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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 JULY 2022 VOL 48 NO 60
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 14th July 2022.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. MADHUKU: I rise on an issue of national interest and this concerns the issue of examination fees for the A’ level and O’ level students for the 2022 examination.
I remember a few weeks ago we were presented with a statement from the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education whereby he promised that the Ministry was looking into the issue with a view to revise downwards the fees charged to these students. We were very much worried that the fees were too high and were going to disadvantage some students by failing to pay the examination fees.
We also raised the issue that the examination fees were pegged in USD as well as in the ZWL. However, what is surprising is that the deadline for the payment of these examination fees is supposed to be the end of this month but we have seen and heard reports from schools whose Headmasters have been called for meetings and have been instructed that the candidates have to pay in the USD.
This is disturbing because the Ministry is not being sincere. They told this House that fees payments are going to be accepted even in the ZWL. Now, the Heads have been instructed that they have to accept fees in USD for the simple reason that if the fees are paid in the ZWL now, at the time of remitting the money to ZIMSEC it would have lost value because of the high inflation.
Therefore, we feel this is very unfair, not only to the prospective candidates but even to the parents also. A lot of these parents especially in the rural areas do not earn USD. So as a matter of urgency, we are supposed to have the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education coming back to this House and tell us why they are changing goal post disadvantaging learners. This is going to affect all of us here, we are parents, we have children and relatives. As I have mentioned earlier on, a lot of learners, a lot of candidates are going to be left behind against the mantra His Excellency is talking about that everybody has to be taken on board. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Madhuku. You have raised a valid point of national interest. The Clerks at the Table will advise the responsible Minister to come to the House. I also advise you to raise it as a question on Wednesday during the Question and Answer session.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, my point of national interest is on the health service. We have been told that only 14% of the National Budget for this year has been drawn down by the end of May. However, the Minister of Finance has told us categorically that he has paid every request expeditiously, which means the Ministry of Health has only requested for money that they have duly received.
Now, that concerns me because I have been inundated since we had that discussion in this Parliament, by suppliers of medical supplies to the health industry. They are telling me that central hospitals, since October 21, have not been paid. Chitungwiza and the Central Hospitals here in Harare, some suppliers are owed US200 000.
This is a major issue when it comes to the cash flow for the supplies but as of this year they are claiming that 200 of their suppliers have not received any payment yet. Currently, money has been disbursed and the amount of money that is being disbursement is one fifth of what is in the budget and that is for the suppliers.
It is a major issue because when a supplier supplies to a Government organisation they have to go through the tender procedures and there are clauses which they have to fulfill. One of them being that you only get paid 90 days after you have supplied whereas if they have supplied and have not been paid for more than 120 days they encounter serious cash flow problems.
However, the document covers the issue of the exchange rate but the official exchange rate when we did the budget was 85 and now it is 365. The parallel was 200 and it is now 800. So the suppliers now have a major issue because they are pushing for the clause for them to be paid and the Ministry of Health is saying they cannot pay because they have not been given the money.
So my request is that between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health, bring a joint statement to this House to explain to us why one supplier is not being paid and why we have a budget for national health that has only 14% distributed by the end of May. The issue being we have a major health crisis on the ground. It is my request that both ministries come forward and give us, either a joint statement or the Minister of Health, in particular, tell us why they are not requesting for the money. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Markham, the Clerks at the Table will advise the Minister of Health and Child Care to come to this House with a Ministerial Statement regarding that issue.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of national interest this afternoon is premised on the issue of pensioners. The Zimbabwean pensioners must get their funds from two sources, firstly from their employer, be it the public sector or the private sector. The other funding should come from NSSA.
Madam Speaker, if you put together these two pockets of money channeled to an individual pensioner, the amount cannot reach a significant figure.
We cannot be an effective Parliament which enacts laws for the good governance of the people if we neglect or leave our elderly people dying because of failing to access money for basic medication and food. As we are speaking right now, pensioners are unable to access their money from the banks because the money is not even enough for bus fare. These people cannot also buy medication because the medications are being charged in USD.
The pensioners have become a burden to the politicians, the councillors and Members of Parliament. In the event of the unfortunate, these people do not have funeral policies, so it would be the duty of the politicians to give them a decent burial. We cannot drive our luxurious cars back to our constituencies without solving the plight of our pensioners, some of whom fought for the liberation of this country. They are our parents who sent us to school and yet they are getting something less than 10 USD per month.
May the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare come to the august House and give us a Ministerial Statement on protecting the pensioners so that tomorrow we may not be blamed for a soft genocide, seeing the elderly dying in our country without doing anything for them. The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should also explain to us why NSSA is failing to give pensioners decent salaries. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chikwinya. The Deputy Minister is here hence we plead with the Hon. Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement regarding what Hon. Chikwinya has said.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 16 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 17 has been disposed of.
HON. BITI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE ON THE BILATERAL VISIT TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
HON. SHAMU: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the Bilateral Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
HON. MUDARIKWA: I second.
Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. Webster Kotiwani Shamu, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade led a Parliamentary delegation on a Bilateral Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 14 to 18 May 2022 at the invitation of his counterpart, Hon. Eqbal Shakeri, Head of the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association. The visit was part and parcel of Parliament’s advancement of the engagement and re-engagement policy aimed at deepening ties between Zimbabwe and Iran through Parliamentary Diplomacy. The delegation was comprised of the following Members of Parliament:
- Kalisto Killion Gwanetsa, Member of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Member of the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association; and
- Hon Cathline Gozho, Member of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Member of the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association.
BILATERAL EXCHANGES WITH HON EQBAL SHAKERI CHAIRMAN, IRAN-ZIMBABWE FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION IN TEHRAN AT THE ISLAMIC CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY OF IRAN
The delegation and Hon. Eqbal Shakeri held bilateral discussions at the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran where they reminisced about relations between Zimbabwe and Iran which date back to 1979, following the success of the Islamic revolution. The Friendship Association was established in 1992 and has been a springboard for strengthening ties between the two legislative bodies. Hence, the need to rekindle the activities of the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association through continuous engagements so as to strengthen people to people relations between Iran and Zimbabwe. Both parties acknowledged the significance of the existence of political relations between Harare and Tehran in providing a strong foundation upon which robust economic, social and cultural ties can be built upon.
Hon Eqbal Shakeri greatly appreciated Zimbabwe’s resolute support of the Islamic Republic of Iran at various International forums on resolutions passed against Iran based on flimsy allegations of human rights abuses. Zimbabwe supports the universal principle of respect for human rights whilst bearing in mind the sacrosanct principle of sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the uniqueness of its religious and cultural values. As a result, Iran perceives Zimbabwe as its strong ally and is fully committed to assist Zimbabwe through thick and thin, on its economic development agenda. The areas of support include but not limited to Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, mechanized Agriculture, mining and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
The meeting noted that both countries are victims of illegal US sanctions. The sanctions have imprinted an indelible mark of perpetual poverty on the lives of ordinary citizens and deprived them of the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. They are a masked form of terrorism against humanity that deserves to be shunned by the two sovereign states. Although both states are in the same predicament, the meeting urged the two countries to take advantage of the illegal sanctions and develop mutually beneficial cooperation to neutralize the effects of sanctions on ordinary citizens.
Moreso, in spite of sanctions, Iranians industrialized their nation and propelled it to greater heights in terms of economic development. This was made possible by a deliberate move by the Iranian Government to invest heavily in homegrown talent, Research, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology in sectors such as Health, Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing, Services and Education. Also, by the citizens’ positive response to the Government endeavours, through dedication to nation building in the face of foreign imposed hardships. The unity of purpose between the Government and the people created a strong resistance movement that neutralized the callousness of sanctions. In light of the above, the delegation expressed Zimbabwe’s readiness to learn from Iran’s experience in its fight against illegal sanctions.
Furthermore, globally, Iran has the 22nd largest economy with a GDP of about US$1.4 trillion, produce 90% of its pharmaceuticals, 10th largest producer of Petrochemicals and is a regional superpower in terms of oil and gas reserves. In light of the foregoing, it was resolved that Zimbabwe should leverage on its cordial relations with Iran and learn from the Iranians’ development model so as to propel the country to greater heights of economic development, irrespective of sanctions.
The Head of the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association commended the bilateral visit to Iran by the Zimbabwean delegation as it was a milestone in strengthening bilateral relations. However, the meeting regretted, the absence of exchange visits between Tehran and Harare due to a combination of factors including, but not limited to the advent of COVID-19 and its impact on physical engagements. It was recommended that there is need for increased exchange visits between the two countries at both political and officials’ levels as they assist in bolstering relations and building business confidence.
Hon. Shamu thanked his counterpart for the warm hospitality extended to his delegation since their arrival in Iran and expressed Zimbabwe’s readiness to borrow a leaf from Iran’s economic development template which transformed the country from merely a consumer economy to a highly industrialized one.
OUTCOMES OF THE MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR VALIOLLAH MOHAMMADI, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR AFRICA IN THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The following were the outcomes:
Parliament has an indispensable role in expanding and preserving the existing cordial relationship between Iran and Zimbabwe through its representative role. Parliament to Parliament relationship depicts a relationship between Iranians and Zimbabweans at an elevated level. Accordingly, the meeting proposed the convening of virtual meetings between Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairpersons of Zimbabwe and Iran in Committees on Foreign Relations, Women and Development, Iran-Zimbabwe Parliamentary Friendship Association and Economic Development. These high level Parliamentary engagements are essential in sharing experiences on important legislative trends.
Iran and Zimbabwe are both victims of illegal sanctions and negative publicity by their adversaries whose sole objective is to tarnish the image of the two sovereign states. The Assistant Minister vehemently articulated that all social media reports about Iran on violation of human rights, nuclear power and terrorism are clear fabrications and should be shunned. The same is applicable to publications/reports on Zimbabwe and other African states by CNN, BBC and other Western controlled media platforms. The meeting acknowledged the severity of the damage caused by the false narratives on country images as well as in expanding the Iran-Africa relations. Consequently, it was resolved that exchanging delegations at business, political and government levels is the panacea to demystify the falsehoods. Also, that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs from Iran and Zimbabwe should come up with comprehensive strategies to rebut the falsehoods aimed at tarnishing the images of the two countries.
Further to the above, both countries were working towards reconvening the Ninth Session of the Zimbabwe-Iran Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) on Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation to be held in Tehran in the second half of 2022. The signing of the JPC provides a strong foundation for consolidation of economic relations between Harare and Tehran where diplomatic and political relations would flourish. Iran perceives the JPC as a major vehicle in enhancing bilateral cooperation. Strong emphasis was made on the implementation of the agreement once signed, as it has the potential to transform the livelihoods of the ordinary people. The Assistant Minister for Africa echoed that without implementation, the JPC would be just a futile talk show that can potentially ruin everything, because without economic relations, other ties are potentially weak.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Consultative Assembly invited sixteen Ambassadors from different African States resident in Iran, Zimbabwe included, commemorating Africa Day on 25 May 2022. Ambassador, Valiollah Mohammadi, expressed that Pan-Africanism should be backed by strong economic relations and Iran was willing to establish, preserve and consolidate economic relations with Africa. As such, the Iran Tobacco Company has since started buying tobacco from Africa but not yet reached its peak and would like to buy directly from the source and not through middlemen/other countries. Subsequently, Iran perceives Zimbabwe’s central position in Southern Africa as an economic springboard in establishing and deepening trade relations with the rest of the region.
The Iranian Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Education were planning to visit Zimbabwe in the second quarter of 2022. Thus, the meeting resolved that such visits should be capitalised on, in establishing ties between Government institutions and universities in Iran and Zimbabwe.
MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING WITH HON JABAL ZADEH CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The meeting acknowledged the need for continuous interaction between the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on issues of mutual interests in their respect oversight roles as stewards of government business. As echoed earlier, it was resolved that the Iran-Zimbabwe Friendship Association should intensify its activities aimed at strengthening bilateral Parliamentary cooperation between the two legislative bodies.
The Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, like its parent Ministry, was looking forward to the signing of the 9th Joint Permanent Commission on Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation between Zimbabwe and Iran that was envisaged to take place in Tehran. It perceived the signing of the JPC as an open door to full blown economic cooperation between Zimbabwe and Iran. Accordingly, it was resolved that both Committees should oversee that the Executives from their respective countries sign the agreement before 31 October 2022.
The meeting observed that trade between Zimbabwe and Iran over the years leaves a lot to be desired. The incumbent President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency, Ebrahim Raisi was very committed to cement economic relations with African states. The same is applicable to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr E.D Mnangangwa who ushered in a raft of measures that opened Zimbabwe for business. As such, it was resolved that both Parliaments should take advantage of the existence of strong political will to oversee improvement in trade between the two countries.
OUTCOMES ON THE INTERACTION WITH THE DEPUTY HEAD OF ZIMBABWE’S MISSION IN TEHRAN, MR NEVER MUTIZWA
The Embassy of Zimbabwe in the Islamic Republic of Iran extends its services to Syria and Afghanistan. However, it is paramount to note that the Ambassador/ Head of Mission post is still vacant to this day since the passing on of Ambassador Christopher Mapanga on 08 September 2021. Given the strategic importance of the mission in the Middle East, there is need for the Executive to consider appointing a Head of Mission to fill in the vacancy.
It was of grave concern to note that the state of the Zimbabwean Embassy in Tehran was incongruent with Zimbabwe’s image as a country endowed with vast natural resources and opportunities. The rented Embassy was located in a secluded area and has old office furniture and equipment. It was practically impossible for the Embassy personnel to hold high level meetings at the Embassy. As such, they strategically avoid holding meetings at the Chancery in a bid to circumvent jeopardising the image of the Zimbabwe we want. In light of the above, there is need for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to consider prioritizing the construction of a state of the art Chancery in Tehran as a panacea to the prevailing state of affairs at the Embassy.
The enthusiastic Embassy team works hard to represent and project Zimbabwe’s visibility in the Middle East through dissemination of economic opportunities to Iranian business people among others. The Mission’s trade section was well bolstered to rigorously promote Zimbabwe’s economic agenda. However, the Deputy Head of our mission reiterated the need to employ a defence attache, given the operational environment of the Embassy.
OUTCOMES ON THE INTERACTION WITH THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, WATER, NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT AND, THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, TREATMENT AND EDUCATION
During the visit to the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, the delegation had an opportunity to hold meetings with Chairpersons of Committees on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Environment, and the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Treatment and Education, Hon Mohammad Javad Askari and Hon Dr Mir Mohammadi.
Both Chairpersons from Iran emphasized the importance of signing the 9th Joint Permanent Commission. Also, the pivotal role played by Parliament in ensuring that the agreement is signed by the Executive not later than October 2022. The agreement forms the bedrock for the establishment and strengthening of economic, trade and cultural ties between the two states.
The Islamic Republic of Iran being a highly industrialised state, was willing to cooperate and assist developing nations in areas of agriculture for them to be food secure, Zimbabwe included. However, the meeting bemoaned the lack of ties between Iran and Zimbabwe in spheres of health, treatment and medical education. In light of the foregoing, and given that Iran is highly advanced in manufacturing medicines and medical equipment (90% produced locally), provision of health services and research, it was proposed that there was need for establishment of strong ties between the two nations in the health sector.
To qualify further, the meeting recommended the need to consolidate proposals to twin and establish a Memorandum of Understanding between the prestigious Iran University of Medical Sciences and the University of Zimbabwe; also, between the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and the National University of Science and Technology.
OUTCOMES ON THE MEETING WITH THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE INVESTMENT COMPANY OF IRAN SOCIAL SECURITY ORGANIZATION, IN TEHRAN-MR BAZIAN
The company is equivalent to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of Zimbabwe. Its assets belong to 40 million people paying insurance out of a population of 80 million. It has investments in sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, agriculture, manufacturing, among others. The meeting urged the company to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to consolidate investments in Zimbabwe and Africa. The free trade area has the potential market of 1.2 billion people and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of above US$3 trillion.
The company was assured of Zimbabwe’s commitment to respect property rights as provided for in the country’s Constitution. Also, that investors are allowed to freely repatriate their profits and the country’s full commitment towards attracting/securing investments through its operative mantra, Zimbabwe is open for business.
It was proposed that NASSA and its Iranian counterpart should come to recognise each other through exchange programmes so as to prepare a fertile ground for the signing of Memorandums of Understanding in different fields of mutual interest. The same should obtain for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Iranian Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare. It was further underscored that the signing of the Joint Permanent Commission was a key to effective economic cooperation between Zimbabwe and Iran.
The meeting concluded by highlighting that the development and consolidation of strong economic relations between the two nations creates a strong foundation for the establishment of a resistance movement against illegal sanctions.
OUTCOMES ON COMPANY TOURS AND INTERACTIONS WITH MANAGEMENT
The delegation toured and held meetings with management of the Iran Tobacco Company in Tehran, the Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company in Tabriz, and Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine in Kerman.
Iran Tobacco Manufacturing Company
Mr Sheykhan, Managing Director of Iran Tobacco Company, briefed the delegation that the company had lots of investment interests in cigarette manufacturing in the Republic of Zimbabwe. As such, the company was willing to send a delegation of Iranian business people to survey the market and get a better understanding of the Zimbabwean way of doing business; also, that the company preferred to deal directly with Zimbabwean farmers in the production, selling and processing of tobacco.
Thus, getting rid of the middlemen, the Iran tobacco company promised to consider setting up a factory for processing cigarettes in Zimbabwe post the signing of the Joint Permanent Commission which gives a clear roadmap for the consolidation of economic relations. Having been made aware of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra and the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to consolidate investments in Zimbabwe and Africa, the company was of the view that Zimbabwe was strategically located as a launch pad to tap into Africa’s potential market of 1.2 billion people.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine
It is the world’s second largest open cast mine and sixth in terms of copper output producing 30 million tonnes per year with reserves that can last for 200 years. The delegation witnessed the entire process of mining, processing, value addition and beneficiation of the copper. In so doing, the delegation learnt a valuable lesson that mining the ore gives 10% profit, processing 19% and beneficiation 10%, thus giving a sum of 39% profit.
The Iranian Government has a policy that impose a series of harsh tariffs on exports of raw metals so as to gain more revenues through the export of finished products that could generate more added value for the country. These include tariffs of 25 percent on iron and manganese, including the export of concentrates and10-percent tax on raw copper. The tariffs are meant to support domestic productions and to attain the highest added value possible.
Iran Tractor Company
The company manufactures tractors under the Mass Fergusson brand and is the first of its kind in the Middle East and supplies 80% of the region. Initially, it was government owned but it’s now under private ownership. Forty percent of its overall production is exported to African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda among others. It was brought to the attention of the delegation by Mr A. Andabili, Trade and Export Manager that the company had previously established joint venture businesses with the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe namely, Motira Tractor Assembly and Modzone Textiles during the First Republic which dismally failed. However, with the coming in of the Second Republic which ushered a raft of measures that drastically improved the way of doing business in Zimbabwe through the establishment of ZIDA, the company expressed lots of interests in investing in Zimbabwe. Due to the capital intensive nature of the business, the Iran Tractor Company planned to partner with a local investor in establishing a Tractor Assembly plant in Zimbabwe. It also recommended that the Government of Zimbabwe should put in place requisite infrastructure for the business to thrive.
BEST PRACTICES LEARNT FROM IRAN
Iran has 96% literacy rate, the highest in the region. Hence, Members of Parliament are elected subject to possession of at least an associate’s degree or equivalent.
Parliamentary oversight is quite robust such that the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran have powers to impeach an incompetent Minister.
By exporting unprocessed platinum from MIMMOSA mine in Zvishavane, Unki mine in Shurugwi, Ngezi Platnum mine, raw granite from Mutoko and chrome, Zimbabwe is being robbed of humongous amounts of revenue, jobs as well as growth of domestic processing industries.
Despite harsh economic sanctions, in 2021 Iran’s economy was the 20th largest in the world and 9th in Asia with a GDP of US$ 1.4 trillion which was expected to increase by US$ 137 billion in 2022, according to IMF reports. In light of the foregoing, Iran has shown us that in spite of the severity of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, the country will prosper using home grown talent and solutions in line with His Excellency, The President, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa’s rallying cry, nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.
Parliament of Zimbabwe should commence in earnest, the preparations for receiving the delegation from Iran on a reciprocal Bilateral Visit during the second quarter of 2022. The same should be applicable to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, ZIDA, ZIMTRADE and ZNCC as the delegation would comprise business people coming to get a deeper understanding of investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade should ensure that the 9th Joint Permanent Commission on Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation between Zimbabwe and Iran is signed by 31 October 2022.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development should carry out exchange programmes to appreciate how Higher Education can contribute to economic development so as to neutralize the adverse effects of sanctions as implemented in Iran by 31 December 2022.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science, Innovation and Technology should establish twinning arrangements between the University of Zimbabwe and Iran University of Medical Sciences and sign a memorandum to that effect by February 2022. Furthermore steps should be taken by the Government to provide scholarships for medical science students to go and study in Iran.
The Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, and Mines and Mining Development should enact a policy that impose harsh tariffs on exports of unprocessed minerals by 31 December 2022 in order to bolster domestic value addition and beneficiation which in turn helps the country to attain the highest possible value from the local resources.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should borrow a leaf from the Iranians’ economic development model based on import substitution which has seen the economy growing at a remarkable rate to achieve a GDP of US$1.4 Trillion. This has been achieved through vibrancy in important sectors such as Agriculture, Hydrocarbons, Energy, Transport and Health.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement together with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) should adequately make necessary preparations for the visit by the Iran Tobacco Company envisaged to take place in the Second quarter of 2022.
Despite all that Iran has gone through and is currently going through, the country has managed to rebuild itself to an economic powerhouse owing to hard work, unwavering dedication by Iranians to the development of their nation using home grown talent and solutions. As such, Zimbabwe can leverage its development on Iran’s model of achieving rapid economic growth through sheer hard work, discipline and patriotic fervour. I thank you.
HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Shamu for a very detailed report on the visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The State of Iran is a product of the 1979 revolution. The State of Zimbabwe is a product also of the Chimurenga revolution. These are two countries that came through thick and thin to fight for their independence. Also, these are two countries that have excelled in educating their people. Iran’s literate rate stands at 96%; Zimbabwe’s rate also is the highest in Africa. This alone shows the partnership between Zimbabwe and Iran is moving towards the right direction.
Zimbabwe and Iran are victims of illegal sanctions imposed by the USA. The sanctions were issued outside the United Nations. The sanctions were issued outside SADC and they were issued outside the African Union. So these sanctions remain a criminal act against the innocent souls of Zimbabwe.
Iran has developed technologically. In terms of agricultural output, they manufacture tractors from Iran. They process oil from Iran. The greatest advantage of Iran is that there is no food deficit. They do not import food from anyone. This is where also Zimbabwe must learn that we must be self sufficient in food production. Iran is prepared to assist Zimbabweans by providing tractors. They have got one of the best tractors, the Mortal tractors are the best tractors.
Iran has got oil and gas and they are also one of the major exporters. The development of a friendship association is cascading the relationship to another level. There is friendship at Government level but friendship association now cascades down to a level where the ordinary people now are able to benefit from the friendship association.
It is very interesting that on May Day, 25th May is Africa Day. The Iranian and Zimbabweans felt it necessary that we must celebrate Pan Africanism together as a team of disadvantaged of people. The issue of Pan Africanism is also very critical in terms of developing African trade. The trade within African countries but we will also continue to create economic programmes that enhances the quality of lives of our people so that we reach Vision 2030 and leaving no one behind. The transformation of our people is critical.
Iran is also prepared to assist in the production of tobacco. They are also prepared to assist in the financing of tobacco. Tobacco financing has been the most criminal thing that has been happening in Zimbabwe. Most of the people who are financing tobacco at the current moment are supposed to be in Chikurubi maximum prison. They are stealing from our farmers. Government must intervene in the financing of tobacco. Zimbabwean banks must finance tobacco. We must bring back the old auction system where Zimbabweans finance tobacco and then buyers come in and buy. They are prepared to come and assist us in the production of tobacco because tobacco and cotton are crops that can easily transform the quality of life of our people. So it is important at this stage that the cooperation between Zimbabwe and Iran must continue. The cooperation between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Parliament of Iran must continue. In any situation - even in heaven, we have certain people we have certain people who are against what we are doing. The issue of objecting on this is common knowledge. It is there and it happens in society. Iran is a country that is prepared to assist us to move forward. Iran also is one of the major consumers of our tobacco.
In conclusion, I want to appreciate the objections that people are passing over to me. It shows that they are listening attentively but criticism is common in the august House. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice to the report by Hon. Shamu on the bilateral visit in the name of engaging and re-engaging which is part of Government policy. It is important for us to revisit certain bilateral agreements. There are so many bilateral agreements in this country to a point that we are getting tired of them. There are so many MOUs and deals signed which never see the light of day.
We need to be very strategic. America which everybody talks about having imposed sanctions, we are re-engaging them more than any other country in Africa. You are busy paying lobbyists to go and re-engage America when America itself does not want to work with you. America is very clear. Delegations go in and out trying to win America back. There is inconsistency in terms of policy in this country. The former late President Robert Mugabe was very clear about dealing with those who were not friends with Zimbabwe. He totally decided not to deal with the western world and decided to go east. He went east and it was consistent to a point where because of consistency, the western world started re-engaging Zimbabwe and not Zimbabwe re-engaging America. They started re-engaging Zimbabwe because they had realised that the resources were being given to people who assisted us. Resources were being given to countries like China and Russia. How the deals are worked out is a different thing altogether. These are the two countries that helped us during the liberation struggle. As a result, they were given that latitude to be able to work with us.
We are re-engaging to become members of the Commonwealth yet our relationship with SADC is at the lowest ever. The reason why the former President remained in power is that he worked with his neighbours before jumping his neighbours. We are jumping our neighbours – SADC we jump and Africa we jump. We are obsessed with these nations which really do not give us anything at the end of the day. It is a waste of paper and money yet at the end of the day we talk about them. How many bilateral agreements are there between Zimbabwe and Botswana? The President was there the last time signing bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and Botswana. Who has implemented that? You go to Iran and America yet the bilateral agreements of African countries, we are not implementing them: Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana - we have seen it., To me, why do we want to make so much noise with bilateral agreements with people whose culture we do not understand and speak the same language with?
We get along with Zambia, Malawi and Botswana because they are our next door neighbours. Why do we want to travel overseas to re-engage? Some of us will die going to these very far places. If you die on a plane going to Botswana, it is understandable. The issue about bilateral is that first of all you look to your own people close to you. We have just come from PAP where Hon. Sen Chief Charumbira was elected PAP President but you are seen doing more with countries outside PAP yet when it is time for elections you go and campaign with them. It shows that we are not united. In the liberation struggle, Mozambique and Zambia played a part and why can we have not bilateral agreements to enhance our economy? At one time Zimbabwe was supplying everything to Zambia. We want to talk about bilateral agreements when we are not even manufacturing anything ourselves. What is it that we will give in turn? We are busy mortgaging our resources. These are countries which are not putting in a penny. We are tired of agreements without cash. Zimbabwe needs an injection of cash from good friends. Even the Chinese are not pumping in cash - they are busy building us a new Parliament building instead of giving us cash. We want cash.
These Members of Parliament are not interested in structures because they do not have fuel money. We want cash. Those countries have the US dollar and their economies are doing well, let them give us some money. Dealing with Arabs is better, UAE and so forth at least they come here and invest. Others are not. These are just bilateral agreements which are on a social basis. Hon. Mudarikwa was right to say yes, these are bilateral on a social basis and not on a business basis.
I am not against Iran but what do they have? Hon Shamu himself was in the media for a long time and he said that there is Iran which gave us those OB Vans for ZBC. I would have loved Hon. Shamu to talk about them on whether those vehicles were used or not. What happened to Transmedia? Why do we want to talk about new things when the old things that we have got never worked?
You want to talk about tobacco. I was involved in tobacco myself. I am the only indigenous tobacco player in 2006/7 who attained 10% of tobacco crop in this country through empowerment by Government. I was given Z$23 million to buy tobacco. Out of the $45 million tobacco in this country, my company called Saltlakes controlled 4.5 million kilogrammes of tobacco. Zimbabwean tobacco is the best and you do not have to be told it is the best. There is no tobacco which is greater than blending Zimbabwe tobacco. We do not have to sell our tobacco. It is marketable but the people who can buy our tobacco are those with money. The Americans have said what they said but they will never leave Zimbabwean tobacco. So it is marketable. The Chinese have come; they have put in their money to tobacco. Iran must put their money into tobacco if they are serious and come up with a competitive pack and pay more to our farmers.
Hon. Mudarikwa is a renowned farmer, we want people who eat nyemba from Mutoko where it is grown and then we know we can supply them with nyemba. What is it that we are sending to Iran that will help this country? We were not told they will come and do this and that but they come here to just take our resources, to plunder our resources in the name of friendship, in the name of bilateral agreements. That must stop.
Chinese are sitting on trillions of USD but are not prepared to part with a million dollar cash. All these steel companies, what are we getting and people are saying the former President because he did not give them to the Chinese then he was wrong. He was right because he wanted to protect the interests of His people. Today, we have signed that contract with Manhize, what are we getting – these are emotional issues. People who fought for this country did not fight for this country to give our resources for nothing. They are turning in their graves, Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Robert Mugabe, Robson Manyika, Perrance Shiri, Tongogara, and Nikita Mangena. They fought for us for the economic emancipation, not for Members of Parliament to be poor, to be selling coupons. Why did they go to the struggle because we are mortgaging everything to these foreigners? We are a people who can only be independent if we control our resources.
So, people are busy clapping hands for Manhize, who is benefiting in Manhize? Chris Mutsvangwa? Did he go to the war on his war and did he even fight the war? We want to be honest about this. My father was involved in the struggle in ZIPRA in Zambia and our house was bombarded. He did not join the struggle so that other people can be plundering and looting.
Basic education for the children - where is it? No basic health. Where is the empowerment of our people? The poorest Members of Parliament in the world. Right now they are sitting here praying to get coupons to go home, how can we say we are liberated? They do not even know how they are going to get home. We need to be very honest in terms of these bilateral agreements, which ones are business and which are ones are not business.
You now have a situation where the bilateral agreement has come, how much does Zimbabwe owe today and who is going to pay for that? This is where you have a situation where we die and young people come and pee at our graves blaming us for selling the country. How are the youth going to pay the debts of this country when we are mortgaging the country like this?
We have a policy which says the resources in Matabeleland belong to the people of Matabeleland and they should benefit but today they are not benefiting. You wonder why in this country we are not united because another region is marginalized, they have nothing. They went through Gukurahundi, the only way you can compensate Gukurahundi is to be able to compensate from an infrastructural point view, from basic needs that they need and not money. Give them those good schools, good hospitals but today it seems we are still in a war situation because Harare Metropolitan is different from Matabeleland yet we are in one country.
We rush to sign bilateral agreements but not taking cognisance of your own bilateral relations within the provinces. There are no relations; it is just tribalism and nepotism only. Look at your own relations first before you look outside. Do not accuse other people that uyu anechinhu muziso iwe uyinacho. We need to be very honest.
This Parliament must not sign any of these bilateral agreements. In future you shall be labeled for selling the country. Right now we are in overdraft. This country was fought for; it was not given for free. Blood was shed. Even the graves of those who died in the war you have not repatriated them back home. What are their families and their spirits saying? This country is spiritual. At times even if we do good but we are just criticized, imhepo dzenyika, mhepo dzana Mbuya Nehanda.
Corruption is at its highest, forget about these bilateral agreements which increase corruption. Hon. Mudarikwa, you are a seasoned man who works hard; this thing invites corruption because you cannot control it. You are whipped, you do not say anything. How can you have a Chief Whip who goes to Pan African Parliament in search of money, baba vanosiya musha uchitambura? What is the Chief Whip doing at the PAP when the country is on fire?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, may you stick to your debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: It is an example of the bilateral agreements talking about PAP. PAP is bilateral, they all run to PAP yet there is fire in the house. We must be able to stick to our own resources. We have got the best human capital, educated people. We are being told we must get expertise from Iran when Zimbabweans are all over the world excelling. MTN is run by Lawson Mupita; I was his rugby coach, the senior Vice Chairperson of Google, Janet Manyika, Senior Vice President of Google in Zimbabwe. Pfizer, the medical expert is a Zimbabwean, so we are not short of skills; we are short of opportunities for them to come back. Opportunities can be opened up if we open our resources to our people. We must have a policy to say there is no investment which will happen when a foreigner is coming alone; they must come with a Zimbabwean. In your own constituencies you are not even known by people out there. Ministers just come in to do deals with these investors when you are not even aware.
What benefits are all these countries bringing to constituencies, corporate social responsibilities – there is nothing yet Section 13 (4) of the Constitution is very clear. We do not need to tell them that local communities must benefit from the resources that belong to them. So, I am totally against these bilateral agreements from the business point of view. Let them remain social. We have enough agreements which we have not implemented and we have become a country which is good at drawing agreements and writing but with no implementation. Even in our budget that we pass here for 80 000 million dollars, you get a car for 50 000. So, how can you trust these leaders that we have today? Constituency Information Centres are not there, let us talk about our own things which will benefit our people, bilateral socially yes, but business, we have our own people who can take care of that. So, this country will be left with nothing.
The generation coming will take over all these assets and nationalize them. I pray for the young men and women of this country that when there are no more resources let them nationalize for our resources. We have mortgaged everything, what are they going to be left with at the end of the day? We need to have resources controlled, determined by us and no more bilateral agreements. These things have gone for next to nothing; today foreigners come and tell us pamakuva ababa vedu kuti hauna title deed, title deed remunhu mutema iguva ratateguru vake. Makuabata manje, mhepo ngadzisimuke mhepo kune vaye vaye vari kutengesa nyika.
HON. BITI: On a point of order. The Minister undertook to come and present a Ministerial Statement and she is now here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, I am aware.
HON. CHASI: I am going to be very brief. I want to thank Hon. W. Shamu for a very eloquently delivered report and also for a very successful and busy trip that was conducted by him and his team. I also want to thank Hon. Mliswa for his passionate plea and I want to pick up on some of the points that he has raised, in particular the points relating to execution and follow up on these trips. The report is multifaceted. The delegation clearly met very important sectors of...
HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Speaker, it looks like there is an Hon. Member of Parliament who is speaking unparliamentary language. Can you please tell Hon. Nyabani to withdraw his statement which he said “ndokurova” directed at Hon. Biti – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
HON. CHASI: I just want to encourage both Parliament and the Executive to follow up – [HON. BITI: Akadhakwa nembanje dzekuMukumbura auya kuzotaura zvisina musoro muno.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, please order.
HON. CHASI: I just want to encourage both Parliament and the Executive to follow up on the various outcomes of this report concerning the various sectors of the economy that the delegation – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, order please.
HON. CHASI: Mr. Speaker, I rest my case. I was going to be a bit more detailed but I will just encourage that we have follow ups on the various items that are very informative, some of which relate to supervision of the executive of Ministers, the capacity of Parliament there to impeach incompetence and that type of thing but the various industries that have been mentioned are very critical to us.
The issues coming out of this report should not just be mere talk shows. This is the point that I am grateful to Hon. Mliswa for raising that we must be strategic and programmatic in the way that we approach matters. What are the action items that we are going to carry through to ensure that this trip is fruitful? I am happy that the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs is here and that in their capacity in their own portfolio, they will help this House and the generality of Government to ensure we have follow ups on the many good things that come out of this report.
Of fundamental importance is that there are similarities between the two countries from the sanctions’ stand point but Iran has been able to move on and work on its own resources, empower itself and its people. I think that is a matter that we must really take very seriously to ensure that we do not allow the plundering of our own resources on the basis of what on paper appears to be commercial relationships which in essence are in fact social arrangements. We would like to see that our people benefit from the local resources and that those with whom we engage in commercial activities do not take us for a ride. It is our responsibility to the current and future generations to ensure that we are responsible in the manner in which we enter into agreements.
I think the point has also been made that there is a multiplicity of bilateral agreements and MOUs and so forth which have no follow through. Parliament must take its responsibility to ensure that we do not expend national resources going into formal arrangements which give us nothing at the end of the day. We ought to be very clear what sort of relationship we want to have with a particular country and for what reason. Our concern at the moment is to ensure that our economy is viable and that the litany of issues that we are facing on the economic front which can be dealt with if we follow through on the numerous agreements that we have will help to solve those problems. I thank you.
HON. SHAMU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th July, 2022.
PROCUREMENT OF FIRE TENDERS FROM BELARUS
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me the opportunity to present a few points about the procurement of fire tenders from Belarus. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry takes note of the filtering news and questions asked in the public domain and Parliament around the procurement of fire tenders on behalf of local authorities by the Government of Zimbabwe. It is against this background that we have realised the need to clarify the bilateral agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, order please.
HON. CHOMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry takes note of the filtering news and questions asked in the public domain and Parliament around the procurement of fire tenders on behalf of local authorities by the Government of Zimbabwe. It is against this background that we have realised the need to clarify the bilateral agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and its local authorities and the Government of Belarus with respect to the procurement of fire tenders.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry would like to advise that adequate consultations were made with various stakeholders including local authorities and the Chief Fire Officers’ Forum of Zimbabwe who contributed as follows:
- Local authorities made a request to Government for the facilitation of international procurement of durable and affordable fire tenders and other emergency services.
- Submitted ideal specifications that suit the local operating environment which were forwarded to potential suppliers in Belarus.
- The Chief Fire Officers’ Forum approved the models and designs which they believed best suited their operations as they are fully equipped with the requisite technology.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of disaster management, the prevalence of fire disaster incidences has destroyed lives and valuable property. Good examples include the Mpilo Hospital, Kwekwe General Hospital, Southampton House for Zimbabwe Republic Police in Bulawayo, Mutare bus accident and many other fire incidences in rural areas resulting from uncontrolled veld fires. Meanwhile, the Ministry has given instructions to sub-national structures of the civil protection systems in this country to carry out an inventory of all emergency services in order for us to come up with reinforcement skills to improve the coverage of the same. This is in line with provisions of Section 23 of the Civil Protection Act [Chapter 10:06] of 1989 in conjunction with the Urban Councils Act and Rural District Councils Act. Local authorities are mandated to protect lives and property at law to provide relief, response and recovery throughout the disaster management cycle.
Government of Zimbabwe entered into a bilateral agreement with the Belarusian Government for the supply of a variety of equipment. This was necessitated through the existing cordial bilateral relations between the two countries. Through the Government, a request for model equipment whose specifications are tailor-made to suit the local terrain was made by the local authorities. Physical visits were also made to Allied Timber premises who procured the same to ascertain the type of equipment the Ministry was procuring. On approval from the relevant stakeholders, Government facilitated the purchase and negotiated for staggered payment terms. The initial decision by Ministry was for the money for emergency services to be channelled through the department of Civil Protection. However, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development decided that the recapitalization of local authorities be supported through the devolution funds. The staggering of payments done using devolution funds and/or own funds provide relief to local authorities as they can spread their cash flow over a defined period of 12 months. It is within the confines of Government thrust to ensure that local authorities are fully capacitated for them to provide adequate and requisite municipal services which include emergency services.
In such instances where bi-lateral agreements are made, the role of Local Procurement Authorities does not apply. On this note, reference is made to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, Section 3 (2) (a).
Application of the Act
To the extent that this Act conflicts with an obligation of Zimbabwe under or arising out of any convention, treaty or agreement between Zimbabwe and one or more foreign states or governments.
The procurement procedure and cost benefit analysis
Submissions to the Ministry indicated that regional producers of such equipment have their prices pegged at around $500.000 plus as confirmed by the forum to the Ministry in some discussions. This is significantly higher than the price of $464.296 offered from Belarus. This total cost includes the truck, firefighting equipment and the requisite technology.
Compatibility of Equipment
The fire tenders from Belarus have been tailor-made to suit our local terrain with approved requisite specifications as per client local authorities’ request - hence, the efficiency and effectiveness of the equipment cannot be doubted.
Backup and support services
The package from the suppliers includes backup and support services, training of operators here in Zimbabwe and in Belarus. The Ministry is fully convinced that every procedure, consultations and engagements done in relation to this matter were above board given the priority to deal with fire related hazards in rural and urban communities.
Confidentiality of communication
I wish to point out that the habit of placing official communication on social media is unacceptable. When the Ministry sends circulars and letters to local authorities, who are a lower tier of the same Government, we expect professionalism and respect for basic confidentiality and the provisions of the Official Secrecy Act. The trend we are witnessing is not acceptable. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the esteemed Minister of Local Government for her Ministerial Statement on the fire tender situation. Madam Speaker, I am concerned with the law. The law must be followed. The first thing that the Hon. Minister says is that the fire tenders were contracted as a result of a bi-lateral agreement between the Republic of Zimbabwe and Belarus. That agreement, according to the Minister’s Statement, imposes financial obligations on Zimbabwe. Any agreement, treaty or convention that imposes financial obligations on Zimbabwe must be approved by this Parliament in terms of Section 327 (3) of the Constitution. The approval Hon. Speaker Sir, if you read Section 327 (3) is prior approval. So, before you sign, you actually need the prior approval of Parliament for any agreement that imposes financial obligations on Zimbabwe. Certainly Hon. Speaker Sir, this Parliament did not approve this particular agreement. Therefore, it is completely null and void.
The second thing Hon. Speaker I have a problem with is that if she makes reference to an agreement, she must disclose to this House that agreement. So we request that the Hon. esteemed Minister lays before this House a copy of the agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of Belarus or the companies in Belarus in respect of those fire tenders. I hope you will issue that directive.
The third thing Mr. Speaker Sir, relates to the use of devolution funds. Devolution funds do not belong to the Government. They belong to provincial governance, which are Mash Central, Mash East, Mat North, Mat South, Midlands, the two metropolitan provinces or Harare and Bulawayo. If you look at the Constitution, Government has no role other than as an allocating authority. Government of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance cannot pay Belarus funds that do not belong to them. Those funds belong to local authorities and provincial governance.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have been harping on this issue for a long time. Section 304 of the Constitution says an Act of Parliament must provide how devolution funds are to be distributed. That Act of Parliament is not there. Chapter 14 of the Constitution which deals with provincial and local governments says there must be an Act of Parliament to provide for the provincial structures of devolution. We have elections next year. The Constitution was enacted in 2013, almost ten years later that law is not there. People like Hon. Norman Markham who is here have been to court to compel the Minister of Local Government to come up with that law. The Minister said I will give you an Act within six months. Six months ended in March, 2021. We are now in July, 2022 and that Act is not there. On what basis are disbursements being made in the absence of these two laws? The one setting up the devolution structure in terms of Chapter 14 of the Constitution and the one providing for the distribution of finances by the Minister, the equitable allocation formula spoken of in terms of Section 304, another illegality.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I now come to the procurement. Section 274 of the Constitution says local authorities are run by those that are elected in council. That means the Minister of Local Government, Hon. July Moyo and his Deputy, Hon. Marian Chombo cannot run local authorities. They are run by those that elected them. That means that the decisions on procurement and policy on whether to build clinics, hospitals, to buy fire tenders or build schools lie essentially with local authorities. In this case, there is not a single local authority in Zimbabwe that said as a priority there is a desire for fire tankers. So the Ministry with its own ambitions, shall I say corrupt ambitions, has created demand and went and bought things that the local authorities then considered as a priority.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Biti, I think I have given you enough time.
HON. BITI: I am now concluding Mr. Speaker. So in the absence of resolutions by local authorities making a decision to purchase, the decision by the Government to acquire fire tenders is a nullity. Local authorities are procurement agents, so they are bound by the State Procurement Act. Sections 31 and 32 of the Procurement Act are very clear. The acquisition of any goods or services must be approved by the Procurement Board. Therefore, the acquisition of these fire tenders is illegal.
In conclusion, we cannot have a Ministry and a Minister that is now so hell-bent extracting and looting Zimbabwe. This fire tender is coming on the heels of the PomonaGate scandal. It is a shame Hon. Speaker and I hope that this House can resolve that Minister Chombo must reconsider her position. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. This window that I have given you is for you to ask questions and raise points of clarification, not debating. I am sorry, maybe I am actually going to control the House but do not force me to do that. I do not enjoy it.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker, good afternoon. Mine will be very simple practical points which I have a problem with. The first one is and I understand Hon. Biti has brought up the issue to the agreement - I see fire tenders have been bought as a priority above everything else like waste management, water and everything. I would like to see if the Minister could present to us the letters from all these councils asking for fire tenders?
My second question is; to what extent was PRAZ involved? Her statement is devoid of detail. The Minister mentioned stakeholders but only the fire people attended that one workshop and employees, what about the rest of us?
The other fact which the Minister must clarify for me, the amount of the loan is unknown to us, other than what we have seen on social media. However, we know from the Ministry of Finance that in April they started paying back this loan at $5.3 million a month. Every month this amount from our devolution funds is going to pay back these fire tenders. Where are they? The Minister also wrote to the councils on 12th June, 2022 where we had already paid back with our devolution funds three times. So by 12th June we had paid back almost $16 million of devolution funds and we only got it when we pay back that money. My question is; who is running the devolution funds? Hon. Biti has already said we do not have an Act.
I do not know of any Member of Parliament or councillor who was consulted on this deal. It is a mirror image of Pomona. The money is allocated by the Minister, and not even the Ministry. So if the Minister could answer that for me I will be most grateful.
My last thing which I would like to bring to the attention of this House, the first deal we first had with Belarus was on tractors, of which there was no back up. Right now we have fire tenders coming from Belarus, Hon. Mliswa here mentioned that we have a problem of not dealing with people we know of. We need...
*HON. NYABANI: On a point of order. Hon. Speaker, you said that we are supposed to ask questions but he is now debating. He should ask his questions so that we also have time to ask.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think this is what I actually said before I gave you the opportunity. You seem to be explaining too much.
HON. MARKHAM: Okay. The issue is very simple - who is going to do the back up for this tender? Who is going to back up at the workshop for this tender? I have said it is parallel to Pomona. Thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to know from the Minister, does it mean that all local authorities requested that there be fire extinguisher tenders? If you look at other local authorities especially in rural areas, what is important for them are riggers. In rural areas, for example in Rushinga, fire outbreak can happen after a long time, like two years. What is important is water. So does it mean that all our local authorities really want fire tenders? If possible we can ask them as to how important these are to them?
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. My point of order arises from the fact that Parliament has moved from paper trail to E-paper; from physical paper to E-paper. I submit that when Hon. Ministers come with Ministerial Statements, soon after presenting their Ministerial Statements, their workers should upload. Either they should give staff of Parliament who should then upload so that at least Members follow from their gadgets. We could hardly hear due to network issues. They can give a soft copy to Parliament staff who can upload then we can engage with them on factual matters.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question and points of clarity, the Minister alludes to Government to Government arrangement. When it is Government to Government arrangement, it is Government to Government, it is not Government to council. Councils have the right to twin with any council in the world. That is why there are twinning arrangements. When Government to Government arrangement is in place, it is Government that is responsible for that debt not the ratepayers. We must distinguish that because they are coming in with Government to Government, that is agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of Belarus. The Government has the right to enter into an agreement with any Government on issues which they themselves use their money and not the ratepayers’ money. We must understand that first of all. Do not think we are stupid by saying Government to Government.
There is no agreement between the Zimbabwe Government and the local authorities to supply them with fire tenders. Where is the agreement? Do not tell us about these stupid organisations that you want to pick today, firemen, this that and so forth.
The point of clarity that I have is, what do those firemen have to do with them sitting down and so forth? The firemen work through certain structures. There are three tiers of Government. If there is a head of that fireman they report to the CEO of the Town Council who then reports to the full council and they make a resolution on that. We want to talk about institutions which have power. The councils themselves have got to resolve because power also devolves. We are now taking away the fact that power devolves. Where do the local authorities derive their power from constitutionally when Central Government is coming in? Where do the Provincial Councils derive their power? There are those three tiers of Government which must be respected at the end of day where any council or provincial resolution is respected. The issue which is critical is whether there was a request or resolution by these councils because they meet from time to time to say ‘Government can you go and procure for us?’
We want to know, do you have minutes because we do not want you to tell us things which are not written down which you are just making up. In finishing this, this issue at the end of the day is a burden on Government but because somebody got into this deal – we have got South Africa and other countries and there are other local authorities that have those fire tenders. The service delivery of the people is more important. People do not have water or health facilities and you are giving them fire tenders, what is more important?
The local authorities must determine their service delivery needs and not Central Government. Government gives the 5% and all it must do is to monitor and evaluate that 5%.
*HON PORUSINGAZI: My question to the Hon Minister is that the fire tenders she is talking about - are they all the same like a one-size-fits-all approach or you have considered the different needs of the councils? For example Chipinge Rural District Council, can it take a fire tender which is similar to Harare and Bulawayo? Did you also look at the capacity for making the repayments? From the resources that they have in Chipinge, can they match the capacity to pay back compared to Harare? Why did you not consider the different sizes of the towns, a small town getting a smaller vehicle? There is no need to have a fire tender with an 80- metre boom in some of these small towns which have no high rise buildings.
Lastly I also want to find out, the challenge that we have from the things that we import is that of spares. Are these fire tenders coming with the requisite spares which will enable us to service the vehicles? If people are trained to service these and the spare parts are not available, it is a challenge. I also want to know when these fire tenders will come through. In other towns they are experiencing a lot of fires, so I want to find out when these fire tenders will be coming through. I thank you.
HON. M. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to make clarifications on some of the issues that were raised by the Hon. Members. First and foremost, I just want to reiterate that Zimbabwe is a unitary state and with three tiers of Government as you have mentioned, which are Central Government, Provincial and Local Authorities and the subsidiary law takes effect whereby the local authority is supposed to implement the programmes and policies of Government.
The request was from local authorities through their Chief of Fire whom we had meetings with – [AN HON MEMBER: She’s is lying].
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon Member on my left, she was listening while you were talking. Give her the opportunity to respond. Hon. Members, I do not enjoy your noise in this House, do not force me to send you out of the House.
HON. CHOMBO: The request for the agreement, we are going to look into it and request a day when we can present it to Parliament as per request. One Hon. Member raised the issue that we do not have the Devolution Act yet, but as I said yesterday it is within the Attorney General’s Office and as soon as it is finished it is going to be presented to Parliament.
The request for the fire tenders as I said was made through the fire officers and we have a list of the responses from the local authorities which you can also present to Parliament. You talked about the Procurement Act to say where there is a bilateral agreement that does not apply.
The designs and specifications were given by the chief fire officers.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order! Hon. Speaker, you gave one Member of Parliament a time to ask questions. The response from the Hon. Minister must be addressing a particular question to a particular Member of Parliament. So, we expected you to say to Hon. Biti these were issues and these are your answers, with Hon. Markham, these were issues and these are the answers. Otherwise to give a blanket response is not fair for Members of Parliament who asked different questions and expect different answers from the Hon. Minister.
So, the Minister was here taking notes, can she respond to each and every Member of Parliament stating their names as she gives responses. That is the parliamentary procedure.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that suggestion but you need to understand that I gave a chance to many Hon. Members to put their questions forward to the Minister. So, there were some other questions that were interlinking.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. As I was saying that were there is a bilateral agreement as pointed out by Hon. Biti, the Procurement Act does not apply.
Hon. Porusingazi asked about the specifications, if they were just general – the specifications were given by the chief officers and after consultations with their relevant local authorities. Hon. Porusingazi went on to ask if there are going to be backup training as we had problems previously with these bilateral agreements.
Definitely, in my presentation, I mentioned that there was going to be training and there was going to be backups and the training were going to be conducted locally here in Zimbabwe and also in Belarus. The equipment that we have proposed is already being used at Allied Timbers, so it is not something new that is going to be purchased in Zimbabwe. I think I have responded to all questions. If there are any that I have left out…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! There is a question that was asked by Hon. Porusingazi which you did not address. The question was - are these machines different, the ones which come to Chipinge and the ones which are in Harare.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order! Hon. Nduna said murungu uyu haana basa. It is being racist and it is not a laughing matter and being a racist means you are also going to be a tribalist. These are the same people who cause genocide. Can the Hon. Member withdraw paati murungu uyu haana basa.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I withdraw the statement that murungu uyu haana basa sezvaari.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I did not pinpoint the Hon. Members but when I responded to Hon. Porusingazi’s question, if all the equipment was going to be the same, I thought I addressed Hon. Nyabani’s question. If all the fire tenders are going to come as one and I said we have specifications that are provided by local authorities through their chief officers. We have the response with us which we can also provide to the august House.
*HON. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question to the Minister is that she mentioned that the machines are durable, which brand are the machines? Secondly, the Hon. Minister said Allied Timbers confirmed that these machines are strong, for how many years have they have been using this brand of equipment?
Lastly, in this region for example South Africa, if we are to buy a fire tanker in South Africa there is no need for someone to go South Africa and undergo training because it can just be brought and the driver can operate. I want to find the logic of acquiring these fire tankers from a far away country instead of within the region.
HON. MAHLANGU: It may sound as if we are attacking the Hon. Deputy Minister. I think it is high time Hon. Minister July Moyo should come and answer. I am a woman, it is unfair for me to attack another woman but I have no choice because July Moyo is always away.
Hon. Deputy Minister, may you kindly unveil to the House all the stakeholders that were present during the consultation. If you consulted communities, let us as Hon. Members know those communities that you consulted because I understand in each and everything that you are doing, especially in communities there are priorities. If there are communities who prioritised fire tenders, let it be known so that this House ihlaliseke because we are not happy about the way your Ministry is doing, no wonder why we end up saying it is more corrupt than any other Ministry.
*HON. MUCHENJE: I want to check with the Minister on the fire tenders that they have sought from Belarus. Firstly, you said you consulted councils and they requested the fire tenders that you are talking about. In rural areas, are they the ones who requested for the fire tenders because there are no road networks where these can ply? Can they request for these when the roads are in bad shape? How many rural councils requested for the fire tenders? The Minister mentioned that the fire tenders are the same throughout, are you saying that they are tailor-made even for the mountainous areas or dusty roads or they are only suited for urban areas? If you go to Manicaland, it is a mountainous area and Matebeleland the roads are sandy. We want to know if the vehicles are the same, can they be tailor-made to suit the different areas they will be operating in?
On training, when you engage in training you said some will be trained here and others in Belarus. Where will the money be coming from because our councils are facing financial challenges and even the communities are facing challenges in paying the utility bills? We notice that corruption is rife in the Ministry of Local Government.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Firstly, may the Hon. Minister state the relevant statutes or the laws that permitted her Ministry to engage in that deal for fire tenders. Can the Hon. Minister in particular, advise us which section or law says that there was no need for procurement and competitive bids to be submitted? I would appreciate if the Minister could lay before Parliament the papers that she alluded to that she has papers from councils, the full minutes and resolutions of the various councils that requested for such fire engines. Tied to that, we would also want the Minister to confirm the month or the time that they made the first payment vis-a-vis the time that they wrote the letter to local authorities.
The Ministry of Finance told us that they started paying for the fire tenders four months earlier before that letter that was leaked in the social media which the Ministry directed local authorities. We want to find out from the Minister at which date or month did the first payment go out. Lastly, it is just to re-emphasise the need for that agreement. Can the Minister advise us what timeframe should Parliament expect for that agreement to be laid before Parliament?
HON. CHIKWINYA: My question to the Deputy Minister is; can she furnish Parliament with the fire fighting structure of each rural council? I know for certain that in urban local authorities they are there but can you furnish Parliament with the fire fighting structure to say there is a superintendent, foreman and the fire brigade to the extent that we then become convinced that surely where there is a structure there is need for a fire tender. Can she furnish Parliament with the resolutions of all the councils where they then sent their Chief Fire officers because the policy makers are councillors? So a worker cannot go and preside over a policy consultation?
Councillors should have made a resolution and sent their expert who is a Chief Fire Officer to be consulted by the Ministry. Can she furnish Parliament with resolutions of all local authorities where they resolved to send their Chief Fire officers for consultations with the Ministry so that we begin to link policy and implementation? Can the Hon. Minister respond to what extent they have satisfied the provisions of Section 299 of the Constitution which says “Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies at every level”?
So, devolution funds were given to the Ministry through a budget. The Ministry was a bit clever as they did not go and use the rate payers’ money from the rates. They went and used devolution funds but devolution funds were given to the Ministry by us as Parliament. We are the ones who are then supposed to give direction as to how they are supposed to be used in the absence of an Act of Parliament that actualises provincial governments. Can you then demonstrate to us as Parliament how you have satisfied the provisions of Section 299?
*HON. HWENDE: I want to know how many fire tenders have been procured so far, how much money has been paid and what is the balance? Can you explain what to us when you say the Ministry consulted Chief Fire Officers for them to procure those fire tenders yet there are village councils without fire officers? Who then did you consult? It is important for Parliament to understand who you consulted for you to be able to procure for Dotito? Who did you consult? As a Minister who looks into the issues of Local Government, there is no way you can engage in business without consulting the council. It is like having a maid making decisions on the sale of my property. Hon. Minister July Moyo should come to this House and meet us the representatives of the ratepayers because it is not surprising that we have been sold out because they are buying things that people do not want. My request is: you engage the Hon. Minister July Moyo to come to this House to respond to these questions.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the residents of the City of Harare are consulted in terms of the budget...
*HON. S. NYATHI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I am requesting that the Hon. Member who debated previously should refer to the Minister as Hon. Minister July Moyo and not as July Moyo.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your point of order has been noted. Thank you very much. Go ahead Hon. Madzimure.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying that annually, the City of Harare, through its councillors engages citizens to hold consultations with their communities on what they want on their budget. Is there submission that requested for fire tenders? Secondly, if there is a bilateral between governments, do they consult the recipients of the agreement? Government was supposed to go to the local authorities. Hon. Chombo knows that local authority refers to councillors and top administration. Currently, in Harare there is one substantive Director for Health. There are no directors and it means that they have to go and pick those at the lowest level in administration so that the devolution funds that were supposed to be used for developing Harare are now being used to buy fire tenders.
Lastly, the fire tankers that they bought are too expensive, that is the truth of the matter. There is no such fire tanker that is needed in areas such as Checheche and Rutenga. The amount is too high. Can they justify the price of the fire tender that cost half a million? In their opinion as Government, did they see that tanker with its expensive nature that it was what we require in Zimbabwe? I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: The Minister indicated that in the region they compared and the cheapest was $500 thousand in the region and yet Belarus was offering at $400 thousand. Belarus is a manufacturer and locally we do not have manufacturers. Did they compare with other manufacturers of fire tenders like Japan, France, et cetera because you cannot compare with SADC in the region where they do not manufacture, they also buy?
Secondly Mr. Speaker, it is the issue of suitability of Belarus equipment. Is the Minister aware that Hwange Colliery bought the same Belarus equipment and it never worked? Were we not guided accordingly in terms of quality because of the Belarus equipment which she said is very suitable?
Lastly, can the Minister indicate to this House the special specifications that were given to Belarus to manufacture? One would think that fire tenders are standard but what are those special specifications that are unique that they gave to Belarus?
*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question has been raised before but the Minister did not respond. As Members of Parliament, we are being sidelined by the Minister of Local Government on a number of issues. That is why we say if provincial councils were operational, we would put our contributions. We did not see any consultations in our constituencies on fire tenders. As we leave this place we are going to be asked by our communities. They actually say Parliament is the one that bought fire tenders but you are failing to provide us with clean water. Out there the public is not happy as to why fire tenders are being procured.
Secondly, when fire tenders are being bought, are there any statistics that are so compelling that have made the Government lose sleep over the fact that there have been so many fire outbreaks that require us to go and buy these fire tenders? Mr. Speaker, we presented water statistics but the fire statistics were not presented which now cost $500 thousand per fire tender. We need those statistics from the Minister and that should inform their decision.
My last question is that there is nothing that can be accepted by the Zimbabwean people except apologising for what has been done wrong. Hon. Biti said bilateral agreements that make Zimbabwe have financial obligations in other countries cannot be signed without having been approved by Parliament. The Minister said that the fire tender came into being because of the bilateral agreement. We do not want the Minister to defend because that was wrong. They made bilateral agreements based on an agreement that was not approved by Parliament. On the bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Belarus, is there provision that shows that the bilateral agreement will enable Zimbabwe to buy fire tenders? If it is not there, it means the Minister has not been honest with us. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHIKOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Hon. Chombo. My challenge with the Minister is that they are not following the Constitution. Everything that we do is guided by Section 2 of the Constitution. If you look at how they bought the fire tenders, they did not consult the people who have been elected into local authorities. Section 274 to 278 of the Constitution articulates the hierarchy of leadership in local authorities.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you please seek clarification.
*HON. CHIKOMBO: Hon. Speaker, I plead with you that you be patient. We were listening when the Hon. Minister was talking. The Ministry of Local Government is number one in disrespecting the Constitution. Firstly, they do not respect the local authorities and secondly, the Hon. Minister is saying the money to pay for the fire tenders is coming from devolution funds. She is aware that we do not have an Act that governs how devolution funds are used. Section 301 of the Constitution says that there should be an Act of Parliament concerning …
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are repeating what has already been said.
*HON. CHIKOMBO: We asked the same question yesterday and she said it will be presented today in the Statement.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Chair is guiding you.
*HON. CHIKOMBO: Thank you Hon. Chair for the correction. The Minister did not follow the Constitution. I do not know where you got the powers to buy fire tenders on behalf of local authorities without following the Public Procurement Act. Where did you get that power from? The other issue is: the local authorities that we are talking about do not have people who have the capacity to use fire tenders.
Lastly, what has been articulated in this House is that even if there is an agreement between this country and Belarus, Section 327 of the Constitution says that the agreements that are made are supposed to be ratified here in Parliament - all that has not been followed. That is why I said there is need to look at how the Constitution is being disrespected by the Minister of Local Government. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to seek a few clarifications from the Hon. Minister. My first point is just to commend Hon. Chombo. She is a very strong woman. What she is being made to pass through, I think Hon. July Moyo should come to this House and face the music on his own.
Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to understand; is there no law in this Parliament which allows us to arrest some Ministers? That one is for you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I want to go to the issue at hand. On 19th March, 2021, Eng. Mabhena Moyo said that council was failing to raise 68.000 pounds to facilitate delivery of fire tenders. Why did the Ministry not choose just to look for the 68.000 pounds to facilitate that delivery than for them to now come and say we are purchasing these fire tenders that are coming from anywhere and yet they are not coming from nowhere?
My other clarification is, did these councils go willy-nilly or they were forced to ask for the fire tenders. Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, the fire tenders that are at our airports are top notch, all of them are from South Africa. Why did we not go again to South Africa to get them than to go to Belarus? Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHIMINA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I have a question to the Minister of Local Government. When she was giving her Statement, she said she consulted the Chief Fire Officers. How did she do that skipping the councilors who are elected officials and policy makers in councils?
The other issue that I have, I remember in 2019 the same Ministry ended up buying wrong pumps. For Gweru City Council, they bought agriculture irrigation pumps instead of dresser pump that was required. Is it not a repeat of what happened that year when they left out the elected councilors and they went ahead and bought wrong machinery? Council will be blamed on something that would have been done by the Ministry.
(v)*HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Firstly, I want the Minister to clarify on the issue of devolution funds. Devolution funds are not free funds. Secondly, fire tenders use water when putting out fires. We hear stories where fire tenders arrive at a place and there is no water to put out the fire. I want to find out the plans that they have so that water will be available for the fire tenders when they want to use them. Where are they going to get the water from? What plans do they have in place so that we have enough water to use in the fire tenders so that we put out fires? Lastly, is she aware that Belarus, despite that they are friends with the Executive, where we come from in the rural areas like in Mutasa, Belarus is not in good books with the locals in Mutasa because of the mining activities. So I do not know the relationship between them and Belarus, where their relationship is coming from because out there there are no good relations. I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Members for their contributions. I will start by Hon. Nyamudeza, he asked about the brand of the machine we are buying. Also, when they are going to deliver the machine and why we sourced from Belarus? The machine we are buying is TLF Magirus from Belarus. I do not know when they are going to deliver the machine. Why we bought from Belarus, we all know that Zimbabwe is under sanctions. For us to source foreign currency to procure what we want is not easy. So we take advantage of the friendship that we have with other nations and acquire what we want in order to re-equip our local authorities.
Hon. Mahlangu stated that she would want us to avail the list of the participants who responded. Also, to state to what level we did the consultations. I had said that before that we are going to make the list available to Parliament. Then Hon. Muchenje said she needs to know the rural local authorities, who responded. The same - we are going to make the list available. You also asked if the type of equipment is the same or it is made special for the areas. As I said, the Chief Officers gave us specifications. These fire tenders are specially made for the terrain of our country.
About the training, there is training that is going to be offered to those who are going to work with this equipment. The training will be done here locally and also in Belarus. Somebody was using Hon. Saruwaka’s gadget, I just picked the name from the gadget but I discovered that he also asked the last question. He wanted to know why we are not using the Procurement Act. As I said before that there was a bilateral agreement and it supersedes the procurement. You also requested the full list of those who participated, which I said we are going to provide. You also wanted to know the first month of payment that was done by the Ministry of Finance. I am not privy to the exact date when it was done. I will check with the relevant Ministry and make the information available. Also, you wanted to know about the agreement and when it was entered into. I will also try to avail that one. I have not been privy to it but I will look for it and make it available to Parliament.
Hon. Chikwinya wanted me to furnish Parliament with the structure of the fire on the ground. That one, I will avail the structure also to Parliament and see who is holding what position in the different local authorities. You also want me to furnish Parliament with the resolutions of all the local authorities and when the resolutions were entered into. I will also provide that but I made it clear that these resolutions from the local authorities came through the fire officers.
Hon. Hwende wanted to know how many have been purchased and how much is outstanding. Also if we say Chief Officers, we list them, those who participated and I will provide the requested information.
Hon. Madzimure, you said in Harare there are consultations that are done. On the consultations that were presented to Local Government, were they any that requested for fire tender? As I said, the consultations were done. For sure you know when people do the budgets initially you can see that there was request for fire tenders although they were not prioritised. We prioritise other areas but when we got this bilateral agreement and saw that there were fire tenders we grabbed the opportunity and went on and consulted the relevant local authorities. You then said the fire tenders are expensive, we should compare with others. I have a comparison here RT Rosenbauer US$518 000, TLF Magirus is US$468 800, HLF20 Zingman is US$499 000 and the ALF20 Sherman is US$474 300. The one that was recommended is going for US$10 000 less than what is currently the market value.
On the suitability of equipment, as I said, the Allied Timbers have one like that and we made visits to go and see and we are convinced it works because it is working at Allied Timbers. When we have fires in that area they are the ones who come and assist within Manicaland. So we have one has been proven.
Hon. Hamauswa said that people at home are complaining why we are getting fire tenders. We go to the level that we can go to. If the local authorities come with a request, we say to ourselves they have consulted their relevant wards. We are convinced that the consultations were done on the ground.
One Hon. Member asked whether there are statistics that force us to see it fit to acquire fire tenders - statistics are there. When I was giving my presentation, I stated the fires that we have not been able to contain that we experienced within the last ten months. So statistics are there and they speak for themselves.
Hon. Hamauswa went on to say that it is onerous for one to apologise and truly speaking, we have followed the procedure and I do not see any reason why we should even get to that.
Hon. Chikombo said that we are not following the Constitution; as I said before, the transactions were above board and we consulted the local authorities through the fire officers. On whether we violated the Public Procurement Act, I said where there is a bilateral agreement, it supersedes that. Also there was a request on whether they will be trained, we said yes, they will be trained locally and…
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order. I hear what the Deputy Minister is telling us. I want to encourage the Deputy Minister to tell us what was asked and not answer as if we are joking. I know she has a lot of pressure because Hon. July Moyo could not come in person. If she cannot answer satisfactorily, I wish she could leave that to the Hon. Minister himself and we know that nothing was done today - [HON ZWIZWAI: Varikunyepa.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May Hon. Zwizwai withdraw that statement.
HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I abide by your ruling that I should withdraw that the Hon Deputy Minister is lying to the nation on behalf of Minister July Moyo on thievery issues and I duly withdraw. I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Hon. Banda raised the issue that the Town Clerk for Harare for requested for US$68 000 for fire tenders for Harare and why we did not just make sure that we provide that in cash, rather than going into these tenders. As I said before, we are operating within an environment that is not friendly to us due to sanctions. We cannot avail the US$68 000 at one time. We have to do it through the facilities that are availed to us through these kinds of arrangements.
HON. HWENDE: On a point of order. With all due respect, I think today has been a waste of time because all the questions that we have asked are not being answered to our satisfaction because clearly the Minister is not well equipped to answer these questions. We are tired of people that come here and use sanctions as an excuse
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, your point of order is out of order.
HON HWENDE: My point of order is that we cannot sit here and listen to lies about sanctions.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, your point of order is out of order.
HON. HWENDE: But you did not listen to my point.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is my ruling.
HON HWENDE: Havagone kuuya vachitaura kuti ma sanctions. Ma sanctions arikukanganisa papi?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You do not have to argue with me.
HON. HWENDE: They have money yavarikutora in US dollar kunyika kwavari kutenga. Saka ma sanctions apinda papi?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I do not want to send you out.
HON HWENDE: Kana tauya pano hatigone kutamba nevanhu vakatisarudza tichiudzwa zvinhu zvinoita kuti tisagone kuenda kunotsanangura.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you leave the House?
HON HWENDE: No, you cannot chase people everyday
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have made a ruling. You are out of order.
HON. HWENDE: I must be here, I am allowed to ask questions on behalf of my constituency, you cannot chase me away everyday – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – What kind of Parliament is this?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have made a ruling Hon. Member.
HON. HWENDE: You are number 157 on the corruption index, we are supposed to fight corruption. With due respect, you cannot chase me away every day. I have a right to be in this Parliament, to ask questions on behalf of the people of Kuwadzana who elected me. I did not come here on my own, I was elected through a national election.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have made a ruling.
HON. HWENDE: But you cannot chase me away forever, I cannot come here every day and you expel me. This is not fair.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am not entertaining that – [AN HON. MEMBER: Saka ichiri Parliament here iyi? Chisarai mega muchitaura mega. I am going because hamungaiti zvekupota muchidzinga vanhu.] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Endai, get away] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. CHOMBO: Hon. Banda also asked if fire tenders at the Airport are from South Africa, why not go and buy from South Africa. The ones that were tested and proven were the ones that we got from Belarus and as I said we saw it work through the Allied Timber one that we visited. That is why we thought it wise to go for the same one, like that because it is something we know.
Hon. Chimina asked why we must not consult the elected officials and why not get specifications. As I said we consulted throughout the forum and also the specifications were supplied to us through the forum, so chances of us getting something that is not ideal for the terrain are very slim.
Hon. Saruwaka said that fire tenders need water once arrangement to provide water is available. Is Belarus relations sound? We need fire tenders; of course we have resolved some of the problems of water. There is a programme that was brought by His Excellency the President whereby every village is having a borehole sunk. You have seen all over the country borehole drilling going on and water is being made available through Gwayi- Shangani. You can see that the Government is making efforts to make sure that it addresses the water situation, hence we saw it prudent that we also go for the fire tenders.
About the Belarus Zimbabwean relations, I do not think I will be able to comment on that, it is outside my jurisdiction. I thank you.
(v)HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I need clarification on two sections of the Constitution, whether the Minister is aware of them. The first one is Chapter I (2) which says “Supremacy of the Constitution - This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency”. Section 2 says “The obligations imposed by this Constitution are binding on every person, natural or juristic, including the State and all executive, legislative and judicial institutions and agencies of Government at every level, and must be fulfilled by them”.
Chapter 14, Section 276 states that, “Functions of Local Authorities - section 1, subject to this Constitution and any act of Parliament, a local authority has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local affairs of the people within the area for which it has been established, and has all the powers necessary for it to do so”. So Hon. Minister, I do not know whether you have come across these two sections which allow the local authorities and the people of Zimbabwe to decide. You did recentralization which is the opposite of what the Constitution says because the Constitution is saying that no one must go against this.
The Hon. Minister knows that the local authorities and the people of Zimbabwe have the power to refuse to accept unlawful procedures like what they did to force them. These are some of the things to consider when looking at devolution funds.
HON. CHIKOMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I have very few remarks and submissions to make in following up what she has just alluded to. The first thing that I am concerned with…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikombo you need to be guided that you need to ask questions or raise points of clarification and not debate.
HON. CHIKOMBO: Of course I will do that. In her submission, she made a statement to the effect that the reason they decided not to go with the requirement of the Constitution is because of the bi-lateral agreement that exists between the two countries. I have to remind the Minister of Section 327 of our Constitution on International conventions, treaties and agreements, subsection (2), which reads as follows, “Any international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority (a) “does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament…”. In this regard, the bi-lateral agreement was not approved by this House, meaning to say they are not standing on a strong legal position. So this deal is a nullity, we now need to chat a way forward in terms of what must be done under the circumstances, now that the Ministry is operating without the confines of the law. That is my intervention. They went further to disregard the requirement of the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act.
The Ministry is very aware who the leadership is in these local authorities but flagrantly, the Ministry decided to ignore the requirement of the Urban Councils Act and the requirements of the Rural District Councils Act. You can say you have satisfied all the requirements of the law in terms of law making as far as the local authorities are concerned that will have engaged fire tenders operators. That process of consultation of course is important in a democratic society, however there are stipulated procedures like that a council is supposed to sit down and make a resolution to the effect that there is no resolution from this local authority. She is simply saying we did everything that we did because we were guided by the bilateral agreement which is against the spirit of section 327 of the Constitution. So, my humble submission is, this deal is a nullity and it does not stand a legal force.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Mr. Speaker, when the Minister responded, she did not answer the question which I asked that within the bilateral agreement, are there any provisions which state that Zimbabwe shall meet the contents or agreement by purchasing fire tenders from Belarus because the Minister is saying their decision was guided by this bilateral agreement. Can the Minister state in this House because we may have to approach the courts on whether we do have such an agreement called a bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Belarus? I suspect that there is no such agreement. I want the Minister to categorically state to this House because they are doing this under oath to say do we have such a document called a bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Belarus.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you for awarding me this opportunity again to make some clarifications. As I said, the request from Hon. Machingauta that we did not consult and chose for the local authorities, I reiterate again that we consulted the local authorities through the forum. So, that one is null and void. We consulted as a Ministry.
Hon. Chikombo, I did not say we did not follow the Constitution but I said the procurement was overtaken by the agreement that we have between Belarus and Zimbabwe. You were querying why we engaged the forum. This one is a technical field and as such, the local authorities saw it fit for them to give us the specifications of the fire tenders.
Hon. Hamauswa, for sure there is a bilateral agreement and that one comes with other equipment. I think one of the Hon. Members mentioned about the issue of tractors that we got from Belarus. I would not want to delve more because it is not within my line Ministry but that bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Belarus is in existence. I thank you.
(v)HON. MARKHAM: The point that Hon. Banda brought about US$68 000 to pay for five fire tenders, in fact I believe they were from the United Kingdom. There has been a history in all councils and people have constantly supplied tenders to us with the cost of transport being met by councils. There is no sanctions issue on paying the US$68 000. If you look at City of Harare, it would rather have five fire tenders for US$68 000 than pay off this massive debt. Can the Minister confirm that the council was offered the option?
HON. CHOMBO: I will have to go and check if they were offered that option. Thank you.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. TEMBO, the House adjourned at Twenty-Eight Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.