial Institutions.

      Question again proposed.

       HON. DR. MUTODI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Allow me to add my voice on the debate around the deposit protection law which in my view is very pertinent and very technical.  My contribution will center around the collapse of banks in Zimbabwe which dove-tails with the risk faced by depositors when the banks collapse.  I have classified these factors into three, namely: the idiosyncratic factors, macro-economic factors and legal, political or policy factors.  On the idiosyncratic factors, the general trend that has emerged or what we can call corporate related factors are the primary source of bank instability.  I say this because from empirical evidence, most banks that have collapsed pausing a risk to depositors are the indigenous banks or simply banks controlled by locals. Examples include the ZABG, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, the ENG Discount House, Barbican Bank, Interfin and Kingdom bank among others.  All foreign banks such as Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic have not collapsed. However, some have sold their stakes and left the country due to what they call unfavourable banking conditions.  The idiosyncratic factors leading to the bank’s failure need to be examined and laws need to be crafted in order to protect depositors.  These factors include among others, the weighted average cost of capital, the bank quick ratio and also the debt equity ratio, the profile of bank directors, the banks’ financial model which dove-tails with the portfolio selection and its return on investment.  Then the bank’s dividend policy.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, from my understanding, the various financial market theories such as the Markowitz Single Factor Model, the Arbitrage Pricing Model and the Capital Asset Pricing Model, these idiosyncratic factors contribute immensely to the performance of banks, hence the need for them to be regulated by law. Madam Speaker, macro-economic factors include the following: - Money supply which relates to the monetisation of the economy or printing of money in order to finance Government expenditure; Interest rates, which pose a risk to depositors especially when the interest rate or the lending rate is below inflation rate, thereby encouraging speculative borrowing; and inflation. Inflation is another macro-economic condition Madam Speaker that erodes confidence in the banking sector. A hyperinflationary environment is directly linked to bank failure. Any legal intervention that we therefore need to propose to protect investors must address inflation as a root cause of instability in the banking sector and leading to unjust enrichment of bank executives in some cases.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, closely related to the money supply interest rates and inflation, is the exchange rate volatility which has often caused the erosion of incomes including bank deposits or savings as well as per capita incomes. Banks maintain books of accounts and financial and management accounts which they produce periodically to tell the bank how much profit they can make, simply as a result of depreciation of assets under their control. Cash deposited into the bank depreciates at a rate proportional to the exchange rate and inflation. If there is no law to deal with hyperinflation and exchange rate volatility, there can be no law which is effective to protect depositors. Savings are devalued based on exchange rates and inflation.

Bankers are also rational persons hence they will try to hedge against inflation by acquiring assets which they can sell easily to offset liabilities or through the commodification of United States Dollars. Due to the time value of money principle, rational bankers quickly convert Zimbabwe dollars deposits into hard currency which they can easily liquidate on the informal market in order to cater for demand deposits because the Zim Dollar depreciates quickly against the hard currency leading to super profits by banks. This situation therefore, encourages those speculative bankers to act in the way they have done in the past.

The cure  lies with the control of macro-economic factors. Madam Speaker, the rate at which our currency was losing value, especially before the introduction of the ZiG show that financial authorities may have pursued misleading policies which have left our depositors at risk of losing their wealth.

On the political factors, Madam Speaker, they include whether or not the Reserve Bank was independent, the existence of policy inconsistences which in turn affects public confidence in the banking sector and also other decisions that are associated with the management of nostro accounts. Madam Speaker, it is apparent that this House comes up with laws to protect depositors without necessarily focusing on idiosyncratic factors of banks, but also the monetary policy and other wider macro-economic conditions set out by the Government through its fiscal policy.

I would like to thank His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for allowing the RBZ to introduce the ZiG currency which is going to be backed by gold and other precious metals. This is envisaged to stabilise our financial market systems through strengthening the market. We need to establish laws that regulate or protect depositors in order to:

Promote a sustainable and safe sound banking sector;

To protect banks from being run over into times of crisis;

To protect depositors from losing the value of their deposits from the time the bank closes and the time they are compensated; and

Also, to transfer this from depositors and banks to insurance companies.

However, the question that remains is whether it is possible to ensure or to insure every dollar. The answer is a no. Banking, like any other business, has a risk that cannot be avoided. I therefore, suggest that there must be any intricate interplay between Government policy and legislation in order to reach an optimum level for banking service and a cultivation of confidence in the financial service sector. The RBZ, for a start, needs to be independent and desist from quasi-fiscal activities. The RBZ also needs to play its lender of last resort function effectively and the interbank lending system must be promoted and corporate governance principle is followed to avoid banks failure.

Government must properly plan macro-economic factors especially keeping money supply interest rates and inflation under control, especially during the period I have alluded to, the period before the introduction of the ZiG. Also, Madam Speaker, there must be an effective operation of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, which must keep a close eye on bank executives’ lifestyles and arrest those found to be engaging in speculative lending and other unfavourable activities.

The bank lending rates must be inflation adjusted such that exchange rate depreciation does not end up as the source of profit for financial institutions and for individuals who capitalise on the interest rate and inflation deferential. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MUKOMBERI:  Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity granted for me to add my voice on the debate on depositors’ protection. The protection of depositors is the brainchild of the Government of Zimbabwe when the Depositors Protection Cooperation was formed with the intention to form somewhat an insurance cooperation that will subrogate in the event of an individual contributory failing. This implies that the Deposit Protection Cooperation is an institution to which the contributors are banks which are commercial banks, merchant banks, building societies and even the deposit taking micro-finance institutions. These contributors pull their resources into the Depositors Protection Cooperation such that in the event of bank failure, the cooperation is going to subrogate and act on behalf of the contributory and restore the depositors to their original position before the risk so that one is not going to lose wealth at bank.

The Depositors Protection Cooperation’s operations are guided by the Depositors Protection Cooperation Act which provides for the creation of the Depositors Protection Cooperation Fund which is guided by Section 30 of the Depositors Protection Cooperation Act [Chapter 22:29]. It is from this fund, that in the event of an individual institution, say a commercial bank fails,  it means that the bank owes the depositors whatever balances are in the accounts of the depositors, they make the amount that the bank owes to the depositors.

In essence, the Act provides that there is a maximum amount that is a ceiling, that is recoverable upon bank failure by a depositor. This amount, if it is to the tune of the balance of a depositor or a depositor has got a balance less than the ceiling, one is going to recover the total amount in his bank account balance. So, the loophole in this Act that needs refining Madam Speaker is that of a ceiling of the amount that is compensated to the depositor or to a client.  Suppose one has got an account balance which is above the ceiling, it will imply that the excess above the ceiling is not recoverable upon the bank’s failure.  It will be paid to the depositor later through the process of liquidation if the bank is deemed fit for liquidation or when a bank is considered to be run under the judicial management.  Then the depositors are going to be paid the excess above the ceiling on pro rata basis.  That is the liquidator upon disposal of assets of the bank; it will be paying depositors their excess balances on pro rata.    

     Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is a risk on the side of depositors that in the event of the bank’s failure, you one is not assured of recovering the total amount that one has at the bank.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, why is it important to protect depositors?  An economy can grow only if it has a well-functioning banking system; where businesses have confidence in the banking system and deposit their funds, and all funds they receive undergo a formal banking system.  This will imply that the more the corporates and individuals do save their funds at banks, the more the credit is created through the bank to make available capital for economic growth.  

In economic analysis Madam Speaker, savings are always equated to investment.  It implies that with a proper depositors’ protection system, individuals and corporates do save their funds for future investment.   As one saves money at the bank, this money is not wholly kept at the bank, relative to the required reserves as gazetted by the Central Bank, in our case the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.  

Madam Speaker Ma’am, a bank has a proportion or a percentage of the deposits that are made by individuals or by depositors or by clients that the bank should keep.  The excess can be lent out so that credit creation through the bank lending out an excess over and above the percentage that is kept as reserves at the bank will create capital for investment.  In our Zimbabwean scenario, we have like the Women’s Bank.  People go there, they may not find money because people are not depositing.  We may have commercial banks where people can go and try to acquire loans for investment, people cannot find money because people are not depositing.  It implies that there will be limited sources of capital for investment.  If the depositors are confident that their funds are protected against risk of loss, one can deposit as much funds as he can to save for future investment, but it will not be only his investment per se.  It will be the creation of investment by any other person or any other economic player who may be willing to go and acquire a loan at the bank as the bank is going to create credit through the credit multiple effect.  

Madam Speaker, it implies therefore, that there is a direct proportionality between savings and investment.  That growth investment automatically results in the increase in national income. This is through the investment multiple effect that a smaller amount invested today results in national income increasing in multiples, as investment is exogenous. Madam Speaker Ma’am, with a proper depositors’ protection system, Zimbabwe is assured of achieving Vision 2030.

At this juncture, I want to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe for protecting depositors during the transition form the Zimbabwean dollar to the Zimbabwean gold.  We had our balances at banks.  The Government tried and maintained our value such that our balances were transformed from the Zimbabwean dollar to the ZiG.  It maintains their real values without any erosion of value as the interbank rate was used and everyone was assured of the security of his or her balance in the bank account. This is where my clapping hands for the Government is coming from – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I think it is and it was a common consensus by the House that there is need for some consideration and improvement in the loopholes in the current Depositors Protection Corporation Act.  It does not indemnify depositors in full upon the risk of closure of a bank or a financial institution.  As the Depositors Protection Corporation Act, as an insurance company, the principle of indemnity should apply.  It brings one to his original position before the risk happened, which means one is restored, and is going to recover the total amount to the tune of his risk exposure.  This is my humble submission.  I thank you.  

HON. HADEBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I rise to support the motion and also throw a few nukes on the Deposit Protection Corporation Act.  The Deposit Protection Corporation Act is a crucial piece of legislation that provides protection to depositors of failed financial institutions.  It is especially important given the recent spate of bank failures in our country.  The Deposit Protection Corporation plays a pivotal role in maintaining public confidence in the banking sector and protecting the savings of individuals and businesses.  

Madam Speaker, I would like to highlight a few key points in support of this motion.  The Deposit Protection Act provides for the establishment of a Deposit Protection Fund.  This fund is financed by levies paid by financial institutions and is used to reimburse depositors in the event of bank failure.  This Fund ensures that depositors do not lose their savings when a bank fails and it helps to maintain financial stability.  It is therefore essential that we continue to support the Deposit Protection Corporation.

Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of public awareness about the role of Deposit Protection Corporation.  The general public needs to be aware of their rights and the process for claiming their deposits in the event of bank failure.  Madam Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of monitoring and enforcement under the Deposit Protection Act.  The Act requires that financial institutions submit regular reports to the Deposit Protection Corporation.  It also provides for onsite examination by the corporation.  These monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are critical for ensuring that financial institutions comply with the law and protect the interests of depositors.  

Madam Speaker, the Deposit Protection Corporation may be given the resources and authority to carry out its function effectively.  For us to fully debate about Deposit Protection Act without involving the Treasury, we will be doing a disservice.

I will argue that the Deposit Protection Corporation will not be effective in protecting deposits made in the new currency ZiG, given the economic and pollical conditions in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s currency has been in a state of flux for many years and the introduction of yet another new currency will only add to the confusion and volatility. The Deposit Protection Corporation is a system designed to protect bank deposits in the event of bank failure, but is not designed to withstand the type of economic turmoil that is currently taking place in Zimbabwe.

Moreover, the Government of Zimbabwe has a history of making sudden and unpredictable changes to the monetary policy. The Government of Zimbabwe has a history of not being transparent or accountable in its economic policies which makes it difficult for the Deposit Protection Corporation Act to effectively do its job.

In fact, there is no guarantee that the Government will even honour its commitment to protect deposits made in the new currency given its track record of breaking promises and not following on its economic commitments. Therefore, while the intention of the Deposit Protection Corporation is noble, it is unlikely to be effective in the current environment with vene vayo still in charge. Thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. I think the Hon. Member had finished, but I think we need to put these things into perspective so that whatever we are saying has some relationship to the motion. The Hon. Member talks about what Government does, but we are talking about the Deposit Protection Corporation whose responsibility we should debate here. Why are we bringing in the Government? We are talking about the Corporation set to do something. If it fails, we attack that institution not Government.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I agree with you Hon. Chief Whip that when Members are debating, we must debate the motion and not any other issues.

HON. HADEBE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I had actually summed up my debate on the Deposit Protection Act. Thank you.

HON. KANGAUSARU: Thank you Madam Speaker and greetings from Hurungwe. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to rise today to speak on a matter of utmost significance, the protection of investors deposits in banks and financial institution. As a representative of the people, it is cumbersome upon us to ensure the integrity and the stability of our financial system. Recent events have underscored the vulnerability of investors funds to mismanagement and malpractice within the banking sector. It is imperative that we take decisive action to fortify the safeguards in place and restore trust in our financial institutions. The banking sector serves as the lifeguard of our Zimbabwe economy, facilitating commerce, investment and economic growth.

However, we cannot ignore the troubling trend of bank failures and collapse that have left depositors in distress and shaken confidence in our financial system. The repercussion of these failures extend far beyond individual deposit, poses a risk to our economy and hindering our national progress. As custodians of public trust, we must confront these challenges head on and implement measures to protect investors’ deposits. Ensuring the safety of investors deposit build trust and confidence in the financial system.

When people believe that their money is secure in the banks, they are more likely to deposit their funds rather than keeping them in cash or investing them in other less secure assets. This trust is vital for attracting both domestic and foreign investment which can contribute enormously to economic growth.

Furthermore, knowing that the deposits are protected, individuals and businesses are likely to save money in banks. Increased savings can provide banks with a stable source of funding for lengthy activities which then can be used to finance investments in various sectors of our economy. This in turn, can stimulate economic growth and development.

In addition, deposit protection mechanism helps in stabilising the financial system by preventing banks collapse and systemic risk in the event of a bank failure or financial turmoil deposit insurance or fidelity cover to provide a safety net for depositors, reducing the likelihood of widespread panic withdrawals that could destabilise the entire banking sector.

More so, when people feel confident in the safety of their deposit, it can encourage greater participation in the formal financial system. This is of particular importance in Zimbabwe where a certain population remains unbanked and underbanked by promoting financial inclusivity, Deposit Protection Measures can help to bring more people into the formal economy, improving the access to financial services and facilitating economic development.

Lastly, robust deposit protection framework can enhance Zimbabwe’s attractiveness to foreign investment. Foreigner investment, particularly those considering long term investment or establishing businesses in the country are likely to prioritise jurisdiction with stronger investment protection mechanisms. This can lead to an increase in foreign direct investment, which can contribute to job creation and technology transfer over our economic growth.

Madam Speaker, implementing deposit protection schemes necessitates a strong legal and regulatory framework. Enhancing these frameworks can have broader benefits beyond just deposit protection including improved governance, transparency and compliance standard with the financial sector. Strengthening these foundations can help to foster a more resilient and sustainable financial system overally.

Therefore, we must boost our regulatory framework to enhance oversight and accountability within the banking sector. These includes strengthening the powers and independence of regulatory bodies, task them with supervising financial institutions. Additionally, we must enforce stringent penalties for banks found to be engaging into frauded and unethical practice sending a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, the establishment of a comprehensive deposit insurance scheme or a fidelity cover is paramount to providing a safety net for depositors in the event of bank failures. Such a scheme would reassure investors that their funds are protected, even in the face of unseen circumstances. We must prioritise financial literacy and education initiative to empower investors with the knowledge and the tools needed to make informed decisions about their finances.

In summary, ensuring the protection of investors deposits in banks and financial issues offers numerous benefits to our country Zimbabwe including confidence, encouraging serving, promote economic stability, facilitating financial inclusion, attracting foreign investment and enhancing the legal and regulatory framework of a financial sector.  

The protection of investor deposits is not merely a legal or regulatory matter but a moral imperative. As stewards of our nation’s wealthy and prosperity, we have a duty to safeguard the interest of our constituencies and upholding the integrity of our financial system by ensuring robust regulatory measures, establishing a deposit insurance scheme or a fidelity cover and promoting financial literacy. We can also restore confidence in our banking sector and laying the foundation of a sustainable economic growth. Let us seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to protecting the interest of all Zimbabweans, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.

God Bless Hurungwe and God Bless Zimbabwe, God Bless Africa. I thank you.

HON. BHAJILA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I wish to add my voice on a few issues that are included in the Deposit and Protect Act as well as issues that have been raised by colleagues.  Madam Speaker, let me start my presentation by saying yesterday the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion was here.  He mentioned something that triggered me to add my voice to this Deposit Protection Act.

       The Minister said that they are bringing in provisions of the law to say that bankers in Zimbabwe who are going to keep money in their bank accounts above US$100 or ZiG equivalent for at least 30 days, will not accrue bank charges.  Madam Speaker, the issue of bank charges has been raised in this debate ahead of me by other Hon. Members and it is important that the speaker brought it.  The issue is a serious incentive for people to keep money in the banks and therefore gives our banks means by which they can grow themselves if people have to keep money, but it also assists our communities in terms of public safety in the sense that people will no longer be keeping money at home.  People now have an incentive to keep money in the bank so long as it will not be accruing bank charges.

     Madam Speaker, a friend of mine from the banks of Save River told me a story that as children when they were growing up, their mothers would show them the chicken to be slaughtered for dinner and point at it.  I am going to the river to look for water so you must catch this chicken, but do not kill it, wait for me.  You can put the water on the fire in the meantime.  They would then catch this chicken and somehow, they believed that the chicken would sleep if they sing, but the reality is that the chicken would be tired from running. So they would sing a song which my friend says the lyrics say, chikuku vata, vata Mai vaenda kuSave.

Madam Speaker, this is luring the chicken and I think that the announcement by the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion is luring us to take our monies to the banks, but at some point, something might happen.  We are aware of the possibility of a geje announcement that might come when we have kept our monies at the banks.  

     THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Bajila, you are referring to the Minister’s ministerial statement which the Minister gave in this House yesterday.  Why did you not ask questions of clarification to the Minister when he gave the ministerial statement?  Why are you now debating that ministerial statement?

     HON. BAJILA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for your guidance.  Madam Speaker, the issue here is that the matter of deposit protection becomes even more important now as you are having incentives to keep our money at banks.  Incentives to keep our money at banks gives rise to the need for deposit protection, Madam Speaker.

     THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  So, you must debate the motion of depositors’ protection, not to debate the ministerial statement which was given by the Minister yesterday.

     HON. BAJILA:  Madam Speaker, the Bible in Mathew 13 vs 3 -9 – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

     THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  If you keep on defying my orders Hon. Bajila, I will ask you to take your seat.

     HON. BAJILA:  Madam Speaker, you have ordered that I refrain from speaking about…

      *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  If you are going to continue please sit down.  

     HON. BAJILA:  Madam Speaker, I am moving to the next point.

     THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Take your seat.

     HON. MANGONDO:  On a point of order.

     THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

     HON. MANGONDO:  My point of order Madam Speaker is that the Hon. Member needs to respect the Chair.  He needs to respect the standing orders of this august House.  We are not at a shebeen here and I think the Hon. Member needs to apologise or really should vacate the House.  I thank you.

     THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mangondo.  I am sure he has taken note of that and he will not repeat it.  Please proceed.

     HON. BAJILA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for your guidance.  The Bible in Mathew 13 vs 3-9 – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker may I be protected?

      THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Can we have order in the House Hon. Members?  

     HON. BAJILA:  In the Bible, Jesus Christ himself spoke to issues of deposit protection in his two parables.  The parable of the sower and the parable of talents.  In the parable of the sower, Jesus gives four different places where people can put their seeds in and we need to ask ourselves as this House, as our people put their money in institutions that are members of the Deposit Protection, whether their monies are going to fall on fertile land, thorny land, rocky land or whether their monies are going to fall on sandy land.

     Madam Speaker, the motion proposed by Hon. Jere and supported by Hon. Chiduwa moves us to make amendments to the Deposit Protection Act and I stand in support of that motion.  Madam Speaker ,Hon. Mushoriwa made reference in his earlier debate on this motion about the need to prevent directors of defunct banks from further participation in the economy.  Hon. Nyabane moved further to say such people who had their banks going defunct must be charged of murder but Hon. Mandiwanzira warned us saying in doing this thing, we must know that business such as banking is a result of trial and error.  People can get into business and then it can fail here and there.  In Isindebele, we say, inkomo kaisia khunywa inyawo yoba iskhathi isigade.  We are simply saying that if you are milking a cow and it happens to kick that small bucket where you put your milk, you do not have to cut its foot.  You need to assist it until it can be able to stand while you are milking it.

     I am saying this, to say some of the amendments to the Deposit Protection Act, we need to look into the fate of directors of defunct banks and not say they are banned forever from participating within the banking sector or economy in whatever way, as was proposed by Hon. Mushoriwa, supported by Hon. Nyabani.  I am proposing that in dealing with this issue of directors of defunct banks, the amendment must set up some time during which they cannot participate as directors, further of banks, not a permanent ban.  That is my proposal to that extent.

I move on to issues relating to Section 6 of the Deposit Protection Act, which speaks around the directors of the Deposit Protection Corporation.  I propose that there be addition of representatives of consumers.  If you check Section 6 of the Act, it speaks to representatives of the banks.  It speaks to somebody appointed by the Minister.  It speaks to representatives of the business, but there is no representation of the consumers out there.  We might need to amend this section and add an institution such as the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe so that it can be included as part of the directorship of the Deposit Protection Corporation, and that it can represent the interests of the consumers.  At the end of the day, when banks collapse, it is the consumers who suffer the most.  When banks collapse, it is us who will have taken our monies to the banks and we no longer find them.

     Those who were in this House will understand that this matter is important, specifically if you listen to Hon. Nyabani speaking about how he had his money at Interfin and then he went to Bindura, he was told there was no more Interfin.  He moves further and his money is nowhere.  I say the consumer at the end of the day needs to be represented within the Deposit Protection Corporation because the consumer has their money in those institutions.  Lastly, I wish to say that there must be means by which the Deposit Protection Corporation must continuously assess whether its members, its contributors are still capable of handling their functions well, so that if there are signs to a failure, that failure is quickly remedied.  We have seen in recent times those who believe that the capacity of women to lead must be scandalised.  We have seen them in recent times, doing all they can to hand-over companies that are at the verge of collapse to women.  When those companies finally collapse and actually go defunct, the blame then goes to women but they would have already been appointed at a time when those who are in office understand that this company is about to collapse.  It will be important therefore, for the Deposit Protection Corporation to set up systems by which it can monitor, evaluate and be able to detect possible systems by which a bank can collapse.  I submit.

     HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Jere.  I would like to start by appreciating the mover who brought this important motion at an opportune time when the country is witnessing currency reforms and other financial reforms aimed at bringing back confidence of the consumers to the banking sector.  The mover, Hon. Jere, made it clear that the legal reforms that were initiated to offer protection of depositors and investors starting from 2012 and they are still in place at present, have been falling short of achieving the intended objectives.  Therefore, the mover stated clearly that there is need for the Minister of Finance to come up with comprehensive legislation that protects the depositors and investors.  

     It is important to make sure that if we need economic stability in this country, depositors and investors’ interest must be protected.  Therefore, I understand deposit protection as a scheme established by Government to protect deposits by consumers, by providing a comprehensive compensation in the event of a bank failure.  I would like to move on to the advantages of having this scheme.  This scheme will promote consumer confidence in the banking sector.  This is very important because it is something that is lacking in this country since the day when we had problems with the financial sector in this country.  

Therefore, I strongly support the motion by the mover as it will help us to build the much-needed investor confidence.  One of the questions that are being asked by the people we represent, is that are we going to have confidence in the financial sector again?  These are legislative reforms which can actually help to bring the much-needed confidence.  The mover bemoaned the serious decline of investor confidence of the banking sector in this country.  Therefore, the other advantages that the Deposit Protection laws if they are comprehensive, if they are adequate enough, they will then provide for the development of this public confidence in the banking sector.

     If it happens, deposits in the banking will actually grow.  If the confidence in the banking sector grows, then it means we are going to have people moving their money from their homes to the banks.  This enables the smooth functioning of the banking sector. Therefore, this is the reason why we are supporting this motion.

     Comprehensive deposit protection can also act as a risk minimiser. It will minimise the risk of people losing their money. If people work, they do not want to wake up the following day not knowing what will happen to their hard-earned savings. If someone deposits their money in the bank, it is a good thing if someone then knows there is a guarantee that if the bank fails tomorrow, they will be able to get their savings. In so doing, we will see even the foreigners who are actually participating in our economic sector starting to make deposits in our banking sector. If you go across Zambezi, you will find that in Zambia, there is a bank of China there. It is because their banking and financial system has managed to build the much-needed confidence whereby even other foreign banks would also come. We will see our economy growing if this happens.

      Deposit protection will also reduce panic withdrawal of cash by investors and consumers. If someone reads in the newspaper that this bank is likely to collapse, people will go and withdraw the cash and it will bring a negative impact to the economy, but if consumers are aware that nothing will happen to their investments as they are protected by law and they will get what they would have deposited, there will be no panic withdrawal of cash. This is also another reason why we would want to see this law being amended, the current laws the Minister of Finance is bringing to this House are comprehensive laws to make sure that we bring back the much-needed confidence.

      I remember when we were growing up in the 1980s, it was actually a good thing to hear that you were going to the bank and it was something that we were proud of or even to have a bank book. I remember POSB used to have those green books. Even when you were a child going to school or a student, holding a bank card was something that we were proud of.

      I would want to end by making two recommendations that yes, I understand the current law makes it mandatory that all the financial institutions must be members of the Deposit Protection Corporation and this must actually be made very strong, that will instil compliance. The second recommendation is to make sure that there are timely or continuous updates on the risk assessment. The DPC must be equipped with the necessary human resources to do risk assessment, continuously update the consumers and investors in terms of the performance of the banks who are actually members to the corporation. This will also help the depositors to make necessary investment decisions. I thank you and it is my hope to see this law coming to this House before the end of this year.

     HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion by Hon. Jere on deposit protection. In Zimbabwe, we have DPC whose mandate is to ensure that the depositors are secure and are given peace of mind that when they deposit, in the event of bank failure, they will salvage something and I want to emphasise the word, ‘something’ on whatever they will have lost.

I agree totally with the mover of the motion that the efforts of the DPC are inadequate in that when somebody tells you that I have ensured yourself, what that person is saying is I will return you to your original position before the occurrence of the event. So if you have a car, you are insured and in the event of loss of that vehicle, you will get your vehicle back. Now, I see the DPC saying in the event of losing your money, we will give you US$500 or anything less. If it is Z$ before ZiG, it will be Z$1 million.

If we look at the financial assets in this country today, they run into billions and billions of monies, both USD and Z$. So, if we are only going to insure US$500, what that will mean is if I have $20 000, I can only part with $500 into the bank because if the bank fails, I will only get $500. So, in a way, the corporation’s insurance policy is discouraging banking. All monies now are found in people’s houses instead of them going to the bank. People are now scared of banking because there were failures. Some told me that if you wanted to rob a bank, you do not have to buy guns to do that. Just open a bank, three months down the line, people put their monies and you then declare failure and the DPC will pay $500 even if it is a million and you keep the million and roam the streets freely. Some say we can allow these people to come back into the banking sector and steal again.

I tell you Madam Speaker; we need to be stringent and strong about protecting the banking public.  People who bank have confidence in the probity, solvency and capacity of those financial institutions. So we give them our monies so that they look after our monies and invest it and help the business to develop, but we find some people taking that money borrowing from our savings, abusing that money and then there is bank failure. The major culprit there is the banking sector and the RB. Its supervision must come up with strong regulations in terms of who opens the bank. Not everybody who is interested in coming up with a bank should be allowed to open a bank to steal our money.

The DPC looks after depositors at the end of the whole chain of events when the bank has failed and we go to the DPC where they give you less than what you had entrusted in the bank. I think DPC must also be somehow involved at the onset when banks are registered. They now have experience on those and some of them have failed to contribute their premiums at DPC. I strongly advocate that the DPC Act must be revamped. It must go in tandem with the present trends. Insurance must be insurance. I should have peace of mind of getting my money back than to be half insured. If it is insurance, it must be honest. So, the regulations must be very strong.

Those corporate veils, Madam Speaker I will tell you, I worked at the regulation system. There are requirements for you to register a financial institution. For you to be part of the directors and run a financial institution you must not own more than 5%. What do they do those who are clever or who are very criminal, if I were to say? They will come and look for their friends who have nothing to do with banking, they have no expertise and say I will give you 5% and you 10%, 3% and there is 100% ownership. The bank is owned by one individual. All others are just a smokescreen. When the bank fails that is when you discover that it was Mr. Jones alone. Everyone else was just there to destruct or lie to the Registrar of Banks.

      We need our banking sector to come back. The only way to deal with that is to discard and make sure that those bad apples are out of the banking system. We do not want them. DPC and RBZ must be very strong and strict. Our only oversight here is the Budget and Finance Committee – when are you going to call DPC to give you the reasons why we have these challenges in the banking sector. When are you going to call the banking supervision from the RBZ to tell us why they are not paying interest instead they take out people’s monies? You put US$100 after two years and there is nothing. They are not adding anything but they are lending out our monies making billions. When are you going to call them to order?

      It is very critical that when we want our business to grow, the financial system is the lifeblood of the economy. Without borrowing, lending and liquidity in the banks, the whole economy will suffer. Money does business. If you want to do business, you do not do it with your money. You borrow from the bank but the bank is empty because nobody wants to bank with people who will in turn abuse your money. There is a bank and another company related to that bank, they take our money and invest in related companies and those companies then fail and the bank declares insolvency. It is a whole chain of criminals. It is critical that as Parliament, we come up with strong laws and regulations to ensure that if DPC has to survive, it must do  its job. This law, which seeks to compensate half  of what the members have contributed must be revised. Those banks must pay corresponding premiums to what they hold in the banks so that they feel that if we do not play ball, we will lose all this money. They must be encouraged to invest in Government assets that we can liquidate to compensate members of the public when they lose their money.

     They invest everywhere else where you cannot even trace where the money went. They create some pseudo companies. That company comes to borrow money from this bank as a way of siphoning people’s money out of the bank and then claim that there was a bad repayment of loans so we cannot proceed as a bank. We need to be serious. All of these people whose banks failed, I think we need to lift the corporate vlei and know exactly who and who were involved in the failed bank. There is a systemic risk. Many people would want to move away from the banking sector. Honest banks are not doing well now because people are not banking. Some people failed members of the public.

     My prayer is that even all the banks who failed 20 years ago, we need a study on what could have been the reason so that when we discover that, we may now put regulations and supervision which will be adequate to protect members of the public. We now have our new strong currency which is covered by our gold and minerals but if the banking sector fails to do its work and expect that when they fail DPC will then pay those who have lost their monies.   I think the bark should stop at the point when we register banks to do business in Zimbabwe.

I heard some other people saying Government must do what. These institutions like DPC and RBZ are given this mandate by Government. Government does that because it wants to protect the weak who are members of the public, maybe aybe the laws are not adequate. Parliament must relook at some of these laws and ensure that the DPC has teeth, banking supervision has teeth so that those who  want to come into the banking sector as an avenue of stealing  see their days in prison.

       I want to say to the mover and seconder that this is a timely motion where we should interrogate the present laws that govern the supervision of banks, their stability, probity and solvency. Those laws must be revamped to protect even our currency so that people have confidence in the banking sector again. We can only do that if we are proactive as Parliament through the Committee on Budget and Finance. Propose laws that can protect and do research on previous failures so that we ensure that we have enough regulations to protect members of our communities who  want to keep their monies in the banks and ensure development of our economy.

      It is very critical and I do not know how I could raise that but I pray that if Parliament can institute an investigation on past failures and present grievances of our people with the banking sector and recommend to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion what can be done to improve the financial stability of our country. That will serve as an incentive for our people so that they deposit and keep their monies in banks. Robberies are everywhere today because money is kept under the pillow. People are failing to deposit because there is so and so who is abusing the trust they were given by members of the public who deposited their monies in the banks.

     This is a timely motion which, for its completeness let us investigate and encourage more regulations to protect our people who want to save their monies in the banks. I thank you.

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

      HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

      Motion put and agreed to.

       Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th May, 2024.

      On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. N. NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes to Six o’clock p.m until Tuesday, 7th May, 2024. 

 

 

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