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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 MAY 2023 VOL 49 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 16th May, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

          HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  Hon. Speaker, we do not have a link for today’s deliberations.  May I proceed with using the internal system?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Just wait for a moment.  Hon. Mayihlome, I am being advised that it was sent on your emails in the morning. May you ask for a gadget from other Hon. Members.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE FOR RESTORATION OF THE THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE DELEGATION TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICES ON COUNTER TERRORISM

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  I seek leave of the House that the motion on the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the Delegation to the United Nations Offices on Counter Terrorism High Level Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Engagement in Partnership with the African Parliamentary Union and the Shura Council of the State of Qatar which was headlined ‘Understanding the Terrorist Threat in Africa, new Challenges and Necessary Measures’, held at Classical Hotel in Doha from 30-31 March 2022 which was superseded by the end of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order Number 77.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE DELEGATION TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICES ON COUNTER TERRORISM

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME:  I move that the debate  on the motion on the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the Delegation to the United Nations Offices on Counter Terrorism High Level Parliamentary Committee on Parliamentary Engagement in Partnership with the African Parliamentary Union and the Shura Council of the State of Qatar which was headlined ‘Understanding the Terrorist Threat in Africa, new Challenges and Necessary Measures’, held at Classical Hotel in Doha from 30-31 March 2022 which was superseded by the end of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON SECURITY OF MINERALS, ILLICIT TRADING IN MINERALS AND MINERAL LEAKAGES

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD. MAYIHLOME):  Madam Speaker, I seek leave of the House that  the debate on the motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on Security of Minerals, Illicit Trading  in Minerals and Mineral Leakages which was superseded by the end of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order Number 77.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON SECURITY OF MINERALS, ILLICIT TRADING IN MINERALS AND MINERAL LEAKAGES

HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: I move that the debate  on the motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on Security of Minerals, Illicit Trading  in Minerals and Mineral Leakages which was superseded by the end of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order Number 77.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

*HON. TEKESHE: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of national interest with regards to how farmers are being paid after delivering their merchandise.  They are being paid in RTGs at bank rate ZWL1200 per USD1 yet there is a black-market rate of ZWL 3 000 and something per USD1.  This makes it difficult for farmers to continue with the farming business as they are running a loss. It now seems like the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is robbing farmers. Maybe there should be a bank where they are paid according to the situation on the ground.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Member.  It is true that agriculture is the backbone of the country.  I urge you to ask the responsible Minister tomorrow during question time.

I am also being advised that the Deputy Minister will be bringing in a Ministerial Statement which has to do with your concern.  May you take that opportunity to put in this farmers’ concern.

HON. NDUNA:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I stand on this pedestal and platform in response to the advice from the Hon. Speaker to do my investigation as to who the compounds in the farming areas belong to, both in A2 and resettlement areas.  Compounds are dwellings or houses of former farm workers.  I have done that research and the compounds as it stands, are adjudicated and played oversight by the Lands Act and the Ministry of Lands.  Given that scenario, I am now going to repeat my prayer.  It was to get the Hon. Minister of Lands to come into this House in tandem with the Constitution which is sui generis in Section 72 Subsection 7 (c) which states that the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to learn.  I was hoping the compounds and the dwellings for former farm workers, farm workers and indeed artisanal miners and vendors can be a panacea to alleviate the plight of the masses in terms of housing infrastructure development reduction in terms of the backlog. 

My prayer would be to have the Hon. Minister of Agriculture to come into this House and give a Ministerial Statement as to how those compounds can indeed be used to reduce the housing backlog as opposed to the wanton evictions that are currently happening that are seeing rural to urban migration where in the urban sector, there is a lacuna; there is no space. People are staying like mice and in particular N23A – three families of ten each are in a three roomed house.  I would want the Hon. Minister to come and tell us how he can get the compounds to alleviate the plight of the suffering masses in terms of housing delivery because where there is no housing, there is rampant child abuse, girl child marriages and there is no conjugal rights, copulation and procreation.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Nduna, you raised such a pertinent point of national interest.  The responsible Minister will be advised to come to the House with a Ministerial Statement regarding the issue. Thank you.

HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker and good afternoon.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon.

HON. C. MOYO: My point of national interest hovers around the lithium reserves which we have in this country. We are ranked number 1 in Africa and in the whole world we are ranked the sixth. It is very important Madam Speaker to mention that. Maybe what stresses me is, I was in Binga on Saturday and there is virtually no road from Bulawayo to Binga. I do not want to talk about the tired debate of Bulawayo-Nkayi Road. Let me talk about the national crisis in terms of electricity. Let me talk about the 78% population which are suffering while we have got all these lithium reserves Madam Speaker. My request would be if the Hon. Minister of Mines and Mining Development, I do not know whether they are still developing our mining industry, to bring a Ministerial Statement detailing the status quo of our lithium reserves, obviously that includes issues to do with beneficiation and value addition according to paragraph 396 of our National Development Strategy 1.

Obviously, to mention also the current benefits that we are getting from the lithium reserves as well as the future benefits that can be obtained from the lithium. Surely, Madam Speaker, if the Hon. Minister can bring the Ministerial Statement, we would be able to avoid maybe lithium mafias. You know recently, we were having gold mafias.  We are also trying to avoid to have lithium mafias sprouting up in our country. I so move Madam Speaker. Thank you very much.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Moyo. I advise you to put that in writing so that the Minister will make some investigations and bring the answer on a Wednesday to this House. Thank you.

HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. My point of national interest hovers on our service providers in the health institutions, those that were called frontline workers during COVID-19. Every leader who stands up talks about how well as a country we fought COVID-19. Right now, we are here because we think we have won the fight. Madam speaker, these frontline workers, the nurses especially, have grievances emanating from that.

Firstly, we know that our country was giving some sort of allowances to everyone who fell sick of COVID-19. I fell sick and got that allowance but up to now, there are some nurses and doctors and some frontline workers who have not gotten their allowances, despite the fact that they were the ones who were handling these patients every day. We were afraid as a people to handle our own people when they fell sick but we made sure that they got to those isolation centres but up to now, those people have not gotten their allowances.

Secondly, Madam Speaker, there is no compensation whatsoever in our country for these brave women and men who stood during these hard times. Even those that died doing their work in these hospitals, their families are in poverty. Nothing was done to compensate for the brevity of their lives.

Thirdly, Madam Speaker, there was a vaccination programme that said they should go for two weeks and were promised some compensation. Up to now, some of them have not gotten their allowances. My prayer to you Madam Speaker is to have the Minister of Health to bring to this House, statistics on how many nurses and doctors have received their allowances both for COVID-19 illness and vaccination programme. Also, to tell this House what plans they have as a Ministry to make sure that they compensate the brave women and men that we have in our country.

We know that there is an exodus – a lot of nurses and doctors are leaving the country but we have got those that have said they do not want to leave; they want to serve our country yet they have not been recognized up until now. That is my prayer Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Maphosa for raising such an important point of national interest. I advise you to put that in writing so that the Hon. Minister will make some investigations and come to this House with some answers. Thank you.

HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise on a matter of national importance. You know that in terms of Section 119 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament has got the power of oversight function over every person, institution, every Government agency or Ministry in this country. Last week, you as the Speaker, recognized after Members had raised issues around corruption and illicit financial flows, particularly pertaining to what is now known colloquially as the gold mafia. You directed that the matter be dealt with the by the relevant Portfolio Committee, namely the Public Accounts Committee as well as the Budget Committee. These two Committees have met and made resolutions in respect of those persons that they actually wish to interview. This is consistent with their constitutional mandate.

Madam Speaker, we saw a notice yesterday that purported to be coming from the Speaker saying that those investigations by the relevant Portfolio Committees are being stopped because the matter is subjudice. The matter is before the courts but as a matter of fact, there is no matter that is pending before the courts.  

Secondly, Madam Speaker, do you have powers of reversing decisions made in this august House in plenary? Perhaps Madam Speaker, can you clarify whether that statement that purports to be coming from the Speaker is in fact coming from the Speaker and can you confirm that you are going to protect the Constitution because Section 119 (1) says, the key function of Parliament is to protect the Constitution. You are going to protect the Constitution and allow the respective Committees of Parliament to do their work because our people are suffering when some elite are stealing from this country. I thank you very much Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, thank you for your point of national interest but I will advise you to wait for the Speaker because I am not the one who did the ruling before, so I cannot rule on that one.

HON. HWENDE: I have a point of order and there are two issues. The first issue which you can rule is whether as a Speaker you have got the power to change a resolution that has been made in a plenary by Parliament. That, you can rule.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That, I cannot rule.

HON. HWENDE: My second point of order is that this is a serious issue. We have seen that the Clerk, Mr. Chokuda, someone who is facing corruption charges after the laptop issue is still part of your procession and is the one who is taking lead to advise you on an issue of such importance that involves corruption that has never been witnessed in this country. We want an explanation also on why Mr. Chokuda is still coming to Parliament because he is bringing this institution of Parliament into serious disrepute. You cannot face serious charges of wanting to buy a laptop for US$9 000 and still come to Parliament and advise our Speaker. Those two matters Madam Speaker, I am sure you are capable of ruling so that we can proceed.

The other one, we will wait for the Speaker because we had come here today prepared for him but we can wait for him but on those two, please can you help us with a ruling.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, I think on that one you are a bit out of order – [HON. HWENDE: On which one?] – Both, I told you that I am not able to rule on the second issue. On Mr. Chokuda’s issue, I am sure you know that he was taken by ZACC and ZACC is still doing some investigations – [HON. HWENDE: He has gone to court.] – So, if it is before the courts, we cannot talk about it in this House. You know very well that we cannot talk about it in this House.

HON. HWENDE: This matter Madam Speaker, has passed the ZACC stage. Mr. Chokuda appeared in court and he was given bail. If he appeared in court and the case is still before the courts, we cannot discuss about it in this House please – [HON. HWENDE: Why is he coming to work interacting with the same worker that he is supposed to be investigated for. He is interfering with investigations and today he is helping you to stop gold mafia investigation.] – No, Hon. Hwende, please take your seat. I will not allow you to do that, please take your seat – [HON. HWENDE: What are you not going to allow? The issue is very simple Madam Speaker. I have two issues that I have requested you to make a ruling on. As Parliament, we have a right not to be given advice by someone who is facing serious corruption charges and these charges happened here in Parliament. The same workers that were procuring the laptops are still here. Why is he coming to work facing corruption charges?

HON. T. MLISWA: My point of order is that we will waste a lot of time here Hon. Members. I think Madam Speaker, with all senses together has clearly said she cannot respond to what the Speaker said, especially him being the head of Parliament and he must respond. We must respect that.

Secondly on the Clerk’s issue, we did an enquiry. Why is the report not being tabled in Parliament on the recommendations? We must be very clear now that it is ZACC that determines whether he is given bail or not and Parliament does not control the processes of the court. We tabled a report. You must be asking where the report is. The Chairman must table the report, we debate and there are recommendations. He sits in the Committee of Public Accounts. Why has the Chairman not tabled the report then we can debate it? It has recommendations. Let us follow procedure and not just be emotional.

We are waiting for the report to be tabled in Parliament so that everybody can contribute but if the report is not there, let us not get excited.  The Public Accounts Committee must table the report so that it is debated and there are recommendations we came up with. You are seasoned politicians, do not behave like kindergarten politicians. Madam Speaker is correct there. The Chairman is going to table the report Hon. Hwende. When is it going to be tabled? I asked in the meeting last week that where is the report so that it is tabled in Parliament and we will listen to the recommendations. Those are the procedures and processes of Parliament. This is not a CCC Parliament, this is a Parliament for the nation which is based on records and facts. Pedzisai ma primary elections enyu, hatitomboziva kuti ari kucontester ndiani – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. BITI: Zvema primary edu zvapinda papi?]

*HON. MAMOMBE: On a point of order! My point of order emanates from the fact that what we would have agreed in this august House should not be changed outside this House.  I am saying that and I want to raise some of the issues. I sit in the Committee of Higher and Tertiary Education. We have petitions which came to this august House regarding the increments of fees and the salaries of lecturers at universities which were sent to the respective Committee.  However, when these issues are brought to the Portfolio Committee, you would find that we receive letters instructing us to stop investigations; which is exactly the same scenario as what happened to the Public Accounts Committee.  I also think that this issue is happening across many Portfolio Committees.

  So, we need clarification and guidance concerning these matters because this is what Hon. Hwende is asking about that, why are such issues that would have been agreed in this House changed by the Clerk of Parliament?

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mamombe.  When you receive such letters, as a Committee, seek from the relevant authority why you are being stopped to investigate.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. |R. R. NYATHI: I move that Orders Number 1 to 13 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 14 has been disposed of.

          HON. NDUNA: I second.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

                   Fourteenth order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you, Madam Speaker.

 I rise to provide a response to the State of the Nation Address as was presented by His Excellency…

          HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order! The Hon. Minister is technically out of order because of our thinking and he is aware; there are Bills that are before this august House.  The Hon. Minister has the Pensions and Insurance Bills that we have actually come to debate and that is what we expect this House to be doing.  The Minister of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs also has got the Electoral Amendment Bill and the Prisons Bills.  The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare is also here, so, we cannot lose that opportunity.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, may you take your seat! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] Order, order!

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Allow me to respond to the issues that were raised by Members of this august House on the SONA debate.  I will begin by raising encouraging comments from Hon. Members in general. Let me single out Hon. Togarepi, Hon. Zhou, and Hon. T. Moyo for recognising the important job being undertaken by the Government under the leadership of His Excellency, the President, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa.  They explicitly recognised work and reform measures underway in almost all the sectors of the economy, from infrastructural development, agriculture revitalisation, expansion of mining activities as well as price and exchange rate stabilisation efforts which have all resulted in positive socio-economic development.

          Madam Speaker, let me take this opportunity to update the House that under the Roads Development Programme, the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road Development Project, fully funded by Government, is set to be completed this year 2023.  As of 11 May 2023, 427 km had been opened to traffic with a target to complete the remaining 153 km by the end of 2023.

          Through the Department of Roads, Government has also completed restoration works on Cyclone Idai damaged roads. With rehabilitation of the Norton Road, Galloway Road, Shukrun Road, Gudza-Tumba Way in Chitungwiza, Nights Bridge, and Glencary Roads in Harare. Subgrade construction of Nyakasikana-Karanda Road in Mt. Darwin construction and completion of Rwenya River Bridge construction and some approaches among others.  On ports of entry phases 1 and 2 of the Beitbridge Boarder Post modernisation project were completed in 2022 and work has now shifted to phase 3.

          Domestic, electricity generation has improved significantly following the completion and synchronisation of Hwange Unit 7 which is now feeding 300 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

          HON. BITI: On a point of order! The right of Government or Ministers to reply to a State of Nation Address only comes after the mover of the motion has wound up.  The debate is yet to be concluded; ordinary Hon. Members are still debating.  The right of the Government to respond only comes when it has been wound-up and ministers are now responding to those issues that would have been raised pertaining to their ministries.  Ministers cannot intervene when the report is still lis pendens, that is, is still being debated.

          So Hon. Mushoriwa was correct first time around to say the Hon. Minister is out of order.  He is truly and genuinely out of order.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members!  Hon. Members, may we have order in the House! The Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development is correct. – [HON. BITI:  He is out of order!] – No, he is not out of order.  Please, may you proceed Hon. Deputy Minister. – [HON. BITI: Saka kana akapedza tobva tasimuka tobvunza futi?] – No, you do not have to do it again. – [HON. BITI: But the motion is still alive!] – The motion was debated – [HON. BITI: The motion is still open for debate!] – It is not supposed to be closed.  The ministers are supposed to respond before it is closed Hon. Biti – [HON. BITI: Ayehwa, munhu anoti ndave kufa kuma minister manje naPresident because iye akataura, ndave kutosimuka futi kuti ndipindure again zvichingodaro zvichingodaro, that is not procedure.] – Hon. Biti, I do not think that you must continue wasting our time.  Hon. Deputy Minister, please may you proceed. – [HON. BITI: Murume haafanire kungopinda paasingafanirwe kupinda!] – No, no Hon. Biti!

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Hon. Members, I think we are wasting time.  The debate was there for everybody to debate and then after all contributions … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, no Shamwari, I will not sit.  – [HON. CHIDAKWA: Inaudible interjections.] – Unonetsa iwewe, wanga uri kwaMwonzora, wayenda kuCCC and urikuvhetwa!  Wanga urikwa Mwonzora, wavekuvhetwa manje! Unehasha dzako iwewe!  Wanga urikwa Mwonzora wave kuCCC - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Chimbodhila nenyaya yako!  Ndati, wanga urikwa Mwonzora, kuCCC ndiko kwauri kuvhetwa, chimbovhetwa and hausi kupinda!  Kubva kwaMwonzora kuenda kuCCC, urikuda zveku CCC wabva kwaMwonzora!  Uri confused iwewe, you are confused. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, please may you take your seat? – [HON. T. MLISWA: Bheji bheji hausi kupinda iwewe!] – Hon. Mliswa, please may we have order! - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Mliswa! Hon. Deputy Minister, please may you proceed?  Hon. Members, kana zvisina kufamba kuma nominations musapedzere shungu muno mazvinzwaka?  Eheee, munozopindawo next time iyo. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Mliswa! Hon. Mliswa, please may we have order in the House.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am let me continue.

Let me transition to the issue that was raised by Hon. Mliswa where he expressed his desire for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Speech to update the nation on the state of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.  The SONA by His Excellency emphasised on what Government was doing towards the development of public infrastructure in the country, critical in enhancing public service delivery as well as attracting FDI.  I am very sure that the Hon. Member understands that efficient infrastructure is an important variable in attracting FDI as it raises productivity and reduces the cost of doing business. 

With respect to Foreign Direct Investment, the administration is doing relatively well in attracting FDI as evidenced by the increase in the number and value of private sector partnering Government in undertaking infrastructure projects, including agriculture mechanisation and irrigation development, housing, roads, and ports construction. 

I want to believe that the Hon. Member has probably benefited from the Agriculture Mechanisation Programme introduced by the State and Republic; if he has not, he can also approach the relevant departments to get assistance.  We are also seeing the impact of FDI in mining, manufacturing, tourism, construction and other sectors towards recapitalisation and retooling which now averages more than USD300million per year. 

I take note of the Hon. Member’s concern regarding the conversion of inputs borrowed in local currency to United States Dollars.  I want to believe that this is a contractual issue between individuals and financial institutions implementing the programmes.  Moreso, given the multi-currency system we are operating under, we said this would remain in place until 2025; which is the end period of NDS1.

Let me transition to the issue that was raised by Hon. Biti where he raised the issue regarding depreciation of the local currency on the parallel market.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, the stability of the domestic currency has been central to our interventions and Government has just introduced additional measures to address the depreciation of the local currency that has resulted in the increase in the price of goods and services.

The recent measure that is an addition to the cocktail of measures that we already have was announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on 11th May, 2023.  We introduced additional measures as follows: -

  • 100% retention of domestic foreign currency earnings

from domestic sales in foreign currency;

  • the adoption of all external loans held by the central bank

by Treasury;

  • fine tuning the Foreign Exchange auction system;
  • lifting of all restrictions on importation of basic goods;
  • supportive interest rate environment and the promotion of the use of the domestic currency by Government agencies.

The above measures complement initiatives under implementation such as the enforcement of value for money which seeks to re-establish macro-economic stability. 

We have also reactivated the liquidity Management Committee comprised of officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank to ensure liquidity in the economy is within the desired levels which are not inflationary. Government and the Central Bank will continue to monitor developments and refine policies to ensure stability of inflation and exchange rate. Suffice to say that inflation control is a process not an event, hence it may take time to reach the ultimate stability we all want.

          Let me transition to the submission by Hon. Chikwinya and Hon. Watson who expressed concern over the late disbursement of BEAM funds…

          HON. BITI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a ministerial statement and not a response to the Presidential Speech. The remarks attributed to Hon. Watson and the remarks I made on inflation had nothing to do with SONA. I have never debated SONA. It is after SONA and it is outside SONA. So, this man is offside and he should be thrown out of this august House. He is sneaking through the backdoor a ministerial state of the economy address in a SONA, he cannot do that. He cannot reprobate and approbate. He cannot have his cake and eat it. You are protecting someone who is totally out of order and we are wasting time. There is still the Minister of Justice, who wants to move Bills. We have all come to do Bills and so he is wasting our time. Please, throw him out. Thank you.

          The Hon. Deputy Minister having approached the Chair

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Deputy Minister is responding to SONA. Please may we allow him to finish? May we have order in the House?

          HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. It is not correct for you to allow him to continue when he is misrepresenting the facts. Hon. Biti never debated SONA, how can you then say he must continue? Are we going back to the Hansard to find out? He did not debate it.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, please may you finish and may we have order in the House.

          HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Let me transition to the last issue which was raised by Hon. Chikwinya and Hon. Watson over the late disbursement of BEAM. Provision of decent inclusive and sustainable social protection services remains key for the Government in order to improve access to basic social services by vulnerable groups. Disbursements have also been affected by cashflow challenges that have impacted on timeous payment of BEAM funds resulting in arrears.

          However, Treasury and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare are now working on a framework that will address outstanding payments as well as improvements in disbursements going forward. So, these are the issues that I wanted to respond on as raised in the SONA. With regards to the Ministerial Statement, I will wait for a chance to present it. Thank you.

HON. R. R. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th May, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. R. R. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 5 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

CRIMINAL LAW (CODIFICATION AND REFORM) AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 15, 2022)

          Fifth Order read: Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, [H. B. 15, 2022].

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. It is my duty to bring before you this Bill to amend the Criminal Law Code in certain important respects. I speak mainly to the new crime proposed to be created of and I quote ‘willful injuring the sovereignty or national interest of Zimbabwe’, set forth in Clause 2 of the Bill and mentioned other amendments in passing. The proposed new Section 22 (a) is a measure of national protection to criminalise behaviour on the part of our citizens and other residents that would, in more developed countries, be rightly regarded as unpatriotic and even treasonous.

The offence is divided in two parts and the first part deals with misconduct of a very grave nature indeed, and consists of two separate sub-offences partly referred elsewhere in the Code. The first sub-offence is treason, contrary to Section 20 of the Code in the shape of partaking in any meeting with the object of inviting military or armed intervention in Zimbabwe by a foreign Government or any of its agents, proxies or entities.

The second is partaking many meetings with the objectives, subverting, upsetting, overthrowing or overturning the constitutional Government of Zimbabwe in contravention of Section 22 of the Code.

Madam Speaker, I have had people say, why is there a need to legislate for these crimes if they are already mentioned in the Code. In reply Madam Speaker, let me point out to them that good public policy may sometimes require us to identify particular behaviours that from our experience need to be singled out for special mention because the danger of their occurrence is very real.  There is nothing wrong in practice or in principle with framing an indictment in which the same Criminal Act is referenced generically and specifically in different parts of the Code.  So, for instance, a person who meets an agent of a foreign country in order to influence that country, to attack us with its army will be charged with violation of Section 20 as read with Section 22 (a) of the Code.

The second part of Section 22 (a) criminalizes encouraging sanctions or trade boycotts against our country for which the penalty is less severe than for the sub-offences in the earlier part.  Even so, it is hoped that the sanctions for it are deterrent enough to discourage the kind of behaviour it describes. 

Let me now address Madam Speaker, the general purpose and motivation behind this measure. Is it not clear to us as Africans Madam Speaker, what we are dealing with here, the story of interference by outsiders in our continent, let alone our country is a very sorry one indeed.  We are weak politically, therefore we are weak economically.  History Madam Speaker, is our witness that our political fragmentation, our weak and divided allegiances to our own countries, people, and to our continent makes us an easy prey for colonial and neo-colonial exploitation.  We have still not recovered from that legacy today for all our talk of political independence.   Because the neo-colonial powers use smarter and friendly guises to advance their interest at the expense of our own in some ways, we make that legacy worse because of our blindness to their tricks.  Applying the old imperialists principle of ‘divide and rule’, they looked to see where they can drive wages between us. The easier for them to interfere in our politics and plunder our resources, they become strong and wealthy at the expense of our weakness and of our wealth of human and material endowments, then they used that wealth and power to subvert us even more. The means used by then nowadays are more subversive than in colonial times but even in this country, we have seen punitive expeditions being send to bring the so-called rebellious subject people into line.  Believe me, Madam Speaker, we pay very dearly for our weaknesses, if we are not vigilant, informed and capable of defending the interest that ought to be common to us as a people.  We are not perfect by any means; I do not wish to discourage everyone, inside or outside our country who in good faith and hopefully in a constructive spirit, criticizes us where we fall short, whether in the sphere of human rights or otherwise.  We question the moral standing of certain State actors and their agents who, while pleading respect of human rights as an excuse to interfere in our internal affairs, would view it as an act of hostility by us or any one of our fellow countries in the developing world if we were to urge sanctions against them or finance political initiative by political opponents of their governments in power or help litigants to pass criminal or civil suits against their governments in their own or in foreign or international courts over matters that are of domestic concern to them only and have nothing to do with interstate relations.

Madam Speaker, will they not accuse us of interference in their own internal affairs; of course, they would and they would not hesitate to punish us in some way for doing so.  Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members, let us not be naive, this is not a world where the theoretical equality of sovereign states has become a reality. In fact, far from it, neither are we powerless to do something about protecting our own interest and national sovereignty. We did not become political independent to tolerate what would, in more developed countries, be rightly regarded as treasonous and unpatriotic behaviour. Who is our patron or our keeper now that we are free? We recognize as higher than ourselves only God and those institutions such as the African Union and the United Nations to which we are freely and collectively agreed to seed some of our sovereignty as a people.  It is not for any individual or some groups of individuals among us to choose for us some country or another that they think should be an arbiter of what is right or wrong as if that country is flawless and can give us instructions on these matters.

To reiterate Madam Speaker, our constitutional order affords many parts for aggrieved citizens to vend their grievances against the State.  This is a measure to encourage respect for our Constitution by our citizens and everyone who lawfully choose to live amongst us.  I will now briefly refer to the other amendments to the Criminal Law Code sought to be made by this Bill.   

Madam Speaker, the amendment of Section 65 of the Code seeks to enact harsher penalties for the crime of rape in response to an epidemic of rape in our country and in the region.  Other countries in the SADC facing a similar problem have responded by imposing mandatory imprisonment. We propose to follow their lead. Where rape is committed in aggravating circumstances, the new penalty is imprisonment for life or imprisonment for at least 15 years.  Where it is shown that the crime was committed without aggravating circumstances, the penalty is a period of not less than five years. I must, in this connection, single out for special press the role of women’s party list delegation in the National Assembly in bringing the problem of violence against women to the forefront of our national policy making.  The outstanding policy contribution demonstrates the wisdom of securing their constitutionally guaranteed presence in Parliament. 

Madam Speaker, the rights, interests and concerns of one half of our population surely cannot be irrelevant or ignored by the other half. The amendment of Section 155 of the Code excludes industrial herb from the scope of what is defined as dangerous as defined by the Criminal Law Code. Industrial herb, Madam Speaker, will be excluded form the scope. This measure is needed to strengthen the implementation of Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 entitled ‘dangerous drugs, production of cannabis for medicinal use, medicinal and scientific use, regulations which made it legal to farm industrial herb and export it’.  It was still however a crime to be in possession of it because of the broad definition of cannabis, hence this amendment. 

Finally, Madam Speaker, the Bill seeks to amend Section 174 of the Code relating to the crime of criminal abuse of office.  In its present expression, Section 174(1) is too broad in that public officers were exposed to prosecution for honest mistakes made during the course of their duties. The amendment now requires proof of the additional element of knowledge of acting abusively on the part of the public official in question.  Madam Speaker, with leave of the House, I now move that the Bill be read a second time.  I thank you.

Madam Speaker, I am advised the Committee is not ready so I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 17th May, 2023.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty-Nine Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

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