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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 FEBRUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 29

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 14th February, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

THE HON. SPEAKER: I am waiting for the late comers. The officials are now instructed that anyone who comes after prayers, their names are written as they come in and appropriate action will be taken.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

SWEARING IN OF NEW MEMBERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on  Tuesday, 8th  February 2024, Parliament was notified by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in terms of Section 67 (3) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], that with effect from 4th  February, 2024, the following Members were duly elected as Members of the National Assembly for the specified constituencies:

 

  1. a) Timburwa Shakemore Wellington of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Chegutu West;
  2. b) Zhanda Washington of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Goromonzi South;
  3. c) Ncube Edgar of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Mkoba North;
  4. d) Kashambe Munyaradzi Tobias of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Seke;
  5. e) Tshuma Joseph of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Pelandaba-Tshabalala; and
  6. f) Mananzva Kudakwashe of ZANU PF Party, as Member of the National Assembly for Zvimba East.

Section 128 (1) of the Constitution provides that, before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament as set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. Section 128 (2) states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.

I, therefore, call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the oath of a Member of Parliament.

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

HON. KASHAMBE MUNYARADZI TOBIAS; HON MANANZVA KUDAKWASHE; HON. NCUBE EDGAR; HON. TSHUMA JOSEPH; HON. TIMBURWA SHAKEMORE WELLINGTON; and HON. ZHANDA WASHINGTON subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

REGISTER OF ATTENDANCE BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Staff, you need to open a register

where all Members attending sign in and the business of moving around should stop. It is the last time today.

PARLIAMENTARY DRESS CODE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The other announcement relates to the dress code. For the avoidance of doubt, suitable shall be construed to mean formal dressing for both male and female Members. The attire for male Members shall include the following: suits, jacket and tie; safari suit with long sleeves, I have noticed other Members coming in the national shirt without corresponding trousers and that is unacceptable. That is not a suit – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The attire for female Members shall include the following: suits, African wear, full dresses, trousers or skirts and blouses. The following shall be excluded: no jeans, t-shirts and sleeveless outfits. Please, be so guided. I am going to excuse you only for today, tomorrow we will follow the Standing Orders.

PETITION RECEIVED FROM SAM PARIRENYATWA

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I also have to inform the House that on Wednesday, 8th January, 2024, Parliament received a petition from Sam Parirenyatwa beseeching Parliament to exercise its legislative and oversight roles in ensuring the repatriation and reburial of the gallant sons and daughters who perished during the war of liberation and buried in Mozambique and Zambia, as well as ensuring Government improves the state of district and provincial heroes acres. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and War Veterans Affairs.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. GANYIWA: My question is, I want to understand the Government position on policy regarding degradation which is caused by brick moulding companies that are operating in and around cities, towns and peri-urban areas. The cause of concern is that they are leaving those deep pits uncovered resulting in children drowning in those pits. So we want to know the position of Government on whether these companies are not supposed to reclaim or refill the pits.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Mr. Speaker, with your full indulgence, you have not spoken to the House of Hon. Cabinet Ministers who have not presented themselves to the House. Secondly, most of the Ministers as I am looking unto the tables with the chairs where we are supposed to have our Ministers, they are not there. So probably you will have an explanation.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mutseyami. The following are the Ministers who have tendered their apologies;

          Hon. Mpamhanga, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training;

          Hon. O.C.Z Muchinguri, Minister of Defence;

          Hon. Brig Gen. (Rtd) L. Mayihlome, Deputy Minister of Defence;

          Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises Development;

          Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

          Hon. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

          Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

          Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

          Hon. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

          Hon. J. Muswere, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;

          Hon. T. Mavetera, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services;

          Hon. Prof.  Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

          Hon. T. Moyo, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

          Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

          Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;

          Hon. Dinha, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;

          Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development;

          Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; and

          Hon. D. Mharapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

          I have seen Hon. Mutseyami, a sizeable number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers are here as well as Ministers of State.  May I address myself to the Hon. Ministers; you do not go to Cabinet and arrive there at 0910 hours.  You are there before 0900 hours.  You are expected here by five past two o’clock.  You are in Cabinet first and foremost because you are Members of Parliament.  You were selected from here.  Makazvarirwa pano.  Zivai kwamakabva.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  The Hon. Member just highlighted a problem that we have with compliance and enforcement.  We have a whole agent – Environmental Management Agency (EMA) that has to look into those issues where miners are mining and where those brick moulders are building, that they take care of the environment.  Basically, it is an issue of enforcement and compliance that is lacking, but the general policy on what is supposed to be done is in place.  I urge the Hon. Member to report to the relevant authorities so that effective action may be taken.  I thank you.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  My supplementary question is that since the Hon. Minister has highlighted that the laws are in place, but implementation is a problem – this problem is affecting the whole country.  Can the Hon. Minister inform the House what other measures are in place rather than continuing to report to an agent that is not implementing what is supposed to be implemented?  We are now having a crisis.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  What is needed is to ensure that those that are supposed to do the work do it accordingly. When we have the necessary laws, we have to ensure that those laws are obeyed.  This is the thrust that we should do to ensure that if indeed there is a problem and it is nationwide like what he alleges, the relevant Ministry must look into it and ensure that the laws are obeyed to the book and corrective action is done.  I will have a conversation with Minister Ndlovu to find out where the problems are so that effective action can be taken.

HON. P. ZHOU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  Given the recurrent outbreaks of water borne diseases in Zimbabwe, what measures have been put by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in collaboration with its local authorities, to fast track and prioritise the rehabilitation of water and sanitation infrastructure in Zimbabwe to effectively mitigate the Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): The Deputy Minister is a few days in the Ministry …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Where is the Deputy?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  I am not sure – [HON. MEMBERS: Chombo, Chombo, Chombo!] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Is the Hon. Deputy Minister of Local Government here? No.

Please proceed Leader of Government business.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister was sworn in last week.  He is still very new.  Even if he was here, it would not be fair to make him answer this question – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a second Hon. Minister.  Currently, the Hon. Chombo is no longer the Deputy Minister of Local Government – [HON. MEMBERS: Ndivo vatinoda.] – So, move with the times.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  We have had a problem of water reticulation in most of our urban areas due to the fact that the local authorities did not take particular attention to ensuring that they renew the system. As a result, we now have a very old system in the majority of our local authorities.  What has happened over the last twenty years due to lack of planning is, we have had an expansion of our local authorities, if you look at the capacity or population of Harare – the way it has expanded and we have the same water reticulation system. 

Government is trying to ensure that the system is revamped and that we have a new one assisting the local authority.  As a short-term measure, we have tried to ensure that we provide borehole water and try to mitigate against Cholera.  We have ensured that we try and administer two doses that would last for six months while we try to solve the issues to preserve life.  We are also carrying out clean up exercises – Operation Chenesa Harare.  This is an operation being done to ensure that we mitigate against the Cholera pandemic.  At the same time, we provide safe potable water.  The long-term solution is to ensure that we ring-fence and protect Lake Chivero from effluent being poured into there because of the breakdown of the sewer reticulation system that we have due to neglect by those that were tasked to ensure that it is preserved.  There is a cocktail of measures that Government is doing to ensure that we mitigate against all this and have clean potable water available for our urban population across the country. 

          We are doing the same thing in Bulawayo.  We have drilled boreholes in Nyamadhlovu Aquifer to ensure that Bulawayo also gets a lot of water that is clean and we mitigate against the old system that is still there.  We are also going to ensure that the system is revamped and we have a new system that will last long.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. P. ZHOU: I want to thank Government for the work it is doing, such as the Chenesa Harare which it has embarked on. However, I want to urge Government to increase toilets in both rural and urban areas.  This is because people in the urban areas cannot find toilets to use so they end up just relieving themselves everywhere.  If we have more toilets, we will be able to curb the Cholera pandemic.

*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  The Hon. Member raised a very pertinent issue.  There are many people in the urban areas and in growth points in the rural areas.  Like I have alluded to earlier on, Government has put measures in place such as the Chenesa in urban areas.  The Ministry of Local Government was tasked to work together with our councils to ensure our urban areas are clean.  The issue of toilets was also raised in our Cabinet meeting and because our councils seem to be burdened with all the issues being raised, we are trying to see if we can even let the youths work at providing clean toilets at a minimal fee so that our towns remain clean and people will not relieve themselves everywhere.  Long back, we used to know that at every bus terminus, there were public toilets that were functional, but currently they are all closed.  So, research is still ongoing to see how the toilet issue can be resolved, I thank you.

HON. ENG. MHANGWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  In light of the fact that the Water Act squarely puts the responsibility of bulk water on the Ministry of Local Government, which is Central Government and the fact that the funding that comes from rate payers can only, in practical terms, help in operations payment, what is Government’s policy in terms of providing funding or grants to necessitate the upgrade and refurbishment of water works?  I thank you.

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I said, that Central Government is working with local authorities.  Over the years, the water treatment chemicals were being paid by Central Government and what we have been doing lately is that we took over the Refuse Collection.  It is not City of Harare in particular that has been doing it.  We are actually in the process of working together with local authorities to identify their refuse collection vehicles that have broken down and see whether they can be repaired by CMED, so they can be put back on the road.  However, it is not particularly correct that if you collect money from rate payers as refuse collection surcharge, you then go on to use that particular fund for operational costs.  It should strictly be ring-fenced for that particular purpose.  So I just want to correct the Engineer and let him know that it is not good practice to collect money and then you divert it for another purpose.  Government is working very closely with local authorities to ensure that local authorities are capacitated.  We also have devolution funds that are being released to local authorities to ensure that their operations are also carried out.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy, Sections 41 to 43 are very clear that Central Government shall be responsible for the upgrading and establishment of infrastructure for both water and sewer.  When do we expect Government to start upgrading and establishing new water works?

HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  The Human Settlement Policy falls under the Minister of Housing. If the Hon. Member was listening, I said we have a problem particularly in large urban settlements.  We have short and long term measures and I indicated that in the short term, we need to provide boreholes and ensure that our people have safe water and we clean up the cities.  In the long term, we need to ensure that we increase the capacity, rehabilitate and in most cases, come up with completely new lines so that we pump water and serve water into the city. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at the pipes that are there, they are now very old. Their lifespan is almost gone and they have been neglected for a long time. That is a long-term solution. Government is carrying out that. As we speak, at Morton Jeffrey Water Works, a lot is being done there. The Hon. Member can check with his own local authority, they are in charge of Harare, they will speak to what Government is doing in collaboration with the local authority. A lot is being done. This is not something that can be done overnight, given the state our water reticulation system was in. It is work in progress. It is not a policy question to say that I should give dates because I would now need to look at the actual plan that has been undertaken by the relevant Ministry on the activities that are going to be done.

Generally, as a policy measure, the agreement in Government and Cabinet is that we assist local authorities to ensure that our cities and urban settlements are safe, we mitigate against Cholera and ensure that our population gets safe and potable water.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  

*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The issue of Cholera is frightening us. The Minister mentioned that when it comes to toilets, they want to come up with pay-toilets. Mr. Speaker, I want to represent the poor who come from the rural areas. When they come to Harare with money to pay in order to get access to the toilets, what is Government planning, looking at the majority of the people when it comes to non-paying toilet facilities?

*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Public toilets which are not being paid for are there. We were facing challenges with public toilets because our councils are facing challenges to maintain these toilets. Some of them have been closed. So we are saying, instead of having no toilets when you want to relieve yourself, you can find someone who can give you 20 cents so that you use the facility whilst we are waiting for the councils which are being led by our colleagues, to increase the toilet facilities.

HON. CHIWANZA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Good afternoon.

HON. CHIWANZA: May I start by wishing all our female colleagues a happy Valentine’s Day. My question Mr. Speaker Sir, goes to …

THE HON. SPEAKER: What did you say? You started by wishing who?

HON. CHIWANZA: I will repeat for the benefit of you Mr. Speaker. May I start by wishing all the female Members of Parliament a happy Valentine’s Day?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Valentine’s Day works both ways.

HON. CHIWANZA: Mr. Speaker, the party that I represent does not allow me to observe men as Valentines.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Haaaa, ndeyekupi iyoyo? Please proceed.

  • [] -

HON. CHIWANZA: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, we have noted with great and grave concern displacement and sometimes evictions of supposedly communal or commercial, or otherwise farmers by the Ministry of Lands. This question was asked again yesterday and I want to put it on good record. I want to know from the Minister of Lands that as Government, we are here to govern the people, even here, we are legislating the people who elected us. In the laws and implementing them, there is no sympathy at all that it is rainy season…

THE HON. SPEAKER: You are debating. Ask the question.

HON. CHIWANZA: The question is, in implementing of the law, there is no sensitivity around this. Is there any sensitivity to the current prevailing situation that the people who are having the law being forced upon them are facing? Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. While I acknowledge the concerns of Hon. Chiwanza, we now have a problem where people believe that they can do whatever they want. There is no regard for laws by certain individuals. Government took a position that people must go back where they were, follow the necessary procedures to ensure that they are allocated land and this is the process that is happening. We are also acknowledging that there may be incidences here and there where the manner in which that is being done may not be correct.

We undertake to ensure that the situation is corrected and I can assure you Mr. Speaker, the Minister responsible for Lands is seized with the issue. He will come up with a statement that will clear everything and ensure that the sensitivities that the Hon. Member is talking about are observed while regard to ensuring that lawlessness does not continue happening. A statement is going to be issued by the relevant Minister. I urge Hon. Members to defer this issue and allow the Minister to do what he has promised to do. I thank you.

HON. CUMANZALA: Twalumba vaSpeaker. Mapona vuthi.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Tibapona.

HON. CUMANZALA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 6 of our Constitution clearly stipulates the languages that are recognised as official. These include, Kalanga, Nambya and Shangani. What is the Ministry of Education and Government doing in order to ensure that these languages are developed and advanced as the constitutional requirements? I thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Indeed, the Hon. Member is correct. What the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is doing for a start, is to ensure that our learners at pre-school level learn using their mother tongue anywhere in the country and going forward. You must also realise that this is a provision in the Constitution that requires funding. It is a provision or a right that progressively we must realise.  Progressively, that is what is happening at all our teachers’ training schools.  This is to ensure that our teachers are trained in most of the languages so that when they are deployed to a particular area, no teacher will not be able to teach in that particular language so that we have all our languages being examinable languages. We want all our learners to learn in their particular language and as far as possible, ensuring that the majority of our population are conversant with the majority of the languages.  I thank you. 

          HON. CUMANZALA:  I would like to find out if there are efforts being taken by the Ministry to ensure that the recruitment process recognises the local teachers or people who speak those indigenous languages.  It is one thing to learn a language at a college and it is another thing to teach it effectively to children who speak that mother language. 

          Secondly, I would like to find out if there is any facility to assist in the production of teaching materials, particularly those languages that I mentioned.  Thank you Mr. Speaker. 

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the follow-up question.  Indeed Mr. Speaker, recruitment has been decentralised.  It is now up to those areas where they are recruiting, to have regard to the sensitivities that there is need to recruit teachers who will ensure that learners are taught in the language that they know better while they are being taught other languages like English and so forth. 

          In terms of facilities to ensure that material is produced in local languages, we actually have that system in place.  Midlands State University actually has a Language Centre that is dedicated to ensuring that we translate most of learning material into local languages.  We have used that Language Centre to translate the Constitution into several languages and I believe that we are building that capability and all the universities are free also to join in.  We want to thank the Midlands State University that has taken the lead in that regard.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. SIPANI-HUNGWE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  What is Government policy on rehabilitation of ZESA transmission lines and transformers, particularly in rural areas?  Of late, the transformers and lines there were always breaking down.  What is the position regarding the servicing of those lines?  Thank you.  

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Mr. Speaker, I will respond while I believe that this is typically an operational issue where if you have a transmission line that is not functioning, the ZESA technicians, if told, should respond to that and ensure that it is repaired.  This has been the norm, that is the policy that where transmission lines are not working, if a report is made, they must be repaired and if they are not repaired, then there is something that is not okay and the relevant authorities need to be alerted to ensure that it is done. 

          In terms of transformers, there was a period Mr. Speaker, where we had shortages of transformers.  Lately, we got a consignment of transformers.  Again, it is operational.  If you do not have a transformer, you inform your next ZESA office, they should, within reasonable time, be able to replace that transformer.  We are glad that the situation is generally improving to ensure that the majority of the people stay connected and they can do whatever chores that they are doing.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          *HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question to the Minister are the challenges that ZESA was facing.  Government once said that they are now allowing people to buy transformers then they will be paid with electricity.  We want to find out if this programme can also be extended to rural areas that people can buy transformers to augment ZESA which is failing? 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  That question is very specific – [AN HON. MEMBER:  No.] – Order.  What I suggest Hon. Member,  it is a good question. Perhaps, you can put it in writing for next week so that you get detailed response from the Hon. Minister of Energy. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Let me respond to the question Hon. Speaker.  I just want to support what you have said.  New transformers are property of ZESA.  There is no rule that says if it is a specific question, you cannot answer.  I simply want to indicate to the Hon. Member that there is no need even to put it in writing because all transformers belong to ZESA.  Even if you are to buy that transformer, you still need to go to ZESA.  As Government, we have imported transformers, they are there.  There is no need to put the question in writing because ZESA will tell you that they have the transformers, so why do you want to buy your own transformers?  I thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you for your clarification Hon. Minister. My understanding of the question was that if there are instances where people have got transformers, can they proceed to get those transformers fixed accordingly? That is more specific than anything else.

          ^^HON. GWANGWABA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am Member of Parliament for Kariba. I want to find out from the Minister if they have any timeframe that they will install electricity in rural areas of Kariba because right now, we are the providers of electricity, but unfortunately, we do not have electricity. I am requesting the Minister to give us an indication as to when the people of Kariba can get the electricity.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I think there is need for automatic translation.  I think we should install that so that there is automatic translation. The import of the question, Leader of Government Business is that there are people in the hinterland near the source of electricity generation. They see these electricity poles and lines passing across, but they are not benefiting from the power generation which is within the vicinity. Why are they being discriminated?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Firstly, there is no discrimination. Secondly, I agree that those who live within the vicinity of a specific economic enterprise that benefit the whole country must benefit also. I believe it is a thing that can be taken up to ensure that those that are generating electricity as a measure of social corporate responsibility, must also extend and ensure that they provide the infrastructure to ensure that they benefit so that they can enjoy and ululate that they are providing power to the country, but they are also benefiting. It is something that is worth following up.

          HON. KADEMAUNGA: My supplementary question is on the issue of modernisation of our electricity transmission network because we see that where they are replacing stolen cables, it is always with the old cables which can still be stolen. What is the Ministry doing to expedite its policy thrust as espoused in the National Electricity Policy where they say that they want to ensure universal access to portfolios of modern energies services like modernising, securing the cables and also the transmitters?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. When you have a cable that has been vandalised and you want to replace it, you replace it with a like one. What is needed is to construct new ones that are different from those that she is alluding to, then you have modernised. If you have an existing infrastructure and you want to ensure that there is access to electricity using that particular system, you repair using the same system. I agree that we need to modernise and come up with new systems that will be less susceptible to vandalism. I thank you.

          HON. ENG. MHANGWA: The world over, when cables are stolen, they take newer technologies like the quella cable which is a replacement of copper or aluminum as a replacement. There are measures that are taken for security, things like alarms or antelopes which make it more difficult for people to steal. What is Government policy in securing cables so that people do not continue incurring the cost over and over again?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: The Hon. Member is very well versed with this and I wonder why he is not going to speak to his fellow engineers to advise them accordingly.

          HON. MHETU: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What is Government policy on electrification of public institutions such as school and clinics in peri urban areas?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI). I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. A lot is being done. In fact, the majority of our schools would not function normally if we cannot electrify them either using solar or connecting them to the national grid because of the nature of the teaching methodologies. It may actually be resource constraints that may delay the electrification, but the policy, if it was followed strictly to the book, we would have all our schools electrified in one way or the other to ensure that no learner lags behind.

          HON. MHETU: There are some schools in urban areas like Epworth which have not had electricity for a period of more than 10 years. This has negatively affected the fulfillment of Education 5.0 and NDS1. What measures can be put in place to ensure that there is electrification of such schools in developing areas?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: The Hon. Member has not indicated who is responsible for that school, whether it is a Government school, local authority school or a private school. It is very difficult to answer, but if the Hon. Member was listening, I said the policy of Government, resources permitting, would be to ensure that even a school in rural Zvimba, should have electricity. That is the policy. The thrust is either it is electrified using solar or connecting to the ZESA grid because the teaching methods that are there now dictate that one way or the other, learners would need some form of power to ensure that either the material that they use are printed. There is this programme of CALA which needs a lot of research.

          The long and short of it is that resources permitting, all schools should be connected to the grid or to some form of solar electricity so that learning becomes easier.

*HON. MURAMBIWA: My supplementary question is, since Government is doing such a wonderful job of electrifying schools and hospitals, we also discover that some schools fail to use the electricity that they are connected to simply because they cannot tube or localise the electricity. What is Government policy to ensure that such institutions can use the electricity?

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Minister has indicated that Government policy is to make electricity available to such Government or non-Government facilities, both in urban and rural areas.

*HON. MATANGIRA: My question is directed to the Minister of Mines. This year, we did not receive much rains in our farming areas and we expect mining to bring relief through minerals, but we realise that the major mines face a huge problem with regards to mineral pricing. Electricity supply should be made a special case to those institutions or mines. Can we not get a special facility for those mines to operate and pay in special ways so that they get unlimited electricity for the progress of the country?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): I would like to thank Hon. Matangira for his question. The way I understood the question, it is about mines that owe power suppliers money so that they may resume operations. From that understanding, debts that have to do with power are under the Ministry of Energy. So I hereby request the Hon. Member to redirect that question to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I am sure Hon. Matangira, you stand guided. *The debt is owed to the Ministry of Energy, is it?

*HON. MATANGIRA: With your permission, I am saying the mines where power was cut-off include Trojan under my constituency and the Ministry of Mines is aware that the miners are now expected to go underground using mechanical methods. There is no water, yet we have a Cholera outbreak. It is under his task to ensure that when such mines and mining towns face such problems, they should come up with a policy or request to ensure that the mine can be allowed to operate under certain conditions. Yes, I am aware that the debt belongs to the Ministry of Energy, but I hereby request that the Ministry of Mines requests on behalf of the mines.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Is it because of huge debts?

*HON. MATANGIRA: Mr. Speaker, the debt cannot be huge because the country is the world-over. The Ministry of Mines should be aware what the problem is. The debt is not very big, but the power was cut-off and it has not been switched on. There is no money because they are not working.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: What you are saying Hon. Matangira is that Government policy should be that mines must not be cut-off from power. So that question in anyway, is supposed to go to the Ministry of Energy. Hon. Leader of Government Business please assist us.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Matangira’s question is like being a cry baby. When business people use electricity and energy, they are the ones we expect to start paying instead of domestic users.  Here they are telling us that they mine gold and sell, forgetting that they are supposed to pay for energy. 

ZESA switches them off so that they may negotiate and come up with a debt plan.  The Hon. Member should direct the management to come up with a plan and negotiate on how they will pay electricity.  We wish them to work, but they must pay for what they use.  I thank you.

An Hon. Member having risen to raise a point of order.

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  There is no point of order there.  I am sure you understood what the Minister said.

HON. JERE: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.  Yaah, Mr. Speaker Sir I want to…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Why do you say yaah instead of yes?

HON. JERE:  Yes Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to find out from the Minister of Finance if there is a move to review the level at which the value for money audit is being applied.  I have got a feeling that it is being applied at the tail end of the value chain.  Is there a policy for the value of money audit to then be applied at another level which is not at the tail end of the value chain?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): The value for money process is applied at the end of process because we want to check whether the winner of the contract and also the process that has been applied to get that adjudication has resulted in a value for money principles being followed.

If we were to apply ourselves along the entire process, that will be too cumbersome.  It is much efficient to apply the process at the end of the process and then we can do further refinement at that stage.  We always want to improve processes.  We will relook into it, but for now the policy stands.

HON. JERE:  Hon. Minister, you are quite aware that for a business to get an order, it goes …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Address the Chair!

HON. JERE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, it goes through a rigorous tendering process whereby you are then awarded an order by the State Procurement Board.  The issue is, at the tail end of the process,  it will be more like we are repeating what has been done during the adjudication period…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is the question?

HON. JERE:  Why can we not put it at adjudication stage so that it also gives confidence to the banking system?  Bankers have got an issue whereby if it is no longer giving them confidence that this must be paid if it is put at the tail end, it is affecting the confidence in the financial sector.

HON. PROF. NCUBE:  The Hon. Member is making a proposal. As I said earlier, we are open to suggestions if it will improve the efficiency of the process, but we do not want to be involved in the cumbersome procurement process.  We just want to check financial issues that are very clear in terms of value for money by comparing whatever the value of the contract is; whatever is available out there in the Budget so that they can check for competitive pricing as well as deal with any possibilities of corruption.  I hear you well and we will look into that.  I think your proposal is good.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  My supplementary question is – the issue of value for money is a big elephant in the room.  The Minister of Finance must confront this issue as a matter of urgency.  The loss of value for money in contracts and everywhere else is as a result of the continued depreciation of the local currency.  What is the Minister’s position with the continued deterioration of the local currency which costs loss of value through inflation?

HON. PROF. NCUBE: The Hon. Member is confusing two things.  There is the issue of value for money which is regarded even when the currency is constant. It has got to do with whether Government is getting a fair deal or not in terms of the goods and services which are being supplied whereby they are supplying in terms of that contract regardless of the currency, type or volatility.

That is what the original question was – the question from Hon. Jere.  This is a different question and not a supplementary one.  It is a different question about the value of the currency and what we are doing about that.  Now that he has asked that, we are looking into this issue.  Government is also concerned about the depreciation.  We are dealing with this manner.  We will make an announcement in the fullness of time when we have completed our evaluation processes and design of an exchange rate system that will ensure stability and stop the movement of prices upwards.

HON. SAGANDIRA:  My supplementary question is on the availability of RTGs or Bond which is not available on the market and has caused a lot of problems in change.  People are being short-changed when they are using USD – [AN HON. MEMBER:  That is a new question.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Do not take my job.  Order!  As the Hon. Minister has indicated, we must ask supplementary questions which relate to the original question.  That is a new question altogether.

*HON. MUDZINGWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  I am asking on behalf of my constituency Goromonzi South. I am asking on behalf of the majority there. 

          HON. MATEWU:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  She is asking a specific question and not policy issues.

          THE HON SPEAKER:  Hon Member, order, order!  Do you want to take my job?  Hon. Mudzingwa, the question should be about Government policy at national level not specific to a constituency.  If you want to ask a specific question about your constituency, you can put your question in writing so that you can get a detailed response from the respective Minister in terms of issues from the constituency.  Here, we are dealing with national policies that cover the whole of Zimbabwe.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, during the first year of NDS1, the Government of Zimbabwe emphasised the enhancement of quality of life for the citizens of Zimbabwe.  My question to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is, what is Government policy with regards to the welfare of pensioners taking into consideration that most are taking home very little and they are living below the poverty datum line?  The exchange rate keeps going up and down and it seems nothing is there to cushion them against the erosion of their pay-outs.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBAI):  Mr. Speaker, the review of salaries and what pensioners are given is ongoing.  It is a process that is being undertaken right now and I cannot give a definitive answer because that is the process that is underway to ensure that the salaries and pensions are reviewed.  I thank you.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI:    My supplementary question is, we would like to know the exact timeframe when this will be fixed because most of our pensioners are living with chronic diseases and they need medication daily.  So when exactly will this be fixed so that they can have their welfare taken care of?  I thank you.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  When negotiations are taking place and you are asked to fix a date, it is something that is very difficult to do.  What I can say is, once the negotiations for the salaries are concluded, it is a process that is tied to the review of the pensioners pay-outs, then an announcement will be made accordingly.  I thank you.

          HON. CHIGUMBU:  My supplementary question is that the Minister is not being asked to give us a specific date, but can he at least give us a timeframe because in as much as he is saying that there are some negotiations which are happening, every negotiation should happen within a certain timeframe.  Can the Minister be clear in terms of the timeframe which these negotiations will be concluded so that the pensioners can expect changes in their pension pay-outs?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I notice that the Hon. Member wants a specific timeframe.  I cannot give a specific timeframe because I do not have that information.  I thank you.

          HON. MATEWU:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  We come here on Wednesdays to ask Ministers questions without notice and we cannot come here and be told that every policy does not have a timeframe.  Otherwise we are wasting our time here.  We are asking the Minister to give us timeframes when government is going to implement...

          THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  May we have order in the House.  Order Hon. Matewu!  Hon. Murombedzi, can you please put your question in writing so that the Minister can go and investigate then bring the answer to this House.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  Madam Speaker, my colleague, Minister of Finance would like to…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have already made a ruling

          HON. MASHONGANYIKA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  What is the Government policy regarding the implementation of small industries at all rural growth points in order to create employment for the rural people?

THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. NYONI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the pertinent question. My Ministry’s thrust is to create employment, but we cannot create employment by remaining in town and also by remaining with the large industries. We are now going to be focusing on rural industrialisation as well as the pull factor. I want the Hon. Member to know that the Small and Medium Enterprises in this country have created more jobs than the big companies. Therefore, it is important to recognise the work they have done. They are our people who have been committed to working in this country, contributing to the fiscus and contributing to the economy. Therefore, it is important for us to recognise them and help them to grow.

In the rural areas, we have been exporting raw materials to the cities. My Ministry is determined that we need to develop typically Zimbabwe’s economy and we cannot do that by not value adding and by exporting raw materials outside the country, not value adding where people are. Hon. Member, be rest assured that we will come to any rural area and the aim of the Ministry is to do rural industrialisation, not only to create jobs, but also to grow an authentically Zimbabwean economy. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. CHIDUWA: Madam Speaker, we had an Industrialisation Policy that was running in 2019 up to 2023. Currently, I am not sure if there is any, given that the Hon. Minister said the thrust is for us to go rural. Do we have any policy at the moment or we have got a vacuum as we speak?

HON. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker. We do not have a vacuum; we are now revising the Industrial Policy. I am glad to say that it is close to finalisation. We have gone out of the country to verify and consult. We have run workshops, both in Harare, Bulawayo and also at provincial level. We still continue to invite anyone who really has issues and want to contribute towards that policy before it goes to be finalised in Cabinet. We will still receive ideas. The Industrial Policy is being revised Hon. Member, and we want it to be as inclusive and as comprehensive as possible. Thank you very much.

HON. MATEWU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. The Minister said that she is revising the policy after the expiration of the older Industrial Policy. Can she tell us what was the success rate of the Industrial Policy that was there before because clearly, we see non-industrialisation at the growth points? Thank you.

HON. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker. There were some successes with the old Industrial Policy, but we are not dwelling with the old policy. That is why we are revising it. There are certain areas which need to be improved and rural industrialisation is one of those areas. So, there were some achievements, but we want it to achieve more. That is why we are relooking at it.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On a point of order. The question by Hon. Matewu Madam Speaker was, what were the successes of the old Industrial Policy and the response, if I heard correctly, was that there were some successes? In my opinion Madam Speaker, the question was not answered. I seek with your indulgence Madam Speaker, that the question be answered appropriately. Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Why do you not ask a follow up question?

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: I thought by asking on a point of order, I was asking the question to you Madam Speaker because the question has been asked to you right away.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, the question has not been asked to me. It has been posed to the Minister.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: I can repeat the question.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes please. Repeat the question.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. What successes were recorded from the Industrial Policy which was set from 2019 to date before the new Industrial Policy which is being reviewed? I submit.

HON. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker. There were successes. Some of them are these: - we have some of the companies that are growing through that policy. Take for example, the National Foods, ZNCC did a study on the manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe and so did SIRDC. Those studies showed that Zimbabwean companies continue to diversify in their manufacturing. That study also shows that 65% of the manufacturers are from the typical Zimbabwean companies, the SMEs. When you look at the shelves, you cannot have products on the shelves where there is no industry. When you look at the shelves, the success of those companies was that 80% of the products on the shelves are Zimbabwean products. That was part of the success.

*HON. CHOKURURAMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. What is Government policy with regards to ensuring that farmers get their monies from the crops they deliver to GMB? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): Yes, we have a programme where we have been paying farmers for what they have delivered if I understood the question well about the US dollar component and the Zimbabwe dollar component.  In fact, last Friday, we paid something like 15 billion on the Zimbabwe dollar component towards farmers who had delivered their crop to GMB. We will continue to do so until whatever is owed is cleared. 

          HON. MUTSEYAMI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  What is the Government doing to manage the inflation rate vis-à-vis the fact that when the farmers were informed of the prices then, they were promised the RTGs component and the US component?  The RTGs component is in reference to the time when they supplied their products to GMB.  With the inflation we are experiencing, it has affected the value of the RTGs component.  Are you going to compensate the farmers so that they do not incur losses? 

          HON. PROF. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  First of all, if I can just correct my learned friend, there is no currency called RTGs, it is called Zimbabwe dollar.   RTGs is the system, but it is not the currency.  Hopefully, the Hon. Member stands guided.  Coming to the payment, he is correct, I said we are paying in Zimbabwe dollar in one portion and another portion in US dollars.  He asked what we are doing to cushion farmers for the inflation erosion occurring on the Zimbabwe dollar component.  The idea here is to pay as quickly as we can.  We have been trying very hard to pay as quickly as we can before the Zimbabwe dollar component loses value.  That is our strategy.  We have not been paying interest or compensation at all.  I have not been doing any of that.  Those are the facts, but we endevour to pay as quickly as possible before the situation gets worse.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are dealing with the inflation issue and current volatility and weakness. 

          As I answered to a question earlier, we will be making announcement in this regard where we believe will be a last blow to increases in prices and generally inflation.  Thank you.

          *HON. P. ZHOU:  I am glad that the Hon. Minister said they sent payments a few weeks ago.  I would like to say, now that we are in the summer crop, we are now receiving payments for winter wheat.  Are you aware that the farmer may fail to produce because payments are overdue?  May they be paid on time so that they plan and operate according to the system? 

          *HON. PROF. NCUBE:  My Shona is good Madam Speaker Ma’am, but I did not understand the question.  May the Hon. Member repeat slowly so that I understand and I will be able to answer? 

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Zhou, may you please ask the question again. 

          HON. P. ZHOU:  I said I thank the Government for paying those farmers.  My worry is, a farmer who grew winter wheat the last season is not yet paid.  They are now in their summer crop and they need fertilisers, pesticides and so forth.  Farmers are not yet paid their winter crop, so they are really struggling to survive.  Is there an effort to craft a policy to make sure that farmers get paid for the previous crop before the next season? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- 

          HON. PROF. NCUBE:  I want to thank the Hon. Member for being very patient with me.  I thank her for that question.  Yes, indeed she is correct, we now have a new policy that all arrears should be cleared before the next cycle.  That is exactly what we are going to do going forward to clear all arrears for the next season so that we can encourage the farmer to go back to the land, otherwise they will get discouraged and then see our agriculture going down as a result.  Going forward, we will make sure that all these arrears are cleared before the next season resumes. 

          HON. CHIDUWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Hon. Minister, we have got the ZIMEX which I think can assist us in the price discovery of agricultural commodities.  Is there any policy position to allow the prices of all agricultural commodities to be determined through ZIMEX? 

          HON. PROF. NCUBE:  I thank Hon. Chiduwa for the question.  The process of introducing the ZIMEX has taken quite a while, but we are pleased that we make very good progress.  Those who do not know what the ZIMEX stands for, it is the commodity exchange, just like we have other exchanges, for example Stock Exchange and so forth.  It is beginning to work.  What we do at the beginning of each season is something very simple.  We always announce a planning price so that the farmer can plan and see whether the price that Government is signaling is the right one and they want to take the risk and go on to the land and farm.  That is why we announce the price, but that is not the final price.  The final price can be determined through the market such as the ZIMEX, and all the time, we expect this commodity exchange to take over the price discovery process at the marketing of such commodities.  We will expand the commodities not just for agriculture, but also for the mining sector.  We have been approached by the private sector players working with ZIMEX to also market commodities such as chrome for example, in addition to maize, wheat, sorghum and other commodities.  We will see the commodity exchange begin to broaden its activities across a variety of commodities, both agricultural and mineral.

          HON. MAONEKE: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. There is a telecommunication organization called Starlink which was recently registered and licenced to operate in Zambia.  However, its usage and accessibility are spilling into Zimbabwe and that is what we call a cyber invasion.  Now, my question to you Minister is that, are you aware of the effects this has on the interest of Zimbabwe, and if so, what is that you are doing to protect the interest of Zimbabwe?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and indicate that the necessary processes and procedures are being done by the relevant departments that is POTRAZ and our security to ensure that the usage of Starlink is regularised.  I thank you.

          HON. MAONEKE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Do we now have the technical competencies to decipher their signals lest we ignore a serious problem that may affect the interest of the whole nation or on a positive note, we may have to leverage on it to improve the vision of our local business? 

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My earlier response was critical, but complete.  All that the Hon. Member is asking will be answered when the relevant authorities have finalised their report. 

          Secondly, we cannot move away from technology, so we cannot protect an industry for the sake of protecting an industry, but an industry must move with technology.  However, in a nutshell, the relevant authorities are looking into this to ensure that technology is used legally in Zimbabwe.

Question Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PROVISION OF WORK SPACES FOR SMES BY THE CITY

OF HARARE

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Small to Medium Enterprises Development to update the House on the progress made by the City of Harare Council towards the provision of work spaces to small to medium enterprises.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, SMALL TO MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT: Thank you, Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to thank Hon. Hamauswa for raising such a pertinent question and I shall respond as follows: - limited access to affordable and appropriate workspace in Harare remains one of the major impediments affecting the development of the micro, small and medium enterprise sector. 

The micro-enterprises and the majority of the informal businesses are in conflict with the regulatory authorities because they will be operating from undesignated and unregulated places.  To address this challenge, the Ministry initiated multi-stakeholder engagements with Government departments, local authorities and the private sector to include MSEs in their work plans.

In 2022, the Ministry held a workspace provision conference where various stakeholders convened and deliberated on workspace development issues with each stakeholder presenting their work plans and challenges they are facing in as far as workspace development is concerned.

The Ministry is also working in collaboration with local authorities, the private sector and development partners to renovate existing or put up new modern workspaces for micro and small enterprises with designs, taking into account the type of business or trades to be housed.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, an Inter-Ministerial Committee has been established in Harare to work on workspace provision with various institutions and partners such as Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Office of the Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province and City of Harare, with a view to reorganise the sector and modernise the MSME workspace facilities.

          The construction of Smart Vegetable Market was completed in Epworth and the Coca Cola SME workspace is almost complete after Government provided funds to City of Harare. The Inter-Ministerial Committee has identified Shawasha grounds, Hatcliff, Kuwadzana and Glenview as new workspaces for the sector.  However, lack of funds has hindered progress on those sites. 

          To address funding challenges, the Ministry has made engagements with the pension funds institutions and private companies, to partner with Government on provision of modern workspaces for the MSMEs sector.  I am glad to report that some of these institutions have expressed willingness to partner with us, renovating existing or put up new modern workspaces for the sector in Harare and other areas.

          My Ministry and City of Harare’s collaboration has allowed private players to convert some of the CBD buildings into smaller retail shops. This has assisted to accommodate most SMEs who are into retail trade.  We are also facilitating our parastatal SMEDCO, to work on putting up more workspaces for SMEs.  SMEDCO has also embarked on a drive to construct workspaces and has acquired land in Bindura, Lupane, Gwanda and Chipinge. Construction works on Bindura and Lupane sites are expected to begin in 2024.

          My Ministry is also working in collaboration with various stakeholders such as local authorities, development partners and private players in constructing decent workspaces such as factory shells, SME hubs and vendor marts in Bulawayo, Bindura, Mberengwa (Private sector initiative resulted in the construction of a shopping mall), Gweru-Mtapa SME factory Shell, Gwanda, Chiredzi and Chikomba SME hub.  This year Gwanda SME vendor marts, Chiredzi SME centre, Gweru Mtapa workspaces and Masvingo Safe Market have all been completed.  I thank you.

          *HON. HAMAUSWA: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his reply. My supplementary question is with regards to the workspace conference.  According to our research, from that conference, we interviewed artisans like welders and those who make furniture, but they did not have information about that conference.  I want to appeal to the Hon. Minister if he can hold another conference that can be advertised through the radios or media and inform Members of Parliament from Harare so that we pass on the information that Members of Parliament can participate as well as their representatives. This is to enable us to also give our views because this is what brings food to the table in this country.

          *HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I will pass on the message to the Hon. Minister responsible for SMEs.  That is what we want. We want to get information from all the stakeholders in order to improve our economy. I thank you.  

          HON. SPARE SITHOLE: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

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

          HON. SPARE SITHOLE: I am sincerely concerned Madam Speaker by this situation of deferring all questions. The majority of the Ministers were around here, I do not know why they have left this building before answering these questions?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are all concerned Hon. Member, I think we are going to try by all means to advise Hon. Ministers or Deputy Ministers that they must come to this House to respond to the questions. We are all concerned.

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

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

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: My point of order is that those who never asked questions this week must be placed on top for next week.  The issue of starting with those who have asked questions this week, next week they will be the ones to be picked first.  That must be taken into consideration.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Sithole and I advise you to talk to your Chief Whips.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

          HON. BAJILA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE 147TH ASSEMBLY OF IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS HELD IN ANGOLA

          HON. KARIKOGA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Delegation to the 147th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings held from 23 to 27 October 2023 in Luanda, Angola.  

          HON. TOBAIWA:  I second.

          HON. KARIKOGA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.

  • INTRODUCTION

1.1    The Parliament of Angola hosted the 147th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings which convened from 23rd to 27th October, 2023 under the overarching theme “Parliamentary action for peace, justice and strong institutions”. The 147th Assembly was attended by about 1500 participants drawn from 130 countries.

1.2    Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament and Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate, ably represented the Parliament of Zimbabwe at the meetings.

1.3    The Hon. Speaker Mudenda attended the Executive Committee meetings which preceded the 147th Assembly and Related Meetings on 21 and 22 October 2023.

2.0    MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE IPU AND ITS OUTCOMES:

2.1    Hon. Pacheco, President of the IPU, who was presiding over his last Executive Committee Meeting, presented his activity report anchored on three deliverables, namely, Reinforcing IPU’s visibility, Supporting the Implementation of the IPU Strategy and Consolidation of the IPU Good Governance.

2.2    The Executive Committee commended the IPU President for the extensive activity report. In the same vein, members of the Executive Committee extolled the sterling work undertaken by the IPU President, in particular Speaker Mudenda commended Hon. Pacheco’s work ethic and vigorous energy in reinforcing the visibility of the IPU globally.

2.3    In the spirit of inclusivity with special accent on the role of women and youth in Parliamentary processes as reported on by Hon Pacheco, Speaker Mudenda highlighted that Zimbabwe had made significant strides as demonstrated by the incorporation of the constitutional provisions that guarantee 10 seats for the youth in the National Assembly. It was also encouraging that 40% of recently elected MPs in Zimbabwe have an average age of 40 years and below. This speaks volumes of the commitment by the Government of Zimbabwe to uplift the formerly marginalised demographic groups in tandem with IPU resolutions regarding youth inclusion in political participation in Parliamentary processes.

2.4    Hon. Speaker Mudenda, whose four year tenure as a member of the Executive Committee came to an end at the conclusion of the 147th Assembly of the IPU and related meetings, was commended for his tremendous contribution to the work of the Executive Committee, in particular, his clarity of thought and solid legal insight which have enabled the Executive Committee to make sound decisions guided by the IPU Statutes and Rules.

2.5    Speaker Mudenda was subsequently awarded a certificate of recognition by the IPU President, Honourable Duarte Pacheco. The citation on the certificate reads as follows: “CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION CONFERRED UPON MR. JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA (ZIMBABWE) FOR HIS OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORK AND MISSION OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION AS A MEMBER OF ITS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2019-2023”. Hon. Mudenda accepted the certificate on behalf of the Zimbabwe Parliament which gave him the opportunity to serve humanity at that international level. 

2.6    The Executive Committee took note of the report of the Secretary General which highlighted the following positive developments which speak to the IPU Strategic Plan for the period 2022 to 2026:

  • Successfully organised 47 global and regional events held in person and hybrid format as well as virtually;
  • Arranged 42 national events and activities in 12 countries;
  • Produced eight publications for use as tools and resources by member Parliaments.

          2.7    The Executive Committee endorsed the historic Anti-Harassment Policy whose implementation will set the tone for a culture of protection of women, not only in Parliaments, but also within communities. The policy addresses issues of prevention, awareness campaigns through the media, support and assistance for victims. 

          2.8    With regards to requests for Permanent Membership and Observer status, the Executive Committee resolved as follows:

  • The Executive Committee approved the request for membership by the Bahamas. This brings the membership of the IPU to 180 Parliaments;

The Executive Committee resolved to maintain observer status for Mercosur Parliament, Organisation of American States, NORDIC Council, Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (PAECO), Parliamentary Assembly of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (AP-CPLP) and Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA).  2.9    The Executive Committee approved the Financial Statements for 2022. The External Auditors noted that the IPU accounts are kept in accordance with international standards and that the finances are being prudentially managed.

          2.10  The Executive Committee approved the 2024 Budget which is anchored on the IPU Strategic Plan.

          2.11  With regards to Regional Offices, the Executive Committee took stock of the progress to date. Of particular note, was the official opening of the Regional Office in Uruguay in September 2023 on the sidelines of the Global Summit of the Committees of the Future.

          2.12  In the same vein, the IPU and Egypt are engaged in positive discussions over the contents of the Agreements to be signed between the IPU and the Government of Egypt as the host country towards the establishment of a second IPU Regional Office there.

2.13  The Executive Committee took note of the report submitted by the Chairperson of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) articulating on joint activities undertaken between the Assemblies. The fruitful collaboration between the ASGP and the IPU has yielded positive impact in as far as developing tools that strengthen parliamentary administrative processes.       

2.14  With regards to the proposed review of the IPU Statutes, the Executive Committee approved the establishment of a Drafting Committee comprising Executive Committee Members drawn from all Geopolitical Groups. Accordingly, Parliaments were encouraged to submit their proposals to the IPU Secretariat before the end of November 2024.

2.15  The Executive Committee took note of the report of the Task Force on the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine. While the Committee did not manage to bring the two parties to the negotiating table, it did make progress in the maintenance of separate engagements with the conflicting parties.

2.16  The Executive Committee endorsed the following as venues:

  • Geneva, Switzerland, 148th Assembly of the IPU Assembly in March 2024
  • Uzbekistan, 150th Assembly of the IPU Assembly in 2025.

The IPU is still to secure a venue for the 149th Assembly scheduled for October 2024.

2.17  The Executive Committee endorsed the establishment of the Preparatory Committee of the 6th Conference of Speakers of Parliament which will comprise 20 Speakers of Parliament. Africa will be requested to nominate five Speakers of Parliament to the Preparatory Committee taking into consideration gender balance.

  • OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 147TH ASSEMBLY OF THE IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS

3.1    The official opening ceremony of the 147th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Related meetings held on 23 October 2023, was indeed a momentous occasion as the IPU was meeting for the first time in a Portuguese speaking African country since 1962 after being hosted in Brazil. The ceremony was graced by His Excellency, Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, President of the Republic of Angola, as Guest of Honor, various Speakers of Parliament and Members of Parliament from 130 countries making up a total of 1500 delegates.

3.2    It was a historic moment when the IPU national anthem was sung and played for the first time at an IPU Assembly, having been approved by the IPU Governing Council in March 2023 on the occasion of the 146th Assembly of the IPU held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. The anthem is an expression of the IPU hopes and aspirations in a world grappling with global challenges. The Kaposoka Symphony Orchestra, an Angolan Orchestra outfit made up of teenagers extrapolated from vulnerable families, led the singing of the IPU anthem, much to the credit of the outgoing IPU President Pacheco who mooted the idea of the anthem.

3.3    In her welcome remarks, Rt. Hon Carolina Cerqueira, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, implored Parliaments to unequivocally pronounce themselves on the need to respond positively to global challenges by proffering solutions anchored on guaranteeing fundamental freedoms, peace, justice and amicable resolutions of conflicts for the good of humanity. Furthermore, she called for the expeditious implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their entirety. The Hon. Speaker of Angola shared the inspiring case of Angola which was under civil strife for over 30 years and yet with a sustained resolve for peace, stability and unity, the country has risen from the civil strife like the proverbial phoenix, resulting in socio-economic development in an environment of peace and harmony.  

3.4    As a follow up delivery, Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, commended Angola for its resilience as evidenced by its resolve to rise from the civil conflict to championing peace and inclusion not only in Angola, but in the Africa subregion. He made reference to current global conflicts, particularly in African countries where the population has experienced its fair share of conflict, inequality and the scourge of poverty. In this context, the theme of the Assembly resonates well with the current global situation which calls for Parliamentary action in pursuit of peace, justice and strong institutions. The Secretary General underscored the role of Parliaments as the hallmark for democracy and legitimacy. Accordingly, he called on Parliaments to be inclusive and restore public trust from the people they represent.

3.5    Speaking on behalf of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga appreciated the existing mutually beneficial relationship between the UN and the IPU which has continued to grow from strength to strength. Additionally, he commended the IPU’s relentless efforts to promote its core values through multilateralism. The Secretary General welcomed the apt theme of the Assembly which seeks to address conflicts which have had a devastating impact on affected societies and other global challenges inflicting suffering on the vulnerable members of our societies.  

3.6    In his opening remarks, Mr. Duarte Pacheco, President of the IPU, underscored the essentiality of peace as a fundamental tenet undergirding socio-economic development. He strongly condemned current global conflicts as witnessed in different geographical areas such as terrorism in the Sahel, the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the Palestinian-Israel conflict, among others. He called for the speedy peaceful resolution of these conflicts through Parliamentary diplomacy, multilateralism and the respect of international law. The IPU President paid homage to the Task Force established for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine for their unwavering efforts to bring about peace to the waring countries.

3.7    Finally, His Excellency, Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, President of the Republic of Angola, delivered an inspiring message of hope for humanity as he officially opened the IPU Assembly. He shared Angola’s road to peace and stability and the shared vision of sustainable development anchored on inclusion, equity and democracy. In this vein, the President opined that the Republic of Angola continues its Parliamentary diplomacy in its quest for peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. Commenting on global conflict situations, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Angola, called on the implementation of several UN resolutions on the Palestinian question, in particular, the creation of the two-state policy as per the Rome Declaration. Parliaments, he posited, should proffer unwavering attention to global challenges in order to alleviate pain and suffering of the vulnerable victims of war conflicts. His Excellency, the President of Angola, echoed many African voices in calling for the reform of the United Nations and international financial institutions in order to achieve inclusion and sustainable development on the basis of the equality of the sovereignty of all United Nations member States. 

4.0    EMERGENCY ITEM FOR INCLUSION ON THE AGENDA OF THE IPU ASSEMBLY

4.1    In line with Assembly Rule 11 of the IPU Statutes, the Assembly considered three (3) requests for inclusion as an Emergency Item on the Agenda of the IPU 147th Assembly. However, none of the three requests garnered the two thirds majority vote. Consequently, there was no Emergency Item for debate.

5.0    MEETINGS OF THE SADC GROUP AND AFRICA GEOPOLITICAL GROUP AT THE IPU

5.1    As has become standard practice, the SADC Group and Africa Geopolitical Group convened prior to the convening of the Assembly to caucus and reach consensus on issues under consideration during the Assembly and establishing a position on the Emergency Item as well as filling of vacancies during the Assembly.

5.2    Hon. Advocate Mudenda, who is one of Africa’s representatives in the Executive Committee, presented a summary report of the Executive Committee meetings. After delivering his ultimate report, Speaker Mudenda received further approbations from Hon. Members of the SADC and Africa Geopolitical Groups for his diligence and attention to detail in the current Report and previous ones. On that score, Hon Elibariki Emmanuel Kingu from Tanzanian Parliament, moved a motion that the Geopolitical Groups should formally recognise Speaker Mudenda’s contributions to the IPU by formally acknowledging them through a letter of appreciation. The motion was unanimously approved after being seconded by the Rt. Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi, the Namibian Speaker of Parliament.

5.3    Both the SADC Group and the Africa Geopolitical Group resolved to support an Emergency Item entitled, ‘Stopping the war and violations of human rights in Gaza’. South Africa co-sponsored the Emergency Item with the delegations from Algeria and Kuwait on behalf of the Arab Group, Indonesia and Iran.

5.4    The Africa Geopolitical Group elected Hon. Monder Bouden, Deputy Speaker of the People’s National Assembly of Algeria and representing North Africa as its Chairperson for the period 2023 to 2024.

5.5    Rt. Hon. Nelly BK Mutti, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, was elected into the Executive Committee representing the Africa Geopolitical Group.

6.0    FORUM OF WOMEN PARLIAMENTARIANS

6.1    The Forum of Women Parliamentarians contributed to the deliberations of the 147th Assembly from a gender perspective, particularly in respect of the Resolution of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights entitled, ‘Orphanage trafficking: the role of Parliaments in reducing harm” as well as the panel discussion on “Women in Politics: to stay or not to stay’.

6.2    The discussions analysed the root causes of trafficking and its gender related aspects. In this context, the Forum highlighted the need for robust laws to combat child trafficking in orphanages as well as for the police forces, justice and immigration departments to be adequately equipped to handle such issues.

6.3    The panel discussion examined the challenges faced by women when taking up political decision-making positions. Parliaments were urged to ensure a conducive working environment by adopting policies that decry women’s harassment including sexual harassment. 

6.4    Hon. Chinomona, President of the Senate contributed to the work of the Forum.  In a well-received address to the Forum, the President of the Senate called for a collective and coordinated approach in tackling orphanage trafficking which she described as modern-day slavery. Furthermore, Hon. Chinomona underscored Zimbabwe’s commitment to combatting human trafficking through enacting appropriate legislation such as the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2014. In this context, she called on Parliaments to enact laws that protect the vulnerable groups especially girls. 

7.0    FORUM OF YOUNG PARLIAMENTARIANS

7.1    The Forum of Young Parliamentarians took stock of recent developments in Parliamentary youth participation, including recent elections where higher numbers of young Members of Parliament took office, elevation of young Parliamentarians to leadership positions at international conferences such as the upcoming COP 28. 

7.2    The Board of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians reiterated its call to amend the Statutes and Rules of the IPU to lower the age limit to be considered a young Parliamentarian to 40 years old from the current 45 years.

8.0    GENERAL DEBATE ON THE THEME OF THE ASSEMBLY

8.1    In their interventions on the theme of the Assembly entitled ‘Parliamentary action for peace, justice and strong institutions’, Presiding Officers and Parliamentarians reflected on how to address governance issues as they relate to Sustainable Development Goal 16, in particular strengthening trust between people and public institutions, creating effective institutions through capacity building and broad based representation, consistently upholding the rule of law and protecting fundamental freedoms.

8.2    The theme of the Assembly was indeed relevant, given the escalating global conflicts that threaten access to justice, widen inequalities and underrepresentation of marginalised groups. Accordingly, it was noted that Parliaments, as representatives of the people, ought to collectively pronounce themselves in condemning all forms of warfare and proffer solutions that stimulate strong and effective institutions for sustainable development.

8.3    The Chairperson of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians and the Chairperson of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians who also addressed participants during the high-level side meeting, called for equal participation and inclusion of women and young people through enacting appropriate legislation.

8.4    At the conclusion of the General Debate, the Assembly adopted the Luanda Declaration.

9.0    THE IPU COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF PARLIAMENTARIANS

9.1    The Committee examined several cases of alleged human rights violations against Members of Parliaments in nine countries.

9.2    Additionally, the Committee held hearings with complainants and the relevant Parliamentary authorities including the Hon. Speaker Mudenda on the sidelines of the 147th Assembly. Hon. Speaker Mudenda appeared before the Committee to discuss cases involving Mr. Job Sikhala, former Member of Parliament and the case of 23 recalled Members of the Citizen’s Coalition for Change (CCC) party. The Hon. Speaker provided detailed written update information on the status of Mr. Sikhala’s case that is before the courts. Additionally, the Hon. Speaker responded to questions from the Committee regarding the alleged human rights violations of the concerned Members of Parliament. The Hon. Speaker’s responses were anchored on the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, specifically that Section 73 (6) and Section 50 (1) (c) and provisions of the Prisons Correctional Services Act which ensure that Mr. Sikhala is guaranteed access to health facilities.

9.3    With regards to the recalls of the CCC Members of Parliament, the Hon. Speaker emphasized that the Presiding Officers of Parliament acted in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, specifically Section 129 (1) (k).  

9.4    The Committee reiterated its request to undertake a mission to Zimbabwe. The Hon. Speaker directed the Committee to formally send a request which details the proposed programme and clear terms of reference for the Mission for consideration by the relevant authorities Kwete zvainyeperwa pasocial media izvi - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you withdraw your statement. The statement which you said kwete zvekunyeperana pasocial media because you are reading a report.

          HON. KARIKOGA: I withdraw.

10.0 OUTCOMES OF THE 147TH ASSEMBLY OF THE IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS

10.1  The Governing Council of the IPU elected Hon. Dr. Tulia Ackson, Speaker of the United Republic of Tanzania, as the 31st President of the IPU for the period 2023 to 2026. The Africa Geopolitical Group extended its heartfelt congratulations to Rt. Hon. Dr Ackson and wished her a fruitful and successful term in office.

10.2  Finally, the 147th Assembly adopted the Luanda Declaration on ‘Parliamentary Action for peace, justice and strong institutions’…

HON. MUROMBEDZI: On a point of order Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member quoted the Constitution Section 129 – tenure of seat of Member of Parliament and he said Section 129 (a), I do not think it relates to the subject.  This section speaks about the dissolution of Parliament.

An Hon. Member having stood up to raise a point of order

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You cannot stand on a point of order whilst I am yet to rule on another point of order – [AN HON. MEMBER:  On a point of clarity.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Haaa]- [HON. MUROMBEDZI:  You can debate.] – No, Hon. Karikoga you are not supposed to be responding.

Hon. Murombedzi, Hon. Karikoga is reading a report which was prepared.  It is not his debate.  If the report is misleading, we can refer the report to the Clerks who prepared the report.

HON. MUROMBEDZI:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker because he quoted the wrong thing in the Constitution.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Karikoga, you may proceed.

HON. KARIKOGA: The Declaration recognises that through their legislative, representation and oversight roles, Parliaments ought to promote universal human rights, inclusion, enhancing transparency and accountability to earn the people’s trust. Accordingly, the Declaration pledges to support measures that strengthen strong institutions

10.3  The 147th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings adopted by consensus the resolution submitted by the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights entitled, ‘Orphanage trafficking: The role of Parliaments in reducing harm’. The resolution recognises the need to address orphanage trafficking in its multi-dimensional and complex form which involve the recruitment, transportation, transfer and habouring children for purposes of exploitation. Furthermore, the resolution acknowledges the absence of appropriate regulatory framework and child protection legal framework resulting in severe harm to orphans’ physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

10.3.1 The resolution, therefore, condemns all forms of orphanage trafficking, orphanage tourism and orphanage volunteering.

10.3.2 Accordingly, the resolution calls on Parliaments to cooperate and coordinate with their respective Governments to introduce legal measures aimed at combating orphanage trafficking at the national level.

10.3.3 Additionally, the resolution calls for multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral and international cooperation strategies to combat orphanage trafficking and ensuring the safe repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficked children.

10.4  The 2023 Cremer-Passy Prize was awarded to Rt. Hon. Samuelu Penitala Teo, Speaker of the Parliament of Tuvalu for his outstanding work on climate action, having raised awareness of the climate vulnerability of his country throughout his political career.

10.5  The IPU launched a publication on ‘Human Rights: A Self-Assessment Tool Kit’ which is tailor-made for Parliaments to capacitate them to integrate human rights into their work and empower Parliamentarians as champions of human rights in their constituencies. 

10.6  Additionally, the IPU also launched the report on ‘Youth Participation in National Parliaments: 2023’ which is a compilation of data on youth participation in politics. It serves as a reference point for young people in Parliament. It also proffers recommendations on how to achieve greater participation of youth through policies such as Parliamentary youth quotas in Parliament. This report comes on the heels of the launch of the ‘I say Yes to Youth in Parliament IPU campaign’.

10.7  The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol: Handbook for Parliamentarians was also launched during the 147th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings. The Handbook is a second addition which taps into the guidance developed by the Committee on translating CEDAW into concrete action that addresses all forms of Gender-Based Violence against women and girls. It stresses the relevance of the Convention to all dimensions of the work of Parliaments, from law making, budget allocation and parliamentary oversight on gender mainstreaming. 

10.0  RECOMMENDATIONS

10.1  The Administration of Parliament should endeavour to ensure that international and regional subscriptions are paid timeously to avoid censure by the regional and international bodies to which Parliament is a member.

10.2  Parliament of Zimbabwe should continue collaborating with the IPU Secretariat in capacitating Parliamentary Committees as the IPU has available resources to assist in this regard.

10.3  Additionally, Parliament of Zimbabwe should make use of tools of the trade as provided by the numerous publications and reports launched by the IPU.

10.4  The Youth Caucus should spearhead the launch of the I SAY YES TO YOUTH IN PARLIAMENT CAMPAIGN. This movement has gained traction in IPU Member Parliaments where it has been successfully launched.

10.5  In tandem with the Presidential mantra of leaving no one and no place behind, the Expanded Sustainable Development Goals Committee should monitor the implementation by the Executive of the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030. This Committee should produce evaluative annual reports on the same. Particular focus should be given to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 whose implementation will undoubtedly address the recommendation of the Luanda Declaration on strengthening institutions that promote democracy.

10.5  Issues of climate change remain relevant and requiring urgent action. To this an extent, a Parliamentary Meeting co-organised by the IPU and the Federation Council of the United Arab Emirates will be convened on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in December 2023. Accordingly, arrangements should be made for some Members of Parliament to attend this crucial Meeting with the relevant Minister of Environment and the Honourable Speaker.

10.6  The SDG 16, more than any other SDG, relates to Parliament as the key institution of governance in every country. Parliaments enact laws, adopt budgets and oversee the Executive hence they are uniquely positioned to make Governments work better at all levels. Additionally, Parliaments may put in place conditions for peaceful co-existence that support sustainable development and democracy in all their dimensions. In this context, Parliament of Zimbabwe is urged to enhance public engagement through public hearings. The setting up of Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres should be expedited to enhance Parliament’s visibility at Constituency levels as well as to enhance public participation in Parliamentary processes.

11.0  CONCLUSION

11.1  The delegation joins colleagues Executive Committee of the IPU, Speakers and Parliamentarians from the SADC and the Africa Geopolitical Groups in extending a hearty congratulations to the Hon. Speaker for his sterling contribution to the work of the IPU during his four-year tenure as a member of the Executive Committee of the IPU. 

11.2  The Delegation extends its profound gratitude to the Government of Zimbabwe and to Parliament for affording it the opportunity to represent Zimbabwe at such high-profile statutory meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. I thank you.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 54TH PLENARY

SESSION OF THE SADC-PF HELD IN MAURITIUS

          HON. KARENYI:  I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the delegation to the 54th Plenary Session of the SADC-PF held in Mauritius.

          HON. NYABANI:  I second.

          HON. KARENYI

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 The 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was graciously hosted by the Parliament of Mauritius from the 22nd to 27th November 2023 under the theme: “The Role of Parliaments in Promoting Coordination for Enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Planning in the SADC Region”.

1.2      The Zimbabwe delegation was led by Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe and it comprised the following Members of Parliament: -

  • Maybe Mbohwa, Member of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC);
  • Chinhenza Chigwadzara (Chief Matsiwo), Member of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure;
  • Tendai Nyabani, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human Rights;
  • Mercy Mugomo, Member of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and,
  • Lynette Karenyi, Member of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

         

                        Figure i. ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION LED BY HON SPEAKER J.F.N. MUDENDA

 

 

2.0     OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY

2.1    

Figure ii. SADC PF SECRETARY GENERAL. MS. B. SEGKOMA

In her welcome remarks, the Secretary General (SG) of the SADC PF, Ms. Boemo Segkoma, expressed gratitude to the host country for the meticulous hosting arrangements made for the 54th Plenary Assembly meeting. Ms. Sekgoma highlighted the importance of the Assembly in concluding a productive year which coincided with the end of the Forum’s 2019 to 2023 Strategic Plan.

 

The Secretary General stated that the SADC PF’s Strategic plan had been successfully implemented with the full support and active engagement of Member Parliaments and stakeholders whose planned efforts had achieved a commendable feat. To conclude her statement, she extolled Mauritius for its unparalleled social protection programmes which include socio-economic safety nets which consequently guarantee the well-being of its citizens.

 

2.2 

 

In addition to expressing his gratitude for the warm reception and the impeccable preparations that had been put in place by the host country, Mauritius, Hon. Roger Macienne, the Speaker of the Parliament of Seychelles and President of the SADC PF, paid tribute to Mauritius’ exemplary leadership since the inception of the Forum, punctuated by the tenure of former Speaker, Honourable Abdool Razack PEEROO who, as President of the SADC PF from 2012 to 2014, passionately advocated for the transformation of SADC PF into a regional Parliament, especially during the 35th Plenary Assembly held in June 2014. In addition, Hon PEEROO also championed the institutionalisation of the SADC PF Rules of Procedure in a document aptly titled “Operating like a Parliament.” This document paved the way towards a more practical and substantive SADC PF transformation into a fully-fledged regional Parliament.

2.3

Figure iv. CHAIR OF THE REGIONAL WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS (RWPC), HON. REGINA ESPARON,

 The Chair of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC), Hon. Regina Esparon, emphasised the tangible social and economic benefits of investing in girls' education and training. She asserted that the theme of the 54th Plenary Assembly was timely coming after the SADC adopted the Gender-Responsive Disaster Risk Reduction Strategic Plan and Plan of Action (2020-2030). Hon. Esparon stressed the importance of recognising that climate change disproportionately affects women and girls due to existing gender inequalities, resulting in an increased burden to this vulnerable group during climate crises.

 

 

2.4     Hon. Sooroojdev Phokeer, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mauritius, warmly welcomed delegates and underscored the 54th Plenary Assembly theme’s unique opportunity for fostering inter-parliamentary democracy and regional cooperation in addressing transboundary disasters and climate change challenges. In this regard, he made a clarion call to Parliamentarians to deliberate and exchange views in order to come up with standardized regional and international mitigatory efforts to combat climate change catastrophes.

 

2.5     In delivering the keynote address, the Guest of Honour, His Excellency, Prime Minister Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth underscored the need for Parliamentary cooperation and diplomacy in addressing global challenges

Figure vi. HIS EXCELLENCY, PRIME MINISTER HON PRAVIND KUMAR JUGNAUTH

          that impact the livelihoods in the region. With a focus on the Assembly's theme and the region's ongoing challenges, he emphasised the interconnectedness of SADC countries, advocating for enhanced regional cooperation to effectively tackle pressing issues and ensure stability and prosperity in the region.

 

 

2.5.1 The Prime Minister reiterated the need for Parliaments to remain the sole custodians of democracy, entrusted with the solemn duty to not only enact laws and shape public policies, but also to allocate resources judiciously to ensure that their respective countries have the necessary legal and policy frameworks to mitigate risks, respond to disasters effectively and facilitate recovery and reconstruction.

2.6   The Prime Minister concluded by encouraging SADC PF States to take a cue from Mauritius’ response strategy wherein the Government of Mauritius enacted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2016, which established a Statutory Council, a Strategic Framework to deal with mitigating the risks of disasters and to prepare for recovery plans and actions.

 

2.7       Hon. Carolina Cerqueira, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, expressed gratitude for the exquisite preparations made for the 54th Plenary Assembly and pledged Angola’s readiness to welcome delegates to the 55th Plenary Assembly Meeting to be held in July 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.0     ZIMBABWE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE THEME AND THE KEY DELIVERABLES DURING THE SYMPOSIUM

         

 

3.1      The Symposium, held on 22nd November 2023, focused on the 54th Plenary Assembly theme “Role of Parliaments in Promoting Coordination for Enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Planning in the SADC Region”. The Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management of the Republic of Mauritius, Hon. Dr Mohammad Anwar Husnoo, chaired the meeting.

3.1.1 The symposium drew insights from Resource Persons and experts drawn from various sectors of the Mauritius Government in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Meteorological Services, Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change.

3.2      Hon. Speaker Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, emphasised the need for a regional approach to address the impact of natural disasters that have affected several SADC countries, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He highlighted the strides made by Zimbabwe in risk reduction, augmented by public awareness and adaptation to climate change. Speaker Mudenda called for the enhancement of early warning systems and the capacitation of meteorological sectors to mount a formidable Disaster Risk Reduction Mechanism.

3.3   Hon. Mudenda reported that, Zimbabwe had developed a legal framework for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) governed mainly by the Civil Protection Act, Chapter 10:06 and Section 56 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which provides for equal protection and benefit of the law. He also highlighted that the Parliament of Zimbabwe was in the process of reviewing the Civil Protection Act given that it was enacted in 1989 and is no longer responsive enough to the obtaining climate induced disasters. Equally, he informed that the Government had drafted the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management Bill now before Parliament.

3.4      Hon. Mudenda further stated that Zimbabwe has developed several policies and strategies to deal with climate change-induced disasters such as the National Climate Policy of 2018, the National Climate Change Strategy and the draft National Adaptation Plan. Furthermore, he asserted that one of the key priorities of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe was to ensure that adequate funds were provided for the implementation of these disaster management policies as well as ensuring the finalisation of the Climate Change National Adaptation Plan. Hon Mudenda referred to the 2023 State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, that prescribed several Bills related to adaptation and resilience, such as the Climate Change Bill, Water Act, Chapter 20:24 (2003) Amendment Bill and the Plant Breeders Rights Act which will deal comprehensively with adaptation and resilience in handing climate-induced natural disasters

3.5      In his concluding remarks which were received with approbation from fellow delegates, Hon. Mudenda called upon Member States to successfully coordinate and harmonize Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery planning approaches and address challenges such as under-funded and uncoordinated institutional frameworks, lack of comprehensive risk assessments including addressing the problems associated with the prevalence of weak information systems. The Hon. Speaker also encouraged member countries to come up with sound National Determined Contributions in order for the world to reduce greenhouse emissions so that temperatures do not rise above the Paris Climate Change Agreement barometer of not above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will mark the treatment of the fundamental cause of the disease rather than its pervasive symptoms.

3.6      The Symposium noted the devastating impact of extreme weather events on physical infrastructure and socio-economic life. The SADC region has been ravaged by several destructive cyclones, including Cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy, which caused extensive damage and resulted in numerous human casualties and led to a significant number of internally displaced persons.

3.7      A clarion call was made to mitigate the damage caused by extreme weather events in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which demands multi-sectoral approaches whereby public and private stakeholders collaborate to save infrastructure and lives. It is crucial to widely sensitise regional citizens on disaster preparedness through regular awareness campaigns. The Sendai Framework works in synergy with other 2030 Agenda agreements, including The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the New Urban Agenda and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals.

3.8   The Framework was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), and advocates for: The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”. Whilst it recognises that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, it enjoins a shared responsibility among stakeholders including local Government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

3.9      The Symposium acknowledged that during and in the aftermath of climate disasters, losing shelter, clothing, food or even basic amenities. This necessitates the immediate response and assistance of the concerned authorities. In this context, Member Parliaments were urged to enact laws, adopt budgets, exercise oversight and represent communities to address climate resilience in a way that mainstreams gender and ensures that the voices of women are heard in decision-making processes on disaster preparedness.

3.10    The Symposium commended the Republic of Mauritius, host of the 54th Plenary Assembly, for developing a National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategic Framework (2020-2030) as well as an Action Plan for the same period to consolidate climate resilience, in addition to enacting targeted legislation such as the Land Drainage Authority Act and the Climate Change Act.

3.11    Furthermore, the Symposium encouraged countries to meet the total financial needs for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), estimated at USD 6.5 billion, including USD 4.5 billion for adaptation and USD 2 billion for mitigation. Such early investments will save the world from future damage in multi-fold figures. This proposal is in sync with Zimbabwe’s call for countries to meet their National Determined Contributions towards supporting efforts to mitigate against climate change impacts.

 

  • REPORT BY HON. ADVOCATE JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE 53RD PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PF HELD IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA, 02 TO 08 JULY 2023

 

  • Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe responded to the resolutions adopted during the 53rd Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF based on Section 119 of the Constitution which empowers Parliament to protect the Constitution by exercising oversight over all Government institutions and agencies at all levels”.
  • Speaker reported that Zimbabwe is now food secure with a surplus maize harvest of 3, 5 million tonnes and 475 993 tonnes of wheat harvested in 2023. This is due to the implementation of the climate proofed agriculture programme commonly known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, which supports over 1.6 million vulnerable households in maize, sunflower, small grains and soya beans production.

            Figure ix. PFUMVUDZA/ INTWASA

4.3      Hon Speaker informed the Plenary that, in 2010, Zimbabwe established the Debt Management Office under the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion for the purpose of effective debt management in order to comply with SADC debt-to-GDP ratio of no greater than 60% for all Member States. The Public Debt Management Act [Chapter 22.21] (Act 4 of 2015) is the legal framework of the debt management policy. Debt management in Zimbabwe is undergirded by Parliament. The Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission and the Auditor- General’s Office also bolster the effectiveness of public debt management strategies by thoroughly scrutinising the national Budget expenditure regime.

4.3.1   Furthermore, to bolster the implementation of the provisions of the Public Debt Office, Parliament is amending the Public Finance Management Act to incorporate the provisions of the Model Law on Public Financial Management thereby strengthening the effectiveness of the Debt Management Office.

4.4      To strengthen a Rights Based Approach to the Conduct of Business within the Natural Resources Sector in the SADC region”, Zimbabwe has adopted the policy on value addition and beneficiation of its mineral and agricultural resources, resulting in downstream mining and agro-industries. The 2024 Pre-Budget Seminar hosted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe implored the Government to accelerate the implementation of value-addition and beneficiation policies in the mining and agricultural sectors.

4.5      The report unveiled that the Parliament of Zimbabwe has a new Thematic  Committee on Climate Change to specifically conduct oversight on Government policies, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and programmes being undertaken by the Government, among other areas. Parliament will soon consider the Climate Change Bill, which seeks to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate low-carbon development technologies, including strengthening appropriate institutions and funding mechanisms by working together with the Select Committee on Climate Change. These two Committees are advocating for the enactment of the Climate Change Bill into law as supported by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) in the same endeavour.

4.6      Hon. Speaker reported that he led a delegation to the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future which was held under the overarching theme- Bringing the Future to The Present: The Democracy of the Future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Parliaments”. Participating Parliamentarians recognised the fundamental importance of incorporating the application of Artificial Intelligence in Parliamentary processes vis-à-vis e-governance which is now prevalent in several developed States. Accordingly, the Parliament of Zimbabwe will establish a “Committee of the Future” to ensure the application of Artificial Intelligence in e-governance whilst at the same time curtailing the negative effects of Artificial Intelligence application through the enactment of a sound legal framework.

4.7      The report concluded by indicating the plans to provide Members of Parliament in the current 10th Parliament with iPads so that they are ICT compliant. In that regard, all MPs will receive some induction on how to use the tablets in their Parliamentary work, in chat groups amongst themselves and stakeholders in their Constituencies.

4.7.1 However, more fundamentally, the H.E Dr. E.D. Mnangangwa           President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has established a fully-

fledged Ministry of Information Communication Technology,

Postal and Courier Services in order to drive the Fourth Industrial

Revolution that is anchored on ICT technologies for the whole

country against the background of leveraging the application of

Artificial Intelligence.   This Ministry is headed by a young,

vibrant female Minister, Dr. Tatenda Mavetera.

 

  • ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND THE TREASURER’S REPORT

5.1      The Plenary Assembly deliberated and made resolutions on various policy, administrative and financial matters, including the transformation of the SADC PF into a Regional Parliament. In this regard, the Plenary Assembly acknowledged the progress made towards signing the Agreement Amending the SADC Treaty to establish the SADC Parliament, as reported during the 43rd SADC

  Summit of Heads of States and Government which took place from the   17th to 18th August 2023 in Luanda, Angola.

5.2      The Plenary Assembly took note that 9 out of 16 Member States had signed the Agreement Amending the SADC Treaty. In this regard, the Plenary Assembly resolved to engage in further lobbying efforts with Heads of State and Government, along with other stakeholders, to expedite the achievement of the required quorum of 12 Member States for signing the Agreement.

5.3      The Plenary Assembly commended SADC citizens and stakeholders for their enthusiastic participation in virtual public hearings conducted by SADC PF Standing Committees. The Plenary Assembly also encouraged them to continue actively engaging in future public hearings, which will be held annually.

5.4      The Plenary Assembly took note that the current SADC PF Strategic Plan (2019-2023) was coming to an end and therefore, discussed the framework for the successor Strategic Plan for 2024-2028. Member Parliaments were encouraged to submit their inputs to the SADC PF Secretariat to ensure timely completion of the document.

 

6.0      MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING THE 54th PLENARY ASSEMBLY     MEETINGS

6.1      The Plenary Assembly deliberated and resolved on various issues arising from Reports submitted by the SADC PF’s Organs including Standing Committees, Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) and Regional Parliamentary Model Law Oversight Committee and Members’ Motions.

6.2      Report of the Standing Committee on Democratisation,           Governance and Human Rights

The adopted motion encouraged Member States to to consider the feasibility of conducting pre-election missions virtually to mitigate financial challenges faced by National Parliaments in funding Election Observation Missions (EOMs), thereby reducing costs and ensuring continued engagement of electoral stakeholders across the region to promote democratic elections and advocate for the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections.

6.2.2   The report called for further engagement of National Parliaments to consider allocating resources for Election Observation Missions (EOMs) in their operational budgets to ensure the ongoing deployment of parliamentary EOMs, recognising their vital role in promoting democratic elections and monitoring the implementation of the SADC Model Law on Elections.

6.3      Report of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus    (RWPC)

The Plenary Assembly adopted a motion to encourage Governments to develop and implement digital skills training programs specifically targeted at rural women, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively use digital technologies for education, income generation, and community development. Furthermore, Parliament should provide oversight to ensure that rural women have access to affordable digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers, enabling them to access online resources and services.

6.3.1   Resources should be made available to organise digital skills training programmes specifically for rural women to enable them to effectively use digital technologies.

6.4      It is trite to note that a full dossier of resolutions arising from the deliberations of the 54th Plenary Assembly shall be provided to National Parliaments to craft a report to be presented at the 55th Plenary Assembly meeting in Luanda, Angola, in July 2024.

7.0      RESOLUTIONS AND WAY FORWARD

7.1      The Plenary Assembly adopted a resolution to mitigate damage caused by extreme weather events in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. There is a need for a multi-sectoral approach whereby public and private stakeholders collaborate to save infrastructure and lives, and ensure that citizens are widely sensitised on disaster preparedness through regular awareness campaigns.

7.1.1   Having noted the extreme weather events damage physical           infrastructure and impact socio-economic life and recognising that

the SADC region has been affected by several destructive cyclones including Cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy recently which caused extensive damage and caused hundreds of human casualties, as well as internally displaced persons, Plenary Assembly resolved as follows:

  1. That countries should meet total financial needs for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), estimated at USD 6.5 billion,    including USD 4.5 billion for adaptation and USD 2 billion for      mitigation, since such early investments will save the world from    damage in multi-fold figures in the future.
  2.          Member Parliaments to develop the synergies with policy makers, academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), traditional and faith leaders, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), youth  

Representatives and other stakeholders to promote climate justice by reducing the    carbon footprint through measures in line with the Paris Agreement regularly reported to the COP.

  •          Member Parliaments to enact laws, adopt budgets, exercise

Oversight and represent communities to address climate resilience in a way which mainstreams gender and ensures that the voices of women are heard in decision-making processes on disaster preparedness.

  1. There is need for regional cooperation in disaster risk reduction

and preparedness since countries of the same geographical region witness similar weather patterns and are affected by similar climate events.

7.2      The Plenary Assembly resolved ensure that Member Parliaments,  including the Forum embrace the efficient waste management, promote renewable energy sources and take measures to further reduce the carbon footprint in their jurisdictions. In this regard, Parliament is called upon to include climate justice governance in its strategic blueprint to promote green initiatives within the organisation and encourage both Members and Staff of Parliament to proactively be champions in environmental protection actions.

7.3      Noting that there are countries that are yet to sign the Agreement to Amend the SADC Treaty, Plenary Assembly resolved to continue lobbying on the countries that have not yet signed in view of obtaining enough signatures needed for the Agreement Amending the SADC        Treaty to take effect. Once again, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe will        spearhead the process as the Chair of the Strategic Lobby Team for the Transformation of the SADC PF into a regional Parliament.

7.4      Plenary Assembly noted with concern the poor response registered from the Member Parliaments, on the call for the Forum to deploy Election Observation Missions to the various Member States which held elections in 2023. In this regard, a resolution was adopted calling upon Member Parliaments to revive their interests in Election Observation Missions since they are fundamental to democracy, peace, and security in Southern Africa. The region is denying Members of Parliament an opportunity to observe elections in peer countries thus eroding the basic tenets of democracy and inter-parliamentary solidarity.

7.5      The Plenary Assembly Plenary Assembly positively noted that a new           cooperation Agreement of SEK 52,000,000 (5 million USD) between SIDA and the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) to strengthen the capacity of parliaments on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS-related services in the SADC region became operational on 1st November 2023. Parliament of Zimbabwe will thus make the first step into project incorporation by signing the Project Implementation Agreement with the Forum.

7.6      Plenary Assembly, having noted that the Secretary General had performed her duties with utmost diligence, commitment, hard work and dedication during the tenure of her current contract and consequently, adopted to renew her contract for a second five-year term. The Parliament of Zimbabwe to congratulate the Secretary General once a formal communication has been made in that regard.

7.7      The Plenary Assembly approved the Blueprint for the organisation’s Strategic Plan 2024-2028, which encapsulates the Forum’s policy with    respect to its Vision and Mission Statement upon which other operational parts of the Strategy will be anchored by the Secretariat.

7.8      As indicated in 6.4, the full dossier of the Plenary Assembly resolutions will be availed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum in due course for consideration by Portfolio and Thematic Committees of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, including consultative processes with Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

8.0      CONCLUSION

8.1      The Plenary Assembly concluded by acknowledging the progress made by the Republic of Mauritius whereby governance on the climate-induced exigencies matter has shifted from ‘managing disasters’ to ‘managing disaster risks’ which includes proactive measures such as the setting up of Early Warning Systems, training of personnel in fire safety, first aid, water rescue activities and other emergency skills, as well as simulation exercises for oil spills and tsunamis. In this regard, Member States were encouraged to share best practices, technology, contemporaneous weather data and lessons to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

8.2      The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Adv. Mudenda called for the creation of a standby “Disaster and Risk Reduction Brigade” to deal with this calamitous situation. There is a need for the SADC PF to compile deliberations of the Symposium in booklet form.

8.3      Parliament of Zimbabwe continues to play a highly effective leading role in the Transformation Agenda as the holder of the Chairpersonship of the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers on the Transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. There is a need to continue lobbying Heads of State and Governments on the Transformation Agenda and in particular the Amendment of the Treaty to officially recognise the SADC Parliament as an organ of SADC.

8.4      Parliament of Zimbabwe commits itself to the full implementation of the resolutions of the Plenary Assembly which shall be shared among all Members of Parliament to facilitate action by different Portfolio and Thematic Committees.

8.5      Finally and notably, the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, presented well-rehearsed infographic treatises on the brief speech during the Symposium and the responses to the resolutions of the 53rd Plenary Assembly.

8.6      The 55th Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF will be hosted by the Republic of Angola, who have pledged to choreograph a memorable hosting having just successfully hosted the 147th Plenary Assembly Meeting of the IPU.

 

 

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

          HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 15th February, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

PARLIAMENTARY MEETING AT THE 28TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES (COP28) HELD IN DUBAI,

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

          HON. MAMOMBE:   Mr. Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes of the Report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Parliamentary meeting at the 28th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) held on 6th December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

          HON. ZIKI:  I second.

          HON. MAMOMBE:   1.0  INTRODUCTION                        

1.1      Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of Twenty Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) held on 6th December 2023 as a guest of honour at the invitation of his counterpart, His Excellency Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council. He was accompanied by the following Members of Parliament who were also part of the National delegation to COP28:

  • Priscah Mupfumira, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Climate Change,
  • Joanah Mamombe, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate, Wildlife, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; and
  • Richard Ziki, Member of Parliament.

1.2        The Parliamentary Meeting at COP28, jointly organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Federal National Council (FNC) brought together over 500 Parliamentarians, including Speakers from 60 countries.

1.3        The IPU has brought together Members of Parliament at the UN climate meetings since the Copenhagen COP in 2009 with the aim of encouraging global coordination, the exchange of experiences and best practices as well as providing an overall parliamentary perspective to the Climate Change Conference. This particular gathering was significant and historic in that it was for the first time the IPU Parliamentary Assembly was held within the Green Zone, on the actual site of the COP28 Conference during the heart of the negotiations process. This is a milestone as it resonates with the IPU’s clarion call for Parliaments to be mainstreamed into UN climate processes, underlining their critical role in tackling climate change through effective legislation, green budgeting and oversight of governmental commitments towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts.

1.4        It is important that the Parliamentary Meeting was held within the context of the first Global Stocktake of the 2015 Paris Agreement, an inventory of progress or lack thereof towards reducing global temperatures by cutting down of greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Stocktake results are presented to the COP at the end of every five years. This undergirds the adopted IPU mantra: PARLIAMENTS FOR THE PLANET.

1.5        In line with one of the overall COP28 objectives of being as inclusive as possible, the IPU and the Federal National Council (FNC) (National Assembly) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also organised a session on the role of women and young Parliamentarians in climate governance. The event which brought together Parliamentarians and civil societies representing the youth, women and marginalised groups underlined the centrality of multiple voices in climate change decisions.

2.0        OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE IPU PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE

2.1        In his welcome address, His Excellency, Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the FNC welcomed participants to the United Arab Emirates, the home of coexistence, tolerance and peace. He underscored the UAE’s commitment to protecting the planet and ensuring sustainability through enacting appropriate legislation that promotes the use of clean and renewable energy in our socio-economic development. The Speaker of the FNC further opined that the progress of humanity should not come at the expense of the vagaries of nature, but rather through a determined maintenance of a clean environment inherited from our ancestors.  Additionally, he applauded the tangible outcomes of COP28, including the operationalisation of the Global Fund on Loss and Damage.

2.2        During the same Conference, Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, called for urgent and robust Parliamentary action on climate change and environmental action. He referred to recent climate induced disasters being experienced globally which compel Parliaments and governments to act now. In this context, the Secretary General commended the UAE for its efforts in implementing the Paris Agreement. He highlighted the work of the IPU in climate change, in particular, the campaign entitled Parliaments for the Green Planet which encourages Parliamentarians and staff to lead by example in reducing carbon footprints by taking concrete measures in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the campaign for a clean environment is designed to urge Parliaments to effectively carry out their oversight role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement nationally and globally through their affirmative legislative agenda on climate change challenges. As part of the IPU’s efforts on climate change, the Secretary General extolled Hon. Samuelu Penitala Teo, Speaker of the Parliament of Tuvalu who won the 2023 Cremer Passy Prize for his outstanding programmes on climate action in his country.

2.3        Equally, in his special address to the IPU Conference, His Excellency, Ambassador Majid Suwaidi, Director General and Special Representative of COP28, welcomed the inclusion of Parliamentarians during the COP meetings as this fostered inclusive representation on issues of climate change. He opined that climate change requires collective cooperation in order to translate the various agreements into national outcomes. In the same vein, he alluded to the results of the first Global Stocktake which sadly fell short in reaching the target of reducing the global greenhouse emissions to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. Accordingly, he called on Parliaments’ cooperation to accelerate the implementation of Paris Agreement and other recommendations emanating from COP meetings by aligning national legislation to international protocols and agreements that underscore the need to ameliorate climate change impact on humanity.

2.4        Next to the address was Ms. Christine Adam, Director for Legal Affairs Division of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) who pointed out that climate change was the biggest existential threat to humanity. Accordingly, she called for immediate bold and decisive action on the climate change phenomenon as she made reference to the obligations of the existing International Agreements on Climate change including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Within the context of the first Global Stocktake, Ms Adam called on Parliaments to take the opportunity to accelerate efforts to implement the Paris Agreement through their legislative, oversight and budgetary roles. Furthermore, she encouraged countries to increase their Nationally Determined Contributions to meet the global climate change mitigatory targets.

3.0        HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT

3.1        In the high-level segment, Speakers of Parliament shared lessons learnt on the Global Stocktake their national efforts towards the implementation of Paris Agreement.

3.2        Accordingly, Speaker Mudenda shared Zimbabwe’s perspective and experiences in his summary address as follows:  

“On behalf of the Zimbabwean delegation and my own behalf, please accept our profound gratitude for the invitation to attend this crucial assembly taking place at this opportune time which coincides with the inaugural Global Stock take (GST) of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement’s imperative to collectively assess the limitation of the rise of global temperature to 1.5 degrees celsius, building resilience and aligning financial flows with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient ecosystem. This Global Stock take is anchored on Mitigation Action, Adaptation and Means of Implementation at country levels guided by their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Accordingly, the Zimbabwean Parliament has embraced the implementation of the Zimbabwe Nationally Determined Contributions in collaboration with the Executive through the oversight role of its Environment Portfolio Committee and its Thematic Committee on Climate Change housed in the Senate which continually ensure that there is compliance in the reporting, monitoring and reviewing of the Paris Agreement obligations.  Thus, in 2015, Zimbabwe committed itself to reducing its energy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 33% per capita by 2030. In 2021 Zimbabwe revised upwards its NDCs ambition to 40% per capita by 2030.

Zimbabwe ratified and domesticated climate change and ozone layer depleting international agreements such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, the Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer and its Montreal Protocol as well as the Kigali Amendment on substances that deplete the ozone layer in an effort to demonstrate Zimbabwe’s commitment to containing climate change catastrophic impacts.

Furthermore, Parliament working collaboratively with the Executive, is implementing critical environmentally related policies such as the country`s Vision 2030, National Climate Policy, National Climate Change Response Strategy, National Climate Change Learning Strategy, the Climate Change Communication Strategy, the Renewable Energy Policy and the Bio Fuels Policy. The implementation of these policies has canvassed a stout national Budget for effective execution. Soon, Parliament will enact a robust Climate Change Act in order to legally synchronise all the climate change policies in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe acknowledges the excellent hospitality tendered by the Speaker of the Federal National Council as we wish COP28 UAE positive outcomes. Climate change should not conquer humanity. Humanity must conquer climate change decisively”

3.3        Thereafter, participants shared experiences and best practices on the following topics:

  • Bridging the Gap: Advancing climate action and adaptation for vulnerable communities;
  • Climate action spotlight Leadership of Women Parliamentarians and Young Parliamentarians;
  • Beyond Mitigation and Adaptation: Operationalising loss and damage; and
  • Parliamentary oversight of the Paris Agreement implementation post COP28.

3.4        At the conclusion of the rich and vibrant deliberations, Parliamentarians reaffirmed and adopted by consensus, the Outcome Document which was a result of an inclusive, democratic and consultative process initiated in October 2023. The Outcome Document calls for immediate and bold action to address climate change. It recognises the need for collective international cooperation to achieve positive results on climate change. Additionally, the Outcome Document speaks to critical role of Parliaments in achieving climate change targets. The full text of the Outcome Document is as given below:

We, parliamentarians, gathered at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,

Recalling the principles and objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, and the outcomes of previous United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COPs), which underlined the urgent need for action and international cooperation to address the challenges of climate change,

Recognising that the global community, despite the collective progress it has made, is not on track to meet the long-term goal set out in the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to less than 2°C by 2100, and that urgent action and support are needed to address the adverse impacts of climate change,

Guided by the Nusa Dua Declaration on Getting to zero: Mobilising Parliaments to act on climate change, adopted at the 144th IPU Assembly in 2022, and other relevant IPU resolutions, including Addressing climate change (141st IPU Assembly, Belgrade, 2019),

Acknowledging the significance of COP28 as the summit hosting the first global stocktake to assess collective progress towards achieving the purpose and long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, including on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience to climate impacts, and securing finance and support to address the climate crisis, as well as the opportunity that COP28 presents to inform countries about potential areas for enhancing their action and support and to enhance international cooperation on climate action,

Recognising that, to address climate change, countries will need to focus on transforming to low carbon economies and on investment in renewable energy, as well as on setting targets for reaching net zero emissions by 2050, which will require spending up to $300 billion a year by 2030 and $500 billion a year by 2050, estimates which are five to ten times greater than current funding levels,

Reaffirming the outcome document of the Parliamentary Meeting at the 27th  session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2022 and emphasizing the need to build on the recommendations therein to shape the role of parliamentarians with regard to climate-related issues;

Recognising the multiplier effects of climate change and other social and economic challenges, such as poverty, inequality, displacement and insecurity, and understanding that climate policy legislation and action are directly connected to a wide range of environmental concerns, including biodiversity loss and pollution;

Highlighting that climate change impacts individuals and communities differently, with women, youth, indigenous groups and communities in vulnerable situations often bearing the brunt of its consequences, and calling for coordinated efforts to ensure that actions to address these challenges reflect a comprehensive and equitable approach to climate action, including through the promotion of just transitions,

Emphasising the importance of parliamentary engagement in addressing climate change, and of exploring innovative legislative and policy approaches to strengthen the alignment of national policies with international climate goals,

  1. Call on Parliaments – through their legislative and oversight roles – to encourage their governments to implement the outcomes of the first global stocktake by updating and enhancing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reflecting their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and the associated measures to achieve them, and to support the effective implementation of: mitigation and emission reduction strategies, adaptation measures through the promotion of green economy initiatives, clean technology practices and sustainable practices;
  2. Also call on Parliaments to encourage their governments to combat climate change through international cooperation, with a focus on technology transfer, capacity-building and knowledge-sharing among nations, particularly between developed and developing countries;
  3. Emphasise the significance of parliamentary oversight and budgeting in ensuring the alignment of national climate policies with international commitments, while taking into consideration the respective capabilities of each country;
  4. Urge Parliaments to play an active role in promoting innovative financing mechanisms for climate projects, including the integration of green budgeting practices and the promotion of sustainable investment and resource allocation;
  5. Call for inclusive and equitable climate strategies that recognise the needs of different populations, including by advocating for leadership roles for women and youth in climate action;
  6. Also call for a parliamentary role in ensuring support for developing countries in their adaptation and mitigation efforts, as well as in addressing loss and damage associated with climate change impacts and ensuring these efforts consider the specific vulnerabilities of women, youth and communities in vulnerable situations;
  7. Encourage Parliaments to address the climate finance gap by advocating for the allocation of sufficient funds, urging developed nations to fulfil their financial commitments and supporting the reform of global financial institutions to enhance the accessibility of climate finance especially for developing countries;
  8. Call for stronger international cooperation on climate funding, including by ensuring parliaments in developing countries are well positioned to accept funding received from developed countries and are able to effectively invest and monitor budgeting and spending accordingly;
  9. Highlight the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration within national governments and between Parliaments and other governmental bodies to ensure a holistic approach to climate action, integrating environmental, social and economic considerations;
  10. Underline the crucial role of public participation and consultation in climate action and of supporting education and awareness activities to inform the public about the impacts of climate change, the importance of sustainable lifestyles and the role that individuals can play in driving positive change, while highlighting the important role of women, youth and civil society organisations in mitigating the impact of climate change;
  11. Encourage Parliaments to promote international cooperation for protective legislation connecting climate, biodiversity loss and pollution, including the recognition of ecocide as an environmental crime;
  12. Also encourage Parliaments to establish mechanisms for continuous, forward-looking and evidence-informed monitoring and reporting on the progress of climate-related legislation and policies, ensuring transparency and accountability in the implementation of climate commitments;
  13. Underscore the important role of the IPU in strengthening relations between Members of Parliament through sharing best practices in climate legislation and policy implementation, in the framework of its various related conferences and meetings;
  14. Call for the active engagement of IPU committees in fostering informed debates and discussions that will provide diverse perspectives when sharing experiences, legislation and policies related to climate change;
  15. Promote practical action and global parliamentary partnerships for climate resilience through the promotion of green economy initiatives, including collaboration with the private sector;
  16. Highlight the importance of implementing IPU climate change tools such as the 10 actions for greener parliaments;
  17. Encourage Parliaments to lead by example in the reduction of their carbon footprints, by urging parliamentarians to implement sustainable practices in their operations, facilities and supply chains, in line with the IPU Parliaments for the Planet campaign;
  18. Support the collaboration between the IPU, the Secretariat of the UNFCCC and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as specified in the respective Memorandums of Understanding, to enhance the capacities of national parliaments to address climate change, to sustain partnership and cooperation frameworks, and to ensure the presence of parliamentarians in high-level forums on climate change;
  19. Encourage the IPU to explore opportunities to enhance the role of Parliaments in climate governance, strengthen international cooperation and contribute to a more comprehensive and effective global response to the climate crisis through various mechanisms, which should guarantee parliamentarians access to the Blue Zone in future COPs and the organisation of conferences, summits or other collaborative initiatives in conjunction with future parliamentary meetings on COP;
  20. Commit to review the recommendations of the parliamentary meeting on COP28 during the next parliamentary meeting at COP29 in 2024. The delegations participating in the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of COP28 would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the United Arab Emirates and the Federal National Council for hosting this global parliamentary meeting, which comes at a time when we all realise how important it is to mobilise global efforts at all levels to confront the phenomenon of climate change and its negative repercussions

4.0        CLOSING REMARKS

4.1        In his closing remarks, Mr. Martin Chungong, the IPU Secretary General, applauded Parliamentarians for adopting an action-oriented Outcome Document which will serve as a binding roadmap on Parliamentary action on climate change. Accordingly, he called on Parliaments to implement recommendations in the Outcome Document. In the same vein, the Secretary General reiterated the IPU’s commitment to providing tools of the trade and platforms to exchange experiences and best practices in the spirit of Parliamentary partnerships.  In hailing the operationalisation of the Global Fund, Mr. Chungong called for the accelerated implementation and oversight of the Paris Agreement through robust Parliamentary interventions which should include appropriate legislation on climate change.

5.0        RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1        Recognising that climate change is a cross-cutting issue, the delegation encourages sustained collaborative engagement between Parliament and relevant ministries in order to effectively implement the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the relevant Parliamentary Committees should take a heightened role in climate change issues in order to improve oversight on climate change.

5.2        Reinforce effective participation of Parliament delegation in COP meetings by establishing effective coordination and communication between the Ministry of Environment and Parliament. It is further recommended that a lead time of at least two months be provided for this seamless collaboration.

5.3        Parliament, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, should convene a three (3) day Capacity Building Workshop for all Members of Parliament. Tentatively, the Workshop should be held in February 2024.

5.4        The Parliamentary delegation to COP should always be accompanied by relevant staff who will assist with COP briefings, on the ground logistics and the production of the COP report by the Delegation.

5.5        Parliament should utilise IPU resources such as 10 Actions for Greener Parliaments and the Parliament for the Planet campaign to promote sustainable practices within Parliament and to advocate for similar practices within Government institutions.

5.6        Advocate for robust Climate Change Act which sets out clear emission reduction targets, establish legal framework for adaptation measures and define enforcement mechanisms.

6.0        CONCLUSION

6.1        The delegation extends its profound gratitude to the Government of Zimbabwe and to Parliament for affording it the opportunity to represent Zimbabwe at such high-profile IPU Parliamentary Meeting at COP28. I thank you.

          HON. KARIKOGA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 15th February, 2024.

          On the motion of HON. KARIKOGA seconded by HON. N. NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Twenty-One, Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.

 

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