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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 NOVEMBER 2023 VOL 50 NO 15
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 16th November, 2023.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
An Hon. Member having stood up on a matter of national importance when the Hon. Speaker had called for Notices of Motion.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do not confuse issues. I am calling for Notices of Motion. Please sit down.
The Hon. Member giving a notice of motion having switched off the mic before she had finished presenting her notice of motion.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Why did you switch off your mic before completing your presentation? Let us hope the Hansard Officer has captured all that you said outside the switched off mic. Thank you very much for the most appropriate motion as we celebrate the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence on women in particular.
I notice on my right and on my left, there are few Members who are not here who should be here. I suspect that Members have been issued with fuel coupons to travel. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Most Hon. Members from the CCC have been recalled.] – I know that, you do not have to remind me my friend. Now, listen very carefully, from now onwards, I require officers from the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms to be at the appropriate entrances and record those Members who come after the prayer and they will be entitled to half the coupons that they are due. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- You have to respect this Chamber. It is yours. It is the people’s Chamber. – [HON. MAHLANGU: We do not have transport, we use public transport.]- Transport is provided by Parliament. You never complained to me that you did not have adequate transport. Now that I am cracking the whip, you cry foul about transport. What I have announced shall stand. Sergeant-at-Arms, you got my announcement. From now onwards, this will apply. You all have to clap hands. You are my children, do not ask one side of the House to clap hands, all of you must clap hands.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to inform the House that the National Assembly will adjourn today until the 28th of November 2023. Accordingly, all Committee Business will stand suspended until the 27th of November 2023.
*HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. My point of interest regards accidents that are happening on our roads, particularly an accident that happened along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road that killed 22 citizens and another one that happened a few days ago on Tuesday which also killed nine people along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road.
Mr. Speaker Sir, road accidents are prevalent and since we are approaching the festive season, I propose that we get a Ministerial Statement regarding what the Government plans to do in order to curb road carnage during the festive season.
I also want to say that when an accident occurs, respect for the dead people should be observed by putting their remains in a body bag. Therefore, I am requesting for the Minister to bring in a Ministerial Statement explaining why the deceased’s remains are not being put in a body bag. I thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: May I ask the Chief Whip to take up that issue with the responsible Minister so that when we meet on the 28th of November, 2023, that Ministerial Statement will be availed to the House.
Meanwhile, I have been informed that there will be traffic police patrols on our highways in the next two to three weeks as we move towards the Christmas season.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. I need to speak to the provisions which are in our Constitution on Section 119 (2), the entitlement that we are given as our responsibility as Members of Parliament. I speak to the provision of an institution which was created by the Constitution on Section 264 and 265 of our Constitution with regard to the provincial councils.
Hon. Speaker Sir, we have gone through elections and Provincial council members were elected across the ten provinces. Up to this day, they have not been sworn in, neither do we have an enabling act that facilitates the working part of the Provincial Council. I now therefore, call for the attention of the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi, in coordination with the Hon. Minister of Local Government, to come up with a solution so that these fellow members of provincial councils across the country are sworn in and are given their responsibilities so that they start to work.
Henceforth, it is important that the Hon. Minister of Justice comes up with an enabling Act that facilitates this process. So, with your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, I humbly request that the Hon. Minister brings a Ministerial Statement to clarify on the way forward in this regard as well as to fast track that component which is going to facilitate the provincial council's work. I thank you
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a very critical and an important observation which I totally agree with, but be reminded that as far as this House is concerned, you are encouraged to come up with a Constitutional Amendment Number two which provided for the enactment of that Act, Provincial Councils Act. As you rightly say, it is incumbent that the Minister of Local Government, working together with the Minister of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs tables that Bill so that this House can pass the Bill into an Act of Parliament and the Provincial Act Council can then proceed to be sworn in and carry out their provincial responsibilities accordingly.
So, the observation is accepted, again I ask the Government Chief Whip to proceed with it and coordinate that request from Hon. Mutseyami.
HON. DR. MUTODI: My point of privilege emanates from a tweet that was sent by one of our Hon. Members in this august House by the name Hon. Fadzayi Mahere. In the tweet, she says “defying a court order to force fraudulent recall is a whole new level of thuggery and contempt. The brazen disregard for the rule of law confirms what we have always said, ZANU PF is anti-people, anti-democracy and anti-progress. We need new leaders”.
This kind of tweet undermines that role of this Parliament. This platform…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can I hear the Hon. Member in silence.
HON. DR. MUTODI: This platform is a democratic platform in which every Hon. Member who has an issue against your Chair or any of the developments that happen in this Parliament, can air their views and they can be debated fairly, but if we have an Hon. Member who goes out to tweet on the affairs of Parliament and on a development that has been done legally and procedurally, I think this should not be allowed to happen. I pray that Hon. Mahere be given a suitable punishment for such behaviour. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
Hon. Hwende and Hon. Hamauswa stood up.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. While the freedom of expression is respected and must be respected, it is important also that we as Members of Parliament, must also respect the provisions of Section 86 of the Constitution that these rights are not absolute. The only absolute rights are the rights to life, for example, such rights are absolute. The freedom of expression is not absolute and therefore, it must be exercised with greatest caution in respect of other people’s rights – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - More than that, if the Hon. Member has got issues, they can be ventilated through question time, orally. They can be ventilated through a written question. They can be ventilated through a motion. Our Standing Orders do allow that.
We do not encourage such behaviour which goes against the provisions of our Standing Orders. Our Standing Orders have got the force of the law and I do not want to be persuaded to act accordingly. I shall engage Hon. Mahere accordingly and advise accordingly. Hon. Hwende, when I am speaking, you should be silent. There is no contestation between the Chair and yourself. You must respect that.
Although Hon. Mutodi is asking for some implied drastic action, I will start with the soft skill and if that soft skill is not appreciated, then the next step will be taken accordingly. I thank you.
HON. HWENDE: On a point of clarity. Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. Maybe I just wanted to be helped with the exact Standing Order that has been violated so that we can be assisted.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, thank you very much. It is not for me to educate you, but it is for you to educate yourself by referring to the Standing Orders.
HON. HWENDE: There is no such Standing Order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you sit down. Go and read the Standing Orders. Can you sit down! Can you read Standing Orders 114 to 120?
HON. HWENDE: Hapana.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you get out of the House! Get out of the House! You asked for information and I am giving you the information. Get out of the House. I give you the Standing Orders 114 to 120 and you are still ignorant.
HON. HWENDE: There is nothing like that.
Hon. Hwende was escorted out of the House.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Sit down. I have made a ruling and I do not want to debate my ruling.
HON. HAMAUSWA: I do not want to debate your ruling Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not want you to debate my ruling, can you listen. A point of order is raised sequentially on something that has been stated.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Maybe a point of clarity.
THE HON. SPEAKER: When you seek point of clarity, you are impinging on my order. Thank you. Can you sit down!
Hon. Members, can I remind you one thing. This is not a House of a circus. Thank you.
Hon. Togarepi having approached the Chair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Government Chief Whip, there are no contributors on Notice of Motion Number 1. The list you gave me here is on the Prosecuting Authority.
HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Speaker, let me stand over some of the Order Numbers.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright, you can go ahead.
HON. TOGAREPI: Okay.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, you do not say okay to the Chair.
HON. TOGAREPI: I am sorry Hon. Speaker.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. C. HLATYAWAYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY
FOR THE YEAR 2022
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Prosecuting Authority for the year 2022.
Question again proposed.
HON. OZIAS BVUTE: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you for affording me the opportunity of saying a few words. The report of the NPA states that they were successful in clearing 68% of all the cases brought to them. In other words, they were taken to the courts and were disposed. That was very encouraging and it shows a commitment to serving. Of particular concern in the report was that economic crimes were not disposed of at the same rate. The report states that their clearance rate was just under 34%, meaning that our courts have difficulties in disposing of matters that relate to the economy. We therefore encourage that something be done such that they accelerate matters that relate to our well-being.
Two important matters stood out in the report which I think should be dealt with or at least are problematic. The first is that various offices of the NPA do not have internet connectivity. Internet connectivity is now considered a basic human right and it is literally impossible to do business without them. I would therefore encourage the Ministry of Finance or the relevant authorities to try and assist in ensuring that they do their work in a manner that allows for them to be efficient.
The second was that they singled out that they did not have electronic gadgets in which to type and print the various reports that they submit. The head of the NPA may not be aware that POTRAZ, under the Universal Services Fund, have a facility that allows for the provision of gadgets for citizens or institutions that are struggling to buy them. I would therefore encourage that they contact the Hon. Minister of ICT to try and ensure that this is dealt with.
The sad and last point was that they had 178 vacancies, meaning that the office is understaffed and therefore, cannot operate at optimum. We therefore ask and encourage that in this current financial year, measures be made to ensure that they recruit when recruitment is needed such that they dispose of the matters that they seek to work on. Thank you for affording me this opportunity Mr. Speaker Sir.
The Hon. Speaker asked Hon. J. Sithole to leave the House for improper dressing
THE HON. SPEAKER: May I ask Hon. Marupi to debate.
HON. MARUPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, good afternoon. I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to make my submissions on the NPA Report that we received. Let me actually preface my submission by saying to this august House, that I believe when such reports are given to us, it is our prerogative that we go through them with the approach of making positive contribution towards the operations of these organisations since we contribute in lobbying for the budgets.
For starters, I am very much concerned as alluded to by my colleague here, on the staff turn-over that seems to be very common in the organisation. It is critical that we all be concerned with seeing into it that the organisation is supported so that they get enough resources, finances to recruit enough workforce that is going to man the offices in a manner that is going to produce results and that is going to see to it that there is no backlog. I believe that by partnering with organisations such as Transparency International and Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, it is clear indication that the organisation itself is very critical in our lives, be it financially, socially and spiritually since they contribute and make our day to day life in this country be lived in a way that makes us to be secure and free.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as indicated, with the resources accorded to the department, I believe it is not surprising that the movement of the departments to be continuously short staffed is because of the remuneration. According to the report, it says the workshop that was held sometime was a success and the success is measured by the contributions made by the people who attended the workshop, which sometimes cannot be a good measure to say the workshop was a success. I believe it is important and critical to make a follow up to these officers’ workplaces once trained to see if they are practicing what was imparted to them. This would also be to see if they are adhering to the SOPs and of course, the international standards as seen with the invitations that have taken place seeing them going as far as the horn of Africa, and also inviting the interest of the international organisations to try and partner with them in their operations.
I am also concerned with the report capturing only two acts of misconduct for such an organisation or for such a department that is national. I believe it is probably because of the resources and manpower that has seen them dealing with two cases of misconduct. One can also argue that it is because of the limited offices that are in operation across the country. I therefore suggest that once resources are availed, we also develop some mechanisms that are going to see to it that monitoring is done and training is done again to see to it that we develop modern ways of monitoring and supervising these offices.
While this is so, we are in a world of embracing technology in our operations and I believe that it is high time that when resources are allocated to these offices, they also come up with an inventory because we are seeing that when funds are allocated, we are told to purchase modern day gadgets. We are seeing reports talking of purchasing properties, but we do not have an account and we do not have a record of what was purchased and where these things are so that when we are doing an audit and when we are to lobby for resources to be given to these departments, we get to know what was actually purchased and what is needed at a particular time. These are my submissions. Thank you.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mwausaviyeni Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Ndausakabutu.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Twalumba. On the NPA report, as mandated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 262 which requires that the report should be made available, the Authority had an overall case management, a success of 68.37% from the 7 specialised units. Of note to that, there is the unit on economic crimes which only had 38% on the performance. This could be due to various factors though not very much mentioned. I also look at their challenges where they equally spelt that the tools of trade, particularly on the gadgets, they really need that for them to do their job.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you refresh my memory Hon. Member – did you quote Section 262?
HON. MUTOKONYI: Yes, Section 262 of the Constitution Mr. Speaker on the reporting of NPA on the annual reporting.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, that quotation is not correct. That one refers to the Prosecutor General.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Pardon me Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We are dealing with the NPA which is Section 252 of the Constitution.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On the NPA report as well, we have also noted that on their commentary on the operations side where there is a challenge on the drugs side, they only achieved 52.79% and the reason being that the tests that were taken to the laboratories could take longer than wanted, this could have caused that performance rate. I have also observed that the authority in terms of the gender staff complement, has 56.5% of the staff compliment who are women and we commend that given that women are a bigger population in the country.
On the challenges, the report also highlighted that from the budget that they were allocated, they got 49% of their bid and we could actually call upon Treasury to help support this special institution for them to perform and ensure that the cases are prosecuted and this could be the other issue where we see the issue of staff turnovers. The report highlighted that some of the prosecutors could not be inducted and as such, this could lead to the overall case performance. Otherwise, we could have a much higher performance percentage in terms of activities done.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on the staff welfare, the report mentioned that much has to be done, particularly on the staff welfare as well as those highlighted tools of trade that could ensure that the authority can do its mandatory work. Otherwise we commend the work which is being done by the NPA. I submit.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Please do not discard your quotation of Section 262, but the whole issue about the work of prosecutor starts from Section 258 to Section 263. So, do not disabuse Section 262, it is still within that range of the sections of the Constitution.
HON. MALINGANISO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Good afternoon. Reading the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s report, I was reminded of a Jewish prophet by the name Amos. If you read the book of Amos 2 from verses 4 to7, he had the audacity because he was the first prophet to pronounce the worst punishment on a chosen nation, Israel. He had said, “for three transgressions of Moab, and for four of Juda, for three transgressions and for four of Israel, I will not revoke the punishment”. Commentators Wood Kristen, a prophet of doom; they only knew and they were used to prophets who pronounce the beatitudes to Israel on behalf of Yaweh since they played an ambassadorial role.
Mr. Speaker, the NPA ought to have Amoses of Zimbabwe, Amoses of today, people who are able to call a spade a spade so that they can prosecute issues accordingly. The same prophet Amos, on Amos 5 verse 22 would say, “even if you bring me burnt offerings, I will not accept them”. Why is Amos pertinent? If you check on the report, there is low success rate in the prosecution of commercial crimes. Is it possible that our prosecutors are not the Amoses of today? They can accept burnt offerings thereby letting commercial crimes go unchecked.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of high turn-over speaks to the lack of funding, lack of capacitation, and lack of incentives in the NPA. I would implore the Minster of Finance to fund the NPA well, if we are to have a department that makes certain that our economy does not fall – [ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -Those of us who enjoy reading social sciences may have trembled upon a writing by Kirst Ashman and Hull in 2009. He said,” trauma and disability are scourges injurious, but these can be sources of opportunity and strength”. I would have thought that the NPA Report must have furnished us with measures they are taking to make certain service delivery go ahead despite our challenges. Indeed, we have challenges of sanctions, debarring the Minister of Finance to allocate as per request, but willing. There are things that can be done by the NPA to capacitate its employees.
I am envisioning or picturing a situation where a prosecutor dealing with a serious issue, leaves court and is supposed to be ferried by public transport. What happens in such a case where the same prosecutor is offered, not only transport, but a car by those who he or she is prosecuting? Mine is adding a voice to those that have already debated. My humble plea is for the Finance Minister, certainly to make sure that this crucial department is well funded and to make sure criminals do not go scot-free. These are my submissions. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add a few words with respect to the report by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The NPA should be an authority that is well funded for the sake of the criminal justice system to work effectively. You will note that there had been a huge debate in the public arena, in respect to the work or the relationship that exist between ZACC and NPA, where ZACC would tell you that we have investigated and what is now left is for the NPA to do the prosecution.
If you check on the statistics, you find that 38% on economic matters fell below, compared to all other crimes. They could only go up to 38%. What that tells us is that we need, as this House, to ensure that there is deliberate effort to make sure that the NPA is well equipped. Hon. Members in this august House who have had the chance to visit the various courts, even here in Harare, you go to Rotten Row Court or Mbare Court, when you go and see the offices that your prosecutors are using, in some of them, the chairs and the floor are not fit to be used by people that we think are supposed to be carrying the burden of making sure that this country becomes a safer place for everyone.
The police do their work, but you also need the prosecutors to also do their work. How can they do their work if they are not well remunerated, if they do not have the vehicles to use? If you check on the report, you will note that the authority failed to even do training for the newly recruited prosecutors in the provinces of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. They only did training for Manicaland. What does that mean? It means we are sending our soldiers to fight this scourge of criminal issues without the necessary refreshments and training to make sure that we equip them.
The other issue which is clear from the report is the rate of staff turn-over which is so huge. This says one thing; we are not adequately paying our prosecutors and the support staff at the NPA. We cannot continue to have this authority as a training ground where people just come from colleges, get trained and a few months down the line, they leave. We need to make sure that we do everything possible and my prayer is that our Portfolio Committee on Justice will need to quickly have conversation with the NPA under the new leadership of Justice Matanda-Moyo, so that we come up with a mechanism of making sure that we equip this authority. If we do not equip this authority, what it means is that all the work of the police, ZACC, even of Parliament, our Public Accounts Committee, every entity that does investigations, everything is going to die because we have failed to make sure that our NPA is well equipped. You cannot fight crime in this era when you do not have access to internet; when you do not have ICT gadgets. It cannot be possible. You cannot go to a court where the Public Prosecutors do not have access to the internet, how do you compete, how do you empower your prosecutors to compete with well-oiled lawyers who are defending the suspects?
You need to make sure that your prosecutors are well equipped and it is imperative to Hon. Mutodi’s Committee to ensure that this matter is dealt with urgently. I know we are debating the 2022 report, but I can tell you that even as we are ending 2023, that the situation has actually not improved as there is a need for us as a Parliament and the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to be proactive, engage and make sure that we do the right thing for this authority and this country. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. NYABANI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 28th November, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 2 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2022.
Question again proposed.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Looking at the report which was presented by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the people who were running the Commission; I appreciate that they considered the role played by the Government that women should also be encompassed in such responsibilities as well as the disabled, thus having people who are disabled representing their counterparts is of paramount importance.
Also looking at the crimes which were committed, the statistics show that most of these crimes were committed in urban centers, particularly Harare topping the list. Now looking at that, it shows the governance issues; Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo where you find that council authorities are selling stadiums, roads and other public facilities being allocated as stands – that is corruption.
Looking at banks, the amounts which are allowed to be taken out by law-abiding citizens, you find that some monies being taken out by banks are being channeled into the black market. So, this shows the level of corruption in towns, Harare topping the list.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that in most countries which have sanctions, their economies do not perform well. When you also look at the role of those who fight corruption, sometimes it is difficult for them to do their jobs. For example, Cuba was slapped with sanctions for 50 years, but this country was trying to eradicate corruption and work on its economies. Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for a very long time, it is difficult for Zimbabwe to sell its gold and you find words like gold mafia or blood diamonds. These are issues which are used against us.
Therefore, the report that we got from the Anti-Corruption Commission is a report which is quite disturbing. We do not expect to see such things happening. Looking at Harare, most donor funds are given to political parties and political entities. It is also difficult to audit such money; you hear that people were given USD5 million for political expediency, yet the anti-corruption commission should be capacitated to audit such monies. These are challenges that we think our Commission should be capacitated to deal with. There are laws regarding the bringing in of money from other countries and the responsible financial intelligence unit and anti-corruption commission should be capacitated by Government to make a follow up on these matters.
Mr. Speaker Sir, looking at the issue which was mentioned in the report regarding the dissemination of information in places like Mbire or Binga and other peripheral areas, it is important for them to know that there is a Commission which is meant to eradicate corruption, that knowledge is not being disseminated to outlying areas. During COVID- 19, different Government departments played an active role in disseminating information. I believe the Commission should also consider that because even the Ministry of Health had village health workers who disseminated information in fighting COVID-19. I believe that in the same vein, all Government departments should play a leading role. You will note that in the telecommunication industry, there is sharing of infrastructure like boosters and in this particular instance, the Anti-Corruption Commission should also work with other law enforcement agencies like the police.
When we go to the village health workers, they must be capacitated with information dissemination. When looking at the Ministry of Youth, the youth officers in all villages are useful in dissemination of information. When we go to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, we have women in villages who are responsible for disseminating information. So, I believe that the biggest challenge is the dissemination of information throughout the country because when we go to Mbire, you will find that people might not have access and corruption takes a long time to be eradicated because the information is not reaching the responsible authorities.
I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to air my thoughts.
HON. MUSHORIWA: The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is our best foot forward in respect to combating and fighting corruption in this country. Naturally Mr. Speaker Sir, it is a Commission and we expect it to perform its tasks very well. You will note from the report that ZACC is not well situated across the entire country. Out of the 10 provinces in this country, ZACC is only in six provinces. There is need to ensure that ZACC operates in all the ten provinces so that we can actually make sure that corruption is investigated.
The report states that there were 681 cases that ZACC did in 2022, of which 134 cases were referred to the NPA with 23 convictions. The number does not augur well, moreso, given the prominence that we normally see when ZACC starts its investigation. You would think that with the number of cases that they are coming up with, there would be quite a number of cases that would be referred to NPA. Consequently, you would think that you also get conviction rates which are high. You then realise that there have been a challenge between the Commission and the NPA in respect to the quality of the investigation work that ZACC is doing. We do not know whether the failure to have high conviction rate is to do with the lack of investigative skills by staff at ZACC or it has to do with the fact that most of our officers under ZACC are curtailed by the fact that they do not have the necessary tools to ensure that they do their job well.
The people who are corrupt are the people who have money. You send someone who does not have anything, who does not even have a car and you want him or her to go and investigate somebody who has looted, be it a public officer, whether it is local authority or state enterprise or any other entity for that matter. The chance and possibility of those officers being lured to see the other side, primarily because the perpetrator has sufficient resources to buy his or her freedom is actually high. This is the reason why ZACC, together with NPA need to be well funded. We need to make sure that these entities are well equipped if we want to make sure that corruption is curbed.
There is also a challenge even with the operations of ZACC. Your Committee on Public Accounts in the previous Parliament had a problem with ZACC in terms of their own accounting systems. The Auditor General has actually been raising pertinent issues and we believe it is important that ZACC should lead by example. If you are the police or priest, your behaviour or conduct should also be exemplary so that when you go out there, people will not start to raise fingers.
I also note that there is actually a collaboration with the Auditor-General, though I want to point out that if you check, they have just had a paragraph. We have had the chance to liaise with the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General always says that when they produce their document and once the Minister had tabled the Auditor-General’s findings into this House, one of the first offices that the Auditor-General sends her reports is actually ZACC. You will note that ZACC has not been performing in a good manner given the fact that the Auditor-General would have given them sufficient information to warrant them to institute investigation.
I am glad Mr. Speaker Sir that your Committee on Public Accounts, one of its key objectives is to make sure that the collaboration between Parliament, ZACC and the Auditor-General is enhanced because we believe there are quite a number of commercial crimes that are being committed in this country which are being swept under the carpet. I think it takes every one of us to ensure that those things are dealt with. If you also notice from the report, it is the abuse of office which is rampant, part of it may be remuneration. The other reason is the culture that we have inculcated amongst our people. We now have a system where we have actually normalised the abnormal, in the sense that many people now believe that where they are, they have to get as much as possible. In fact, there is a Shona adage that says, mbudzi inodya payakasungirirwa. That culture needs to be stopped if we are to develop. I believe that as a country, we have sufficient resources and capacity to make the life of every Zimbabwean better. How do we do that, we need to make sure that all these loopholes, all these financial flows that we are having should actually be nipped in the bud.
If we do not do that Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not think we will be going anywhere. This is the reason why Mr. Speaker Sir, the Justice Committee is seized with very important institutions. I believe that we need to make sure that, that work between the Portfolio Committee on Justice and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is also enhanced. This will make sure that when it comes to the disbursements of funds from the Treasury, monies from the budgets that have been approved and that the quarterly disbursements are actually up to date. We do not want to have a problem year in, year out where the Commission will come and say, look we got x dollars from the budget, but out of the x, we just got 70% of the budget. I think that will not be right. I think it is important and crucial that we need to be proactive. Our Portfolio Committee – when we do the monthly and quarterly reports, should ensure that these agencies are given sufficient resources. If we give them sufficient resources, then we will be in a position to then question them if they fail to perform, but when there are no sufficient resources, it is difficult for this august House Mr. Speaker Sir, to lay blame on them.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I pray that as Parliament, we do whatever it takes even as we approach the budget, to make sure that this Commission and the NPA that we discussed earlier, are well resourced and well-funded so that we take this country further. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. I did not hear some clapping on my right – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Chakanaka, chakanaka mukaka haurungwi, handiti? He is one of the few Members of Parliament who demonstrates to the Chair that they actually have read that report in detail by referencing to specific pages in that report. I think that needs to be applauded – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We must take the cue that when such reports are presented, we read them and analyse them studiously so that we are able to come up with suggestions as to how we can ameliorate the situations. I think the suggestions that have been proffered by Hon. Mushoriwa will be taken on board by the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Although he is not here, the Government Chief Whip will refer him to the Hansard so that those who contributed and proffered some suggestions, he can take them on board and see how best the operations of ZACC can be improved. Well done – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to appreciate the coordination which I am seeing in this august House, different Members of Parliament working together. Indeed, the last speaker raised quite pertinent issues. If workers are given peanuts, you find that monkeys will come to take that job. There is need to pay decent salaries to ZACC and the NPA. The officers are saying that it is quite difficult for them to discharge their duties because they are not capacitated. My plea Mr. Speaker Sir, is that we need to continue united as a nation in this august House, as Zimbabweans. He is following what was said by a former Member of this august House, Hon. Biti, that if we hunt for a mouse, we eat that for the development of the nation. If we tell our erstwhile colonizers, the western countries that they should remove sanctions and Zimbabwe would have fertilizer inputs and other social amenities, our economy is going to prosper. May the God of peace be with us. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, indeed we are one family when we are in this august House. What I saw, Hon. Mushoriwa vatiivo, there is a Shona adage which says mbudzi inodya payakasungirirwa, but he did not clarify what should be done to a person who ties a goat to a tree so that the goat does not browse where it is tied. I also noted that every Member debated saying that ZACC should be given funding, but looking at the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 322 regarding funding of commissions, let me read to you, “Parliament must ensure that sufficient funds for the Commission enable them to exercise their functions effectively”. So where is the burden, the responsibility lies with Parliament? It is up to you as Parliament to vote enough funds for the allocation of such funding to different Commissions. It is your responsibility as Parliament to give the Commissions enough funding. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st November, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 4 to 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PROVISION OF A BILL FOR THE ABOLITION OF DEATH
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on leave to bring in a Private Member’s Bill to abolish the death penalty in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand up to support the motion which was brought into the House regarding the death penalty. We have a lot of people who are in jail and some of them are innocent. After viewing their cases and after so many years, you discover that they are innocent. I will give an example of someone who had a death penalty. After five years, they go for the death row but after a review, you discover that the person is acquitted after they are dead.
A death penalty is one other reason why we took up arms to liberate ourselves from imperialists because the imperialists have a law which says that African leaders who do not give them resources are taken to hang. They did it in Libya when they took Gaddafi, they went to Iraq and did the same with Sadam Hussein; they went to the DRC and this happened with Patrice Lumumba and this happened with Chris Harney in South Africa and many more because of such judgements. God says that no one has the right over the life of another. So, I support the deliberations regarding this law…
HON. BAJILA: Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member is raising critical issues. Unfortunately, the examples that he use are not factual. Chris Harney was never hanged, but he was murdered. The examples that he is using are not correct. While the matters that he is bringing before the House are very good, let him stick to facts in relation to examples that he uses. If he is not aware of any, there is no crime in not putting an example in driving your point.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is correct. Here, we are dealing with a death penalty that has been pronounced through a court process. Gaddafi, the leader of Iraq and please, you are talking of Mbuya Nehanda, she went through the process. Why do you want to belittle yourself unashamedly? Patrice Lumumba was a victim of assassination. To that extent, Hon. Bajila is correct. We must deal with issues that have gone through the court process resulting in a death penalty being pronounced.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would also want to support the motion moved by Hon. Mushoriwa. The issue of death penalty from a Christian point of view, we should not kill others because God said it and also from a scientific point of view or from a statistical point of view, there is no study that has confirmed that if there is death penalty in the country, that can reduce or minimise the murder or the charges against death. This could also tell that coming up with a death penalty does not confirm that the would-be offenders will not do the same offence. As such, it is improper to have a death sentence.
If you look even in the prison, the prison is a correctional place to allow transformation of persons and as such, you cannot then punish a person up to the point of death. So, I call for a custodial lifetime imprisonment for such heinous crimes instead of having death penalties.
Also, I was checking on one research, Canada did abolish that law, some time back and as at 2008, they stated that the statistics of murderers and all these assortments of heinous crimes actually reduced where the country had abolished the death penalty. If you also look at when our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, at the point of death, he said that Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. This could actually tell us that by pronouncing a death sentence, it will not reduce or minimise the crimes that will be committed by the would-be offenders. Even, given our country, Zimbabwe is a religious country. So, it is improper to penalise one by death.
I would also, in some cases, whereby the death penalty is pronounced to another family, the survivors, we need to also feel for them. It could be a father, a son, brother or whoever, they would feel much better if they know that the person is there but with a custodial life imprisonment than to accept that they should die because of whatever the crimes they could have committed. Even our President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa survived the death calling because of age, otherwise if it was not about that, it was going to be something else. We need to also appreciate that we are with him today because he survived that death penalty. As such it is also proper and important to abolish this death sentence regardless of the degree or magnitude of the crime that would have been committed.
Without taking much time, I also see it however, on the other side, we also need to look on issues of national interest where the issues of terrorism and treason are prevalent. It could be to an extent, not good to have the death penalty but also it does send a message to people who would have thought of going through such dangerous and such disastrous kind of crimes, particularly the crime of terrorism. This is still a subject to be discussed. I do submit. Thank you.
HON. GUMEDE: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. We have international human rights obligations that we must respect, protect and promote without discrimination. These rights include the right to life. Since 2005, no executions but the death penalty continues to be imposed. The fact that we have not done any execution for the past five years or so means that we are already migrating towards abolishment, similar to other countries in Africa and beyond. I therefore, believe that we must put finalisation on the contentious matter as my colleagues have rightfully put it that death penalty is irreversible and mistakes can happen. Meaning that there is a real risk of executing even innocent persons, which therefore, becomes something that cannot be undone.
Life without parole as an alternative, can be a better deterrent. I also wish to put to you that the death penalty has an effect, psychologically on family members whose relatives get sentenced to death. This includes but not limited to depression, PTSB, stigma among other mental health related issues. The experience itself of a violent loss is distinct and is like no other experience. Let us rather emulate the global movement with good examples being shown, even by our astral neighbour Zambia, whose legislative leadership has chosen the same course of action, which is to completely abolish this archaic practice. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gumende. The mover of this motion. You wanted to wind up this motion but we still have more Honourable Members who want to debate.
*HON. TSITSI ZHOU: Thank you Madam Speaker. Good afternoon. The issue which we are deliberating on is quite painful. There are serious issues, where perpetrators fear death sentence. You find people who take other people’s lives yet we are people who are very religious and who honour God. The Bible teaches us in Genesis 9 verse 6, where it says the one who spills blood will die in the same manner.
Where we live, we find children and women being killed by husbands and fathers of the family. There are also robbers who break into houses to steal and kill people. This issue is quite painful. We have children who are raped and women as well. If the rapist notices that the victim has identified him, they kill the victim so that they will not be reported.
We also have children who are gold panners, they are attacked and killed. These are heinous crimes and the Constitution is clear that everyone has a right to life. Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have countries that have eradicated crimes like China which has the death sentence. China has eradicated corruption and criminality because they have the death sentence. In the English language, we talk about success stories with regard to that.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me end by saying that I want to agree and concur with those who say the death penalty should be removed, but in crimes like rape, they should be incarcerated. Let me also say that if there is anyone who would have used their hand to kill others, that hand should be cut.
The reason why people fear such crimes is when the Sharia law is applied. So, we need to think deeply about this issue so that those who take away other people’s lives and rape should pay the price. So, the examples that I gave should be taken into consideration so that rape and murder are avoided at all costs. I thank you.
HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Mushoriwa. I want to thank Hon. Mushoriwa for moving the motion and other Hon. Members who supported the motion.
Madam Speaker, basic human rights should be respected no matter how much one has committed a crime. As humanity, some issues might affect the whole clan, even generations to come (ngozi), so we need to honour basic ethos. I am one person who does not support that this law should pass, there is a Chewa adage that says chawana mnzako chapita mawa chili kwaiwe!! So, we need to respect human sanctity.
The other issue is that perpetrators of violence should be given deterrent sentences that even visitors are not allowed. When those perpetrators are starved with hunger and with no visitors, this will be a deterrent also. However, when they have visitors and food, sometimes they will have hope, so these people should be deprived of basic comfort instead of applying the death penalty.
The other issue is that there should be a law that spells out that whoever kills or whoever commits murder, should have up to 100 years of incarceration and life in prison. There are survivors of the death penalty; it is important that as they go, they must educate other people because there are people who are using machetes, but are not being prosecuted. So, instead of the law saying that he who has committed murder should be put on death row, I would suggest that if the person has committed murder, whether it is rape, he must be incarcerated.
Whilst we are about to commemorate the 16 days of activism against gender violence, we have people who are murdering women and children. However, we also have women murdering their spouses, so they must also be mutilated because gender-based violence is found in both genders. Men are being abused and beaten up in their homes. You find that during the previous years, there are men who were killed. So, if a person commits such a crime, then the penalty should be befitting.
Let me end by saying Madam Speaker, I would want to support the other Members who support the abolishment of the death sentence because in our Shona culture, kupara ngozi. So, I support the mover of the motion and I say no to the death penalty. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. S. CHIKOMO): Hon. Members, matters that are being raised at the moment have been deliberated before, so let us try to avoid repetitions. I also understand that there seems to be some consensus in the debate, which means we are all saying the same thing – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Please respect the Chair Hon. Member.
HON. MANGONDO: I stand to support the motion regarding the abolition of death penalty in Zimbabwe. As you know, life is a fundamental human right. No human being has a right to take away the life of another person irrespective of the fact that, that person would have caused the death of another person. Section 48 of our Constitution is very clear on that matter that life is a fundamental human right.
The world-over, the trend is for countries to abolish the death penalty and Zimbabwe will be certainly joining other progressive nations of the world in abolishing the death penalty. Despite the historical roots of death penalty in Zimbabwe, as you no doubt have the knowledge that as Zimbabweans, we never had in our system, the killing of a human beings or the sentencing of a person who would have caused the death of another. Our culture emphasised restoration. If a person kills another, the family of the person who would have killed another would be made to pay some reparation damages. That is the way of ubuntu or hunhu. In that regard, I would certainly advocate that in addition to life imprisonment, that maybe we bring in an element of restoration. I am not suggesting at this point in time that paying reparation damages is restoring the life of another but in some cases, you may have caused the family of the deceased person to have no bread winner. So, any reparations would certainly be in a position to get the family to perhaps have closure.
Zimbabwe as a progressive nation, as I said before, joined the list of nations that have chosen to abolish capital punishment. I would like to proffer reasons why Zimbabwe should abolish capital punishment. First and foremost, as other Hon. Members have already said, the irreversible nature of the death penalty raises serious ethical concerns. Our criminal justice system, while very strong, is not infallible and miscarriage of justice can and do occur. The irreversible consequences of executing an innocent person should surely be a stain on our national conscience. We can therefore not allow in good faith, the continued existence of capital punishment on our statute books.
Zimbabwe has had a situation in the past during the First Chimurenga, where we had heroes executed for reasons of merely demanding fundamental rights. Again, we had people executed during the Second Chimurenga and in this regard, I would like to suggest that this august House takes a tour of Chikurubi Maximum Prison where you will experience what our freedom fighters who were executed as a result of the existence of the death penalty went through; in the Rhodesian statutes books, to the extent that the Rhodesians were going to execute so many people that they had to import and install an incineration facility at Chikurubi in order to hide away those heinous acts.
In the spirit of ubuntu and hunhu, I would implore this august House to support the abolition of the death penalty. The moratorium on the death penalty since 2005, is clear testimony that as a nation, we do not support the death penalty. I thank you.
HON. KARENYI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Hon. Mushoriwa, seconded by Hon Markham. I would like to say the universal declaration of human rights recognises the rights for each other person’s rights. I would like to say as a nation, I believe that our Constitution is very clear that the death penalty in itself though, is not there, we respect the right to life. Our Constitution recognises that each other’s rights must never be violated. I strongly feel that the death penalty in Zimbabwe must be abolished. It is also discriminatory Madam Speaker Ma’am, in its application because it also highlights that women are not included in the death penalty. Though I am also a woman, but to say we have equal opportunity in Zimbabwe then on the other side you also violate male’s rights, I strongly feel that we are equal and we must respect each other’s rights.
The death penalty on its own Madam Speaker, I strongly feel that it is also discriminatory because normally it favours those who have got money. If you have any case before the courts, those people who have got money can even go and get the service of lawyers and some do not even have. It is discriminatory to those who are less privileged. Death penalty on its own denies the capacity of people to socialise with the society – because we talk of rehabilitation. If you have committed any crime, even if you go to prison, the law normally gives you time to mend relationships with the community, but on this one, there is no room for anyone to mend his relationship with the community.
Madam Speaker, I would also want to say the death penalty is a collective punishment, we are talking of the person who is facing the death penalty and this affects their family. If the person is married obviously, psychologically the family will not have peace or to talk about the day that they are going to reunite with their father. The issue of collective punishment makes me feel that even though a person is given a death penalty, those who are at home will also suffer the same because everyday they will be thinking about the day when that family member is going to get executed. They will be saying on a daily basis is it going to be tomorrow or next year. Some of these people spend ten years in prison before they are executed.
The death penalty goes against religious and human rights issues. If you talk of the Bible, for those who believe in God, it clearly tells us that it is only God who judges. The moment we judge to say that person must be executed, normally I feel we are also going against our Christian values. With this Madam Speaker, I strongly feel that we must agree to abolish the death penalty because it is also going against our own Constitution. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. MATANGIRA: I want to thank Hon. Mushoriwa for raising the motion that the country of Zimbabwe must agree with other countries that the death penalty mut be abolished. This is because of the fear that there are some people who go to courts allegedly for murder. Madam Speaker, there is a person who agrees that I have killed a child, for example, the Murehwa case of Tapiwa Makore, by cutting the body parts of the child because that person wants money. The murderer has agreed and that person has agreed that he or she has committed the crime and that person must be hanged. We may talk a lot about the Geneva Convention, but we must not forget about the things that happened in the past. Those who started with these laws of abolishing death penalties started these conversations because they had their reasons for tomorrow. They might want to use these laws against us tomorrow. Since 2005, the law was there, but there is no one who was killed or executed through death penalty, in English they call it death. Let us accept it as it is. In our traditional culture we have a saying called ‘makunguwo zvaakatya akafa mangani’ those who feared have preserved their lives. The death penalty law must remain.
Those who commit crimes which require death penalty will be required to look into the gravity of the matter or the crime committed. Right now, we are saying death penalty is there as a deterrent measure. Right now, Madam Speaker, you hear that a kidney is being sold at USD20 000 and a human liver is also being sold. We have criminals who are outside the country and fear to come to Zimbabwe because they know if they come here and commit those crimes, they are going to be jailed and hanged. We are safe as a country because of the death penalty.
Madam Speaker, death penalty must not be abolished. Jesus Christ came, he was God and he came on this earth knowing that he was going to be a martyr. A martyr who died or lived, is one and the same thing. As an individual, I am saying that as a country, we were living freely. On the issue of Tapiwa Makore, I do not believe that there is anyone who want those who committed that crime to go and serve their terms in jail until they die. If we are not agreeing to that sentence of life imprisonment, the death penalty must not be abolished. There is no one who was executed from 2000 till now. Death penalty is there, but we are not practicing it.
Those from the Western countries are the ones who have killed most of our counterparts in the country and they are the same who are inviting us to advocate for the removal of the death penalty. Right now as a country, we want to agree with them to remove the death penalty. Madam Speaker Ma’am, to speak the truth, if my child or a child of an Hon. Member in this House is murdered for ritual purposes and the perpetrator is apprehended and he or she agrees that they were sent by someone to murder and remove the head and other body parts, what do we do? The person has agreed in high court or Supreme Court that they are not denying their crime. The same person is given a sentence to stay in prison for the rest of his life; let us not abolish the death penalty. The motion is very good because there are some people who support the left hand and some support the right hand. Those who support the right hand in touching something dirty, their hand will be dirty within a short period of time, but at the end, all your hands will end up being cleaned. It is good, but let us protect the people we represent as Members of Parliament. No one must kill another person. If you kill, the penalty is death. If you abuse a child, you will face the consequences of what has been said by women in this House. If a woman abuses a boy child, who is innocent, what is that we are going to cut. On women Madam Speaker Ma’am, I do not know what we are going to cut, but death penalty must remain, it must not be abolished. I thank you.
HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for affording me this opportunity to debate. I think the death penalty as it is in our Constitution, needs to be maintained for now. If we are going to have a chance in future to have it removed, I am sure we must have made sure that we have conducive social, economic and political conditions to ensure that the death penalty is removed. The reason why I oppose the motion by Hon. Mushoriwa is that murder cases are on the rise in this country. There are instances of gruesome murders that are happening and such gruesome murder cases need to be punished with death.
We have women who commit murder and they are being left out of the hook because the Constitution is saying women cannot be hanged. I am sure that is the area that we may need to amend to ensure that women who also perform gruesome murders under the spirit of gender equality, need not discriminate against men. Women of such nature also need to be categorised as dangerous citizens. They must be given punishment of this nature.
Madam Speaker, we have men in this country murdering their wives in cold blood, dismembering their body parts and putting them in sacks or carrier bags and disposing them. We cannot allow such kind of criminal activity to continue or to condone and lessen the punishment that we are to give to such individuals. There is murder with intention. Someone takes a knife out of his house and intentionally goes to stab someone to death or intentionally goes through and uses a weapon to destroy someone’s life.
We agree that there is a right to life, but if you have taken someone’s life, you have obviously said that you do not respect the right to life and as such, the punishment that you deserve is that of death penalty. The question that Hon. Mushoriwa partly posed before this House was that of some murderers or some accused persons being accused and convicted on false grounds so that someone is convicted of murder when they have not done it. May be the thrust that we need to focus on is to ensure that we convict people who have committed murder on the principle that we have always been using beyond any reasonable doubt.
I am sure the Hon. Member who spoke before me said someone comes before the court, they confess to have committed the murder – why should we keep that person as part of our society? We must reflect on these murder cases and treat each matter on its own. There are people who go into houses of people who are living peacefully with their wives, they go in there and sodomise the man, they rape the wife and kill after all that. That is murder in aggravated circumstances and such people may need to be killed.
There is a suggestion that we may need to give them life in jail, but surely, why should we burden our tax payers’ money and keep these people in prison where they will be eating food and enjoying all the lifestyle in jail? We are trying to modernise our jails. Right now, we are going to say if someone is in jail, you can meet your wife and be intimate with her in jail. You can enjoy everything that someone who is not in jail is enjoying.
So, why should we keep murderers of this nature in jail and let them enjoy life yet they have taken out someone from this motherland. It is my submission Madam Speaker Ma’am that we need to continue to reflect on this stance and we need to continue to reflect on this law and it might not be time for us to enact a law that abolishes the death sentence. I thank you.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to join in the debate on this motion that was raised by Hon. Mushoriwa. I am excited at the opportunity to share my views. I need to be very clear and unequivocal as I begin my debate that there is never going to be a time which will be the most ideal time to abolish the death penalty. In fact, the rest of the world, Southern Africa now is the time to abolish this barbaric measure. I am strongly opposed to the continuation of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.
The death penalty must be abolished immediately. These are my reasons why I am strongly opposed to the death penalty. The first and most important one is the right to life. The right to life is recognised by our Constitution and by all international conventions. No human being has the authority to take away life, life is sacrosanct. We must adopt a position that one must have the right to life at all cost. This country, starting with the colonial experience that we had in 1890, when the colonial establishment was set up in this city, they set up a court system that local people did not even understand - a justice system that involved court magistrates who were mainly white people.
They introduced the death penalty in this country from 1890. The list of people who have been victims of this law include our heroes of the first Chimurenga who were executed using State resources in defence of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. I feel sad that in 2023, people are not acknowledging the fact that our heroes such as Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi were actually unjustly executed in this city for defending the people of this land from the colonial administration.
This barbaric measure was in direct violation of the right of the people of this land to their land. The liberation movement that most of you claim to belong to, the very same liberation movement for the entire time when the struggle was being executed…
HON. DR. MUTODI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We on the right side of the Chair do not claim to be representing or standing in for the liberation struggle. We are custodians of the liberation struggle. The Hon. Member must withdraw the statement as it is baseless.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, please kindly withdraw your statement?
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Hon. Speaker, just to clarify that I was very clear that some of us in this House, I never mentioned which side of the House. I just said some of us. Their conscience is rebelling and their conscience is selling them out. They are betraying their own – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, let us give him a chance to debate.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Let me get back to my point. If colonialists had not set up this fake justice system that they used to execute our leaders who were representing our people, like Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi, we will be having a different Zimbabwe today. The same justice system that they imposed on us, not only did it execute our First Chimurenga leaders, it was also used to execute our Second Chimurenga and Umvukela leaders. From 1964 to 1980, how many people were executed at Chikurubi, for fighting for the liberation of this country. Why do we, in 2023, as Zimbabweans, forget that this barbaric death penalty can be used against the interest of the nation at one particular time.
Most of the people who died at Chikurubi in the 1970s, who were executed by the State under Ian Smith, were not criminals. The system called them terrorists but today if you go to the history of Zimbabwe, they are called national war liberation heroes. They are not terrorists. They are not criminals. They are heroes but the reason why they are dead today – my own uncle was executed at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, in 1977. I was two years old when my uncle was executed. The reason why he was executed, under this same law, was because he was a ZIPRA deployed in this country. He died for this country, not in action, not in combat. He died through hanging at Chikurubi. My mother was there to pick up his body and identify it.
This law can be used unjustly; it has been used unjustly. So, as Zimbabwe, we must learn that this law can be used unjustly and it has been used unjustly and it will continue to be used unjustly. Secondly, forensic technology has moved. So, a lot of people who you claim committed crime, we now have DNA tests, we have everything. If we do a retrial, we will discover that we convicted a wrong person. It is too late to apologise beyond the grave. It may be your uncle. It may be you, it may be your brother or sister who will be wrongly convicted and sentenced to death, then later, science and technology reveals that they framed the person. It was a wrong conviction. The person is already dead. There is no coming back from the dead. So, we cannot reverse the death penalty.
Thirdly, we changed our prison system a few years ago. Some of you are not aware. The name of our prison system was deliberately changed, it is now called Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services. The reason why we changed it from being Zimbabwe Prison Services to Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is because the principle behind imprisonment changed in Zimbabwe. We no longer jail people as a punishment. That is not the principle of imprisonment in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, we jail people to rehabilitate them to society. In Zimbabwe, we are now known as the correctional service.
When you make a mistake and let us be honest, not even one person in this House has not committed a crime in this country. We are all criminals…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, order, please withdraw your statement.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I do not think I was understood.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, please, withdraw your statement.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I withdraw my statement. The fact
that …-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. MOLEKELA-TSIYE: I wanted to emphasise the point that.. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - Madam Speaker, I need protection.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Hon. Molokela, please wrap up.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Madam Speaker, I need protection from the Members who are making noise. That behaviour is unparliamentary.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, please continue with your debate.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I cannot continue when people are shouting at me.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please continue, I have given you the order.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: The third point that I wanted to emphasise is that in Zimbabwe, we have a principle that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law but that does not mean that, that person has not committed a crime. What it means is that the justice system will serve each citizen based on their capacity to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, I am a registered member of the Zimbabwe Law Society. I am a practicing lawyer. I already know that what we call justice is not for everyone. In this country, if you have got a crime that you are being charged of and you do not have a lawyer, you are already at a disadvantaged position.
The same accusation that you are having, once you go to court without a lawyer, compared to someone with a lawyer, then you are in trouble. So, justice is not for every citizen. In this country, justice is for those who can afford, not just a lawyer but a good lawyer. A good lawyer can take you out of a crime on a technicality, on a procedure but if you are an individual citizen, you can actually be wrongfully convicted because the court system is not designed for a normal citizen. You have to go to law school for four years…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela, please stick to the motion in context.
HON. MOLEKELA-TSIYE: I wanted to emphasise that you can wrongfully convict a person just because they do not have a lawyer and then 10 years later, someone says on their death bed, I am the one who committed the crime while you have already executed the person. So, you cannot come back to that person and you cannot reverse the injustice after they have been executed.
Fourth and last but not least, we need to accept that at the end of the day, to err is human, to forgive is divine. Our duty as a State, our duty as a Parliament, is to make sure that if we make a mistake, we are given a second chance to make amends, instead of assuming that you cannot make a mistake. Let us assume that you can have a second chance. The death penalty does not give you a second chance, whether you are being accused at a political level…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, I am going to ask the Hon. standing to kindly sit down. Thank you.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: The death penalty does not give you a second chance. All of us in this House have had so many chances after making mistakes. If we were going to be executed for every mistake we make, we would not be in this House today. We have not learnt from our mistakes. We have become better people because – and there is research, not here in Zimbabwe but outside Zimbabwe, that shows that a person can be rehabilitated successfully.
Recently, we have got a good example, earlier this year, the city of Johannesburg, the most powerful in Southern Africa, elected a mayor, Kenny Kunene who is a former convict. He was elected Acting Mayor of the most powerful city in Southern Africa. From a prison cell, he managed to become the Acting Mayor. So, we cannot lose people just because they made a mistake. So, I am asking the Parliament of Zimbabwe to do the right thing. Abolish the death penalty now. Thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you, Madam Speaker, I want to add my voice on the matter that is being discussed. I think many of us here know what is happening in the country, for example, the issue of Tapiwa Makore. How can someone go and take a child? We are looking at the woman who has carried a child for nine months, takes care of that child, and then someone who is greedy kills that child. It is not about making a mistake; this was actually a plan. You take the body parts and put them in a plastic paper.
Now, here we are as Members of Parliament, saying someone who has committed such a crime should be put in jail for three months. For example, …
*HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order. I am touched by what Hon. Nyabani has just said. I think if there are such cases they should be reported to the police.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member! Take your seat.
*HON. NYABANI: Someone who has committed a crime of raping, for example, a three month old baby, I am not sure where the Hon. Member is coming from because in Zimbabwe, most families have in one way or the other, met these tragedies. What I am saying is such crimes have been committed.
People who commit crimes of murder or a planned crime of rape, in my own view, I do not think those people deserve a right to live. I will pose a question to all of you and say, have you ever kept a stray dog? One thing that I know is that you cannot keep a stray dog or a dog that now has rabies, it will keep biting other dogs. Why then do you want to keep people who are committing murder crimes? They should just be killed. By hanging such people, we are simply taking away harmful people from the society.
There is no normal person who will go and stand in the middle of the road when traffic is moving, they will know that they will be killed. In China, when – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
HON. MAHLANGU: On a point of order! Hon. Nyabani should withdraw the issue of rape - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member! You have to show respect to your fellow Hon. Member, you have just called him Nyabani. So, kindly sit down - [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon Members who just said a dictator? Please leave the room right now. Hon. Member, identify yourself and leave the House. The Hon. Member in grey suit and a white suit, leave the House?
Hon. Tsvangirai left the Chamber
HON. NYABANI: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I wanted to give an example of China, someone who commits a crime, for example, stealing or corruption, that person is given death penalty. If we are looking at corruption and we are saying that person has to be given a death penalty, what about someone who is a murderer? Maybe some of those who are against the issue of death penalty are the ones who are committing such crimes.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order! Hon. Nyabani should withdraw the statement that those who are for the abolition of the death penalty are the perpetrators of the killing of human beings here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, the Hon. Nyabani was not specific.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam President for the opportunity that you have afforded me. I know it is a difficult task to debate over such, but I thank you for protecting me.
HON. CHIGOMBA: On a point of order! I am kindly asking that Hon. Nyabani must withdraw what he said. We must debate here without fear of being stereotyped.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani just generalised, he did not point at anyone.
HON. BAJILA: When Hon Mutodi made a statement that was not specific, the ruling was different from the statement which is not specific, which is now with respect to Hon. Nyabani.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please, be seated and switch off your mic. I have not addressed the Hon. Member who just previously spoke. Unfortunately, I was not inside when Mr. Speaker was giving that ruling. I just gave a ruling accordingly.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I have a different point of order. Please be seated.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please be seated. If you are not guided, I will ask you to leave the House.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I am following the rules.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please switch off your mic. I am going to ask Hon. P. Moyo to debate.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have stood up to oppose the motion which was brought by Hon. Mushoriwa, seconded by Hon Markham. My view is that when someone commits a crime, they are supposed to be given a judgement that is equivalent to the crime that they have committed. If we say a murderer should be given a sentence of life imprisonment, what we are simply saying is that we are glorifying the killing of another person. To those who have committed crime whilst they are still in jail, they continue doing whatever they are doing. I am therefore against the issue of removing death penalty.
We have had the death penalty for so many years, but no one has been executed, which is an indication that this is a proper law. Let us have the death penalty there whilst we check on the degree of the crime that has been committed. Yes, some people commit crimes or some are alleged to have committed crimes whilst they have not. That is why we have changed the term to correctional services. However, there are some people who do not learn from their mistakes. They continuously commit the same crimes. There are people who continuously commit the crime of murder and some people are just murdered without even knowing the reason why they are being murdered. I believe if we remove the death penalty, such people will continuously commit crimes because they will be knowing that they will not be killed. Therefore, the death penalty, I believe is meant for those who commit the crimes for they will not repeat the same crime.
There are some people who commit crimes with an intention to kill. For example, if someone says I am not ruling the country, therefore I have to kill someone, it is a crime that has to be considered under crimes of someone who would have murdered. Therefore, let us continue having the death penalty.
I feel we need to review and check exactly which crime they would have committed for them to be given a judgement of death penalty. I have some ladies who are saying those who commit rape should be castrated, it is painful for women especially if you find your child being raped. As women, is why we feel that if you rape a child, you just have to be castrated. It is my request that we continue having the law of death penalty.
HON MUSHORIWA: Thank you so much for this opportunity. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Hon. Members in this august House that have debated this motion and also to thank even the other Hon. Members who may not have had the opportunity to debate this motion. I need to preface my speech by saying that we do understand and appreciate the process. The process of bringing a Bill to the august House, what happens is that we bring this motion, but that does not remove the death penalty. The Bill will be considered by the Committee on Justice and will be sent across the entire nation to hear the views of the people.
Generally, I am grateful that across the political divide, the majority of Members of Parliament that have spoken have respect to this issue, share the view that there is a need to look into the abolishment of death penalty. I am encouraged Madam Speaker, by the forceful position as advanced by Hon. Togarepi yesterday. It is crucial and very important to understand the context in which we drive this motion.
You will note that death penalty in this country is not for everyone. We had already demonstrated that there is only less than 36% of the population that can be sentenced to death penalty. Sixty four per cent of the population in Zimbabwe cannot be sentenced to death penalty. All the women in Zimbabwe cannot be sentenced to death penalty. You cannot sentence any man who is below 21 years. You can also not sentence a man who is above 70 years. What it does is that you simply have a small category of people that you can discriminate when it comes to that sentence.
That is not all Madam Speaker. I just want to briefly touch on the submissions that have been made by Hon. Matangira, Hon. Nyabani and Hon. Mutodi. The system and the situation that we have Madam Speaker and I want to emphasise this point, if President Emmerson Mnangagwa had not escaped death by the age technicality, what it means Madam Speaker is that we would not have President Mnangagwa as the President of Zimbabwe today.
Madam Speaker, we have had a number of people that perished during the liberation war, people that were wrongly convicted. It is accepted and it is understood there will always be one or two people whose conduct can relate to what Hon. Nyabani said. On a balance of probability, the generality of the issues and the reasons…
HON. S. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I am very grateful Madam Speaker that the Hon. Member has acknowledged fully that President E. D. Mnangagwa, indeed is the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, you may proceed.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker, yesterday and this is on the public platforms, our Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi, we have actually shared the Bill, I think all Members will get the chance when we come to the discussion and debate on the Bill. I think it is at that particular point – I am glad, Hon. Mutodi is the Chairperson of the Justice Committee, I think when they go out there to get the views of the people, the views of the people will feed into the discussion that as Parliament, we will be able to see whether or not this penalty Bill, when it is brought into this House, will suit the criteria.
One of the things that we may not want to hide is this fact that if you look into all the literature on abolishment of the death penalty, you check the entirety of Africa - all the foreword against death penalty in Zimbabwe, everybody, they have actually been written by President Mnangagwa, he has actually signed and he has committed over and over again. That resulted in Hon. Ziyambi, our Minister of Justice going on the international platforms to actually say that as a country we no longer see the merit in having death penalty.
Madam Speaker, I believe that this august House and all those Members that may have wanted to debate this motion, the chance of debating this motion is there. That is when this Bill is brought into this august House, when the further processes are happening, when the Committee will go out to solicit the views of the public. Having said that Madam Speaker, it is my view that I commit that let the Bill be introduced to this august House so that it goes through the various processes and then during the processes of the debate on the Bill, if the House thinks otherwise, let it happen on the merits of the matter. I thank you Madam Speaker.
Motion put and agreed.
DEATH PENALTY ABOLITION BILL 
HON. MUSHORIWA presented the Death Penalty Abolition Bill .
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
On the motion of HON. TSITSI ZHOU seconded by HON. C. HLATYAWAYO, the House adjourned at Twenty-Six Minutes past Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 28th November, 2023.