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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 17 JANUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 12
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 17th January, 2023.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, please take your seats. Compliments of the season Hon. Members. - [HON. MEMBERS: Same to you Hon. Speaker.] -
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of national interest. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I hope the other Hon. Colleagues had a good break. Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is an issue only an independent Member of Parliament can raise. I do not think it applies to the rest of Members of Parliament who belong to political parties.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you suggesting that you are speaking to yourself?
HON. T. MLISWA: I am speaking to an issue of national interest. Mr. Speaker Sir, this Parliament is not only made up of political parties. It was seen necessary by the lawmakers to allow independent Members to be part of this august House. Section 139 (4) of the Constitution is very clear in terms of the reflection of this Parliament in whatever it does; be it ad hoc Committees, travelling and all that. I say so, so that the same mistakes cannot be repeated.
When the nation looks at this Parliament, they see a Parliament which represents Zimbabweans. The various Committees which have been set up before, seem to leave out the Independent Member, who by the powers that he has; is not whipped. The rest belong to political parties and they have a Chief whip who whips them so their independence is limited. If at all the lawmakers felt that the independent Member should not be part of the august House, the law must stipulate.
The composition of the Delimitation Committee itself, really is quite disappointing. Firstly, most of the Members in there are conflicted. Their constituencies are part of the problem. So how can they represent the nation when their constituencies are affected? Of course, you must be able to look after yourself. I say so Mr. Speaker Sir, because moving forward, most of the things done without following procedure and the Constitution, which this august House must observe because it is in the business of making laws but they seem to ignore that.
I am not represented, even in the Welfare Committee, for example. Most of the Members of Parliament are represented by their Chief Whips and everything is agreed upon and the Chief Whip has the final say. I do not sit on the Welfare Committee. I am an Independent Member. So am I supposed to agree to what they all agree on without my input? If the law says so, then I respect that. These are some of the issues Mr. Speaker Sir. We are fortunate that we have a Speaker who is quite learned; a Speaker who recently has been appointed to be the Legal Secretary for the Ruling Party, which is important, an Advocate of note.
In terms of all these issues that I have spoken about, from a legal point of view, is it proper to continuously ignore that very same one person? It is not only about me; this House will accommodate one tomorrow. How are they represented? The Constitution talks about there being a reflection of what Parliament is. I just wanted to bring that to your attention from a national perspective because by me not being involved; you are prejudicing my constituents who elected me to represent them. So, if I am not, it means part of these processes that require fairness in terms of composition we are then not violating the Constitution that we are supposed to uphold as an august House?
Your indulgence is sought Mr. Speaker Sir, moreso being a learned colleague of honourables like Hon. Biti, to just name a few. I am sure you will apply your legal mind to that. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I think the Hon. Member must be fair to himself and the august House. The Hon. Member should have predicated his observation on the historical fact that at one point, material time, he was chosen to be a chairman of a portfolio committee where he excelled until he found himself out of that chairmanship for reasons best known to himself. So that historical fact must be taken into account that it has been in the nature of this august House to extend the inclusivity of Member of Parliament, including the Independent and not only that but also when we were discussing the welfare of Members of Parliament. Again, it behooved the head of Parliament to ensure that the Hon. Independent Member was part and parcel of that Committee, where again he contributed exceptionally well but that does not mean that, that should be a foregone conclusion at all times. The Constitution, clearly in Section 3, indicates that we are a multi-party democracy and unfortunately, my Hon. Member does not qualify as a multi-party individual.
In the past, this House has taken into account his potential for leading in the committees of this House. Therefore, his observation must be tainted with graciousness in terms of the historical factor. I am happy that in his presentation, he indicated that for the future, a member who is Independent should be considered. Indeed, in the future, the member will be considered as the member has been considered in the past. So this House has a very good track record in that regard.
Finally, whatever a Select Committee presents to this august House; what the findings of a Select Committee presents to the House are not a fait accompli because it is open to debate; where everyone else who is not in that Committee will debate. So there is no prejudice in terms of debate on a report of a given committee including the Ad Hoc Committee. I am sure the Hon. Member will have opportunity to debate accordingly in this House. So the horses have not bolted, the stable is still open - [HON. T. MLISWA: A point of correction Mr. Speaker Sir!] – Yes, please do not elaborate on my ruling.
HON. T. MLISWA: Yes, it is a point of correction.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, when I was elected and I know, you are probably not privy to this…
THE HON. SPEAKER: When you were elected to what?
HON. T. MLISWA: When I was appointed to be Chairperson of the Mines and Energy Committee, it was because that position belonged to ZANU PF and Hon. Matuke the Chief Whip, came and spoke to me about it; took me to higher offices because of the work that they thought I had done in the Second Republic, in being in power …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I thought you were coming up with something fresh - [HON. T. MLISWA: What I was trying to say Mr. Speaker is …] – Order, order, the fact of the matter is you were appointed…
HON. T. MLISWA: No, Mr. Speaker Sir that is the reason why I was removed and replaced by a ZANU PF person…
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, no.
HON. T. MLISWA: The current Chief Whip did not like me, he removed me, put a ZANU PF person. Hon. Matuke realised the role I had played and rewarded because I played a big role but after that it is a party position. As you know, the Committees Chairpersons are allocated party-wise. It was the generosity of Hon. Matuke, who is a gentleman, who appreciated the role I played in the Second Republic.
After that when I wanted to then expose law on that, I was taken out. Hon. Mkaratigwa from ZANU PF moved in; it is a ZANU PF position Mr. Speaker Sir, it is not for the Independent. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, that is incorrect because your chairmanship Hon. Mliswa was debated in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders - [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Member. It was debated in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and I remember clearly Hon. Ziyambi moving the fact that let us give him an opportunity and that opportunity was given. It is not Hon. Matuke - [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Member, do not advocate for your removal from this House. - [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Order, order! – [HON. T. MLISWA: …stood for me but you were outnumbered!] – Order, order!
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of priviledge Mr. Speaker Sir!
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you proceed quickly please?
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of priviledge and my point of privilege relates to the passage of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Bill in this august House during your absence on 16th December.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as a Member of Parliament representing Dzivarasekwa, I want to state that my rights and privileges as a Member of Parliament were violated in two contexts…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Member, please sit down. You had room to object at the material time.
HON. MUSHORIWA: That is the reason why I have risen because you are here. You should hear what I am saying. I said that at the material time…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I have not recognised you and can you sit down please. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - do not argue with my ruling. Sit down please!
HON. MUSHORIWA: But it is unfair.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You had all the time in the Committee Stage and so on. So sit down please!
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NO. 53
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. PARADZA) on behalf of THE MNISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. On behalf of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, I am here to give the notice of Motion on the Provisions of Standing Order No. 53 regarding the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes Past One p.m. on a Friday...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can we correct one thing. Chief Whip, has the Hon. Member designated Acting Leader of Government business?
HON. TOGAREPI: Yes.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You should let me know. Okay, the Hon. Minister is here now and he can proceed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): He can proceed, I had made the arrangement.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are there now and let us be procedural. Can you proceed Hon. Minister?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is allowed. I had rushed to the Senate to give a motion...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, can you be connected and go ahead.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker Sir, it was very procedural for him to give the notice. I can see that there is a spirited effort to rubbish him standing in to continue. It was very correct.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I had not been told that he was acting in your place and that is why I stood him down. So please proceed.
HON. ZIYAMBI: They are now acting like they are the Chairs. Tell them to keep quiet so that I can hear you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Order! Please proceed.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that the provisions of Standing Order No. 53 regarding the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, be suspended in respect of the debate on the Report of the Ad hoc Committee on the Analysis of the 2022 Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2022 PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE DELIMITATION EXERCISE
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise.
Question again proposed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have been given a list so that we do not get confused. The Independent shall speak without any list. I have been given a list of those who would like to contribute. May I indicate that we have the Ad hoc Committee Report before us as tabled on the 13th January, 2023. Therefore, our debate should be pointed and if you have to add anything, refer to the ZEC Report vis-à-vis the Ad-hoc Committee Report. I will not entertain general statements.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order, Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What do you want to clarify my friend when things are so clear?
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. There is material that we were given from the first day when we began the proceeding of considering the Delimitation Report and it came via our emails. As properly indicated in the ad hoc Committee report, it is not legible and I want to refer to the maps. It will be difficult for me to contribute with regards to the maps when they are not even legible as they are presented on soft copy. So I wanted to understand if there is a provision that we can actually get this soft copy, perhaps on print they can be legible. As they are on email, they are not legible and it was actually pointed out in the ad hoc Committee Report.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that observation. Please be guided by the description in the report, as well as, Annexure 1 to 10.
HON. CHIKWINYA: We only have three annexures, 1 to 3.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chikwinya. I was checking two things; whether or not ZEC actually sent it on their website, where one can check and also our Papers Office, whether they sent it on our website, which should be the case. I have asked them to resend it.
HON. ZWIZWAI: So, how do we debate?
THE HON. SPEAKER: You will debate in terms of what you have before you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Order, order. I am told at least three annexures were sent. The rest I think will be sent right away, now. If you can check with your gadgets, you should be able to follow.
HON. MADZIMURE: Will we be given a second bite of the cherry, considering that we have debated before receiving the information - will we be allowed to debate again?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, tomorrow. May I ask Hon. Tekeshe to second the motion before we start debate.
HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to first of all thank Hon. Togarepi for tabling the motion on the findings of the ad hoc Committee. ZEC was supposed to base its report on the Constitution. It is very clear that ZEC did not follow the Constitution. ZEC was supposed to use the population census but they chose to only use the voter registration – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – This delimitation is not only meant for... – [HON. ZIYAMBI: Taura nerurimi rwaamai.] – VaZiyambika musadaro. Aiwa kani ndoda kutaura nechirungu ichocho.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. TEKESHE: Sorry, he is disturbing me Hon. Speaker. I was saying ZEC only chose to use the voters’ registration. The Constitution in Section 161 says it must use the population census. By using the voters’ registration, you will disadvantage a lot of people like the young and those who are not registered. We do not only use this delimitation for voting only, it is also used for administrative purposes: CDF and devolution funds are supposed to be distributed equally as per the numbers of wards in a constituency.
Another thing is that ZEC was supposed to use national statistics instead of using provincial. There are some provinces which now have few people but they still maintain the number of their constituencies. If they had done it at national level, they would then subtract those numbers from what they have now and make an adjustment to those wards whose population has increased. The wards were done haphazardly, for example in Nyanga South and North. They took Ward 8 from Nyanga North and it was moved to Nyanga South, and another Ward from Nyanga South to Nyanga North. You must go through another constituency to get there; you pass through Nyanga South but this ward is now in Nyanga North but you must go through Nyanga South to get to ward 27.
I want to say that ZEC should have asked for a deferment of the delimitation process because of the requirement of the population census. Even now the census report is not yet out; they should have deferred the delimitation till the census report is out. They said they used a preliminary report which I think a preliminary report is subject to changes to corrections and the like. I thank you Mr. Speaker, that is my contribution.
HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for this opportunity to contribute to this very important debate. Let me start off by thanking His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for creating an enabling environment for us as Parliamentarians to add value to this very important process bearing in my mind that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – that this process is happening at a time – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to reiterate my position that I feel obligated to thank His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for affording us an opportunity to debate on this issue which is of national importance – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, I make this observation bearing in mind that our country is still under the siege of COVID-19 and notwithstanding that His Excellency saw it important that we observe this constitutional important step in the process of transitioning towards 2030.
Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to make the observation that we have gone for a while without having the delimitation process. If my records are correct, we are five years out of step– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –and the fact that we are five years out of step indicates to the fact that a lot of legislators here are very rusty as to the processes involved in the delimitation exercise – [HON. BITI: We are not rusty.] – We know that delimitation is not a daily occurrence and I want to make the observation Mr. Speaker that when ZEC went ahead...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can we refer to the report – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes.] – or the Ad hoc Committee and the ZEC Report please.
HON. MUSIKAVANU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was giving a background to my point – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I will get to my point and my point Mr. Speaker is that in the interest of making this document totally user-friendly, the polling points stated by ZEC in their report must have been reduced to names that people can relate to. Using codes in the report creates potential confusion in people who will read the report.
I will therefore advocate Mr. Speaker Sir, that bearing in mind that this is a preliminary draft report, there is a double action there; preliminary draft, it follows that there is room for improvement in the report and my submission Mr. Speaker is that the polling points must be stated in the names that we normally relate to. I thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. I repeat, let us not discuss the process, the process has been outlined clearly in Section 161 of the Constitution and the report of the Ad Hoc Committee is very clear, just go to the paragraph where you think there must be some additions, that is all.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of clarification Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: A point of what?
HON. CHIKWINYA: A point of clarification on your earlier ruling about the 10 annexures which we are still waiting for. Is the voters roll part of the 10 annexures considering that it is a primary source document which must inform our debate?
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, it is not part of the report.
HON. CHIKWINYA: But how do we debate without a primary source document?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. The ZEC Report has the narrative and annexures 1 to 10. That is all. That is what is tabled before the House. Thank you.
HON. BUSHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, the House is appropriately responding to the report by the Ad Hoc Committee that this House set up in order to analyse the ZEC Report. I think the Committee did a very good job and this House must commend the Committee for having worked very hard on a good report like this one. The Committee produced a well balanced report and I think that this House must consider that report very seriously.
However, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to only concentrate in an area where I am competent to comment, which is Mashonaland Central and particularly what came out as a pointer to Pfura Constituency which was of course delimited, which had numbers that were lower than the threshold. This thing runs through the whole report where some areas have larger numbers and some areas have lower numbers, but Mr. Speaker Sir...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Please take a seat. The Committee has indicated that in detail, and I want you to refer to the report and say page so and so, paragraph so and so – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! I want the Hon. Member to proceed accordingly.
HON. BUSHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand corrected by your direction but I refer to section 4.14 (b) (2) which is under Mashonaland Central and here is where I refer to both Pfura RDC, Mt Darwin West, Ward 19 as well as Ward 4 of Bindura North Constituency.
Mr. Speaker Sir, all I want to say is; I think that consideration was appropriately given to the geographical spread, the considerations related to the population distribution and I think that those wards remained in place and appropriately so. I would like to say that where considerations like these have been made throughout the country Mr. Speaker Sir, these pointers should be considered by ZEC for adjustment and these pointers are important that they remain in place if they are considered by ZEC and also influence the final result so that we do not have municipalities overflowing from one municipality to the other.
I would like to say this also applies to Chaminuka RDC which is under Shamva District where wards from Shamva were taken to Bindura and wards from Bindura were taken to Mt. Darwin. Administratively, that is going to cause a lot of problems and those observations must be considered seriously as pointed out by the Ad Hoc Committee on the analysis of the report. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! What we are going to do is; we are going to have the hard copies there so that those who want to quickly refer can refer.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My contribution really is bent on procedure in many ways. The critical issue is the census itself. I was hoping that the Hon. Members would have dealt with the Census Report. The preliminary report is out, so on what basis would you really debate on delimitation without the results of the census? The census is critical in planning and without the census, you cannot plan. So I hasten to say the report was not supposed to have been tabled before the census report. Not only that, I believe this august House has got Portfolio Committees which are responsible for oversight and knowing that elections are coming through, they were supposed to then be checking in terms of the timeframe and that again…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Member, the report of ZEC which you must interrogate vis-à-vis the one for the Committee is whether or not the report did take into account section 161 of the Constitution, in particular subsection 6 which deals also with population, existing electoral boundaries, the registered voters, the physical features, communication, community of interest - these are the issues that you should be saying are they ventilated in the report. It is not for you now to start talking about population. Indicate whether or not the report did take into account those items mentioned in Subsection 6 of Section 161 of the Constitution.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, exactly my starting point in terms of the population. Once the population is out, then you move to other issues but the final census is not out, how then can we go to do boundaries and communicate without the final census being out. What we have is a preliminary report…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. What is your recommendation which ZEC must take into account?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, if you let me correct, I was talking about procedure, which is critical in us reaching to a logical conclusion. Here procedure was not followed, the first is the population itself, the census; the results are not out. Them not being out, it has an effect on planning; how the wards come in, constituencies’ boundaries and all that. I am saying they did not at all have figures of the census before even doing anything. I do not know if you now understand me.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Now you are talking.
HON. T. MLISWA: In terms of that, the issue of the census final report being out, ZEC would then have to be able to plan properly. I now move on to something which is critical.
We know that the elections were coming. The various Portfolio Committees know that. Each Portfolio Committee as you know, we have oversight of all these institutions. At what point did we invite them, knowing that elections are coming to say how far are you in terms of A, B.C, D? I feel that the Portfolio Committees did not play their role because oversight was critical because they are the engine room. ZEC would have gone and corrected.
We seem to want to debate on something which should have been corrected already. The law is clear and it is this institution that is not following the law. You have Portfolio Committees who are responsible for inviting them. I did not see any Portfolio Committee. The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, inviting ZEC and say you are rushing to do this, where is the final figure of the population. I am saying this because if that had been done, a lot would have been corrected and we would not be where we are right now.
The Budget and Finance is also quite critical in terms of census because the population has an effect on the economy. When you bring in numbers, Budget and Finance are in because it is an economic nature. They were also supposed to say in view of planning in terms of the budget, the population figures are here, what do we do. That was not done and I am trying to say that Parliament itself was supposed to also ensure that the aspect of oversight by the Portfolio Committees is done not to get here.
I also want to bring in the COVID issue. It will be amiss for us not to understand the impact of COVID worldwide. The effect of COVID, if at all we were serious about these elections, we were supposed to consider COVID, why, there are resources needed. Most countries globally certainly have suffered from an economic point of view. Should we just have elections for the sake of having elections or we should have elections following procedure. Elections are very expensive. What then happens to people in terms of the resources? I also feel that the COVID aspect was supposed to be factored in from a national point of view; from a global point of view and indeed while others would not agree with me, if elections have to be postponed because of COVID, so be it. That has to be considered at the end of the day because of the effect it has on the economy.
Not only that Mr. Speaker Sir, the very same Members of Parliament were restricted from going to constituencies because of the COVID situation. We could not meet people, so how then can we push for election when we are the key to communication and cannot get to the people. So to me, that was supposed to be considered as well. As legislators are responsible for communicating with people but we could not because of COVID. So then, how do we move forward without us communicating with the people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please can the Member be heard in silence?
HON. T. MLISWA: So these issues are critical in terms of us doing so. Clearly while the Constitution, Section 169 (1) talks about 10 years in terms of delimitation and all that; Section 161 (2) talks about ‘not having elections if the census report is out in less than six months’. Clearly, there is no point. If we are all doing our mathematics, the final one is going to come out in less than six months. So what are we debating on because already we are in violation of the Constitution? It says in less than six months, you have to go back to the original boundaries, if I am not mistaken Mr. Speaker Sir. So, less than six months, if you look at the calendar, elections are in July/August and when is this report supposed to be really be final? It will be less than six months, unless there is somebody who has spiritual power of changing dates and the calendar and so forth. They must tell us that are they going to move the calendar forward or not. That is all we want in this Parliament, somebody who has that gift to say dates are going to change, continue. Already it is also a waste of tax payers’ money. Coming here is tax payers’ money and people are questioning where were we all this time, why are we rushing? We must serve people honestly Mr. Speaker Sir.
The other issue, which I think is quite important, is the issue of elections. Elections are very important. One of the issues about elections is to ask ourselves; does this process we are doing guarantee a free, fair and credible election or we are just rushing to just make sure that it kicks the box. Mr. Speaker Sir, as you usually say with your favourite saying, it seems the horses have already bolted. From a legal point of view, this is where condonation appeals are done in view of circumstances beyond the country; COVID and all that.
There is also the aspect of finance which I spoke about, which I think we do not have those resources at the end of the day. My contribution really is the horse has already bolted. The report has been submitted just on the basis of ticking the box but if seriously we were looking at the Constitution, most of these issues were not supposed to be part of this august House because of our role of oversight. I will say that we were not supposed to have entertained this report. The various Portfolio Committees were supposed to have played their role, knowing that we have got elections.
So, I would want to say that other than that, the delimitation exercise is a very important exercise but again the population, the census nobody knows what it is. So, what really, finally are Members debating on, when they do not know what the population is because it is critical for purposes of planning and all that. I would like to rest my case by saying that we need, from a procedural point of view, from circumstance beyond the country and the global economy, which really did not do well as a result of COVID, it was important for us to put that to the table.
The dynamics again of the Ukraine/Russia war are also critical from an economic point of view; it is an unforeseen situation and it being unforeseen, it happened. How has it affected the economics of the country and so forth? Would we not spend this money in making sure that the welfare of the people is better? Food security, where are we standing or we just want to have elections but people continue to suffer – that is food for thought. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much. I want to emphasize again, the manner in which finally Hon. Mliswa had to debate. These are issues to be taken into account by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). So, you are putting forward to ZEC issues that should have been taken into account and then we have not reached the stage where we are debating a final report.
HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity to make my comment on the Ad Hoc Committee Report. I only really have one main point, which is that I felt that the Committee did not emphasize sufficiently the aspect of the release of the Voters Roll and/or the release of polling station figures which tie back to constituency figures and Ward figures as at 30th May, 2022, and then to release those same polling station figures after the reconfiguration because without those figures; there is no method in order to check the veracity of the report – that was my point Hon. Speaker. So I felt that in their recommendation, they should have included that and mentioned in their report about transparency and justice - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. WATSON: An obligation for justice and transparency and that is one facet of justice and is an obligation of ZEC and therefore, should have been included in the report. Thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me an opportunity to deliberate on the two reports that are before the House. It is an honour Hon. Speaker that - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members, can we give opportunity to the Hon. Member who is speaking.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. It is an honour that I participated in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee to look into the preliminary Report of ZEC. Hon. Speaker, I am glad that the Committee made a number of observations and recommendations. From where I stand Hon. Speaker, I would conclude by saying that this report is not a good report, I mean the ZEC Report. It is not a good report but the report is not a bad report and I will expound as I debate.
Some of the observations that were made by the Committee Hon. Speaker, have been debated by my colleagues and these include the fact that ZEC did not consider the final census results because the Census Report is not yet before this House and that is Hon. Speaker, failure to observe Section 161 (1). The section enjoins ZEC to only do its delimitation after the census has taken place.
Hon. Speaker, one believes that the intention of the legislature in putting the delimitation process only after the census would have been finalised was meant to accommodate certain issues. Those issues include the fact that the Census Report is able to indicate to the nation, for example, migration of citizens from certain areas to other areas and therefore when the Delimitation Report is done, it is meant that it should concur with the findings of the Census Report. In the absence of the Census Report Hon. Speaker, it becomes very difficult to validate some of the findings of ZEC.
I will give you an example Hon. Speaker under Bulawayo Metropolitan Province. The ZEC Delimitation Report indicates that Bulawayo Province has lost about 42 000 registered voters between 2008 and 2022. Now, when a Census Report is available, it becomes easy to compare whether the movements of citizens between areas or between Bulawayo and other areas is supporting the findings by ZEC in its Delimitation Report or not.
However Hon. Speaker, even as your Committee made its observations and findings, it made its recommendations on the basis of knowing that the past two to three years were not ordinary years for this country. There was a supervening impossibility; there was a demerger that curtailed the finishing of the Census Report. I am sure the House is aware that almost three Statutory Instruments were put in place in order to try and make sure that there is census being conducted in this country but it could not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic that visited the whole world.
Hon. Speaker, the question that is currently gripping the nation is whether this report, as it is, should be thrown into the bin or ZEC should be given more time to consider the observations and recommendations that are coming from this House or that the nation should revert to the 2007/8 Report or …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you not mean the Delimitation Report?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The Delimitation Report, whether we should revert to the 2007/8 Delimitation Report or should ZEC be given more time to attempt to rectify the observations that have been made by your Committee? This is my observation Hon. Speaker.
2007/8 Delimitation Report speaks to the …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Members, you cannot be standing while the other Hon. Member is debating. May you bring those papers for others please? Order! The Hon. Member Sibanda is making very good points but in terms of our Standing Order No. 111, we should not be repeating what has been said. What you are saying was captured by Hon. T. Mliswa. The question of census, the question of COVID was covered by Hon. Mliswa very adequately.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The point has been taken Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, the question that I want to speak to is that under the current circumstances where...
Hon. Members having been making some noise upon receiving the Delimitation Map.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. You just need to have a look on what you are seeing and return to your colleague.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The question that I want to speak to is whether in view of the findings, observations and recommendations that have been made by your Committee and as they are going to be either validated or added to by this House, whether ZEC should be given more time to rectify those observations and implement them, or whether this nation as it heads towards its General Elections, should revert to the 2007/2008 Delimitation Report. I submit that the variations or the failure to observe the law that was done by ZEC in its preliminary report are not fatal to an extent that this nation should revert to the 2007/2008 Delimitation Report or that this nation should be forced to postpone elections in order to give ZEC more time.
I will support my assertion Hon. Speaker by indicating that most of the observations that were made by your Committee are actually implementable within the time that is left and to allow this nation to proceed with the elections as planned and as given by the Constitution. I am saying so because the issue of the census report is pardonable because that forced ZEC to act within a particular point of time. It is my submission Hon. Speaker that while this recommendation has been made, there is no way that ZEC can start the process afresh because the horses have already bolted in terms of the first recommendation.
On the issue of misinterpretation and misapplication of the twenty per cent variance, I submit that within the timeframe that is left, ZEC can comply with the recommendations that were made by your Committee and be able to make sure that it finalises the process of gazetting the Delimitation Report without affecting the time within which the elections are scheduled. However, for posterity and it is also important to take note that this is the first time that delimitation has been conducted in terms of the 2013 Constitution.
Therefore, I submit that going back to the 2007/2008 report is not something that is favourable because the 2007/2008 report is overtaken by 15 years and obviously there are a lot of things that have taken place between 2008 and 2022. There have been so much movement of voters between different areas to an extent that the current report could be closer to speaking to the true reflection of the voter population distribution in this country compared to 2007/2008 and for that purpose, I am more amenable to the current report being adopted by ZEC with recommendations that have come from the Ad hoc Committee and from this House and that the nation should go ahead to conduct its elections within the time that it is meant to take place. We cannot at this moment condemn this report and then say let us have the work of moving the elections from the time that they were scheduled. Those are my submissions. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUNI: I do not have much to say but I want to ask as to how much time we take to move people from this polling station to the other polling station? How will they know that we are on that same polling station because they will not find their names on their local polling stations and they do not know where to find their names? How much time does ZEC have to rectify this? Thank you.
*HON. CHITURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this report. I want to thank ZEC for a job well-done. I think that those ZEC officials in the districts did not do their job very well because they consulted the people and the local authorities because they do not know what transpired. For example, Chief Musikavanhu from Chipinge. He was left without anyone to rule, so we are saying ZEC should rectify the issue of chiefs so that they reside with their people. Thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to begin by appreciating the role that was done by the Ad hoc Committee in analysing the report. They have done a good job in giving us, as Hon. Members, a framework on how to make our recommendations to the ZEC report. My first recommendation is drawn from the Ad hoc Committee Report, item number 126.96.36.199, paragraph c, which raised a principle that when ZEC was collapsing constituencies, it was supposed to collapse constituencies with lower votes, moving them to constituencies with high numbers of registered voters.
I want to refer specifically to Warren Park Constituency. Warren Park Constituency Mr. Speaker Sir, according to the 2018 registered voters, it had 32 186 votes but it is surprising that this constituency was collapsed. It is a deviation from the principle that was raised by the Ad hoc Committee and also which is stated in the report that ZEC also highlighted that they were following that principle, whereby constituencies with high votes were supposed to stand. In this case, one of the wards from Warren Park Constituency, Ward 5 which had 16 095 votes was moved to Harare Central, whilst Ward 15 which had 17 774 votes was combined with Ward 6 of Kambuzuma and it was named Mufakose, which is something that needs to be corrected. My recommendation is that Warren Park Constituency should also be added into the annexure of the Ad hoc Committee Report where they indicated that there are specific situations which need to be corrected.
I also want to refer to another principle raised in the Ad hoc Committee Report item 188.8.131.52, paragraph a, which talks of community of interest. Mr. Speaker Sir, if you check on Warren Park Constituency in reference to the community of interest, you will realise that the constituency, because of the developments such as the establishment of the museum, it was declared a liberation city. Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, such a liberation city cannot be a city before it is a constituency. Therefore, I recommend that the constituency should revert back to the 2018 status, considering that it got the fundamental features which also include the Heroes Acre, the Provincial Heroes Acre and the Museum. We cannot fight historical legacies that are actually contained in that constituency. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is my recommendation that those principles should apply as also highlighted by the Ad hoc Committee report which cited Section 9 of the Constitution, which said the Commission, when they are doing their work, should apply the principles of fairness, justice, good governance and honesty. There must also be consistency in the application of those principles Mr. Speaker Sir.
I also want to add my voice to the need for the census report and also to the need for the voters roll. It is actually difficult Mr. Speaker Sir, to recommend the passing of this report without really considering the voters roll. The voters roll is very important and also the census report. I add my comment on Warren Park Constituency by also looking at the geographical situations. If you look at the current Warren Park Constituency, there is a linear distribution of the communities – something which is fundamentally changed by the proposed delimitation. If you check Warren Park Constituency, it starts from Rotten Row and ends at Kuwadzana roundabout, which is something that is very easy to administer. It is different Mr. Speaker Sir, from a situation which we now have whereby we have Ward 15 and you have to navigate all the way to Mufakose. It is something that will complicate service delivery issues.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it will not be good also if I do not mention the issue whereby residents in one ward will have to seek administrative services from different district offices. For example, currently in Warren Park Ward 15, you will find people from Warren Park 1 have to pay their bills at Warren Park 1 District Office, yet those in Westlea have to go to Mabelreign. So, when you consider other principles of devolution and the principle of the devolution fund, in City of Harare, they have a policy of 25% retention fund, it will be difficult now to share the 25% retention fund where different people in the same ward have to pay in different offices. This also applies even in the distribution of the CDF fund. I recommend Mr. Speaker Sir that I will be happy and people of Warren Park Constituency will also be happy to see Warren Park Constituency added in the annexure of the critical or specific areas which need to be corrected. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. BITI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. What we are doing is to consider the Ad hoc Committee that presented its report on 13th January, 2022. Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we adopt that report and I move that consistent with the provisions of Section 161 (8) (b), this House resolves that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must reconsider its preliminary report on the basis of the issues and the recommendations that have been made by the Ad hoc Committee. I move that we make that resolution that ZEC should reconsider its interim report on the basis of the findings of the Ad Hoc Committee, that is the constitutional position. Mr. Speaker, the test of whether ZEC did a good job was always going to be measured on three issues. Firstly, procedurally, when they were making the report, did they follow the law? Secondly, whether the interim report is loyal to the principles that are defined in Section 161 (5) and (6), and thirdly and perhaps most importantly, whether the data supports the findings and recommendations in the interim report.
On three scores, on all the three, ZEC failed and failed dismally. On the first procedural issue, ZEC failed to consider the final report of the census and this point is made in the Ad Hoc report. There is a core-relationship between the task of delimitation and the population. That is why Section 160 makes it clear that every 10 years soon after the conclusion of a census there must be delimitation. When you look at the ZEC processes, there is no marriage, there is no nexus, and there is no connection between the interim report and the population.
If you go to Section 161 (VI) in dividing Zimbabwe into wards and constituencies, ZEC must in respect of any area, give consideration to the following features, physical features, the means of communication, the geographical distribution of registered voters and its population. ZEC did not consider the population; they published a list sometime last headed delimitation of constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries, national provincial and local authority voter registration figures. It was produced in terms of section 161(VI) signed by ZEC Chairperson P. Chigumba and it has a total registered voters of 5 800 376 000 yet this document does not give a provincial, a constituency disaggregation of the population in each of these constituencies and provinces because that is a constitutional imperator. That is failure number one on procedural issues.
Failure number two in procedural issue relates to the failure to produce even to the Ad Hoc Committee, a copy of the voters’ roll that they used. We are just told without verification, without authentification, without validation that the total number of registered voters is 5.8 but the actual voters’ roll itself has not been given.
The third procedural issue picked up in the report is the failure to consult citizens. The Committee report refers to Section 68 of the Constitution. Section 68 codifies the audi alteram partem rule. The rule simply means the right to be heard; ZEC did not consult citizens. ZEC did not consult constituencies, so ZEC produced a report without any paternity, any legitimacy vis-a-vis the citizens. So these things are well made in the report presented by Hon. Togarepi. They failed on procedural issues.
The second issue is whether they paid respect to the factors that are defined in Section 161 (VI), if you look at the areas that were most affected by constituency collapse - Harare, Gutu, Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and so forth, the process is autocratic, the process is not based on any formula, it is laying playing tennis with a changing baseline; I know the Australian Open is on right now. When you play tennis with a changing baseline, sometimes you are returning pane space hombe, sometimes you are returning padhuze. In law we call it eclectic, in law we call it cutting and pasting. That is what they did; there is no consistent adherence to a known formula.
I submit Mr. Speaker Sir, that the starting point – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – the starting point…
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: Are the Hon. Members clapping hands on the language used; I am not sure – [Laughter.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please go ahead with your debate.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the starting point must be data. ZEC says the total number of registered voters is 5.8 and ZEC gives a disaggregation of these numbers; the exact figure is 5 804 306 and they give the disaggregated figures as of the 30th May 2022. Bulawayo Metropolitan Province 270 000, Harare 952 000, Manicaland 738 000, Mashonaland Central 536 000, Mashonaland East 641 000, Mashonaland West 661 000, Masvingo 632 000, Matabeleland North 340 000, Matabeleland South 267 000, Midlands 762 000; there are 210 constituencies. So if you divide 210 constituencies into 5.8 it gives you a figure of 27 640 000 The Constitution starting point is that constituencies must be equal, that means the starting point by ZEC should be that every constituency of the 210 must have 27 640 000. When you now go to what they did, even constituencies that were above 30 000 were being collapsed, even constituencies that were bigger than those that were collapsed into were collapsed.
So there is no consistent formula - kwava kukanda hakata nezvinhu zvinofanira kuitwa pa data. That is not good enough Mr. Speaker. As the Committee says in the report, the 20% rule was misinterpreted; the 20% rule is now 27 640%. What ZEC did not do is that they have got a low figure of 22 000 and an upper figure of 34 000. If you subtract 34 000 minus 22 000, you get a variation of 50% when the constitutional limit is 20%. What they must do is to go back to the drawing board, divide the 5.8, marry it with the population and come up with a figure of 27 640. So every constituency now has 27 640 plus or minus but the minus is minus 10 going up, minus 10 going down so that you remain loyal to 20%, and they can do that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your time is almost up Hon. Member.
HON. BITI: If you do that Mr. Speaker, it means all the funny games and all the shenanigans that ZEC did, for whatever reason, will go away. Let us be loyal to data, let us be loyal to the figures, and let us be loyal to the statistics. If we do that we are home and dry. They have got time; the law says the report must be done six months before and the six months end on the 28th February 2023. I submit, if they do that desk top process they should be able to complete.
I want to come and give an example of the anomalies...
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. CHIKWINYA: I move that the Hon. Members time be extended by 10 minutes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It cannot be extended unfortunately, I am being guided.
HON. BITI: Thank you. Hon. Speaker Sir, the report does justice to Mashonaland East and Chivhu. The report does justice to Gutu, Binga, Metro Gutu ya Hon. Nduna. I want to add the atrocities in Harare. So for starters, the report says there are 45 wards in Harare when there are 46 wards. Once you start on that basis Mr. Speaker, watodzirasa, you are off side completely because you are doing guess work.
Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, when you divide the population of Harare which is 952 102 and you use that formula where you divide into 210, it means Harare must actually get 34 seats, instead it is stuck at 36 and one of the anomalies in Harare is that you have got wards, the average councillor in Harare is representing 15 000 people. So the principle of equality is destroyed and destroyed completely.
I want to come to my own constituency Harare East. Harare East comprises currently of three wards – Ward 46 which was totally ignored by ZEC. I do not know what happened to it, it just disappeared. So you have got Ward 46 which disappeared completely then you are now left with Ward 9 and Ward 8. Ward 9 is Greendale, Mandara area. Ward 8 which has got 16 000 people consists of Highlands and Newlands. What does ZEC do in its wisdom or more appropriately in its lack of wisdom, they take Ward 8 and throw it in Harare South, Churu. How does it happen Mr. Speaker? Can you picture Highlands, Chisipite and you place it at the Masvingo tollgate - [Laughter.] – The people of Highlands do not have any geographical communication; they have no common interest with the people in Churu Farm. So the description says you stand by a corner and then go to a stream without a name and then the red house and then you move - it does not make sense Mr. Speaker.
So to be very polite, ZEC did a disastrous job and the Chairman was very soft in his report. It was very diplomatic in his report but the truth of the matter is that it was a disastrous report if the truth be told. So now what we are saying Mr. Speaker, is that this House must resolve that ZEC must reconsider based on the issues that are raised in our report and that the starting point must be the population, the starting point must be equality. Divide 5.8 by 210, get 27 000 then you can play a bit now, just a bit on the 20% and 20% is not 40%, 20% is 20%. I thank you very much Hon. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add a few recommendations to the Delimitation Ad Hoc Committee Report. Mr. Speaker Sir, I know for a very fact that having been part of the Ad Hoc Committee, this looks in some areas like an armchair oriented report produced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when you are on a desktop and you are on an armchair, you are different from somebody who is putting boots on the ground and you are looking at the topography. You are also looking at the terrain Mr. Speaker Sir. You are different from somebody that is practical on the ground. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, less noise in the House please.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason I say the report distanced itself from the population is because it ignored the key tenets and values of section 161.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Mliswa?
HON. T. MLISWA: May Hon. Nduna be the last Member of the Ad Hoc Committee to debate because they did the report that people who were not part of it can debate. May he be the last person to debate because he contributed already and we must hear others. That is all I am asking. May he be the last because it was seconded by Hon. Tekeshe and now if Members of the Ad Hoc Committee also debate zvinenge zvakunetsa. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you for your protection Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Nduna, take your seat.
*HON. NDUNA: No, I will not sit down.
*HON. TOGAREPI: They are saying you should come last.
*HON. NDUNA: Let me just continue.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Just give him five minutes.
*HON. NDUNA: Let me continue. If I take my seat, the people of Chegutu would not be happy about that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Five minutes Hon. Nduna.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I touch on the issue of armchair analyst oriented operation that was undertaken because where in particular ZEC was supposed to stick to the issue of community of interest and how people are stationed and how they relate one to another, that was completely thrown out Mr. Speaker Sir. I say this because ZEC in its Act, in particular section 37 (a) of the Electoral Act, are supposed to interact with the community and that was not done. The Act which is sui generis, the supreme law of the land in Section 161 also speaks to that issue that was completely ignored.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I say this because where ZEC on its own volition says the threshold which is supposed to be met at ward level, if that ward meets that threshold, there is no need to touch it, there is no need to disturb it. ZEC went further and disturbed a ward in my constituency, which is Ward 25. Their threshold was 61.8 when there is a 20% variation. They ignored all that. They ignored their own rules of engagement and went ahead and removed a whole ward in a constituency which is called Chegutu West Constituency which ward is Ward 25 and threw it to Chegutu East Constituency jumping over John Bhinya, Masterpiece and Bexley. These are water bodies of note, big water bodies, more than seven. That is Pool Dam, Clifton Dam and they have changed the centre of the wards to be in Chegutu East Constituency. Where, if not in the office using some armchair oriented technical aptitude, can you have such a scenario?
Mr. Speaker Sir, I say where they are supposed to have a threshold meeting, a certain threshold in a ward, that should not be touched because it is a violation of their own law and it is not right. Section 2 of the Constitution says any Act of Parliament that is ultra vires the Constitution should not be repudiated to the extent of its inconsistency with itself. Mr. Speaker Sir, nothing, including an Act of Parliament speaks to what ridiculous modus operandi that was instituted in Ward 25 of Chegutu West Constituency. The Urban Councils Act does not allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to be the adjudicators of towns, rural district councils and otherwise. The adjudicator and who he appoints towns and municipality areas is the President in consultation with the Minister of Local Government.
When ZEC went into Chegutu West Constituency, they removed a whole ward and put it somewhere else. Where there were 15 wards, there are now 14 wards. I say this with a heavy heart because this is where the majority of my voters come from. However, now that there are 14 wards, there is need for ZEC to bring the minutes that came from the Minister of Local Government in consultation with the President, in terms of removing a whole ward and leaving 14 wards where there were 15 wards before.
In Chegutu West Constituency, there are 15 wards, three wards in the rural and 12 in the urban. How they chose to actually remove one ward in the rural set up – remove it completely and leave those in the urban set up. It gobbles the mind and should not be entertained. Chegutu West Constituency as at 31st May, 2022 had 31 445 voters above the threshold of 27 000 that they sought to address. It should have been left like that. The ward that I speak to and about had more than 1 800 people above threshold. So, if my Constituency was above 23 000 voters; if it was above 1 800 voters, the ward should be left as is.
There is now another issue of ward…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Nduna, your time please.
HON. NDUNA: That is okay Mr. Speaker, I am winding up. Musati kuna Speaker n’inin’ini, ndichiri kutaura, uyu ataura for almost 30 minutes. What I want to say is because it has taken five years to galvanise the support of the electorate, this is the reason why they should be consulted, whether they still want to fall under me or another constituency. Six months or three months is not good enough time to preach to the electorate and to change their mindset and confide in them for them to come in and vote. Politics is not church and you cannot change a mindset through promises. They would want to remain dead with the people who have given them…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, time please. I have been lenient to you.
HON. NDUNA: I am just winding up. As I wind up, I request that because I meet the threshold in the wards, those wards should remain unadulterated, untouched and ZEC should conform with those recommendations, otherwise going forward, they should stick to Section 161 of the Constitution.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I can see that the issue that is being debated in this House is the same thing. Members of Parliament, maybe there are a few who are happy with this delimitation process by ZEC, most of the Constituencies are at war. My first point is delimitation is supposed to be done after 10 years but this delimitation was done after 15years. This means ZEC did not follow proper procedure whether there was COVID but they were three years behind, where they failed to do delimitation. ZEC also did not go to the people to inform them on what they were about to do. They did not also go to the traditional leaders; they are important.
Us as Members of Parliament, we were not informed that we are coming into your area of Buhera to do this and that. I just remember that one day they told me that we shall come to your area but that was the end. Mr. Speaker, I once thought that there was a reason why they were doing this, may be for political mileage. I live in Ward 24 but for voting purposes, my name is in Ward 26, that is far away from where I live. They took Ward 24 and placed it in Buhera Central. They took another ward from Buhera Central and placed it in Buhera South.
Numbers are the same, around 3 thousand something. I wonder what they wanted to achieve. The issue that I have is that I do not want to tell them that do not embezzle people’s funds. ZEC should desist from politics and stick to its mandate as an independent body. Now, when they remove one ward and put into another constituency, then take a ward from that same constituency and put it to the later, it makes no sense. The way they did it as what has been said by Hon. Biti - Ward 17 of Buhera district is in Churu, very far away. They took that number of voters to Buhera South. Now the then Ward 17 was changed to Ward 25 but it is not indicated on their maps, we noticed it ourselves.
If ZEC officials were here, they would hear this for themselves but they are not here. We are just talking among ourselves. The Minister of Finance, when we are debating budget, he will be with his people but we are not seeing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) here. So, we are appealing that what ZEC did, some said that they should rectify then we can postpone the elections to give them time; if it is possible then we can hold elections in 2028, no problem. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Do not say aaah because I am only echoing an opinion that was made to this House or ZEC should return – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members!
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Or we should go back because it did not adhere to Section 161 and all that Hon. Biti referred to; they did not adhere to it. So, where are we heading? What I am recommending is that ZEC has failed this time around. If we really want to go for elections we should use the 2018 delimitation because we do not want people who will cry foul after the elections because there is no political party that is siding with ZEC.
Hon. Biti is saying that it is not good and we are saying it is not good. So what we are saying is that we should revert to 2018 and ZEC follows the law, consults the people and do away with this changing of wards in constituencies. Why are you removing certain wards and putting them in certain constituencies and vice versa? I think that ZEC did not do well.
So Mr. Speaker, I support the Ad Hoc Committee 100%, if ZEC was here. I do not see the Hon. Minister jotting down our contributions. So I do not know how he is taking down all the points that are being said here. – [HON. ZIYAMBI: There is my Secretary right there taking verbatim.] - These are my submissions. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in starting, I would just want to note that I reluctantly accept the Ad Hoc Committee’s Report because I think it is weak on certain issues. There is an issue of irregularities in the numbers supplied to us by ZEC. Despite us not having the Voter’s Roll and despite us not having a Census Report, ZEC gave us a figure for the whole country. I would have done it slightly different because I compared wards, constituency figures and the total in the Voters Roll and there are discrepancies in every factor. I will give you an example. The Mashonaland West figures do not add up by another two thousand (2 000).
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the wards, the ward figures vary when they are put under the RDC to when they are put under the constituency. I have numerous examples which I will not bog the House with but I have done those figures. So, to the Adhoc Committee, I would suggest that a recommendation be put that the figures that ZEC had given are checked on a simple spreadsheet. The figures are grossly misleading.
I then go Mr. Speaker onto the issue of maps. The maps being handed out have no reference point; there is no physical point where you can start measuring your map. The map of my area, you cannot track even with tarred roads there and it is shocking that ZEC had presented this to the Ad Hoc Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee covered it well. However, I would like to say, use the example of the previous- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members! Order in the House Hon. Members, may you lower your voices please? May the Hon. Member be heard in silence please?
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, the maps have no reference point; you cannot tie down a map. So I employed a special planner. I took the ZEC report where they described the boundary and we converted their coordinate systems onto Global Positioning System (GPS) and plotted it including the neighbouring wards. Ward 18 has a serious conflict with Ward 19 whereby it overlaps on the boundary but the worst overlap is actually in the heart of Ward 18 where it goes down Charlottes Brooke almost to Honeybee Lane to Borrowdale Brooke Road and back along Crowhill Road, then Hedsor Road and that has been taken out of Ward 18 and added to Ward 19; the new ward creating Hatcliff Constituency.
So ZEC has ignored the Constitution where it says, common interest. You cannot put low density with high density. I, myself, for Harare North recommended to ZEC the split of Ward 18 as low density with Hatcliff as high density for the simple reason that you cannot look after both as a Member of Parliament.
Secondly, when it comes to devolution funds, how do we distribute it between the rich and the poor? So the issue of the census is primarily so that you can get people of common interest together but it appears to me that ZEC is not driven by the Constitution. ZEC is actually demeaning the urban areas to maximise the number of votes per councilor and maximise the number of votes per constituency right up to 20% and above, and that I have a problem with because they are not following the Constitution. I am afraid that if we appoint Commissioners to an independent body and they are not following the Constitution, what are we doing? We are all sitting here. So, that has to be rewritten in the report.
Mr. Speaker, I would just like to mention the directions. The directions are a major issue particularly in urban areas, peri-urban areas where we have informal settlements. In Hatcliff alone, the eastern boundary alone of Hatcliff, Ward 42 and Ward 19 refer to 19 unnamed roads and two unnamed rivers. How do you judge a boundary like that? You are dealing with a coordinate system that only ZEC has that is very different to what the common man uses. I followed that and believe it or not, I know Hatcliff quite well and you have to point reference on two house numbers that are not registered in order.
So Mr. Speaker, there, I am afraid is not good enough. So, I urge the Committee to strengthen the issue on maps. The maps being handed out to us right now are mutilated; there is no reference point, they are worthless.
Mr. Speaker, I will go onto an issue that has not really been discussed and that is the issue of the population of Harare that was covered by Hon. Biti. I would like to just go down to the real mischief in Harare, and that is the wards. The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works was supposed to take heed of what the stakeholders said. The City of Harare and four Residents Associations, I know stated, we need 55 Wards, we got 45. My problem is this, why lie that you engaged the stakeholders when you ignored everything you tell them?
Mr. Speaker, I have done the figures and the figure is, every council here in Harare has to look after 16 101 people. If we go onto the wards, Mbare is the highest density in Harare and there is no argument about that as a constituency. Mbare has less people than Harare East. The area of Mbare, the council looks after less people and then in Harare East, Mbare fits into Harare East 26 times. So the council has got two councillors for Harare East that has got to cover 26 distances to visit more people than the council. It is a non- starter.
If you take large for large, we have got 16 101. The urban area right next door, high density Chitungwiza, the council looks after 1 644 people. We are looking after three times at the ward level than Chitungwiza, they work for the council and both urban areas are exactly the same. You look at the same thing in rural areas and it is shocking. Lupane Council looks after 452 people only.
Mr. Speaker, in the interest of time, I mentioned stakeholder engagement – my most important issue which is the polling station. Elections are run by polling stations. Knowing the reports, they talk of polling areas. The polling stations are not identified. They should have a GPS and we should know about common knowledge where all our polling stations are. We have had two previous speakers who just spoke right now telling us that they have changed wards. Even now with those polling stations on, we have been ignored. In some instances, I support the Ad hoc Committee providing the resolutions and are strengthened.
I am very anti the unfriendly manner in which ZEC presents its data including maps. It is almost like they do not want to show us. So we think that the lowest thing is blatantly the timing. Why is it that when we are talking about the most important thing facing this nation, that is all done last minute? I understand COVID and I understand the report but we are backing the Constitution. We are using upper-echolon, everything and we are not engaging the public. There are Members of Parliament who have stood up, many of the men and women not knowing what is going on in their constituencies would not be consulted. It is totally unacceptable and that is why I support that Ad hoc Committee Report. I thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and good afternoon to you. I want to add my voice to the issue on debate. First and foremost, I want to find out which report was used by ZEC to come up with their delimitation exercise? Which report did they use? If you go to our Constitution, it clearly tells you that after a census then delimitation comes. If there is no report from census, which report did they use to do their delimitation? This would mean to me that ZEC did its work without following the dictates of the Constitution.
If you go to Section 161 and try to find out which part of that section was followed by ZEC, there is none. The ZEC report was not there. If you go down and consider all the other items which must be considered by ZEC, in their report, they did not even mention a single item. There was need to consult stakeholders and there is no mention of any stakeholder that was consulted in their report. There is need to look at boundaries but there is not even any physical feature boundary that they mentioned in their report. There was need to consult interested people and there is not even mention of a single person who was consulted by ZEC.
This to me means that if as Parliament there is a law that is put and some organisation decides to come up with a report that is out of what Parliament has put, then the report is null and void. It is helter skeltter. They are just putting facts down from what they know as ZEC and not from what the Constitution says. There is a reason why the law says after a census report, then delimitation comes. People cannot just put law for the sake of it. They cannot just put a law and people do not regard what the law says and do things on their own. We cannot do that.
As Parliament and law makers, we want the law to be followed. If they do not follow the law, then we do not accept the report because it is not lawful. When they were doing their delimitation exercise, which number of people were they using if they did not have any numbers of people given to them? Where did they get the figures from so that they can put their boundaries? They did not have figures but they put boundaries – where from? If ZEC was here today, I would ask them whether they opened the Constitution and I would say, did you at one time open the Constitution to see whether what you are doing is constitutional? If they can write a report of this nature which is not constitutional, can I be safe to say ZEC cannot run an election and bring authentic results. Can ZEC come up with an authentic result for elections? All they are doing here is from hearsay and we cannot follow that. ZEC must get back and start afresh so that they can come up with something that is constitutional, something that we can read, something that we can refer to the Constitution and then we can proceed. That will be my submission. Thank you.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to commend the Ad hoc Committee for the conspicuous report that they made to this House. I believe that some of my colleagues have mentioned most of the legal issues pertaining to the report by ZEC. I just want to touch on Mashonaland East province and some of the mishaps which have been in that province.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in Mashonaland East, we had a meeting with ZEC and all political parties attended. ZEC presented to us their proposals. We were there and we all accepted. The report that they submitted to this Parliament is basically different from what they proposed to us. I want to give you specific examples. Section 161 (6), clause c says the geographical distribution of registered voters and clause d, any community of interest as between registered voters.
I want to go to Hwedza District Mr. Speaker Sir. When we had meetings with ZEC, Hwedza as a district was fit for one constituency. However, in this report Hwedza resorted back to two constituencies. How did they achieve to give Hwedza two constituencies? They had to take five wards from Marondera Rural District Council and put them into Hwedza. One of the wards is Ward 11, which is Mahusekwa Township. It is the centre of Marondera RDC, which is currently Marondera West. That has been put into Hwedza. If you look at the community of interest, most of the people that are in Marondera West constituency actually go to Mahusekwa as their township. They have put that into Hwedza North just to have two Hwedza constituencies. Again, for them now to bolster Hwedza South, they have gone and taken six wards from Chikomba District to make sure that we just have two Hwedza Constituencies. This is a serious gerrymandering by ZEC. I want to say this, when we had a meeting with ZEC, ZEC was very explicit to say we will only have one Hwedza constituency because the registered voters were not enough to form a constituency. They have now gone back and somehow redrawn the boundaries and ensured that we have two Hwedza constituencies.
How did they then come up with the remaining wards in Marondera Rural District? They had to take seven wards from Manyame RDC into Marondera West. These people have absolutely no correlation altogether. In our initial discussions with ZEC, they had actually said, we are going to have two Seke constituencies because Manyame RDC is quite huge. Now, they had chosen to have one constituency in Seke at the expense of the residents of Seke, the voters just to have two Hwedza constituencies, which are not even Hwedza. It is Marondera, Chikomba and Marondera RDC. They have gone to take chunks of wards just to form those two Hwedza constituencies. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is very serious gerrymandering that has been done by ZEC.
In conclusion, I just want to say whilst I do support the Ad hoc Committee’s report, we ask that ZEC makes the necessary amendments to its preliminary report. Thank you very much.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): What is your point of order Hon. Member?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, my point of order which I would like the male Members of Parliament to pay attention to is: I received a family today who needed my assistance. They have a daughter who was impregnated by a Member of Parliament. When she came here to seek assistance from another Member of Parliament, she was impregnated again. I had asked them to put them in black and white. I do not know the Members of Parliament but just for you to know. Members of Parliament who are male must be responsible. I will be putting this letter on social media and I would like the Members of Parliament who are involved to quickly support them. We cannot be seen to be abusing children and making them pregnant. Those children need to eat. If you are not able to support a child, do not have a child. Stop abusing the girl child. Thank you.
HON. MUDAU: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I come from Matabeleland South. We received the report from ZEC and we commend the job that they did. However, some of our wards have been taken away from Beitbridge, for example, they took wards from Beitbridge District and added them to Gwanda District. At the end, Chief Tshittaudze is now under another chief. These are some of the issues that are troubling us as Beitbridge residents. This means that we no longer have a chief in Beitbridge West Constituency. The chief is now under the rule of another chief in Gwanda. We were kindly asking that this be rectified. As it appears now, Beitbridge West has no chief. We are also asking that the people that have been transferred to the chief in Gwanda do not know the rules and the laws of that area. They are familiar with the rules and laws of Beitbridge. In Beitbridge we have our own way of honouring our chief which is different from what they do in Gwanda. In this regard, we say that it is impossible for our people to keep on practicing their culture. People will now need to change their identification cards because the 02 code that is used in Beitbridge is different from the code that is used in Gwanda. They will have to travel long distances to go to the polling stations where they registered to vote prior to this exercise. We pray that this should be rectified. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MAKARI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to contribute on this very important debate, specifically to speak on the Ad Hoc report. I guess we can only but congratulate ZEC for trying to do what is needed and to adhere to our Constitution. However, I am going to speak regarding the delimitation. There is a problem in my constituency, that is Epworth. I am going to start by talking towards something that is very sensitive to us as Epworth and myself as someone who stays in the constituency. There is no way you can move Dombo ra Mwari which is geographically significant to Epworth. Kuti uti Epworth, you are talking about Dombo ra Mwari and you move it to another constituency or to another ward. I think the Constitution talks about being sensitive towards geographically features. So that is my first concern. How do you take Dombo ra Mwari and put it in Hunyani Constituency and still remain with Epworth North and South? In all intents and purposes, we no longer have Epworth when you remove such historical features as Dombo raMwari.
The second point that I would like to highlight which was also stipulated in the Ad Hoc report is that the wards are not in sync, we have got certain wards that have 30 000 and other wards that have 33 000 in terms of the population when using the voters’ registration. It is not a secret that Epworth is highly populated. If these numbers are not tallying, then I think we should just overlook the delimitation. We have 7 wards in Epworth, and of the 7 wards, I am going to speak about Ward 2 in particular. Ward 2 sits right behind Epworth Local Board which is the administrative capital of Epworth. It has been moved to Harare South, so the electorate have to walk a distance of about 10 to 15km in order to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights; I do not think this makes sense. Besides just voting, the social amenities, social services, they get these from Epworth Constituency. So, it means now although they sit right behind Epworth Local Board, they have to walk far to get health services and other social amenities that are entitled to them.
So as far as I am concerned, I think the delimitation has to be addressed. They have to take into consideration the historical features. It has to take into consideration other services that our electorate needs to take advantage of. I think those are the major points that I would like to highlight as far as the delimitation report is concerned. To cut the long story short, I think that these issues that I have highlighted are taken into consideration. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee. Let me begin by thanking the Ad Hoc Committee for a job well done in actually analyzing and making our duty easier in terms of understanding the report from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Hon. Speaker, I will not be long because post of the points and wrongs that the Hon. Members wish the ZEC report should have covered have been highlighted. We are almost two hours and a half debating on this report and several options and recommendations have also been added on to the recommendations and conclusions of the report by the Ad Hoc Committee which I also want to associate myself with and thank the Ad Hoc Committee. Let me also add to say what Hon. T. Mliswa said is rightfully true. If you look at the conclusion of the Ad Hoc Committee, it goes on to highlight the role of Parliament in terms of protecting the Constitution. Here is an institution which was baptized by Parliament, anointed by the President of the country, busy breaking the Constitution and the rules of the country. What do we call such a report? I really wonder whether we should continue debating on this report which is actually illegal. In every aspect, the legal representatives that have spoken and the gurus that were in the Ad Hoc Committee, have highlighted several violations of the Constitution. Chapter 37 of the Electoral Act of the country which is ZEC’s own has been violated by ZEC. We are busy continuing to debate on an illegal report from the onset.
Hon. Speaker, I am going to suggest in a very simple manner, to harness as other Hon. Members have said, that we have to say ZEC goes back to the drawing board with all the inputs from the Ad Hoc Committee and the others that have been added on to the recommendations including also to give them a timeframe. It does not matter whether they work 24 hours a day but they can do a better job if they consider what the Members of Parliament have done.
Why am I saying so Hon. Speaker, we run the risk of losing the important points that have been highlighted in the Ad Hoc report because that is a parliamentary report, it is our report. If we so associate with it, then we need to actually throw back the report of ZEC for ZEC to go and do a better job. This is what we expected from the Ad Hoc Committee’s report and we give them a timeframe.
Zimbabwe is always on the limelight when it comes to elections - why are we saying so? In order for us to come up with undisputed elections, we need to do a thorough job and consider what the members and the Ad Hoc Committee report had said. Therefore, I endorse the moving of the report to be endorsed that was done earlier on by Hon. Biti, I second the endorsement and say this is a working document for Parliament of what we expect ZEC to have actually done. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. CHIKWINYA: I think my point of order arises from the debate that has just been made by Hon. Mpariwa and also by Hon. Biti. Hon. Biti proposed that we adopt the report and if you look even into the debate being made by Hon. Members, we are largely conflicting ourselves in terms of Standing Order No. 111 of our Standing Rules, that we are repeating ourselves. Hon. Mpariwa now comes up with the way forward that we have taken note of all the inconsistencies, especially with regard to the Constitution. Why can we not stop, take back the report to ZEC and this actually shows the seriousness of Parliament that we have condemned the report on the basis of inconsistency to the Constitution and we adopt the Ad Hoc Committee Report and perhaps make a resolution that can you relook because we understand that the Constitution allows them to have a final say, can you relook into the inconsistencies with regards to the Constitution and bring back the report to us for discussion, otherwise we are continuously only satisfying a constitutional obligation that we are supposed to debate for two days which I do not think there is any value in it.
So I move Hon. Speaker, that we adopt the report and we take it back to ZEC with the resolution that they must bring it back after addressing the inconsistencies which are in the Constitution as highlighted by the Ad Hoc Committee. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think it would be very unfair of me to deny other Hon. Members who would want to contribute. I do not think all the Hon. Members that are to come from now will be actually repeating the points that have been raised so far. What I can simply do is actually to guide those that I call not to repeat the points that have been raised. I am here to listen to new points that you have actually seen worthy to bring to this august House. Thank you very much.
HON. SACCO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would also like to raise some points of interest around the ZEC Preliminary Report, especially around the issue where I feel not enough consultations were made bearing in mind that in the Constitution, there are many factors that need to be considered but ZEC considered only the issue of registered voters, trying to balance out numbers as per ward, as per constituency. This in itself makes the whole process against the Constitution because there are six factors that should have been considered but they focused only on one, causing chaos and confusion because in my constituency, we have a certain place called Matsvukira Business Centre which is currently in Ward 22 but was moved to Ward 12 which is 45km away.
It does not make sense because when you distribute inputs for example, or when you have services being provided, one area is moved to a ward which is 45km away. We have seen wards being moved from one constituency to another. Ward 1, for example Cashel Valley in Chimanimani being moved to Chimanimani West, Ward 7 of Chimanimani East being moved to Chimanimani West and then one ward being moved from Chimanimani West to Chimanimani East. If it is about numbers, why do we need to move two wards to one side and then take one ward and move it back? There is obvious gerrymandering by certain people who had influence on the process.
Consultation was not done across the board. Why consult certain people and not others? Traditional leaders were not consulted, even DDCs, the DAs themselves were excluded from the process. Why should they have been excluded from this process? So it is evident that it was not done with proper consultation. It was a rushed exercise. Not enough time was taken and it was done with certain interests being taken into consideration looking towards council elections where Matsvukira Business Centre has a sitting councillor who is being moved from his ward to another ward to create confusion and conflict amongst people who want to represent those different wards.
I strongly feel Hon. Speaker, as was part of the Ad Hoc Committee Report, that ward 1 Cashel Valley should remain in Chimanimani East, Ward 7 can be moved to Chimanimani West but then Ward 17should be moved back to Chimanimani West as well. This will then make it remain Chimanimani East and West, otherwise moving these wards, we will end up having Chimanimani North and South. We will have to change the names of the constituencies because they are no longer Chimanimani East and West. They now become Chimanimani North and South.
In conclusion, I feel this process has been rushed. It has been done using only one issue, which was looking at the number of registered voters. I think it should be as a proposal but looking towards implementing it in 2028. I thank you,
HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to say most of my points have already been mentioned, so I will repeat just a few that ZEC never consulted primary requirements like geographical location, community of interest, languages, common interests and so on and also lastly to say traditional leaders were not consulted. They were left with no wards and also polling stations were moved to far away places such that it would take people a long time to visit those polling stations. Now if those people are not afforded transport, it means they will not go and vote, hence affecting election results. Thank you very much.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I will start with the issue of one requirement which mandates the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to publish or to gazette the wards before delimitation starts. This is so important for people to understand the wards. This could have cured this mischief where we now have some wards now belonging to even two local authorities. I can give an example of Epworth where we now have Epworth Ward 3 now grouped together with Ward 8 of Harare to form Manyame. You now have Ward 3 which is under Epworth local authority and this other ward under Harare and according to the principles of delimitation, this is not allowed. It should not have happened. How this could have been solved was that the Minister of Local Government and Public Works should have gazetted the boundaries of the wards before delimitation. That is one issue Mr. Speaker I would want to be addressed.
The other issue Mr. Speaker, is that Harare itself, what ZEC was concentrating on was on condensing the constituencies and sometimes creating corridors to link wards so that they would form constituencies. A typical example is Ward 36 which is part of my constituency and which is in Mufakose. Ward 36 Mr. Speaker, ends where Ward 14 starts. On the other end, there is Ward 15 which is Warren Park. The other ward is Kuwadzana. For them to link Ward 36 to Ward 15, they had to cut through Ward 14 which is Kambuzuma. They are now dividing a cooperative which is already there, Leopold. They are going through the middle of Leopold Cooperative and their description is that you drive down High Glen Road, you get to house Number 409, turn on the right of that boundary of a house. You go up an unnamed road. You then go into Kambuzuma and to Jumbo Road. Here is Kambuzuma, you are now dividing Ward 36 which is going to be Warren Park and Ward 14. Jumbo Road is that road from Section 5 Kambuzuma going to Mereki and you are going to say the people of Kambuzuma now belong to two constituencies. Some remain in Kambuzuma while the others are going to Ward 36. The same applies to Joshuwa Nkomo Cooperative. Again, you are dividing the people on the basis of an imaginary boundary and this is what they say – hanzi imaginary line. How do you find an imaginary line?
Not only that Mr. Speaker, you then go to Ward 14. They want to link Ward 14 to Harare Central. Hanzi you go down Kambuzuma Road into Makoni which is in Rugare. Makoni is the first Road parallel to Kambuzuma Road. Here is the heart of Rugare. The poor people of Rugare and you have now a boundary that says the other part is now Ward 13 which is Southerton and the other part is now Ward 14 Kambuzuma. Actually it is not Kambuzuma, it is now Ward 5 which is the Belvedere area. You know how you come to VID, that is where that constituency is going to be. The relationship and the community of interest between the people of kubva kuseri uku Mr. Speaker, coming through here and going to places like Belvedere up to Kambuzuma and call it a constituency – what relationship is there between those people.
Mr. Speaker, the people of Milton Park now are part of Harare Central which includes Kambuzuma. What relationship is there between the people of Milton Park? Here are business people, affluent people, people who are rich. So it does not make sense Mr. Speaker. The other issue that needs to be addressed is the exponential population growth in Harare. Mr. Speaker, how can you have Harare starting from 45 wards instead of 46? You have already reduced a Ward for Harare but the population for Harare has been growing exponentially. When we talk of exponential growth, that is a growth that has a line that is going up like this. It is not going almost parallel, it is actually going up and the population of Harare has been growing. Why would then Harare have its wards reduced and you are increasing a constituency. There is evidence that population is growing and the threshold of Harare is around average of 31 thousand people per constituency when you have got other constituencies that have got 22 thousand. Look at the difference. The difference is now beyond the 20%. Why they are talking of equality in representation is because the resources will be distributed in that particular manner.
The CDF has to be distributed equally. No constituency should get more than another one but if another one has 32 000 and another constituency has 22 000, there is a misnomer. You are not sharing the resources equally. My recommendation is that as the Committee said, there are a lot of corrections that have to be made by ZEC. Take into consideration what Members are saying here because this is the same confusion that is out there. The issue of saying unnamed road, unnamed river, imaginary line, that is not good enough. You are not describing the boundaries. If you look at the example of the 2008 reports, they were very clear.
It had all the data that was required. What we were given today was a preliminary report by ZEC to its stakeholders. This is what Chegutu was in 2008 and this is what they produced first. Thereafter, they then produced a map that was well labeled with roads and rivers but not the imaginary things that ZEC is talking to us about.
Lastly Mr. Speaker, ZEC is an independent board but it is only independent when it is abiding by the rules respecting the Constitution. No one would want to interfere with ZEC’s work but ZEC must then respect the people. Simply following the Constitution, you will be respecting the people and the people will applaud you for that. Thank you very much.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me also take this opportunity to only thank the Ad Hoc Committee for the report that they submitted. Suffice to say that I thought they could have used their teeth to extract certain information. I view of the fact that they missed an opportunity; for example, we should by now as Members of Parliament be equipped with the voters’ roll and they mentioned it in their report that it was an essential raw data which was supposed to have been provided for to the MPs.
Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this Session, I pointed through a point of order to the Hon. Speaker who was in Chair that the information that we were supplied with was firstly, not legible and secondly was not enough. Pursuant to that, physical information was them given to us. This 595 paged book, we have it in our soft copy, so there is nothing new. The maps that we were given, we had them, so there is nothing new. I remain and I want to take this opportunity to say the 10 annexures that were referred to – I do not think that condition has been satisfied. Suffice to say that I was taking a look because it is now a physical map, I could see better on the physical map than on the electronic map. The physical map for the 2023 boundaries as proposed, Mbizo Constituency is not there and I had thought that it was because of the electronic illegibility but even on physical paper, Mbizo Constituency is not there. Mbizo Constituency then appears on the provincial map for 2023 but be that as it may, the polling stations as plotted under Mbizo Constituency are so dotted close together, not even making any meaningful sense for one to be able to analyse. Hon. Speaker, what I am trying to speak to is that the information that has been given to Members of Parliament to analyse does not make sense. It then makes this House to become a rubber stamping institution yet we were supposed to be given data to analyse and make recommendations for the good of making laws for our own country.
A fundamental error was made by ZEC. Section 161 (3) provides that the constituencies are supposed to be divided into equal number of voters, in terms of the 210 national constituencies and it is then supported by Section 161 (6), which then gives the 20% variance. Now, ZEC did not use the national formula. It used a provincial formula. So they went into Harare Province, found that there are 952 000 registered voters, then they divided that by 29 constituencies and found a provincial average, where they then effected a 20% variant. It is my fervent view and submission that, that was a misinterpretation of the Constitution.
They went into Midlands, found out that there are 738 000 plus registered voters, divided that by 28 constituencies and got a provincial average and then effected a 20% variance. I do not think that is the spirit of the Constitution. The spirit of the Constitution is to establish equal number of voters throughout the whole country and then you effect a 20% variance as expounded by Hon. Biti to have an effect of 10% above and 10% below, not to have a provincial average but rather a national average.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, please do not take the maps with you. They are a record of the House.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I will also point out to the issue of unspecified ‘may’ scale. The Ad Hoc Committee rightly points out so that the maps that we were given – one of the particular features of a map is to have a scale so that you can know the sizes of the areas being mapped. So a map is basically a form of reducing what is on ground to a particular readable diagram on paper but then without a scale you are not even aware. This is why they talk of imaginary boundaries like what was explained by Hon. Madzimure. If we had a scale, one of the principles of Section 161 (3) is to have equal boundaries and equal number of voters. Considering all the six features that are mentioned in subsection 6 of Section 161, I move Hon. Chair that in adopting this report, I am not sure, on this one I need your ruling Hon. Speaker.
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: On a point of order. As Masvingo, we do not have the maps; we do not know what others are talking about. Can we also get those maps?
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Chair, I seek your clarification here as I wind up. Are we allowed as Parliament to make a resolution? I understand we are allowed to make recommendations but are we allowed to formulate a resolution which we then submit to ZEC and that requires answers? My constitutional understanding is that we make recommendations, give them to the President and the President passes them on to ZEC but ZEC has the final say.
So, this process that we are doing can literally be misinterpreted to say we are simply talking and then ZEC has the final say. I can then propose that the Ad Hoc Committee sits again and make resolutions coming out of what we are currently discussing to say we resolve that you do this by this certain time because point number one, we need to be compliant with the Constitution in terms of doing elections. We also need to guide ZEC. In terms of Section 119, we are an institution which superintends all other Government agencies and commissions.
Given those powers, can we not make resolutions which we are then going to give to ZEC, giving them what we expect them also to do in terms of compliance to Section 119? I need your clarification on that. Perhaps you also want to seek clarification from legal counsel so that at least it will guide us as Parliament. We clearly understand that there are also matters of litigation before you. As a House, we understand that the litigation is directed to the Speaker of Parliament but we also know that the Speaker of Parliament is also representing all of us as a House. So we need to move together with him to comply with litigation issues, to comply with the Constitution. My question is; can we make a resolution or can we task the Ad Hoc Committee to go back and make resolutions which we are going to adopt and give to ZEC because we have certain expectations which we want from them?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I feel that it is only proper to come up with that question that you have raised after we have given every Member who would want to contribute time to contribute, then we can now consult our legal counsel, whether it is actually permissible for the House to make some recommendations but that is a very important point. Thank you very much for that.
*HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate in the House. I also want to add some comments onto the Ad Hoc report. Actually I support the observations and everything they said. What people debated on shows that ZEC was quick to do their work without doing much ground work. By so doing they made many errors. The report is full of flaws; serious errors. They were inconsistent. What they did in one constituency, they did not do the same in the next constituency, meaning they did not use any formula at all.
Many constituencies which they delimitated fall outside the permissible threshold. If you try to follow a formula they used in one constituency and try to apply it in another constituency, it could not work. There is need for consistency, which lacked in this case. In Midlands, had there been consistency, we would have remained with four constituencies in Mberengwa and had they done it in accordance to the Constitution, at least before using the numbers, you should use primary factors to see that if I change here, what will happen to the ward? How will people access polling stations? What changes will be brought if we change polling stations?
I think ZEC conducted this delimitation exercise from their offices and did not go to the ground in order to ascertain what it means to move someone from ward 1 to ward 4; they did not consider any of this. This is my opinion and that is why I say that there are a lot of mistakes.
So, I want to support the Ad Hoc Committee Report and recommend that they go back to the ground and look for consultants with the expertise on delimitation. They should not rush this exercise as this is a very big thing. We were only stopped because of COVID and we waited for more than 10 to 15 years. So when you are doing it, it should not be like child’s play. I am saying that fundamental issues have been raised here. The report shows that there are a lot of corrections that should be done. When you are writing an assignment, in college you are told to rewrite or redo. This is what I am endorsing on this ZEC report that they should rectify the errors because I do not know how we can adopt this report.
The other mistake that they made was lack of consultation. Most legislators, just like myself, did not hear anything about the exercise. When I finally heard about the exercise, ZEC had their answers already; they had their own formulas that they are changing from constituency to constituency and we do not understand it. It is a bowl of confusion. Even the map reading is confusing because you cannot locate the polling station that is being mentioned.
Also the Commissioners, I heard that some of the Commissioners distanced themselves from the report and refused to sign it; it went through and only two Commissioners signed, that is, the Chairperson and her deputy. Why did the other Commissioners refuse to sign? Later on, we heard that those who did not sign disowned the report. So who are we to accept and endorse a disowned report when the owners are refusing? Thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you for according me this opportunity. A lot of things have already been said but I want to address the issue of educating people because the people who are concerned do not know about this delimitation exercise. As parliamentarians, we come across a lot of people; I am talking as someone who represents the urban constituency. People hear on social media that there are new wards but what I have observed is that when listening to people debating and also on the report of the Ad Hoc Committee, I have seen that ZEC did the delimitation mathematically. They calculated from their offices and did not go to the grassroots.
When I am talking about Masvingo, I should go to Masvingo and physically see the mountains and rivers. I should ascertain whether what I have written is corresponding to what is on the ground. I can give an example that many people were talking about common interest but my personal opinion is that we do not look at common interest only but should look at, for example geographical positions. When I am here, there is Seke Road that goes to Chitungwiza and there is another road that comes from Mbudzi round-about that goes to Chitungwiza and it is labeled. There was a lot of gerrymandering. Wards 23 and 21 are together but they skipped that and went to another ward that is far off.
I think we should look at all the area angles and also involve the people in those areas. We know that we will not be able to please everyone but we should do things so that our country develops; a thing that will be used in posterity. So I am in support of the report that has been tabled by the Ad Hoc Committee; maybe we put them under pressure. So, I think that we should give them more time.
I heard a former speaker saying that the other Commissioners refused to sign the report. I think they should be given a chance to look at the report, taking into consideration what Hon. Members pointed out because we are representing the people out there. The report together with the recommendations should be put together so that they rectify the concerns that have been raised. I thank you.
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity as I stand to support the report by the Ad Hoc Committee. In particular, that they must be given …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, Honourable may you connect your gadget please?
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity as I stand to support the report by the Ad Hoc Committee - [*HON. NYABANI: You are not audible Hon. Member.] - Thank you Hon. Speaker, I will start again. I believe I am not speaking loud enough.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I thank you for this opportunity to support the report by the Ad Hoc Committee. In particular, to say that they should revisit the report that they have given us to correct all the irregularities by not following the Constitution because as Parliament, our mandate is to protect the Constitution. In saying that, I support the Ad Hoc Committee, I think it is important as well that I must state that it was not a gender sensitive committee.
Hon. Speaker Sir, when we look at what happened as many other Hon. Members have spoken about their constituencies and their provinces that Section 161 (6) (d), community of interest as between registered voters. When you look at what happened in Bulawayo, you find that a low density area and a high density area were put into one ward even though they were not neighbours. They had to cross through other constituencies to become a ward. In particular, I will speak about Bulawayo South which had Ward 7 and Ward 5. That is Makokoba and South World in Bulawayo South. When you look at the ward retention fund or you look at the devolution as has been spoken to, that becomes a problem.
We also look at Cowdry Park where you have Ward 6 and Ward 28 which is on the far end of Bulawayo and Ward 6 being in the low density suburbs. As I support this report, it is important to note that the Ad hoc Committee also adds by accepting or agreeing to go into this process without having the Constitution and without having the census report because they were relying on information from ZEC whom we are all condemning that they did not follow the Constitution. So the Ad hoc Committee as well did not follow due process. It is important in future that whenever any Ad hoc Committee is put in place, they must follow due process.
We also have situations where according to the Constitution, wards should not be split. So you have some wards in Bulawayo that have been split such as Entumbane, part of Mpopoma and Matshobane which have been split into two. That is all I have to say Mr. Speaker Sir and I support the recommendations by the Ad hoc Committee.
HON. NOWEDZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am standing down for debate because my point has just been mentioned by someone.
HON. DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker Sir, just like my sister who said her points have been spoken – what I am saying is that a lot of issues have been raised, discrepancies, anomalies and so I am just in a minute saying to the House - I think what we ideally should do now is to take this report back to ZEC and ask ZEC to wait for the census – simple and straightforward. Thank you.
THE MNISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the debate do now adjourn. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
HON. MAMOMBE: Are we able to debate tomorrow?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Yes, you will debate tomorrow.
HON. MAMOMBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker for the clarification.
THE MNISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th January, 2023.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Two Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.