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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MAY 2024 VOL 50 NO 49

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 14th May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

FAREWELL CATHOLIC SERVICE FOR MS. HELLEN B. DINGANI

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that there will be a farewell Catholic Service for Ms. Hellen Dingani on Thursday, 16th May 2024 at 1200hrs in the Special Committee Room Number One following her appointment as the Ambassador to the Republic of Tanzania. All members are invited including non-Catholic Members. 

          *HON. ZVAIPA:  Good afternoon Hon. Speaker.  My point of national interest pertains to war veterans.  Mr. Speaker Sir, our war veterans are facing different challenges, particularly those who are in hospitals. The cards that have been given to them do not work and some go back unattended when they go to hospitals.  Our war veterans do not eat what they are supposed to be eating, yet the public is enjoying good food.

          HON. MATANGIRA:  On a point of Order Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Why do you not wait for the Hon. Member to finish his point of national interest?  Can you wind up Hon. Member?

          *HON. ZVAIPA:  We see children of war veterans facing challenges in different schools and their school fees is being paid late. It is important that Government intervenes so that our war veterans benefit and are given first priority. I thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:   Well, in English they say, do not flog a dead horse. Measures are in place - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] to attend to what the Hon. Member is raising. The Minister responsible, especially the new Minister that has come in, supported by her Deputy, are on course to ensure that the delivery system expected by the war veterans is consummated accordingly.

          So, your point of interest maybe misplaced because Government is on course in attending to those issues expeditiously - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – unless you are talking of some specific issues where some members of the War Veterans Association have approached you.  In that regard, you have the right to approach the Hon. Minister and state the case of those two or three war veterans accordingly.

MOTION

                                      BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                   HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 14 be stood over until Orders of the Day Numbers 15 to 18 have been disposed of.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON

THE PROTECTION OF MIGRANT WORKERS AND MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR

AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. M. DINHA): The International

Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and

Members of their Families adopted by the General Assembly Resolution 45/158 of 18 December, 1990.

          I will summarise concentrating on the Preamble. The State parties to the present Convention, taking into account the principles embodied in the basic instruments of the United Nations concerning human rights, in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Taking into account also the principles and standards set forth in the relevant instruments elaborated within the framework of the International Labour Organisation, especially the Convention concerning Migration for Employment Number 97, the Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and recommendation concerning Migration for Employment Number 86. The recommendation concerning migrant workers Number 151, the Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour Number 29 and the Convention concerning Abolition of Forced Labour Number 105; reaffirming the importance of principles concerned in the Convention against Discrimination in Education of the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations;

Recalling the Convention against Torture and other Cruel In-human and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Declaration of the Fourth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials in the Slavery Conventions;

Recalling that one of the objectives of the International Labour Organisation as stated in its Constitution, is the protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own and bearing in mind the expertise and experience of that organisation in matters related to migrant workers and members of their families;

Recognising the importance of the work done in connection with migrant workers and members of their families in various organs of United Nations. In particular, the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission for Social Development and in the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation as well as in other international organisations;

Recognising also the progress made by the …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, just a second please.  If you may take your seat.  Clerk of Parliament, approach the Chair.

          The Clerk of Parliament approached the Chair.

          You will excuse the process Hon. Members.  I will now ask the Hon. Deputy Minister to continue.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I therefore move that;

          WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of all Migrant workers and Members of their Families which came into force on 1st July 2003.

WHEREAS Article 85 of the aforesaid Convention provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for ratification.

Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity.  Let me start by saying in principle, I do not have a problem in respect to this House ratifying the treaty, but my challenge Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you say rectify Hon. Member? - [HON. MEMBERS:  Ratify] - I am not asking you, I am asking the Hon. Member.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  I am not against the ratification.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Pardon.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  I am not against the ratification as requested.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you say rectification?

HON. MUSHORIWA:  I said I do not have a problem in terms of making sure that this Parliament ratifies this.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You mean ratifies because for purposes of record, when you rectify you are meaning something different.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  No, I did not say rectify.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the rights of migrant workers are important and it is even more important Mr. Speaker Sir, given the fact that as Zimbabwe, we now have quite a number of our people that are scattered across the globe and by us taking the step in making sure that we are not only a signatory but we have also stamped it here as Parliament and ratified this, it will actually help us, but Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe signed it in 2003 and we are now in 2024 and that is twenty one years later.  That shows you Mr. Speaker Sir, that there is actually a gap between the signing by the Executive and then bringing these treaties before the august House.

I do not understand Mr. Speaker Sir, why it could actually have taken us twenty-one years to bring this important treaty.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at Zimbabwe, if you go back to our history, when we used to have that amalgamation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, we had quite a number of people that came and contributed to the growth of this economy and indeed most of those people, some of them were in the farms and some of them up to now Mr. Speaker Sir, following the Land Reform, some of them have not been properly compensated given the fact that they came, they have rights just as ordinary workers, but we failed Mr. Speaker Sir, during that course of time.  l am just wondering if we had signed in 2003 and during that time when we had quite a number of migrant workers who were suffering at that particular moment, I think if this treat has been brought to this august House, I believe that the Executive then would have probably have acted in a certain manner or there could actually have been some compensatory mechanism to compensate those migrant workers that were actually mostly in our farming areas. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, the urgency of this matter, I know for instance that in South Africa, we have quite a number of Zimbabweans.  There is no country today that you can hardly fail to find a Zimbabwean. It does not matter which part of the world you go to, you are likely to come across a Zimbabwean who is based in that country.  So it is important that we ratify, but the most important thing Mr. Speaker Sir, which I then think we need to do as this august House.  I am aware three weeks ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade which is the depositary of all treaties sent an addendum which shows the number of treaties that Zimbabwe is signatory to but which have not been brought before this august House. 

I think it is crucial and important that we should ensure that the Executive should urgently ensure that all the various Ministries that have actually entered into these agreements should quickly bring them before this august House so that we can actually look at them whilst they are still hot.  We do not want a situation where we take this long period to have this august House to go through the treaties and any other international agreements that could actually have been signed by this country.

So Mr. Speaker Sir, as I said I am in support to Parliament passing and ratifying this treaty.  My only worry is the pace at which the Executive is taking in terms of brining these treaties before this august House.  I thank you.

*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion regarding the ratification of different treaties which were presented by the Deputy Minister. I really commend that and in English, I would say that it is better late than never. I am happy that the treaty is here for ratification. Mr. Speaker Sir, no good thing is done by a country without looking at those who visit the country and they aspire to work in a foreign country. The reason is that they aspire and emulate what they see obtaining in that country.

So, the issue of ratification is a good thing but my plea is that when we grew up, there was this adage which says that ‘an elephant came to a village and first he put his head, leg and his hand’. What I am saying is that visitors might come in a country like Zimbabwe. We are talking of the United Nations or the world as a global village. My request is that our visitors should be looked after by us as owners of the nation, but there should be laws which ratify local initiatives which speak to visitors who come.

If you come as a visitor, it is important to adhere to the laws of the land. You find some immigrants who are found cutting down trees and doing different things. When you come as a visitor or as a worker, you need to work with the locals. I do not see that thing because if you do a good thing, the same will be done to you. In English, they say what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. With these few words, I want to appreciate the fact that the Minister brought this to the House from His Excellency, and having listened to her, I believe it is a good thing. I thank you.

The Hon. Speaker having recognised Hon. Togarepi as Leader of the House

HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think this afternoon you are very generous; you would want to promote me to a higher office.

THE HON. SPEAKER: It was a slip of the tongue.

HON. TOGAREPI: I would like to add my voice in support of the ratification of the International Convention on the protection of all migrant workers and members of their families. I think the intention by Government should be applauded. It is right throughout the world, that has been taken seriously by the United Nations, to ensure that those who migrate from one country to another especially for those who are coming either to Zimbabwe or to any other country for employment purposes, they must also get the rights that are accorded to other people in the same territory.

The issue related to the delay in ratification after signing;  I do not think they are neither here nor there because once you have signed, you are saying to the international community, I will not oppose the objects of this treaty or protocol.  So, in a way, you are silently in support of that.  From 2004, Zimbabwe was as good as supporting the protocol. So, we were there and in support.  It means even in our actions; we were already supporting this protocol.  You can see that we have so many of migrant workers here in Zimbabwe who are getting the same benefits even before we ratified.  We were not opposing this protocol.  I think I want to urge Hon. Members to just support.  This is a very important move by the state to ratify the protocol.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that whereas Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament. 

          Whereas the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on the rights of older persons in Africa which was adopted in January 2016 and signed on 17 June 2020.  Whereas Article 28 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that instrument or ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. 

Now therefore, in terms of Section 327 (2)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir. 

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that whereas Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament. 

Whereas the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s rights on the rights of citizens to social protection and social security which was adopted on 6 February 2022.  

Whereas article 35 of the afore said Protocol provides that instrument of ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. 

Now therefore in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS TO SOCIAL PROTECTION AND SOCIAL SECURITY

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR, AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that whereas Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.  Whereas the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s rights on the rights of persons with disabilities which was adopted on 29 January 2018.  Whereas Article 40 of the afore said Protocol provides that the instrument of ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union.  

          Now therefore in terms of Section 327(2)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe - [HON. MAMOMBE: I am sure that is what the Clerk is highlighting.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, I think there was a slip of the tongue. I think you have to re-do Order of the Day Number 17 as it appears in the Order Paper and I hope Hansard will take note and record the correct thing.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that: WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

          WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Citizens…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Rights of persons. Do you have a different Order Paper there? Does it say ‘Citizens’ or ‘Persons’?

          HON. DINHA: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Citizens …Persons.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes. It should be right of Persons there.

          HON. DINHA: To social protection and social security which was adopted on 6 February, 2022.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No. Can you take the correct Order Paper Hon. Minister?

          HON. DINHA: I move that:

          WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was adopted on 29th January 2018.

WHEREAS Article 40 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS TO SOCIAL PROTECTION AND SOCIAL SECURITY

 THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE HON. DINHA): I move that:

WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security which was adopted on 6th February 2022.

WHEREAS Article 35 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, this protocol was signed in 2022 and whereas I was complaining about the gap, but in this case the gap is alright.  What I just find a bit tricky is that whilst we need to make sure that we approve this treaty Mr. Speaker Sir, I think when we signed, Zimbabwe should actually have taken some steps that shows we have signed such a protocol which respects the social protection and social security. 

What I find queer Mr. Speaker, is that since 2022, 2023, even the 2024 budget that we actually passed last December, there has been a down slide in respect to our budget as a country towards social protection and social security of our people. Whereas after signing, we should have seen a move by Government towards realigning and making sure that there is allocation of sufficient resources, because it is not enough to just sign without the need to then walk the talk.

What we are doing in as much as we are supporting the ratification of this treaty but what we now expect is Government to urgently walk the talk in respect to making sure that our people are protected.  Today, Mr. Speaker Sir and I say this being an MP that represents a high-density suburb where most of the people are living beyond the poverty datum line, where most of our people require protection and assistance from the State. Even the old people that used to get some resources the Ministry of Pubic Service and Social Welfare have, in the recent past, been delinquent in failing to provide the necessary resources and this is going to be made worse given the current drought situation that we find ourselves in.

          Drought, Mr. Speaker Sir, does not just affect the rural set up.  It affects each and every person in Zimbabwe including those people that are staying and living in the urban set up.  Madam Speaker, my request to the Hon. Minister is to simply say that we should make sure that once we rectify, once we have signed any protocol and in this case the African Charter on the Social Protection and Social Security, it should also be accompanied by a move by the Government in that right direction, rather than to have a situation where we sign and then we see our budget in respect to Social Security going down, sliding down.  If you check from 2022, 2023, 2024 in real terms, our budget towards the Social Sector Security has actually been going down and this Madam Speaker.

HON. I. NDUDZO: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mushoriwa. 

What is your point of order?

          HON. I. NDUDZO: Thank you Madam Speaker, Madam Speaker, the motion before the House seeks a ratification of a treaty which was signed by the Government of Zimbabwe, but there is a complaint by the Hon. Member that even before there has been ratification, there ought to have a budget provision to deal with the aspects of the treaty.  In my respectful view, that would have been to put the cart before the horse.  I do not believe the debate arises thank you Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member.  Hon Mushoriwa please may you debate the motion.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker, I am actually debating the motion.  In actual fact, the Chef Whip from the Government side earlier on had said that what is crucial is that the State should actually have a side.  It has actually given an intent and what I am basically doing, Madam Speaker, is questioning that intent to say once the intention has been set, we expect the Government to actually have walked the talk.

Having said that Madam Speaker, we are therefore saying that the Hon. Minister and the Ministry of Public Services and Social Welfare, the situation that we are facing on the ground is dire and many of the vulnerable people that were supposed to be receiving monthly or periodic assistance from Government have not been getting that assistance and we are basically saying that whilst we are going to support you to ratify this protocol, can the Government walk the talk in terms of assisting the less vulnerable of our communities.  I thank you.

          HON. J. TSHUMA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity.  Madam Speaker, firstly I would like to commend the Government of Zimbabwe for being part and parcel of such an important piece of legislation.  Needless to say that our Government has walked the talk of protecting its citizens throughout the period especially at the beginning of the Second Republic.  We must be cognizant to the fact that there have been a lot of hinderances that have come our way, but Government has been seized from day one to make sure that our people are not left vulnerable.  Even right now as we experience the phenomenon of El Nino, we have seen Government going out of its way to source for food to make sure that no one goes hungry and the President of Zimbabwe Cde. Mnangagwa has come out openly to say that no one is going to be hungry during this whole disastrous period and while he has said that, he has not only said it by word, he has said it by action as well as we have seen Government going out and making sure that they are providing grain for the vulnerable.

          So it is very surprising to find someone who will probably now want to say that Government is not walking the talk and especially also looking at the history that we are coming from. We are coming from sanctions that have actually made it difficult for Government to perform and to actually be able to carry out its mandate. Despite those same sanctions Madam Speaker, the Government has gone out of its way to make sure that whatever has been agreed world over, they also come through and do their part despite the hinderances of sanctions and all these other things that I am talking about. 

          Government has been on point in trying to make sure that everyone is protected and it is now up to all of us here to actually ratify this and make sure that we keep on supporting Government to keep on doing what it is doing best despite all these circumstances that make it difficult for it to operate.  With that submission, I would like to say that I thank the Hon. Minister for brining this to the House and shall we definitely ratify it.  I thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.  

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 3.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ADVERSE REPORT FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS NUMBER 17,18, 23, 24,32, 33, 38,39, 40,41,42 AND 52 OF 2024

Third order read: Committee Stage: Consideration of the Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instruments No. 17, 18, 23, and 24 of 2024, published in the Gazette during the month of February, 2024 and Statutory Instruments No. 31, 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 52 of 2024, published in the Gazette during Month of March 2024.

HON. I. NDUDZO: The Parliamentary Legal Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) met on the 5th and 17th of April, 2024, in pursuit of its Constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 of the Constitution. The Committee considered Statutory Instruments gazetted in the month of February 2024. Among them were Statutory Instruments 17, 18, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 52 of 2024 titled,

  1. Mwenezi Rural District Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024[Statutory Instrument 17 of 2024];
  2. Mwenezi Rural District Council (Advertising) By-laws, 2024[Statutory Instrument 18 of 2024];
  3. Gwanda Town Council (Advertising) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 23 of 2024];
  4. Gwanda Town Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 24 of 2024];
  5. Murewa Rural District Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 31 of 2024];
  6. Murewa Rural District Council (Advertising) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 32 of 2024];
  7. Murewa Rural District Council (Fishing) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 33 of 2024];
  8. Marondera Municipal Council (Wayleave) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 38 of 2024];
  9. Marondera Municipal Council (Occupation and Council Properties) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 39 of 2024];
  10. Marondera Municipal Council (Advertising) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 40 of 2024];
  11. Marondera Municipal Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024 [Statutory Instrument 41 of 2024];
  12. Nkayi Rural District Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024[Statutory Instrument 42 of 2024];
  13. Mhondoro-Ngezi Rural District Council (Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation) By-laws, 2024[Statutory Instrument 52 of 2024];

The Committee unanimously resolved that an adverse report be issued in respect of the Statutory Instruments, due to the following considerations: —

  1. Statutory Instruments 17, 18, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 52 of 2024 give wide discretionary powers to the local authorities; this is so as the By-laws permit them to impose unspecified fines to persons that the local authorities determine have violated By-laws regulating their jurisdiction.
  2. The Committee observed that the aforementioned Statutory Instruments created offences that gave local authorities full discretion to determine the penalty. The offences and penalties are found in:
  •   Statutory Instruments 17, 24, 31, 41, 42, and 52 in their sections 6(5), 7(2), 8(2), 10(5), 11(3), 13(8), 14(5), 15(3), 17(4), 18(6), 19(2), 20(6), 21(7), 23(8), 26(3), 27(2)(d), 36(3), 38(1) and 40;
  •       Statutory Instruments 18, 23, 32 and 40 in sections 7(5) and 9;
  •       Statutory Instrument 33 in sections 4(4) and 6(3);
  •       Statutory Instrument 38 in sections 14(3) and 15;
  •       Statutory Instrument 39 in sections 7(4) and 13.  
  1.       The Committee further noted that the By-laws are made in terms of two pieces of legislation, namely:
  • Section 90 of the of the Rural District Council Act [Chapter 29:13]; or
  • Section 229 of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15].
  1. It is the opinion of the Committee that legislation must be explicit, principally when it comes to the punitive measure to be imposed when it comes to an offence. These By-laws must state the maximum level fine to be applied to offenders in terms of their principal legislation. If the intention is to issue a spot fine, such spot fine must not exceed level 3.
  2. Section 117(2)(d) of the Constitution states that⸺

The legislative authority confers on the Legislature the power to confer subordinate legislative powers upon another body or authority in accordance with section 134”.

  1. For the evasion of any uncertainty, the delegation of lawmaking powers to the Executive Branch is recurrent, particularly on matters of detail for which it would not be feasible to create extensive provision in the enabling Act. Such a power can never be inferred. It must be expressly legislated in the Act, and the Act must specify some parameters within which the Minister or other delegated authority must operate when enacting delegated legislation. This is the case with the Rural District Council Act [Chapter 29:13] and the Urban Council Act [Chapter 29:15]; which set parameters when it comes to prescription of fines, as found in their sections 164 and 319 respectively.
  2. Finally, the Committee opined that no Statutory Instrument can impose criminal or civil liability upon a person unless the imposition and the extent of the imposition is specifically authorised by the enabling Act.

Therefore, the By-laws contravene their enabling legislation, and were accordingly found ultra vires their enabling Act by the Committee.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: I just want to thank the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) for a fantastic job in respect to those Statutory Instruments (S.Is).  We have a huge challenge and it is actually an indictment to then find that all those S. Is are under the Ministry of Local Government.   There is actually a disconnect in respect to the national policy and sometimes the Local Government policies whereas we are supposed to have the Ministry of Local Government carrying its mandate in terms of making sure that the lower tiers are in sync and in line with the legislation that is in existence. 

          The reason why I also applaud the Committee is that all ministries, I speak for Local Government in this case – they actually have a legal department.  That legal department in my view is either sleeping on duty or turning a blind eye in terms of its role in making sure that they scrutinise some of these by-laws and S. Is that are initiated by the lower structures.

          The closing remarks by the chairperson were telling in the sense that the Ministry had conceded to the findings of the PLC.  They had actually made a commitment of withdrawing or amending the S.Is.  In my own view, one of the things that was expected was speed in action by the Ministry of Local Government in ensuring that the issue that has been raised and discussed between the PLC and the Ministry are actually attended to as a matter of urgency and the fact that we are today debating this report without tangible evidence that the Ministry understands the urgency of taking action speaks volumes. 

          The other problem that we find ourselves in is that if you check quite a number – I think this thing has been going on for a long time where we have had S.Is, entities and sometimes Government Agencies knowing fully that they are on the wrong side of the law, they have done and allowed some of these by-laws or S.Is to pass only to be corrected later by the PLC.  In the case that the PLC misses it, it creates problems. To that extend, I believe we should adopt the report by the PLC.  I think it will send the right message not only to local authorities but also to a number of Government entities whom we have delegated power to make various regulation so that they know that they should stick within the ambit of the legislation that empowers them to make those regulations.         

          House resumed.

          Progress reported.

Committee to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:   Madam Speaker, I move that all other Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 4 has been disposed of. 

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LEGISLATION DEFICIENCIES IN THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK IN TERMS OF THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION CORPORATION ACT

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the protection of depositors and investors` deposits in Banks and other Financial Institutions.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. A. MAVUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I banked my money when I was growing up and worked so hard to earn a living.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I kept my money in the bank and circulated it for more interest to enable me to buy several things. As time went on, it was stated that the bank had been liquidated as it was under difficult times.  We were informed what was happening with the bank and that it had been shut down.  This was very difficult and painful to us.  

          Madam Speaker, as a young man, I had so much money in United States Dollars and I lost a lot of money.  As time went on, we were called for a meeting in Harare from Bulawayo.  The meeting was for them to expound on the issue, to inform us on what was going to happen as the bank had liquidated and closed.   It was the first time that we were informed that we had a Depositors Protection in Zimbabwe. I did not know that there was such protection for depositors.  We were advised that the bank had closed and they also explained that through the Depositors Protection, they were going to reimburse depositors with USD500.00.

After some time, we were informed that the bank was going to be liquidated and they were going to sell all the assets in the bank so that they compensate us.  They did not inform us as to how long the process would take.  We were overjoyed that we were going to be compensated USD500.00.   Madam Speaker Ma’am, sometime lapsed and it took about two or more years for us to be reimbursed. 

Madam Speaker Ma’am, as they called us to Harare, I was seated next to other people, some of whom were saying they had USD2 million in their accounts and others had USD3 million. I had USD1000.00 in my account and pitied them over their loss.  As time went by, I received a message that some money had been credited into my account. I verified the message and it was reflecting an amount that had been credited into my account, equivalent to the USD amount that I previously had.  Unfortunately, the reimbursement was now in Zimbabwean Dollars since there was a new law introducing a rate of 1:1 to the United States Dollar and the RTGS.  It was very painful to us that we had lost a lot of money Madam Speaker Ma’am.  It was very difficult to us as youngsters and national youths.

When Hon. Jere tabled the motion in Parliament, I was very happy that this matter was going to be elucidated in Parliament.  I still remember sending a message to my brother asking him what was going to happen to our monies that had been reimbursed in Zimbabwean dollar equivalence of the USD.  My brother explained to me that it meant I had lost my money to the bank.  I am happy that some laws are going to be enacted to further fix this matter so that some other people do not continue losing money over the issue of banks liquidating in Zimbabwe. 

I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to speak in my mother tongue so that I do not stammer when speaking in English whilst trying to express myself.  May you allow me Madam Speaker, to read the speech that I had prepared in English.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You may proceed.

HON. A. MAVUNGA:  It is imperative that we take decisive action to address these pressing issues and restore faith in our banking sector.  To achieve this, we … - [HON. MAMOMBE: Stick to one language!] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I allowed him to do so.

HON. A. MAVUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker, to achieve this, we must implement comprehensive reforms aimed at bolstering depositor protection and ensuring a resilience of our financial institutions.  I believe that this will as well play a significant role to bolster confidence in our currency.  Therefore, it is prudent to draw insight from international benchmarks and bank practices.   

Across the globe, numerous countries have implemented robust measures to safeguard the interests of depositors and ensure the stability of their financial systems.  One notable example Madam Speaker is Canada, where Canada Deposits Insurance Corporation (CDIC), provides deposit insurance to protect eligible deposits at member institutions in the event of bank failures.  This scheme instilled confidence amongst Canadian depositors contributing to the resilience of a Canadian Banking Sector and the stability on the Canadian Dollar. What this insurance scheme Madam Speaker does, it provides insurance up to the USD100 000 for qualifying members, and I think this is a huge amount that brings confidence to the depositors in Canada.  I know the local Depositors Protection provides up to USD500.  So, it is important to take note from other countries like Canada which provides insurance up to USD100 000. 

Similarly, the European Union, the Deposit Guarantee Scheme directive (DGSD) establishes harmonised rules for deposit protection across member States, ensuring a consistent level protection for depositors throughout the EU.  South Africa has implemented comprehensive measures to boost depositor protection and is still confident in its banking sector.  Central to this effort, is the role of the South African Reserve Bank which regulates banks and ensures they operate soundly.  The SARB regulations aim to manage risk effectively, safeguarding depositors’ funds and maintaining financial stability.

Additionally, the Deposit Insurance Corporation (DIC) provides depositing insurance coverage for eligible deposit held at member banks offering safety nets for depositors in the event of bank failures.  These initiatives, coupled with oversight of the financial sector, conduct authority and the promotion of financial education programmes contribute a robust frame work that prioritises costumer protection and foster’s trust in South Africa’s Financial System. 

                   HON. MAMBIPIRI: My point of order is that according to rule Number 38, the quorum for this House should be 70 members. I have done a head count and I notice we are low below the quorum.

                   THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I direct that bells be rung for seven (7) minutes.

          [Bells rung]

          [Quorum formed]

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We now have a quorum and we can proceed.

HON. A. MAVUNGA: Allow me to pick from where I left off. By studying these international benchmarks and best practices, we can bring valuable insights into effective strategies for enhancing depositor protection and fostering confidence at the new ZiG currency which might bring currency stability.  From deposit insurance schemes to financial education initiatives, there is much we can learn from the experiences of other nations and adapt to the unique context of Zimbabwe.  We must strengthen regulatory oversight to prevent malpractice and misconduct within the banking sector. This entails enhancing the capacity of regulatory bodies to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with the credential standards.

Madam Speaker, one of the key reasons people turn to the informal sector is lack of trust in banks and financial institutions. They may fear losing their savings due to bank failures, mismanagement or lack of transparency. However, if effective depositor protection measures are in place, individuals are more likely to feel secure about depositing their funds in regulated banks. This shift towards formal banking channels can reduce reliance on cash transactions and informal financial networks, ultimately contributing to a more transparent and accountable financial ecosystem and in the end, it could as well result in an increase in Government revenue.

          Secondly, we must prioritise transparency and accountability in the operations of financial institutions.  Deposit insurance schemes should be reinforced to provide a safety net for depositors in the event of bank failures, thereby mitigating the adverse impact of such crisis on the broader economy.  Furthermore, we must promote financial literacy and consumer awareness to empower depositors with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions about their financial assets.  Like I mentioned before, I did not know about depositors protection until the bank closed and until I lost my money.  So it is important for the relevant authorities to take time to educate depositors about such programmes, educating the public about their rights and responsibilities as depositors is essential to fostering a culture of financial resilience and responsibility.

          Lastly Madam Speaker, in a study which I found through Oxford Academic done by Johnathan Tembo on ‘Economic Management in a Hyper Inflationary Environment, the Political Economy of Zimbabwe’ in Chapter 7 titled ‘Seven Bank Failures in Zimbabwe, Evidence and Lessons from 2000 to 2009’.  Tembo states, using secondary data, it finds that micro economic stability was largely responsible for the failure of banks in Zimbabwe.  In addition, bank fundamental weaknesses were also partially responsible for the bank failures.

          In 2015, CEO James Benoit of AfrAsia Bank said the difficulties that AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe was facing arose primarily from legacy issues within the bank and the difficult economic environment within the country.  Madam Speaker, in as much as we look into the future and in as much as we introduce regulatory frameworks that protect depositors, it is important to note that the difficult economic environment was largely brought about by sanctions introduced by the West and advocated for by opposition party leaders.  With that Madam Speaker, let us be cognisant of the brutal effects of sanctions prior to the closure of these banks and on the financial sector as we advocate for the review of the depositors’ protection regulatory framework.  The patriotic Bill must be passed to deter sellout tendencies that call out for sanctions, which in turn affect the economic stability of this country. This in turn affects the financial services of this country which consequently leads to the masses that deposit their money losing their money, thereby crying foul on the Government and yet it would not be the fault of the Government.

          In conclusion, as we endeavour to strengthen the depositor protection in Zimbabwe and bolster confidence in our new currency,  let us draw inspiration from international benchmarks and practices by leveraging lessons learnt from other countries. We can start to chart a course towards a more secure resilient financial system that serves the interests of all Zimbabweans and promotes the success of our currency.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. MUTOKONYI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I also rise to debate on the motion.  The Depositors Protection Corporation was established in 2003 through the enactment of the Depositors Protection Act.  Madam Speaker, this was after the Government had noted that surely the depositors need to be protected at law and thus led to the enactment of the Chapter 24.29 of the DPC Act.

          I will start Madam Speaker, with the importance of the Corporation.  It is to protect the depositors as it provides the depositors in the event of the bank failure within the corporation, ensuring individuals and businesses do not lose all of their eligible deposits.  In addition, the importance of the same is the financial stability.  The Corporation guarantees the reimbursements.  It contributes to the stability of Zimbabwe’s financial systems as all the depositors would know that in the event of anything somehow, there is some kind of cover.  It is an insurance of their hard-earned cash.

          Also, the importance is the public confidence.  When we have that Corporation and work in place properly and formally, it ensures public confidence in the financial systems by providing explicit protection to depositors which can prevent the bank runs.  Another important aspect is the Corporation establishes a framework for the resolution of failing or of failed members in the institution. They come up with the frameworks to that.

However Madam Speaker, there are also shortcomings to the Corporation concerning its operation, particularly where it states that it only reimburses $500 and $1 000 equivalent to the ZiG.  The challenge Madam Speaker then is one depositor could have deposited $10 000 and is only assured of getting only $500 equivalent.  What does this mean?  It then brings in the issue of confidence whereby one is not sure that in the event of the bank failure, one would then know that they are only going to get $500 at that time and then later on after the assets have been disposed and that could take a lot of time.  So that is one of the shortcomings on the issue of the insurance.

          Also, the issue of public awareness.  A lot of people are not aware of this Corporation in terms of what it covers and this might bring a lack of public awareness about the existence of this DPC to the extent of its coverage, as I have actually learnt that after I was to debate on the motion that it only covers $500.  So this means that quite a lot also has to be done from the supervisory systems of the bank from this Corporation to ensure that the depositors are actually made aware of how this Corporation works, particularly on the issue of paying back the depositors.

          The other challenge is the shortcoming of the financial constraints.  The DPC is funded by quarterly premium levies collected from the member institutions, which might not always be sufficient to cover large scales in the back of bank failures.  Therefore, it is also a challenge to that whereby the banks will have more deposits and then in the event of one bank failure, only a lesser amount is paid at that time until and otherwise all the other assets are disposed.

          The other challenges is for the DPC to be fully implemented and effective several steps should be considered. These include the increase of coverage to review and potentially increase the maximum insurable limit to provide more comprehensive coverage to the depositors. 

Another one is public education to conduct wide spread education campaign to increase awareness of the DPC and its benefits.  Also Mr. Speaker, in the issue of strengthening the funding to explore additional funding mechanisms to ensure that the DPC has adequate resources to cover depositors claims, the other issue is on the regular assessments.  The supervisory systems, particularly the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should actually make a policy of assessing from time to time the assets and liabilities of the banks so that they can quickly detect the challenges that might come in the near future because if the RBZ does not make sure that there is stability; it is the duty of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that the banks are all operating in the required systems and standards. So, I actually challenge the RBZ to ensure that there is actually a robust system that covers, that ensures and monitors the antennas that monitors that the banks  are all in healthy conditions and if there is any risk, they should be able to quickly detect and work on it before the depositors lose their funds because it then brings the issue of confidence in the banking system.

A lot of people up to now are not sure they should deposit all their monies because of what earlier happened in the same systems. So, we actually think that this DPC is a good corporation because it covers the public but there is more work that needs to be done in the banking system peculiarly the supervisory systems of the bank to ensure that the history does not repeat itself.  The issue of also benchmarking checking on the international best practices.  How are other countries doing it?  It is also very important to also look on that and then we apply to our system in Zimbabwe because at times it is always proper because that will be a strategy to ensure that the people get the confidence of banking their money into the banking system.

 Once the money is banked in the form of banking system, we also then see stability from that angle where there is a good liquidity in the market, in the banks landing and all things like that because the banks will be saturated with more liquidity.  So, it is very important Mr. Speaker that the DPC’s role is crucial in maintaining trust in the banking system and its full implementation and significantly enhanced the resilience of Zimbabwe’s financial sector. 

So, Mr. Speaker, I can comment the work that the government did by ensuring coming up with that corporation and it is now the duty of all the banks to make sure they manage the depositors funds in a good and proper cooperative governance to make sure that the depositors do not lose their  funds and that will bring economic stability in the country. I do submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. B. JAMES: Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity.  Due to general consensus on this motion, realising the importance of it and the protection for our depositors; the Zimbabwean banking sector has been under some criticism of late and it is partly due to the lack of confidence in our local currencies and lack of deposits. With this lack of confidence, it is also partly due to inconsistent government policies. It is money that makes the world go around and possession of it and the assets that you can buy requires the safety-nets that really are in the Constitution, country laws and national laws and adherence and what implementation of these laws can provide.

The protection of Depositors Act is in serious need of adjustment and if done diligently, can provide a lot of this confidence. We need to encourage our population to save their electronic assets and bank their cash and not hide it in the safe at home. The success of this effort is in the detail and it is better that we realise that consistent policies can earn this confidence. Commercial banks go down to the tune of Government policy. We remember well the unrealistic exchange rate of 1:1 in the past years. There are many details to be addressed and sorting out and strengthening this Act, bank charges and interest rates have to be realistic, insecure and defaulting loans have to be addressed, prompt pay outs to the depositors in the relative currency must be done to avoid loss of valuation.  

Bank boards and directors must be accountable to avoid speculators. There is always a possibility in that if an institution is failing, speculators will come in and deposit in everything, something worth considering. The investment of the funds that is being proposed here needs to be administered in a detailed manner. These are many details to be addressed Mr. Speaker and many more can be done by more professional persons. I can only suggest that the lawmakers here consult with the Bankers Association and the Institute of Chartered Accountants amongst others. I support this motion and look forward to the final draft coming through this House. Thank you. 

HON. KAITANO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Sir.  Good afternoon to you and I hope you are doing well.  I am going to premise my debate as my custom is on 1 Sam 17:29 and David says ‘what have I done now, is there not a cause?’  Mr. Speaker. Sir, any money, any currency is very sensitive to news, whether the news is factual or fake news.  Any currency reacts to that.  Protection of all depositors’ funds can never be overemphasised.  The negative effects and consequences of lack of proper and effective protection system are enormous.

People lose confidence in the financial sector and that alone affects economic fundamentals in that particular economy.  Some of the economic fundamentals that are prone to fake news, lack of trust in the financial services sector include foreign direct investment.  It also includes the inflows of foreign currency into the currency.  No investor would want to invest in an economy where there is no stable currency because people have lost trust in that financial services sector.  When people lose money in the financial sector, when depositors have not been adequately and effectively protected, the economy becomes highly volatile.  You might be aware that USD 2.1 billion is sent by Zimbabwean residents outside this country as diaspora remittances.

These come through the formal channels.  I can imagine how much more is being sent into the country outside the formal sector.  The reason being depositors’ funds are not adequately protected. If there is a curtailment of inflows of forex into the country, the balance of payments in the economy is negatively affected. 

The transfer payments account is negatively affected.  That alone, affects the exchange rate of the local currency.  When there is exchange rate volatility, the other economic fundamentals such as inflation are also negatively affected.  It is said in Zimbabwe the bulk of our inflation is by and large, driven by exchange rate volatility.  Therefore, there is a cause for this House to amend the Deposit Protection Corporation Act to make it even more water tight.  There is a cause for this Tenth Parliament to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the depositors are protected.  We may mourn about what has happened before.  We may bring up different philosophies and theories, but the buck stops with this Parliament when we stand up to our role and help in amending the Deposit Protection Cooperation Act to ensure that it is water tight and does not allow a repeat of what has happened in this country. 

          Is there no cause for this Tenth Parliament to rise up to the occasion to protect the citizenry of this country?  The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe led by His Excellence Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, has risen to the occasion.  It has done all that is required to stir the economy into the right direction and to correct the most critical of the economic fundamentals in this country.  Even His Excellency during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), spoke about this Deposit Protection Cooperation Act.  He has done his part.  It is this Parliament that needs to rise up to the occasion, take its position and assist the Executive in ensuring that depositors’ funds are adequately protected. 

          Is there no cause for this Parliament to expeditiously do so?  For me, this issue we do not have time anymore because people have worked over the years and the next day they are brought to nothing.  This Tenth Parliament cannot be seen sleeping on duty.  We have to act on this matter and act on it expeditiously because there is reason for us to do that to protect what the nation of Zimbabwe has worked for over many years.

          The Government of Zimbabwe has introduced the ZiG and if we do not rise up as Parliament to protect the depositors’ funds, confidence in the ZiG will dissipate day by day.  We need to assure the public, the Zimbabwean people that depositing your money in the financial services sector is safe when we enact or amend this Depositors Protection Cooperation Act in order to restore confidence in the financial services.  The Executive has done its work. The ZiG is there, but Parliament must rise up to the occasion and bring forward laws that protect people’s funds in the financial services sector. 

As I conclude Mr. Speaker Sir, the strength of a currency is not only in the gold or forex, it is also in the perception of people about that currency; the perception of people with regards to protection of the deposits, and that is a critical element that this Parliament needs to zero down on and amend the Act of 2012 and surely when that confidence in the Zimbabwean economy is furthermore enhanced, we are able to then continue operating using the ZiG.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

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

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that all the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 7 has been disposed of.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION ON THE ELECTION

OBSERVATION MISSION TO RUSSIA

Seventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation on the Election Observation Mission to Russia.

Question again proposed.

          HON. CHIDUWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to debate the report on the election observation mission that went to Russia which report was moved and tabled by Hon. Shamu, seconded by Hon. Makwiranzou. 

          Hon. Speaker, the report, when it was presented by Hon. Shamu, was presented the same day President Vladmir Putin took his Presidential Oath to the people of Russia and was inaugurated as the President of Russia.  I think the timing of the presentation of the report coincided with the President taking oath.  To me that was quite significant.  The invitation of the Zimbabwe delegation to observe the elections is a vote of confidence in our systems and the capacity as a country.  As Zimbabwe, we need to be happy that we are being invited to observe elections, not only at regional level but at international level. 

Hon. Speaker, elections were done in line with the Russian Federation Electoral Legal Framework which included the Constitution of Russia.  It is very critical for us to note that whenever elections are done, it is the supremacy of the Constitution that takes precedence over any other protocols that we might have.  We can draw parallels even to our own situation that whenever elections are done, we need to ensure that we abide to our Constitution and this is what we have been doing. 

The delegation observed elections in line with the terms of reference defined by the Central Electoral Commission of Russia.   I want to applaud and commend the delegation for sticking to their mandate.  Why I am saying this is, election observation is meant to gather information and make an informed judgment without interfering with the process.  What we have seen with quite a number of observers, when they are invited to observe, they end up monitoring and supervising.

It is also very critical Hon. Speaker, that if you look at Geopolitics, Russia is our all-weather friend and the invitation is a testament to the deepening of our relations between Zimbabwe and Russia.  It is also in line with the provisions of the National Development Strategy One (NDS1), where we have got the priority area on engagement and reengagement. 

Hon. Speaker, you can take note that after the Land Reform Programme, Zimbabwe was put under sanctions and the main motive was to make Zimbabwe appear like a pariah State.  The coming in of the Second Republic, one priority area out of the 14 priority areas under the NDS1 was for Zimbabwe to engage and reengage, guided by the foreign policy where Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none.  So, this again is covered by the report. 

I also want to mention that the invitation gave us an opportunity to learn and benchmark from others, especially on the issue of election management.  The application of ICT in election management, this was very critical, especially if you look at the voting stations.  I saw the recommendation in the report that we need to deploy ICT in election management.  I want to take you to some statistics, Hon. Speaker, Russia had 114 million registered voters and they had 94 000 polling stations.  If you divide, you will get a rough figure of 1 200 voters per polling station.  Then we juxtapose that to our case, we had 6.6 million registered voters, that is in 2023.  6.6 million registered voters against 12 370 polling stations, giving an average of 535 registered voters per polling station. 

Now, you look at 1 200 registered voters per polling station for Russia, then 535 registered voters per polling station for Zimbabwe.  At 535 registered voters per polling station, if it was going to be in Russia, we were going to require 213 000 polling stations, yet they had 94 000.  So, the difference that is coming in here is because of ICT.  Automation increased efficiency and it also reduced the cost of running elections.  This is noble, but I think what is critical Hon. Speaker is the ownership of the ICT systems.  The ICT system, inasmuch as the committee recommended that we need to embrace ICT. 

There is need for the ICT systems to be homegrown.  The country should invest in cyber security and if we do not do this, there is high probability that if we do not own the systems, they are likely to be tinkered around with. There is also the issue to access voting or polling stations for individuals with special needs. I think this is a recommendation that we need to seriously consider and I totally agree with the recommendation that we need to seriously look at all our polling stations and make sure that they are special needs friendly.

          As I conclude, dynamic and continuous voting which was also recommended may not work for us because of mistrust and toxic politics. It is something that can be applied if we have invested in ICT systems and all the stakeholders are agreeable to that. With our current situation of mistrust, I do not think we can embrace continuous voting at any polling stations. What I would want to recommend is let us invest in home grown voter ICT management and I close by applauding the team for sticking to their mandate and representing Zimbabwe so well.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to add my voice to the report that was presented by Hon. Shamu detailing what they observed in Russia during the 2024 Presidential Election. I would want to appreciate that the team brought to the attention of this Parliament, the key issues which we have also been clamouring for in Zimbabwe. I will highlight a few issues that I think should be also considered by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

          Firstly, the issue of the use of ICTs. It is stated in the report that Russian elections made use of ICTs in terms of voting. It made it easier for the people of Russia to vote. People in Russia can actually vote using their mobile phones and this also enabled people to vote even from home. Something that I think there is need to consider the adoption of ICTs in our country for this also helps to make sure that there is universal suffrage for our people. This is in line with the Constitution that everyone has a right to vote. So, adoption of ICTs in terms of voting is really crucial and we recommend it.

          There is also consideration in the Russian system of persons with special needs. Those persons with disabilities were given special access to the voting places in Russia according to the report that was presented. This is also commendable. We also hope that our Government, the Executive, will also consider to expand the opportunities of persons with disabilities and to improve their access to voting. I am sure they also constitute a considerable percentage in our country and need to be considered in line also with the Constitution, even in Senate, we have representatives of persons with disabilities. So, it will be good also for the Government of this country to consider adoption of that.

          We also listened to the report where we were informed that the Russians who are in the diaspora were also allowed to vote. In Zimbabwe, we have been calling for the diaspora vote. The people who are living in the diaspora, I strongly feel that they need to contribute. If you go back to the history of Pan-Africanism, it was started by the people who were living in the diaspora and they were pushing also for the decolonisation of Africa. They still continue to contribute to our economy. Even if you check the remittances that they bring to our country, for example in Zimbabwe, it meets the need also to be afforded the right to vote because they remain connected to their mother country but they are disconnected when it comes to the issue of voting. Therefore, there is need maybe to dig deeper the modalities that were being used by the Russian Government to ensure that the people who are in the diaspora also participate in the voting process.

          However, Mr. Speaker Sir, I have a few issues which, some of the issues were not contained in the report but also published by other reporters and these are in the public domain. I would want to commend for example, there was a record that was done. The winning candidate got 88% of the votes; something that was too high and I think he had to break a record since the end of Soviet Union. The other issues which we also need to take note of as an all-weather friend of Russia, we may also need to highlight these issues in this House.

          The eligibility of the winning candidate was made possible through a constitutional amendment of 2020. It is something that we also should take note of which may also be against democratic principles where the incumbent benefitted from a constitutional amendment that was done when the incumbent was still in office and this may also have possibly tainted the re-election of this candidate. The other issue was that of another candidate Navalyn who was barred from running due to a prior criminal conviction. This conviction was viewed by other quotas as politically motivated and it would result maybe to some, to think that it was a lawfare at play and it is something that may not augur well with …

          HON. TOGAREPI: The Hon. Member should stick to the report. The report has facts that were put in there but he is now creating some perceptions and information that is not related to the report. The previous debater said go and observe and he was not part of the delegation. Now, he wants to know everything that happened during the elections. I do not know why he is doing that. I think the Hon. Member will help us by not digressing. Let him concentrate on the report as was presented by the mover of the motion.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, please stick to the report.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: We love Russia because our war veterans were trained in Russia and we continue to get support in a number of ways. So, I was thinking there are things that maybe it is because our delegation only visited seven (7) polling stations, they could not, maybe because of the limited time, they did not manage to dig deeper on these other issues about the candidate that I was referring to, it is sad and may his soul rest in peace. He later died in prison. So it is something that as democrats, we must be concerned with and as our all weather friend, we must be able to be candid to say can you improve in these areas.

                   There is no election in this world that can be free of faults.  So we hope that the Russian Government will really consider our plea to sort out certain issues in their election.  However, I will go to other things that were also raised in the report.  You see in terms of the invalid votes in Russia, they recorded 1.4 million invalid votes that were blank, ballots that were blank.  This can also be a black mark on the outcome of the elections that also needs improvement.  If we are serious that we want to copy from Russia, then we must copy things that are good for the old adage in Zimbabwe says kukopa dhoiri kopa dhoiri rakanaka or kugara nhaka huona dzevamwe.

                    It means that we must then pick those things that are good for our country. Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, l would also want to give others a chance but all in all, I also implore that whenever we also send a delegation, it is under tax payers’ money.  They should also bring to us everything that would have happened where they would have been send thank you.

          HON. MAVUNGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the report by Hon. W. K. Shamu, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  I think there are a number of lessons that we can draw from their visit and from their report.  However, I will just talk about two important points that were raised by the report.

          First of all, the report speaks on the inclusion of people with disabilities, which is very important in the spirit of inclusivity that when an election is held, people with disabilities are thought of, included and catered for in the whole process so that they participate in an election.  So it is commendable that the Russian Federation clearly and intentionally included people living with disabilities.  I can confidently also add that our own elections included people living with disabilities.  So I think Zimbabwe is on track concerning the inclusion of people living with disabilities.

          Secondly, we notice that in the report, there is mention of the use of online portals, ICT in the voting process which I think is also commendable for a country that is a first world country.  When we look at a developing country like Zimbabwe, there is a conducive environment, certain things that have to be in place in order to get to that stage.  It poses a lot of advantages having an online platform that it saves calls, provides efficiency, convenience and safety and looking at the number of voters that the Russian Federation had, I think it was critical that they take advantage of online voting platforms unlike in our case in Zimbabwe where we have a smaller population and a smaller number of voters.  We can certainly manage to manually cater for our voters.

          We saw that in the report that the youth demography preferred to vote on line compared to the older demography that preferred to go into the polling station and voting manually.  For our country to get to a stage where they can embrace ICT in terms of voting, I think certain things have to be in place first.  For example, a previous debater stated that their ICT solution has to be home grown.  In other words, Zimbabwe has to be in control of that solution and not borrow that solution from another country or have the servers of that solution being run in another country.

          Our cyber security has to be of top notch.  It has to be at a stage whereby it can avoid any breaches to its system, avoid any tampering of the system.  We saw that an anti-State organisation called Pachedu was bragging about hacking into ZEC’s website, ZEC’s systems and going on line and making noise about it which shows that it was dangerous for us as a State to have online voting because organisations like Pachedu can tamper with the systems.  Our cyber security has to be home grown, it has to be top notch in order to defend the country from such practices which were displayed by Pachedu and they are masters.  In line with digitalisation, with a vision of digitalising Zimbabwe it is safe to say that Zimbabwe is on its way to providing such an environment.  So we can take notes from Russia. 

          In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, the lessons learnt and recorded in the report are quite good and we can clap hands for Hon. Shamu and the delegation for giving us such a comprehensive report. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Is there any debate?

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Yes Hon. Speaker.

          HON.TOGAREPI:  When your Chief Whip has seconded?

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  Zvinebasa rei?  The question was posed, is there any further debate and I said yes – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Madzivanyika you are out of order.  Please take your seat and switch off the microphone.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 15th May, 2024.

          On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. HAMAUSWA, the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.     

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