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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 FEBRUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 30

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 15th February, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

THE HON. SPEAKER: All the Hon Members who are coming in now, can you go back. Go back Hon. Members. Clerks, please take their names.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

VACANCIES IN PARLIAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER: On the 29th and 31st of January 2024, Parliament received letters from Ms. Fadzayi Mahere and Mr. Allan Markham respectively, advising of their resignation from Parliament with immediate effect, in accordance with Section 129 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

 

        Section 129 (1) (b) states as follows: “… a seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant upon the Member resigning his or her seat by written notice to the President of the Senate or to the Speaker, as the case may be…”. Ms. Mahere was a Member of Parliament for Mount Pleasant Constituency and Mr. Markham was a Member of Parliament for Harare East Constituency. Consequently, vacancies exist in the membership of Parliament, in respect of the two constituencies, and in terms of Section 39 (1) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], His Excellency the President and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, shall duly be notified in writing of these vacancies.

NEW APPOINTMENTS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House of the following new appointments:

  1. Tsitsi Zhou is now a member of the Speaker’s Panel;
  2. Chinjai Kambuzuma is the Deputy Government Chief Whip;
  3. Sen. Sessel Zvidzai is the Chief Whip for the CCC Party in the Senate
  4. N. Ndlovu is the Chief Whip for CCC Party;
  5. Dr. S. Hamauswa is the Deputy Chief Whip for CCC Party;
  6. W. Chikombo and Hon. T. Mawodzera are members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders;
  7. S. Ndebele is the Deputy Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus;
  8. C. Chinanzvavana is the Secretary for the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus;
  9. Sen. M. G. Gwature, is the Organiser for the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus;
  10. M. Mureri is a member of the Parliamentary Legal Committee;
  11. P. Mutseyami is a member of the IPU delegation;
  12. G. Hlatywayo is a member of the ACP-EU delegation;
  13. M. Chakabuda is a member of the ASSECAA delegation; and
  14. M. N. Gumede is the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Congratulations to all of them – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Three Members of Parliament having walked in:

The Hon. Members who are coming in now, out of the House. You are sitting down, but I am saying out of the House. You have to be here at 1405 hours – [AN HON. MEMBER: But we do not have transport and we were waiting for the bus.] – I announced yesterday that you have to be here at 1405 hours everybody and you are losing today’s sitting allowance.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Allow me Mr. Speaker to present responses to the issues raised by Hon. Members, relative to His Excellency’s Address on the First Session of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe.

On the 13th December, 2023, Hon. Chiduwa raised an issue and he wanted to inquire whether the Ministry of National Housing and Ministry of Finance are exploring any alternative housing funding models. Our response is that the Ministry is working with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion together with the Infrastructural Bank of Zimbabwe to access international lines of credit. Currently, we are crafting project proposals as the basis upon which we are going to draw down the $25 million which has been presented to Government by Shelter Afrique, a Pan-African Bank based in Kenya.

Furthermore, we are exploring Public-Private-Partnership models with international and domestic investors to provide social housing to Zimbabweans. Currently, project proposals have been prepared and some have been submitted to Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) and others are at different levels of conclusion. The Ministry has also sent requests for proposals where we are advertising to the market to attract local developers to partner Government on housing delivery on an engineering, procurement, construction and financial basis.

The Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy has liberalised the housing delivery which allowed private sector participation among other players such as banks, financial institutions, civil societies, pension funds and individuals.

On the 29th of November, 2023, Hon. Guyo raised an issue to understand how the Ministry of National Housing would respond to issues to do with shelter after a natural disaster. Shelter after a natural disaster is responded to in the following phases;

  1. Emergency shelter; the Ministry of Local Government and

Public Works, through the Department of Civil Protection Unit, provides stands as temporary shelter to affected families.

  1. Replacement and relocation shelter; the Government through

the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities then provides permanent structures for the affected families. For example, the Ministry is currently constructing flats in Dzivaresekwa and houses in Binga for families affected by floods.

  1. Long term shelter; the Ministry, in liaison with the Ministry of

Local Government and Public Works, the Environmental Management Agency and other MDA’s envisage to conduct a disaster risk mapping at the planning stage of every new settlement with the attendant mitigatory measures.

          On 9th November, 2023, Hon. T. Gezi wanted to understand what the Ministry is doing in terms of aligning the Water Act, Environmental Management Act and the Regional Town Planning Act and Urban Councils Act with Section 77 of the Constitution on the right to water. The Ministry does not administer any of these Acts, but as an interested party, we participate when called to as this requires a whole Government approach.

          On the 18th October, 2023, Hon. Kanupula wanted to understand how Harare South namely; Hopley, Alston, Eyecourt and Stoneridge should be issued with title deeds as what is being done to Epworth. The Government, through the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, is currently seized with the matter of title deeds programme nationwide. There is an Inter-Ministerial Committee in place that is working on the issue of title deeds. Epworth was a pilot project and the process is being phased until all areas are covered. I submit Mr. Speaker.  

THE MINISTER OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, DEVELOPMENT AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING (HON. MACHAKAIRE):  I would like to thank the Hon. Members for fruitful deliberations on His Excellency the President’s Speech. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I followed the debate on the motion in reply to the President’s address and my Ministry responds as follows:

Drafting of the Youth Bill

The Youth Bill is very important to provide for mechanisms to facilitate mainstreaming of the youth in social, economic and political spaces.  The Youth Bill was drafted and submitted to the Attorney-General on the 15th of August 2022.  Follow ups were made over the period and the instructions were re-submitted on the 1st of February 2024.  The Ministry is confident that the Bill will be sent to Cabinet Committee on Legislation and to Cabinet for consideration by the end of February 2024.

On the increase in drug and substance abuse amongst the youth, Mr. Speaker Sir,  the Ministry has put in place the following programmes:

  1. National Youth Service Training

Youth orientation for life skills and self-sustenance and also participation in the Youth Build Zimbabwe Programme.  Under the programme, youth are encouraged to participate in the development of their communities through construction and rehabilitation of schools, clinics and other infrastructure.  The programme keeps youth engaged and away from drug and substance abuse.

Further, challenges emanating from drug and substance abuse which includes vandalism, indiscipline and other youth delinquencies will be addressed through intensive education.  The Ministry is looking at starting training of the National Youth Service and to this end, is developing a national orientation manual to be used in all provinces to keep the youth away from drug and substance abuse.

  1. The Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC)

Through the ZYC, education and awareness campaigns against drug and substance abuse are provided to the youth through the youth associations that the ZYC regulates.

Additionally, there is mainstreaming of youth programming by regulating National Youth Associations with the ZYC for engagement in youth programmes.

  1. Vocational Training Centres

The youth are idle, hence focusing their energy on drug and substance abuse.  The Vocational Training Centres provide competence-based training to youth people which integrates entrepreneurship and business.

To date, more than 75 000 young people have been empowered by the skills training initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry and the decentralisation drive will ensure that all young people and communities have skills that are underpinned with the entrepreneurial drive.

  1. Youth Empowerment

The Micro Bank provides funding for youth projects which aid in keeping the youth busy and off the streets.  The Ministry, through the Youth Fund, offers project loans to the youth as individuals and in groups for youth empowerment.   I thank you.

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

HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 27th February, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  I move that we revert to Orders of the Day, Numbers 2, 6, 7, 8 and 10 in that order.

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR HARMONISED ELECTIONS FOR THE YEAR 2023

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

Question again proposed.

*HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Since the harmonised elections up to now, it is a continuous process of elections, yet many are winding up.  Six by-elections were recently held, but we realise that there are some who are also winding up and so, ZEC is continuously conducting elections.  I would like to applaud ZEC for a job well done in terms of conducting elections.  The first thing I would like to highlight is the cleaning of the voters’ roll.  The deceased were removed and only those who are progressive-minded remained. 

The other difficult thing was the delimitation of constituencies.  There was need for education on delimitation and that means a lot of funds were supposed to be availed so that people would understand the whole process of looking for their names since it is a polling station-based voters’ roll.  The changing of constituencies consumed a lot of money for ZEC to continue educating people on the new boundaries, but ZEC succeeded on that.  ZEC also faced problems with regards to registering voters because it seems there was not enough public education and that spilled into the issue of delimitation.  We then realised that some of the constituencies had very few people, but by the time voter education was conducted, many people had not received the education.  So people were not sure which place they belonged to.  I think ZEC and the Ministry of Home Affairs must always work together because there is no need for someone in need of an identity card to take long to get it before they can register to vote.  I think there is need to rectify that. 

          With regards to education on the actual polling, ZEC tried very hard, but if you look at the number of spoiled papers, there were so many of them, which implies that voter education was insufficient because in a ward with about 3000 people who are supposed to vote, if we see 800 spoilt papers, it means there is need for correction and financial resources for voter education.  Everyone needs to participate in the election of their Government.  I also want to applaud ZEC on how they conducted themselves with regards to campaigning or advertising.  They gave everyone the opportunity to advertise.  I realise that they gave equal opportunities even to small parties like Madhuku and it means ZEC did a very good job in conscientising the public. 

When it came to registration, some parties did not have money to register their candidates, but they were given an opportunity after the deadline to register.  So ZEC also did well.  Even some people who wanted to contest as presidents were allowed to participate in the election.  Even if they lost, they understood there was democracy in the country.  So I am applauding ZEC for that as well. 

I would also like to highlight that before, during and after the elections, it was very peaceful in Zimbabwe and there was no violence.  This shows that Zimbabwe has grown in terms of politics.  In the past, a lot of violence was witnessed.  In life, we have a political life and a social life.  In Zimbabwe, people prioritise social life and during the liberation struggle, we were told that political parties are like overalls that you can put on today and discard tomorrow for another one.  This means you can join any party that may be called CCC, MDC-T or MDC-N or whatever name.  However, that is not something that you have to chase every time because those phases come and pass. 

*HON. MAKUMIRE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  May the Hon. Member stick to debating the report.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mapiki, can you please debate what is in the report.

*HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  When a report comes, we should be allowed to expand our creativity instead of acting like robots that are programmed.  At the end, we will become limited in terms of achieving our goals.  I was saying ZEC is supposed to be applauded for what they did in terms of allowing various candidates to participate.  I realise that ZEC was supposed to follow a lot of laws in terms of announcing election results, even if some people tried to put their broadcasting centres in Harare. I would like to applaud the security in this country for quickly nipping that in the bud before it happened because ZEC is the one supposed to announce election results. 

Although there were challenges because ZEC invited everyone to come and observe elections, some of them had premeditated agendas when they came.  We also had some who were observing, but we realised that they started telling us issues that were contrary to the Constitution of this country.  Observers are supposed to stick to the laws of the country.  The EU, who were part of the observers ended up giving their opinions and suggestions and they spread that to other observers such as SADC. Nevers Mumba from Zambia was given words to utter, but at the end, he was not able to achieve their set goals.  In Zimbabwe, we say if you are supposed to go to Nineveh, go there and not go to Tarshish because there are some people who behave like Jonah who was swallowed by a fish.  I was so much disturbed by what happened in Shamva because of the actions of Nevers Mumba as the leader of SADC. That also happened in 2008, people are given words to speak by organisations like European Union. We realise that right now in Senegal, they have postponed their elections because there is interference.  They realised that they should get rid of interference before they can conduct elections. In this country, we have also institutions that influence institutions like ECOWAS. There are several foundations that are being conducted to train the youths to go against the Government, organisations such as the Mandela Foundation. The foundations are led by former Nigerian President Obasanjo. Those organisations disturb what happens. There are a lot of other institutions and some youths who are influenced by such foundations such as Bobi Wine in Uganda. Even in this country, there are a lot of youths who try to distabilise the country. If you go to Kenya, you realise that there are leaders like Raila Odinga…

HON. MUROMBEDZI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Hon. Member is deviating from the ZEC report. May he please stick to the ZEC report? Thank you very much.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you. Hon. Mapiki, please may you stick to the ZEC report.

HON. MUGWADI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I stand guided. When we are debating a report, are we supposed to stick to it like mathematicians who are counting one to ten such that you should not refer to 20? What I understand is, it appears as though to me that there is the side that is infuriated in the typical Shona proverb, anyumwa bere nderake. Hon. Mapiki is giving a contemporary reflection and circumstances around where these elections took place and this report was generated. I therefore, feel that we are not being fair to the Hon. Member, especially when he is giving contemporary examples to what is existing. Vanenge vanyumwa bere nderavo Madam Speaker, ngavatakure bere ravo asi hazvifaniri kuti rirege kutakurwa. Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mugwadi, the procedure is that we must speak about the contents which are in the report. We must not bring any other issues.

HON. MUGWADI: Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mapiki, please may you proceed, but may you stick to the ZEC report.

*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to proceed and say, ZEC did a commendable job although I am afraid that I am old and now have grey hair. If we leave this country, when we discuss domestic issues, we find a lot of deviances, but that is very worrisome. I really want to applaud the job well done by ZEC. The challenges that came up and what we saw, I think ZEC needs adequate funding, especially with regards to voter education. When we also get to delimitation after 10 years, there is supposed to be a lot of voter education to ensure that people participate in the election. After five years, we expect that most of these parties must be organised so that they do not continue giving ZEC a job of continuously conducting elections. We have spent a lot of time on elections, even seasons change, even a cow is supposed to be given time to ensure that its milk has regained. Right now, we see some people are resigning and we do not know what is happening. Where are we going when we are continuously on elections? We are under sanctions and the economy is difficult. I thank you Madam Speaker.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

LEADER OF OPPOSITION

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would like to inform the House that Hon. Hlatywayo is now the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.

HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank you for allowing me to debate on this very important ZEC report. The ZEC is one of Independent Commissions provided for in Chapter 12, Section 232 of our Constitution. It has the following mandate: “To support and entrench human rights and democracy; to protect the sovereignty and interests of the people of Zimbabwe and to promote constitutionalism among other objectives”. Currently, the Chairperson of ZEC is Madam PriscIlla Chigumba. I would like to congratulate her on her reappointment for a second six-year term. In its 2023 report tabled before this august House, the Chairperson of the Commission said that elections are a hallmark of any democratic process because they afford citizens of any country an opportunity to choose leaders to govern them and provide legitimacy to those entrusted with the mandate to rule or govern. The function of the ZEC is very clear - “to prepare for, conduct and supervise elections to the Office of President and Parliament, councils and chiefs as well. To preside over elections of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of Parliament in an efficient manner and in accordance with the law. 

          The broader responsibility Madam Speaker, includes to register voters, compile a voters’ roll, carry out delimitations, voter education, accredit observers and receive complaints from members of the public, a process that results in an efficient, free, fair, prosperous and transparent election.  It is this mandate that ZEC successfully carried out and that I would like to congratulate the ZEC for a job well done.  It is in this process that due to this process that we have a President, His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa and all of us here as Members of Parliament.   We have all come from this very important exercise which was carried out by ZEC. 

          Madam Speaker, in its report, ZEC indicated that it carried out a delimitation exercise in which there were significant changes in the distribution of constituencies, the provinces as well as reconfiguration of existing constituencies.  The final Delimitation Report was gazetted by the President on the 28th February, 2023.  There were some people who were complaining of course, be they candidates or members of the public that the delimitation process was unfair.  As we saw Madam Speaker, this process affected everyone in this House. There was no discrimination as to who was impacted by this Delimitation Report. 

          The report also noted the provision of adequate and timeous funding of the electoral processes indicating the commitment of the Government of President E. D. Mnangagwa to the principle of holding peaceful, democratic elections every five years as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  The Commission further noted the peaceful environment before, during and after the election period, which again is testimony to the Zimbabwe Government’s mature democracy.

I will go on to tackle the topical issue on the composition of the Commission.  There were again some complaints from members of the public in which they said that the ZEC was improperly constituted and such allegations were in the media.  Madam Speaker, I would like to remind every concerned citizen that the process to choose Commissioners to ZEC is through advertisement of the position, invitation to the public to make nominations, conduct public interviews and preparation of a shortlist as well as submission of that list to the President for his selection of those who sit on the Commission. 

Madam. Speaker, it is my opinion that ZEC is properly constituted and any attempt to discredit the membership of ZEC is actually nefarious, mischievous and an attempt to discredit the credibility of our elections.  On the Constitution Amendment which ZEC undertook, which were actually carried out by our Constitution, the Constitutional Amendment of 2013, it is actually clear Madam Speaker that certain Constitutional Amendments were made which ZEC mentioned in its report and these include the repeal of a running mate clause, the introduction of a youth quota, and the introduction of proportional representation, metropolitan councils among other reforms.  The involvement of our youth through the youth quota system guarantees that this country will be able to maintain a smooth succession process as we are in the process of guiding and grooming our youth to be leaders of tomorrow.  To be leaders who are going to take up leadership positions in our country, this has been guaranteed by the youth quota system.  I want to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for making this milestone constitutional amendment which ZEC also mentioned in its report. 

On the nomination of candidates Madam Speaker, according to Section 91 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the qualifications for election of any person to the position of President are as follows:

Be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth or descent;

Be 40 years of age or above;

Be ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe and be a registered voter;

Madam Speaker Ma’am, ZEC follows these principles religiously as they carried out the 2023 Harmonised Elections. This resulted in 11 persons vying for the position of President, among them His Excellency the President, E. D. Mnangagwa who got in excess of 2.3 million votes to assume the Presidency – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Madam Speaker, I wish to urge this House to make further qualifications which will ensure that our elections are not marred by persistent disputes every time they are held.  I wish to urge this House to add an amendment to the effect that Presidential candidates in the past elections who make unfounded allegations of electoral fraud be barred from nomination as candidates in future elections. 

Madam Speaker Ma’am, where an individual makes false allegations of electoral fraud, they essentially give room to hostile countries to discredit the election and create chances of anarchy in the country.  I wish to categorically state that Mr. Nelson Chamisa has, over the past electoral periods, proven to be ignorant to the electoral processes leading to the democratic elections as he has maintained that he would only …

HON. MUROMBEDZI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Hon. Member is debating on people who are not Members of this House.  Can he retract his statement?  He cannot speak ill of somebody who is not a Member of this House.  I thank you.   

   THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  On Mutodi, in Parliament, we are not allowed to mention names of those people who are not in here or who cannot come here to defend themselves. 

HON. DR. MUTODI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I withdraw but I understand that the said people have representatives in this august House who can speak on his behalf. I wish to categorically state that such presidential candidates who have persistently made false allegation of electoral fraud be barred from being nominated as presidential candidates in future elections.

Madam Speaker, the will of the people must never be disrespected by any individual for his or her personal interest. A law must be therefore be brought before this august House by the end of 2024 to bar such individuals who in past have unreasonable or without evidence discredited the credibility of elections.  The law which must operate must also include individuals who have in the past directly or indirectly campaign or pass statements in support of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on the Republic of Zimbabwe.  Such individuals must therefore be barred from being nominated either as Presidential or National Assembly Members.  The qualifications for the Office of President must therefore include a citizen of Zimbabwe, be a registered voter, be 40 years or old, be nominated by at least 10 persons in each province, pay a US20 000 nomination fee.  The person should have passed  the vetting by ZEC for persons deemed to be a threat to democracy by means of having discredited  the national elections in the past or directly or indirectly called for sanctions.  ZEC therefore must maintain a list of such unpatriotic persons such that they know in advance ineligibility to be nominated for such public office. On the election observer reports Madam Speaker, a total of 10 597 local observers were accredited, 894 foreign observers, 970 local journalists and 51 foreign journalists were accredited making a total of over 12 000 election observers. The following observer missions were noted in the ZEC report namely SADC, the SEOM which had 68 representatives, the AU-COMESA which had 82 and the EU which had 152.

          The ZEC report notes that the elections were held in a peaceful, calm and transparent environment. They also noted that elections were held within constitutional and legal frameworks guiding the conduct of elections in the country. There were also some challenges that were reported such as the late distribution of ballot papers in some cases.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: The Hon. Member is actually reading a statement instead of debating.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, you are out of order. Hon. Mutodi please proceed.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: It is apparent that every Zimbabwean who wanted to vote was given an opportunity to do so as the election period was extended by another day from 23rd to 24th August. There is no reason why there should be complaints as to the late delivery of ballot papers in some polling stations. I take great exception to the behaviour demonstrated by the Head of the SADC Election Observer Mission, Dr. Nevers Mumba who came into Zimbabwe expecting only an opposition victory for the party led by one of the candidates.

          The head of the SEOM demonstrated ignorance of the law as he questioned the constitutional provisions which guide elections in Zimbabwe while seeming to suggest his own way, how the elections must be conducted in Zimbabwe. Further, the allegations that the SEOM report was informed by the views of the EU and leave us to suggest that Dr. Mumba is a regime change agent who was not supposed to, in the first place, be involved in the business of the SADC Election Observer Mission given his criminal record. It is therefore my suggestion that the Electoral Act be revised to allow ZEC to sanitise…

          HON. NYATHI: On a point of odder. I think you once corrected Hon. Mutodi not to mention names of people who are not here. May he kindly retract the name Nevers Mumba. He is not in this House.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Why are you protecting Nevers Mumba?

          HON. NYATHI: Because he is not in this House. That is why I am protecting him – [HON. KARENYI: Kana tavekuzoisa mazita musazotirambidze]-

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Karenyi, ndakunzwayi muchiti kana tavekuzotaurawo vanhu musazo complainer. Saka imimi munga complainer munhu weku Zambia. Hukama hwenyu naye hwauya papi?

HON. DR. MUTODI: Dr. Mumba was not supposed to be involved in the business of the SEOM given his criminal record. It is therefore vital that the Electoral Act be revised to allow ZEC to scrutinise the personal profiles of individuals seconded by SADC to observe elections in order to determine their suitability. The law must state that ZEC may reject any individuals seconded to participate in any mission based on specified or unspecified reasons, making the admission of observers reserved.

I also want to thank ZEC for a job well done in all electoral processes that it did, that is voter registration, voter education, polling, compilation of votes and announcements of results, a process described as exemplary by the SADC Chairperson, His Excellency, Joao Lourenco, President of the Republic of Angola.

As I am speaking, an Independent Electoral Commission of Botswana is in Zimbabwe on a benchmarking mission following the successful holding of elections in Zimbabwe by ZEC.  There are some who continue to hallucinate saying that SADC was going to direct fresh elections to be held in Zimbabwe, elections which we will not involve ZEC. Let me take this opportunity to categorically state that there will be no elections except those which are scheduled for 2028. There will also be no elections which ZEC will not preside over. ZEC is a constitutional body and as an Independent Commission, it will continue to carry out its mandate as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Let me also explain the role of SADC with regards to the governance system. SADC is an inter-governmental body whose membership include SADC countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC and Zimbabwe among others. These countries are in SADC independently and voluntarily. Each State retains its sovereignty and will never be subservient or be an appendage of any other State. Each State is unique and it comes into the SADC with its own uniqueness and interest. International examples to the SADC system include the EU which also carries out an inter-governmental system. The EU include powerful countries such as France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Denmark among others. These independent states maintain their independence and sovereignty. The EU Commission is a non-State actor and it does not interfere with the electoral processes of member countries.

It is our African citizens who continue to look down upon themselves upon the institutions of their own countries and this is deplorable. This must stop. I thank you.

*HON. P. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to debate on this motion. I would like to start by congratulating His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa for winning the August, 2023 elections. I also would like to applaud ZEC for a job well done. It was a very important task which contributes to the peace that this country is enjoying.

I also would like to congratulate Justice Chigumba for being appointed as the Chairperson of ZEC. It was realised that she has all the virtues that go with that post. I would like to also applaud the nation for maintaining peace after the elections, but hasten to say that the 24th August was an additional day because ballot papers were not distributed on time on the 23rd. I would like to applaud the President who realised that there was need for an extension after those hiccups.

On delimitation, as a representative of Mwenezi, I appreciate the delimitation process because we were given additional constituencies. All along we used to vote in numbers, but we had only two constituencies, yet we now have three constituencies. That was due to the delimitation process which realised that some of the constituencies were too big and in addition, that gave an opportunity to have everyone vote. Some constituencies had very few people although they were regarded as such, but now the population is equitable and that was a result of delimitation.

I would also want to thank ZEC for the voter education process. In my constituency, it went on well as ZEC officers went around conducting voter education and explaining to the voters in detail. The only problem was that people were so used at voting at any place, but now it was strictly polling station-based voting. It was a very good thing that it happened although some people did not get information on time on where exactly their polling station would be and were not able to locate their names.

We managed to inspect the voters’ roll and that went well. I commend such a splendid job. I am also glad that the youth were given an opportunity to join Parliament and the councils. We hear their participation and it shows that they are conscious of politics and I am happy to realise that by the time we leave, we will leave this place under capable hands.

Going to the issue of election observers or analysts, it shows that as a country, we are now mature and sovereign, but there are some people who tried to spread unfavourable news that might have disturbed the country’s peace, but overally, I think good reports outweighed the few negative ones. In future, I think there is need for scrutinising anyone coming to observe elections. The previous speaker referred to Mr. Mumba who gave a negative report, yet as residents of this country, we noticed that people freely elected their leaders peacefully.

Even after elections, there was peace and I really applaud Zimbabweans for being peaceful and not listening to any words that would lead to violence. Zimbabweans are peace-loving people and we expect that you put forward your opinion instead of engaging in violence. I would like to thank you Zimbabweans as well as you Hon. Members in this House because you participated in the election. This shows that you encouraged people to be peaceful, so I would like to thank you very much.

However, I also would like to suggest that when we elect leaders in our respective political parties, after the elections, let us rally behind the elected leader. It is good to see us here as Zimbabweans sitting together although we have divergent views. So I believe our elections went very well. I would also like to commend this House for choosing correctly although there are some challenges when we have some people quitting from their parties thinking there is something they can do. A leader can only be an elected leader. If you were not elected, you cannot be the President of the country. So, I want to give you that opinion – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

*HON. HAMAUSWA: The ZEC debate was going on well and was very progressive so much that as a country ZEC would perform well, but I do not know what is happening now. People are going astray and talking about people that are outside ZEC and mentioning of names of people who are not here. If someone quits their party, it is in the Constitution and it is allowed. It is not in this report, but through your indulgence and as we debate, may everyone debate freely contributing to the progress of this country instead of talking about things that are not in this report, especially talking about people that are not in this House.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Was any name mentioned? I did not hear that.

*HON. HAMAUSWA: In this country, it is well known. We cannot guess who quit their post from a political party and what happened is not fair. We have a leader who has his own reasons for quitting. It provokes us and makes us not to debate properly in this august House. That issue is not in the report and that is why I kindly beg you to allow us to continue debating on ZEC which was a very good debate and can lead to progress in this country instead of provoking other people who may be very irritable.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let us debate what is in the report and maintain that.

*HON. P. MOYO: As I proceed debating on the ZEC report, we want our country to progress. I feel that I need to express myself freely without offending anyone. ZEC did a splendid job just like any other country where elections were conducted. I applaud them for a job well-done. I also would like to thank everyone who participated in this process. Thank you.

*HON. CHIGUMBU:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to debate on the ZEC report.  It is a very big report, but I will not talk about all of it, except Chapters 8, 9 and 11.

The elections were not conducted properly in this country.

HON. MAUNGANISO:  On a point of order, we cannot mix languages.  The Hon. Member is speaking in two languages – Shona and English.  He must choose a language and stick to it. 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please use one language.

*HON. CHIGUMBU: I will use my mother language.  As I have already said, elections in this country did not go well.  The aspect that I want to point out has to do with the delivery of voting material, it is so disturbing.  When I looked at the report, I realised that there is only one sentence put on Chapter 9, Part 2 under the title ‘Polling day’.  ZEC only said voting material was delivered late to other areas.  I will give you the example of a soccer match and say five people died and two cars were burnt, yet the headline comes out saying that two cars were burnt.  Issues that were supposed to be prioritised under polling was about the delivering of voting material.

The youth say if there is no sugar, then it is not tea – if it is an election with no polling papers then that is not an election.  On that voting day, there were a lot of areas where ZEC did not deliver polling papers.  That is why ZEC had reasons to write in its report….

*HON. TSITSI ZHOU:  The Hon. Member on the floor took an oath in this House to be truthful.  He must be truthful.  When he says there are many places that did not get voting material, it is not truthful.  That is why there was an extension of voting days – [HON. MEMBERS:  Report iyi nderekunyepa.]-

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Did you write another report that you believe is correct?  We are debating on what is in this report.  Do not talk about things that are not in this report. 

*HON. CHIGUMBU:  This report is very big.  Maybe the Hon. Member missed that part.  I will give the figures.  I cannot argue because I know that some people are lazy to read.  According to the ZEC report, it states two reasons for late delivery of polling papers; - the first one is logistical problems yet it is on the part of ZEC.  The second reason is that there were a lot of issues to do with ZEC being taken to court.

After looking at this report and data, it shows that ZEC did not give us accurate information. 

*HON. MANGONDO:  On a point of order. In this august House, we come to state facts instead of telling lies.  This is not a place to talk about wishful stories.  We do not want to hear folk-tales, those belong to playgrounds.  If somebody is confident of what they are saying in this House, they are supposed to bring that evidence here; of who was unable to vote.  I thank you.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chigumbu, it is true that we are supposed to state facts only in this august House.  The truth that was supposed to be spoken about is what we find in these reports.  In addition, do not give us what you suspect or what you get from the social media.  Do not bring that in this august House, this is not a playground.  It is a very serious House. That is why it is called an honourable House.  We should speak things that show that we represent people.

*HON. CHIGUMBU:  If you heard what I said – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I referred to Chapters – if there is anyone who wants to refer to the report, please refer to the chapters that I have mentioned.  Go and check on what I have quoted and see what I am talking about.  Anyone who wants to debate, I think you will get an opportunity to do so. ZEC says they delayed to deliver voting papers because they had a lot of court issues and refer us to Annex 6 that refers to court cases.  My problem is, there are a lot of places in Harare that did not get papers on the 23rd and according to their statistics, only 23% got voting material on time.  This means 18 out of 77 polling stations got polling materials by 7am.  That is in this report on the voting date.  If you go to Bulawayo, it says only 25% of polling stations got voting papers by 7am on voting day. 

          HON. KARIKOGA:  On a point of order.  Madam Speaker, if he is referring to statistics, where are those statistics coming from because he said he has a factual report and a report that we are debating? 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, the statistics that you are supposed to talk about are those which are in the report tabled in this House.  If you say that what I am talking about is in the report that we are looking at, then it is fine, but if you use a press statement which was done by someone else, it is not permissible in this House.

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker:

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  There are now too many points of order.  It is like after every two sentences we have a point of order.

          *HON. S. SITHOLE:  Madam Speaker, I have heard that he is new and my point of order is that if you have not given him a chance to speak, he should not speak, but wait for you to give him the chance to speak.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chigumbu, I am the one who should give you permission to speak.  You can now continue with your debate.

          *HON. CHIGUMBU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Hon. Members are interjecting and now my debate is not flowing, but let me say that the real issue is that if you go to Annex 6 in the report, ZEC is referring to court cases which resulted in them taking time to deliver ballot papers to voting stations.  ZEC is saying that we delayed the printing of papers because of these court cases – that is clear.  However, what is not clear is that if you go to the Annex where there were court cases, it shows that there were issues to do with Members of Parliament.  The issue which was at stake was of those who wanted to be President.  There were few referring to councillors, but of all the places that I referred to as having gotten their papers late, were those of councillors.  So if the issue was of court cases, why then was ZEC able to print ballot papers for MPs and for the President, took time and delayed printing ballot papers for councillors? 

When coming to mitigations – ZEC is not giving us a full report on when these cases were finalised and it is also not giving us the capacity that they had of printing ballot papers.  Suppose the cases were finalised today, was it possible that ZEC could not have papers the following day because if they could print all the papers in 24 hours, that is the capacity I am asking for?  After the court cases were resolved, did ZEC have the capacity?  If you go to Chapter 8 (1) (4), ZEC says that it faced litigation problems, so the places which were close to the offices like Harare had to delay delivering ballot papers so that they could start with faraway places such as Mashonaland, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North.  The justification in the report said they had to serve those far from Harare and if that was the case, why then were there delays in Bulawayo?  Looking at all these issues, you see that there is a pattern that ZEC had particular places where they delayed delivery of ballot papers intentionally.  There is also a constituency like Warren Park which is on the way to Matabeleland which did not get papers before Matabeleland.  Going back to my constituency, I have one ward that got papers late and voting started at 8pm though we did not have any court cases or double candidates.  This means when ZEC is saying they could not get ballot papers to certain places because of court cases, they are not being truthful. 

In conclusion, I have recommendations to give to this House.

  • We want a Commission of Inquiry to be set up which will tell us why ZEC could not print and take papers in time to the constituencies. This Commission of Inquiry should tell us the discretion ZEC used when they were printing the ballot papers.
  • We want to know the capacity of the machines. Were the machines able to print papers?
  • ZEC should compensate all the candidates that were around the places where papers were delayed because the candidates incurred some extra cost when they were supposed to have a one-day budget but it ended up being two days. This was a disadvantage because they burdened the candidates who were running in those 2023 elections. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. KAITANO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I rise to add my voice with regards to the ZEC report. Firstly, I would want to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe which is led by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. Mnangagwa for adequately funding the elections. Madam Speaker, I think it is critical for us when we do the analysis of the report, to consider that every Zimbabwean citizen was given ample time. Nobody was disadvantaged when it comes to time available.

We may talk a lot about ballot papers not reaching some polling stations on time on 23rd, but Madam Speaker, we had the rest of the 23rd as well as the 24th of August to do the elections. In my view Madam Speaker, the issue of late delivery of ballot papers falls away because we had the whole of 24th to exercise our rights as Zimbabwean citizens. For me, that argument is hollow, it does not hold water. The argument that says there were delays 23%, 56% does not matter, they were superseded by the 24th of August. Everything else fell away.

Madam Speaker, when we analyse the ZEC report and the elections that took place in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is never a cocoon. It is never an island. It is among many nations of this world. There are no elections that are done under the sun which do not have minor glitches. There are no such elections the world-over. The United States of America, which considers itself the Godfather or the champion of democracy, has experienced election glitches. They have even experienced election contestations, which contestations never happened on the harmonised elections of 2023 here in Zimbabwe.

As we debate or critically analyse this report, such factors should be considered if we are doing it at a certain level expected of this Parliament, unless we are just talking like bar talk. If we look at this as Parliamentarians representing the truth that you have mentioned, Madam Speaker, I think we need to be very honest and sincere in our debate. No election has never experienced glitches, but these glitches should be minor glitches. I am underlining the word ‘minor’ and I will come to that.

I would want to congratulate ZEC for ably and continuously improving in the manner they have conducted elections. If we go down into history, analysing the past elections, we have seen a continuous improvement on the ZEC in the manner they are conducting elections, particularly with the start of the Second Republic. There has been some commendable improvement in the way things are done. Some few days ago, Madam Speaker, allow me to refer to a number of statistics that were shared in this House by Hon. Chiduwa. He mentioned statistics with regards to the number of election observers that came in here as well as the number of polling stations these observers visited.

From the analysis that has been done, we have realised that the sample sizes which were being used – for a report to be scientific and admissible at any professional level, it has to be scientific. One cannot come when two or three people complain about few things and then they major on such complaints. It is not statistically significant. We have heard of some observers pouring water on the success of our elections. The statistics came out clearly that most of the polling stations they visited, were barely 2% of the total polling stations. You cannot survey 2% of the population and run around the world-over with such a report. At a professional level, that is grossly incompetent.

Professionally, you do not take a 2% sample size and you run around with that kind of report and say because I have had this from 2% of the polling station, therefore it is right – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May we have order in the House. May the Hon. Member be heard in silence?

HON. KAITANO: Every study, every research which is done, Madam Speaker, it has to pass what is called a 95% confidence interval and any research which is done, there is an allowance of plus or minus 3% for margin of error. This 2% that was sampled by some election observers even falls within the plus or minus 3% of the margin of error. Therefore, those that are enemies of this country have no argument. – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members, if you continue with that behaviour, I am going to send you out – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]–

          HON. G. K. HLATSHWAYO:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I think the Hon. Member must take back his words.  You cannot refer to election observers as enemies of the State.  It is a fact that these election observer missions were actually invited by this country…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are out of order, please take your seat.  Hon. Kaitano, please proceed. 

          HON. KAITANO:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, if I was allowed to respond, I would have responded, but I will not waste my time on that.  As I conclude, Madam Speaker Ma’am, we therefore want to thank Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for successfully running the elections with the integrity and dignity that they have exuded in this kind of work.  To those that are our detractors, we say to them, Zimbabwe is a country that governs itself and, on these elections, it has conducted them far much better that those countries that call themselves champions of democracy.  Madam Speaker, after the elections, there were no disputes lodged by the courts and the report that these enemies of the State of Zimbabwe were running around parading the world-over is not statistically significant.  Therefore, fails the test of being a scientific robot and we do not accept anything that is not scientifically proven.  I therefore submit.  Thank you, Madam Speaker. 

          *HON. NYABANI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Justice Chigumba who was in charge of ZEC.  Let me also congratulate President E. D. Mnangagwa and also congratulate Rushinga Constituency for allowing me to be here.  I also want to congratulate all the Hon. Members including the Opposition Members. 

          Madam Speaker, we want to thank ZEC for a job well done.  From voter registration, education, for bringing us together with opposition members.  ZEC was able to provide toll free cellphone numbers.  People should call them if they face any challenges. These were Econet. Telecel and NetOne lines.  ZEC did a good job.  ZEC also made us sign papers that we should not fight, we should campaign peacefully and we did that until voting day. 

          Still on that Madam Speaker, there were observers during pre-elections, during elections and after elections.  If I look at what happened, there are people complaining that Harare and Bulawayo received their papers late.  What surprises me is that if you look at Bulawayo, at those places you find that the opposition got those seats.  Madam Speaker, the opposition got the seats and they did not complain. 

          Madam Speaker, if we look at the ZEC report, people are referring to social media, they should refer to the map which was printed, it is in yellow and green.  If you know what I am talking about, you will see that the opposition got just a few places in the rural areas, but the ruling party was able to clinch a lot of places in the rural areas because a lot of people support the party.  Going further, if you look at what SADC observers say, they say that statistics were not given, which means that the polling stations that they visited were not recorded.  In their report, they did not tell us how many polling stations they visited, probably they wrote the report whilst in a hotel. 

          If you look at our local observers who know the areas very well, when they finished observing the elections, pre-election, during and after, they said elections were peacefully calm and transparent, despite minor logistical challenges, which means elections where peaceful, calm and transparent.  That is what they said.  

          I will go further and say that yes, you are saying it was not like that and you are saying the chalice was poisoned and you took part.  Why did you take part - it is because ZEC does a good job?  It said if you are not satisfied you go to court, but you did not go to court, which means ZEC did a good job.  Thank you.

          HON. MUKOMBERI: Allow me at this juncture, to first of all congratulate the winners and send a message to the losers that - keep trying, next time it will be yours if you keep on trying. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as an independent entity established in terms of Section 238 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, discharged its mandate independently, peacefully and fairly during the August 2023 elections. The duly electoral process was undertaken judiciously by ZEC as a Commission which include voter registration, voter inspection exercise, proclamation of the date of election by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, nomination court sittings, pre-election campaigns as well as the actual conduct of the poll.

          It is therefore, commendable that ZEC undertook all these electoral processes peacefully and fairly following all legal protocols. As if this is not enough, ZEC undertook proper the delimitation exercise prior to the August 2023 elections. Although the process was requiring ZEC’s technical team under the stewardship of the Chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, it exhibited maximum level of expertise and determination to the discharge of their mandate.

          I want to applaud Treasury for availing requisite financial resources to facilitate all these processes with the quest to enable operationalisation of the right to vote in Zimbabwe. It is clear in the ZEC report that the Commission was so grateful to the Government of Zimbabwe for funding the election programme throughout the electoral cycle, moving in tandem with the legal framework of the country.

During the election period, ZEC discharged its mandate efficiently, freely, transparently and in accordance with the law as is clearly stated in the Electoral Act, Section 239, where the functions of ZEC as a Commission are outlined. Efficiency in the electoral process by ZEC in the discharge of its mandate is measured in terms of cost effectiveness in the manner in which elections were run. They were limited, if not, no wasteful expenditures during the process by the Commission given the budget allocated to it by Treasury under tight circumstances that the economy is in.

Freedom was evidenced by the fact that all citizens meeting the legal age to vote and those meeting the minimum requirements to contest as candidates did so at will. No person or candidate was under duress and restriction to contest, hence elections were free as clearly stated in the report. The fairness question was clearly answered by the extension of election period up to the 24th August as to cater for those centres which did not receive ballot papers in time on 23rd August, hence this was a signal of a greater degree of fairness exhibited beyond any reasonable doubt.

Transparency was exhibited by the Commission through allowing every voter to undertake the process of voter inspection as well as the timeous election result announcements from polling stations to the National Command Centre. There was transparency in relation to the fact that observer missions were invited to undertake their independent observations of the electoral process. This alone is a signal of transparency. However, the independence of some observer missions was compromised as evident by their reports which sounded baseless.

ZEC as a Commission is worth an applause by all reasonable and progressive Zimbabweans as it passed the litmus test of all expectations. However, always and everywhere when we are in a competition, we approach the competition arena with two dimensional thoughts that I will win and the rival shall lose. This is the only reason why some of us still believe that the terrain was not gentle though this is actually against reality.

Allow me at this juncture, to give my fellow Hon. Members a free lesson to apply in the next election. Let us approach an election date with a three-dimensional thought. The self-aware question is to understand your abilities, am l going to win given the circumstances such that you will not be affected as the results become not in your way. The other way, also considering your rival that - is he not stronger than myself in the competition? Then God’s way, God teaches us to also commend other people’s efforts and say in Shona uyu anondikundawo pakugona. This is only the way to go if we are to accept election results and also believe that our Independent Commission discharges its mandate independently without any bias.

To conclude, allow me to invite the House to help me clap hands in appreciation for a job well done by ZEC, of conducting elections with consideration of its values of transparency, independence, teamwork, impartiality, integrity and inclusivity. I thank you.

*HON MUWODZERI: I want to thank the previous speaker that there were less points of order during his speech. I might be on the opposite side, but what he debated is very good because I was listening.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Let me point out very categorically clear that an election is not an event, it is a process. It is the totality or the summation of all those processes that we must investigate to make a conclusion that the election is free, fair or credible. We should not put ourselves or limit ourselves to the voting day alone because this is a process.

There is a pre-election period and this includes voter registration. Was the process correct, were the people free to get identity documents and were people free to register? On voter inspection, were the people allowed to inspect their names, did they find their names? We then move on to the issue of proclamation of the election date. There are many factors like the election day itself as well as the post-election period. For us to make a determination on whether the election was free, fair and credible, we must look at a holistic piece of it than an individual part of it.

Let me start by looking at those principles that make us to determine whether the election was free, fair or credible. When you talk of freeness, we are saying, were the fundamentals, human rights and freedoms respected during the whole process from registration to the point where results are declared and those fundamentals include the right to campaign freely, the right to freedom of assembly and association, freedom of making political choices. We are saying, were these fundamentals and freedoms respected in the process?

When we talk about the issue of fairness, when we look at fairness as a principle, we are saying, was the process conducted in a manner that follows the rules and regulations? Was the process conducted by an integrous institution or electoral management body? When we say an election is credible, we are looking at it that it must gain considerable confidence amongst the citizens as well as international observer missions. At the end of the day, to make it complete, we say an election is credible if the result is agreeable to both parties and multiple parties.

Let me highlight an issue and compare it to the freeness, fairness as well as credibility. The first issue, the voters’ roll. One of the fundamental documents that enables an election to progress in a beautiful way is the voters’ roll. Let me be honest with you. We managed to get the voters’ roll on the 12th August. The voters’ roll must be given in a searchable and analysable manner according to Section 21 of the Electoral Act but the voters’ roll which I got was not in a searchable and analysable manner.

Why is this important? This is important because it allows us to do simple audit techniques on the voters’ roll. I can check the multiplicity of names, I.D numbers, addresses and so forth so that I can confirm with certainty that this document is indeed credible. That did not happen and to me, the voters’ roll plays an integral part of every election system. Once this has not been addressed, to me, this defeats the purpose of an open, credible and fair election.

The voters’ roll…

HON. GANYIWA: The Hon. Member is not telling the House the truth. I am sure we cannot expect the results of an announcement of winners to a lotto when they did not play the lotto. The voters’ roll inspection, before it was officially given to the public as hard copy documents, it was given to the public and they were checking electronically. So he is not telling the truth.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please may you stick to the report and may you avoid misleading this House.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: With due respect Madam Speaker, the report talks of the voters’ roll and this is exactly what I am talking about.

So you realise that the voters’ roll informs the campaign strategy. Gone are the days where we just take people who do not vote and school kids to address them at a political rally. It does not give technical results or it is not a scientific way of campaigning. Some of us believe in a way that we need to get the voters’ roll and identify where the real voter is and target that voter. So whenever you fail to get the voters’ roll on time, like in my case, I got the voters’ roll two weeks before the elections. My campaign strategy was put into disarray and as such, I cannot convincingly say the election was credible.

The issue of fairness depends on the integrity of the Election Management Board. With due respect, the Chairperson of the ZEC, Madam Chigumba, we also have the daughter to the Deputy Vice President who is Abigail Millicent Mohadi, Kudzai Shava who is alleged to be related to the Minister of…–

+HON. R. MPOFU: The Hon. Member said we are not supposed to use the names of the people who are not present in this august House and he has evidence that the elections were not free and fair. If these elections were not free and fair, why is he in this House? He was supposed to challenge the election results the very day the results were presented before him. It is very painful using other people’s names. We fought for this country and we do not want this House to be turned into a playground. We are supposed to respect this House. If there is a woman chairing, people start making noise. We do not want to play in this House.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is true that if the elections were not free, credible and fair, the losing candidate should have gone to the courts to contest. That is true. Hon. Member, I urge you to debate the report.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On record, if you look on the second page of the report, it lists the incumbents who are in charge of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission from the Chairperson to the Secretariat. So I am referring directly from the report Madam Speaker. I do not know if what I am saying is not proper.

The controversy surrounding this situation that these people that I have mentioned are closely related to people who participate in political activities is a cause of concern. Let me say this, they are allowed at law to participate or work as long as they are relatives, but this is a vital issue which causes a lot of controversy. So the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should be seen to be carrying out justice and as such, there is a saying that ‘blood is thicker than water’. There is no way that my son who is a referee in a game to which a team which I own will support the opposite.

So, to avoid those controversies in the future, we are raising these issues for the next elections. Let us try by all means to put our leaders at ZEC who would not create that controversy…

*HON. P. MOYO: My point of order is that if a person is at work and is a professional, they should not leave their work because I am involved.

Hon. Hlatywayo having stood up on a point of order –

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Hlatywayo, we recently had an induction workshop where you were taught that you cannot stand up on another point of order – [HON. HLATYWAYO: Madam Speaker, this is not a point of order. We must not allow this pattern…] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! May we have order in the House? The Hon. Member on the floor, I am being advised that you mentioned a name (Mohadi).  That is not allowed in this House.  It is not allowed to attack someone in this House.  You once raised a point of order when someone attacked Chamisa and I asked him to withdraw that.

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

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member in white dress, please take your seat.  You cannot rise on a point of order whilst I am still making a ruling. 

AN HON. MEMBER:  The Hon. Member who whispered into your ears may have misquoted.  I seek to redirect the conversation.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are out of order.  Take your seat.  The Hon. Member who was debating, I said may you withdraw that statement where you mentioned someone by the name Mohadi.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  I need to ask a question Hon. Speaker…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, no.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: I never accused her of anything.  I just mentioned that she is a Commissioner.  Is it an offence to mention that Millicent Mohadi is a Commissioner?  We can refer to the Hansard.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please withdraw.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  I withdraw Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You can proceed.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  Thank you.  Let me then transition to the issue of nomination fees.  The ZEC report talks about nomination fees.  With due respect, the increase of nomination fees for Members of Parliament from the previous US$50 to US$1000…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You are left with five minutes.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  Alright Madam Speaker.  The increase in the nomination fees from US$50 to US$1000 for Members of Parliament and US$1000 to US$20 000 for the President is a staggering 1900 %.  In all fairness, this increase in nomination fees violated the political rights of other people in Zimbabwe.  We have got people who failed to raise that money to contest as presidential candidates, hence their members failed to choose their candidates. 

To add more impetus to this debate, you will realise that only 70 women out of the 636 participants for the National Assembly managed to lodge with the nomination court – that is on page 32 of the report.  This shows a mere 9%.  It testifies that women are more vulnerable in terms of access to economic income.  They were actually segregated by this process. 

Let me transition to the issue of freedom of assembly – we are looking at the freeness of the election.  I am a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change – we applied to have rallies across the country.  With all due respect, 384 of our rallies were punched by the police whilst they were referring to Section 7 of Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA).  This means that if it is an election period and 384 proposed rallies are banned, it means we have been restricted access to the voters.  How can you then come and say the election was free when the opposition was not allowed access to its voters? The principal of MOPA did not stop that right to freedom of assembly.

On the issue of postal voting, the majority of our people were not allowed to exercise this right. 

On voter intimidation and cohesion, let me be clear that what happened in the rural community was not sustainable. 

HON. MANGONDO:  On a point of order Madam Speaker. We are debating the ZEC report here; the functions of ZEC as provided for in the Constitution, whether ZEC decides its mandate in terms of the Constitution and not whether the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) – [HON. MEMBERS: What is your point of order.]-

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you the Speaker now, you are now asking him what the point of order is?

HON. MANGONDO:  We are not debating the ZRP report here.  We are debating the ZEC report. The Hon. Member is not debating objectively.  It seems like he is just complaining…

HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker, this should not be allowed. 

HON. MANGONDO:  You cannot raise a point of order on a point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Mangondo.  Please take your seat.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  I wish to advise that some of my time was taken because of these points of order. Kindly take that into consideration Madam Speaker.

Let me proceed to the issue of the freeness of an election – the peacefulness of an election.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You are left with two minutes.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  In the rural areas, I witnessed serious cohesion of our people.  There is a Chairman, representation…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Is that in the ZEC report? 

HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Yes, it is there. Let me bring the page.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Bring the page.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  It talks about traditional leaders…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I said bring the page.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  The Hon. Member is looking for it on my behalf.  I will move to the other point since I am still within my time.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Your time is up.

HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  I have my two minutes Madam Speaker and I have one point left.  With your indulgence…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Your time is up Hon. Member.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Madam Speaker, I propose that you increase his time by five minutes.

HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I object.

Motion put and negatived.

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

HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 5th March 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 53TH PLENARY

SESSION OF THE SADC-PF HELD IN MAURITIUS

          Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 53th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-PF.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. MUGUMO:  Good afternoon Madam Speaker Ma-am.   Thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak in front of this august House.  I rise to second this very important report of the SADC-PF which was tabled yesterday by Hon. Karenyi. 

          Madam Speaker and Hon. Members, the 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum took place in Port Louis, Mauritius, from November 22nd to 27th, 2023.  The theme was “The Role of Parliaments in Promoting Coordination for enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Planning in the SADC Region”.  The delegation from Zimbabwe was led by Hon. Adv Jacob, Francis, Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe who participated in the event.  This was our inaugural meeting and we were very pleased to get an opportunity to represent Zimbabwe.  During the official opening ceremony, various speakers including the SADC-PF Secretary General, the Speaker of the Parliament of Seychelles, the Chair of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and the Prime Minister of Mauritius emphasised the importance of parliamentary co-operation in addressing disaster risk reduction and recovery planning.

          The symposium focused on insights from experts in disaster risk reduction and management, meteorology, environment and climate change.  The Speaker, Hon. Mudenda highlighted Zimbabwe’s efforts in disaster risk management, legal frameworks and policies related to climate change.  He called for regional coordination, early warning systems enhancement and sound national contributions to reduce greenhouse emissions.  The symposium acknowledged the impact of extreme weather events on the region, particularly citing cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy.  Recommendations included meeting financial needs for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), promoting climate justice and enacting laws for disaster resilience.  Hon. Members, I am sure you remember the devastating effects of cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy which caused extensive damage resulting in numerous human casualties and led to a significant number of internally displaced persons.  All this is evidence of the devastating nature of extreme weather patterns.  Every one of us is touched by these weather patterns.

          The report by Hon. Adv. Mudenda on the implementation of the resolutions from the 53rd Plenary Assembly covered Zimbabwe’s achievements in Food Security, Debt Management, Climate Change Policies and the establishment of a Thematic Committee on Climate Change.

          The Plenary Assembly adopted resolutions on diverse issues including virtual pre-election missions, digital skills training for rural women and the need for Member Parliaments to engage in election observation missions.  It also acknowledged a new co-operation agreement on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS related services.  The Assembly approved the blueprint for the organisation’s Strategic Plan for 2024 to 2028 and renewed the contract of the SADC-PF Secretary General for a second term.  The Assembly resolved to continue lobbying for the transformation of the SADC-PF into a Regional Parliament and encouraged Member States to sign the agreement amending the SADC Treaty.  Let me report that we were the first ones to sign the agreement and our Executive should be applauded for that.

          Let me conclude by saying that the Assembly commended Mauritius for its proactive measures in disaster risk management and urged Member States to share best practices.  The Parliament of Zimbabwe committed to implementing the resolutions and preparing for the 55th Plenary Session in Angola.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to add a few words on the motion on our journey to Mauritius. We had journey mercies to Mauritius. We were headed by our Speaker, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda. The SADC Plenary Assembly meets twice a year in SADC countries. When we meet, we talk about the challenges that we are facing as SADC countries because our challenges are the same across the region. We look at ways of uplifting our people in the SADC. As Parliament, we must come up with ways of helping each other as SADC countries. We also meet and talk about good things that others are doing in their countries which will help us. There are a lot of things that were talked about that touch our lives as Zimbabweans. These include hunger, drought; there are no rains because there are a lot of things that we are doing that are affecting our rain pattern. As we talk, there is a surge of attacks on Mauritius.

A country is built by its people. Building a country is looking at challenges that we are faced with and we can come up with ways to desist from forestation, desist from being drunkards and desist from calling for sanctions. If we call upon sanctions, our countries would not live well. We should come together as SADC countries and as Zimbabweans, we should also come together and work together. To build a country is to wake up each and every morning and do something in your surrounding areas, encouraging children not to take drugs.

As your leaders, organisations like SADC, we address these challenges that affect us. We should work together and find things that will help us in these reports so that our country is uplifted. Hon. Members in this House, if we run with Pfumvudza and encourage people not to cut down trees and get drunk as well as reminding people that this is our country, there should not be a call for sanctions; they should engage in beneficiation so that we create jobs in our country.

If we engage in that, I think we will go a long way as a country. Mr. Speaker Sir, there are five-year plans in the SADC and the representatives of the SADC Parliament are taken from all the SADC countries. They get together and look at challenges that they face. For example, if it is hunger, they put their heads together and come up with ways to end hunger. When it comes to women, they look at how they can uplift the lives of women so that they can be empowered politically and economically. Like in this country, how can we help our women to get the same recognition as men? His Excellency, our President, is very aware of that because he recognises women in all his appointments. This is what SADC is looking at.

When we went to SADC, there are some countries where they do not have women MPs. Their composition is only comprised of men, but Zimbabwe has got women and youth quota representations from each and every province. In SADC, we also look at those issues of gender equality. We also look at the abuse of women at the workplace as well as the education of the girl child.

As leaders in this Parliament, we should go to our constituencies and tell them that people who went to SADC, when we are in Parliament, we are not in Zambia. When we are in this Parliament, we are not in Britain, neither are we in America. We are in Zimbabwe and we should talk about Zimbabwe for the development of our country. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Members on my left, when somebody is debating, please given him a chance to debate. When you are debating, you also want that chance to come your way. Thank you Hon. Nyabani.

HON. TSITSI ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 5th March, 2024.

On the motion of HON. TSITSI ZHOU, seconded by HON. HAMAUSWA, the House adjourned at Four Minutes past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 5th March, 2024.

 

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