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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 40 NO. 9
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 15th October, 2013
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MR. SPEAKER
INVITATION TO A CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN AND
- SPEAKER: I wish to inform hon. members that the
Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa and Proudly
Zimbabwean Foundation are inviting all Members of Parliament to an Anglican Communion Clean-up Campaign and Environmental Day to be held at Avondale shopping centre in Harare on Saturday, 26th October, 2013, from 0800 hours to 1630 hours. His Excellency, the President,
Comrade R.G. Mugabe will attend the event. Members who wish to attend should confirm with the Public Relations Department.
APPOINTMENT TO THE STANDING RULES AND
- SPEAKER: Section 151 (1) of the Constitution provides that Parliament must appoint a Committee to be known as the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders for purposes of supervising the Administration of Parliament, formulating Standing Orders, considering and deciding all matters concerning Parliament and exercising any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on the Committee by the Constitution or by Standing Orders or any other law.
Section 151 (2) of the Constitution provides that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must consist of the Speaker and the President of the Senate and the following Members of Parliament: the Deputy
Speaker; the Deputy President of the Senate; the Minister responsible for Finance and two other ministers appointed by the President; the Leader of Government Business in each House; the Leader of the Opposition in each House; the Chief Whips of all political parties represented in each House; the President of the National Council of Chiefs; two members who are not ministers or deputy ministers, one being a senator appointed to the Committee by the President of the Senate and the other one being a Member of the National Assembly appointed by the Speaker.
In terms of Standing Order No. 14 of both the Senate and the National Assembly Standing Orders and the provisions of Section 151 of the Constitution, I therefore, inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders shall comprise the following:
Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson; Hon. Sen. Edna Madzongwe, President of the Senate and Deputy Chairperson; Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly; Hon. Sen. Chen Chenhamo Chakezha Chimutengwende, Deputy President of the Senate; Hon.
Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence; Hon. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Hon. Sithembiso Gile
Gladys Nyoni, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development; Hon. Thokozani Khupe, Leader of the
Opposition; Hon. J.M. Gumbo, ZANU PF Chief Whip in the National
Assembly; Hon. Innocent Gonese, MDC-T Chief Whip; Hon. Jasmine Toffa, MDC Chief Whip; Hon. Innocent Gonese, MDC-T, Chief Whip and Hon. Jasmine Toffa, MDC Chief Whip.
Section 151 (2) (i) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, also states that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders shall also comprise of eight members who are not ministers or deputy ministers; four being elected to the Committee by the Senate and four being elected by the National Assembly. The membership of the Committee must reflect as nearly as possible, the political and gender composition of the combined Houses of Parliament.
We have now received eight names, six from ZANU PF and two from MDC-T: Hon. Dr. D. Shumba; Hon. Tsomondo, Hon. K.
Kazembe and Hon. N. Chamisa.
The nominations comply with the requirements of section 151 (2) (i) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I, therefore, declare them duly elected to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
May I point out that the nominations, one each from Madam President of the Senate and from me, are yet to be announced tomorrow after we have looked at the spread of those that have been nominated today.
INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE STANDING RULES AND
- SPEAKER: The third announcement is, I also wish to inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders will have its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, 16th October, 2013 at 1100 hours in Committee Room Number No. 4. All Committee Members are expected to attend promptly.
2013 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR
- SPEAKER: The fourth announcement is, I wish to invite all members of the Eighth Parliament to the 2013 Pre-Budget Seminar that will be held from 31st October, 2013 to the 3rd November, 2013, at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls. The Seminar is an important annual Parliament activity meant to enhance the contribution by members to the process of budget formulation and prioritization ahead of the presentation of the 2014 National Budget Statement and the passage by Parliament of the Finance and Appropriation Bills.
Departure for Victoria Falls will be on Thursday, 31st October, 2013. To ensure adequate preparation and logistical arrangements, members are required to confirm their attendance with the Public Relations Department. Officers from the department will be stationed at the Members’ Dining Lounge from 1400 hours, beginning on
Wednesday, 16th October, 2013 to facilitate registration for the Seminar. Confirmation closes on Wednesday, 23rd October, 2013. Only confirmed members will be catered for.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
- MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to contribute to the noble debate on the Presidential Speech. Mr. Speaker Sir, kindly allow me to congratulate you on your election as the Speaker of this august House. Let me also take this opportunity to thank the people of Chikomba Central Constituency for bequeathing me a clear mandate to represent them in this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, above all, I hereby congratulate His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe, the First Secretary of ZANU PF; Cde. R. G. Mugabe on his election as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, through his triumphant victory on the harmonised elections held on the 31st July, 2013, of which this election was declared as free, fair, peaceful and credible by SADC and African Union (AU) observers and sanctioned by the words from the holy Bible, found in Romans Chapter 13: 1-2: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resists the power, resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment”. Congratulations, Makorokoto, Amhlophe Gushungo! –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]
Mr. Speaker Sir, the address by His Excellency, Cde. R. G.
Mugabe was an inspired speech, a prelude to the manifestation of a new
Zimbabwe driven by a historic home grown Constitution. Mr. Speaker Sir, to some of us being addressed face to face by His Excellency was a dream come true, an opportunity that every patriotic son of the soil would not boycott.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my fellow hon. members have debated at length on some of the major challenges alluded to by the President in his speech. These challenges, are causing untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe – top on the list are illegal sanctions imposed on us by Britain and her allies and rampant corruption that has been regarded by many as cancerous. However, my debate will hinge on agriculture and transport infrastructure, with specific reference to my constituency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, erratic rains experienced in the previous seasons coupled with unavailability of inputs, drinking water for both human consumption and livestock has really affected the electorate and funding of small scale farmers is virtually non-existent in my constituency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, in order to mitigate the risk of recurrent droughts, it is of paramount importance to harness water and enhance irrigation farming. Construction of small dams, one in each ward will go a long way in addressing some of these challenges.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, in my constituency, in Masasa ward there is a small dam and a water treatment plant that has been lying idle for years. Through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, the resuscitation of this plant is top on my priority list so that the people of Masasa, Mahusvu and the surrounding wards will have access to clean water. A number of boreholes, in my constituency, have collapsed and through a generous donation from a well-wisher, we have so far managed to refurbish over fifteen boreholes in three wards and a combined effort in rehabilitating and sinking new boreholes would alleviate water challenges in my constituency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are privileged to have the following irrigation schemes in my constituency Chikwezvero, Nyahoni and Sachipiri of which, if adequate funding is channeled towards these projects, Chikomba Central will be a constituency of choice. Of utmost importance, is the rehabilitation of Sachipiri Dam that supplies water to Sachipiri irrigation and the people of Wazvaremhaka ward.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have over forty dip tanks in my constituency and unavailability of chemicals is causing a major threat to our livestock and the risk stares us right in the face. Due to the absence of water pumps by the dip tanks, people in my constituency have now resorted to using buckets in order to fill these tanks. Some of the tanks require over 15 000 litres of water – what an arduous task that has resulted in many people suffering from severe backaches. Rehabilitation and installation of new water pumps will be a major milestone in easing these challenges.
On transport infrastructure, Madam Speaker Ma’am, the President
clearly highlighted the essence of sound transport infrastructure in all national development issues but our roads in Chikomba Central are deplorable. It is quite disturbing to note that the so called Save bridge bordering my constituency and Hon. Musanhu’s, Wedza North
Constituency, is a dam wall constructed by one racist white farmer at the end of his farm during the colonial era. Since then, nothing has been done to rehabilitate this bridge and lives have been lost at this bridge, especially during the rainy season. The best scenario in this regard, is to by-pass this meandering narrow bridge and construct a new bridge; hence mobilisation of resources for this cause is our mammoth task.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the following roads, in my constituency, need urgent maintenance from Garaba that is in Wedza through Kasora to Chikwezvero to Rutanhira to Mutekedza to Gwenda to Masasa to
Shambamuto to Mahusvu leading to Nharira then eventually to Chivhu.
There are also important feeder roads in Chikomba Central that have been neglected since time immemorial and now need to be upgraded as a matter of urgency. Unyetu to St. Pauls to Sadza; Masasa to Gokomere, to Duvhurwi, Rutanhira to Manyanga Business Centre; Zvichemo to Govere leading to Gandachibvuva in Buhera. The electorate cherish the good days of DDF, before the advent of illegal sanctions, therefore, adequate funding and revival of DDF is long overdue.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, transport infrastructure requires serious funding and I would want to concur with His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. R. G. Mugabe that public, private partnerships arrangements are key especially in upgrading and dualisation of national roads.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me also thank His Excellency for
assuring the nation that the plans for the dualisation of the Beitbridge, Harare and Chirundu highway have reached an advanced stage. In its current state, especially the Beitbridge to Harare highway has claimed a number of innocent souls and the entire nation shall celebrate and ululate on the day that the dualisation process is going to be completed, coupled with improved connectivity within the region.
In conclusion, Madam Speaker Ma’am, elections have come and gone and it is high time we all focus on rebuilding our beautiful country, Zimbabwe. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] - According to Martin
Luther King (Jr), ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’ The essence of us being in this august House is to represent the needs of the electorate, heckling and name calling is retrogressive. As long as leaders worry about who sits at the head table, they have little time for the people that they are called to serve. We do not see opportunities for services whilst our eyes are fixed on the competition.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is true that there are no problems that we cannot solve together and very few that we can solve by ourselves.
There are some people who if they do not know, you cannot tell them. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Can we give the hon.
member a chance to be heard in silence? If hon. members have private discussions, they can as well go and hold them outside the august House.
- MHONA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is true that there are
no problems that we cannot solve together and very few that we can solve by ourselves. There are some people who if they do not know, you cannot tell them. Let me reiterate that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and it shall never be a colony again.
There is a Turkish proverb which says “no matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back”. Likewise I advise my fellow countrymen advocating for a regime change, through continued imposition of illegal sanctions on us by the West, to turn back and call for their immediate removal and join Team ZANU PF for a prosperous Zimbabwe. Long Live Chikomba Central! Long Live Zimbabwe!
MRS. NYAMUPINGA: Let me start by extending my heartfelt
congratulations on your election as the Presiding Officer of this august
House. I can assure you that you will count, not only on my support but also on that of the people of Goromonzi West, whose unwavering support is the anchor of my work.
His Excellency, the President has had his leadership of this country overwhelmingly endorsed by those who are higher than us – the people of Zimbabwe. Nonetheless, it is still my joy and privilege to add my voice and that of the people of Goromonzi West, to the rising choruses of congratulations to His Excellency on his re-election as the President of our great country on the 31st July 2013. It is a source of pride to all of us that the stewardship of this country has remained in the hands of a tried and tested statesman of international repute. We thank our people for continuing to repose confidence in His Excellency’s able leadership.
I have come back to this House on a strong mandate than in my last term. I am very grateful to the people of Goromonzi West for continuing to afford me an opportunity to serve them and I shall serve them to the best of my ability.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency’s Official Opening
Speech was refreshing and indeed so wide in its scope as to provide a clear direction for this First Session of the Eighth Parliament. It remains for me to highlight areas of emphasis which I believe contain the ingredients for a successful delivery of our mandate as Parliament.
As the core of my Constituency is agriculture, it is common cause that besides good land, agriculture is sustained by good rains and/or irrigation. Most parts of Goromonzi West have already experienced a devastating drought. Most dams have silted. The cumulative effect is shortage of food. Although many people in my Constituency are hardworking and resourceful, there is a limit to which they can sustain life when their agricultural base has been hit hard. For example, those involved in market gardening have not been able to get viable markets. They end up throwing away all the produce that they have produced using manual methods. I therefore, implore the Government to take urgent intervention strategies on food relief and canning plants to avoid loss of produce.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency gave an insightful focus on infrastructural development. My Constituency is among the most deserving in the area of investing in infrastructure. While there is some progress in road rehabilitation, the state of the roads is still bad. The Constituents would benefit more from tarred roads than the current efforts focusing on gravel roads. There is an urgent need to attend to the following roads in Goromonzi West: Harare-Sasa road, HarareNyamande roard, Harare-Pote road, and Harare-Munyawiri-Bindura roads which are the main routes for most women involved in informal sector activities.
In this regard, allow me to note that dualisation of major roads is welcomed by all our people and must be given top priority as it has a direct effect on reducing the carnage on our roads. Every constituency is affected. One bus accident along the Harare-Beitbridge road may claim the lives of 240 people from 40 different constituencies in this august House.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the success of our country must be measured by the extent to which we restore dignity to our women. They are the backbone of our families and society. The sight of urban women enduring long distances to fetch water is unconscionable for any society seeking to uplift the lives of ordinary people. A comprehensive solution to urban water problems must be found. I therefore, support the need for solutions to this problem contained in the Speech by His Excellency particularly the issue of a long term loan facility to address water and sanitation problems in urban areas. Let me say that the problem of water is not only in urban areas but is also in rural areas and Goromonzi West is one of the most affected. I therefore, implore the Government to find a solution to the water problem.
Higher Education is a key component of development efforts all over the world. It enables young people to develop their full potential after acquiring meaningful skills which are essential in their quest to sustain their livelihood. The girl child is our special focus in Goromonzi West. We are encouraging young girls to be ambitious and pursue studies in Science, Engineering and Mathematics. In this regard, I am pleased to advise this august House that the people of Goromonzi West welcome efforts leading to the establishment of the Marondera University of Agriculture, Science and Technology.
The outcome of the legislative agenda in His Excellency’s Speech shows that our work is clear cut. I wish to make particular focus on proposals to introduce the CDF Bill. It is disappointing that in the last Parliament, we were only able to access funds for CDF for only one financial year out of the five. It is my hope that the CDF Bill will address the logistical challenges which inhibited the availability and utilisation of CDF funds.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, CDF is a crucial component of community development. I have every confidence that hon. members of this august House will draw lessons from problems experienced in the past and utilise these funds for the exclusive benefit of the people of their constituencies.
His Excellency, the President spoke about the urgent need to domesticate the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. The Bill must quickly come to the House and the protocol ratified. We are a progressive country and must protect our women and children. Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is need to define trafficking in persons to our constituents because they have a different understanding altogether. Let me take this opportunity to define trafficking in persons. Trafficking in persons is the sale, transport and profit from a human being who are forced or tricked to work for others. For example, people are forced to work as beggars, prostitutes or domestic servants and even as farm labourers. We must deal and condemn trafficking in persons and support His Excellency the President’s commitment in that endeavour.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I commend His Excellency the President for seeking to mainstream indigenisation and empowerment programmes. That must also include a clear position and modus operandi of ensuring that women have access to the programmes, and are direct beneficiaries in their own right. That will be in line with the constitutional position of 50/50 gender parity. A lot of women in
Goromonzi West and also in other constituencies, who are engaged in various economic activities, will need that legislative support in the empowerment process.
In conclusion Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to thank you for having accorded me this opportunity to address this august House. I would like to thank His Excellency the President for his speech, and also would like to thank the mover of this motion. I thank you Madam
MRS. MISIHAIRAMBWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam
Speaker. I stand to debate on the Presidential Speech. What I will try to do is to deal with the context of this Speech and the Opening of Parliament. I would also want to pick on 3 or 4 issues that were addressed in the Presidential Speech. The first part of the context Madam Speaker is the issue on the two significant things that happened on that particular day.
The first one was in my opinion historic in that the face of Parliament changed with the 8th Parliament. The face of Parliament changed significantly on the issue of gender. For many of us, who have been activists on the issues to do with women, we are excited that for the first time, this House has more oestrogen than it has testosterone. One hopes Madam Speaker that it will change the way debate is done in this House.
The reason why we have had major problems, confrontations and conflicts, is precisely because the more men you have in a place, the more testosterone, the more ego and the more you do not make sense. One hopes that with the introduction of women in this House, we will see a major difference. It is exciting also Madam Speaker in that, the difference is not just about women. It is about the inter-generational women that have come to this House. We have young women, middle aged and older women and one hopes that by bringing all these experiences together, we will be able to make a major difference. That is one issue - sex- that I think changed the context of this particular 8th Parliament.
The second issue which is not so exciting is that we were so cramped in this House. People were standing up and I think it is wrong, at all different levels. The environment that you create for debate, churns out the kind of debate that you are likely to have. As somebody who has been in Government, as a Government Minister, I do understand that indeed when you are looking at Parliament, it is treated as a poor cousin. This would not have happened if it was the Executive or the Judiciary. It happened primarily because we do not have the respect that we should have for the Legislature –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
Madam Speaker, I am a widow and therefore everything that I do, is a D.I.Y., Do It Yourself. When I look at this Parliament, I cannot understand why in the short-term Madam Speaker, we cannot do something about this House. I am not an architect, but I think there is something that we can do to make a difference in the way that we do business in this House.
When some of us came to Parliament for the first time, in 2000, there was a certain vibe about Parliament, there was a certain energy about Parliament, but there is something that is just not there in this
Legislature. I think we need to do some introspection and do something about it because we are in a new age of new technology. I thought that as I did my presentation here, some of the research and information that I wanted to take, I would be able to get it from here. But, you sit in this House; a basic thing like just having wireless is not possible. I do not think that it costs so much to just organise and make sure that we have wireless in this House.
In most places, people twit back to their constituencies. They are connected directly to their constituencies so that people understand the issues that somebody is raising. I raise this as just one example of the things that we need to look at. I am glad that when we started, the Speaker raised the issue of the Pre-Budget Seminar. I want to encourage my colleagues that if we attend the Pre-Budget Seminar, one of the things that should be a priority for discussion is how we should make this Parliament a face age Parliament and a Parliament that is able to deliver Madam Speaker.
Having said that, let me go back to the content of the Presidential
Speech which I think should be the subject of my debate and discussion.
Madam Speaker, the President starts by raising the context. His context is that we have just gone from an election and that this Parliament comes from that election. He says, the elections were held in an environment prevailing with peace and tranquility. I do not disagree with him on the issue of peace and tranquility –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- The one thing that has been said about our values as Africans is the ability to say sorry and the ability to say thank you.
First, we need to thank the Almighty that we did not lose lives in this particular election. Even as we do so, we need Madam Speaker, to thank those processes, institutions and persons who did something about that. It is wrong Madam Speaker, for you to put institutions and people who spend their time and resources in building a legacy and after it has been done, you begin to rubbish them. I say so Madam Speaker, we would not have had peace and tranquility if we did not have the kind of political leadership that we had during the Inclusive Government. I think it is important to thank those political leaders that took a political will in understanding and communicating on issues of peace.
President Mugabe in his capacity as the President of ZANU PF and the President of Zimbabwe, President Tsvangirai in his capacity as the President of MDC-T and then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Professor W. Ncube, in his capacity as the President of the MDC and the Minister of Industry and Commerce at that time – they took a stance around issues of peace and tranquility – [HON. MEMBERS: Ko Mutambara wamusiirei] – I am talking about political leaders of political parties.
Madam Speaker, those three were part of the Indaba that set the tone for where we were going as a country. We called the political leaders to address members of political parties and they were addressed by those three. After that had been done, there are members in JOMIC for example, I want to mention them by name because one thing that has become a culture is we easily forget the people that invested their time and talk ill about them. These are Hon. Mudzuri, Hon. Muchinguri, Hon. Goche, Hon. T Khumalo, Mr. Mangoma and many others. They were part of the Operations Committee.
Those individuals received phone calls in the middle of the night. Those individuals went to communities to build bridges. As it is right now, it is understood that belonging to a different political party does not make you an enemy of the other. It was that work that those particular individuals and institutions did and I want to thank them. I say so because sometimes I get so hurt when I read articles in the newspapers that are beginning to devalue the whole essence of JOMIC. I think it is important that we write it in the history of this country, that it did play a role in making sure that we get the kind of peace and tranquility that we do have in this country.
Like I said Madam Speaker, we had an Election on the 31st July, 2013, unfortunately, that Election has left us at political leadership level more polarised than we were before. Madam Speaker, it takes sober minds to begin to say is this what we want as a legacy for our children? Is this what we want for the people of Zimbabwe? The first thing that we need to do Madam Speaker, painful as it maybe is to acknowledge that 31, July happened and it is done – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – we need to move on.
However, even as we move on, we need to say to ourselves ‘what is it that we should do better the next time’. What makes us so divided and so polarised. That cannot happen by us sitting on opposite sides and throwing stones at each other every other day. It may be funny, it may make you feel better but in the context of the people of Zimbabwe, it brings absolutely nothing to the table. We cannot have those that are now the ruling party behaving as if we will continue to treat these ones as enemies and we will continue to treat them and vanquish them and we call them names so that that can legitimise us. We also cannot have us as opposition, sitting back and folding our hands and saying, aah chitongai tione, in other words hoping that something wrong may happen.
Madam Speaker, leadership comes from us saying things went wrong, let us do something about it. Leadership does not come from us being angry at each other. There are many things that are justified about how we could we have had an election which would not have been contested. We could have gone to this Election with an agreed date, with a voters’ role that was agreed to. There are many things that we could have done differently but holding the different positions that we have right now, will not make 2018 any different from what it is right now. I think we need a leadership from both sides of the House that begins to say we have a problem but we will deal with it.
Just like we said in 2008, never ever again will we have an election in which people lose their lives. In 2008 and 2009 when we came up with the Inclusive Government, we were driven by the very fact that we wanted to address it so that we would never go to an election that is contested. We did some of the things but we did not do all of them. We need to make sure that we go back to the drawing board and begin to look at these things in a very sober and composed manner. Which is why I said Madam Speaker, I am hoping that the more women we have in this House, we will begin to have sense because when you are dealing with men, it is always about how I won an argument. It is not about winning an argument; it is about building a nation. Building a nation takes humility, takes taking away yourself and beginning to say in the interest of my country. We did it Madam Speaker before and I am sure we can do it again.
Madam Speaker, let me also talk about the economy, which is another issue that was raised in the Presidential Speech. I am disappointed and perhaps much more at a personal level. Until and unless we understand as a country that our economy cannot move if we are polarized and that politics make up the issues that make up the whole body of what an economy is; you will not have trade and investment in a country Madam Speaker, if that country is polarised. Capital is shy; it does not come where there is war and where there is infighting. It comes where there is stability, where there is clarity of purpose and where there is unity. We need to address that issue.
The second one Madam Speaker is what holds an economy is the issue of trade and investment. Until we are able to deal with the cross boarder issue which has held this economy together, we have not started.
The reason why I said I am disappointed Madam Speaker, at a personal level is that in this new Government, we now have decided to do away with the Ministry of Regional Integration. Madam Speaker, you cannot do anything until you agree to the issues of intra trade and intra trade is buttressed by the work that our women do as they cross borders to facilitate inter-trade. Madam Speaker, the way women are treated at these border posts, is unacceptable.
It is unacceptable for people who are fighting to bring an economy back from its knees. You cannot have a border post where you go and are subjected to the inhuman treatment that women get. Not only that, after they have gone through that inhuman treatment at the border post, as they get into the country, they find four or five other border posts waiting for them from the border post – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, you are
making a lot of noise. Can you please listen to what the Hon. Member is saying. If you have any discussions, please go to the lobby.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, until
we begin to respect the issues around our cross borders, particularly women, we will not move in this economy. I want to call upon my women colleagues here, not to set up a committee that just goes and says, ‘we are a Parliamentary Committee,’ because people change their behaviour if they think somebody is coming to watch them. Let us go underground and stand in those queues and deal with those Immigration Officers. We will come here with a completely different view and mind of dealing with the issues around cross border trading. So, those are my concerns around the issue of the economy.
Madam Speaker, linked to the economy is the issue of corruption which was raised in the Presidential Speech. I know that there is corruption that we look at; that is exciting and sensational but Madam Speaker, the biggest threat of corruption is the services that women try and find on a day to day basis. Whether she is going to try and get a birth certificate or get a passport or anything, is where most of the corruption takes place.
We need to deal with our issues around service provision. I said to you Madam Speaker, I had hoped that wireless network will be on. There are major studies that have now shown the correlation between Women in Governance and corruption.
Just look at the parastatals in this country. If you look at the mess that is happening and the corruption that is happening, in most instances, if not all instances, they are parastatals that are headed by men. Let us change the choices that we make around leadership and let us see whether if we were to put women in some of these parastatals, it would not make a difference. There are studies that have been done to prove particularly that point.
Madam Speaker, I have waited for a long time to make this statement and I am so glad God has given me the opportunity to say it. As a rural Member of Parliament, I want to raise the issue of water and sanitation - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]. Madam Speaker, from the time I became a Member of Parliament, in 2000, I have heard those who were representing rural constituencies standing up and saying it in a manner that they are different from everybody else and I have the joy of standing up and saying as a rural Member of
Parliament, yes, it is important to talk about water and sanitation - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. members, order!
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: It is important Madam
Speaker, to talk about water and sanitation as it relates to urban areas but the studies that have been done in this country around issues of water and sanitation makes sad reading. That, we still have in Zimbabwe right now, communities that have no Blair toilets; that still use the bush on a day to day basis, is so sad. I think it is important for us to begin to focus on rural communities and the rural communities have no problems doing these things themselves. They will mould the bricks themselves and they will build those Blair toilets themselves. What they need are the resources and the capacity to do that and I think it is an area that we really need to focus on and be able to deliver.
Madam Speaker, I will end up again with my most favourite subject – the Constitution. The President raised the issue of the
Constitution in his Speech and one of the things that he said was that this particular House will be tasked with the realignment of laws, haa, to the new Constitution. That means there will be a lot of work that needs to be done. However, Madam Speaker, this is the Constitution that I got from the Government Gazette yesterday [Raising a copy of the Constitution].
If we are going to have a Constitution that our people went out in millions to vote for, it needs to be a Constitution that people can hold and be able to read and take with them. In this format, Madam Speaker, this cannot be a Constitution that the people of Zimbabwe can call their own Constitution. It needs to be packaged in a manner that shows that it is a document to be proud of. It needs to be packaged in a manner that you can read it in both languages and appreciate it. I think we need to do that and we need to do that as a nation.
Secondly, Madam Speaker, we need to begin to say to ourselves, political diversity is a good thing and I am glad that even in the Presidential Speech, there is something that speaks to the issue of acknowledging our diversity and having unity in diversity. Therefore, the fact that you do not speak my language and you are not of my tribe as well as that you are not of the same race as me, should not make you a lesser Zimbabwean than we are right now.
I am happy that even in his opening address, the Speaker himself, did speak to the issue that when we are in this Parliament, there is not one who is more important than the other. We represent a nation! We are all Zimbabweans and therefore Madam Speaker, I hope that we can please get away from name calling and calling each other ‘sell-outs’ and ‘regime changers’, only because we belong to different political parties but that is what diversity is all about. Give me the right to belong where I want to belong to. You may not appreciate it, you may not want to be in it, but understand that part of the liberation struggle was to give me the right to belong to where I want to belong and to be appreciated for who I am.
Madam Speaker, as we speak about the Constitution, we set up structures in this Constitution. People were voted in using the changes that we had put in this Constitution. As we speak right now, people were voted in as Provincial Council Members but as we speak right now, those people have not been sworn-in and people have no idea what they are supposed to do. This is almost three months after the election has been done. We already have started violating the whole essence of the Constitution that we put up.
We put up structures to be respected. Madam Speaker, Hon. Chombo, as the Minister of Local Government, should, with immediate effect, call those Provincial Council Members so that at the very least, they can be sworn-in. Then, following that, we need to make sure that we do put in place that Act that facilitates for those Provincial Councils to work.
Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, hon. members.
MRS. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, the
Constitution was clear, you do not make a law first so that you swear them in as Provincial Councillors. The very moment we said, this election will elect Provincial Councils, meant that those people have to be in place even as we are creating the legal framework for them to operate. Not putting them in place is a violation of the essence of this Constitution.
We can talk about resources but we need to begin to get to the synergy between the Provincial Council members and Local Authority so that those provinces can begin to work.
I know Madam Speaker that the area of devolution was one area that created a lot of division among ourselves but we finally agreed to that essence of devolution. We should not create in anyone’s mind that because some of us were unhappy with the essence and principle of devolution, we therefore, are going to make sure that we do not put that devolution in place.
I therefore call upon us as this House to impress upon, like I said, the Minister to make sure that these people are sworn in but more importantly, let us make sure that we have a short term and a long term arrangement around those issues of putting up a Provincial Council. I believe that whilst a lot of things may be said around issues of devolution. We had major discussions around devolution and decentralisation being a major part of how we will democratise and move this country forward. I think it is important for us to stick to what we said.
In closing, I will be bringing to this House later on, a motion around how we can deal with our Parliament in terms of building a new Parliament. Having said that, Madam Speaker, I think at this particular moment, we may want to consider, if we have not done anything about this House, a different sitting place for Parliament. It will be unfair if we go into the debate on the budget and we do what we did on Official Opening. I insist the environment does make a difference in terms of what happens.
We need a place that has a specific focus on making sure that the things that are raised in this House are publicised. People behave badly if they think people cannot see them. The moment you put cameras here and people are portrayed as they really are, they will not behave like kindergarten children, which is what they do. I think we need to create a specific channel and make sure that on radio, people are able to listen to the debates. We cannot continue to have mediocrity being put on top of sober minds.
The reason why people sometimes vote for mediocrity is because they have not seen an alternative way of doing business. Let us expose those of us who claim to want to be in leadership for people to see who they really are and what is going on. The people deserve to make a reasonable choice. Some of the things that are said in this House should only be said in beer halls and not in an august House like this particular place. This is a place to work on nation building and not a place for games. I therefore call upon you Madam Speaker and your leadership, to please make sure that we find a way of making sure that the people of Zimbabwe can really tell who their true representatives are.
ENG. MADANHA: Allow me Madam Speaker Ma’am, to
congratulate His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on his resounding victory during the 2013 harmonised elections. This victory was indeed a practical reaffirmation of the people’s confidence in the wise leadership of President R.G. Mugabe, a strong and insistent resistance to the evil and inhuman ransom-based demands of our hecklers. They were salivating over our resources, expecting these illegal sanctions to drive our poor people into voting for their agents.
I also take this occasion to pass, on behalf of Wedza South
Constituency, my congratulations to you, Madam Speaker Ma’am, on your election to the main chair of this august House. I equally extend my congratulations to all hon. members of this House.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to support the speech by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. R.G. Mugabe on the occasion of the Opening of this Parliament. I would like to thank him for having laid down such a robust policy framework during his address which ushers in the legislative implementation programme of the Eighth Parliament, whose main objective is to align the existing various pieces of our legislation to the new Constitution.
As one of the new entrants to this august House, I am extremely glad that I did the right thing, of availing myself during the opening ceremony of this august House. This gave me a strong foundation on the meaning of Parliament business, but above all, my attendance was a sure sign of submission and dedication to serving the people I represent, the people of Wedza South Constituency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, allow me to remind my fellow hon. members that this House is a hub of trusted messengers. I am a messenger of thousands of people in Wedza South. We have here present, messengers from Hwange, Bulawayo, Chipinge, Nembudziya kwaMutora, Zvishavane, Wedza North, Buhera and many more. Hon. members, the poor people who sent us here are banking on our creativity and effectiveness in crafting legislation and policy. This, they want us to do so as to further develop their lives, their future, their children’s future and their grandchildren’s future.
Let us join hands, hon. members, and espouse the fact that we all share a common denominator which is being Zimbabwean. This denominator overrides any other affiliation that we can think of. Just like churches, political parties do bear dissimilar ideologies and dogma. This difference should not obstruct us as a House to deliver to our people. I belong to a political party that believes in the permanent empowerment of the indigenous disadvantaged population through fair distribution of opportunities and resources.
Others do belong to parties that believe in their ‘rich’ friends that they will bring donations and employment to the people. We are here to serve our people and learn from each other as well. Learning that empowerment is the best gift you can give your people. Learning that these so called ‘rich’ friends are a people who also have problems in their backyard, problems more petrifying than those that you say we have.
Allow me at this point, Madam Speaker Ma’am, to turn my speech to the state of affairs in Wedza South Constituency, a constituency that I represent in this august House. Wedza South Constituency is lagging behind in terms of development and people there have high expectations from the present Parliament. Now that elections are past us, our people are now expecting nothing else but results.
The President clearly made reference to the pertinent issues and gave all ingredients to placate our beautiful Zimbabwe from the prevailing levels of poverty. As part of my contribution, I will deliberate only on those issues which I hope will have immediate positive impact for the rural communities such as Wedza South Constituency.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency the President, clearly pointed out during his address that sound infrastructure is crucial in all national development activities. Roads and water harvesting infrastructures are of paramount importance for the development of the country and can immediately contribute immensely in the development of rural constituencies. The scourge of corruption requires urgent attention and we need to fight tenaciously to significantly reduce it if we are to realise positive results.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, in Wedza South Constituency, people are mostly preoccupied with the advanced state of roads degradation. The biggest percentage of the road network in the constituency is gravel roads, most of which are impassable during the rainy season. A clear example is the road stretching from Zaire via Chigondo to Dorowa in Manicaland Province. This road passes through the middle of the constituency and requires surfacing, if the people in Wedza South are to realise meaningful economic growth.
As we all know, roads play a central part in the development of any country and can be comparable to the arteries and veins of a human body, which move blood from the heart to different body parts and vice versa. If these are clogged with blood clots, the body will not function normally.
Our country requires an all-weather road network in order to boost economic growth. Rural communities need to move goods, especially excess farm produce to markets for sale and equally, they need good roads to move various types of goods from markets back to their communities for resale. This is a befitting social benefit to the people of Wedza South, for so long a time, they have awaited. Most transporters shun using the roads network as vehicles’ operational costs are too exorbitant; eroding all profits and the rural farmer suffers. During the rainy season, movement of goods is heavily compromised as most feeder roads are impassable.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is urgent need to rehabilitate other infrastructure like schools, clinics, boreholes, dip tanks and dams. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy as pointed out by His Excellency, the President and if rural farmers cannot move their farm produce to markets for sale then they are not able to benefit fully from agricultural production. Allow me to equally point out that, timely availability of inputs like seed, fertilizer, chemicals and implements at affordable prices is of paramount importance.
In a rural setup, the world over, labour intensive technologies are used where communities are mobilised to work on roads and other infrastructures like small dams and bridges for a wage. This way, the communities assume a partial ownership of their local infrastructure and are fully involved in the maintenance of the same. The advantage of such interventions is that a lot of employment is created for rural people and cash is directly injected into the community through salaries earned. By labour intensive interventions, I mean the partial substitution of some pieces of equipment, with human labour wherever possible during construction operations. Hon. members here present might have seen such interventions during the trenching for ICT cables. A lot of people are employed to dig trenches instead of using retro-excavators. This is achieved using task work.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, we all know that when excavating gravel at a gravel pit, we use a bulldozer. If one has funds to hire the dozer, one can equally realise the same results using labour only. You only need to work out the task rate and determine the number of people to employ. Other activities not attainable using labour can be done by machinery in order to guarantee the quality of work. With cash earned, people can embark on other income generating projects.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, such interventions require appropriate policies which this august House can deliberate on. The same technology can be used to build small dams for irrigation, fish ponds and in the rehabilitation of other infrastructures.
Before I leave this topic, all of us are cognisant of the fact that, the illegal and punitive sanctions imposed on our country by Britain and its allies have resulted in great suffering of our people. These sanctions have left our local contractors in a predicament. They have no equipment to carry out operations and banks are charging very high interests while loans are not readily available for them to reequip. I feel it is the duty of this august House to put policies in place which promote local capacity building. This can be achieved by reserving for local contractors, a determined percentage of all contract work awarded to the well-equipped and financially stable foreign companies. Such a percentage should be revised upwards as local capacity strengthens until such a time that we completely take over whole contracts as Zimbabweans.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the President gave great importance to water harvesting. Construction of small dams will go a long way in guaranteeing food security. The effects of global warming are visible for all of us to see and take appropriate action. Wedza South Constituency is replete with rivers for this purpose. There is also the need to rehabilitate all dysfunctional boreholes and drill new ones in order to combat cholera and typhoid. Dip tanks need rehabilitation in order to enhance national herd building.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, people from Wedza South Constituency did not fully benefit from the Land Redistribution Programme as only a handful got farms. There is therefore a need to redistribute all farming land which is lying idle to our youths so that rural areas are decongested and rural to urban migration reduced. Tackling unemployment among the youth is now a noble cause. The Ministry of Youth, Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment should distribute available funds for loans to all constituencies equitably. Only a small number of youths in Wedza South benefitted from the Ministry’s programmes.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, corruption needs to be tackled head on. It is now in the same category with cancer and AIDS. Anyone who needs to see the extent of this scourge can board a luxury coach from Roadport to Beitbridge in order to have a feeling of corruption on our roads. I am not sure how many tollgates we have on this road as there are a lot of illegal cash collection points. His Excellency, the President indicated zero-tolerance to corruption as it impacts negatively on the empowerment drive.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of working conditions requires to be looked into with the seriousness it deserves as another way to combat corruption. Those in the Diaspora should be attracted to bring that vast experience they accumulated over the years back to Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, Wedza South Constituency has vast deposits of gold and iron ore, which if exploited, can contribute immensely to the development of the Constituency. There is urgent need by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to repossess all claims lying idle for years and allow new investors with financial capacity to mine these minerals for the benefit of all. This is an area where our youths can have gainful self employment if properly resourced instead of them spending precious time on anti-social indulgences.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, most electrical lines in Wedza South are not functional due to theft of transformer oil. These should be repaired and other alternative energy sources like solar power promoted, particularly in remote schools, clinics and irrigation projects. The
Constituency Development Fund should be revised upwards. Civil servants salaries deserve meaningful review so that qualified staff is retained.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, Zimbabwe is not at war. 18th April, 1980 is the day we gained our hard earned independence and sovereignty. Those clamouring about security sector reforms should right click and refresh their minds. The noise on security sector reforms was just a delaying tactic used by one party in the now late and buried Government of National Unity (GNU). This party wanted to prolong this GNU as it was known; for personal reasons best known to them, as well as weaken our security sector. Surely, for the noise to continue now, is unfair to the people of Zimbabwe who are now looking forward to the delivery of promises made to them before the victory of team ZANU PF in the recent elections.
Whether ZANU PF or MDC, members should be honest and
deliver to people back in their constituencies. The elections are now a closed chapter and they were a free, fair and credible indication of the people’s will with no rigging to talk about here. The only rigging I witnessed against the people’s will was after the elections when members refused to attend the opening ceremony of this august House, yet people in their respective Constituencies had voted them to
Parliament to represent them. That is rigging at its highest altitude.
I would like to end by thanking the people of Wedza South
Constituency for voting team ZANU PF Team during the harmonised 2013 elections. I vow to serve my people to the maximum and to indeed help make their lives better.
On that note, I would like to thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I move that
the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th October, 2013.
FOOD SHORTAGE CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE
- S.S.NKOMO: I move the motion standing in my name that
NOTING that Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Southern
Africa and has now been reduced to a basket case;
DISTURBED by the Government’s lack of precautionary programmes to avert hunger in the face of a poor rain season;
CONCERNED by the acute shortage of food which has resulted in more than two million people facing starvation particularly in Masvingo,
Midlands, Matabeleland and Manicaland Provinces;
MINDFUL of the fact that in Zimbabwe more than 2.2 million people are in need of food to avert starvation;
NOW, THEREFORE: Resolves to set up a Parliamentary
Committee to enquire into the food shortage crisis that is currently engulfing Zimbabwe; and calls upon Government to implement an urgent non-partisan drought and starvation mitigation programme.
MRS. MATIBENGA: I second.
- S.S.NKOMO: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion. Zimbabwe is a country endowed with vast natural resources. Our rich fertile land was one of the major causes for the colonisation and subsequent liberation struggle for Zimbabwe. Land, as a God given heritage of this country, has been the basis for the economic development of Zimbabwe.
Skewed land ownership practices characteristic of the colonial settler regime were reversed at the onset of the new millennium, owing to the fast track land reform programme. While the land was indeed returned to indigenous Zimbabweans as the rightful owners, it is worth noting that the radical transformation in land ownership also heralded a new era of unprecedented food shortages. There are cases at hand of multiple farm ownership and subsequent under-utilisation of land, much to the detriment of crop and livestock production. The victims of elite capture have been the ordinary villagers of Kezi and Siyachilaba who have to contend with debilitating food shortages following the dysfunctionality of a hitherto well laid out food market chain. In 2000/2001, maize production dropped by 680 000 metric tonnes to a disappointing 1.47 million metric tonnes due to lower planted area and yield.
Maize production has always been on average lower than required to meet national needs. Though undoubtedly noble a programme, it has become apparent over the years that the Land Reform Programme was a programme not well thought out. But, it was a sporadic reaction to a political capital in light of the energies of the new political players in a hitherto monopolised political landscape. Food handouts by NonGovernmental Organisations have been an annual feature in the country’s calendar of events. However, elements in Government, for political reasons, frustrated the NGOs by burning their operations in the year 2008 when Zimbabwe was at the height of its economic abyss leading to unchecked starvation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to say that last year, 1.7 million people required food aid. The shortages follow some of the poorest weather for years but the crisis derives not just from recent uncontrollable factors, but from some longer term and very much manmade problems. For example, in November 2011, maize was planted on 1.2 million hectares. This should be enough to produce 1.8 metric tonnes of maize which Zimbabweans consume annually. The Ministry of Agriculture delivered seed and inputs when the rains were already underway. It is a very frustrating practice which has been repeated since the year 2000.
The other issue is actually self inflicted failure. Drought and poorly implemented policies and a shift by the banks to fund tobacco and cotton instead of maize and other grains, have all contributed to
Zimbabwe’s current food insecurity. In the year 2000, when the Land Reform Programme was launched, land was seized from white commercial farmers and given to black farmers. This Act broke apart an important pillar of the Zimbabwean economy, replacing white farmers with some inexperienced farmers with insufficient –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Mr. Speaker Sir, I said this act broke apart an important pillar of the Zimbabwe economy.
- SPEAKER: Order, order! May I draw to the attention of the hon. member that the land was not seized. The redistribution of land and the resettlement was done in terms of the law which was passed by this hon. House. So, may I ask the hon. member to withdraw the term ‘seized’.
- S. S. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I do respect your view and I do withdraw the word, ‘seized’.
I just want to say that this Act broke apart an important pillar of the Zimbabwean economy, replacing white farmers with inexperienced farmers with –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
- SPEAKER: Order! May I ask hon. members to be slightly indulgent please? Hon. Nkomo, please proceed.
- S. S. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I really just wanted to make this point that, I did not say all of them. Mr. Speaker
Sir, I did not say all of them, my statement says ‘some’ and that is correct. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
With some inexperienced farmers, with insufficient planning and State support, they did not get State support. Those who got State support –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
- SPEAKER: Order, order! If hon. members from either side have certain views on the motion, can they keep their views to their chest rather than shouting while the hon. member is speaking.
- S.S. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Those who got free land contributed just 16% of the total maize output. Mr. Speaker Sir, I will give another example. One day, I was standing outside the City Hall in Bulawayo, this is just to make my point. I was standing with a friend of mine who was a Cabinet colleague from ZANU PF and we were just chatting waiting as both of us were going into the City Hall to meet the councillors.
Somebody from Matabeleland South came rushing as he was excited to see the minister. He greeted him and said makadii chef and so on. Now, my colleague said to this man, do you know this man? Then he said, no, I do not know him. Then my colleague said this is Minister Nkomo, the Minister of Water. He then turned to the minister and said, chef, he was speaking in Ndebele and I am just paraphrasing because he is from Matebeleland South. He said, ndokumbira $5 kuti ndiende kunocheka kufarm kuti zviri kufamba sei? That is what makes me know that some of them are not equipped properly –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] - Some of them, Mr. Speaker Sir, sold the equipment and to me, it is all bad planning. This country has no agricultural policy up to now. The land also has no value. It is a gift – much of the land is under equipped and underutilised.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government has been accused of partisan distribution of food during drought and starvation mitigation programmes. It is indeed sad and primitive that a Government can deliberately starve its own populace for purposes of political expedience.
It is the essence of democracy to have divergent political ideologies with Government having the capability to rise above party politics and provide food to all deserving and bona fide Zimbabweans.
To back that up my point Mr. Speaker Sir, I have an article which I will give to the Clerks. It is from The Standard newspaper, ‘Ditch
MDC-T or starve, villagers told’. This is in Mutasa – ‘A traditional leader has demanded that all MDC-T supporters surrender their party cards and regalia or risk failing to get food aid from Government. Cephas Mashingaidze, who is Headman Chidawanyika in Mutasa Central Constituency, said all MDC-T supporters must join ZANU PF, the party that won the July 31st harmonised elections.
Chidawanyika made the remarks at a funeral at Nyarudzu homestead in Ward 17 last week, saying those who would fail to obey the order would also lose their farming plots’.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is just to prove my point on partisan distribution of food. It has also
- SPEAKER: Order, order! For purposes of recording, could you kindly indicate the date of that publication?
- S. S. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the date of the
publication is 13th - 19th October, 2013.
- SPEAKER: Thank you.
- S. S. NKOMO: Mr. Speaker Sir, it has also become a common trend that the Government churns out millions of dollars annually in support of farmers - who 13 years after the Land Reform
Programme, are still being referred to as ‘new farmers’ and are handheld by Government with no indication of self-sustaining operations in the near future. While Government certainly has an obligation to support farmers, the current support mechanisms are not sustainable as they are characterised by an endless cycle of one way financial and input injections which are not matched by equivalent returns. It does not, therefore, come as a surprise that Zimbabwe is now a basket case from its rightful position as the bread basket of Southern Africa. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] - If current practices in the agricultural sector are anything to go by, Zimbabwe is poised to suffer even more food deficits in the future.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector is just as susceptible to the climate phenomenon. Many of our farmers have not been capacitated to align their farming practices with changing weather patterns. This has resulted in massive crop failure year in and year out as farmers are still stuck in the old farming patterns. Owing to the shifting weather patterns, farmers either plant their crops too early or too late. It would appear that there are no mechanisms in place by Government to bridge the knowledge gap which presents a valid and very serious threat to our national food security. The country’s overall climate change adaptation strategy should have a comprehensive agricultural component and specifically provide for the use of Extension officers in building the capacity of rural farmers to adapt to climate variations. This also calls for synergies with the Meteorological Services Department among other Government departments. Our small scale farmers are hardest hit by climate variations and yet these are the farmers who ensure food security at household and communal levels.
Mr. Speaker Sir, for a country like Zimbabwe, once with an agricultural sector so vibrant that it was the envy of the world, to import maize from Zambia on some “eat now and pay later scheme”, is indeed deplorable –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- and points to failed leadership and policies. It is sad indeed that we are faced with yet another acute shortage of food which the World Food Programme (WFP) says has resulted in more than 2.2 million people facing starvation particularly in Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland and Manicaland Provinces. This is a crisis of magnificent proportions and requires prompt action to abate a catastrophic humanitarian situation. Zimbabwe should never be reduced to a famine zone. Zimbabweans have a reputation of a hard working lot and food shortages are a dent on our national pride.
I, however, note and commend the creation of two deputy ministers for the Ministry of Agriculture and hope that the next five years will see great improvements in livestock and crop production.
Mr. Speaker Sir, driven by the desire to ensure food security for all Zimbabweans; recognising that the new Constitution guarantees right to life; acknowledging that food sustains human life. I duly move a motion that this august House sets up a Committee to enquire into the food shortage crisis that is currently engulfing Zimbabwe.
I also call upon the Government to implement an urgent nonpartisan drought and starvation mitigation programme. Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to thank you for the opportunity.
MRS. MATIBENGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for
affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this very important motion. Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to thank the hon. member for raising this very pertinent motion. Kindly allow me to express my indebtedness and sincere gratitude to the people of Kuwadzana Constituency who overwhelmingly voted for my party, the Movement for Democratic Change. Thus they gave me another lease of life in this august House to represent them. I shall endeavour to do that in an able manner.
Indeed, it is indisputable that the issue of food insecurity is a perennial challenge faced by our nation and that the recent survey by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) has indeed proved that 2.2million of our kin and kind will be in need of food aid between now and April 2014. These are the highest food insecurity levels since 2009. I must hasten to say that this number of people facing starvation is also inclusive of the urban people. It is not true that hunger knows the divide between the urban areas and the rural areas. Poverty levels are as rife in urban areas as they are in the rural areas.
I speak in this compassionate manner about urban poverty because I am a representative of an urban Constituency. There is a tendency that when mitigation programmes hit the ground and when food aid programmes are initiated by Government, they tend to take it for granted that the need is out there in the rural areas. Poverty and hunger is everywhere. Hunger and strife is in our midst. Poverty in urban areas is due to unemployment and under employment and indeed the economy which is highly informal and is normally referred to as the “survival economy”. Indeed, I want to say as a woman, the majority of those seeking survival in the informal economy are women.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it would be counterproductive and indeed retrogressive on my part to spend the valuable time you have given me to speak in this august House lamenting about the good old days when Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Southern Africa, when Zimbabwe in the 1990s was a net exporter of grain. I also would like to say, at the height of agriculture in this country, agriculture used to contribute 30% to the GDP and indeed was an employer of a sizeable number of the labour force.
In my previous life, as the leader of the working poor, I remember one of the biggest Trade Unions in this country was the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union which boasted of a membership of 75 000 at one time. Instead, I would like to dwell, focus and route my discussion on what I see as the way forward in making our beloved country achieve food security for the good of us all.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this dire food security situation calls for a major rethink in terms of our agricultural policies, which to my knowledge and short stint in Government, I found people grappling with trying to come up with an agricultural policy, until we left. I know and I can certainly concur with Hon. Sipepa Nkomo that there is no agricultural policy to date. Government needs to earnestly pay special attention to agricultural development. Lessons from the East Asian Development Miracle have shown that agricultural development helps to reduce poverty and also acts as a foundation for industrial development.
Making Zimbabwe’s agriculture work again requires favourable socio-political climate, adequate governance and macro-economic fundamentals underpinned by robust and responsive institutions. It will crucially be vital for Government to invest in irrigation infrastructure to offset drought vulnerability, institute reforms to ensure timely supply of inputs, a pricing and market policy that balances incentives between food and cash crops.
More importantly, the country is in urgent need of a comprehensive land policy. Such a policy should provide the basis for developing an overall framework that defines the key measures required to address the critical issue of food security such as land-tenure security, land administration, access to land, land-use planning, restitution of historical injustices, environmental degradation, conflicts, an outdated legal framework, institutional framework and information management.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a land audit should be the first step towards designing an effective land policy which should help in the consideration of issues that underpin injustices –[ HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]. The land policy should then create the conditions for Government and stakeholders to design strategies to help revive the agricultural sector as well as to grow the economy.
The main policy objectives in rebuilding agriculture must include the following:
- Agriculture that seeks to improve food security and the livelihoods of the poor
I am glad that I am beginning to hear some nice sounds that there is a language that says pro-poor because, I think we are now beginning to adapt to what we are cut out to do and what we have been sent to do in this august House. To sustain the popular legitimacy of the land reform programme and to improve the quality of human development, the agrarian reform strategy must be supported by asocial protection programme whose objective is to improve the productive capacities and self employment of the poor. I emphasise Mr. Speaker on the poor and the disadvantaged. The second policy objective Mr. Speaker Sir;
- Agriculture for community development and self-employment.
In order to address the problems of unemployment, agriculture has a role to play in terms of self-employment. In Zimbabwe, with two million communal farmers, agriculture can directly absorb 2.5 million. If those who work in the agricultural services sector; finance, tertiary institutions, extension services, manufacturing, retail et cetera, are added to the numbers directly working in agriculture, then a significant population of our country is dependent on agriculture. Therefore, issues such as skills, farm management and the labour rights of workers in agriculture, need to be addressed.
- Enhancing agricultural efficiency to better the yields and increase output.
Opening the input markets and removing the monopoly state, which tended to use inputs for political expediency must be a priority. The farmers should have ready access to technology, water resources, labour that is fairly remunerated, credit facilities and subsidies targeting the poor where necessary in order to boost yields and outputs.
- Rebuilding agriceltural assets and infrastructure
Zimbabwe’s world-class agriculture anfrastructure has deteriorated in the last nine years and will require focused attention. However, farmers now possess inadequate assets for them to be able to translate their labour into(increased production. For this reason, Govern}ent will have to bqild the assets for the poor. At the same time, smallholder agriculvural support programmes (inputs support, marketing, pricing dt cetera, should play a critical sociAl, as well as economic poliãy function.
Mr, Speaker Sir, The priority area for Zimbabwe should be the completion gf the judicial framework gove2ning property rights especially land. The country needs tg come up with a clear and unambiguous telurial regime. The country needs to move to more secure forms of tenure to give confi`ence to the producers/ All farmers in"Zimbabwe should enjoy security of tenura defined in the form of a basket of rights that include;
- User rights: Defining what use the land cán be put to. –[HNN.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
- SPEAKER: Order, order! I want to repeat that if you have got strong ideas, please wait for your turn to debate.
MRS. MATIBENGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. The
second point I want to make Mr. Speaker Sir, is the issue of …
Hon. Chinotimba having stood up to make an interjection
- SPEAKER: Order, order. If the hon. member would like to make an interjection, you simply stand up. You do not have to switch on the microphone.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to tell the hon. member not to forget that we had COPAC and we talked about issues and people gave their input as to what the land issue should be like. This was introduced in the Constitution. There should be a position on the issue of land which was acquired and hon. members in the previous Parliament caused the adoption of the Constitution that dealt with issues of the land reform. I thank you.
- Transfer rights: So as to be clear on the rights to sub-divide, sell, bequeath
- Exclusion and inclusion rights;
To clarify who else may have access to that land and for what purpose.
- Enforcement rights or the rights to protection by the state;
To clarify the administration and judicial provisions that will intervene and that are available for the land user to appeal to if they feel any of their rights have been violated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the ultimate success of agriculture hinges crucially on the ability of the Government to launch a ‘fast-track smallholder improvement programme’ that can turn the formerly landless people into farmers who produce an economic surplus for the market. That is real empowerment that targets the majority of our people. The centrepiece of the revolution is the mobilisation of farmers, in particular the new settlers, who should be equipped with tools and knowledge to increase food, livestock and cash-crop production and rural employment which in turn generates effective demand for food and products from the industrial sector.
While free inputs are important, they will not sustain the sector. This needs to be backed up by organised extension and research services. Indeed our country at one time had the best organised extension and research services in Africa but underfunding and political interference caused the collapse of these services. There is therefore the need to go back to basics, enabling technical support for the small holder farmers to sustain productivity.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, the most immediate objective is to continue to provide safety nets and reduce the risks for the poorest and the most vulnerable members of our society. The imperative is therefore to maintain and strengthen the measures already put in place, in a transparent, fair and non-partisan manner. Government should strengthen its partnership and coordination with international relief agencies such as WFP and FAO.
Mr. Speaker, hazvina njere kuruma ruoko rwemunhu wakabata chingwa iwe uchihwe zhara. Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir.
MR SPEAKER: Hon. Matibenga, I want to apologise for having called you, Hon. Mpariwa, I hope you will accept my apologies.
MRS MATIBENGA: I accept.
DR J. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this very important motion. The motion has been moved by the former minister and seconded by a former minister of the past Inclusive Government. Grapes are sour Mr. Speaker
There are persons and honourable members who find joy in using adjectives such as ‘basket case’, referring to their own country. I do not understand why. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Inclusive Government only ended on the 31st, July, 2013. The ministers who have just spoken have been in Government for the past five years and they were responsible for steering Government policies but they did not. Only a month after this Parliament has started to work in earnest do they realise that things are bad. Mr. Speaker, for the past five years when they were in
Government, they did not see that. I did not know whether they saw that there were no rains in the country and that also contributed to poor harvest in the country.
Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, let me not be misunderstood because the motion really speaks well, it is speaking about hunger in the country and you cannot deny it. We do not deny that but what are the causes? Are the problems caused by the Government of today? These are the issues which we should be looking at. The point I want to make Mr. Speaker again is that the hon. members who have spoken, who are former ministers, are fully aware that we had a Minister of Finance from their Party who did not do much to assist the agricultural sector.
Mr. Speaker, what is right is right and I support it. Like I am saying, it is true that we have got about 1.5 million people who need to be assisted with food, there is no doubt about that. Mr. Speaker, let us not politicize and take a position to kind of like grandstand to the public. They want to be seen as if they are with the people just for political gains.
Hon S. Nkomo, I respect him and he knows that pretty well. Like I said, before the motion is a very good one, but the way it is being put across and the way it is being debated forces us to sort of like defend the indefensible. How can you defend it when people are suffering? They are suffering not on political divisions, if they are suffering because there is no food, there is no food for everybody in the country. Mr. Speaker, it is because there was an Inclusive Government with the Minister of Finance who did nothing - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are not inventing Government today and we are not inventing policies for food distribution today in this country. Food has been distributed to our people for many years whenever there have been such cases like we are facing today. So, for anybody to say that the policies for distributing favour a few others and so forth, that is serious politicking. All across Zimbabwe, if you go to all the wards, they were not all won by ZANU PF councillors and MPs, they were also won by MDC councillors and MPs. So, do we find the same happening where we have the MDC councillors and MDC MPs?
I am trying to say to the honourable member, I would have loved to debate this motion which has been put across by the former minister, if he had come up with some suggestions of how we should go forward and see ourselves helping our people from this situation. It was wrong to attack a system of Government of which he has been part of for the past five years – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
In my view Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no need for setting up a
Committee to investigate and come up with recommendations about what we know. Why do that? We already know that there are effects of starvation in the country and we know that there are systems of distributing food in the country. What are we investigating? You will be investigating what has already been investigated and what for? So, in my view, whilst I say to you Hon. S. S. Nkomo, thank you very much for bringing this matter for debate in the House, so that we as
Parliamentarians, we as legislators, playing the oversight role to the Government, can push together and make Government aware that there are people suffering out there. They need to be supported with food and I support that. That is a good point and I support that point. Let us make noise from across the House and say Government should do something so that our people can get food relief and support. There is nothing wrong Mr. Speaker Sir, about getting food from Zambia or getting maize from Zambia as well as distributing that to our people. Any country can
- SPEAKER: Order, order! There are two vehicles that are blocking the parking in the parking bays. Vehicle ABE 8080 which is a Prado and the other one is ABX 0036, Parliamentary Sticker No. 621 of
- If those concerned can please remove their vehicles immediately.
Hon. Gumbo, please continue.
- J. M. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir. I was just about to wind up and I was going to just thank the hon. member for bringing this motion into the House but my view of the motion is that we must take it seriously and try and force Government from our side as legislators to do something about our starving 1, 5 million people out there. Maybe; let us not take the direction of debating this motion in such a way that we end up being defensive about things that cannot be defended. Who really, across this House and out there, a Councillor or any leader, does not know that our people are starving but maybe it is the way we bring our motions that at times tend to cause people out there to assume that when Members debate, they do that on party lines. Avoiding even to come together to focus on issues which affect our people and which I think, is what we must do. I want to say that if we would listen and be Members of Parliament who debate issues the way that Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga debated; you can see that the level of debate and the issues which we debate can change. Let us grow from just shouting at each other on issues that are pertinent to our people. I thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear].
- MACKENZIE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir. I want to thank the mover of the motion and at the same time reminding hon. members that Zimbabwe has the potential to be a bread basket for Southern Africa. We still have the potential as a country to produce enough food to feed our people and for export. The delays in delivery of agricultural inputs and funding by Government can best be blamed on the movers of the motion themselves – the MDC party.
They are the people who lobbied for sanctions and for the past five years, Hon. Biti from the MDC Party has been the Minister of Finance and he is the guy who has been starving the agricultural sector in
Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]. Mr. Speaker Sir, …
- SPEAKER: Order! Can you switch off your microphone? It is unparliamentary to refer to an hon. member as a guy. Please carry on.
- MACKENZIE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I apologize for using that term. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is true that the people in Zimbabwe are starving, especially those people in my constituency. I really feel very disturbed when others try to politicize the hunger that Zimbabwe is facing. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very sad to hear Hon. former Minister from the MDC failing to acknowledge that the land is their birth right and that the land reform exercise is a noble exercise that has restored our dignity as Zimbabweans.
I really feel that Mr. Speaker Sir, we do not have to politicize some of these issues. We need to debate openly about the starvation that we are facing in Zimbabwe as a country but trying to politicize it, I do not think that will be the best way forward as a country. Thank you.
- HLONGWANE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to debate this very important motion as raised by Hon. S. S. Nkomo. This is a very important motion, Mr. Speaker, given the fact that for the last several years and perhaps slightly more than a decade, we – at least some of us – have experienced a long sustained drought without
realizing any meaningful harvest every season. Therefore, it is important for us as Members of Parliament to exercise our minds on a matter like this one.
I think that the mantra that is used to refer to our current consisting situation with regards to food security is a rehash of what we normally find in the media of the West, to refer to Zimbabwe as a basket case, doing Public Relations (PR) work for the former commercial farmers that occupied the bulk of our land whilst the black majority were wallowing in abject poverty in cramped conditions in so called reserves.
I think we will do ourselves a favour if we abandon that kind of rehash and move away from looking like we are joining in PR work for people that have subjugated us for over a century. We must not accept that Mr. Speaker.
I think that planning for agriculture in our country can be improved Mr. Speaker. I agree with the previous speakers, all of them. I think that apart from the issues of climate change and apart from other intervening factors, some of which I am going to touch on, we can improve a bit on what we may do as a people in Zimbabwe. We can improve in terms of how we plan for every agricultural season, summer and winter. Often seed and other inputs arrive in various pockets of our country very late for the season.
If I give an example of the place where I come from, in Mberengwa, the soils are very hard and the little rain that we receive, every farmer needs to take advantage of. If by the time the rains hit the ground there are no inputs in the form of seed and fertilizer and other inputs, the problem is that clearly, the following season or that particular season they may not be able to harvest anything.
My suggestion would be that Government probably needs to look into how these inputs should be moved early enough in order to be able to intersect the on-coming rains in various pockets of the country. It must also be recognised that the weather patterns have changed and are not the same for the entire country. There are certain areas such as here in Harare and certain parts of Mashonaland, where rains have already started.
Where I come from the rains are not yet there. There is need to understand the various weather patterns in order for planning to be informed properly so that inputs are delivered on time. This will go a long way in terms of improving our harvest and, therefore, ensuring adequate food supply because food security, as you are aware, is a much broader term. We are looking at issues of nutrition and other factors.
I think we can also do well as a country especially in the southern and certain pockets within the northern environs, if we begin to find ways of harvesting our water, the water that just flows away to the sea without being dammed. I think this Government can invest in the construction of dams in order to allow irrigable agriculture to thrive if that water if harvested. I think that is something that can help us achieve the kind of food adequacy ratios that we all aspire to see.
The issue that arrogates the lack of food productivity in the last 10 years is the fact that land was transferred in the massive property realignment of 2000 at the turn of the century, was transferred to black
Zimbabweans is very unfortunate. I do not think that we are in the kind of situation that we are in terms of food security exposure because black farmers are now occupying land. I think that is over simplifying things.
It cannot possibly be that because certain people who were white where occupying land and therefore, were producing better. That would be an unfortunate argument to put across – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]. It must never be allowed. I think there are a lot of interventions given the context immediately after 2000. I hear that there is a lot of skepticism and I am bringing a motion on the whole matter of sanctions to try to comprehensively interrogate that subject.
Sanctions, Mr. Speaker, are a clear intervening factor in terms of impeding our growth in agriculture and investment in that sector, deliberately designed to stifle agricultural growth in this country because certain people must not be seen to be doing well. In a comparative analysis, you find this kind of unfortunate scenario where because somebody is black, they are not able to produce and because someone was white, they were able to produce.
I think, Mr. Speaker, members will be better guided not to over simplify this matter. The investment in agriculture, the kind of investment that was there in the pre-2000 era was huge. You had commercial farmers who had title deeds for farms that they owned. Most of them owned several farms in Zimbabwe with their title deeds deposited with the Lloyds Bank in London, for instance. They would get support, not only in Zimbabwe but from multi-lateral finance institutions.
In the era of sanctions, Mr. Speaker, themselves an act of war against Zimbabwe, there are no lines of credit that are available to this country to fund agriculture and other sub-sectors of our economy. This is an important factor that we must all realise. The issue of mechanization is very important. This Government will need to invest a lot in the mechanization of agriculture so that people move away from artisanal means of farming to mechanized means of farming. I think that is important. It is obviously, as the previous speaker referred to; going to improve efficiency in terms of output if that is deliberately done. That thrust is very important.
There is also need to invest in the technology of understanding the changing weather patterns, issues of meteorological services. Our Meteorology Department is in a sorry state with antiquated equipment that does not assist in terms of understanding how our seasons are going to become. It is important to invest in that direction so that technology can assist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development and other policy makers, arrive at important decisions on how to intervene in the agriculture sector based on their understanding of how much rainfall they are going to realise that season.
They therefore can advise all farmers, commercial and none, in a correct manner. This, I think, is very important. There is need to invest in the technology of understanding our weather. There is need to invest in the understanding of our climatic shifts. There is also need to invest in this technology in order to ensure predictability as far as these seasons are concerned
I also want to suggest, Mr. Speaker that most of these commercial farmers, the farmers that got land at the turn of the century, are saddled with huge debts from commercial banks which they have not been able to pay back. Having accessed this debt in an era of sanctions and difficult micro-economic environment, I think that most of these debts, in order to ensure that productivity continues, it is important that this debt be converted into long term debt as opposed to the short term kind of funding that we see.
I also think that somebody must bring to this House a motion that tries to deal with that matter about how to fund our agriculture in this country. This ad hoc way of funding agriculture, will not take this country anywhere. It is important to put together a financial infrastructure in place that funds agriculture on a long term basis from infrastructure as far as irrigation is concerned up to mechanization. I think that is important.
A member raised the point that in the previous dispensation, before the turn of the century, there was a workers’ union that boasted of
75 000 workers in agriculture and that can now not be accounted for in the same. That is an important point, Mr. Speaker. I do not under rate or under estimate the importance of agriculture to employment and job creation, and so forth but I also want to look at the quality of that employment. I know that in that agricultural dispensation, one commercial farmer will be staying in a lavish house, mostly like a double storey. Just adjacent, are pole and dagga huts where the hundreds and thousands of workers that are working for him will be staying. I do not think that is the kind of equitability that we are looking into realizing in our new dispensation of agriculture.
We need workers in the new agricultural dispensation, Mr. Speaker, to have equitability. We need workers in the new agricultural dispensation, not just to participate, but also to have an improved…
- SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Mahlangu and Hon. Chinotimba,
can you stop the altercation that is going on between the two of you.
Hon. Hlongwane please continue.
- HLONGWANE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think part of
what should inform the new agricultural planning for the new agricultural dispensation, is the quality of life that is lived by our workers. That is important so that we migrate away from the squalid environments that workers in agriculture were living in.
The last point that I want to pose Mr. Speaker, is the whole issue of how we access agricultural financing. For the last 12 years, Zimbabwe has been under biting economic sanctions. Just to illustrate how long this has been Mr. Speaker, a child who was born during the time the sanctions were imposed by both the United States and Europe, is now in Form Two. This has been consistently sustained for 12 years. As Zimbabweans, we need to begin asking ourselves how we can fully make use of the Look-East Policy that was promulgated by the President several years ago.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the emerging markets– we always look down on the Chinese, for instance, we say that they do not make goods that are robust and enduring and so on. We think that there is a stigma in associating with the Chinese. What may not be known by certain people among us is that, the West themselves, have to be bailed out by the Chinese to the tune of close to USD 3 trillion Mr. Speaker. In the emerging markets, when you look at the BRICS countries (Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa), there is a huge pool of capital. How do we, as a country begin to fully engage with the BRICS countries? This is not an issue that we must continue to prevaricate because it is true that we have economic sanctions that are killing, biting and suffocating this economy. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
- SPEAKER: Order! Order!
- HLONGWANE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, they are making sounds that I do not understand. As Zimbabweans, we need to begin to agree to the fact that these sanctions are real so that we craft new ways and rules of engagement and new directional issues in as far as financial and other capital issues are concerned. I think that the issue of the
BRICS countries and other emerging markets is important. If you look at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) market for instance, the 10 countries that make up the (ASEAN) Bloc – we are talking of a capital base that is well over 15 trillion. It is a lot of money, but do we have the tools? Can we not just do it as a country, beginning to engage these countries so that we fund our agriculture and move forward in as far as food security and developing our agricultural sector is concerned? I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
- CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Any book that is written has a preamble. Even our Constitution has a preamble. First and foremost, I have to thank the mover of the motion because if you move a motion and it provokes such active debate, it means something. Mr.
Speaker, the background to what we are discussing today is the 2000 Referendum that rejected the Draft Constitution, leading to invasions of farms targeting about 400 000 farm workers, who were voters and had voted against the Constitution. When they fled to urban areas, Electoral laws were changed so that these people could not vote.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if the quality of life drops, revise Government strategy, do not look for scapegoats. The issue of the so called sanctions that we know as targeted restrictions was applied for by members from across the benches here, through violence. When we talk about settlement in commercial farms, it resulted in fires, indiscriminate cutting down of trees, stock-theft, poor animal grazing and river siltation. These are contributory factors to what can lead to nonproductivity. Mr. Speaker Sir, traditionally, when some of us were growing up, we knew that our grandmothers would preserve or reserve seed for the next season and money to be able to buy fertilizers. I grew up in a farming area before I left this country, so I know what I am talking about.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in the early 80s, 60 percent of grain produced in this country came from small scale farmers, kumaruzevha. Today, that is all history, where did we go wrong? The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) silos have stood empty for over 14 years. Mr. Speaker, what we are looking at is that we have environmental degradation. For example in the Save Valley, Save River is silted and yet the Save Valley itself is capable of producing sufficient food to feed the whole nation and also export, if given the opportunity, just the Save Valley alone. Mr. Speaker Sir, the attitude that has been displayed, for the past 30 years – a ZANU PF Government dismissed the funding of the Zambezi Water Project, which would have benefitted small-scale farmers. It would also have solved the water problem in Bulawayo. Mr. Speaker, these are the areas which we need to revisit. Unless we embark on a programme to reclaim some of these silted rivers and get into a practical construction of the Zambezi Water Project, this country will remain a bread case. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
- R. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First of all, I want to thank the people of Zimbabwe for having voted for the new Constitution, which has allowed this august House to have as many women as we have now. It also resulted in me being here in this
House. I also want to thank the people of Harare Metropolitan Province for having voted for my political party overwhelmingly, which resulted in me being in this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to debate this motion in a different format. First of all, I would like to give a brief background of myself. I was born in Masvingo; which is one of the provinces which is perennially affected by drought. My father owns a farm which he bought in those small scale farming areas. All my sisters and brothers managed to reach secondary education because my father was a farmer.
He never worked anywhere. This is not possible now.
Mr. Speaker Sir, during that time –[HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
- SPEAKER: Order. Can you allow the hon. member to please speak her mind?
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying agriculture is very important and as such because of my background, when I even went to further my education, I decided to pursue Agriculture Management with Zimbabwe Open University. The reason is because I knew the importance of agriculture. Now, as I have said that I will tackle this issue in a different format like previous speakers have already done. I am going to look at the natural disasters and the man made cause of hunger in Zimbabwe.
On natural disasters, which are lack of rainfall in this country; this has affected our country for many years. The problem we have is; when we continue to do the same thing all the time and expect to get different results, it is not possible that we get those different results. It is high time that as Zimbabweans, we now need to change our way of practicing agriculture. How do we do that? We have to look at those areas that have been mentioned by the mover of the motion Hon. Nkomo. These are Masvingo, Midlands and some parts of Matabeleland and Manicaland. We have a system whereby farmers continue to grow maize when we know very well that at the moment we cannot continue to do that because of the change of climate. What we need to do is to encourage those people from these areas to practice different types of farming. For example, they should concentrate on animal breeding which will enable them to get cash to be able to buy food from areas like Mashonaland where they would have produced enough crops so that they will be able to survive and not to wait for the Government to do everything for them.
Secondly, those people from those regions should be educated and should be assisted on how to grow those small grain crops. The reason they continue to grow maize which is affected by drought is because of lack of knowledge, inputs and market for their produce. If they can be assisted to get a market so that they concentrate on growing those small grains and they know that if they grow rapoko, they will be able to sell it somewhere else. In Masvingo, where I come from, people concentrate on growing small portions of rapoko for brewing beer.
The other thing that needs to be done is to make sure that we complete all the infrastructure that assists in irrigation. For example, the construction of dams in those areas has been idle for quite a long time. I want to talk of Tokwe-Mukorsi; ever since I came into this august House Tokwe-Mukorsi was under construction and is still under construction. I do not know for how long it is going to take to complete it so that the people of Masvingo can benefit from that dam. The same applies to Matabeleland, I know of some dams that have been constructed and are still being constructed for over twenty years now. I want to say to the people and the Government of Zimbabwe that it is high time that we take the resources that we get from our economy and from minerals. You know what God does; when God takes away with one hand, he gives you with another.
When I was growing up, we never experienced the drought we are experiencing now. But we did not have so many minerals we have in this country today. They were there but we did not know that they were there. Now that we know, we have discovered them, let us make use of the money that is coming from those natural resources or minerals to make sure that we complete the irrigation schemes or upgrade them because there are some irrigation schemes and they were there before independence. If you go there right now, the irrigation schemes lie idle. I am saying let us go back to the system of making sure that we upgrade those irrigation schemes and we complete construction of dams so that we will not continue to import food from other countries.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is a pity that some hon. members in this House do not want to accept reality. Zimbabwe used to be a breadbasket of Africa; but now we are going to neighbouring countries which we used to feed during those days. We are going to Mozambique and Zambia to import food. We never used to do that because we had irrigation schemes that were working. Some parts of Zimbabwe used to produce even in times of drought. In Mashonaland, we used to produce a lot of maize and wheat and feed those provinces that are drought stricken by natural disasters now.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I have already said, it is high time that as people of Zimbabwe, we accept reality. During those days, my father used to get loans from banks to be able to finance agricultural activities. At the moment, the banks are no longer supporting agriculture because – [HON. MEMBERS: It is because of sanctions]- no it is not because of sanctions they are no longer able to support agriculture because people want to depend on Government to do everything for them, instead of them being able to work for themselves.
There used to be a revolving fund for agriculture where farmers were supported and when they paid back, that money was used by other farmers and we continued producing. What is happening now is that, people are expecting to get inputs and implements and they do not pay for those things so that other farmers can also benefit. The Government has not be able to support all the farmers at the same time but that can only be done gradually provided that those who would have been supported pay back and new farmers can also be supported.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other problem that we have in this country is that the Government has too much control over the farm produce. For example, on cotton, the people of Gokwe grew a lot of cotton. But, now they are being discouraged by the prices of cotton which have gone down. They used to grow cotton and they were able to get money and they would go to other provinces to buy food to feed their families. Mr.
Speaker Sir, during the time when I was growing up, agricultural extension was very important. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
- SPEAKER: Order!
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Mr. Speaker, during the time
when I was growing up, there were so many agricultural extension officers who would train farmers so that they would know proper farming methods. But, because the agricultural extension officers are no longer well remunerated, they now lack interest to assist those A1 or A2 farmers. As a result, they cannot utilize the land productively. So, what I am saying is that, as Government and as people of Zimbabwe, we need to go back to that system of remunerating well the agricultural extension officers so that they are motivated and they will do their work properly.
When we took over land from the white commercial farmers from the year 2000 up to 2005, some of the new farmers did not even know how to farm. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Yes, they needed to be assisted. They needed to be educated on how to farm properly. If you go around the country Mr. Speaker, during the rainy season, you will be shocked, because, most of the land that we took as black people is lying idle. You would hear some of the people saying we are growing sora beans because what you find in those farms that we took over is just sora, which is grass and there are no crops grown there. That is why they call it sora beans.
Mr. Speaker, I want to urge the A1 farmers to be able to support the A2 farmers and the communal farmers by paying land tax. In that way, it will help in generating revenue for the Government so that it would be able to support those people who would be in need of farming inputs and implements. This would help to generate funds that would be used to help those in drought stricken areas like those provinces that were mentioned by the mover of the motion.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a land audit exercise is very important. When we took over land, we did not put in methods to ensure that we put that land to good use or to be productive. So, there is need to come up with or set up an independent Land Commission that would be responsible for taking stock of what is happening on all the farms. This would help us to make sure that the land that is not being utilized can be taken away from those people and be given to those who know how to use the land productively.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on that note, I want to say that, as people of Zimbabwe, let us learn to change and move with times. I am saying this because, gone are the days when we discriminated each other as Zimbabweans on political grounds, political affiliation, race, tribe, gender or religion. We must make sure that every Zimbabwean who is able to make use of the land productively is given the land or the opportunity to –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
- SPEAKER: Order, order! Can you allow the hon. member to wind up properly?
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want
to give an example of South Africa. South Africa is able to produce enough food for its people and is able to look after the poor and the elderly. They are able to do that because they do not discriminate when it comes to farming. You would find that both white and black people are doing farming in South Africa. But, here in Zimbabwe we are very discriminatory. It is high time that we change. If someone is white, it does not mean that person should not be accorded the right to do farming. What was wrong was that only a few Zimbabweans were benefitting from the fertile land, while the majority or poor people of Zimbabwe were suffering.
As MDC, we were the first ones, when MDC was launched and formed in 1999 to come up with a policy where we said land to the people and not to the politicians. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, hunger knows no political affiliation and as such, as Zimbabweans, it is high time we learn to make sure that we depoliticize food distribution because as ZANU PF and MDC, when it comes to hunger, we suffer the same. Therefore, we should all be benefitting from the food aid programmes and for us to be able to do that as the Government of Zimbabwe, we must make sure that politicians are not interfering when it comes to food aid distribution. That should be done by traditional leaders – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Mr. Speaker Sir, traditional leaders should not be partisan, they should take care and look after the people whom they represent. So, when I am saying – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
- SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. members, may we control our acclamations please. You may continue Hon. Masaiti.
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The
problem that we have in Zimbabwe is of politicians who have politicized traditional leaders – that is our problem. If we could go back to the old system whereby traditional leaders were apolitical – we would not have a problem – [AN HON. MEMBER: Order!]-
- SPEAKER: No, no, I did not say, order. Please continue.
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Mr. Speaker, I heard some
former speakers saying that the cause of starvation in Zimbabwe was because of sanctions. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Personally, I do not agree – why? Because we do not have sanctions in Zimbabwe but what we have are targeted restrictive measures. We need to look into the causes of those who imposed these targeted restrictive measures – why they did so? And address those issues.
It is like looking at your neighbour who continuously beats their spouse, you keep quiet and people are watching. Whereas as a neighbour, you should go and report that he abuses his partner. So, it is the same thing that was happening in Zimbabwe. The reason why targeted restrictive measures were introduced was because the Zimbabwe of that time was burning up. Neighbours, friends and the world could not just watch whilst Zimbabwe was burning. So, they tried to fence in those that were responsible to ensure that they are accountable for their actions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in conclusion, I render my support to this motion and state that there is need for this august House to set up..
An hon. member having stood, facing the Chair, whilst Hon.
Masaiti was holding the floor.
- SPEAKER: Order, order. Why are you standing hon. member? – [HON. MEMBER: I want the hon. member to justify the term, ‘Zimbabwe was burning up’. I think, she is out of order.]- Hon.
Masaiti, you may continue.
MRS. MUZUNGU-MASAITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to
conclude my contribution to this motion by saying that this august House must set up a Committee of Inquiry that should inquire why we continue to have hunger in Zimbabwe when we have so much productive land in our country; when we have minerals in Zimbabwe that can support agriculture. I thank you.
- ANASTANCIA NDHLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir,
for allowing me to add my voice to this motion. I want to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. S. S. Nkomo and the seconder for moving a motion which touches on the issues affecting the people who elected us to this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very sad that when we are debating issues of people’s livelihoods hon. members do not seem to take it seriously. I want to urge my colleagues, through you Mr. Speaker Sir, to work in unison and deliver to the electorate, especially when we are discussing issues whose negative effects do not discriminate which political party you belong to or which province you come from et cetera – we need to be united.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I agree with the mover of the motion that our beloved Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of the SADC region. I also agree with the mover that there are indeed acute shortages in drought prone provinces including the Midlands Province – where I come from; Matabeleland as well as Manicaland Provinces.
Mr. Speaker Sir, before I move further into my debate. I disagree with the mover of the motion when he alleges that there is a lack of Government seriousness with regard to dealing with the issue that we are faced with of food shortages. As I differ, I want to take this opportunity to thank President Mugabe’s Government for committing more than US$160 million to the 2013/2014 agricultural season. This no doubt, indicates commitment at the highest level and political will from the highest office in the land. Therefore, it is not fair to allege that Government is not taking this thing seriously and that there is lack of commitment on precautionary programmes to avert hunger in the face of a poor rainy season.
I want to thank, Mr. Speaker Sir, this Government led by President Mugabe for recognising that a few years back, agriculture suffered a lot and failed to get any support from Government. Thank you Gushungo –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to focus on this programme as it targets communal areas. This is a programme which ensures that there is food in each and every household in this country. So, we have not had such programmes in a long time and this has to be applauded. I also want to urge the financial sector, the banks to support agriculture in a more sustainable manner at the large scale level which is A1 or A2 commercial farming. When you check the records, history tell us that when it was still the white people on the commercial farms, the banks were willing to support those farmers. As soon as President Mugabe fulfilled the reason Zimbabweans went to war with the British, by empowering more than 400 000 families through the Land Reform Programme, a historic milestone done by the President to empower close to half a million families, which thing we have not seen in Africa; the detractors of this country then imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
We all know that our economy is agro-based and it is not possible for the agricultural sector to deliver unless it has adequate funding. I want, at this juncture, to call on all of us to put political differences aside and unanimously call for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on our country –[HON MEMBERS: Hear! Hear!]- which sanctions have seen our people suffering. Our economy is agro based and this is the reason why industry is not performing because the chain is broken. As such, it is important that all of us are united in the removal of sanctions.
I want to thank President Mugabe and his Government for the Grain-Loan-Scheme to avert hunger in our people before the 2013/14 season which he has funded through the grain bought from Zambia. I want to say, ‘Your Excellency, we are grateful.’ It is my hope that everyone will see the need to thank him.
As I am thanking him, I want it known to hon. members in this august House that as I speak, this grain from Zambia has already started arriving at GMB depots across the country. Even the inputs for 2013/14 agricultural season have already started arriving at depots, which means that unlike all the other years the inputs are going to get to the farmers well on time. This therefore means our chances of lacking food next year are quite slim.
I also want to move onto the second cause of food shortage in our country which is the issue of climate change. Climate change is topical globally and has not spared us. We are beginning to feel the impact of climate change more and more. Today it is very hot, the next day it is extremely cold and that is climate change which Government needs to take seriously with regards to coming up with mitigatory measures against it and adaptation schemes.
I want to make it known that it is very sad that the West does not want to take responsibility on climate change. It is so sad. We all know how much industrialisation happened in the West contributed towards climate change.
I want to make some recommendations on how we can enhance food security. Firstly, I am recommending that Government finalizes the climate change policy. Secondly, I recommend that Government sets up a climate change fund. Thirdly, I recommend that Government introduces conservation farming so that we avoid further damage to the environment. In search of food security, I recommend that Government puts more effort towards the use of renewable energy sources to avoid further harm to the climate and part of that will include the use of wind and solar as energy sources. I also urge Government to fully finalize the operationalisation of the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant which plant has capacity to supply this country with ethanol for blending.
I want to make it known to hon. members in this House that the ethanol plant at Chisumbanje is the biggest in terms of capacity in Africa. That is a national project which should never be politicized. Mr Speaker Sir, it is very sad that some hon. members do not know developmental issues and I want to urge them to research on these topical issues.
I want to thank the mover of the motion and all the hon. members who have debated progressively before me because you love the people who sent you to this august House and I am calling on all of us to take seriously the issue of food security. Hunger and starvation do not discriminate according to which political party you belong to. As long as you are between the Zambezi and the Limpopo and you do not have enough food, you will be affected.
It is important that we are united and call for the unconditional removal of the sanctions which are affecting the economy including agriculture.
- R. MOYO: I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me the opportunity to add my voice on the motion that has been put forward by Honourable Sipepa Nkomo. I would like to thank the people of Luveve for electing me back into the House for the second time and promise that I will do my best to serve them. I would also want to thank the people of Bulawayo for electing all the hon. members that they did elect. I would also want to congratulate all the hon. members in this House for their election.
It is said “a hungry man is an angry man”. That adage is true to our people at this time. Food is the greatest medicine and people need to feed in order to avert any other disease that may afflict them. It is very important that when we debate such issues pertaining food security, we sober up our minds and concentrate on the subject of food security.
It is unfortunate, as we debate that some hon. members would want us to believe that there were MDC-T Ministers in Government and the Chairman of the very Cabinet was not His Excellency, the President. When the Hon. Tendai Biti was the Minister of Finance, the Chairman of that very Cabinet was not His Excellency the President. I think the decisions that were made by that Cabinet were collective. If ever there was money that was supposed to be channeled by the Minister of Finance, or money that was supposed to be channeled in harnessing the water situation or any other resources that were supposed to be channeled to develop the country, it was the collective responsibility of the Cabinet to meet and decide on those issues. So it is now very unfortunate when we start to split the hair and start name calling. It is unfortunate and disturbing for Members of Parliament to stoop so low and involve themselves in such mundane issues.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my constituency is the one which has got the oldest suburbs in Bulawayo. We have got very old people and there is an old people’s home called Entembeni People’s Home. There is also an orphanage and if you go to those institutions, you will feel sorry because of the food situation there. Those people depend on donations and the situation is bad. In Bulawayo, we have old suburbs like Old Lobengula, Magwegwe, Luveve, Makokoba No. 1 and Makokoba No. 2 and
Mpopoma. If you go to these households especially the child headed households, the situation is not encouraging. It is a sorry state of affairs.
We therefore call upon the Government to find resources to mitigate the hunger situation that is faced by the residents of these areas.
We tend to expand and put more weight on the hunger in rural areas. The hunger in urban areas is even more than that because the person in the urban area has to pay rent, electricity and also find money to buy food. It is very difficult with the unemployment situation that we have. We would like to encourage the Government to also take seriously the issue of urban agriculture.
If you go to all urban areas, you find that people are trying to sustain themselves by engaging in urban agriculture. The unfortunate part is that, they may not have enough knowledge to go about this urban agriculture, hence most of the times, you find them doing stream bank cultivation and all the illegal cultivation that they partake on. Sometimes their crops are slashed by the city council. The other issue that we have is the issue of inputs. Recently, I went to a supermarket and I had a look at the price of a 5kg packet of maize seed. It is costing $11.50. Can you just imagine how a granny or a child headed family is able to afford $11.50 or half of that to plough or do something?
So we urge the Government to put in a lot of resources in terms of trying to subsidise or trying to help these people so that we avert the hunger that is faced by our people. The other issue that members have talked about which I want to put my weight on, is the issue of water harnessing. We waste a lot of time and let the water go down our rivers and we do not use effective harnessing methods so that we can have irrigation schemes so that our people can at least irrigate their crops. We will then have a situation where people can do their agricultural activities throughout the year. Mr. Speaker Sir, with those few words, I would like to thank the mover of the motion and thank you for the time you have afforded me. I thank you.
- MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity. I would also want to thank the mover of this motion. I have got only three points. I stood up when I wanted to interject pertaining to a certain point that was brought to Parliament by another hon. member. I stayed 23 years in South Africa. The best land distribution programme that everyone is envying in Africa is in Zimbabwe –[HON. MEMEBRS: Hear, hear]- The willing buyer, willing seller that was put into practice in South Africa has now collapsed and failed. They are now advocating to have the same policy that Zimbabwe has been using –[HON.
MEMEBRS: Hear, hear]-
Recently, I saw the black farmers wearing a t-shirt bearing our President R. G. Mugabe written, President of Africa. –[HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- This means other countries can see how this man’s vision is, but other local people cannot see that. Then it is our duty to educate them. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also like to say that it is not true that Zimbabweans are not skilled. Zimbabweans are skilled and experienced in this sector that we are talking about.
It is the black farmers who were working whilst the oppressors were sitting under the trees –[HON. MEMEBRS: Hear, hear]- Most farm managers were blacks and they were Zimbabweans. So they know what they are doing. The biggest stumbling block is this thing that we call sanctions and their agents. These sanctions have got agents. Do not talk about sanctions only and leave out their agents. The mover of this motion contributed vastly in disturbing farmers’ situation in our area. The biggest monster there in our area is ZINWA. They wait for the crops to grow and when they are about to be harvested, they come and switch off water.
The second monster is ZESA. When you look at this, you will see that it is sabotage. There are people who have been specifically sent to burn down grass, plantations and some even went to the extent of poisoning animals, these are saboteurs and there are many in this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are in deep sorrow that there are some people who are executing duties for their masters, who are not Zimbabweans. We would like to make it very comprehensible that our President as written by South Africans; is the President of Africa and has brought a very understandable and excellent vision on how to supply his country with food. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND
COMMERCE (MS. MABUWA): I move that the debate do now
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th, October, 2013.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY
AND COMMERCE, the House adjourned at Eight Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.