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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 2 MARCH 2022 VOL 48 NO 27

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

 Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM RESIDENTS COALITION FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, DEAF ZIMBABWE TRUST, FIGHT INEQUALITY ALLIANCE ZIMBABWE AND MS. NYASHA SHARON MPAME

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Parliament received the following petitions:

  1. A petition from the Residents Coalition for Electoral Reforms of Zengeza, Chitungwiza, beseeching Parliament to request the Registrar-General to expedite issuance of identity documents for purposes of voter registration.

         The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services.

  1. A petition from Deaf Zimbabwe Trust of Greendale, Harare, requesting Parliament to protect the rights of pupils with disability and to finalise the inclusive education policy that has been in draft form since 2019.

         The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights.

  1. A petition from the Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe of Mt. Pleasant, Harare, beseeching Parliament to redress the current regressive tax regime, enact legislation for redistributive wealth tax, implore Treasury to review downwards the withholding tax and expedite the finalisation of the Mines and Minerals Bill before the end of 2022.

         The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committees on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and Mines and Mining Development.

  1. Lastly, a petition from Ms. Nyasha Sharon Mpame of Mt. Pleasant Heights, Harare, requesting Parliament to engage the Ministry of Health and Child Care in order to increase the number of machines for cancer patients, recruit more personnel to attend to cancer patients and decentralise cancer services to all districts by the end of 2022.

         The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received the following correspondence on leave of absence by members of the Executive: 

          Hon. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;

          Hon. Z. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;

          Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development;

Hon. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;

Hon. Ambassador Dr. F. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and

Hon. Dr. S. Kanhutu-Nzenza, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE CERTIFICATE RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that there was a Non-Adverse certificate for the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill [H. B. 7, 2021]. 

Hon. Mliswa, you wanted to raise a point of order?  Do not eat into your question time please.

HON. T. MLISWA: No, I will not Mr. Speaker Sir, it will be brief. Mr. Speaker Sir, a very good afternoon to you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Afternoon.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, what I want to bring to your attention is a culture of disrespect for this House by Cabinet Ministers.  I have been tracing the apologies sent and today, there are about four or five.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you be connected please.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to illustrate the culture by certain Cabinet Ministers of not respecting this House.  You constantly announce those who would have apologised and today I counted about four or five.  Last time you were very clear where they were - somewhere in Dubai and in Botswana for some meetings and so on.  I rose up to challenge the inconsistency.  Today, I do not know where the others are, I do not know whether you have been furnished on where they are or they are still in Dubai or in Botswana because this is another week.

This is serious, it is a culture; whether it is a culture of misinformation to this House, it has to be looked into because we are a country which has a duty in terms of addressing economic needs.  The Middle Income Economy by 2030 – they are the foot soldiers who sit in Cabinet and come up with a policy and ours is to interrogate the policies through implementation.  How then do we do that when they are constantly not here?  For example Hon. July Moyo, for Local Government and Public Works, it is critical.  Agriculture right now, there is a drought which is looming, we would like to understand what the Ministry of Agriculture is doing in terms of mitigation of cloud seeding.  We are facing hunger.  Those are critical issues and they are not here, the Deputy Ministers are not here.  How then do we represent people when they are not here?  It is a culture and I think you have been generous, kind and understanding in many ways. 

However, they have crossed the line - they absolutely have no respect for the appointing authority or for this House. Finally, they do not have respect for themselves.  It is a shame for us to constantly bring this issue up.  Through your position Mr. Speaker Sir, how can we address these issues?  The last time, the Head of State was told about them, it is the same culprits.  Hon. Murwira, you see him here, Hon. Mhona is here and we end up naming Ministers because they have no…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you wind up your point.

HON. T. MLISWA: We are now forced to say ‘this Minister is good, at least he comes and this Minister is not good but we must not get to that.  There must be collective responsibility in terms of that.  With your indulgence, what is the way forward now, with all this happening?  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The way forward is very simple, we will proceed and find out why those Ministers who have not tendered their apology did not attend.  They will be followed suit accordingly in terms of our Standing Orders and Section 107 (2) of the Constitution.  I think the officials, Clerk’s Office, you have noted that and we will draw up the list and act accordingly.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Hon. Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities.  My question is: may I know Government policy regarding the issuance of title deeds, especially in urban areas.

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Allow me to thank the Hon. Member for a very pertinent question.  As you may be aware, the responsibility to provide title deeds lies with the Central Government and its local authorities.  As you also may be aware Mr. Speaker Sir, a fortnight ago, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe made a pronouncement in Epworth, that the Government has now started the processing of title deeds in areas which are informal settlements, areas that were created from the 70s to date which do not have title deeds.  That statement was followed by conflicting statements from the media Mr. Speaker Sir, which I wish to correct this afternoon. 

After that pronouncement, His Excellency has set up or created an inter-ministerial Committee which comprises the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and so on and so forth. The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education as the primary driver, is responsible for mapping using their department called Zingsar which primarily focuses on geo-spatial planning. They have started working on that process in areas like Harare South and Caledonia. The mapping is done to identify people that are settled in areas with master plans where we have also had lay-out plans where we have got people that are legitimately settled and those that were illegitimately settled; those that have put up houses in the areas where we are supposed to be having roads, social amenities and so forth. That exercise is work in progress. It has started. The issuance of title deeds starts with those that are legitimately settled. Those that fall in the lay-out plans, those are the ones going to be issued with title deeds. Those that are illegitimately settled are not going to be issued with title deeds. However, suitable pieces of land are going to be identified through the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and given to us. Once that is done, we then provide onsite/offsite infrastructure, that is roads, water and sewer. They are now given the stands or blocks of flats are going to be constructed. Those who so wish will be relocated into the blocks of flats and those who want to build houses will build on stands. That is one part of looking at it.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also important for the House to understand that there is a process which is ideal that we used to follow for the issuance of title deeds. Let me explain the ideal process. The ideal process is that land is identified by Ministry of Local Government and Public Works from the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. Ministry of Local Government applies for that land which in turn is given to the Ministry of Agriculture. Once that process is done, topographical surveyors are employed to come and do what we call topo-survey. After topographical surveys are done, spatial planners or physical planners are engaged, either through Local Government or through the private sector. Once the planners have done the lay-out plans and everything else necessary, engineers are now consulted to do the designs for the roads, water and sewer. After the designs are done, tenders are floated for contractors to come and contract the roads, water and sewer. Once that is done, the local authority, for instance City of Harare will then issue what is called a compliance certificate. The compliance certificate is the instrument that triggers the processing of title deeds through the Deeds office. That is the ideal situation.

In 2002, the old dispensation, in a desire to want to provide accommodation to everybody, embarked on what was called parallel development where a home seeker can build his house whilst the developer is providing roads, water and sewer. That parallel development was not earnestly supervised and the result and factor is what we have now as informal settlement or irregular settlements, Caledonia, Hatcliff, Gimboki in Manicaland, Cowdray Park in Bulawayo. They were born out of a desire to provide parallel development. Seized with that matter, His Excellency has now said, why do we not now do the reverse of the process. Let us protect home seekers from continuously being duped by land barons; let us provide title deeds first.

So we are starting from the end going to the beginning. We provide title deeds first and the second stage will be now to engage the private sector to provide roads, water and sewer with all the requisite designs. Those are the processes that we are going through now. We have started the process of processing title deeds, not issuing title deeds. It is a programme that phase one is going to take five years because we are dealing with settlements that were created in the 70s which do not have title deeds; Mbare, GlenNorah, Highfield and so forth. That is one part of it. The other part is the one that I have just explained where we had hoped to have parallel development initiated but unfortunately both the developers and the supervising authority slept on duty and we ended up having informal settlements.

The third one is where people settled themselves illegally on land that belongs to the State. There are no master plans, there is nothing. We have retrospectively come and provided master plans, issued title deeds and also provided onsite infrastructure. So the issuance of title deeds is not an event Mr. Speaker Sir. It is a process and we have started the process. I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for a comprehensive response. My supplementary question is; may I know Government policy regarding those people who are illegitimately settled who may wish to settle on those stands which are going to be provided by Government.

HON. GARWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The question is a bit colloquial, I will try to make pieces out of it. People who settled themselves or settled through land barons on land set aside for social amenities will be relocated to areas where there is proper human settlement. There is no other policy that speaks to that. If you have settled in an area where you are supposed to be building a shopping mall or a road, Government is saying we will not come and demolish your house, however we will identify a suitable piece of land for human settlement, provide the requisite onsite/offsite infrastructure, allocate a stand to you at affordable rate and not for free. Once you have moved out of where you are, Government will then come and demolish the house that you have built in an area set aside for schools, clinics and hospitals. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you Hon. Minister for the response. My supplementary question is; we have business people who have been leasing pieces of land but do not have title deeds.  When are they going to get these title deeds?

HON. GARWE: Mr. Speaker Sir, can you assist me with interpretation, my Ndebele is so terrible.

THE HON. SPEAKER: There are business enterprises that have been leasing some pieces of business land for a long time and they do not have title deeds. When are they likely to be given title deeds?

HON. GARWE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank the Hon. Member for asking the question. It is a pertinent question too. It is an area that we had not interrogated as a Ministry, however, since we have got an Inter-Ministerial Committee working holistically on the title deeds issue, we will raise this issue with the Ministry of Local Government. We have an Inter-Ministerial Committee duly constituted to deal with all issues surrounding issuance of title deeds, be it households, commercial building, commercial areas or industrial areas. What she has raised is a very pertinent matter which we have not interrogated at this stage. I promise that we will interrogate it and come up with an answer when I have got an appropriate answer. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker and good afternoon. Mr. Speaker. I am very interested because this is the first directive we had which is comprehensive. My question pertains to the parallel structures that started in about 2000. Those areas with master plans which have everything except for certificate of finality; the issue is people have for 20 years been paying land barons, proprietors and in some cases politicians. Why can these people, if there is already a master plan and we are now waiting for the infrastructure design; not be given their title deeds?  Specifically, in my area that is the case.  It is exactly the same except for Epworth and Harare South but we totally ignored this when it comes to special planning.

          HON. GARWE:  His Excellency is saying no one will be left behind and no place will be left behind.  There is an issue that happened as far back as the 60s.  The human settlement issue is not an issue created by the past Government or this Government.  This is an issue that started in 1890 when people were displaced and left homeless.  It was never addressed until now.  We are dealing with issues of ancestors.  We are cognisant of the fact that we are accountable to the problems that were created by our ancestors and His Excellency is saying we should deal with those problems. 

          The issue of parallel development was a very noble idea.  Provide a house and at the same time providing water, roads and sewer.  Unfortunately, human beings being what we are, the developers decided not to follow that principle in that contract.  Home seekers need accommodation hence they continue to pay money to land barons.  Land barons do not own a piece of land; it is all State land.  Government has made pronouncements that home seekers should not pay money to land barons.  Our citizens do not pay heed-  it is only when they are duped that they come back to Government. 

          Be that as it may, we are now following all those places where people are settled, whether there is a master plan or not and regularising.  We have got a policy on regularisation of both formal settlements that do not have the services like the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle settlements or informal settlements where people just built with the hope that a road will be created.  We are following up and doing what is right. I thank you.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is: are we not putting the cart before the horse?  The Uchena Report is critical in bringing transparency and it seems as if Government is protecting the land barons because the Uchena Report is yet to be tabled and yet to be implemented. What is Government saying about that?  Was the Uchena Report irrelevant? When is it going to be tabled?

          HON. GARWE: The Uchena Report is very clear Mr. Speaker Sir.  It speaks to land ownership. The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities does not deal with land ownership.  Land ownership is addressed through the relevant authorities - the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture.   

          HON. T. MLISWA:  I would want to seek clarity Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  There is no need for clarity.  The question must be directed to the relevant Minister.  He cannot clarify that which does not belong to his Ministry.

          *HON. PETER MOYO:  Is the Minister aware that local authorities have put in place a policy that even if I buy my stand through the council, I must advertise and publish, then there is a syndicate which is formed.  This syndicate will send people to object, then they end up repossessing the stand after one has paid for the stand.  This syndicate is the one that is buying stands.  It was created through a Council resolution.  If the Hon. Minister does not know, then the taskforce should look into the issue.  I think His Excellency saw this and understood that this is a syndicate that is taking advantage of people

          *HON. GARWE:  What happens in Council is known to Councillors who sit in Council meetings. These Councillors fall under the Ministry of Local Government and not my Ministry.  We also know that councils are corrupt.  If you do not report Councillors who do such things, then Government cannot investigate and arrest.  We are neither the prosecuting nor investigating authority, but if you report as citizens that a certain Councillor is involved in corrupt activities, then they will be prosecuted. 

          The challenge is that people keep quiet.  They complain later.  Please do not pay land barons.  Councillors do not own land.  This is State land.  Please listen to the Government. I thank you.

          HON. R. R. NYATHI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. For the past few weeks, I have been seeing people from ZEC conducting some voter registration exercise but I am also privy that the Ministry of Home Affairs is starting a programme to give our people some identification documents. 

          When we are looking at the people that are in the reserves, they normally walk 20-60 kilometres to go to such centres.  When one is about to take an identification card....

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, ask the question please.

          HON. R. R. NYATHI:  What has the Ministry done in order to reduce walking distances in the reserves where the elderly have to accompany the young to go and obtain their identification certificates?

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Yes, as a Ministry, we are planning to roll out the mobile registration programme.  This will ensure that we bring the services as close as possible to the people.  We will make use of existing infrastructure in the form of schools to try and spread out the centres and ensure that the distance that people walk to try and get to the registration centres is minimised. 

          We are in the process of preparing for this programme.  We have started resource mobilisation.  We have been allocated some resources in that regard by the Minister of Finance and we are on target in as far as our schedule is concerned. We intend to start on the 1st of April, 2022 to roll out this programme. So we have started buying what is required, hiring of vehicles and so the programme is on course.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say 1st April, 2022?

HON. KAZEMBE: The beginning of April, we start rolling out the programme.

HON. MUDARIKWA: Mr. Speaker, with the technological development in Zimbabwe, when are we going to see the issuance of birth certificates and national identity cards online?

HON. KAZEMBE: Let me take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent follow-up question. Currently, the Registrar General is seized with that matter. In fact, as a Ministry, we have what we call the Integrated Information Communication Technology Strategy through which we intend to computerise all departments: the ZRP, Civil Registration, Immigration, so as to ensure that they speak to each other online.

Now, this will entail that each department like the Civil Registry, will have to be computerised. We have started that process. It is quite a tedious programme but we have started embarking on it. This is evidenced by the introduction of the e-passport system. As we speak right now, our officials are working on the possibility of ensuring that citizens apply for the passports online and this will extend to I.Ds and birth certificates. In fact, Mr. Speaker Sir, the idea or our long term objective is that citizens should be able to get their birth certificates straight away from the hospital. Everything must be integrated and that is why I am talking about integration.

The birth record from the Ministry of Health should trigger the process at the Civil Registry office once we get integrated and the birth certificate must be issued automatically once somebody is born. That is the whole idea, that is where we are going, and that is what is entailed in the Integrated ICT Strategic Plan which again by the way, involves a lot of other ministries; Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development being a key Ministry in that regard in as far as innovation is concerned. I thank you.

HON. TOFFA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is - what systems and mechanisms have they put in place to give the citizens easy access to getting birth certificates? I ask this because the citizens out there (I talk from an experience I had in Bulawayo) cannot get the birth certificates because they were born, for instance in Nkayi, Tsholotsho and they are told they have to go back to where they were born. In most instances, they have families that have passed on –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, order, I think the question is understood.

HON. TOFFA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I just want to add a correction to the Hon. Minister. The system of birth records is already in place, the only problem that is there is the fact that children are not given the birth records if the parents have not paid, which is against what the Constitution says.

HON. KAZEMBE: Let me thank the Hon. Member for the follow up questions. Let me start with the last one. As a Ministry, we are not aware that people are denied birth certificates because they have not paid some money but we will look into it.  If it is a specific case I would kindly ask the Hon. Member to share with us the information, otherwise we will look at it generally and see if that is happening.

On the other question that she raised on what mechanisms we are doing to ensure that everybody has easy access. She pointed out a particular case, the Nkayi case. To start with, ordinarily children are supposed to get their birth certificates when they are born but we do understand there are situations or instances where someone has grown up and they do not have a birth certificate.

Currently, we have come to realise this is an issue. We know we have certain areas like Tsholotsho, Binga and so on where we are coming across these incidents. We have actually called all the Provincial Registrars and as I am speaking, they are here in Harare. They have been meeting amongst themselves and we are meeting tomorrow so that we can discuss these issues and find a way so that we can make it easy. We expect them to give us what they are coming across in the various provinces and they are here. So we are in the midst of dealing with this issue. I thank you.

(v)HON. NDEBELE: My question is on efficiency at the starting site such as in Bulawayo. It is only serving or providing identity documents to only 40 people per day. I believe this is just but a drop in the ocean, given the huge numbers of people that sleep in these queues. What practical measures is the Minister undertaking policy-wise, to increase that number from 40 to considerable numbers because our people are sleeping in queues and your guess is as good as mine to what other vices, apart from corruption are likely to befall the vulnerable, especially the elderly, women and children?

HON. KAZEMBE: I would like to thank Hon. Ndebele for the question he has raised. Yes, we are aware there are those serious challenges where our people are being limited to certain numbers, those that can access. The biggest problem Mr. Speaker, has been that of consumables. For a long time, we have been struggling and we are still struggling but we think we have found a way. We have been struggling to get the much needed consumables, especially for the I.D cards. With regards to the birth certificates, nothing is imported from the paper but it is the equipment that we use. The special printers that we use, we have been struggling because obviously, I know it is a word we do not want to hear but it is reality; it is because of the sanctions. We have been battling and we have had transactions reversed. We have got evidence where we tried to pay for consumables and the money was returned so many times.

Also, the other reason for this, those numbers Mr. Speaker, if we look at the history, those numbers are actually the normal numbers but the problem is, we have had a long time where we have not been issuing people with these documents and we now have a backlog.  So there is pressure.  We are hoping by the  coming of this mobile registration where we intend to issue up to two million IDs and birth certificates, we will clear this whole backlog and ensure that no one is left behind.  Thereafter, we expect to see very small numbers at our centres.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          HON. DUTIRO:  Thank you Chair.  My question is …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  We are not in committee session and therefore, I am not the Chair.

          HON. DUTIRO:  Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  My follow up question is on the issuance of IDs where the Minister has assured us that by 1st April, he is going to roll-out the programme.  We are now seeing that at the same time, he has highlighted the issue of being hamstrung in terms of resources to issue out those IDs.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you ask your question please.

          HON. DUTIRO:  The question is, what assurance is he going to give us that the roll-out programme will be there on 1st April when he is having some challenges already?  He is not in a position to issue new IDs at the moment because of resources.  What assurance is the Ministry going to give us in making sure that resources are there on 1st April? Thank you. 

          HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me also thank Hon. Dutiro for such an important follow up question.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we have been assured by the Ministry of Finance that the resources will be availed.  In fact, they have already started. Our programme is in three stages.  There is the preparatory stage, implementation and data capturing stage.  We requested resources for the preparation stage and I am pleased to say, Treasury has already availed those resources.   I have got every reason to believe that they will provide the resources because they have already given us the amount that we had requested for the preparation of the mobile registration.  I thank you Mr. Speaker. 

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Can the Hon. Minister assure us that in areas where we have a bubble of non-documented people, that sufficient time will be given to document those people?  The second issue is, when we have a child or a person seeking identification or birth certificate, if both parents are either undocumented or untraceable, are they going to be facilitated in that they will get a document of some sort?  Thank you.

          HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  That is exactly why we have Provincial Directors in Harare, that what are the stringent requirements that our people are struggling to get in order to have access to the IDs.  We hope and trust that after this meeting, we will be in a position to come up with proposed policies that will enable people to have access to these identity documents, especially those who might not have both parents alive and those who may be in different circumstances.  That is the very reason we are meeting Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You have to ask a point of clarification. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  I stand guided by you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just felt it is important.  I hear there is a debate but it is the right of people to have documentation.  There is nothing in the Constitution which says ‘resources permitting’ when it comes to documentation.  It is people’s rights and I cannot sit here after 42 years of independence, and we are still dealing with that.  When it is a people’s right, what do we do?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

          HON. T. MLISWA:  There should be no debate.  Government must implement that.  That is my point.  It cannot be happening in 42 years of independence.  We are talking about insufficiency and no system of proper documentation and people being delayed.  Then there is no nation to talk about. The economy cannot grow if people do not have documents.  It is a right Mr. Speaker. I do not know if I am wrong or correct.  I cannot tolerate Ministers debating on issues which are subject to implementation.  I stand guided Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  As a seasoned politician, I am sure you know better why there is resource constraint.  Hon. Minister, would you want to respond?

          HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think your short answer said it all.  I thank you. 

          HON. MUNETSI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  What plans does the Ministry have, given the fact that there is a looming drought?  What plans do they have to mitigate the issues of hunger in the country?  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Munetsi for that pertinent question.  Mr. Speaker Sir, what we hear from the Minister of Agriculture is that there is no need to panic as yet.  Whilst we need to be cognisant of the fact that there could be hunger as a result of climate change, from earlier on crop assessment, it does not look as if there will be hunger.  In the event that there is going to be hunger Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government, as it has done before, will ensure that no one dies of hunger.  I thank you. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason why I have not been attending Parliament physically is that I have been at the farm.  There are two issues that the Acting Leader of Government Business should understand.  Too much water creates hunger too.  Crops have drowned and we should be getting statistics of the percentage of crops which have drowned.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Correct.  What is your supplementary question? 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  My supplementary question to the Minister, for him not to give us statistics on what is a shoddy job.  We need statistics on the percentage of the hectarage which we will harvest and the hectarage which has been damaged.  It is a figures’ game, it is not speculation.  So, we need a report with your indulgence.  The Minister of Agriculture should tell us how safe we are in the next season, on the statistics in terms of the hectarage which has been planted, damaged and likely to be harvested.  Thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  That is not a policy issue.  That question can come next week under written questions.  Hon. Mliswa, if you can put that question in writing, I am sure the Hon. Minister of Agriculture will be able to answer that particular question. 

          HON. CHIDAKWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the gap between the rich and the poor is ever widening. There have been calls for Government to address economic inequality and developmental deficits in the country through the introduction of the Wealth Tax. Wealth Tax is one of the moral measures to redistribute wealth in a society.  Can the Minister of Finance and Economic Development explain what Government’s position is on this important policy call?

          HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question.  However, with your indulgence Hon. Speaker, I will defer this question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  It is too technical for me to provide an answer.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chidhakwa can you write your question down for next week.

          (v)*HON. MOKONYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. I would like to seek clarification on the position regarding the 3rd jab of COVID-19 vaccination.  Is it for the frontline workers only or it can be given to everyone else?  At the moment, there is no current information as to where people can get the 3rd jab. 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): The 3rd jab is not meant for frontline workers only but it is for every citizen who is interested in getting the 3rd jab.  They can go to any health care centre for assistance.  Let me also remind citizens that even young children from the ages of 12 to 16 years can be given the jabs.  Therefore, we continue urging the nation to get vaccinated because it is the best way to prevent COVID-19, though it seems the pandemic has subsided but we know that the status of the pandemic fluctuates, hence everyone is being encouraged to get vaccinated.

          HON. DUTIRO: We have not yet seen most of the people getting the 3rd jab. So, my question is what the way forward is. 

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you for such a pertinent question.  As Hon. Members, we need to go to the electorate to explain the importance of getting vaccinated.  As the Ministry of Health and Child Care, we will continue educating the nation through the media about the importance of these jabs and the pandemic.   As Government, we also communicate to the nation that we deploy vehicles which move around the country assisting health care officials in vaccinations which are meant to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

          +HON. MATHE: My supplementary question is,  may the Minister clarify on categories of people who are not supposed to be injected with the booster? 

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: There are some chronic diseases for example diabetes, high blood pressure, measles, and asthma; these cannot prevent people to be vaccinated.  So, we urge all people to go and get vaccinated whether they are HIV positive, have a heart disease, arthritis or any other disease, one should be vaccinated.  Vaccination is there to boost your immune system and help your body to fight against diseases.  If one is suffering from cancer or is HIV-positive, it reduces the immune system of your body. So if one is then infected with COVID, it will be worse on someone who is not vaccinated than it is on the one who is vaccinated but suffers from the same diseases.  So we encourage that even if one is suffering from other diseases, they should get vaccinated.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

+THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you want him to explain, he has said there is no disease that can prevent someone from getting the jab, no disease whatsoever – [HON. MATHE: Inaudible interjection.] –

+THE HON. SPEAKER: What did you say; I did not understand Hon. Mathe?

*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Mr. Speaker Sir, they are asking about the epilepsy disease.  Let me say that people can be vaccinated despite suffering from epilepsy; one can actually get the jab without any problems.  I thank you.

*HON. T. MLISWA: My question to the Minister of Health and Child Care is, yes, Members of Parliament are keen to spread the word, but what are you doing as the Ministry of Health to pool resources to give to Members of Parliament so that they can go out there and spread the word to their constituents because Parliament has not budgeted for that programme?  We are waiting to be provided with coupons so that we can go and do that.  What are you doing in order to engage the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Mthuli Ncube indicating that you want the Members of Parliament to help in spreading the word because it is important, so that you can be given that budget?

* HON. DR. MANGWIRO: This is wonderful input, you are giving us good advice on how we should go about looking for funding, and we will do that.  I thank you.

(V)HON. NDEBELE: Supplementary question Hon. Speaker.  I just want the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care to explain to the nation on whether the third or booster jab is compulsory in our country?

*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you, getting vaccinated in our country is something which we are encouraging as the Government…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, the question was in English.

HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Alright, I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Anele Ndebele, yes, I will just say vaccination, first, second third jabs will protect anyone who gets them.  As a country and Government, our job is to protect the citizenry.  We definitely want to encourage everyone to be vaccinated, whether first, second or third jab.  The vaccines are for free and we want to encourage all Zimbabweans to be responsible and get vaccinated so that they can protect themselves, their families, workmates, relatives, church mates and Parliamentarians so that as a country, we are protected.  This virus is for sure, it is real.  I thank you.

HON. NDEBELE: My intention is not to bore this House but that response was not clear as to whether the third jab is compulsory or not; if he may grant me that leeway, Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister was very clear.  All the vaccination is encouraged for the sake of public health, for the individual and the public at large. 

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is to the Minister of Home Affairs.  What is your Ministry doing to ensure that there is peace in the forthcoming by-elections?  We read of the death of Bonani Ncube due to political violence; may his soul rest in peace.  What are you doing to assure this nation and the world that it will not happen again?

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also want to thank Hon. Mliswa for the question.  Mr. Speaker Sir, violence is not acceptable at all.  His Excellency the President, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa is on record saying no to violence, especially during these campaigning times.  So as police, the Zimbabwe Republic Police will leave no stone unturned to ensure that anyone who engages in violence is accountable.  At the moment, I am sure you have also noticed – I am sure citizens have noticed that police are seized with all those who are engaged in violence; some have been arrested and the law will take its course regardless of who commits violence.

HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question is Hon. Minister, it is pretty clear that people seek permission from the police…

Hon. Mliswa having been addressing the Minister.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Please address the Chair, not the Hon. Minister.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is pretty clear that you need to notify the police, they give you the go ahead.  I have seen ZANU PF rallies attended by many and they apply, they are not stopped but the opposition is then stopped at the last minute.  Is it not the police that has aggravated the situation because there seems to be a selective application of the law?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you clarify how that relates to your original question on violence?

HON. T. MLISWA: The word is the role the police are playing in the selective application of the law, the last minute after giving the go ahead to a certain political party, they then stop that gathering the last minute.  The issue is aggravating the situation-  that is the question.  As a result of their action, is it not aggravating the situation because they would have gone ahead?  I have not seen ZANU PF rallies being stopped.  That is my question, to be fair Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Your question is a separate one altogether, it has nothing to do with the issue of violence

HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary is - what does the Minister do to arrest people who pull down the infrastructure like what happened in Kuwadzana where a water tank, yesterday pulled down in order for people to put their posters. I think this is exactly where the problem comes in where people will start fighting because others will say, why are you pulling down the infrastructure in order for you to put a poster? Do you not think that is where the fights start? Can you not arrest those people who pull down the infrastructure in order for them to put posters? I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. It would appear that the Member is talking of a particular incident where posters were pulled down. We expect – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. If you want to seek clarification, you will do so procedurally.

HON. KAZEMBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the police will attend to any incident that has been reported. If this incident took place and it was reported and the police did not react, then we should investigate but if it was reported, the police will investigate with no favour.

HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary is what the Ministry’s policy is relating to placement of posters. We see now they are being put everywhere including inappropriate places, school premises and other public places which I believe the Electoral Act does not allow. What is the Ministry doing to make sure that is avoided?

THE HON. SPEAKER: How does your question relate to violence?

HON. B. DUBE: All those things are the ones that derive to...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Recast your question to violence.

HON. B. DUBE: Is it not that the failure to regulate the conduct of political parties’ activities and campaign is exacerbating political violence in the country?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you asking the question as Minister of Home Affairs or as Leader of Government Business?

HON. B. DUBE: Both.

THE HON. SPEAKER: It cannot be both. I am sure as a lawyer you understand why I am saying that.

HON. B. DUBE: I am asking as Leader of Government Business.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, thank you.

HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thought it was a supplementary question but since you ruled that he can ask, I will attempt to answer that. Mr. Speaker Sir, the conduct of people towards or during election is an issue that has to be dealt with by ZEC and not necessarily by the police. If that is not happening, an engagement will occur between Ministry of Home Affairs and probably Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to ensure that those issues are attended to avoid violence.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarification. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am disappointed that the Minister does not understand that ZEC, after every election, puts together a liaison committee which is chaired by the police in case of violence. So I would like to correct the Minister to say that there is a liaison committee which is appointed by ZEC and chaired by the Committee to enforce the law because ZEC does not enforce the law. I would like to correct the Minister on that understanding and I am very clear about that. If he did not know, then that is a lesson to him. I have been in elections long enough to understand the procedures.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. Kudzidza hakuperi. Point taken, I am sure.

HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. To what extend does the amendment to the State Universities Statutes Bill going to conform to the provisions of the Constitution?

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Is the Hon. Member allowed to ask two questions? He has asked one full question on title deeds and he is asking another one. Are we allowed to have a second bite of the cherry?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you can ask someone to ask that question. Hon. Mliswa, you may ask the question.

HON. T. MLISWA: I have already asked a question.

HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. To what extend does the amendment to the State Universities Statutes Bill going to conform to the provisions of Chapter 13 of the Constitution Zimbabwe? Thank you – [HON. NDEBELE: That is a specific question Mr. Speaker Sir.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele, do not be disruptive. The question is allowed – [HON. NDEBELE: Inaudible interjection.] – Order. Otherwise we will switch you off. The question is approved by the Chair.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Chinyanganya for asking a question about amendment of university statutes to conform to the Constitution. Specifically, he has asked about a section on national development, which is Section 13 of the Constitution. Section 13 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe talks about national development and that every department, agency, Ministry or Government must contribute to rapid and equitable development. It therefore means we have to look at our statutes, including the universities to find out whether they are in any way contributing to the development of this country.

In their old design, they were designed to teach, research and do workshops which we call Education 3.0 but in order for these statutes to conform to the objects of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, we then had to add innovation and industrialisation to make sure that our statutes are conforming with the Constitution in terms of causing development. Mr. Speaker, it is in this vein that we have started and embarked on the review of all the 13 statutes of the State universities so that they become a centre piece of Zimbabwe’s development. As you know Vision 2030 and NDS1 say this country’s development shall be driven by knowledge and innovation.  It therefore means that all our statutes have to give capability to this vision so that this country develops. 

The Constitution is very clear, especially on national development. We have also looked at the way these universities are administered, in terms of public administration which is Section 194 – to make sure that they are efficiently managed in terms of public funds and their objects.  We also had to look at the issue of making sure that there is 50% gender representation within our university councils.  What we are basically doing is to make sure that all these statutes are conforming with the dictates of the Constitution - particularly Section 13 which talks about national development, human dignity which is the eradication of poverty, the improvement of health and all things which we call development is based on a well designed education system.  I thank you.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  On a point of order, we are getting a lot of uncomfortable feedback on line and we cannot hear what is happening in the House.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I am sure the ICT team is going to attend to that.  May Hon. Members also kindly mute their gadgets if they are not contributing.

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  My supplementary question is, besides funding from Government, are there any funding mechanisms available for tertiary institutions to implement these development projects and innovation initiatives to fulfill Government policy?

HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Thank you Hon. Chinyanganya for the supplementary question on the pipelines of funding our development agenda through the institutions of higher learning, particularly universities.

You would know that Government, for the past four years, has embarked on funding innovation hubs as well as industrial parks for universities.  The idea is that we take this as our initial investment to start this engine but once they have taken off, they are likely to be able to change their pipeline of income from merely student fees to industrialisation based fees. I will give an example in order to give way to this point – in 2020, Government invested ZW33 million for the industrial production of sanitizers and PPEs to all universities but so far, all universities combined; we have produced well over 2 billion from this initial investment.  This is the idea that we think has to happen. 

Most universities in the world are multi-billion dollar holdings.  This is mainly because for a long time, they adopted something which is similar to Education 5.0 which we will basically call Education for Development.  If you look at, for example, a university in the United States called Harvard, it is worth more than US$240 billion.  It is because for a long time, they realised that all industries and every wealth that we have, comes from the human mind.  It is only the human being that you can put anywhere on earth and they can build a town or industry and so forth.  Our place of salvation is basically our places of learning. 

Using this method of making sure that every university has an industrial park and so forth, we will be able to make them multi-billion dollar holdings.  When they are like that, then this country is also a multi-trillion-dollar economy.  It is this that has made all other countries that are developed to be developed.  It is because of the use of intellectual property.  So far, all universities combined have almost 500 patent files that have been done in the past two years.  This is wealth and it comes from the head. 

This realisation and strategy is leading us to say, in future, universities will be giving more scholarships than requiring fees because they will just be looking for brilliant brains so that they can forward the industrialisation and move it forward.  In the meantime, we thank Parliament for approving budgets that we have but we are saying as we go forward, these budgets will be tripled through the method of industrialisation that we are using.

As we speak now, we are putting up factories at Chinhoyi University of Technology which are also learning places because students cannot just all of a sudden become industrialists without having seen one when they were learning.  We are also putting up at MSU similar structures.  We have put up a factory at Rutenga for Marula.  We were amazed by the community’s response and about 30 000 households are collecting marula and putting it at the factory.  Everybody is participating.  We believe that using this method, we will be able to make sure that the income of the universities will be coming more from their activities but of course supported by inputs from Parliament.  I thank you.

(v)HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker Maam...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Ndebele, whenever you need to indulge me, you need to say what you want.  Is it a point of order or what?  We cannot be communicating like that whereby you just say Madam Speaker. Everyone will then be able to do that. You need to state whether it is a point of order of what so that I indulge you.

(v)HON. NDEBELE: It is a point of order. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

(v)HON. NDEBELE:   Hon. Speaker, with all due respect, would Hon. Prof. Murwira try the art of being brief in his response.  If a question is one minute long, I do not think the response should be an hour.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Those are your thoughts Hon. Ndebele but within our Standing Rules and Orders, the Hon. Minister is supposed to respond until he adequately responds.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:   He should answer .....

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You are out of order Hon. Ndebele.  Order.

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker Ma’am, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, how far do you agree with the assertion that the amendment of State universities statutes will act as engines for economic growth as it will prompt modernisation and industrilisation which will subsequently culminate in import substitution.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I wish to thank Hon. Moyo for that question on what extent we think that the reformation of the universities’ statutes will lead to industrialisation, if I can rephrase it like that. I would just give an example that Parliament and Government voted that universities should make PPEs and sanitisers for this nation during the time of crisis. We estimate that this country was able, in the past two years, to save between US$500 million and US$1 billion in imports which we were supposed to be buying sanitisers but we were able to substitute that.

          I believe that whenever a country is developing, it means it has to sell as much as it buys and basically it is better if we sell more and buy less from outside. So as soon as we are able to make our own things, we will be able to substitute certain things that we import that if I mention some of these things, we might be very embarrassed because there are certain things that we should never import.

          (v)HON. T. ZHOU: Hon. Speaker, we are not hearing anything as there is too much echo in the Chamber. All of us on virtual here can hardly hear anything.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I do not know where the echo is coming from – [HON. NDEBELE: Inaudible interjection.] – May we please mute our gadgets.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you for allowing me to continue. The issue is, a country should be able to make things and that is what is called industry. They make things from what their people need. So, we start with what our people need, how can our education make, what our people need and then how can our education result in an industry that makes what our people need. Once we are able to satisfy what our people need, we are actually import-substituting. I was giving an example that when this country embarked on...

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister, may you please unmute your gadget. The problem is, you are using another gadget. The sound which is coming is from another gadget and not your own. The one you are using is coming from Hon. T. Moyo and it is muted. So maybe if you unmute that one, we will start having a better sound.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, what I was saying is that import substitution assumes that there are certain things that we are importing that we should make. What we are saying is that to demystify industrilisation – industrialisation is when you are able to develop methods with your education system to produce goods en masse based on what your people need. So, what our people need, what your education is doing to fulfil that and how your education is producing an industry to make sure that it provides for what your people need. At that moment, you are making goods and if they are imported, you are cancelling out goods that you were importing.

          I was giving an example whereby we said, when Government and His Excellency the President made a decision that universities should help with research and development to make sure that we make sanitisers and PPEs, we were able to save for the past two years anywhere between US$500 million to US$1 billion in terms of things that we were supposed to import. So, that is how the reformation of our universities statutes is going to accelerate this kind of initiative. I thank you.

          (v)HON. NDEBELE: ZUPCO buses are being used to ferry people to political rallies across the country leaving commuters in urban areas such as Magwegwe stranded. What is the Local Government Ministry’s position on the hiring out of buses by ZUPCO when it is clearly struggling to meet demand for public transport and it is a monopoly?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO):  Hon. Speaker, I did not get part of the question. Can the Hon. Member repeat the question please?

          (v)HON. NDEBELE: ZUPCO is a monopoly when it comes to the provision of urban transport, which is clear that they cannot meet demand for commuters within the urban areas but they go on to hire out their limited buses to political parties so that they are able to ferry their supporters to political rallies across the country. Can the Minister kindly spell out their policy position in respect of ZUPCO because commuters in urban areas such as Magwegwe are left stranded.

          HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Ndebele for that question. ZUPCO is a parastatal and we provide transport services. We do not choose which political party to hire to and our first and foremost important customer is the commuter and that is when we can hire out our buses. It is not correct that we hire out our buses to a certain political parties, that is not correct. Anyone can come and hire ZUPCO buses. First and foremost, before we agree to hire that bus, we first examine if there is adequate transport for commuters. If there is any area that was disadvantaged, it is regrettable but we hire our transport to any functions. So it is really not that we hire out to specific political parties. If any community was disadvantaged, I request the Hon. Member to come to my office and we can discuss that.  Nobody reported that we have some commuters who were stranded.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. NDEBELE:  I am the originator of that question – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Mapindurwa kudhara, moda kupindurwa kangani.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  Order!  Hon. Ndebele, I thought the Hon. Minister said if you have got any challenges, you can visit their office.  What point of clarity do you want to seek?

          (v)HON. NDEBELE:  It is okay; I will go to the Minister’s office.

          (v)HON. NYABOTE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  In June 2019, the Government announced the policy banning export of raw granite in order to promote the value addition of the stone.  What progress has been made in promoting the value addition of the stone?  Can we have the statistics of the impact of the value addition, for example, companies formed and production capacity locally?  I thank you. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nyabote, on the first part of your question which I am sure you are supposed to ask one question, that one can be answered but the second part of your question, to ask for companies that benefited, I am sure it is a specific question.  You can put it in writing so that the Hon. Minister will be able to respond. 

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  I did not hear the question clearly. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  The question Hon. Minister is, what is Government policy in terms of exports of raw granite and value addition?  The thrust is that in June 2019, they had to stop all that. 

          HON. KAZEMBE:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to defer that to the Minister of Mines, otherwise I will give a very wrong answer.  It is a bit specific and technical.  I will share the question with the Minister of Mines and I hope and trust the response will be given next week in that regard.  I thank you. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  Hon. Nyabote, your question has been deferred to the Minister of Mines.  He is going to respond to that. 

          (v)HON. M. M. MPOFU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, on whether it has come to his attention that Mwana Africa is no longer in a position to renew tribute agreements throughout the country. Yes, they are the holders of almost half of the country’s gold rich claims and it has already impacted negatively on employment creation.  As it stands, it has compromised livelihoods of people, especially in the rural communities.  I strongly feel that the Minister has to explain to the august House, the exact situation, policy and the possible workable way forward for us to have employment creation towards Vision 2030.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you very much Hon. M. M. Mpofu for your question.  That is a specific question.  I kindly request you to put it in writing so that the Hon. Minister will be able to respond. 

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  If you can indulge me, I just want to remind the Minister of Transport.  He promised us last week that he will give us the full emergency road repair fund and to date we have not received them. 

Madam Speaker, my question to the Ministry of Health pertaining to the COVID regulations; last week, the Cabinet agreed to allow road ports to open.  I have been inundated with issues about them waiting for formal notification for the border posts that include Machipanda, Nyamapanda and Kariba, all asking and people being turned back because they are still not allowed to cross the border.  Could we have some clarity from the ministries, whether it is Home Affairs or Ministry of Health?  Could they give us clarity on whether these borders are open and people can travel under the COVID protocols?  I thank you. 

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that important question. It is true, we received information about those challenges that people are facing.  We have since attended to that Madam Speaker Ma’am.  By way of an order, there was no S.I to operationalise that decision but through the advice of the AG, I personally signed the order last week to ensure that people are allowed to pass, provided they meet the criteria as prescribed by the Minister of Health.  That was supposed to have been gazetted last week.  I will check whether it was gazetted but it has been dealt with by that order.  I thank you. 

HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker, I would like to draw the attention to the Minister, of the chaos that has been created by internationally schooling people that are going out and coming in, the tourism trade and also business.  It cannot happen that we are still waiting for a Statutory Instrument two weeks after Cabinet agreed that it should be done.  Two weeks is a long time and we lose a lot of business.  The tourist industry is actually on its knees.  Could the Minister give us a more concrete answer as to when the Statutory Instrument will be gazetted because it has not been done yet?  I thank you.

          HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Infact there is no Statutory Instrument that is going to be gazetted as such but it is an order that we already signed as the Ministry and was forwarded to the Attorney-General.

  Immediately after this, I will make a follow up and in fact, whilst I was sitting there, I was trying to communicate with our office to follow up with the AG to ask if it has been gazetted.  It was done last week, so we will definitely follow up and infact, by end of day, I can even inform the Hon. Member what the position is.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me also thank Hon. Markham.   It is true he requested for a detailed ERP 2 document of which I concur that it is of paramount importance to be tabled.  I am glad that he has raised it; I was also going to ask for your indulgence so that I speak to it.

          It is true that it is not only infrastructure which pertains to road but there is a compendium which has taken the approach of the whole of Government where the infrastructure rehabilitation has been accelerated in the Second Republic. 

The department which is under the purview of Hon. Minister J. Gumbo is compiling a detailed compendium of all the infrastructure projects.  At the end of the day, that is going to be tabled in this august House.  With the indulgence of the House and in particular Hon. Markham, if we can also be included in that detailed compendium where we are going to table the infrastructure projects that have been successfully done by the Second Republic in terms of the approach that we have taken as a nation so that it can also be tabled in this august House.

          However, if the Hon. Member has got particular roles that he has interest in us alluding to this august House to say who has been contracted, what was the course and the kilometers covered, I am also at liberty to table that to the Hon. Member and to the entire august House so that we articulate issues.

          I am happy that the issues of transparency and accountability as enshrined in our Supreme Constitution are of great value and we need to uphold that.  We are amenable, as the Ministry of Transport, to proffer and table such information.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.  .

          HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order! Madam Speaker, I appreciate the Hon. Minister Kazembe’s commendable work and I also appreciate the fact that he has committed that on the question of the opening of borders and that he will communicate personally with  Hon. Markham.  However, may I kindly request with all due respect, that the Minister issues a statement through the public broadcaster if possible, stating clearly the position with respect to the opening of borders?  When we ask these questions in this House, it is not for ourselves as Members of Parliament but for the people we represent in our constituencies, so they also need answers.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Ndebele.  Indeed, that is true, whenever we have questions in the House, they are meant for the people that you represent and also for us as Hon. Members.

          To the Hon. Minister Mhona – I am sure the Hon. Member is asking for a ministerial statement in relation to the opening of borders. So, if you then can be able to furnish us with that, I am sure it will be responded to.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

SOLAR POWER FOR THE KADOMA ZBC TRANSPONDER

       HON. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services to inform the House when the Kadoma ZBC transponder is going to be solar powered so that the transmission is not lost when there are power outages.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. PARADZA): Transmitters used by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation and other broadcasters are operated by Trans-media Holdings which has a total of 48 transmission sites doted around the country.  These transmitters are powered by ZESA through the National Power Grid.

 With regards to ZBC interruptions at Kadoma transmission site, I would like to inform Parliament that Trans-Media has engaged ZESA to prioritise faulty resolution for this particular transmitter and this has worked very well as response time by ZESA is very commendable whenever there is a power outage. 

          Currently, the site has a standby generator which consumes 15 to 20 litres of diesel per hour making it very unsustainable for Trans-media Holdings to run each time power goes off either through load shedding or a faulty.

          On load shedding Trans-media Holdings is still in discussion with ZESA to explore the possibility of connecting the site to an existing essential services line.  This discussion is ongoing but the success of this option will depend on the technical feasibility of this alternative.

          Trans-media Holdings continues to explore ways of reducing outages on this site as well as on all other transmission sites and would like to commend support by Parliament and the efforts made by Treasury to avail resources to procure vehicles for the speedy resolution of technical faults by our engineers and in the process, minimise ZBC broadcasting disruptions.  In the absence of ZESA, the Kadoma transmitter would require a 100kva solar plant to power it at a cost of over $USD100 000. 

          The Ministry is currently in discussion with development partners seeking financing of the solar power system for our entire 48 transmission sites.

RESURFACING OF MAPHISA TO GWANDA ROAD

  1. HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the Ministry will refurbish and resurface the road connecting Maphisa to Gwanda.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You are not Hon. Mokone.

(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: She is asked me to stand in for her and also to make a correction on her name, she is Mokone.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It has to be put in writing - these are not personal agreements; you need to put it in writing.  Hon. Mokone has to put it in writing. 

RESURFACING OF MAPHISA TO GWANDA ROAD

  1. HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the Ministry will refurbish and resurface the road connection from Maphisa to Gwanda?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for raising that very important question. The Gwanda-Maphisa Road is 58.6km long but the new design alignment of the road is 60km.  In 2021, under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme II, the province embarked on maintenance work for the entire stretch.  The scope of works entailed grading, sport gravelling, drain opening, and repair of damaged structure and vegetation clearing. The province is currently undertaking the construction of the project which was 10km through a contract namely ZADA Construction which is presently on site and the contractor is expected to complete the work by the 15th of May, 2022. The long term plan is to carry out the construction of the remaining stretch under the Road Rehabilitation Programme which we are seized with as a Ministry.

          HON. NDEBELE: Allow me to check with the Minister of Transport if there are any efforts at all to repair Maphisa – Bulawayo Road.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is now a different question. Hon. Ndebele, this is a different road because now we are looking at Maphisa-Gwanda, unless it is the same route. It is a different route.

          HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, if you can indulge.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is unprocedural, I am sure you are a very learned colleague. 

          HON. NDEBELE: I seek you indulgence Madam Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Ndebele. 

CHALLENGES STALLING PROGRESS ON THE REHABILITATION OF GANGES ROAD

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House on the challenges stalling progress on the rehabilitation of Ganges Road in Ridgeview and to confirm whether the same exercise will cover Ganges Eextension which is an impassable area, especially during the rainy season.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  I also want to thank Hon. Shakespeare Hamauswa for the wonderful question he has posed.  I want to say that before I forget, I personally engaged the Hon. Member when it actually came to the issue of roads that are under the purview of City of Harare that were not being rehabilitated.  We talked about these roads at length but I am glad that he has finally decided to put it in writing. I will repeat what we have agreed when we interacted together with the citizenry.

Hon. Speaker, the rehabilitation of Ganges Road certainly faced challenges such as mobilisation of equipment and material on the part of the contractor resulting in delays in completion of the project.  However, the contractor has since done mobilisation and works have already started.  We have since skipped that hurdle and are on course to complete the project by Friday, 4th of March which is this week.  The contractor, together with the supervising road authority is working flat out to ensure that this deadline is met.  

As we speak, surfacing of the road is in place with the greater part of the 1.6km stretch now complete. Hon. Madam Speaker, it should be noted that while the Ministry is desirous of extending the works to cover Ganges Extension, the same cannot be realised under the auspices of the current contract which the scope is limited to 1.6km.  The Ministry will soon make arrangements for the implementation of the extension under its 2022 budget.  Let me also hasten to say this Hon. Madam Speaker, His Excellency, a listening President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, has directed that this particular road be completed, which then gives comfort to the Hon. Member and that we complete this road with speed to demonstrate the element that I have talked about that he is a listening President. There were outcries from the citizenry for this road to be rehabilitated, in particular he has directed that we move with speed to rehabilitate it. So Hon. Hamauswa, you can also feed back to the constituency accordingly. 

REHABILITATION OF MAIN FEEDER ROADS TO COLD COMFORT

  1. HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the main feeder roads to Cold Comfort comprising Cowie and Pleasant Valley Roads, are going to be rehabilitated since ZUPCO buses are shunning the area due to the poor road network, a situation which leaves residents stranded with some having to walk more than a kilometer to catch public transport.

THE MINISTER OF  TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Madam Speaker, the Ministry had identified these roads because of the terrible state they are in and this also came through the public outcry and I was also privy to them interacting directly with the Hon. Member and also the concerned citizens where I then assured them that this road, although it is under the purview of the City of Harare and we know that the City of Harare has failed to demonstrate the capacity to rehabilitate our roads, which therefore calls for the Second Republic to come and take over those roads. I can attest that Cowie and Pleasant Valley Roads have since been identified by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development as key routes in Cold Comfort. As such, the Ministry will be undertaking the rehabilitation of Cowie and Pleasant Valley Roads within the calendar year. 

Currently, the projects are under procurement to enable the selection of a suitable contractor. It was expected that this procurement exercise will be completed by the first week of April and the chosen contractor mobilised precisely thereafter 63 911.  So this is good news to the people of Cold Comfort. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

 (V)HON. HAMAUSWA: Can we also have ZUPCO buses allocated to Cold Comfort since the residents are having problems in accessing the services of those buses – [Technical glitch] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, we lost you, it is unfortunate, but if I heard your question quite well, this question does not relate to the initial question which was asked.  You are now requesting buses to a certain route which is outside the route that you mentioned there. 

(V)HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I requested buses to Cold Comfort whilst we are waiting for the rehabilitation of those roads.  What is happening is that because of the bad roads, buses are not going to Cold Comfort, which has made it difficult for the residents to access ZUPCO buses; therefore they have to walk to Warren Park D for them to access the buses which are not servicing Cold Comfort.  We are asking the Minister to indulge me, to make this special request so that whilst we are waiting for that rehabilitation, can there be consideration to make sure that the people of Cold Comfort are assisted?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, ZUPCO is under the purview of the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  So Hon. Minister, considering that this is a problem which is also from your Ministry, may you kindly liaise with the Hon. Minister for that request.  Hon. Hamauswa, the Hon. Minister had to answer both questions 4 and 5.  I am sure your two questions have been responded to.

HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Minister made reference to both incompetence of the council or City of Harare to repair roads; he also made reference to ZINARA.  My question - actually, we have no idea which roads have been done, hence my previous question about the Emergency Road Rehabilitation.  My question now to the Minister is; could the Minister reconcile how much income ZINARA is getting from Harare and how much are you giving back.  I got the figures from the City of Harare last week from their presentation and it is shocking how little money they are getting from ZINARA.  I would like the Minister and I request the Minister to have a look and see how much money is being given to the capital city from ZINARA.  I thank you.

HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am and let me also thank Hon. Markham.  Hon. Speaker Ma’am, so that we do not confuse the people of Zimbabwe, ZINARA does collect money and it is specified what sort of funds they collect and what they remit to local authorities.  Here we are talking about the disbursements to local authorities and for the previous year, it was actually close to a billion that was being channeled towards the City of Harare.

We are saying, in terms of what has been disbursed to local authorities, they must account whether it is going to cover a kilometer, 10kms or 100kms, they must account for what they get.  This is where we are having a problem to say; as much as they are getting funds from ZINARA, they are not disbursing, they are not doing their acquittals and ZINARA has been doing it religiously.  Last year, every quarter, I mandated them to broadcast those funds. 

So we are saying the inertia that has been demonstrated by local authorities and in particular, the City of Harare and the roads that we are talking about, they are under the purview of local authorities – we know that the Ministry of Transport superintends over trunk roads and the mandate to do the local connecting feeder roads falls under local authorities and this has not been done for years.  We are saying as much as they get, the argument must be, we got funds to cover 1km and we have done precisely that but that is not what is coming.  We are saying, whatever is being disbursed to the local authorities, they must account to the citizenry. 

Previously, they would say we are not getting anything from ZINARA.
ow if the argument is; we are getting little from ZINARA, then this is something that has to be debated to say; yes, that little amount that you are getting, how are you disbursing it in terms of priorities and we are not getting it.  His Excellency, Cde. Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has then said, let us go to the local authorities as we are mandated by the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18], that let us take charge of the roads because those who are entrusted as road authorities are not doing it.  A very good example, Hon. Markham, he knows where he comes from -  Hatcliffe, where I have mandated my engineers now to go and visit Hon. Markham – the roads that are supposed to be manned by local authorities and for the reasons known to themselves, they are not doing it. 

We are saying we cannot continue finger pointing to say, the fiscus and in particular, through ZINARA, they are not giving us money, they are getting money and they are sitting on the funds and we wonder why they are not acting accordingly in terms of resuscitating and rehabilitating our roads.  The sorry state that our roads are in is because they were not being maintained over the years.  The maintenance aspect, no matter how you construct a road, if you do not maintain it, it will deteriorate and this is where we are; where we have seen mushrooming of potholes within the local territories.  We are saying, if we get what we get from the disbursements, we ask the local authorities to acquit accordingly.  Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am.

HON. MARKHAM: My point of clarity is; I understand what the Minister is saying, I am fully aware of that.  However, the Minister’s claims that the City of Harare was disbursed $1billion last year, but the ZINARA statement issued two weeks ago, they claim that City of Harare was given $198 million, and there is a vast difference from $1 billion.  I thank you.

HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.  I am sure now it is a question of an academic debate where we are saying how much did they get.  Precisely, the figures are clear; what has been remitted to  City of Harare and whilst we are still waiting for that element to be managed in terms of accountability issues, it is for the City of Harare to say, this is what we got.  However, I am at liberty to engage Hon. Markham on  one-on-one and clarify on the figures so that we ascertain the exact position.  The bottom line is; what has been remitted by ZINARA must be accounted for before further disbursements.  If you get funds from ZINARA, it will not continue disbursing money until you acquit.  Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am.

 (v)HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order is that, through you Madam Speaker, consider that he has to come to the House and explain why the City of Harare has acting managers. There is an Acting Town Clerk of City of Harare. These are issues which should be addressed so that the City of Harare can execute its duty as expected by the citizens and also as expected by the – [Technical glitch.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is unfortunate Hon. Hamauswa, we could hardly hear you. Your network is breaking.

(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: My network is bad. Can you hear me Madam Speaker?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, you were saying who do you want us to invite?

(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: I was saying the Local Government Minster should see that there is anomaly existing at City of Harare where a number of managers are in acting capacity. Unless that anomaly is addressed, we will continue to have the problems which we are experiencing at City of Harare where those who are in acting capacity are not able to execute their duties as expected by the citizens and also by this august House which plays an oversight role over operations of all local authorities. The Ministry of Local Government should explain why they are failing to appoint substantive managers at City of Harare.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Hamauswa. May you kindly put it in writing so that the Hon. Minister will then be able to respond?

(v)HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will do so.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

RESPONSE TO A PETITION BY YOUTH BROADCASTING FM (Y-FM)

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. PARADZA): Thank you Madam Speaker. This is a response to a petition that was presented to this august House by the Youth Broadcasting FM (Y-FM) seeking assistance in getting a licence and other ancillary matters that they raised. Considering the critical role that is played by community radio stations in the dissemination of information to the formerly marginalised communal areas and the country as a whole, my Ministry recognises the issues raised by the petitioners and engaged the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe on the issuance process of community radio licenses.

The petitioners noted that paragraph 5.7.1.1 – Section 10 of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) infringes on the rights of citizens by giving powers to BAZ to determine when it will invite applications. In that regard, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe opens invitations every year for community radio stations from all interested parties save for services that make use of the broadcasting frequency spectrum which is a finite resource. The resource must be used, planned and allocated equitably and in an efficient manner. As such, it would be technically impossible for the authority to have applications as and when they wish. This would mean that the authority may end up licensing on a first come first basis. The finite resource must be allocated and assigned in a manner that allows future use and licensing which may not happen if the whole spectrum is licensed at once. The authority is of the view that the current scenario works best as it allows for the proper and strategic licensing.

The petitioners also raised concern over the Broadcasting Services Act which they say should be amended to empower prospective community radios to submit applications to BAZ whenever they are ready. It should be noted that whilst the provision in the BSA regarding the community stations has been there since 2001, the Second Republic has opened up the airwaves and licensed a number of them. However, stakeholders have agreed that the section should be amended to obligate the authority to call for licence applications twice a year subject to availability of the spectrum. This is work in progress.

The petitioners also expressed reservations on paragraph 5.7.2 on the definition of a community. The community and campus radio regulations provides that every community radio broadcasting service shall ensure that its governing body is made up of key interests within the community drawn from different interests such as agriculture, education, business, law and order, health, local and traditional leadership taking into account gender and demographic representation of the licence areas. Based on this, it is clear that all major interests within a community are represented. The petitioners also raised concern over paragraph 5.7 on youth programmes. They allege that licenced community radio stations do not reflect youth programmes.  Madam Speaker, it is important to realise that currently there is only one operational community radio station, that is Avuxen FM in Chiredzi and their programming does reflect different demographics within their community.  So far, BAZ has licenced six national stations; ten local commercial radio stations, fourteen community radio stations, eight campus radios, seven television stations and we have just launched two Azan Television from East Africa and three KTV. 

The other issue that was raised by petitioners is the issue of overlapping radio stations.  They are of the view that licencing framework does not allow for overlaps between radio stations.  Inasmuch as coverage overlaps are important, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is facing technical limitations and as such, there are limited national frequencies until digitization is complete and licencing for the allocation of available frequencies is being done in phases.

The petitioners recommended that the term community must include communities of interest.  My Ministry is engaging with relevant stakeholders in considering the proposal with a view to finding ways of how such communities can be allocated frequencies in the future.

The Committee recommended that BAZ must assist the petitioners to get a broadcasting service licence.  The Ministry has noted the plea and I call upon the Youth Broadcasting FM to submit their application for consideration by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

The Committee also recommended that BAZ must notify the public, of invitations and that submission of applications must be done for two months.  I understand that BAZ extends invitations for applications using various platforms like on two national televisions, Government Gazette and social media like Tweeter.  However, we have noted the recommendation that applications must be open for a period of two months.  I thank you.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  Please allow me to check with the Hon. Minister how the community radio stations are expected to survive in these turbulent economic times when they are not allowed to raise revenue.  The Minister himself is an accomplished media practitioner.  He knows that radio runs on such subscription.

Does the Minister know what stage is the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill that His Excellency said will come to the National Assembly? 

HON. PARADZA:  Community radio stations are not meant to be commercial radio stations.  These are for the community.  We expect the community to raise funding for these stations.  It is up to the communities to make sure that they mobilise resources within their communities.  There are other Zimbabweans within those communities who are able to assist and they are free to do so.  We have allowed these community radio stations to get advertising within the community they are operating in so that they can at least get the funding for that. 

The other issue is that the law does not allow these community radio stations to get funding from donors outside Zimbabwe. They can get funding from our citizens in the diaspora but not from non-Zimbabweans. 

We will be bringing the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill within the next two or so months. It is still with the Attorney-General right now who are finalising the amendments. 

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  Are we allowed to ask some more questions?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Ndebele, I asked for any further debate and you were not forthcoming.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  I thought this was supposed to be a conversation with the Minister...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  We have already concluded.

(v)HON. NDEBELE:  I honestly think this is disrespectful of tax payers’ money....

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Ndebele.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. T. MOYO:  I move the that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 has been disposed of.

          HON. H. MGUNI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 76TH EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND THE 43RD CONFERENCE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION (APU) HELD IN DJIBOUTI

                HON. T. ZHOU:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 76th Executive Committee and the 43rd Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) held in Djibouti from 10th to 15th October 2021.

          HON. MASANGO-CHINHAMO:  I second.

          HON. T. ZHOU:

          1.0    INTRODUCTION

1.1    In accordance with Articles 12 (1) and 16 (1), of the African

Parliamentary Union (APU) Statutes which state that “The Conference shall meet once a year in ordinary session, alternatively in one of the five regions of the African continent, namely Central, East, North, West and Southern” and “The Executive Committee shall meet twice a year in ordinary session upon the invitation of its Chairperson. One of the two sessions shall take place immediately prior to the Conference”, the 76th Session of the Executive Committee and the 43rd Conference were convened in Djibouti from 11 to 15 October 2021. Notably, due to exigencies brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic, the APU was meeting in person for the first time since 2019.

1.2    Representatives from the following countries participated in the Meetings: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea – Bissau, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

1.3    The delegation from Zimbabwe, led by Hon. Lt. General (Rtd) Michael Rueben Nyambuya, Deputy President of the Senate, comprised the following Members of Parliament: -

  •      Maybe Mbohwa;
  •      Tafanana Zhou; and
  •      Theresa Makone.

The delegation was supported by the following Officers:-

  •      Ndamuka Marimo, Principal Director – External Relations;
  •      Rumbidzai Chisango, Principal External Relations Officer; and
  •      Obvious Muchenu, Security Aide to the Deputy President of the Senate.

  1.4    Of special mention is that the delegation extended an invitation to host the 78th Executive Committee and the 44th Conference of the APU in November 2022. The invitation was welcomed and roundly applauded by the APU.

  1.5    Furthermore, Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate was elected Vice- President of the Executive Committee representing the Southern African region.

          2.0    THE 76TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

2.1    In his opening remarks, the Host Speaker, Hon. Mahomed Ali Houmed, welcomed delegates to Djibouti, albeit in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. He averred that the pandemic, among other challenges bedeviling the continent, made it imperative for Parliamentarians to be part of the conversations in sharing ideas, experiences and best practices in mitigating the pandemic. Accordingly, the Hon. Speaker Houmed expressed his conviction that the proceedings would lead to recommendations and resolutions that will contribute to post-COVID recovery, development and peace- building within the continent.

          2.2    Requests for Observer Status:-

The Executive Committee approved requests for Observer status from the following organisations:-

  •      The League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds. This is a civil society organization comprising current and former Parliamentarians from over 70 countries across the globe which seeks to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli occupation and realise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international law and United Nations resolutions.
  •      AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub: This organization promotes the socio-economic, cultural and diplomatic interest of young people in Europe and Africa. In approving the request, the Executive Committee strongly discouraged the emigration of young people to Europe which was resulting in a crippling ‘brain drain’ and the underdevelopment of Africa.
  •      International Parliamentarians’ Congress (IPC): This is a transcontinental platform for individual Members of Parliament across the globe whose purpose is to jointly resolve global and continental issues that invariably impact humanity.

  2.3    Annual Work Programme: The Annual Work Programme for 2022 was approved. The programme includes among other activities, the Executive Committee Meetings, the Conference, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) related activities as well as the Afro-Arab Conference which has been in abeyance since 2016. According to the Statutes of the Conference, a meeting should have been held after two years in an Arab region. COVID 19 related restrictions made it impossible for the Conference to be held in 2020,

as had been envisaged.

          2.4    Consideration of the Implementation of the Decisions and Recommendations of the 42nd Conference:

  Mr. Gado Boubacar Idi, Secretary General of the APU, highlighted the following activities undertaken in line with recommendations of the 42nd Conference of the APU:

  •      Handover Ceremony between the outgoing Chairperson of the Executive Committee, Hon. Alassane Bala Sakande, Speaker of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso and Hon. Mohamed Ali Houmed, Speaker of the National Assembly of Djibouti. The handover followed the election of Hon. Houmed as President of the Executive Committee during the 42nd Conference held in Djibouti in November 2019.
  •      Participation and Coordination of Inter-Parliamentary and International activities including the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States, Installation of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, Extra-Ordinary Session of the Governing Council of the IPU, 142nd Assembly of the IPU.
  •     The Secretary General appealed to all Member Parliaments with outstanding financial contributions to clear their arrears. Parliament of Zimbabwe cleared its arrears which had been outstanding since 2015.

  2.5    Review of the audited management account for 2019: The auditor’s report noted the significant amount of arrears in contributions which accounted for 50% of the budget estimates. Accordingly, the Executive Committee appealed to all member Parliaments with outstanding arrears to honour obligations to the APU. The following proposals were made:

  •      A Dues Committee be established to look into the issue of arrears and modalities for recovering unpaid arrears;
  •     The inclusion of Speakers of Parliament in Parliamentary Delegations to the APU. However, this would require a statutory amendment. It should be noted that delegations to the APU are in most instances led by Parliamentarians. Zimbabwe is one of the few countries whose delegation is led by a Presiding Officer.

          2.5.1 The delegation extends its appreciation to the Government of Zimbabwe for facilitating the payment of Parliament of Zimbabwe’s assessed contribution which had been in arrears since 2015.

          2.6    Consideration and adoption of the draft budget for 2022: The Executive Committee approved the draft budget for the 2022 financial year. It emphasized the need for Parliaments to timeously honour their financial obligations to the APU. Each Parliament will be required to designate a focal person to follow up on APU financial matters.

          2.6.1 The Executive Committee appointed two Auditors – Hon. Sherif El Gabaly (Egypt) and Hon. Salifou Moussa (Niger) to audit the accounts of the APU for the financial years 2021 and 2022.

          2.7    The Executive Committee approved the Agendas for the 43rd Conference of the APU and the 77th Session of the Executive Committee as presented by the Secretariat.

          2.8    Date and Venue for the 77th Session of the Executive Committee: The 77th Session of the Executive Committee will be convened in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2022 while the 78th Executive Committee and the 44th Conference will be held in Zimbabwe in November 2022. The exact dates will be determined by the respective Parliaments in consultation with the APU Secretariat.

          3.0    MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE OF WOMEN PARLIAMETARIANS OF THE APU

  3.1    The Meeting of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the APU was convened under the theme “The political, economic and social role of African women in response to the COVID 19 pandemic”

          3.2    In his address to the Meeting, the Host Speaker assured the

women Parliamentarians of support from their male counterparts and urged the Committee to come up with recommendations that improve the livelihoods of people on the continent.

  3.3    In a speech read on her behalf by Hon. Mbohwa, the Chairperson of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians, Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona acknowledged the pioneering role played by women on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. She noted that while women had borne the brunt of COVID19, they had shown exemplary resilience and solidarity. Accordingly, women should play their part in decision making processes to ensure that their concerns are taken on board and to enable them to continue mobilizing communities to carry out activities aimed at preventing and managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3.4    The Women Parliamentarians deliberated on the theme and shared country experiences and best practices before submitting a resolution for consideration by the 43rd Conference of the APU.

  3.5    The resolution noted with concern the negative impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on, among others, socio-economic and social well-being of the people, public health in general, education and the peace and security situation on the continent.

          3.6    Accordingly, the resolution recommended as follows:

  •     Collaborative efforts that stimulate and encourage manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, development of vaccines and treatments against COVID-19 and manufacturing of medical equipment including respirators.
  •      Development of research into indigenous plant medicine.
  •      Development of recovery plans that include the informal sector, women and other vulnerable groups through provision of loans and tax relief to large enterprises and small and medium enterprises.
  •      Strengthening social protection systems to ensure access to the most vulnerable groups.
  •     Strengthening energy infrastructure and internet access and the use of technology in education.
  •      Social and psychological protection for women who have suffered domestic abuse.
  •      Remuneration of domestic work for housewives.
  •      Consultative and inclusive decision making on electoral timetables to ease tensions that may arise as a result of COVID-- 19.
  •      Peace and ceasefire in countries in conflict so that the fight against COVID-19 can continue unhindered.
  •      Mandatory reforms in political parties to make room for women leadership.

          3.7    The resolution was subsequently adopted by the 43rd Conference of the APU.

          3.8    In line with the provisions of Rule 34(1) of the APU Rules of Procedure which state that “The Committee of Women Parliamentarians shall elect, from among its members, a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and a Rapporteur. The members of the Bureau shall be elected for a period of two years on a rotating basis taking into account an equitable geographical distribution”, the follow Bureau Members were elected:

          Hon. Veneranda Nyramirwa, Member of Parliament from Rwanda was elected Chairperson;

          Hon. Said Rasha, Member of Parliament from Egypt was elected Vice- Chairperson; and

          Hon. Pitroipa Nassouri Lamoudi Germaine, Member of Parliament from Burkina Faso was elected Rapporteur.

          4.0    BILATERAL MEETING WITH HON. MOHAMED ALI HOUMED, SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI

  4.1    In light of the upcoming elective Session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) scheduled for November 2021, Hon. Nyambuya held a bilateral Meeting with Hon. Mohamed Ali Houmed, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Djibouti, to seek support for the principle of rotation and the candidature of Hon. Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira for the PAP presidency.

        4.2      Hon. Nyambuya’s message was anchored on the principle of rotation of the PAP Presidency among the continent’s five regional groups. This position is consistent with that of the African Union (AU). Accordingly, he noted that only the Southern and Northern regions are still to hold the PAP Presidency while the Central Region has held the presidency on three different occasions.

  4.3    The Hon. Speaker concurred on the need for PAP to observe the principle of rotation. He further supported the candidature of Hon. Chief Charumbira not just in compliance with the principle of rotation but also because of this rich resume and experience in PAP affairs. Accordingly, the Djiboutian delegation to the PAP had been instructed to vote for Chief Charumbira.

      4.4        Hon. Ali Houmed proposed a Meeting for all Speakers of African Parliaments to reach consensus on the principle of rotation of the PAP Presidency.

          5.0    MEETING WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE

ZIMBABWE-PAKISTAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION

          5.1    Hon. Zhou also held a Meeting with representatives of the

Zimbabwe-Pakistan Friendship Association on the sidelines of the APU Meetings.

      5.2        The meeting unanimously agreed that the Friendship Association would gain traction through exchange visits aimed at sharing experiences and good practices. The Meeting also noted the need to explore possible areas of cooperation. Accordingly, communication through official channels will be initiated to enable the Association to become operational.

  5.3    The Pakistan representatives who were in Djibouti representing the International Parliamentarians’ Congress invited interested Members of Parliament from Zimbabwe to join the organization which aims to resolve global challenges. To this end, interested Members can join the organization via its website.

          6.0    THE 43RD CONFERENCE OF THE APU

  6.1    The 43rd Conference of the APU was held on 14 and 15 October 2021. The Conference was officially opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed.

  6.2    In his address to the Conference, Hon. Houmed, Speaker of the Parliament of Djibouti encouraged Parliamentarians to use the platform to exchange views on current challenges including the COVID 19 pandemic and to collectively identify mitigatory measures that hinge on building back better.

          6.3    H.E. Addoulkader Kamil Mohamed commended the

Parliamentarians for their resolve to convene an in-person Conference in the midst of the pandemic. Accordingly, he urged the Parliamentarians to take stock of the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and propose solutions to overcome the pandemic.

    6.4        Report of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee: As a preamble to his remarks, the Chairperson indicated that activities had been limited due to exigencies brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, through messages and statements, the APU had expressed itself on the following situations and events:

  •       A solidarity message to all Member Parliaments in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  •      A statement on the discriminatory practices on Africans living in China within the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Subsequently, a communique was issued welcoming the steps taken by the Chinese authorities to ensure that the principle of non- discrimination and equal treatment for all foreigners in China is applied.
  •       With regards to the coup in Mali in August 2020, the APU issued a statement condemning the seizure of power by force, reaffirming that recourse to political dialogue remains the most appropriate way of resolving conflicts and affirming that the stability of Mali and security in the north of the country and in the sub-region as well as the fight against terrorism must remain priority objectives.
  •      Issued a statement condemning the terrorist attack perpetrated in Nigeria on 28 November 2020. The statement also expressed solidarity with the people of Nigeria in the wake of the terrorist attack.
  •       A statement was issued condemning the terrorist attack on a village in Burkina Faso which occurred on 4 and 5 June 2020.
  •      A statement was also issued condemning the terrorist attacks in Niger.

  6.5    Secretary General’s Report: On the state of the Union, the Secretary General indicated that the APU currently has 40 members, excluding Sudan whose Parliament stands dissolved. Most countries in the Southern African region remain non-Members of the APU. These include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. Other non- members are Cabo Verde and Eritrea. The Secretariat continues its diplomatic maneuvers to encourage non-members to join the Union. Other activities under the Secretary General’s Report were captured in the Report of the Executive Committee.

  6.6    The Conference accepted the invitation by Zimbabwe to Host the 44th Conference of the APU in November 2022. 

          7.0    RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE 43RD CONFERENCE

        7.1      The Resolution of the Political Committee entitled “The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on African populations: resilience and challenges” was adopted by the Conference. The resolution primarily notes the negative impacts of the pandemic as it relates to the implementation of the sustainable evelopment goals (health systems, climate change, peace and security issues, provision of social safety nets, reduced remittances from the diaspora and food security). Accordingly, the resolution calls for amongother measures: -

  •      Implementation of policies that would allow African Governments to be the main drivers of a crisis such as COVID 19.
  •      The need to foster greater transparency and governance to improve confidence in the rule of law.
  •      Governments to conduct electoral processes in a consultative and inclusive manner in order to mitigate political tensions exacerbated by the health crisis.
  •      Governments to continue strengthening health systems and expand health and social protection coverage.
  •      Governments to implement policies aimed at eradicating domestic violence and marital abuse.
  •      Adoption of measures to support farmers in increasing agricultural production to ensure food security. Financial and development institutions to augment Government efforts in this area.
  •      Called for debt relief to vulnerable African countries.
  •      Calls upon Western countries to maintain and increase levels of official development assistance (ODA) and strengthen cooperation to mobilise private capital.

          7.2    The Conference also adopted a resolution submitted by the

Committee on Economic Affairs and Sustainable Development entitled “The COVID 19 pandemic and its effects on African economies: achieving economic recovery” The resolution noted that the COVID 19 pandemic has culminated in lower economic growth, higher inflation, higher budget deficits, higher public debt, lower external trade as well as social impacts on employment and the welfare of the population at large. The economic impact has been exacerbated by Africa’s heavy dependence on imports for food, medicine and equipment. Accordingly, the resolution recommends as follows:

  •      Implementation of policies that allow for job creation
  •      Building infrastructure and local and intra African trade to bolster national and continental economic capacities and reduce import dependency
  •      Governments to support economic activity particularly in sectors such as tourism and air transport which have been heavily impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
  •      Encourages Governments to stimulate research in fields such as COVID vaccines, agriculture and technological innovation.
  •      Encourages African Governments to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area to accelerate the process of integration into continental and global value chains.
  •      Encourages investment in the green economy that can create millions of jobs in sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture and production in general.
  •      International financial institutions and the international community at large to reform the international financial systems.

        7.3      The Conference further adopted the resolution on the security situation in some African countries. The resolution raised concerns on the security situation in some African countries, particularly in the Sahel-Saharan countries, the countries bordering Lake Chad and those of Central and East Africa. Accordingly, the resolution:

  •      Condemns in the strongest terms, the acts perpetrated by terrorists and armed groups in the above stated regions.
  •     Expresses its unwavering support for the African populations that have fallen victim to all forms of terrorism.
  •      Calls for the lifting of the arms embargo on all States whose sole purpose is to defend the integrity of their national territory.
  •     Reaffirms its conviction that access to government power is acquired through the ballot box and not the gun and further that dialogue is the preferred means of resolving political conflicts.

  Calls on African States to strengthen their solidarity, pool their efforts and provide the populations affected by the scourge of terrorism with the protection and support they need. Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MASANGO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I am now going to touch on the recommendations that were made.

          8.0    RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Recommendation

Action

Timeline

8.1

Hosting of the 78th Executive Committee and the 44th Conference of the APU

-Preparations for hosting the Meetings should be done within the context of an All Stakeholders Committee.

- The Committee should endeavour to Host a Conference that is anchored on selling brand Zimbabwe by projecting a positive image of the country.

-Provision of an adequate budget for the hosting of the Meetings

Continuous till November 2022

 

 

 

8.2

Engaging SADC countries on the possibility of joining the APU

- Presiding Officers can informally engage their counterparts in the region on the possibility of joining the APU when they interact at international fora.

- It is pertinent to understand why SADC is reluctant to join the Continental body. The information will help the APU as they engage the respective non-members.

Continuous

8.3

The COVID 19 pandemic and its effects on African economies: how to ensure economic recovery

-Economic recovery requires a multi-pronged approach that includes stimulation of investments, job creation, poverty reduction, boosting agricultural productivity as well as ease of doing business.

-Accordingly, the Portfolio and Thematic Committees need to diligently exercise their oversight function in ensuring that existing policies are being implemented to ensure economic recovery post COVID-19.

Continuous

8.4

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African populations, resilience and challenges.

 

-Given that Sustainable Development Goals are cross cutting in nature, the relevant Thematic and Portfolio Committees as well as the Expanded Committee on SDGs are urged to follow up on the implementation of the SDGs which has slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the pandemic poses a serious threat to one of the major objectives of the SDGs, particularly as they relate to Third World countries, that is, poverty reduction.

Continuous

 

 

 

8.5

The political, economic and social role of the African woman in the COVID-19 Health crisis.

- The Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care to provide oversight on the implementation of policies that stimulate and encourage manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals.

-The Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to look into issues of social safety nets for the vulnerable groups who have been affected by the pandemic.

- The Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development to conduct an enquiry into the increase in sexual and gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies since the onset of the pandemic with a view to recommending mitigatory measures.

 

 

          9.0.   CONCLUSION

          9.1   The delegation wishes to express its deep appreciation to

Parliament for affording them the opportunity to represent the country at these important continental meetings.

          9.2    The delegation invites relevant Portfolio and Thematic

Committees to implement recommendations and resolutions to make

Zimbabwe’s participation meaningful.

        9.3      The delegation encourages the Administration of Parliament to immediately commence preparations for the hosting of the 78th Executive Committee Meeting and 44th Conference of the APU in November 2022 in order to make it an unforgettable experience which projects a lasting positive image of Zimbabwe.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 3rd t March 2022.

          On the motion of HON T. MOYO, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Fourteen Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

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