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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 MAY 2024 VOL 50 NO 51

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 16th May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcement, but

before I announce, what is happening Acting Chief Whips, there are too many gaps that side or some Members went for some function?

HON. KAMBUZUMA: Afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  Most of our Members have gone for Public Hearings.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Oooh they have Public Hearings.  Is this on the Death Penalty Bill?

          HON. KAMBUZUMA: The Disability and as well as Health.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: That is fine. I hope that applies to both sides? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - You were not excluded in the Committees, what are you talking about? I have one announcement.

INVITATION TO JOIN APNODE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House of the existence of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE).  This is a continental body that has been in existence for 10 years and Zimbabwe has been a member of the network for the past nine years.  Some of the objectives of APNODE are: (1) To sensitise national Parliaments and parliamentarians about the importance of evaluation for oversite policy and decision making; (2) to enhance the capacity on parliamentarians to demand and utilise evaluation evidence in their parliamentary duties; (3) to share experiences across Africa and beyond.

Honorable Members interested in joining the network should register their names with Mr. C. Ratsakatika in Office Number 335.

Before I go to notices of motions, I have got a request for a statement on a point of national interest.  The first one is Hon. Mamombe.

HON. MAMOMBE: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Good afternoon.

HON. MAMOMBE:  Thank you very much. Hon. Speaker Sir. Zimbabwe, in 2013, enacted a new Constitution which entrenched Environmental Rights in Section 73,’every person has the right to have the environment that is protected for the benefit of the present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution, promote conservation and secure ecological sustainable development and use of natural resources.

Now, Hon. Speaker Sir, on Tuesday, Cabinet approved a proposed plan to construct a multi-purpose stadium in Victoria Falls.  Hon. Speaker, Victoria Falls is renowned for its natural environment and wildlife.  Our tourism industry is heavily reliant on nature-based attractions.  Zimbabwe is the third largest country in terms of wildlife resources, that is, rhinos, elephants and so forth.  Why do we recognise the importance of infrastructure development Hon. Speaker?

It is its potential to attract more tourists.  We cannot achieve without disrupting our biodiversity.  There are many other cities in Zimbabwe that could host the stadium that has been proposed thereby distributing the economic benefits without sacrificing the environmental integrity.  If tourists Hon. Speaker, can travel from South Africa to come and visit Victoria Falls, I am sure they can do the same to travel from other cities to go and visit Victoria Falls.  UNESCO heritage status is also at risk as we note that Victoria Falls was previously facing serious risks of loosing the UNESCO world heritage due to the developments that threaten its natural state. 

Hon. Speaker, instead, we should explore alternative locations that do not compromise our valuable natural resources and conservation efforts.  I, therefore, pray that the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality together with the Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture bring a Ministerial Statement to elaborate on this plan to this august House.  Ngatisarasai chiri mumawoko nekuda kuwombera Hon. Speaker Sir.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Your concern Hon. Member, in terms of protection of the environment, is noted.  However, there is a master plan that is going to take care of that eventuality and also, if you may recall, the Environmental Impact Assessment will be made before any such infrastructural development takes place. 

It is my hope that the concern you are raising will indeed be given due respect.  Do not forget that Victoria Falls, in terms of its master plan, has accommodated the flora and fauna of Hwange National Park which is adjacent to the boundary of the city.  So, I think your concerns will be taken care of and it may not be necessary to ask for a Ministerial Statement.

          Hon. Tsvangirai not having responded to the Hon. Speaker’s recognition.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chief Whip from my left, please next time be organised.

          HON. B. JAMES:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of national interest regards ZESA tariffs.  Ministry of Finance converted all our bank accounts from the old currency to the new ZiG at a rate of roughly 2 498.  However, ZESA have used a rate of approximately 1245 to the ZiG, in fact doubling everyone’s electricity cost.  Could I ask the Minister to put his investigation unit on to ZESA to rectify this error?  I would like to quote from an MP yesterday who said what is good for the goose is good for the gander. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Chief Whip, can you make sure that the message is transmitted to the Ministry of Energy so that they can investigate the issue.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE INTERNATIONAL

FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) FOR

HORTICULTURE ENTERPRISE ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

(HEEP)

            THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to give a motivation for the approval by Parliament of a loan between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  According to Zimbabwe’s Economic Development Blue Print, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), 2021 to 2025. Government prioritised the recovery of the agricultural sector which is a key enabler to the country’s economic growth.

          The Horticulture Enterprise Enhancement Project (HEEP) increases agriculture production and productivity, especially by horticultural farmers, which enhances food and nutrition security, income, increased opportunities for value addition and the development of agro-business value chains.  To this end, Government secured a US$37 140 000.00 (Thirty Seven Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand United States Dollars) loan from IFAD to enhance horticulture production and productivity.  The Project is being co-financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC).

The Horticulture Enterprise Enhancement Project

The objective of HEEP is support increased and sustainable horticultural production and sales by smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in horticulture value chains.

The Project shall benefit poor smallholder farmers, who will be organised in Agricultural Producer Groups (APGs) in Village Horticulture Gardens (VHGs) and Agricultural Producer Groups in 4Ps linked to anchor firms.  The Project will be located in four (4) provinces:  Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland for the Village Horticulture Gardens (VHGs) and for the 4Ps, the project will be located in well-functioning irrigation schemes throughout the ten provinces of the country, in particular in the high potential regions of Mashonaland provinces and Manicaland province. The project will support the following components;

Component 1: Village horticulture garden and the 4Ps, mobilisation and development,

Component 2: Access to finance.

Component 3: Institutional support and project coordination. 

The condition for drawing down on this loan is ratification by Parliament, Mr. Speaker Sir.  In terms of interest, this is really a zero-interest loan arrangement.  In terms of service fee, this shall be determined by the fund at the date of the approval of the load by the Farms Executive Board.  In terms of repayment of the principal, the principal of the loan will be paid at 4.5% of the total principal of $1.6713 million per annum for the year 11 to year 30 and 1% of the total principal which is USD371 400.00 per annum for the years 31 to 40. 

The total tenure for the loan is 40 years, there is a grace period, the first ten years where we will not be paying anything, we then begin payment in year 11 Mr. Speaker Sir.  In terms of modalities, the repayment of the principal shall be made obviously from the National Budget. 

What are the expected benefits from the project?  Agriculture is one of the economic pillars of Zimbabwe and the support for small holder farms will go a long way in achieving the thrust of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) of food security.  The implementation of the project will result in the following benefits;

  • Employment creation for the local communities;
  • Capacity building for local communities;
  • Climate-smart agriculture and easy market access;
  • Improved food nutrition and security;
  • Increased household incomes;
  • Improved resilience to climate change effects and economic shocks, and
  • Increased production and productivity.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Good afternoon.  I would like to put my voice on this request by the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion with regards to the loan extended to the country by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), for agricultural purposes. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister noted that there are provinces such as Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland which are going to benefit from this particular loan. He has particularly stated that these provinces had not benefited from other provisions earlier on.  From what I have understood Mr. Speaker Sir, the loan is going to finance irrigation facilities, it is also going to work as seed money for horticulture activities.  It is also going to finance the whole of the value chain including the construction of infrastructure and the provision of even motor vehicles to support the programme. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I support this loan facility for several reasons. One of them being that it is aimed at creating employment in the communities that are concerned.  There is currently high level of unemployment in this country and any loan or any facility that promotes the creation of employment should be applauded by all of us as Members of Parliament. 

There has also been high rural-urban migration because our youths have been leaving rural areas to seek employment in urban areas, thereby congesting the urban facilities.  This loan is going to create economic activity in the rural areas of the concerned provinces. It is my belief that this will reduce the level of rural-urban migration and the problem that has been associated with such trend of migration. 

The employment creation in the rural areas of the provinces will increase per capita incomes of the concerned beneficiaries and this will have a long effect on the quality of life and standard of living in those areas.  The loan is also going to reduce poverty, we have seen high levels of poverty in most rural areas with most people being unable to make ends meet, especially to provide food on their tables.  Such a loan is going to help us in the poverty eradication endeavors.

The country has also witnessed a consistent El nino induced drought and the panacea to the problem that has been created by the El nino induced drought is for the country to pursue irrigation farming.  Since this loan is going to promote irrigation farming, it is therefore going to be a master stroke against the problems that have been associated with El nino drought. 

There has also been a high cost of capital Mr. Speaker, currently obtaining in the country and that high cost of capital especially for agricultural activities does not support the rapid economic growth that we intend to achieve.  Currently, agriculture is not supported by our local banks because they also do not have the money and where it is supported the interest rates have been very high. 

Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy and as such, such a loan is going to actually ensure that the main activity in our economy, which is agriculture, is supported and given the low interest associated with the loan, it is going to support the fast economic growth that we intend to achieve. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also like the long-term feature that is associated with the loan, 40 years is a long period. It will allow ample time for the recipients of the loan to harvest income, to get profits and also be able to change their lives. Since the repayment is going to be done from the fiscus, it has no burden on the smallholder farmers and this is too generous of IFAD, this is also too generous for the Government of His Excellency, President E. D Mnangagwa and we want to applaud such kind of generosity. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, you also remember that our country was slapped with sanctions for the past two decades and a friendly gesture by IFAD is more than welcome as we have not been able to borrow or to get assistance from the International Monetary Fund and other International Finance Corporations.  The loan therefore goes in line with President E. D. Mnangagwa’s upper middle-income economy by 2030, that aspiration for us to have upper middle-income economy by 2030 and I would want to actually welcome this development as one of those landmarks that are going to enable us to achieve the upper middle-income economy. However, I would want to urge the Minister of Finance to ensure that there is transparency in the distribution of the loan to beneficiaries. There should also be accountability through keeping of records and allowing audits to be applied where necessary and at the appropriate time. There is also need to create a sustained long-term funding for the smallholder farmers through utilising some of the funds as a revolving fund so that the horticultural business and its benefits that come with it continue to be experienced even when the loan facility is no longer provided. I thank you.

          HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to applaud the Hon. Minister for bringing the motion on the adoption of the loan which is to the tune of at least USD37 million. I think this loan is in line with the provisions that are set out in Vision 2030. In Vision 2030, if we look at the pillars, we have macro-economic stability and financial re-engagement. We have infrastructure development and social protection, looking at these pillars which are covered under the NDS1, we have food security and food security is very critical. What we have been lacking in the rural areas is financing.

          In the rural areas we have the water, land and the weather, but we do not have the financing. I think this loan is coming at a critical time when we are moving Vision 2030 forward. I also look at the contribution of agriculture and mining to employment and we have seen that agriculture is one of the leading sectors when it comes to employment creation. This loan is going to assist us with regards to employment generation. The President is also pushing the agenda for rural industrialisation where we are looking at taking the rural areas as development nodes.

          We have our growth points that are sprouting all over, and those growth points can leverage the development on agriculture and I think this loan will also go a long way in promoting rural development. The migration of people from rural areas to urban areas in search of opportunities; this can also reverse the trend from rural to urban and change it from urban to rural. This is because opportunities are now abound in the rural areas and I think this loan will also go a long way in promoting urban to rural migration.

          The horticulture policy; we have seen that when we got funds under the IMF SDR Fundprogramme, there is a programme that was set on the promotion of horticulture and I think this USD37 million loan will go a long way in promoting horticulture. This should also be complemented with the policy to export, especially to our neighbouring countries like DRC that are in search of agriculture products from Zimbabwe.

          Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Minister mentioned the IFAD loan that passed through Parliament and I think it is important for us to say whenever we get a loan, we also get a report in terms of its performance. We approved the IFAD loan here in Parliament and the loan was having more or less the same conditions.  I think it is important for the Minister later on, to also give us a report in terms of the performance of that loan that was looking at clusters for small holder irrigation farmers.

          As I conclude, I want to touch a bit on the loan conditions. Whenever we look at the loan conditions, it is critical that we abide by the Constitution. We have limits in terms of what is supposed to be borrowed and looking at us not mortgaging future generations. I have seen that the repayment may start from the eleventh year and one would also want to critically look to say through the eleventh year, how many loans do we have that are going to be repaid from the eleventh year?

          So, it is critical that we also analyse to get enough information in terms of what we are likely to be paying from that time going forward. I am saying this because we do not want to mortgage future generations. Otherwise, the loan agreement is quite in order and it is in line with our aspirations in Vision 2030, NDS1. In addition, it is moving our agenda of rural industrialisation. I submit.

          HON. M. C. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Good afternoon.  I fully understand and appreciate the benefits of the loan as presented by the Minister and I also understand that it entails to support agriculture, which is an economic pillar of this country.  I however have some reservations in terms of the conditions of the loan that it would be paid from year eleven to year forty when none of us here would be still alive. I think nations are usually applauded for investing big for their future generations and to burden other generations with some loans might be a challenge like Hon. Chiduwa has also indicated.  The other challenge that I have is on the distribution of the fund like has been indicated. 

May you allow me to quote the Bible in Deut1: 37, which says, ‘whoever has will be given more and whoever does not have will have that little taken away from him’.  This I want to say, I was expecting the loan to be distributed equally, particularly to our areas which are usually marginalised as far as agriculture is concerned.  May I therefore conclude by saying, I am tempted to object the loan to be taken now.  Thank you, Hon. Speaker.

          HON. MUKOMBERI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for the opportunity granted to have this time to support the proposal for Zimbabwe to be extended such a loan facility with friendly terms.  First and foremost, I would like to bring to the House the fact that Zimbabwe as an economy; its growth is based on industry such as agriculture being the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.  It implies that given the El nino induced drought, there is need for Zimbabwe to invest more in horticultural activities that will support agriculture undertaken from natural rains.  It is clear from the proposal by the Minister that the loan facility has a tenure of 40 years.  It has 10-year grace period before the country repays a cent.  What it means is that the economy will have ample time to invest and recoup its initial investment from this investment before making any repayment. 

          It means the returns from production from year zero to the 10th year will be reinvested for economic growth before any leakage through repayment of loans.  Given such a condition, not only does this funding support agriculture industry and supplementing food production per se,  but it will go a long way in boosting national income through the multiplier effect as the initial investment will be injected today with returns tomorrow that will be invested to bring more returns before repayment of loan. 

          Supporting value chain means a greater degree of economic growth shifting Zimbabwe’s production frontier outwards with resultant economic development measured in terms of improved living standards through employment creation, improved food supply and improved health through supporting nutritional gardens in the horticulture industry and associated value addition. 

          Zimbabwe needs to reclaim its breadbasket of Africa status where neighbouring countries depend on Zimbabwe for food supply.  This will strengthen the relations of Zimbabwe and its neighbouring friends.  Given that there will be efficient utilisation of the funding, there is great potential of Zimbabwe as an economy to close the gap between food demand and supply that is currently the situation.  Given the El nino induced drought, there is a disparity between food demand and supply in Zimbabwe.  It is therefore a welcome initiative by the Treasury or Government to source an external funding given that we do not have enough funds to supplement agricultural production through funding horticulture, given the economic circumstances we are facing.  It implies that the external funding shall be an injection that will generate resources locally for 10 years without pocketing out any cent towards repayment of such.

          I therefore want to support the adoption of this move by the Government so as to support the economic growth in Zimbabwe towards the achievement of vision 2030 where we are meeting the pillars of the National Development Strategy towards vision 2030 of food security and moving an upper income economy up the value chain towards an upper income economy. 

          *HON. NHARI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to add my voice to this motion for such an opportunity which has come to us as a nation, particularly looking at how those living in the rural areas will benefit from irrigation schemes.  Irrigation schemes are quite beneficial because if we engage in these, then we can go to other countries and sell our products and get foreign currency.  We need this loan because it is good for economic development in Zimbabwe.  When we embark on this especially in rural areas, you will find that women and the youth will have the opportunity to participate in irrigation projects so that they support their families.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: I want to add my voice to this important issue which relates to a loan which the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Finance and IFAD to get a loan to the tune of 37 140 000 Million to support agriculture through the horticultural enterprise enhancement projects and to support the agricultural production or agriculture particularly the rural areas.  This is a very important decision by the Minister in that, to be honest, in terms of productivity, we have got the land resources but what we do not have is capital.  I think under the circumstances, this would also support the poor people of our society – [HON. MEMBERS. Hear, hear.] -  

          However, it is important to understand the basic tenets around the issues of the loan before we support this initiative.  If allowed, maybe you might want to hear from the Minister before we give our final verdict on it but I am going to raise my issues right here. 

The fundamental role of Parliament is to make laws and also to protect such laws.  The Public Debt Management Act Section 11 provides limits on state borrowings.  An Act of Parliament indicates that Zimbabwe should borrow up to the tune of 70% of our Gross Domestic Product.  What is the Gross Domestic Product?  The Gross Domestic Product represents the total value of goods that are produced in a particular country in a year.  What we borrow must not exceed 70% of what we produce.  That is the position of law.  However, the law provides a situation whereby we can exceed the limit but only on outstanding circumstances.  What is those Mr. Speaker? The outstanding circumstances are when there is an occurrence of a national disaster, then there is no way.  There is COVID-19, we have to spend our way out, we can borrow when there is need for exceptional expenditure, not only on national disaster but also on drought, on account of a large capital project which Cabinet seems prudent.

          If you look at these conditions Mr. Speaker Sir, as of September 2023, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion brought his 2024 national budget and on paragraph 97 of that budget, the Minister indicated that the debt to GDB ratio for Zimbabwe was 81.3%.  That was 11.3% above the stipulated rate of 70% according to our Constitution.  So will further borrowing not worsen our situation Hon. Speaker?  That is where the idea of mortgaging the future generations comes in because we are saying whatever you produce, 80% of that is debt.  Are we not going to put ourselves in a vicious cycle of debt?  As a nation, can we prosper under the circumstances?

Section 13 (2) (d) of the Public Debt Management Act stipulates that the Minister should seek approval from the Attorney-General in terms of the legalities.  I thought as Parliament, we were supposed to be favoured with that report from the Attorney-General, whether the loan was up to date in terms of its legal aspect.

          Lastly Mr. Speaker, the loan is going to be repaid over 40 years, starting from the 11th year after a grace period of 10 years.  So my question is; if you look from the figures given by the Minister from year 11 to year 29, the total interest repayments amount to 48 million, only for year 11 to 29 without looking at the year 30 to 40.  Yes, the interest payments are paid over time, but look at what we are losing.  Is this deal a good deal for Zimbabwe?

          Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to highlight that Zimbabwe has borrowed before, but there is nothing to show for it.  Our debt now, Mr. Speaker, is just about US$80 billion.  Actually, we are already in debt distress.  Are we going to succeed as a country if we continuously borrow?  Can we fund ourselves?  Yes, it is so painful, it is so hard, but can we fund ourselves so that we do not consciously entangle ourselves to the vicious cycle of poverty through debt?  If this debt sails through, what assurance do we have to the effect that this money is going to be benefiting everyone, the intended beneficiaries?  Zimbabwe is losing around US$2 billion every year as a result of corruption.  These are facts that have been given on public fora. So are we sure that this amount will go to the intended beneficiaries Mr. Speaker?  Thank you very much.  I submit.

          HON. DHLIWAYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for allowing me to add my voice to this motion raised by the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

          I would want this august House to understand that for any country, not only Zimbabwe, to realise positive economic growth, it is critical to attract investment spending and one essential element of investment spending is access to credit lines.  This is not unique to Zimbabwe.  Even the United States of America I think, have revised their debt ceiling more than three times since the global financial crisis of 2008 when they saw that there was need to borrow so that they can activate their financial markets.

          So it is in this regard that I would want to support our Hon. Minster for bringing this motion to the House because for the past, I think more than 20 years because of illegal financial sanctions, Zimbabwe has been failing to access international credit lines from the IMF, ADB and from other countries yet despite those obstacles, our good leadership, especially the second dispensation, has managed to grow our GDB to more than 40 billion as supported by the IMF while our country’s debt simply stands at around 18 billion.

          This implies that this borrowing will not even increase our total debt to something more than 50%.  So I support that the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion must go ahead and borrow.  Critical to our economy is to understand that we have a comparative advantage in agriculture, therefore agriculture must be supported and bringing this facility to support agriculture is actually a commendable thing to the Second Republic and the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

          I want to applaud you Minster kumhanya mhanya kwamuri kuita Hon. Minister manyama kuti muwane financing dzamuri kuita idzi.  Considering what America is doing to our country, it is difficult to get these credit lines, yet you can still afford to bring such a thing.  So now considering that we have less than 12 hours for this offer to expire, I would not want to take more of your time, but I would rather request this House to expedite the process to approve this particular Bill so that it can be passed on to the Senate.

          Let me conclude by saying Hon. Speaker Sir and Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, this particular piece of loan facility extended to Zimbabwe is critical to the development of agricultural activity. Once we receive this facility Hon. Speaker, I would also want you to pay particular attention to macadamia processing plants.  You know we have a lot of other buyers of macadamia in Zimbabwe who are not paying very good prices.  So I think if we manage our own plants using part of this facility especially in Manicaland, that will go a long way in boosting our economic growth.  Hon. Speaker Sir, I thank you.

          HON. MATANGIRA:  Supplementary. I want to add on to what the previous speaker has just said.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order!  While it is good to have some humour, the humour must be properly directed.  Hon. Member, if you would like to take the floor, you take the floor on your own stead instead of talking about a supplementary.

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the love of this country that you have just like our President Hon. Mnangagwa.  If we all loved this country as you love it, this country would progress.  I just wanted to add a few words to what the previous speaker said. I want to add my voice by saying that Zimbabwe and the world over, there is no farmer who farms using their own money but they use bank loans.  For Zimbabwe to succeed, since the beginning of the land reform when the country was returned back to its original owners; this is the time where there were sanctions which affected agriculture and which were meant to hurt agricultural production. 

          However, Zimbabwe has been afforded an opportunity to have a loan which will benefit irrigation programmes because this is a good thing.  Only those who have bad intentions resist a good thing.  Some will be full, they do not care who is doing the farming, who is doing the irrigation.  Hon. Speaker Sir, my view point as a farmer who benefited from the land reform just like everyone else, is that the most important thing is that land.  I want to say that we need to continue with this, we  want that loan because in English they say that, “with the seashores, we will not discover the myths of the of the oceans” 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: It is a quotation hey? 

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  Indeed, it is a quotation Hon. Speaker.  When you are given a good thing, you do not hurt the source, you do not resist a helping hand that wants to benefit you as an individual and the nation at large.  Our farmers are not just farming for subsistence, but they are farming for the benefit of the nation.  We are going to eat and we eat large portions of food without considering who did the farming.  Some would say that those who were here were cooking and eating and what were you doing when they were doing that?  Indeed, Mr. Speaker, if we request for those who want Sadza, you would find that those who are resisting would also be found in the queue.

          Hon. Minister of Finance, we appreciate good job because no one was prepared to extend credit lines to Zimbabwe.  This is not just a credit line but it is an investment.  There is no loan which you are given and you are told to go and invest but a loan is one which you take and pay school fees, then a student will pay dividends after completing university.  This is not just a loan but we are going to take a loan, farm and harvest then we pay back.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  We want the loan, let us take it. We are not taking it so that we waste it. 

          +HON. N. NDLOVU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity to add my own voice on this motion that has been put by the Minister of Finance.

          The question of approval by Parliament to borrow some money, when looking at the drought this year, Mr. Speaker Sir, everyone is affected.  This matter is there to get us out of this problem.  Going through, I saw that this particular programme is for four provinces whereas we have ten provinces.  Is the Ministry going to come again and make a request for an approval to cater for these other provinces which are not catered for in this one?  My view is that everyone should benefit from this loan in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe which says that we have devolution of power to enable people to get the relevant resources in relevant provinces. 

          We should know who is going to receive the loan. We want loans that are going to be accounted for. We do not want to simply read papers, but we want the actual data as to who accessed the loan. I am of the view that if we get this loan, it should come to constituencies because constituencies have Member of Parliaments, we also have traditional leaders who will help in matters pertaining to the constituencies that we have received so much from the loan.  So, we are going to allocate so much to this and so much to that, just like what we do with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).  Members of Parliament are going to acquire this loan, they should be the beneficiaries as well. 

+THE HON. SPEAKER:  I am listening.

+HON. N. NDLOVU:  I thank you Hon. Speaker, I wanted this to sink.  I thank you Sir.  I will repeat Mr. Speaker Sir, so that it is understood.  I was speaking about monitoring and evaluation.  We heard that this loan is going to be paid back after 40 years, which means we are mortgaging our nation.  We should be very careful, some of us will have perished without having benefited from these loans.  We are all related here, we must all access these resources.  It means we can also approach them so that we get something, we will not go hungry. 

          As the Minister has said, the Ministry will bring development even in rural areas, and hunger will be reduced.  The Minister should ensure that these resources get to the intended people. This is our request Mr. Speaker Sir, we look forward that resources should be accessed by every Zimbabwean.  If we simply borrow using the strength of Parliament, then it is not allocated to the intended people, we would have failed.  I thank you. 

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity.  The loan of US$37 million in question which the Hon. Minister requires this House to approve, I just want to start by stating these issues.  Firstly, Zimbabwe is a member of SADC and we are signatory to the SADC Protocol that requires that we as a SADC country, our debt to GDP should not exceed 60%. 

Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, our own laws states that we should not exceed our debt beyond the 70% GDP ratio. As we speak right now, our debt level is so huge such that it can actually be defined as unsustainable and this is the reason President Chissano and Dr. Dessina are part of the high-level debt restructuring process to try to see how …

HON. MATANGIRA: My point of order is in a normal situation; the ratios and percentages being said by the Hon. Member are applicable. In a situation of sanctions that Zimbabwe is in at the moment, the ratios are not applicable.

THE HON. SPEAKER: When the facts speak for themselves, you cannot deny that what SADC has determined and I think the Hon. Minister will answer to that. The Hon. Minister will also enlighten the House as to what our current position is in terms of our debt viz-a-viz the GDP. So, why do you not wait for the Hon. Minister to respond accordingly.

Hon. Butau having stood up on a point of order

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member will persist because he has said nothing for you to raise a point of order – [HON. BUTAU: Hon. Speaker, I have something very important to say.] – Order, order. Hon. Mushoriwa has just stood up and said nothing. So, where do you place your point of order? Nothing has been said – [HON. BUTAU: Hon. Speaker, he raised a point about debt ratio and debt gearing.] – Order, I indicated or perhaps you were not following me. The Hon. Minister will respond to your contributions, so let us wait for that. If you want to seek for further clarification, I think the Hon. Minister will be amenable to that.

HON. MUSHORIWA: The loan in question which the Minister requires approval, is aimed at supporting agriculture.  I want to state this Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister is aware that for the past 20 or so years, this country has invested a significant amount and to some other studies, it is said that we actually invested close to $43 billion into the agricultural sector with a minimal benefit to show of.  You also know that the Hon. Minister of Finance came to this august House with a condonation Bill, in respect mostly to the Command Agriculture.  Condonation Bill of more than ten billion, which Bill the Hon. Minister has not bothered to bring back to Parliament and not only that; we also then had other condonation Bills which never saw the light of the day. 

What it means Hon. Speaker Sir is that, in terms of the funding gap and in terms of the deficit that we have, you then realise that we have got a huge amount of debt.  Now, look at what happened when the Hon. Minister came with the budget in December.  He came and told us that our debt was around 18 billion dollars and right now, that debt is now above 21 billion dollars and the Hon. Minister has not bothered to come before the august House to explain that expansion of our debt.  What has actually been happening?  What is it that has actually accrued the debt for? 

Now when we stand here Mr. Speaker Sir and object to continued borrowing, we are saying this from a matter of principle.  We are saying that we cannot continue to borrow, it does not matter how favourable the terms are.  I know and I speak as a former banker that whenever you want to make money, you need to persuade your debtors to come and borrow even if they do not want to borrow the money so that as a bank you actually make profit.

Right now, Mr. Speaker Sir, we should actually be having a Government policy, if indeed, the 37 million dollars is intended for irrigation and the other staff, we should actually have been presented by the Minister of Agriculture, a corresponding programme which can actually resonate with people within the various constituencies, whether it is in Manicaland, Matebeleland to say that this programme is actually being done practically by the Minister of Agriculture.  History has shown us that is we have actually approved so many loans with intended purposes which on paper would appear so logical and so persuasive that the august House could just then support. 

What we have seen Mr. Speaker Sir, we have not seen corresponding development on the ground.  This is reason that I believe  we need, as a country, to relook into our culture of borrowing.  We cannot continue to borrow when we cannot pay back the money that we borrow.  We borrow today, we borrow tomorrow and the money will be given to us.  Now a child that is born today, a child who has been born at Mbuya Nehanda at Parirenyatwa, he or she inherits a debt of more than US$1.4 million. You cannot mortgage the future of our children.  We need a Government system that is responsible, disciplined and we actually thought when the new Governor came in, that we are now going to have a rein in terms of this expansional debt accumulation.

I am actually surprised, that the Hon. Minister would then come urgently requesting Parliament literally to just endorse this...

HON. BUTAU: The Hon. Member is not looking at the merits or demerits of this particular loan that is being presented here.  We are looking at a situation where thousands of people are going to benefit, the poor of the poorest are going to benefit. Those are the issues that we should be looking at.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member. Will the Hon. Member please address the merits or demerits of the loan application?

HON. MUSHORIWA: Indeed Mr. Speaker, I want to address the demerits which is; that what is said on paper historically has proven that it does not relate to what happens on the ground –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – and what we wanted, because this is one Government where the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Finance being the financing and the Ministry of Agriculture being the one on the ground, they should actually speak with each other in respect to when these monies are coming because it would be a problem if we knew and for certain that in Manicaland province, in such a district, this project that the  Minister of Agriculture has actually identified is waiting for resources that the Ministry is going to come up with.  But, because we know from the past that we get these loans without practical issues having been addressed on the ground and then it creates a problem.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I think avoid being presumptuous because the time of the application of this particular loan has not emerged.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I raise this issue and I just want to conclude my contribution to simply say that Zimbabwe is on the IMF staff monitored programme and some of the commitments and some of the issues in respect to the debt that Zimbabwe has been engaged with IMF, it  tells you that we turn left most of the time and we indicate left but yet we  turn right. It then creates a policy discord in that we do not know what is it we want to do as a Government in respect to making sure that our debt is sustainable. To that, I just want to urge this august House that we should politely deny the request by the Hon. Minister to borrow this USD37 million. I thank you.

          Hon. Mudekunye having stood up to debate

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I was going by the list that I was given, so I thought it is time for the Hon. Minister to respond. Next time Hon. Mudekunye, liaise with your Chief Whip so that you are in the list of those that shall speak.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Members for debating this issue robustly and passionately as well. Let me start with a response to the comments and contributions by Hon. Mutodi is supportive of the loan agreements.  Thank you very much.  As stated, the loan will go a long way in creating much needed employment especially in the rural areas.  It will also deal with climate mitigation aspects, raise rural incomes and recognise these key areas that the project will bring on board.  Hon. Member, be cautioned that we should ensure transparency and applicability in the application of loans and I agree with him.

 I can assure you Mr. Speaker Sir, that there is a process in place that involves EFT itself.  EFT is involved in designing the rules for the management of these resources.  They are involved in monitoring the resources themselves and they too have to give a report back to their board and shareholders on how these funds have be used.  So, we believe that the processes that EFT themselves have put in place, what we as Treasury have put in place together, we will be able to monitor these funds sufficiently and ensure transparency and accountability.

I now turn to the contribution by Hon. Chiduwa and again thank him for being supportive of the project especially the fact that he highlighted that these projects are consistent in giving 2030 which speaks to financial reengagement infrastructural development, social protection in rural areas and providing financing in critical areas in the rural areas.  He mentioned a very important policy that we put in place a few years ago of supporting the development of rural development or growth points that this will add to that.  It will also slow down the scourge of rural urban migration but also just promote horticulture as subsector of the agriculture sector because that is the target.  I really support his comments here.  It is really in line with Vision 2030.  But he wants to know how previous loans have performed. That might be good practice going forward that we must bring before this august House performance reports of these previous loans.

 I agree with him and this is a very good suggestion indeed. Once this report is readily provided by both EFT and Treasury, we will be able to table it before this august House. He also mentioned that the loan condition should be in line with the Constitution and we want to make sure that we have really adhered to the best practice in terms of what we call Debt Sustainability.  I agree with him and we have done that.  I will address this matter as we progress.

Let me turn to the comments by Hon. Mxolisi who mentioned that the loan repayments start in year 11 and roughly up to year 40 when he is perhaps no longer alive. I wish him a good life and long life. I think that just a cursory glance at his face, his stature and body, he will be alive 11 years from now and I wish him a robust life. His concern was that we are burdening future generations. Let me say that one of the key tenets of borrowing is that he must always look for long tenure when it comes to loans. If it can scratch the tenure, then you give yourself relief in terms of the immediate commitment. You spread along a longer period. That is always a good thing to stretch it.

So, stretching it to 40 years delaying his payments to year 11 is actually a good thing. It shows that we have negotiated well. The nature of long-term loans always passes on the burden to future generations like the previous generations pass n a burden to us. We pass on some of the burden to future generations and they too, will pass on the burden to those who will come after them. It is normal.  There is that intergenerational burden sharing when it comes to servicing long term loans.  That is the nature of the arrangement.  It comes with a package. 

          Hon. Mxolisi also mentioned that the loan should be equitably shared across provinces – he is correct.  In fact, when it comes to the four Ps aspect where these are linked to existing enterprises, thus every Province will be covered.  So I can assure him that all provinces will be covered but however, for the village groups, we have three provinces that were not covered before in the 2021 loan.  These are Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland.  These are being covered in the new project that we are debating today.

          If you really want to understand what is going on, you have to combine the previous loan which started in 2021 with the current loan that we are debating today.  These two, when we come to village support programmes, cover all the provinces.  No one is left behind and I can assure you that in the implementation within the chosen provinces again, there will be equitable distribution and the role of IFAD in selecting projects in distribution of funds, they too want to make sure that no one is left behind.  They will not leave us to do what we like.  They are heavily involved in the process themselves. 

          Again, there were several Members from this side of the House who were very supportive and I thank them for the support that they have landed at this debate, especially on the issue of the tenure and the focus of the projects

          I now turn to Hon. Nhari who also expressed happiness with the project and the fact that it is supporting, the loan rather is supporting irrigation during a year of drought and climate shocks.  It will go a long way in climate proofing our agriculture and supporting the vulnerable.  This was made very clear by Hon. Nhari. 

I am now turning to Hon. Madzivanyika.  Again, he was fairly supportive of the loan and I thank him for that.  He did mention something regarding the borrowing limits for the country.  According to the Public Debt Management Act, we have set a limit of borrowings of no more than 70% of GDP and he believes that now with our debt where it is, just above 18 billion I will use 19 billion as a ballpark figure, he believes that our debt has exceeded the 70% of GDP threshold.  I want to assure him that we have not as of this week; we have confirmed that on a conservative basis, our GDP at USD 35 billion and19 billion divided by 35 billion as a percentage is only 54%.  So, it is well below 70% and in fact if he uses the figure of USD 47 billion which is the figure that has been published out there on a purchasing parity basis, that debt GDP ratio actually drops to 40%. 

If you take the SADC limit which was mentioned and I will repeat, which is 60% again 54% is well below the 60% threshold.  So, we should not be worried about exceeding the limit.  We have not exceeded the limit and in fact, we have made sure that our debt sustainability analysis framework is applied on every loan that we seek to contract. 

As to whether we have consulted the Attorney General, yes, we did and the Attorney-General did give this loan an endorsement to say that the loan agreement is properly contracted and the terms are fair, the clauses are also fair to both parties -the lender and the borrower.  We got this clearance from the Attorney-General.  I can assure him on that.  There was also a comment from Hon. Madzivanyika that perhaps the interest repayments are too large.  Maybe he missed a point or I was not clear.  This loan has not interest.  It is actually zero interest. What is being repaid from the 11th year to year 40 is part of the principle.  It is paid as we go along, but actually it is a zero-interest loan and that is actually a good thing.

I now turn to another point that he mentioned – will this money benefit everyone?  Yes, as I have said, when it comes to the four Ps aspect of the project, this goes to all provinces, there is no selective nature here, but when it comes to the village programme that is focusing on the four provinces that I have already mentioned which had not benefited from the previous loan arrangement – if we take the two together, every province will have benefited at the end of implementation of this heap loan.

I now turn to the contributions by Hon. Dhliwayo who again was very supportive of the loan – he said we should proceed with it for the benefit of farmers and for the horticulture sector.  He did mention that they do not believe that the debt is too high as a percentage of GDP.  I agree with Hon. Dhliwayo, it is quite clear that at worst, we are at 54% of GDP and best at 40% of GDP.  So, we are really within the limits and that we should focus on supporting macadamia plants and I agree.  Manicaland is included and this is one area where macadamia grows very well.  I think we will follow up make sure that macadamia benefits because that is a key horticulture crop that this country produces.

Hon. Matangira was very supportive with incredible eloquence and passion.  I thank him.  He was very clear. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. TSITSI ZHOU): Order Hon. Minister!  Hon. Members, can we allow the Hon. Minister to continue and be heard in silence?  There is a lot of talking and I cannot even hear what the Minister is saying.  Can you allow him to be heard in silence?

HON. PROF. NCUBE:  Hon. Matangira was very eloquent and his presentation was very supportive of this loan arrangement. One of the most important things he said was that, look at the end of the day, we are always borrowing as farmers.  When we are farming, we borrow to till the land and that is normal.  There is nothing abnormal about borrowing this time around to support our horticulture sector. 

+I now turn to Hon. Ndlovu’s contribution.  The Hon. Member said that she is glad that we are discussing the issue concerning this loan which is quite opportune because we are facing a drought and hunger.  She said that she wants to know why it is going to focus on only four provinces.  It should be distributed throughout all the provinces.  This loan will spread to other provinces, but there is a specific which looks at just four provinces because six provinces were funded in the previous programme of 2021 when you look at that one and the current one under discussion.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that no one will be left behind.  She also said that there should be monitoring and evaluation and I agree with her. Let me say that it will be like hedging the fund so that it is protected and channeled to the right beneficiaries.  This loan will cascade to all provinces and everyone is going to benefit.

I will now turn to Hon. Mushoriwa who said the debt GDP ratio as stipulated by SADC and is correct, it should not exceed 60% and that in terms of our own statues and our own Constitution it should not exceed more than 70%.  He is correct.   Madam Speaker, we have not exceeded either 60% or 70%. We are currently at 54% in the worst of cases. I can assure him that we have applied all the necessary debt susceptibility analysis arriving at the decision to proceed with this loan.

He also requested that a report on our debt position be presented to this august House.  I can assure you that come mid-year when I present the mid-term budget review, I will table also the debt position for the country as I do and I do that twice a year.  I do that mid-term and I also do it when we present the budget for the following year in November.  So I can assure you that again, I will provide this report.  I thank him for asking for it.

Madam Speaker, he also mentioned that perhaps it was going to be more complete if the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development could have added something in terms of maybe the targeting of this project in terms of which areas, which project and actual implementation on the ground. I can assure him that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has been very clear as to where these resources will be applied.  This is not the first time that we are receiving monies from IFAD Madam Speaker.  It is actually the third time we are doing that.  So really there is robust process on the ground, identification of projects and I can assure him that the monies will go towards those targeted areas.

Again, I have noted a comment he made about the need for debt susceptibility analysis.  We do this all the time.  We have a well-functioning and a well-managed debt management department within Treasury and we do this all the time.  At the end he commented that he believes that we should deny support to this project.  I think that would not be wise.  When we do that, we are denying the poor in our rural areas resources that they need desperately and I really urge him to support this loan.  By doing so he will be supporting the relief for the poor in this country. I thank you Madam Speaker.  I then move that the motion be adopted by this august House as I believe that it will support our desperate citizens out there.  Thank you.

Motion put and adopted.  

HON. HLATYWAYO:  On a point of order Madam Speaker – [HON.MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can we have order in the House?  What is your point of order?

HON. HLATYWAYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I think the noes have it – [HON.MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. T. ZHOU):  Hon. Member, you are out of order.  Acting Government Chief Whip! – [HON. HLATYAWAYO: Out of order how?] - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can we have order in the House?  Hon. Members who are standing, may you please sit down? – [HON. MAMOMBE:  We are rejecting the imposition here!] – [HON. MEMBERS: Divide the House!] -  Can we have order in the House?

In terms of Standing Order 133 (1), if the opinion of the Chair as to the decision of a question is challenged, he or she may direct a division and must take place – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! That is what you requested and I have already made a ruling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – You are out of Order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! Can we have order in the House?  May you all take your seats, everyone who is standing may you please take your seats? – Order, order! – Acting Government Chief Whip can you approach the Chair? - [HON. MAMOMBE: How did you reach the opinion that the Ayes have it?  Please explain to us!] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, Order! May we have order in the House! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! Can we have order in the House?  I am going to read Standing Order 133 (2) which says, If, however, the Chair is of the opinion that a division is unnecessarily claimed or is an abuse of the rules or a misuse of the forms of the House, he or she must decline to direct that a division must take place and must immediately declare the resolution of the House or the Committee, as the case may be.

Acting Government Chief Whip, may you proceed. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members, please take note that I have read and made a ruling – [HON. MAMOMBE:  We have the right to reject Madam Speaker Ma’am!] -  May we have order! – [HON. MAMOMBWE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am!] – I have made a ruling – [HON. MAMOMBE:  We have the right to be heard Madam Speaker Ma’am!] – [HON. KARENYI: Point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am!] – Acting Government Chief Whip, may you please take your seat?  Everyone in the House please, may we have order?

As the Chair, I have made the final ruling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Please do not push me to chase anyone from the House. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Mamombe, order!  Can we have order in the House!  Hon. Mamombe, may you please leave the House? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Mamombe, please leave the House! – [HON. MAMOMBE: Madam Speaker this has to be put on record.  This is a House of rules!] – Hon. Mamombe please can you leave the House. We want to proceed with Parliament business, please leave the House. – [HON. MAMOMBE: For what reason.] – Hon. Mamombe, please leave the House – [HON. MAMOMBE: I cannot leave, which rule are you using.] – Hon. Mamombe, please leave the House – [HON. MAMOMBE: Can I be heard before I leave?] – Hon. Mamombe, please leave the House – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members, please do not abuse the mics.

HON. MAMOMBE was duly escorted out of the House.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. KAMBUZUMA: I move that the Orders of the Day Numbers 2 to 5 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 6 has been disposed of.

HON. KARIKOGA:   I second.

Motion put and agreed to

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Madam Speaker, today being a Thursday is Government business and if you look at the Orders as they stand on the Order Paper, the Minister of Finance was supposed to move Order Number 2, 3, 4 and we came to this august House prepared to debate this issue. The Hon. Minister decided to leave this House whilst the Members were ready to debate the orders on the Order Paper.  That is a concept of parliamentary procedures.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mushoriwa, we hear you but as you are aware, the Hon. Minister had to go to the Senate Chamber on the same motion that he moved in this House.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION ON THE ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO RUSSIA.

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation on the election observation mission to Russia.

Question again proposed.

HON. KARIKOGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I wish to show my appreciation to the Russian Federation for inviting our country to observe their elections. I also want to congratulate President Putin for winning the 2024 elections. The invitation is the first of its kind and we can only attribute it to the Second Republic’s sound foreign policy.  I also take a cue that countries that invite us to observe their elections must also be invited to observe our elections.  These are the countries which are sincere to our aspirations unlike other countries which feel are democracy masters. I also want to - [ HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAUNGANIDZE): Order Hon. Mushoriwa. Can we have order in the House and allow Hon. Karikoga to be heard in silence?

          HON. KARIKOGA: The countries that we invite, if they bring good people to come and observe our elections, we will also do likewise. If they send funny characters like the Nevers of this country, we will also send Nevers of our country. The Russian Federation is also a true friend to Zimbabwe, having supported our fight for democracy, not only in rhetoric, but by resourcing our struggle. In September, 2022, our own Hon. J. Mudenda was honoured to address the plenary session of the State Duma of the Federation Assembly of Russia.

          In his speech, he said and I quote, ‘His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa and from the entire citizenry of Zimbabwe, let us not forget Russia and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial political and economic bilateral relations which predate Zimbabwe’s independence. That independence would never have been attained had Russia not proffered arms and military hardware as well as demonstrating practically, the unfitting moral and political support for our freedom fighters.

          Russia believed in Zimbabwe’s quest for self-determination, freedom and independence. We are here to cement that bedrock of our tested bilateral relations now being propagated by our current Parliamentary diplomacy as guided by the need for mutual benchmarking visits such as our Hon. Speaker did.’ This can only be done by friends to friends. We are grateful we have Russia as a friend to Zimbabwe.  Also, of note in Russia for one to be a candidate, one must have been a resident in that country for a minimum of 25 years and not have dual citizenship or permanent residence of any other country. 

In conclusion, I commend the Russian people for having peaceful elections.  I also commend our Portfolio Committee Chair for visiting our embassy in Moscow. We really appreciate our delegation and the work that they did representing Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity.  First and foremost, the delegation that went to Russia cannot, in the true spirit of this august House, be considered to be a legit delegation that represent the place. - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

For the first time, we had a Delegation from one political party. 

          HON. SHAMU: Madam Speaker Ma’am. With due respect, the Hon. Member is belabouring his point. It was clearly given a ruling by the Speaker of Parliament.  Therefore, I think this is misplaced.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Well noted.  Hon. Mushoriwa, can you please stick to your debate? Hon. Mushoriwa can you please sit? - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections]- Order, when I make a ruling, please do not counter my ruling.  You may proceed Hon. Mushoriwa.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for upholding the rules of the august House.  The report that was tabled in this august House left certain details which we believed were fundamental.  An election is not an event.  It is a process and what we expected this report to have touched on, we are aware and it is actually on record that we do have candidates who wanted to contest in the Russian elections who were barred from contesting the Presidential elections.  What we expected this report to have said - because when we send delegations out of the country, it is to learn the best practices and also come up with lessons both positive and negative so that we improve the way we do business and in this case the way we run elections in Zimbabwe.  Whenever a delegation then skips to include such key issues it becomes problematic.  I say this because remember we went to an election last year and one of the presidential candidates Saviour Kasukuwere was actually barred by ZEC.  We wanted to understand whether the barring of presidential candidates in Russia – the mechanism and the basis upon such barring of candidates was actually arrived.  I believe that everyone of us here is a product of democracy.  When we send our delegations out of the country, the idea is not to go and have a holiday in any country but to make sure that whatever we do, we bring it back and then improve our systems. This is the reason that I believe we needed to make sure that this report should have been a balanced report which speaks to the positives and the negatives of the manner in which elections were done in Russia.

          I think in future and I say this for the sake of Zimbabwe; it does not matter when we speak of Zimbabwe, we speak of members both CCC and ZANU PF.  When we talk of Zimbabwe, we talk of people that do not even belong to any political party.  Those people need to be represented and any delegation that goes out should always understand that when you go out there, you are not wearing your party but carrying the ethos of Zimbabwe as a nation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This is the reason that I believe that in future, whenever we send our teams to observe, can we not only get a one-sided report but one that says that our delegation did a thorough job and will not destroy.  Truthness and honesty always help us to build as we move forward.  I thank you.

          HON. C. MOYO: I thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to air out my views on the report which was moved by Hon. Chair Shamu of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

          I have got very few issues – if we look at the report on 2.1.2; people living with disabilities is an important constituency and they are part of our population.  If we say in Zimbabwe we have got 17 million people and in Russia they were allowed to do what is called voting at home,  I think that this is very important and surely given the circumstances that the disabled people will not be able to move or go to polling stations; surely we should have a database of those people who are unable to move to go to polling stations so that they can do online voting. This is a fair practice and I think the disability constituency will be very happy that their MPs are also representing them. We must make sure that maybe we mobilise funds and make the necessary reforms so that in the future elections, they can practice voting at home.  That is my first point.

          The second one – I did marketing and I am happy that the Hon. Chair visited our embassy in Russia.  There are what we call seven Ps in marketing. The first P is product, the second one is price, there is place, promotion, physical evidence, people as well as processes. What is very critical in marketing is the product itself.  I am looking at Zimbabwe as a product in Russia.  

          How are people in Russia viewing Zimbabwe if they look at our Ambassador who does not have a vehicle to use if he is going to meet potential investors with an old fleet.  It is so embarrassing and that tarnishes Zimbabwe – the product from the seven Ps as I have alluded to.  It is very important that our Ambassador is equipped.  I think the recommendations were very clear from our Hon. Chair to say let us make sure that we mobilise resources and equip the office of the Ambassador with even a new single vehicle so that it does not tarnish the image of our country in Russia.

          The understaffing on key critical positions – if there are potential investors visiting our embassy and hear that we are short staffed, there is no trade attachee; how do we promote brand Zimbabwe?  Surely something must be done so that that key office vacancy is filled.  There was also no tourism attachee; surely a fundamental…

          *HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order.  We are debating on the issue of election observations. This debate is not about the ambassador, he must talk about election observation.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAUNGANIDZE): Hon. Moyo, please debate about elections that were conducted in Russia.

          HON. C. MOYO:  Hon. Speaker Ma’am, it is very unfortunate that Hon. Matangira did not read the report – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – It is actually very bad to come into this House and expose oneself that you do not read parliamentary reports.  I thought Madam Speaker you would give a ruling accordingly that Hon. Matangira is out of order and he can leave the House.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Matangira cannot leave the House but your point is noted.  You may proceed.

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I was talking about critical key positions as we market brand and product Zimbabwe in Russia so that we can lure even diasporans.  These would be happy to see their Ambassador in high moral driving a good vehicle.  With the minerals that we have in Zimbabwe, surely it is easy to buy a single vehicle for our Ambassador and to sell product Zimbabwe in Russia.

          It would also help to lure potential investors in Russia when they are having their board room meetings and see the Ambassador with his entire staff because there was an issue from the report that they are understaffed.  There are two critical positions which were mentioned – there is no trade attaché.  From the Committee, there is the international trade component and we need to have that trade attaché so that he or she will be more equipped in terms of trade issues.  There was also an issue of tourism attaché. Surely, we cannot boost to have a robust tourism sector when we do not have a tourism attaché in Russia.  It is an important and key position and this does not apply only in Russia.  We are looking and all our embassies – surely key fundamental positions must be filled so that they are able to market the product and brand Zimbabwe.

          If you go to our NDS1, Madam Speaker, paragraph 690 talks much about the image and if your image is not in that good quality surely, you cannot engage and reengage. So we are saying let us make sure we spruce up the image, the product Zimbabwe so that we can then lure investors.  We can then even lure diasporans.  It is very important that we address these issues using the recommendations which were very clear from our Hon. Chair so that we can then engage and reengage and surely record some fruits from our embassies.  I so submit Madam Speaker.  Thank you.

          *HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Firstly, I would like to thank the delegates, especially Hon. Shamu for the job well done on observing the elections in Russia.  Secondly, I would like to thank Hon. Moyo the previous speaker.  I would like to also thank Hon. Tshabangu – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I would like to encourage the Hon. Member to stick to the contents of the report.  Hon. Senator Tshabangu is nowhere found in the report.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you, but the Hon. Member has not started to speak to the report.  Let us give him a chance.

*HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Indeed, the gratitude that I am putting forward may not be clear to many people.  What I would like to say is the opposition was in red in Russia, but now it is in amber.  So that is where the context of Hon. Senator Tshabangu is. The point that I want to make when I refer to Hon. Moyo is that from what the Hon. Member said, it shows that the Honourable Members in Zimbabwe can move from red to amber.  The issue we are discussing Hon. Speaker is very big because we realise that in Russia, how does the opposition relate to the ruling party?  In Russia, the ruling party and the opposition is different concerning the interest of their country.  They do not depend on outsiders like here where they are kept inflated until they burst.  In Russia, they can only be inflated to ensure that the bicycle can carry somebody.  So that is why I wanted to give thanks to Hon. Tshabangu who appeared at the Independence celebrations dressed in national dress together with his family.  So I would like to applaud him for that– [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

*HON. TOBAIWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  We wish that when we are voted for out there in the rural areas, we should show what we came for in here.  If the Hon. Member does not have anything to debate, he must sit down because there is a lot to debate in this report – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

*HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  These are common issues.  There is opposition and ruling.  Those who oppose and those who are opposed.

HON. HADEBE:  On a point of order – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can you please sit down?

HON. HADEBE:  I had not started talking.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I had already ruled.

HON. HADEBE:  It is something different.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can you please sit down Honourable?  Thank you.

*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me in this difficult time.  Hon. Speaker, I would like to debate on the issues raised by the delegation.

HON. HADEBE:  I am rising on a different issue

        THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Honourable, may you please sit down?  Let us respect the House.  Can you please let him finish debating?  I thank you.   

 *HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Indeed, the Russian elections went very well.  I also heard the Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee was told to include in their report that someone was chased away.  When people go to observe elections, they must work according to the rules of that country, otherwise you will go out of order.  So I would like to thank Hon. Shamu for working in line with the Russian rules and Constitution.

The Russian elections gave us a lot of knowledge and a good opinion of Russia.  Russia is a very good friend of ours because Russia helped when there was colonialism.  Right now, there is a lot that is happening because Russia is fighting against the invasion of the West through Ukraine, which means by winning with an 85% margin, even the opposition voted for President Putin.  This shows that even the Russians themselves value their country and they are patriotic.  There are a lot of things that we need to learn, but most of the things are caused by sanctions. 

So what is referred to in the report, we can learn a lot including artificial intelligence (AI) and ICT in conducting elections.  We can work on that.  I really support the former speaker who referred to trade attachés because here we have minerals, so we need people                 to market those minerals. So, as the tourism sector, there is construction of stadia in Victoria Falls. Others may oppose but it is very important. We need to relate well with other countries especially the BRICS, whilst we relate with the United States of America and Britain using the analogy of trousers and belt. When you are going to wash the trousers, we remove the belt.  So, what is happening in Russia and China shows that there is a new order coming.

We have moved from colonialism and now we are in the era of trade and relating well. I thank Hon. Shamu for representing us well but I know that he is also one of the war veterans who were always insulted during the liberation struggle as terrorists but after Independence, they were referred to as comrades.  Indeed, Hon. Shamu has always been scolded before Independence but your hard work has brought us this far.  I thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am.

*HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  You will realise that those who are given foreign powers to observe elections in countries like Russia are people who have been to Russia before.  I am referring to the former speaker, where one member said, we only realise that the delegation was one sided just like a crab that moves sideways.   It means where there are pigsties, you cannot ask Apostolic sect members to wash the pigs in the pigsties because they do not associate with pigs. 

If you notice how this country has suffered since 1999, 2000 to date, when there was paint brush, where children are asked to eat but the father is not supposed to eat.  People celebrate that there is removal of sanctions when the father or leader is still sanctioned, it is not proper.

*HON. GWANGWABA: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to refer to Hon. Matangira’s words.  This issue about why some people were left out, the Hon. Speaker said that those committees must consist of all parties. So, if he is encouraging that some Hon. Members must be left out because they are one sided, it is not a good thing.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you.  Hon. Matangira, please proceed.

*HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I did not say people were supposed to move like crabs but that those who are not interested in pork will not go where pigs are.  The Apostolic sect members will not go.  The elections that were held in Russia, and were observed by a Zimbabwean delegation that was led by Hon. Shamu - they knew very well what was wanted because during the liberation struggle, we were called communists.  That is why the western countries were fighting against communism.

I also went through the report.  So, I may say that Russia, according to the elections that they conducted, is a country that has a very good democracy.  They conducted their elections very well. There were a lot of presidential candidates that competed and only one succeeded, that is, President Putin.  He took over from those who supported Africa to achieve democracy.  To date, the wars that are taking place in Russia, fighting for people’s democracies continue in Africa.  I thank Hon. Shamu for leading this delegation.  Indeed, Russia continuously supports fights for democracy in Africa. 

We will continue supporting Russia as well as China and Cuba as African countries because these are the countries that supported us to fight and eliminate colonialism.   Indeed, we still see colonialism in economics where wealth was centered in the hands of very few but Russia is saying it can assist us, and China is saying it can assist us as well.    

The Russian elections were indeed advanced in terms of technology, this is why Hon. Shamu and the delegation went so that we learn and emulate what they observed there.  85% victory, just like what happened in this country in comparison to Russia, if we look at the percentages in this House, we have more than two thirds majority just like Russia.  So, thank you Hon. Shamu and your delegation. 

Indeed, some of the teeth may fall off, they cannot remain in the mouth, so I believe, the ambassador will get a vehicle in future.  I hear the issue of attachés, that is a very good point but let us support this Government. This is the only country that we have, if there is Opposition to the right hand, the country just moves forward because of the two thirds majority; even if they are not there, we proceed.  I thank you.

*HON. NYABANI:   I thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity.   I would also like to thank the Zimbabwean delegation to Russia for going there to observe how the Russian conduct their elections. I would like to applaud Hon. Shamu and the delegation and I would also like to congratulate the Russian President for winning those free, fair and credible elections. 

The delegation that was led by Hon. Shamu was very good because they could not have invited someone who had been chased from Parliament to join the delegation to Russia.  The person could only form part of the delegation after serving the punishment meted by the Hon. Speaker… 

HON. HADEBE:   On a point of Order Madam Speaker Ma’am, there are some Hon. Members who are not taking this Parliament seriously. Hon. Members who come in Parliament drunk should never be allowed to speak – [AN HON. MEMBER: Who is drunk? Withdraw. Did you buy beer for him] – Yes, Matangira, Nyabani and Mapiki are drunk.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please sit-down Hon. Member. I think your point of order is misplaced.

*HON. MAJAYA: Hon. Nyabani is misleading the House because when the delegation went to Russia, there were no Members of Parliament from CCC Party who were chased or suspended.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you should treat others with respect when they are debating.

*HON. NYABANI: According to the Bible, forgive those who do not know because they do not know and this time, we would like to forgive them because they do not know.

Russia is a developed country and if you look at the history of that country, it used to colonise some European countries. So, that is not a country you can underestimate and say it cannot conduct elections properly. I was glad when Hon. Mushoriwa spoke saying all the people in this august House were elected democratically. If you think I am lying, refer to the Hansard. So, what it means is even the opposition will just argue for the sake of arguing but when they start reaping the benefits, they concur that it is good. Where there is competition, there is a victor expected.

So, according to what Hon. Shamu said, it means Russia conducted elections according to their Constitution and not according to Zimbabwe. If we are going to observe elections, you are not going to be a referee. You are just going to observe. How they cook, whether they put water first or whichever method they use to cook has nothing to do with you. So, do not try to impose your method of cooking on everyone else. Is that right?

I also would like to refer to the argument about the unavailability of vehicles for the Ambassador. It is nothing new, you called for sanctions and that meant that our country will not progress yet you expect our country to develop. If you want our country to progress, as you debate, stand up and call for the removal of sanctions. …

HON. TOBAIWA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. Hon. Nyabani, can you sit down? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nyabani.

*HON. TOBAIWA: If we are in this House, let us debate what is in the report.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Tobaiwa, please withdraw. You cannot give an order to another Hon. Member.

HON. TOBAIWA: Which order?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You told Hon. Nyabani to sit down and you are not the Chair.

*HON. TOBAIWA: Okay, Madam Speaker, I respect your Chair and I withdraw. When we are in this august House, let us just stick to the reports. We are Hon. Members and telling each other that you brought sanctions is not fair because I do not think there is anyone who brought sanctions here and who is called ‘you’. He must withdraw his statement.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tobaiwa, but you cannot tell me what to do.

HON. TOBAIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. With due respect, I withdraw.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, please stick to the debate.

*HON. NYABANI: I kindly request you to understand me. When we debate, if there is something else that you might want to say that may not be in line with my opinion, speak after me because I speak according to the expectations of the people who elected me. You are free to come and proffer your own opinion. These are the people who called for sanctions. …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, please stick to the facts.

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

HON. HADEBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st May, 2024.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. HADEBE, the House adjourned at a Quarter past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 21st May, 2024. 

 

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