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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 FEBRUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 28

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 13th February, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM ACTIVISTA ZIMBABWE AND WOMEN FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that on Tuesday, 5th December 2023, Parliament received a petition from Activista Zimbabwe beseeching Parliament, among other things, to direct the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and the Attorney General, to report on the progress made in drafting the Disaster Risk and Civil Protection Bill. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works, National Housing and Social Amenities.

          I also have to inform the House that on Thursday, 11th January, 2024, Parliament received a petition from the Women for Economic and Social Empowerment beseeching Parliament, among other things, to urgently consider enacting a law that comprehensively addresses the void created by the declaration of Sections 70, 76, 83 and 86 of the Criminal Law, Codification and Reform Act as unconstitutional. The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petitioners did not meet the statutory requirements and the petitioners were advised accordingly.

CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. SPEAKER: Furthermore, I have to inform the House of the changes to Committees’ membership whereby Hon. T. Nyati has been nominated to serve on the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Energy and Power Development.         

ICT TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that there will be an Information Communication Technology (ICT) literacy training programme to be conducted by the ICT Department, from 27th February 2024 to 21st March 2024. The training will be conducted during sitting days only and in groups of 40 participants per day.  Hon. Members are required to register the day they wish to attend the training with Mrs. A. Kondo on mobile telephone 0772 772 565.  Staff from the ICT Department will also be stationed in Special Committee Room 1 from today 13th February 2024 for registration.

INVITATION TO JOIN THE ZIMBABWE PARLIAMENTARY SPORTS CLUB (ZPSC)

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to inform the House that the Zimbabwe Parliament Sports Club (ZPSC) - “the Patriots,” is inviting all Hon. Members of Parliament who are interested in sport to join the club. The key objective of the club is to promote fitness and wellness of Members of Parliament and staff. To register, please contact Mr. A. Nyamuramba, Public Relations Officer on extension 1135 or on mobile numbers 0717 460 345/0775309 209 or Ms. C. G. Charewa, Hansard Officer, on extension 1211 or mobile numbers 0772 874 565/0714 647 395.

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to inform the House that they will be a Catholic Church Ash Wednesday Service, tomorrow 14th February, 2024 at 1215 hours in Special Committee Room No. 1. All members, including non-Catholic members are invited.

Hon. Mhuri having presented a notice of motion.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Who approved that motion?

          HON. MHURI: I was given by Mr. Daniel.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not recall approving that motion.

          HON. MHURI: I stand guided Mr. Speaker. I got information from Mr. Daniel that it had been approved.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Stand down that motion because it should have come through my office and titivates towards an administrative measure to be taken, which the Hon. Minister during budget time, indicated that he will make sure that there is only one cadastral system. You do not need a motion for that. At best, you ask a question to the Hon. Minister, how far the Minister concerned has gone in terms of harmonising the request of one cadastral system.

          HON. MHURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I stand guided.

HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  I rise to raise a point of national interest that since 2004 and before, we have been witnessing illegal allocation of land without following the proper allocation channels.  The Government had taken a position to first identify land to allocate the illegal settlers in communal, resettlement and urban areas.  We need to appreciate the population growth and Government should treat illegal settlers the same way, whether they are in urban or communal areas. Of course, with empathy to achieve the desired results.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  So, what is the matter of national interest.

HON. TSITSI ZHOU: There are evictions that are going on around the country.  People are being arrested and taken to courts because they are settled illegally in resettlement and communal areas. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Executive is administering the law.  What is the problem?

HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  It is the manner in which the process is being done.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You are condemning the manner in which the eviction is taking place?

HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I would like to believe that people have got a right to shelter.  There is population growth since the Land Reform Programme and rural to urban migration.  Whilst we appreciate this, people are being resettled illegally.  They are allocating land to each other through the village heads, councillors and all.

Government had taken a position to say we need to look for land to re-allocate properly using the proper allocation channels before people are evicted.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Well, that may be a matter of national interest.  I think you need to ask a question tomorrow.  That will suggest what you are observing.  There is no way you can stop the Executive from evicting people who have illegally settled themselves.

HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. GANYIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker and good afternoon.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

          HON. GANYIWA:  I rise on a point of interest regarding the brick moulding companies that are operating in and around towns, cities and peri-urban areas that are leaving dangerous deep pits and gullies exposing innocent children to drown in those pits.  It seems these companies are not following the procedures as far as the impact assessment reports or recommendations when they get permissions to carry out their business of brick moulding hence leaving the land unhabitable when they leave.  For instance, as we speak, today there are children who drowned in Rainham Park because of these pits.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Why do you not ask the relevant question tomorrow so that action is required of the Executive to act accordingly?

HON. GANYIWA:  I will do so.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

          HON. C. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker and good afternoon.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

HON. C. MOYO:  We have been watching AFCON tournament being beamed live on our ZBC from January 13th to 11th February 2024.  I therefore want to applaud the Second Republic and ZBC in particular. - [HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.] -  We enjoyed very much.  Chakanaka chakanaka, you always say Hon. Speaker - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - 

However, Hon. Speaker, 2026 World Cup qualifiers will resume any time this year; Premier Soccer League and CAF anytime soon.  I therefore request that the Hon. Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture brings a Ministerial Statement on the status quo, maintenance or upgrading of those stadiums so that we will not watch our games from only the ZBC but also live here in Zimbabwe – in our motherland.  We will not go to Rwanda as our home ground like what happened previously.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  We have been looking at the Standing Orders this last weekend. This calling of Ministerial Statements is out of order.  It is only the Chair who can suggest, should the Chair feel that a detailed response from the Minister is required. However, you may ask an oral question tomorrow on Wednesday.  I am sure the Hon. Minister will be able to respond.  If the response is inadequate in the opinion of the Chair, then a Ministerial statement can be asked from the Chair.

HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Now, it is the right time for me to speak.  I stand on a matter of national interest.  The Committee on Health and Child Care is concerned with the current occurrence of Cholera outbreaks.  Whilst Government is doing a sterling job in fighting Cholera and whilst Cholera is a preventable disease, both rural and urban local authorities have been found wanting in providing affordable, clean pay toilets. 

The Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care is encouraging the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and the Ministry of Health and Child Care to facilitate crafting of by-laws that establish affordable and clean pay toilets and more free public toilets.  In addition, authorising commercialisation of toilets by private players.  Our cursory observation across the country is that these pay toilets are cleaner and well maintained.  This model can be adopted across the country to curtail the spread of Cholera. 

May I also challenge the Hon. MPs to educate their constituents on safe hygiene practices. This will go a long way in addressing the spread of Cholera in Zimbabwe.  I rest my case Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.  It is a good observation, but I thought you would emphasise the work that is being done by the Executive, especially in cleaning up Harare and also a Statutory Instrument that has been issued by His Excellency to ensure that all local authorities adhere to hygienic standards in order to ensure that we forestall the spread of Cholera.  I thought in addition to what you have said, you can also acknowledge that in your statement. 

HON. P. ZHOU:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we will add that when we discuss further in the Committee.  Thank you.

HON. MAVHUNGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of national interest was going to ride on what the Hon. Member said in respect to the mass evictions that are taking place.  I was coming from an angle where the enforcement is not really the issue by the timing of the enforcement.  It is during the rainy season and people have nowhere to go.  Secondly, we are in a pandemic where there is Cholera and people are being displaced in this particular time.  Lastly, we have people on farms who are being evicted when they had planted their crops and they are told to leave within seven days.  [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-  It is my submission that this issue is one that has to be looked into without necessarily hindering the Executive from enforcing the law.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I do not know why you are clapping.  You see, when you raise such an issue you want action.  Do not presume that your statement will invoke action.  What invokes action is a question put forward to the Hon. Minister responsible.  Mere statements like that will be heard all over the world through our website and then what?  Raise that issue tomorrow with your colleague from my right.  We would want action and not mere statements.  You can only solicit action by asking a direct question to the Hon. Minister and you listen carefully to the response and there will be supplementary questions thereafter to clarify issues.  Then you will have some traction in your observation.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 10 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 11 has been disposed of.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, you were not at the retreat and we missed you.  We discussed these issues of standing over and I am asking the Clerk and the Government Chief Whip to advise you on the procedures that we are going to follow from now on so that we avoid the standing of orders over some other orders.  It will be neater that way. So, I hope they will favour you with the information that we agreed on.

MOTION

GBV AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE

Eleventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the 2023 Commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaign.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY AND SME (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and fellow Hon. Members here present.  I feel honoured to stand before you today to respond to the GBV motion raised in this august House on 28th November 2023 by Hon. S. Ndebele and seconded by our Portfolio Chairperson, Hon. Getrude Mutandi.  Mr. Speaker Sir, there was a spirited debate which was conducted by my fellow Hon. Members during the commemoration of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.  That was very encouraging and greatly appreciated as this gives great impetus to the work we do at the Ministry. Mr. Speaker Sir, it cannot go without mentioning that Gender-Based Violence is truly pervasive across all economic factors, cultural, religious and traditional. Indeed, as a Ministry, we must acknowledge and as a nation, we must acknowledge the seriousness of this issue and work together as a whole stakeholders’ approach, a whole Government approach together with everyone to make sure that we put a stop to this. Allow me therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members, to provide a detailed response to the issues which were raised in this august House.

Concerning the recommendation that the Government initiates the enactment of laws that deter Gender-Based Violence, especially the Gender-Based Violence perpetrators and provide for stiffer penalties. On that note Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises applaud the passing of mandatory sentencing for rape, which I hope will provide sufficient deterrence to would-be offenders. However, we note with concern that there are no guidelines for sentencing GBV perpetrators. Guidelines for sentencing GBV perpetrators need to be statutory so that it ensures that they are implemented.

Mr. Speaker Sir, there is need for clear articulation of the definition of consent in the Criminal Law Code and ensure that the victim is involved in the sentencing process by making use of victim impact statements in considering these crimes and the sentences. This will help inform courts on the extent of harm which the victims suffered for purposes of imposing appropriate sentence.

The Act should also increase jurisdiction or special jurisdiction for regional magistrates in respect of sexual offences. Special and separate courts for sexual offences should be created to provide for the protection of victims by having in-camera court sessions and dedicated sexual offensive courts to expedite the sentencing of cases. My Ministry Mr. Speaker Sir, will continue to work with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in ensuring that our laws continue to be reviewed, amended and developed to ensure that deterrent sentencing is exercised in our courts. I will also continue to engage the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs regarding specialised courts that handle sexual offences to be in places at all levels. The Ministry wishes to take this opportunity to applaud SI 2 of 2024 Presidential Powers, Temporary Measures on the protection of children and young persons which harmonises the age of 18 as the age of sexual consent in marriage.

Mr. Speaker Sir, concerning the recommendation that GBV should also be included in the educational curriculum from ECD so that our children as they grow up refrain from GBV, indeed, it is important to have GBV as part of the curriculum so that we make everyone aware of the evils of GBV. By introducing it at that lower level, we are raising awareness among our children as a tool for mindset change. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is about our mind. So, it is critical that it is introduced at that lower level among our young people that GBV is evil. It is detrimental to economic development.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is mainstreaming gender-based issues in the current curriculum. However, they would be better placed to avail those finer details on what areas they are covering and as a Ministry, we will be working with them.

With respect to the recommendation that Government create Government funded GBV systems to systematically gather disaggregated data on the prevalence of femicides based on the type of GBV and identify the relationship between the victim and the perpetrators, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry in partnership with UNFPA and UNICEF, initiated the process of developing the GBV information management system (GBVIMS). The system, when fully functional, will assist in collecting GBV data and this data will include data on femicide. The system is yet to be functional as it is facing resource constraints for its full implementation and roll-out.

Hon. Members, there is need for funding to enable procurement of hardware equipment for the system and to provide for the running cost of the system. I however, wish to acknowledge the Zimbabwe Republic Police who are currently collecting data on all the major forms of GBV and we shall engage them to include data on femicide. ZimStat also will continue supporting the operationalisation of the GBVIMS.

With regards to the recommendation that the Government put in place safe houses in every ward and constituency, the Ministry notes that it is ideal that the Government establishes safe houses in every ward, all constituencies as highlighted. We all appreciate the fact that we cannot be talking of those Gender-Based Violence to move out of an oppressive home, to move out of Gender-Based Violence without a place to go with their children. The issue of safe houses is very critical. We want our women and children, when they are abused, to be able to know that they can move out. You cannot expect them to just go to police and they go back to the perpetrators. The issue of safe houses is critical.

We have already done a lot in that area but much more needs to be done. In an effort to ensure that those services are availed to those in need, the Ministry has partnered with civil society organisations and other development partners to establish shelters. To date, 23 safe shelters have been set up in places like Muzarabani, Mbire, Murewa, Buhera, Bocha, Mutare, Mutasa, Hurungwe, Masvingo, Bikita, Gutu, Mwenezi, Mazowe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda, Tsholotsho, Hwange, Gokwe, Harare, Chivhu, Umzingwane and Bubi.

          The other issue Hon. Speaker, it is therefore crucial that the Government dedicates resources to the running of these shelters and support their operations from the fiscus to ensure the continuity of services in the event that the support by partners is no longer available.  We need more resources in this area. For those Service Centres which are already there.  I invite Hon. Members in these particular areas to visit the centres.  These are areas where we have a market so that victims of Gender-Based Violence can actually sell their wares.  We are almost aware that mothers will not be able to sell their wares when they are concerned about the safety of their children.  So we are also establishing a creche in that area which is nicely fenced, safe for the children.  There is also a One-Stop centre. 

          Mr. Speaker, we realised that the Gender-Based Violence victims require the services of police, legal person and counsellor and health.  We will be having a one-stop centre with all these services in all our districts.  In all our districts, we will be dealing effectively in ending Gender-Based Violence.  Hon. Speaker, there is another concern which was raised of the GBV council so that it can launch a taskforce to assess institutional responses to Gender-Based Violence Act.  Allow me to first clarify that there is no legal framework that provides for the establishment of the GBV council, but instead there is the Domestic Violence Act which provides for the establishment of the anti-domestic violence council.  The Domestic Violence Act is administered by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  My Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SME Development will be engaging the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to map a way forward with regards to constituting and operationalisation of the council so that it carries out its statutory mandate. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, with regards to the other recommendation which came out of this august House, the Government should strengthen measures to prevent GBV, to protect women and prosecute cases.  The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry, developed high level political compact on ending Gender-Based Violence and harmful practices.  This compact was signed by His Excellency, the President Dr. Mnangagwa together with other stakeholders who include UN agencies, donors, independent commissions, civil society organiasations, traditional leaders and religious leaders.  The compact presents commitment from the highest office towards ending Gender-Based Violence and harmful practices. 

          In addition, my Ministry has reviewed the National Strategy for Gender-Based Violence.  This document gives strategic guidance and enhances the coordination of programmes on GBV.  The Ministry is running prevention and response programmes to Gender-Based Violence.  Some of the prevention programmes include awareness campaigns on GBVs and child marriage, conducting dialogue with traditional and religious leaders, promoting economic empowerment of women, girls and male engagements sessions.  We are prioritising male engagement sessions.  The issue about women empowerment is not just a human rights issue, it is an economic issue.  We have been talking as women without involving everybody.  Our Ministry is prioritising male engagement because we want to completely stop GBV and child marriages. 

The establishment of One-Stop centres and safe shelters to provide protection services to Gender-Based Violence survivors.  The Safe Shelters provide that temporary accommodation to survivors, especially those at risk of secondary abuse after reporting the cases. 

Women’s economic empowerment is key in the prevention of GBV and child marriage.  To this effect, my Ministry continues to assist women through the Women’s Development Fund as well as training in various income-generating projects to support their livelihoods.  At this stage, I want to thank the Hon. Members in this House for their debate in support of the Ministry.  Yes, we did not get enough allocation to deal with all the problems we have, but we are happy that the Hon. Members in this House did a lot in the pre-budget debate.  It was a vibrant debate and I want to thank you sincerely for that. We got an increase on our initial budget – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

The other issue raised in the House was concerning the recommendation that the Government coordinates efforts across different sectors to end GBV and improve oversight of the police and security personnel to prevent abuse of power by providing gender-responsive training.  Mr. Speaker Sir, you may be aware that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprise Development is the Government arm mandated to coordinate gender mainstreaming and women empowerment as well as other stakeholders outside of State institutions in the implementation of gender in women empowerment programmes, frameworks and action plans.

The Ministry is decentralised to ward level and we are grateful that Hon. Members, as I speak, in your ward, there is an officer of Women Affairs, Community and SME, please make use of them.  They are there to coordinate our work.  The objective of the coordination meetings is to make sure the programmes are well coordinated.  Also, the Ministry is in the process of revitalising the National Gender Machinery which was created many years ago.  We feel that this is the key mechanism in coordinating all gender related programmes in the country. 

Mr. Speaker, with regards to the recommendation on the need to increase interventions that ensure that men can comfortably report cases of GBV without facing stigma; (of course, the biggest number of GBV victims are women and girls) but we must also be aware that there are men who are being victimised.  To that effect, I just want you to know that as the Minister in charge of Women Affairs, I have also had an opportunity to meet men padare to understand the issues and see how we can instill confidence in them to also report and look for access to services when they are being abused. 

The Victim Friendly Unit have been capacitated to support both female and male survivours of GBV. For those men out there who think we only stand for women, we stand for Gender-Based Violence victims, it could be female or male. You men and boys are engaged through the Gota programme initiated by the First Lady. This programme enforces positive masculinity and encourages them to speak out, should they fall victim to any form of abuse. When we speak of women empowerment, we are not asking the men on the table to get off the table, we are saying we want women on the table. When we speak about women empowerment issues, I said it earlier on that it is an economic issue.

          These are the issues which were raised and they show the importance which was given to this motion by this august House. With regards to the august House’s concern that the Sexual Harassment Policy remains ineffective until enacted into an Act of Parliament, Hon. Members, please be informed that processes are underway towards enacting a comprehensive sexual harassment gender equality legislation. This also emanated as a recommendation from the six cycle of the CEDAW Committee which we are a member of. The recommendation was in 2020 that the country promulgates such legislative measures. The Ministry, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, drafted principles which are being worked on for consideration. Currently, it may be noted that indeed we have all of these covered in several statutes such as the Criminal Code and others which might need to be harmonised to clearly address the gaps being highlighted.

          Mr. Speaker Sir and Hon. Members, the issue of sexual harassment, whether it is at workplace or at a farm, are issues which are of concern to my Ministry and soon, we will be carrying out workshops to deal with this issue. We need to put a spotlight because this cannot go unchallenged. We will be coming back to you with those issues.

          With regards to the recommendation that Government finalises the alignment of GBV related laws with the Constitution, especially child marriages laws, particularly harmonisation of the age of consent and legal age of marriage including the introduction of punitive and deterrent sentences to perpetrators of all forms of Gender-Based Violence, as you are aware, His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa through Statutory Instrument 2 of 2024  has ensured that our laws were harmonised on the issue of age of consent and the legal age of marriage in an effort to protect young women and men from those who might try to sexually exploit them. I think we are aware of that.

          I am grateful for this positive step we have made as a country and I think tinofanirwa kuzvitenda izvozvo – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- This statutory instrument has also increased more punitive measures in an effort to deter and eradicate child marriages, GBV and sexual exploitation of minors. A number of issues were raised and the mover and seconder of this motion should be very proud that there was so much debate on it.

With regards to the recommendation that Government adopts and implements the SADC Model Law on eradicating child marriage and protecting children already in marriage as a blueprint for managing child marriages as well as the recommendation from this august House, that we broaden the scope and definition of GBV to include relationships that are not defined by the Marriages Act. Please be informed that the SADC Model Law on GBV and other regional and international instrument on gender and women empowerment has been very instrumental in shaping the development of the National Action Plan on ending child marriages and the recently revised National Strategy for Prevention and Addressing GBV. As we seek to review the National Acting Plan and the Communication Strategy on ending child marriages, our interventions would be guided by this SADC Model Law.

There was concern raised concerning the recommendation that Government reviews the labour laws so that sexual harassment is legally recognised and criminal sanctions and compensation provided for through the enactment of the Sexual Harassment Act. The Labour Act No. 11 of 2023 expands the provision of sexual harassment to include a clear definition of what constitutes Sexual Harassment, providing Gender Based Violence and harassment. This means violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex  or gender or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately and includes sexual harassment in the context of Section 63 (3) (8), should go further to outline that Sexual Hsrassment refers to a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence of a repeated occurrence that aim at, result in or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm and includes Gender Based Violence and harassment. Through this amendment Mr. Speaker Sir, the perpetrators of sexual harassment may face civil law suits and criminal charges depending on the severity of the harassment. It is important to note that the specific legal consequences may vary depending on the nature and circumstances of the harassment.

          My Ministry continues to engage key line ministries and stakeholders to ensure that sexual harassment is dealt – it does not matter where – it can be in private, public sector, or at the mines, we will work together to make sure that we deal with it.

With regards to recommendation that Treasury adequately funds the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises so that it can perform its mandate effectively. I cannot say more than thank you Hon. Members. I want to thank our Portfolio Committee Chair, Hon Mutandi, Hon Ndebele, Hon Shiri and Hon Mbohwa, the Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. We greatly appreciate you for lobbying on our behalf for an increase in my Ministry’s 2024 budget, your efforts will not go in vain. My Ministry intends to increase our drive towards increasing safe spaces, addressing and increasing GBV awareness and empowering and uplifting women and communities.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am about to get to the conclusion and this is the last concern which was raised in the House.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Minister, why are you apologetic?

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: I am hoping you can be as free in terms of giving me more time.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I know you are a champion of women empowerment – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – I had an opportunity of working with you during the SADC Model Law and your input in that SADC Model Law in avoiding child marriages was of great impact to the whole of SADC. I know when we introduced that campaign of HeForShe, you were one of the first Speakers in the region to actually sign it. So you are a champion and we are very grateful.

Mr. Speaker, as I conclude, I go to the last concern. This is concerning the recommendation that there is need to address human trafficking as a form of GBV as women and girls are being exploited and subjected to all types of GBV because of the push and pull factors which are present in the economy through internal or external trafficking. The strategy to prevent and address GBV 2023–2030 identifies human trafficking as an emerging form of GBV, which is also complex in nature and requires the Government to employ effective strategies through a multi-sectorial approach.

The department of Immigration has gone a step ahead in setting up GBV tollfree lines to assist victims of human trafficking and this can be accessed by Zimbabwean citizens who may find themselves in such a predicament. Our embassies out there have also been instrumental in supporting victims to find their way back home as seen in 2021 when at least 100 victims of trafficking were repatriated back home, and I know that this Parliament or august House worked a lot to make sure those victims were repatriated back home - empowerment – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

In conclusion, it is evident that effective and comprehensive measures are essential in addressing GBV and as a Ministry, we are committed to working in collaboration with you Hon. Members and other stakeholders to ensure the enactment of laws, provision of services and implementation of awareness programmes to combat GBV and achieve positive social and partial change is done. I thank you and so submit.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Members on my left, you are so quiet – [HON. MEMBERS: We are following and listening attentively. We are not quiet Hon. Speaker] – I am sure you understand my observation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for a very comprehensive response. It is my wish that colleagues from the Executive will take you through the Leader of Government Business that it is incumbent upon Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers that they adhere to the demands of the Constitution in Section 107 (2) that they have to attend to the work of the Committees. That is an excellent example by Hon. Minister Mutsvangwa – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – that the responses to the debate which encompass debate from both sides of the House has, I think been given due respect in terms of addressing the issues that were raised.

The other observation that I make is that this response before the winding up by Hon. Ndebele has been done within the 12 days, instead of waiting for 21 days or so. I would like to commend also the mover accordingly, in ensuring that the response has been given by the Hon. Minister before she does the winding up of the motion.

On that score, there is a motion on adjourned debate in reply to the Presidential Speech. I would encourage the Government Chief Whip to please get the Ministers to respond before you wind up. It is now 25 sitting days. This is too long, otherwise we lose the freshness of the SONA. This applies also to - adjourned debate on the motion on the report on the Second Summit on Committees of the Future that needs to be wound up as well so that in future, we have a lean Order Paper and that way, we save money and time accordingly.

HON. S. NDEBELE: I am honoured to have been awarded this opportunity to speak for the second time as I wind up the motion tabled in my name on 28th November, 2023 and seconded by Hon. Mutandi. Allow me to acknowledge and appreciate the following Hon. Members for their input in this debate; Hon. Mutandi, Hon. Karimatsenga-Nyamupinga, Hon. Matsunga, Hon. Nyelele, Hon. Matangira, Hon. Tobaiwa, Hon. Ndudzo, Hon. Masuku, Hon. Mahlangu, Hon. Dr. Mutodi, Hon. Chakukura, Hon. S. Chikomo, Hon. Mudzingwa, Hon. Samambwa, Hon. Murwira, Hon. Kangausaru, Hon. T. Zhou, Hon. Mapiki, Hon. Machingura, Hon. P. Zhou, Hon. Munemo, Hon. Bajila, Hon. Maunganidze and Hon. Jaravaza. I hope that I did not omit any Hon. Member. If I did, please pardon me, it is not intentional. Your contributions are invaluable.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the theme for the 2023 commemorations was “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. This is a call for the national Government to prioritise and invest resources to fight this scourge. Just as highlighted in my introductory motion and also by the supporters of the motion, the cases of GBV have been on the increase. The situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen the rise of GBV in the country. The overall picture and statistics on GBV are worrisome. As highlighted by some of the speakers, the main causes of GBV include, among others, gender inequality, economic dependence, harmful cultural and religious practices, and inadequate enforcement of laws protecting women’s rights. Vulnerable groups at high risk include women and girls, particularly those in rural areas and farming communities, sex workers, economically disadvantaged, marginalised groups and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGBT) community.

The debate that was before this august House pointed to the urgent need for accessible and survivor centred support services for those affected by GBV.  This includes shelters, counselling services, medical care, legal aid, and helplines.  Advocates stress the importance of adequate funding and resources to ensure the provision of these services.  As a country, we must focus on prevention strategies which include promoting gender equality, challenging harmful cultural practices, educating communities, engaging men and boys as allies and fostering respectful relationships through comprehensive sex education.

It is important to note that the GBV debate in Zimbabwe is dynamic and various stakeholders continue to engage in discussions, advocacy and actions to address the critical issue.  The aim is to create a society free from violence where women and girls can live their lives with dignity, equality and safety.  Therefore, engaging men and boys in the GBV debate would go a long way in curbing the scourge. Having discussions with our male counterparts here in Parliament helps promote positive masculinity, challenge harmful gender norms and involve men as allies in addressing GBV. Let me hasten to mention that there have been some positive developments nationwide namely…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Member, when you moved the motion, you went into the details regarding that motion.  When you had to wind up, you started very well acknowledging the input from Hon. Members.  I believe also the detailed response by the Hon. Minister.  Your task now is to move for the adoption of the motion.

HON. S. NDEBELE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also acknowledge the response by the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa to this motion.  We greatly appreciate that.  As the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, we look forward to the implementation of some of the proposals therein, especially the establishment of safe houses in every administrative district.

Yes, we acknowledge the costs associated with the establishing and running safe houses for GBV victims, but I believe that the Government must continue to prioritise the shelters by availing adequate resources to ensure sustainability when donor support becomes limited or is no longer available. 

I therefore call upon the Government to initiate additional laws that …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Member, I thought you had summarised well. Now you are spoiling the soup.  Your task now is to move for the adoption of the motion.

HON. S. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I now move that the House…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Before you do that, is there a section of your contribution where you mentioned some lesbians?

HON. S. NDEBELE:  Yes.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What exactly did you say?

HON. S. NDEBELE:  Vulnerable groups at high risk include women and girls, particularly those in rural areas and farming communities, sex workers, economically disadvantaged, marginalised groups and members of the lesbian gay and bi-sexual community.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Alright.  That aspect can be misleading because the Constitution is very clear.  You may not suggest that Gender-Based Violence has been meted out to lesbians.  I think you should withdraw that aspect – only that aspect and then you may move for the adoption of the motion.

HON. S. NDEBELE:  Noted Mr. Speaker.  May I repeat the sentence.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You do not have to repeat the sentence. You just withdraw.

HON. S. NDEBELE:  I withdraw the aspect of lesbian, gay and bisexual.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.  Thank you.

HON. S. NDEBELE:  I now move that this House adopts the motion that:

NOTING with appreciation that the 2023 commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign will run under the theme “Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls” and will commence from 25 November to 10 December 2023;

CONCERNED that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is pervasive across economic, cultural, religion, age, sexual and ethnic orientation spaces;

NOTING that GBV manifests itself in various derivatives which mainly constitute harmful traditional practices, physical violence, psychological violence, economic violence, sexual violence and emotional abuse;

WORRIED that victims of GBV endure physically, psychologically, and socially resulting in both short and long-term effects which include mental health challenges, rampant drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies;

ACKNOWLEDGING the various positive policy initiatives instituted by the Government of Zimbabwe in curbing the perpetration and perpetuation of GBV in the society;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to;

  1. a) Initiate the enactment of laws that deter Gender-Based Violence perpetrators and provide for stiffer penalties;
  2. b) Embark on GBV awareness programmes to all districts of the country; and
  3. c) Initiate Gender-Based Violence programmes that promote positive social and cultural change as a way of eradicating this scourge. Motion with leave, adopted.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 13.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR

HARMONISED ELECTIONS FOR THE YEAR 2023

 

        Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the 2023 Harmonised Elections.

       Question again proposed.

HON. MUGWADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this special opportunity to open the debate on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on harmonised elections that were held on 23rd and 24th August 2023.  It is imperative that I congratulate the ZEC on holding successful, peaceful, transparent, fair and above all, non-violent elections – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- on 23rd and 24th 2023.  Looking back, I am sure you will agree with me and everyone in this House who is very clear about the history of this nation regarding elections that for the first time in 2023, we had very fair, peaceful and transparent elections that even those who have always been possessed with a desire to contest electoral outcomes could not do it this time because they were also satisfied.  For that reason, Mr. Speaker, the 2023 general elections stand out as elections whose outcome was never contested or put to a legal test because everyone that participated was satisfied.  I want to congratulate our esteemed Members from the opposite bench and their leadership for appreciating the result.  No wonder why those elections were not contested. 

Madam Speaker, you will agree with me that of course having not contested the outcome of elections, our democracy and freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, requires that our colleagues have freedom to engage on bus stop argumentation about the electoral outcomes as we see on social media.  The fact that elections were not contested is indeed a major testament of the capacity of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and we should commend them.  May I hasten to point out that everyone in this House is a product of that election and the ZEC did a fantastic job.  The report of the ZEC indicated very clearly that the funding regime of the elections and the activities and programmes of the ZEC were sorely indigenous, courtesy of our good government.  For that, we must commend ourselves and be proud of being Zimbabweans because we are now capable and a mature democracy that can fund its own electoral processes. 

This is unlike in other countries where elections are funded from other quarters of the world and in the process they have those fundamental national processes being arm twisted towards a pre-organised outcome.  The ZEC’s report is very clear that the elections were sorely funded by the Government of Zimbabwe and I will want to applaud ZEC’s gesture because it shows the seriousness of our people and our Government to enjoy the fruits of our sovereignty and the right to self-determination as a measure.

Madam Speaker, I want to commend the ZEC for taking the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency President E. D Mnangagwa’s mantra “leaving no one and no place behind” to another level by making sure that having held elections scheduled for the 23rd August, 2023, there were some areas where because of logistical challenges elections could not take place on the 23rd and the ZEC extended the voting period to the 24th , courtesy of a proclamation by the President to allow those that had been affected to vote.  At the end of the day, this enabled a product of an election that reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe and I am so happy and everyone here is happy that it happened that way. 

May I now go to a very fundamental aspect regarding this election which probably is my last point.  It is a question of observer missions and observers’ reports which is clearly and well explained in the ZEC report. Madam Speaker, election observation is a very important process during elections and therefore, as part of my suggestion to the report from ZEC; as a nation, it might be now the very right time to reflect on where we are coming from, especially when it comes to these observer missions.  When an observer mission comes to observe an election, they are expected to be completely impartial, not biased and to be neutral by all standards.  However, some observer missions’ reports and recommendations that we saw after the general election as a nation, we are called upon to be very careful because some of those observer missions had the capacity to torch and start fires in the Republic.  The civil wars that we see in other parts of Africa and the Caribbean are arising out of some of these observers who come with predetermined views and well-choreographed outcomes and conclusions about our fundamental national processes such as elections.  In the process, if we are not careful as a nation, we might face the challenge in future, of having serious challenges regarding our peace as a nation if we are not very clear about those coming to observe our elections.  I agree with the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Cde E D Mnangagwa that indeed we allow everyone from everywhere to come and observe elections because we do not have anything to hide. 

HON. BAJILA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Can I request Hon. Mugwadi to furnish the House with an example of an observer mission report that led to a civil war?

THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Can you come again Hon Member.

HON. BAJILA:  Hon. Mugwadi mentioned that some of the civil wars we have seen in parts of Africa result from observer mission reports.  We would like him to give us an example of an observer mission report that led to a civil war so that the House gets guided.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I will not ask Hon. Mugwadi to give us that information.  Hon. Mugwadi is free to debate on the ZEC report.  I would also like to urge Hon. Mugwadi to please stick to the report.  Do not bring other issues which are not in the report. 

HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  It is very unfortunate that as a Parliament, on this critical debate, I have got to turn to be a reminder or a good history teacher that I have been for a long time.  Of course, Madam Speaker, you have removed the burden on me to give an example, but may you allow me to just…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mugwadi, I am in the Chair and I am the one who must tell you what to do and what not to do.  Hon. Mugwadi, please may you proceed, but stick to the ZEC report.

HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was talking about observers because the ZEC’s report is very clear that Zimbabwe takes the position that we allow everyone to come and observe our elections. That is why the statistics given from the report indicate that almost everyone who submitted their request to observe elections in Zimbabwe are allowed. That is why the number was very big compared to the past. That is a good gesture Madam Speaker. My concern with regards the report, like I indicated earlier, is that some of these observer missions come with predetermined and well-choreographed conclusions about a fundamental national process that involves serious emotions in the Republic if we are not careful in future in terms of the manner in which we accredit our observer missions.

Madam Speaker, we may have the challenge that a good example of Kenya had in 2008 when Raila Odinga was contesting with former President Mwai Kibaki. Everyone knows what happened in Kenya, that is why I was saying I do not want to go in detail into that because I am not a history teacher.

With regards to recommendations, yes, Madam Speaker, the report is very clear about recommendations that were given by various observer missions in terms of what we may need to do in order to improve further above the improvements that are there in terms of transparency.

Madam Speaker, I want to raise an important point going forward as I conclude my debate. For far too long, we have had several recommendations coming from all quotas and we have tended to accept and consider them and look at them as well as to debate about them. I am of the opinion that there is a saying in English that, ‘he is a fool, he who does not take advice from anyone but he is a thousand times foolish, he who takes advice from everyone’, and the people of Zimbabwe and our leadership are not fools. We are very clear about that. This Parliament is not a Parliament of fools. I am sure everyone agrees with me.

Therefore, when it comes to recommendations and conclusions about our elections by some of these observer missions, this Parliament as a sovereign august House, must have the power to say no, we do not like your observations. We just do not feel we like and we will not legislate about them. It is our sovereign right. The statements and aspersions that are cast out after our elections by people who pretend and behave as if they are self-appointed God’s deputies on our elections should be completely dismissed by this House because the elections that we had, given the report of the ZEC of 2023,  were clear, peaceful, transparent, free and fair. That is why our colleagues are here. congratulations to everyone who is here.

HON. BAJILA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker. On a point of correction, let me say – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Point of correction! What is that? What is that you want to correct?

HON. BAJILA: Hon. Mugwadi highlighted that ZEC….

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No! you are not supposed to do that. Take your seat. If you want to debate, you will have a chance to debate. You are not here to correct other Members. Please take your seat.

HON. BAJILA: It is a point of clarity Madam Speaker. Should I go ahead?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, I said take your seat.

HON. I. NDUDZO: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. I am indebted for the opportunity you have afforded me to share my observations on the tabled report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission concerning the 2023 Harmonised Elections. Madam Speaker, you will note that our elections which are supervised by the ZEC emanate from the exercise of two very important fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights which are enshrined in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, Section 67.

Firstly, these are the rights for any person above the age of 18 to participate as a voter in any election when it has been called by the authorities. Secondly and equally importantly, the right that every citizen of this country of the requisite age enjoys to stand as a candidate in those elections. In terms of Section 239 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, you will note that ZEC is mandated to bring into effect the realisation of those rights by ensuring that when we conduct our elections, they must at all times be conducted in a manner that is efficient, free, transparent and that ensures that the will of the people at the end of the day prevails.

Madam Speaker, I wish to congratulate the ZEC for the sterling working in ensuring that in 1 970 wards in this country, there was timeous delivery of election material. In every corner of this country, in every village, every compound, every suburb, high, low or medium, citizens of this country were afforded the right to speak on who should govern them through the power of the ballot.

Madam Speaker, you will note that whilst the ZEC report on page 19…

HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker, whilst, according to rules, we are not supposed to debate what other Hon. Members are saying, but where there is something that is glaringly untrue, we should also be able to raise it. It is known even in the report that some, in most areas, ballot papers were not delivered on time. We cannot say it to the world that all areas received ballot papers on time. In my constituency, ballot papers came eight hours later and some were delivered at 7 p.m. So, no Hon. Member should be allowed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Members, may we have order in the House? Hon. Hamauswa, your time will come. You will also debate.

HON. I. NDUDZO: Madam Speaker, in terms of the Electoral Act, it is common fact that our elections were conducted on the 23rd and on the 24th August 2023. We do not have in the ZEC report, anywhere where it was reported that people in any part of this country were deprived of their right to participate in the election on the 23rd and on the 24th August 2023. Madam Speaker, you will note from page 19 of the ZEC report that there was extensive voter education which was conducted which enabled those who were participating in the election as voters, to appreciate the choices that they had in coming up with their candidate of choice in the councillor ward elections, constituency Member of Parliament and ultimately, candidate for the President of the Republic.

One thing Madam Speaker that you will note which is conspicuously lacking from the ZEC report which is why sometimes we have needless quarrels in respect of our outcomes in the elections, is that there was also no similar training of candidates so that they have an appreciation of how our electoral system operates.  Madam Speaker, in life, the worst and most dangerous thing is absolute ignorance, but one thing that is more dangerous than absolute is little knowledge.  Madam Speaker, citizens of this country are allowed to participate in the election as candidates as enshrined in terms of Section 67 of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.  You actually end up having a ludicrous situation which can needlessly batter the image of our country because someone has gotten into an election without a correct understanding of how the electoral system operates. 

          Madam Speaker, to illustrate my point, you will notice from the ZEC Report that in every ward we had polling stations.  It was at exactly the same polling station that a voter would exercise the right to vote, number one for their councillor and number two for their Member of Parliament and number three for their Presidential candidate.  In terms of the report, it is very clear that every polling station will have exactly the same presiding officers and other ancillary officers who would assist to make sure that the outcomes of all these three elections were in accordance with the provisions of the law.  There is therefore, absolutely no basis for any well informed candidate who would have participated in the election as a councillor and emerge as a victor who would have participated in the election as a candidate for being a Member of Parliament and emerges as a victor, purely on the basis of the very same voters roll, same voters, same presiding officer, same polling station for that person to then accept the outcomes of one or two of the elections and reject the other – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          The quarrels and the arguments we sometimes pick which are not premised on any provision of the law are purely as a result of the lack of training of the candidates that participate in the election.  It is therefore my earnest recommendation that in future elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, apart from voter education, must similarly also conduct education for those who seek to stand as candidates – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – In the same vein, training and education must also be extended to those who will come into the election as observers so that they have an understanding of the parameters within which they must operate and the applicable laws of Zimbabwe that govern how elections are conducted. 

          Lastly Madam Speaker, I wish to commend not just the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, but also the Zimbabwe Judiciary for the role they played in making sure that in the course of the election at all material times, there were speed and efficient dispute resolution forums whenever electoral disputes arose.  We are aware that in the run-up to the elections, there were different contentions relating to the nomination process.  We know some who had issues with the rejection of their paperwork during the nomination process.  They successfully had the courts make determinations in their favour which allowed them to participate in the election as candidates and we want to commend that. 

          However, it is important for everyone who participates in the election to also understand that they exist as provided in terms of the report.  For all the other elections, I think the report makes it very clear that one has to approach the Electoral Court and for the Presidential Election, one has to approach the Constitutional Court if they have any issues with the outcome of the election.  There is no provision in terms of our law for anyone to approach any regional body such as SADC, United Nations or African Union.

 It is therefore very clear Madam Speaker, that the election we had in Zimbabwe in 2023, on the basis of the response that came out with citizens of this country coming out to exercise their rights, is an election that by all accounts or by all standards and measures, brought an outcome which is not only incontrovertible, but by no means cannot be contested as evidenced by the absence of any complaint that arose, particularly in the context of the Presidential election.  I think the people of Zimbabwe deserve a pat on the back, ZEC deserves a pat on the back.  Candidates such as my colleagues on the right who accepted the outcome of the election equally deserve a pat on the back.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. NGULUVHE: Good afternoon Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much for allowing me just to add some few remarks.   I have read the report and I am sure a lot of issues have been raised by my colleagues.  I just want to state that Section 238 of our Constitution details the establishment and composition of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) whereas Section 239 spells out the functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which I will not list.  Madam Speaker, if you again look at Section 323, it states that Commissions like ZEC are required by law to submit their reports through their Minister to this august House, therefore the ZEC report which we all read is according to the law. We should appreciate that ZEC is actually following the Constitution.

 This report which was brought by ZEC to this august House is about the elections which were held in the country on 24 August, 2023.  If you look at Section 401 of the Electoral Act, it provides for the accreditation of Election Observers and ZEC actually established an Observer Accreditation Committee.  These elections were carried before a delimitation was carried out as per the Constitution.  If you look at the ZEC report, there were some Constitutional Reforms.  We would want to thank His Excellency, the President and the ruling party for spearheading the extension of the provision for party list women members of the National Assembly for two more years.  I would also like to appreciate that this Parliament also witnessed the introduction of a youth quota in the National Assembly. Hopefully, it is my prayer and wish that one day we will have a war veterans’ quota in this august House. In terms of voter education, ZEC carried voter education as per the Constitution, but I want to impress on them that because there was the issue of delimitations, not everyone was reached by ZEC officials in order to know their boundaries in terms of the delimitation. We want to encourage them to do so if ever there are any delimitations.

          I would also want to commend our security, especially the Zimbabwe Republic Police for providing security to the 1 274 polling stations, 1 970 wards, 210 constituencies, 68 districts, 10 provinces, the National Command Centre and escort duties. The ZRP did well on that one. Coming to the polling day, there was the issue that there were delays. In the report it indicates that elections were extended to 24th August. This election did not change the results nor the mode of how the elections were carried out. Even in America, we have polling days being extended because of certain circumstances. The Constitution is very clear as to who does the announcement and transmission of results. The transmission and announcement of results were done within the stipulated period which is allowed by law. However, I would want to take this opportunity to thank our security which thwarted some moves by some people who wanted to announce the results parallel to those announced by ZEC.

          In conclusion, despite the reports which were written by other observers, I want this House to congratulate ZEC for carrying an election which we all agree that it was free and fair. I thank you.

          An Hon. Member having shouted ichooo.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, how can you say icho to an Hon. Member. Let us behave honourably in this House.

          HON. SHIRIYEDENGA: Let me start by thanking ZEC for tabling the report and also taking into cognisance that the report has been submitted within the stipulated six months allowable period by our electoral laws. I would like to appreciate that the report speaks to the basic tenets as highlighted in our electoral cycle which I think ZEC did speak to. In terms of my debate, I would want to focus with respect to the mandate of ZEC as espoused in Section 239 of our Constitution and also in looking at Section 156 (a) which requires that any electoral system should adhere to the basic principles which are simplicity, accuracy, verifiability, security and transparency.

          In that regard, starting off with ZEC’s Chairperson, she highlighted that the elections were conducted in an environment informed by the 2018 election review changes in the legal environment. Indeed, we had a cocktail of recommendations in 2018 on electoral reforms. Actually, we had 223 of them and these reforms bordered around political, legislative and administrative reforms. However, of concern is the fact that only just a minimum, not even a third of those reforms were implemented. First and foremost, we are looking at the constitutional reforms that we adopted during this electoral period, particularly Constitutional Amendment No. 2 which mainly focused in terms of increasing representation of women, youth and also the repealing of the running mate clause. Of course, we do appreciate the increase in the number of youth and women in Parliament. However, if you get to explore the mandate of ZEC as espoused in Section 239 and Section 156 (a), you will realise that those constitutional reforms do not have an impact in terms of ensuring the freeness, fairness and credibility of the election and also the five tenets which I spoke to earlier on. Yes, we can celebrate the reforms but those reforms were inadequate.

Further, we have the Electoral Amendment Bill which was presented before this House. Unfortunately, given what our Constitution says, any amendment to the electoral law cannot be effected after the proclamation. The challenge thereof is that that the election proclamation was made whilst the Electoral Amendment Bill was been debated. Clearly, this resulted in a situation where there were no electoral amendments to our electoral law and that presented challenges.

Also, going back to those Election Observer Mission recommendations, yes, we might say that we do not care about them, but as a country, we have regional and international commitments that we are accented to. For example, we speak of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Domestic Elections, we are a signatory to that. This is why even this report, it would have been prudent for ZEC to attach the Election Observer Report as addendums to this report – [HON.MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

In terms of our interactions with ZEC, ZEC has always said that it does not have powers to effect any changes to the law, but going by Section 192 of our Constitution, we realise that ZEC has the powers to effect administrative amendments to the law. It used that example when it increased the nomination fees and also the prices for the voters’ roll. That was the administrative power which ZEC executed, but we did not see ZEC exercising that power in terms of ensuring the freeness, peacefulness and credibility of the election.

I say that for example, ZEC has the capacity to foster changes to the Electoral Code of Conduct to ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful environment which adheres to the requirements of our Constitution, but that was not done, even the issue of consulting stakeholders on pertinent issues. It is part of the administrative power which ZEC has, but that was not done and is also not even included in the report which has been tabled before us. So really, it is my feeling that ZEC did not exercise its administrative powers as enshrined in the Constitution.

The other issue which I noted, this report is mainly qualitative and lacks the quantitative aspect which relates to the verifiability and accuracy of this election. I say so looking at the statistical data which has been presented. In the previous electoral circles, ZEC would give us a report which will indicate results even down to the polling station. We were able to identify and say at this particular ward, how many people voted for this presidential or parliamentary or local authority candidate, but this time around nothing of that sort is in this report. What we note is the fact that ZEC only lists the names of the winning candidates and that is not helpful in terms of ascertaining the verifiability of any election.

Going on to the issue of voter registration, yes, we had voter registration period and also people were given the opportunity to register, which was good. ZEC was exercising its mandate as highlighted in the report, but looking at the basic principle of universal suffrage as enshrined in Section 67 of our Constitution and also Section 155 where ZEC is obliged to adopt all appropriate measures including legislative to ensure that every eligible citizen utilises that right, we are seeing a situation whereby we have disfranchised members of our community that were accorded the opportunity to register as voter, or more-so to even vote on election day.

In that respect, I speak to the diaspora community. We have over three million Zimbabweans out there. You look at Section 67 for example, it is clear to say that every citizen of Zimbabwe above the age of 18 has the right to vote, but we see disfranchisement of that community. More-so, we have other communities that were also left out. Speaking of prisoners for example, we have a very huge population of prisoners. There were no any initiatives you know, even any discussions to accord those persons their right to vote.

We have persons with disabilities. What measures were put in place to ensure that all persons with various aspects of disabilities were given their right to register as voters and vote on election day? We have a critical constituent which has been neglected, the civil servants that will be on duty on election day. No measures were put for them to vote on election day. So these are some of the issues that ZEC should have addressed. My debate focuses mainly on the electoral circle. The processes that culminated to election day.

Also, on the voters roll like I indicated earlier; this report is devoid of the critical statistical data. ZEC had no detail of the people that were removed or added on the voters’ roll – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members! Who is saying dofo?

HON. SHIRIYEDENGA: Also tied to the statistical deficiencies, we look at the voters’ roll data and also the list of polling stations that were gazetted. In the previous election circles, what ZEC would do is, they would give us polling station data, the breakdown at each and every polling station in terms of gender, but this time we do not have that data. You can check in the report, nothing of that sort has been given. So, it becomes problematic in terms of verifying, for example, the voter turnout on election day ­vis-a-vis the voter population data that would have been brought before us by ZEC. I strongly feel that ZEC should have availed more detailed information in that respect. 

Also, on the issue of the voters’ roll, ZEC did adhere to its statutory requirements by giving candidates the voters’ roll, but it is the timing of making sure the voters’ roll was available. I know of one presidential candidate for the CCC Party. He got his voters’ roll on the 10th July which was just over a month away from the election. Further to that, the formatting of the voters’ roll did not respect the Electoral Act requirements. The Electoral Act is very clear to say that the voters’ roll should be given to any candidate or stakeholder. It should be in a format which is verifiable and searchable.

If you are to look at the voters’ rolls that were given to candidates, they were in a PDF format which was highly encrypted. We all know that PDF is for read only purposes. How do you analyse or search a PDF file of which I felt ZEC did not adhere to the prescriptions of the Electoral Act in that regard? Of note also, if you can recall Madam Speaker, in this electoral circle, we had the delimitation exercise. The delimitation report was gazetted on the 23rd February, 2023. The delimitation report did not specifically name the polling stations. Instead, it used polling station codes of which stakeholders had problems in terms of identifying the specific polling station.  The irony of the voters’ roll which was given to candidates is that the polling station codes were then removed. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members on my left side, why are you up standing? May you please take your seats? You may continue Hon. Member.

          HON. SHIRIYEDENGA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  If you look at polling station codes, the irony is that the final voters’ roll that was given to candidates did not have those polling station codes. At the end of the day, it becomes difficult to actually compare what was encompassed in the delimitation report vis-à-vis the voters’ roll that was given to candidates.  With regards to that, there is a problem.

          On the issue of assisted voters, the Presiding Officer is obliged to name every voter in terms of the law and the reason why that person has been assisted.  But to date, we do not have the statistics as to how many voters were assisted.  We have a case for example, where in one polling station we had over 200 assisted voters. A country like Zimbabwe which has a highly educated population, that in itself leaves a lot of scrutiny.

          In terms of recommendations, I think it is prudent that ZEC adopts the recommendations from election observer missions and we start debating on those recommendations as stakeholders; looking at ZEC in terms of Section 239 and review on the process issues as to how it fared with respect to its mandate vis-à-vis the reality on the ground – at the end of the day, an election which is devoid of those free, fair and credible principles becomes an election which has doubts.

          HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate the ZEC report.  Let me start by congratulating Zimbabwe, ZEC and ourselves for holding free, fair, peaceful and credible elections that ushered in His Excellency Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa as the winner and President of the Republic of Zimbabwe – [ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          The 2023 Harmonised Elections were part of our democratic process and electoral agenda where the elections were done in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe.  I would want to ride on the provisions given by Hon. Mugwadi to say when it comes to elections in Zimbabwe, what is critical are the laws of Zimbabwe. Any such other law which is subsidiary – we can only domesticate.  What is critical is, when it comes to analysing what transpired is,  where elections done in accordance with our laws?  I would want to say that elections were done in accordance with our laws – [ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]–

          I transition to voter education.  I would want to applaud ZEC.  They engaged political parties and stakeholders.  Voter education was done via print and social media, radio and television.  I would also want to commend ZEC for being visible even in our districts and villages– [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          On the accreditation of observers, 46 countries were invited, 17 continental and regional bodies were invited, 51 embassies were invited, 17 consulates were invited and several political parties from the region.  I am mentioning these numbers because the previous speaker mentioned the lack of statistics.  I think with statistics, one can easily generate them from the information that is provided, be it qualitative or quantitative.  Accredited observers were made up of local and international observers, local and international journalists and we had a total of 12 512 observers that were accredited against 12 374 polling stations.  This makes it an average of one observer per polling station if there was an equal spread. I am mentioning these statistics so that I bring to the attention of the Hon. Members to the reports, especially the SADC Election Observer Mission reports and the EU election observer reports.

          When it comes to these statistics, the SADC election observer Mission had 68 observers.  This constituted 0.4% of the accredited observers.  They were even less than one percent.  The EU observer mission had 150 observers, constituting 1.2% of the accredited observers.  The SADC Election Observer Mission visited 172 polling stations, constituting 1.4% of the polling stations.  Remember, I mentioned we had 12 374 polling stations. The EU Election Observer Mission visited 508 polling stations out of 12 374, constituting 4.1 % of the polling station.

          Credible reports and extrapolations are based on credible stochastic samples.  Surely, we cannot say the SADC Election Observer report and EU reports were seriously credible when they are made up of 1% of the population.  These are partial reports which are based on low statistical samples.  The EU Election Observer Chief, Fabio Massimo Costaldo, in the final report presentation said, ‘while the election day was largely calm, it was accessed as disorderly’.  Calm and disorderly. 

The process curtailed fundamental rights overally and lacked a level playing field which was accompanied by intimidation.  This is what came from the EU Election Observer Mission Chief Observer.  Surely, how can you have a peaceful and calm election that is disorderly?  Unfortunately, Hon. Members, this is the main finding of the report and it has implications on our development agenda as well.  These are the reports that are made up of a statistical representation of value sets.  A report which is made up of a non-stochastic representation of 4%.  The findings of the EU Election Observer Mission have been used to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe by the EU bloc citing that the elections were not free and fair and it is based on 1%.  The findings have been used as a litmus test, as a failure on our international engagement preparedness which is then used.  I am sure Hon. Members; you are following the high-level dialogue on arrears which is ongoing between Zimbabwe and its creditors.  But already, the United States government has pulled out of the dialogue citing that elections were not free and fair and the conclusion is based on a sample of 1%.  Surely, I think we can do better.  These findings are biased and are not based on facts but probably they are based on Twitter reports which people were sending whilst enjoying our hospitality in our hotels.

          Another area of statistical data is on the recruitment of persons with disabilities.  This is something that was done by ZEC.  Recruitment of persons with disabilities to be part of the management process. Five hundred and fifteen (515) people with disabilities were recruited with 303 being male and 212 being female.  I feel we can do better to achieve parity between sexes.  Near parity was achieved in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.  Too much variance was in Mashonaland East with four females and 12 males, Mashonaland West two females and 12 males and Bulawayo with five females and 11 males. We should have parity.  We have talked about gender balance here and I think we could have done better.  I think in future elections, we will call upon ZEC to ensure that there is parity when it comes to the hiring of persons living with disability in the management of elections.

          Recommendations

There is need for ZEC to start to prepare for 2028 elections.  How can this be done?  The Hon. Member who spoke before me spoke about electoral reforms which is a process and is something that should start now as we prepare for 2028 elections.  Then on the funding of elections, Hon. Mugwadi mentioned that we wholly funded our elections but there is a small component where we got funding from UNDP.  The majority funding was from our own resources, but there is a small component that came from the EU. What I am saying is that when it comes to our elections, we need to advocate and make sure that 100% of the funding comes from our Treasury.

          Then on capacity building, I think it is one area where we need to advocate to prepare those who aspire to offices to ensure that they are aware there is a probability that they will lose elections.  What we have seen are people who do not accept that they have lost an election.  Therefore, ZEC should have a component for capacity building to train political parties on the capability to absorb shock when they lose elections.  

In terms of our reports, we need to ensure that we improve our systems and not compromise on the sovereignty of Zimbabwe.  We have heard that elections did not conform to international best practices – no. elections should conform to the Zimbabwean law.  I think this is very critical when it comes to our sovereignty as a country.  As a way forward, we need to ensure that at all material times, we should stick to the laws of Zimbabwe and any subsidiary laws can be domesticated to become part of our laws. 

In conclusion, I would want to applaud ZEC for a well written and balanced report that effectively communicates to stakeholders.  I also want to commend ZEC for holding free, fair, peaceful and credible elections that gave ZANU-PF the mandate to govern.  Lastly but not least, I want to commend the Chairperson of ZEC Justice Priscilla Chigumba for being steadfast, unshakeable, strong and a woman of steel in the discharge of her duties.  To all the Hon. Members, let us accept that the whole electoral process was done in a transparent and peaceful manner.  I thank you.

HON. MUTOKONYI:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate on the ZEC report. The issues that are very key on this report are that the report has clearly stated all the processes that they went through from delimitation, women’s quota and youth quota.  We have all that in the report. What is actually important is the fact that this election was held with the bulk of the funds funded locally.  Why do I want to look at that?  Some of the other challenges that have cropped up could have emanated particularly from various processes I see in the report. Madam Speaker, the report stated that under recommendations on the issue of the electoral time and time limits on the pre-election applications filed at the High Court. This is actually very important for the Commission to get the recommendation through the electoral laws to ensure the smooth process of the election. A lot of other issues should be attended to on time to ensure that the election body gets enough time to prepare for the election. They should ensure that the printing of ballot papers is done well in time as this will then lead to a successful election, particularly on timing. The report noted that there were some other elections which had to go on to the 24th August. It is due to various hiccups on the processes.

Madam Speaker, I also read through the SADC Observer Mission Report where they also looked on the issues of transparency, fairness, peaceful, credible in terms of the indicators. I observed that the election did fit the test in terms of the fairness, credibility, peaceful and transparency. As such, the SADC report on their conclusion said, ‘the SADC Election Observer Mission commend the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves peacefully, orderly and in an exemplary manner during the pre-election phase, voting and after the election’. This is the report that was written on conclusion part of their report.

The report also Madam Speaker, is in concurrence to the report of our election report. It is …

HON. BONDA: On a point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mutokonyi. What is your point of order?

HON. BONDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The House rules state that you are not allowed to use an electrical gadget when you are debating.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Who told you that?

HON. BONDA: It is in the House rules.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Which rule number is that?

HON. BONDA: You can read the House rules.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Honourable. Please, may you proceed – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Zhou!

HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Madam Speaker. It is important that the report reflects that ZEC and Zimbabwe as a nation were in the guiding principles of the democratic elections in as far as the SADC Protocol principles of election are concerned. Madam Speaker, the African Union Charter on Democracy and Elections and Governance also confirmed that Zimbabwe also did observe the signed protocols in as far as the guiding principles of holding a free, transparency, credible and peaceful elections is concerned. As such, Madam Speaker, I would want to applaud the election board, ZEC and also advice particularly in terms of the continuous improvement because it is a process of holding elections. The board should also look much in terms of training. I understand the agencies were also trained but the participating election members, the MPs and also the councillors needed training. It is important for us to get them understand how the processes go. It is at that moment where they are able to deduce and disseminate the information to the electorate in as far as the election is concerned.

Madam Speaker, without wasting much time, I would want to conclude by saying congratulations to ZANU PF for winning in the election that was free and fair. I thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to debate on the motion that is before the House. I would like to commend the good job that was done by ZEC. I also would like to congratulate all those who were served through this noble job. People like us representing various constituencies on this side and the other side of the House, let us all appreciate the good job that was done.

Let me, in short, go through the wonderful job that was well done. No one can complete a task without anything negative arising. Looking at this work that was done, we see that this job was well done better than any other country, especially overseas and the Western countries. There are a lot of disputes over there and a lot of tug of war more than what happens on this side of the world. Madam Speaker, let me say, as I look at the reports after elections on how the elections were conducted. Indeed, we look at those reports and we accept them.  Let me also say every place has its own rules, every town has its on rules such as by-laws and every country has its own regulations, rules and laws.  There are also other rules that we may share in common, such as what happens in SADC or the African Union, United Nations and any other organisations. 

          Let me come to the laws that we use in this country.  They clearly state that we are a sovereign country that makes its own laws in line with how they want to use them and where they want to apply them.  Indeed, Zimbabwe is one of the countries that has its laws that guide elections and indeed those are the laws that we followed to the letter and I would like to applaud that. 

          Like what I pointed out earlier on, we are a sign that a job was well done as we tried to see and make recommendations on how best ZEC can do. We can also add our opinions that can be used in future, that can be relevant to the constituencies that we lead.  If only ZEC would not have done a good job in line with the laws that we set up in this august House – I think that in future, we would amend or make laws that pertain to recommendations with regards to delimitation, but otherwise when it comes to conducting elections, I feel that they are good enough to teach other countries.  Madam Speaker, there is a challenge in terms of delimitation of constituents.  I think this august House should enforce them to make delimitation basing on the population of registered voters. 

          Madam Speaker, I think that is what we must recommend as an amendment.  Delimitation must be based on population regardless of whether they are registered voters of not because those people are supposed to be represented in Parliament, whether old, young, whether voted or not.  That means that in the rural areas, the constituencies grow bigger.  The responsibilities on those constituencies also grow.  If I give an example, in Glen Norah, in one day you can meet all the people that chose you, but if you were to go to Gokwe-Kana, you may need a whole week or days.  I suggest that more constituencies must be found in the rural areas as opposed to urban areas, which means the representation becomes equitable. 

          Madam Speaker, let me hasten to say that ZEC led by Justice P. Chigumba did a very good job in line with electoral laws that were made in this august House.  I commend them, let me give others an opportunity hoping that they will applaud that organisation.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

          *HON. ZVAIPA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me also join the debate on the ZEC report.  Let me say all of us here according to my opinion, we are like children born out of a rape case.  Why do I say so?  Elections were not conducted well.

          HON. GANYIWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  The Hon. Member must withdraw because we were not born out of rape.  It is an insult and a provocation indeed, he must withdraw.

          HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Matangira, what is your point of order?

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  My point of order is, in this august House where we have people who talk about democracy, who actually invite others to watch soccer matches, if you lose, you call it a rape case, these people must be sent outside.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Zvaipa, may you withdraw that statement.  You said all of us, we are not part of that!

          HON. ZVAIPA:  I withdraw to those who are not.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You said all of us, withdraw please. 

          HON. ZVAIPA:  I withdraw, but from CCC…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please sit down and switch off your mic. I am requesting you as the Chair to withdraw what you said. You said all of us. We are not part of what you are saying. Withdraw that statement please.

          *HON. ZVAIPA: I withdraw. I do not agree that ZEC did a good job like what the previous Hon. Member said. Why do I say so…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please, do not refer to any other Hon. Member who has debated.

          *HON. ZVAIPA: The election held on the 23rd and 24th August, that was the first time in the history of this country that elections were held in two days. After the President realised a very shoddy job was done, if it was good, President Mnangagwa was not going to say we have extended by another day.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please, sit down and switch off your mic. Do not use the name of the Head of State please. Express your opinion without mentioning any name. Go ahead.

          HON. NYATHI: Madam Speaker, I am kindly asking you to be fair with us. Before you came here, these “guys” were referring to the President and nobody said anything…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please, may you sit down. There is no these “guys” in this House. They are Hon. Members. I also want to correct you. The Hon. Member did not refer to His Excellency, he said E. D. Mnangagwa.

          *HON. KARIKOGA: The Hon. Member is now code switching. He was debating in English and now, he is debating in Shona. May he debate in one language.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Karikoga. May the Hon Member please proceed.

*HON MATSUNGA: I wanted to say the Hon. Member who raised the point of order was asleep because Hon Zvaipa was debating in Shona.

*HON. ZVAIPA: I was saying if you look at how ZEC conducted themselves, if we all say in this august House that ZEC did a good job we will be lying to ourselves. For us at CCC on this side, we agree…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: If you want to go ahead with your debate, please listen to what I am saying.

*HON. ZVAIPA: On behalf of my constituency that I represent, the ballot boxes arrived at 11am whilst the election was supposed to start at 7am. So, that is very bad and that mistake was done by ZEC. I have Ward 12 where there is Zengeza Primary School, they received a ballot book written Epworth whilst we were in Zengeza. It was only raised by a voter who said that the candidates are not ours. I do not think that ZEC did a good job.

In my own opinion, the election was supposed to be redone in order for it to be corrected. The law says the voters roll is supposed to be pasted outside the polling station two days before but at our polling station, it was posted on the night before the election. People went to vote whilst they did not know whether they were supposed to vote. ZEC did a very bad job and it was so embarrassing. That is why you saw the whole world saying the election that was conducted in Zimbabwe was not an election. The election was not conducted well. What I would like to say is that this ZEC report is bad.

The most painful thing is that some players are playing with their boots on whilst others are not, yet ZEC is allowing that. I say so because urban voters are the ones who got their ballot papers late yet those in the urban areas like in Warren Park got their ballot papers around 12 midday. Madam President, do you not think that ZEC did a shoddy job there? I thank you.

          *HON. S. SITHOLE: I have a follow up.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, raise a point of order, not a follow up.

          *HON. S. SITHOLE: My point of order is that the Hon. Member said his own constituency needs elections to be re-run because elections did not go well in that constituency. So that must be put on record that he said it on his own that his constituency must have a by-election.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Sithole, there is no point of order there.

          *HON. P. ZHOU: I would like to applaud Zimbabwe for the election conducted on the 23rd August, 2023 as well as the victory to those who won and prevailed because that is true and there is no falsification. It is because the V11s that were at every polling station were said to be all correct and nobody produced contrary V11s. So I would like to commend ZEC for a job well done.

          With regard to delays, indeed they were there, but they were responded to quickly. His Excellency, President Mnangagwa realised that there were delays and decided that there should be rectifications and he did that very well. So we must commend him.

          If we also look at the ZEC Chairperson, we all know she is a lady. There were a lot of negative things that were said about her, but we know that she persevered and did a very good job. We would like to thank her for such a job well done.

There were a lot of issues that were said, but we would like to commend the peace that prevailed. In the past years, we could have violence in some places, but we did not experience any violence during that election and would really like to commend the country Zimbabwe for such a job well done, but when you read in the news, there are a lot of countries that you may know by name although I do not want to mention any that experience violence after an election. Sometimes after elections, you go even up to 10 days without a conclusive election, but here elections were conducted very well. Those who won prevailed. Thank you, Hon. Speaker.

           HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 14th February, 2024.

On the motion of HON. TSITSI ZHOU seconded by HON. N. NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Twenty-Seven Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

 

 

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