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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 OCTOBER 2022 VOL 48 NO 87
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 20th October, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House by way of a reminder that the Pre-Budget Seminar will take place from Friday, 21st October, 2022 to Monday 24th October, 2022 at the Harare International Conference Centre. Our starting time is 0830 hours.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Speaker Sir, I have a point of order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, can you be connected.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First of all, let me apologise for coming late. I was supposed to be in before the Speaker’s procession and I apologise.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you also apologising for the rest of the Members who came after the procession?
HON. T. MLISWA: I think they are well represented by their Chief Whips.
THE HON. SPEAKER: They were led by Hon. Hwende, a veteran politician and Member of this House. Next time, you must be here before the Speaker’s procession. Proceed.
HON. T. MLISWA: It is to do with accommodation. Hon. Members are facing difficulties in getting accommodation in the two hotels you spoke about. They are actually being told not to be booked. That is the situation. I know this was cleared but on the ground, it is the other way round. It is not happening as you …
THE HON. SPEAKER: What exactly is the problem?
HON. T. MLISWA: They are not accepting Members of Parliament to check in.
THE HON. SPEAKER: When did this happen?
HON. T. MLISWA: It is actually happening as we speak. Hon. Members came through and this is the problem that they are facing.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I called the Clerk of Parliament mid-morning to enquire whether everything was in order in terms of the bookings for the Hon. Members. His response was, everything was in order. There was a little bit of a problem at the beginning and things have been sorted out.
HON. T. MLISWA: No. We just got this information. We thought things were sorted out but the problem continues. Maybe he needs to intervene again.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Someone is explaining about some block booking.
HON. T. MLISWA: Yes, that is what is stopping Hon. Members from being checked in. Because of the so-called block booking, there are so many reasons that they are giving and we do not know whether it is true or not. If it is some kind of sabotage, we do not know – [HON. MUNENGAMI: Vamwe warikuti tiri kungobhuka one political party.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: One political party? While you are up standing, which political party is being favoured? Anything further than that?
HON. T. MLISWA: No, I think it is just for you to know maybe. The Clerk can also intervene again so that we then have a good start tomorrow.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, the Clerk had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development two days ago and the payment processes were cleared and Treasury should have released funds for payment to the respective hotels. There was assurance that everything should be in order. I have called the Clerk. I want to hear what exactly is going on.
Hon. Vice President, I did not see you coming in,my apologies.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA): Mr. Speaker Sir you were facing the other side and you were discussing something.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, this problem of accommodation.
HON. RTD. GEN. DR. CHIWENGA: I think it will be sorted out.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. When you hear such a statement not from a Vice President, but from an erstwhile commander, I think the command has gone. Thank you Hon. Vice President. Thank you very much.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Just to announce that today I am the Chief Whip. Having said that, it is important and just that I speak to Section 68 up to section 70 of the Constitution that speaks about the justice delivery system - right to administration of justice, Section 68, right to a fair hearing, section 69 and right of accused person in section 70. Mr. Speaker Sir, would it please the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to have the society or the generality and the electorate of the public to help the justice delivery system in so far as infrastructure development for the same is concerned.
I come from a place that is so small and minute that takes care of criminal charges numbering more than 100 a day and civic cases.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What does the matter relate to?
HON. NDUNA: The matter relates to the justice delivery system in a very minute, small space in Chegutu and in various other spaces. I would want Hon. Speaker Sir, to hear from the Hon. Minister how if at all he would want the electorate to be involved in infrastructure development to expand the place so that there is…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What place?
HON. NDUNA: The court rooms Mr. Speaker Sir, in particular that of Chegutu which deals with about 100 matters per day, of criminal and 50 day civil cases in confined spaces. The electorate wants to help in infrastructure development.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member that is a straight forward question that should have been asked yesterday to the Hon. Minister in terms of national policy.
HON. NDUNA: Would it please him to involve the electorate? The electorate is hungry in wanting to help infrastructural development. They have got their own money but without the authority...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I have ruled that this should have been asked as a straight forward question yesterday during question time and the Hon. Minister, Leader of Government Business was here full time, that question should have been raised yesterday.
HON. NDUNA: And you will indulge me next week?
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, indulgence next week. We are with the budget, after that we have got other national issues.
HON. NDUNA: Appreciated Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Tekeshe, I hope you will not also lead us into question time.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My issue is on the point of order that was raised by Hon. Mliswa on the welfare of Hon. Members.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Sit down Hon. Tekeshe. I addressed that yesterday.
HON. TEKESHE: You rebuked us but it is you who chairs the Committee and all these other things and there is nothing new you said.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Can you sit down!
HON. TEKESHE: He said nothing new. We have been putting everything to you but now you are saying Chief Whips are not doing their job.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Can you sit down!
HON. TEKESHE: I can sit down but my heart will be still standing – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! The matters of welfare are being taken care of and there are only two outstanding issues that remain. Thank you.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, 15th October 2022, it was the International Rural Women’s Day and we join the whole world in commemorating this day. Mr. Speaker, it is my wish that we see more women becoming more involved in all societal spheres, be it economic and political, in line with Sustainable Development Goal Number 5 which speaks about gender equality.
When looking at women in politics, I would like to actually bring it to your attention that women have been victimised in politics and we have seen pictures of women wearing their undergarments as far as it is a violation of women’s rights. As I conclude Mr. Speaker, it is my prayer that the Minister of Women’s Affairs come to this august House and address the House on the measures that are being taken to make sure that women participate in politics freely without being victimised because women are now afraid of getting involved in politics.
Again, I would like to also urge the Minister of Women’s Affairs to tell this House on what measures have been taken to assist women who have been victimised so far in politics, especially women in Matabeleland South Province. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much, you are speaking on specific issues. Refer that matter to the Gender Commission if you have got all the details accordingly and the Gender Commission will investigate.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. This is a follow-up from yesterday. As you recall, yesterday I raised the issue of the Hon. Ministers who were not present, who were not on the list of those who had sought leave of absence. You gave a ruling that by the end of day, the Administration of Parliament was going to compile a list of the errand Ministers and that it will be read out to this august House to enable us to move a motion for contempt of Parliament against the errand Ministers. Even the Hon. Vice President and the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs supported us that these Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers are aware of the Constitutional requirement for them to be present and they can only absent themselves when they have sought leave of absence. I just wanted to make a follow up to find out whether that has been done so that we can proceed accordingly and due process can then follow.
THE HON. SPEAKER: At 1245 hours, I inquired from the Clerk of Parliament and he was cleaning up the list and I am sending someone now to go and collect that list. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 2 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
HEALTH SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8. 2021]
Third Order read: Resumption of Committee: Health Services Amendment Bill [H. B. 8. 2021].
House in Committee:
On Clause 5:
HON. NDUNA: Thank you. I want to touch on the issue of going on industrial action. The essential services cannot go on industrial action. They cannot have a situation where they can have a cake and then eat it. Examples are that of the police, military and the health services. The health service is an essential part of the country we call Zimbabwe. I will give you some little examples in so far as it relates to the labour laws of Zimbabwe which was crafted, debated and passed in this august House. It actually says there is criminalisation to the right to strike in terms of those that offer essential services. Essential services speak to and about Section 76 and when it talks about the Constitution, it is the right to health, right to have care. This is where these people reside in and this is where they are supposed to take care of business. Now, when you want to be ultra vires the law, you change the law and you do not do as you please. It is my thinking however that as long as the issue of the right to health still resides in the Constitution on page 36 of the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights as long as it is still there and it has not been repealed. It is right, tried, just and moral to have those people in the health services being categorised as those that offer essential services. In so doing, it should not be allowed to have an industrial action. Otherwise we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
Madam Chair, as I conclude, I just want to touch on one more issue. Clause 5 says it provides for the pronouncement of the health services as an essential service. This is a delayed action but it is coming as it does to aligning the Acts of Parliament, a plethora of them with the Constitution which is sui generis in a class of its own and which is above all other Acts. According to Section 2 of the Constitution, there is need to repudiate and invalidate all other Acts that are ultra vires the Constitution to the extent to which they are inconsistent with the Constitution.
The other day I said the General Laws Amendment Bill that came in the Eighth Parliament, consequentially amended or aligned about 144 laws to the Constitution albeit this was not aligned to the Constitution and unlike the Kenyan Constitution of 2015, our 2013 Constitution did not give timelines in terms of alignment of the Acts to the Constitution. We should not miss the opportunity to both align the Labour Act with the Health Services Act to the Constitution.
As I conclude, I want to say this is a platform, a pedestal where we should be adhering to Section 117 of the Constitution of making laws for the peace, order and good governance of the people of Zimbabwe. It would not be right for us to abrogate our legislative authority. Parliamentarians and exactly as I do, I stand here to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the people of Zimbabwe and I say Clause 5 should definitely be aligned to Section 76 of the Constitution in so far as it relates to the issues of essential services. Anything else would be ultra vires and should be repudiated to the extent of its inconsistence.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity and having said that, there is a clinic that we have just finished constructing in Chegutu West Constituency led by Cde. Lameck Nyamarango and we will be requesting the Vice President to come and officially open it. We are going to be having six doctors to mann that institution and none of them will be going on strike and we will be having more than ten nurses to also mann that institution. So, I want to take what is happening to Chegutu to bring it into Parliament so that patsika remberi ndopanotsika reshure, so that we align these Acts to the Constitution. I rest my case.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Chair for giving me this opportunity to have another bite of the cherry. As I indicated when I was on virtual yesterday, there are critical issues which I wanted to bring to the attention of the Hon. Vice President. Before doing so, I would like to respond to some of the issues raised by Hon. Nduna. First and foremost, Madam Chair and the Hon. Vice President and Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, when we are looking at the provisions in this particular clause, we must remain mindful and cognisant of the fact that we went through a pain’s taking process to adopt this Constitution. We had COPAC, Hon. Members of this august House extensively consulting the people of Zimbabwe.
I want to respectfully disagree with Hon. Nduna where he talks about alignment of the Medical Services Bill and the Labour Act to the Constitution in the manner in which he is seeking to portray. I want to point out that he is mistaken because when you look at the provisions in Section 65, it enumerates what the people of Zimbabwe, through their representatives identify it as the essential services and that is restricted to the security services. Those are the ones which are specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
We are talking of your Army, Defence Forces, Police Service, the Intelligent Services and probably Prison Service. Those are the four which were properly identified as constituting essential services and which are actually precluded from enjoying the labour rights which are enshrined in Section 65. Hon. Nduna has made reference to the right of health as a justification for separating the medical services from the other professions. With due respect, that cannot be correct - when we look at the rights enshrined in our Constitution, we also have a right to education. The fact that you have got the right to education does mean that all the teachers are now going to be classified as essential services for the purpose of preventing them from enjoying the labour rights which are enshrined in Section 65.
We also have got environmental rights – are you now going to tell me that the workers who fall under the Ministry of Environment are also going to be precluded from enjoying their labour rights because there are environmental rights in the Constitution? That cannot be so and I therefore wish to point out that the reference by Hon. Nduna to those provisions relating to the right to health is misplaced. It has no relevance and it has no probative value.
I now turn to the specific clause that we are debating. First and foremost, we have got draconian provisions which have been put or which are being sought to be inserted into this particular Act. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Yes, these are draconian because when you look at the mischief, what is the mischief? It is to try to prevent nurses, doctors, geographers, lab technologists and other members of the health professions from participating in collective job action. Before I go into the draconian penalty provisions, I just wish to point out that Section 65 is wide in its scope and because it is wide in its scope, it is important and imperative for the Hon. Vice President to appreciate that you cannot just take away the right the right to strike. If you go ahead and enact this into law, you are actually preventing members of the medical profession from engaging in a lot of the activities which are set out in Section 65 and I think it is important for me to highlight these specific rights because it says that every worker has got a right and those labour rights include the belonging and forming of trade unions and so forth. I am alive to the fact that the Bill goes ahead to lay out the specific measures which they are going to be allowed to do and not do.
However, as others spoke before me yesterday, what is of grave concern and seriously worrying the people of Zimbabwe, and this is reflected in the reaction during the public hearings that were conducted, I believe that you must not pay lip service to Section 141. When we embark on these public hearings or consultations, we must take heed of the submissions which are made by the people of Zimbabwe. I know the Minister of Justice was waiting for me to elaborate on why I am saying these measures are draconian because when you look at the offence, whether it is inciting, it is not like people are inciting others to commit public violence or something
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. Gonese, I think yesterday you raised the same issues.
HON. GONESE: I never spoke about the draconian provisions yesterday. Go and check in the Hansard.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Order, yesterday you mentioned this issue and that is when the Hon. Minister responded to you. Those issues about having the right to job action, you mentioned about them yesterday. So for us to continue Hon Member, let us get new issues.
HON. GONESE: Yesterday I never spoke about the penalty provisions, you can check in the Hansard. I did not. I was on virtual and I never debated that issue.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: I will guide you so that we speak new issues rather than for us to repeat things.
HON. GONESE: I am saying that the provision of a penalty which talks of a fine of level 10, I never spoke about that yesterday and secondly, in the alternative of three years imprisonment or to such fine and imprisonment. The new issue that I am going to talk about, yesterday the Hon Vice President was saying that we as the Legislature are now trying to be the judge and the jury rolled into one. I want to respectfully point to the Hon. Vice President that firstly, we have got a doctrine of separation of powers. We have got the Executive whose role is to govern. We have got the Legislature whose role is to pass laws and we have got the Judiciary whose role is to interpret the law. As the Legislature, we are entitled to give guidelines and parameters, which is why in all statutes we have got a maximum penalty. All I am doing now is to ask the Hon. Vice President to reduce the penalty provision firstly, from level 10 to level 3; secondly, in the alternative, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months.
We must look at the offence which is being talked about. The offence which is being talked about is to incite people when they are going for industrial action. When people are going on industrial action they are trying to enforce their rights. It takes two to tango; we cannot just blame the medical personnel if lives are going to be lost. We must also blame Government which is failing in terms of the provision of the right to health where in the last paragraph it says that the State must take all measures to ensure that there is a progressive realisation of those rights; those progressive members, including the availing of sufficient resources which the State is not doing. So we must not say that we want to prevent medical personnel from going on strike because it will result in loss of life but we must in the same vein and by the same token say that the Executive must actually prevent this from occurring by ensuring that they avail enough money which enable firstly the doctors, nurses and other health personnel to go to work with smiling faces. That can only happen if they are paid handsomely and properly.
The second thing is that Government must avail all the medication which is necessary and for those reasons, I will therefore implore and plead with the Hon Vice President and the Hon Minister of Justice and my colleagues from across the political divide, to ask that this particular provision should actually be reduced in line with the proposal that I have made. I therefore rest my case Madam Chair.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I also want to contribute to the debate which is before this House, especially on Clause 5. What is crucial in this regard is the rights of members of the Health Services Board to participate in respect to labour issues. The manner in which Clause 5 is crafted regardless of the fact that health personnel are treated like essential services but to curtail their right to industrial action and then limit them with heavy penalties hanging on their heads, is not the best thing that we can do especially in the Second Republic. We need to ensure that the rights of a worker are protected, no matter which profession. If you do a proper analysis you then realise that the rights of nurses and doctors as an employee of the health service profession or an employee of the Republic of Zimbabwe also need to be taken into consideration because failure to do that we will have problems.
I would have liked a situation where the Hon. Vice President would actually relook into this clause and make the necessary adjustment pertaining to the restrictions of rights to strike for health services. The limitations that are being placed by Clause 5 exceed the necessary limit. In fact, the cure of a problem is bigger than the problem itself that it seeks to solve. We should never forget the fact that health personnel are human beings and they have got their rights which are contained within the Constitution of this country. Whatever limitations we come up with should be limitations which have a human face because the people that are running our health system are not robots but are human beings with needs. We need to acknowledge that as a Government, more often than not, will fail to meet certain requirements of the employees. So as employees, they have got a right and we need to make sure that we tinker the manner in which the Hon. Minister had actually put in terms of Clause 5 so that at least we remove some of these restrictions to make it easier. I thank you Madam Chair.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Chair. I just want to ask for clarification on two issues. If you look at 2 (b), where it says no collective job action, whether lawful or unlawful,it shall continue uninterrupted for period of 72 hours. My question is; what would be happening in those 72 hours? I thought by 72 hours, we mean that the Ministry or the authority or the Executive will be also looking into that matter within 72 hours because it says the strike cannot continue for 72 hours. So, it means that the Executive is giving itself a responsibility to deal with that strike within those 72 hours.
Secondly, my other issue is on the issue of organising a strike. As long as we allow people to have representatives, it is the responsibility of those representatives to lead their members. So, criminalising the issue of an executive that is lawful, I do not think it is proper. What we are simply trying to do is to take away the responsibility of anyone organising people for the good of those that they are leading. I am of the opinion that the moment we criminalise people from organising themselves, we are trying to look at them like for example, unoona mazimombe mahombe anemazinyanga achitinhwa nekamwana kadiki. Why, it is because mombe idzodzo hadzisi kubvumidzwa kutidzimboisa misoro pamwe chete dziudzane kuti kamwana karikutitinha aka kadiki, despite the fact that they are being beaten by that young child.
Why can we not allow people to sit, organise themselves and even decide on taking action? It is also the responsibility of the Executive to interact with those groups and listen to them. Listen to the members’ concerns and avert any strike. What we must be concentrating on is averting any form of strike. If it is the issue of the equipment that is required for the doctors to perform their duties in a manner that we are all proud of, then we must listen to them. If it is the nurses, then we must listen to them and say, what are these salaries you are talking about.
If there is an agreement between the Executive and those workers, we will never have a strike. I think what we are doing here is to make sure that even a discerning voice is not heard. It is not always true that the minority is always wrong and the majority is always right. Even the minority must also be listened to. Even those few discerning voices within the health sector must also be listened to. The moment we do that we are building a nation because we are building a consensus amongst ourselves. You will find that as we listen to these voices, even if we are paying them so little and they understand the reasons they are being paid so little, those people will perform and ensure that they afford our people the best services.
The situation where we make sure that there is no strike, there are discerning voices, it does not mean we are going to get the best of what we expect from them. My plea is that if the Hon. Vice President should look at the situation of the 72 hours and say within those 72 hours, it is expected that the issues raised will have been dealt with, it can make sense. Without that, it does not mean anything as far as I am concerned. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Chair. I just want to buttress and thank colleagues who have spoken before me. As we have ratified several instruments of the International Labour Organisation, including the right to unionise, and the right to stand for office in the labour movement (trade unions); I know the point of punitive action in terms of the 72 hours has been adequately dealt with but also there has to be some kind of agreement between the Government and those who organise for the collective job action to actually give a feedback to the constituents they represent.
My point is on the vanobikatea, magarden boy, they are not an essential service. Can we not pull them out of this pool of workers because they are not part of the essential service, varikungokubikiraitea, varikungotsvaira.If we lump them together with the health workers, in terms of the occupation, I think it will not be fair on them. I actually urge the Minister to take away these workers out of the grouping that we are dealing with so that at least there is a demarcation in terms of these workers. Maboss, maboss, vanobikateandevamweand even salaries are different and their services are different. I thank you.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Madam Chair. I rise to add my voice on the debate. I note that members of the security services are treated as an essential service that cannot demonstrate and they cannot be part of trade unions. According to what he is saying, doctors and nurses have got injections – [HON. MEMBERS:Inaudible interjections.] – The main reason that I think members of the Security Services are not allowed to demonstrate is because of the importance of security to the nation. In the same thinking and reasoning, the Health Services is a very critical component of our social life. It is a sector that safeguards the lives of people. People are involved in accidents. Yesterday we were told of children who were involved in a bus accident and we lost six of them. May their souls rest in eternal peace. Imagine that accident had happened when doctors had their services withdrawn. It means we would have lost all those lives.
I believe the essence of coming up with a law to regulate the Health Services is to bring order and sanity in the profession and in the sector so as to save lives. If we do not have a law to regulate the sector and leave that sector in a state of …
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Murire. What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: These are issues which have been discussed. We have been here, tataura zvese. Chief Whips, can you talk to your Members that we cannot keep on repeating issues.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Noted Hon. Mliswa. Hon. Dr. Murire, may you please proceed.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Madam Chairperson. I agree with Hon. Mliswa that we have been too much on this subject but I also stood because people were debating in an angle that I thought was not making much sense. We need to have a law to protect lives. Those lives can be protected by regulating the manner in which health services can be withdrawn or should be maintained so that we always make sure that if accidents happen, if people get ill, if epidemics occur, there is essential services as opposed to leave the sector unregulated so that all those events take free course. I thank you Madam Chairperson.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. GEN. RTD. DR. CHIWENGA): Madam Chair, I have listened attentively to the issues raised by Hon. Hwende who talked on the mischief of the Bill in trying to stop the right to strike by our professionals. He named them and I do not think it is necessary for me to repeat. Hon. Mushoriwa, also was talking about the right to participate in labour issues by the Health Board, the right of workers to be protected and the right of the professionals. Hon. Madzimure said the Executive must also take note that they should resolve the issues within the 72 hours, which is a quid pro quo situation. They should not criminalise but they listen to the minority. Hon. Mpariwa mainly concentrated on the right of the labour unions.
Hon. Murire was talking on the right to life for every citizen of this country. Having listened to the issues which were raised by Hon. Members here, I want to say when we look at the mother law, which is our Constitution and we look at the Act, what we are trying to do is to align the Act to our Constitution. In the interest of all Zimbabweans, whether they are in the minority or majority, life can never be compared as you are in the majority or in the minority.
I want to say that we are looking still as the situation remains stagnant. I want to repeat to Hon. Members that when we say we are reconstructing, the Second Republic is reconstructing the country, we are talking of all projects which we are doing day in and day out. It is not like it is a joke. We are drilling gas and oil in Muzarabani, we are building the industrial park which is worth $13 billion. This is for the development of Zimbabweans. It is us the three pillars of Government to lead by example - Legislators, Executive and the Judiciary. We cannot discuss issues as we are no longer going to move away from the situation which was there yesterday, two months or four months ago when Hon. Members were doing their consultations. When consultations are done, as an example, I can say the Zimbabwe dollar rose close to ZWL1000 against the US dollar but now it has come down. That is a fact and it will continue to come down – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - [HON. HWENDE: Inaudible interjection.] - No. Hon. Members, you were talking about economic issues which had nothing to do with the issues we are discussing. The issues of the unions have got nothing to do with when we are making up the laws. It is like we are now splitting hairs. I am not very sure what the Honourable who raised the issue of the union, Hon. Mpariwa - we will talk about it. When it comes to deal with the issues to do with labour, then we can raise those issues.
Secondly, in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, there are no ordinary people. Those electricians or those who are floor sweepers are doing that in high dependence intensive care units where it is a matter of life and death. There are no ordinary people in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Everybody in there is doing work which will make you and me and our citizens out there, whoever gets admitted in a hospital, to survive. So there are no ordinary people. All of them have a role to play.
The issue or the question of money, Hon. Member, is going to be there. We will discuss that one when we assemble our people in Rufaro or in whatever area and we are discussing. That will be the platform to discuss about that. We will not want to discuss about those issues. This is not a political rally. We are making laws for our country. So we want to make progress.
When people commit a crime and in this case it is a crime of life or death, there has to be consequences which must follow. That, we should understand, but having listened to you Madam Chair, I propose that Clause 5 in lines 26 and 27, we make the amendment by the deletion of , ‘level 10 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment’, and the substitution will read as follows; ‘level four or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both such fine and such imprisonment.’
HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Chair, there was a submission which was made by Hon. Mpariwa which I think the Hon. Minister scratched the surface. He talks about the issue of cleaners being part of the health system, but if you read the proposal, it says that in terms of disciplinary matters, the people have to be disciplined under the Health Services Regulation of 2006, under SI 117 of 2006. If you read that SI 117 of 2006, people like gardeners and sweepers were not defined within the definition of health personnel and I am just wondering whether there will be a change in that respect because the SI that is being referred to does exclude the people that Hon. Mpariwa was talking about. The nurses, the doctors were included but other non health workers were excluded. So to that extent, we thought maybe there is need for that leeway, that there is a definition of who are the people that are being talked about so that it says nurses, doctors then exclude non health personnel because they have never been part of the system from way back.
HON. HWENDE: I think we are now remaining with just few issues that need to be considered. I agree with Hon. Mushoriwa - let us have a list of the workers that we are referring to. If you see also the trend in the region when they are treating to the right to strike by health services workers, the trend nowadays is to allow the workers’ committee to agree on a minimum service level agreement and once that is in place, it is easy for the law then to apply.
So it ensures that the hospitals, all critical services are covered and those, the type of workers can then be subject to the provisions that we are given.
I want to thank also the Vice President, the Minister of Health and Child Care for agreeing to reduce the term limit, but what we need to look at, we thought it was going to be smarter to criminalise the people that are participating in the illegal strike as defined by the new Act rather than the union because they never call for a strike without consulting the members and in most cases, there is always a resolution and union members themselves vote whether they want or not to participate in a strike. Once that resolution is made, the decision is not for the union leaders, it is for the ordinary workers. So a penalty that affects the union leader who is simply communicating in a representative manner, the person is representing the decision of the workers, we cannot penalise that but rather let us penalise the people that are forbidden from striking and who then go on and strike. Let us compromise, then we will have dealt with the other issue. I can see the Minister is shaking his head. I must state that we are here to make laws; that is our role and if our role was not to make the laws, we would not be here. The Minister must also listen to what we are debating because we are playing a constitutional role. So for the Minister to shake his head whilst Members are debating, I think it is not fair - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can you protect me? Hatidi vanhu vanongouya kuno uku kuzofadza Vice President nokuti vari pano apa. Endai munofadzana kuma party kwenyu uko. We are here to do serious business ....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Hwende, can you proceed, have you finished?
HON. HWENDE: I have finished but you must also, in future, protect people that you have given the floor. We have seen that when it is a Member from this side, you do nothing, you are being heckled .....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Hwende, this is the third time you have said it, it is because you are working on emotions; do not work on emotions, just be factual. Let me be honest with you, I think you have said it a lot of times; when we are sitting on this Chair, we are not partisan, we look at issues when they come.
HON. HWENDE: It is your conduct when treating Members from this side and we have raised it numerous time.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Can you please proceed.
HON. HWENDE: No, you ought to be fair when you are a Chairperson. Thank you.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Members, can you please say new issues so that at least we can conclude. We have really taken a lot of time on this issue since yesterday. If I hear you repeating an issue which has been said before, I will stop you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Perhaps without necessarily challenging your ruling, but I think if Members who have spoken before are repeating themselves, you can rule them out of order. I have never participated in this debate.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: It was not specific to you, it was a general statement.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you. May I summarise the proposal that we are presenting to Clause 3 of 16 (a) that the intention of the clause is to criminalise a member of the governing board and I simply want to rephrase it for the purposes of the Minister to actually capture the intention of the legislature. Before I even go there, may I bring it to the attention of the Hon. Minister that one of the tests when laws are presented before the courts is the intention of the legislature. What was our intention when we made this law? World-over, there is no intention to criminalise labour activities. When labour matters are being dealt with, they are not being dealt with at an individualist level but at a union level. Therefore, my proposal to Clause 3 is that members of a union, not leaders who would have participated in a strike; the withdrawal of labour which goes against the proceedings as agreed to in Section 2 (b) therefore may face the criminal procedures as said by Hon. Hwende.
Where we are trying to come from is that if we leave it in this state, you have literally killed the whole unionism at a work place. Who would want to become a union leader when he knows that when I am acting on behalf of others, I will remain being criminalised on my own over a union decision? I thought the Minister could either consult his drafters to capture the intention of individuals being collectively responsible for their particular action. The other point is ....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chikwinya, the first statement that you make was raised yesterday and it was responded to, you can check with the Hansard.
HON. CHIKWINYA: It seems Madam Chair that there is a union of leadership sitting there ......
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: No, I am the one Chairing, no-one else is assisting me – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. CHIKWINYA: The Minister has made amendments and I am in disagreement with those amendments. Am I not allowed… - [THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFARS (HON. ZIYAMBI) Inaudible interjection] - It does not still capture the liability of the leader. If my intention has been captured, the Minister will simply correct me. The Minister is there but why am I being corrected by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs when the Minister of Health and Child Care is there?
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Can you please proceed.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I want to believe that my point has been taken, if the matter has been captured....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: We want new issues Hon. Chikwinya, we have spent a lot of time on this clause ...
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Chair, you are reducing this to you and me item. I am about to say if my proposal has been captured and has been agreed to, may the Minister reiterate for capturing purposes because so far he has simply addressed the issue to do with the sentence from level 14 to level 4. I am not hearing the issue of the collective liability of everyone who is being involved in an illegal strike. If that has been captured, you can allow the Minister to come on the floor and repeat what is now on paper.....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Yesterday, there was the issue of individual liability which was agreed to, not collective.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Madam Chair, may the Hon. Minister read the new clause so that at least we move together.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Can you please go on to the next clause.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My next clause is the issue of disagreeing with criminalisation of labour matters. I totally disagree, I am a lawmaker and I am presenting it here; you cannot say it has been said before. I am representing Mbizo Constituency and the nation at large. I totally disagree with the issue of criminalising labour matters and I put it across to the Minister that he has travelled across the globe .....
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: The problem that I am having with you Hon. Chikwinya is, you are repeating issues and I made a disclaimer before you stood up and I said anyone who is going to repeat issues, I will stop that person. We cannot continue saying the same issues, and I am not being personal but I am just looking at the principle of what we have discussed. We were quite clear that we do not have to repeat issues. Let us have new issues.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Madam Chair, the fact that issues are being repeated means they are of concern from all Hon. Members. Are you saying if people want to reiterate a point to the Minister to change his heart they should keep quiet? Why are we 310 in this House? If it was enough to have one person speak, we were simply going to elect one person.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: The reason is if you want to speak, you most definitely have to tell us and then you speak. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I am reiterating a point for the purposes of emphasis and the Ministers may simply come back and say I have heard you but they do not want to change...
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Chikwinya.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, Hon. Members must avail themselves to the House to debate. If you decide to do your business on a day when a matter is being discussed and then you want us to perpetually debate it as and when you avail yourself to the House, our Standing Orders do not allow us to debate an issue continuously. So the Hon. Member was supposed to be here. We debated about this and the Hon. Vice President responded. He has a lot of work to do. We cannot spend days debating the same issue just because he was not in the House and he did not even bother to read proceedings of what happened. So, I implore you Hon. Chair to ignore and for him to accept that if he wanted to be heard, he was supposed to be present yesterday when we debated about it. Thank you.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chikwinya, we want new issues.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of clarification Madam Chair. Am I not allowed to emphasise a point in Parliament?
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. According to Standing Order 111, it says the Chair might direct a member to discontinue his/her speech and resume his/her seat after having called to order such a member for persisting or irrelevant or tedious repetition of his/her argument or those used by other members in debate or for disregarding any ruling observation made. So, I am going to stand on Standing Order 111 (a). Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: So are you saying I must resume my seat?
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: If you have got new issues, you can proceed but if you do not have, please sit down.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I have new issues. My new issue Madam Chair is that when we come to Parliament and we make tedious, tiresome statements in your view as you have stood by, the same statement resonates with the masses of Zimbabwe and they are coming from our constituencies who do not want to be criminalised for labour matters. I want the Hon. Minister to face that here and not in Rufaro Stadium. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I think with due respect, the issue of non health workers is critically important that they are part of this because we have got mothers and grandmothers who cannot wash themselves. So what happens when they are in hospital and they are not there? There is the aspect of food – who serves the food and who keeps the food? There are aspects of machines being turned on and off and we do not have a health expert, that very same ICU which makes you survive does not need a health worker, it needs a technician. If you now say that they cannot be part of it - in fact, they are the most important. The issue of health and the toilets, somebody goes and messes up the toilets - who will clean them? So we cannot have the spread of diseases while we are there. So, they really have to be a part of this so that it is a total package of health service and without them, then it is not a total package. I totally disagree with my other Hon. Members who believe that they should not be part of this. In fact, it is an essential service. Thank you.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: That is what the Hon. Minister said. He said it and repeated it a lot of times and so, let us go to a new issue.
HON. T. MLISWA: No, you do not understand my point. The point of debating is when another Hon. Member says something which I disagree with. That is the point of debate unless if it is a different language then I can sit. But I am saying I am not agreeable to what my colleagues are saying. Ndinowirirana nokuti ivo vanofanira kunge vari ipapo nekuti vanebasa ravanoita rinokosha. So I think to me my plea to my colleague members is that a lot has been done in terms of Hon. Hwende, Hon. Chidziva and Hon. Gonese. We were here working very hard on this issue. It was supposed to end yesterday and we must at some point, be together for the good governance of this country, move forward and so forth. That is what I would want to appeal to my colleagues that we went through this and I think the Hon. Vice President has shown leadership by conceding to say yes, level 4, six months because three years was a bit too much. I think if we can just pass this and move onto the next, we will do well for the country.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. I am not debating. I am looking at the provisions of Standing Order 105(1). Question put when debate concluded. I am now raising an objection and I want it to be recorded notwithstanding the concessions made by the Hon. Vice President. It must be put for the decision of the House or the Committee and I just wanted to be proactive. I know what has happened in this august House previously. When the question is put then the Committee has proceeded in a convener manner. My point in rising is just to ensure that this matter is put to the vote because there is a provision that you must now put it for the decision of the Committee because you are in Committee and we need to make a decision. Those who are objecting must be recorded as having objected. That is what I am seeking. Thank you.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON Thank you Hon. Gonese, I was putting forward the question so that we can get a response from that. Thank you.
Question having been put.
HON. GONESE: I call for the division of the House.
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]
Hon. Members having approached the Chairperson for clarification.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: The question on which the House is divided is that the amendment proposed by the Hon. Vice President stands part of the Bill. The Ayes should stand to my right and the Noes to my left. Those on virtual should indicate YES in support of the amendment or NO in opposing the amendment. Each side should appoint two tellers who will be assisting the Clerks-at-the-Table and IT for tallying purposes. So we are going to start immediately.
Hon. T. Mliswa and Hon. Chikwinya having engaged in a heated debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: Ngayidzokere ku three years because vayiramba ye six months. In fact ngayikwire to 10 years, ngaitokwidzwa to 10 years. Ngaikwidzwe to 10 years. Teach them power, they do not know power. Havazive power ava. They are not strategic – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Ngavazive kuti muri kutonga. Handitambe nemi, I propose 10 years, let it go to 10 years. Six months varamba. I propose 10 years, havanzwisisi, havashandiki navo, havatongeke. Three years is too lenient. You are poor on strategy – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Ten years (chorus on 10 years) Tava kuda 10 years, ndovanofurira vanhu ava, zvabuda pachena. Ndati ndimi munofurira vanhu.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! Hon. Members. Hon. Nduna and Hon. Mliswa, would you mind if you do it somewhere so that you cannot be seen up-standing whilst the Hon. Member who has asked for the floor is talking – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Order, Hon. Mliswa.
HON. GONESE: I just want to clarify Madam Chair. My apologies; after listening – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon. Mliswa. Let us respect each other. May you allow the Hon. Member to contribute?
HON. GONESE: Madam Chair, with your indulgence, after having listened carefully, I intend to point out that when I heard the injection, I think there was an error in terms of understanding the stage where you were. I want to clarify that my objection was not to the amendment. The amendment is to the effect that the penalty provision from level 10 to level 4 and the alternative term of imprisonment is reduced from three years to six months. That was not my intention to reject the amendment but rather to object the clause.
So I am begging the indulgence of the Chair and the Committee that my objection is not to the amendment but my objection is to the clause, the whole Clause 5. So I should withdraw the objection to the amendment.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, that was not right. What you did was not right and I think it was not honourable for you to do that. – [HON. GONESE: That is why I have apologised.] – We need to guide each other going forward. When the Hon. Minister stood up and proposed that amendment, I wanted to put the question, then you objected to say you wanted to debate. That is when Hon. Mushoriwa stood up. It is better for us to follow proceedings rather than for us to just argue for the sake of arguing. We need to be quite procedural and we need to be listening to the floor of events so that we go forward. I think you owe an apology to the House. – [HON. GONESE: Yes, I have withdrawn the objection to the amendment and I have apologised to the Committee.] – Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: This exposes the level of incompetence of this Parliament. We were here yesterday, committed to the cause, Hon. Hwende, Hon. Chidziva, Hon. Gonese on Zoom and no one was here. We must respect those who spent time to work and not allow those who believe they must come the last minute and spoil the party. This is a waste of taxpayers’ money first of all. The opposition must go to the Herbert Chitepo Ideological College. They need to be enrolled at the Herbet Chitepo Ideological College. They have no ideology, they were never part of this country and they are here to waste the country’s time. When you had an ideology we were working together in good faith. Hon. Gonese is a seasoned lawyer and a seasoned Member of this august House and as a result, he cannot stand here to move and withdraw the motion wasting tax payers’ money. I object to his withdrawal because it is not in good faith. They want to create unnecessary headlines. May the due process of the Parliament proceed with the voting? We have already voted, you called for a vote so let us do it. His withdrawal is unfaithful; it is not genuine because he will come back again with another withdrawal. So may we continue with the vote? I thank you.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. The procedure is that when a person proposes and if he then withdraws, I think that is in order. The second issue on the Chitepo School of Ideology, I will report to the Hon. Speaker so that he can enact that they can all go to the Chitepo School of Ideology. Thank you very much.
Amendment to Clause 5, put and agreed to.
Clause 5, as amended, put and an objection having been made.
HON. MUSHORIWA: That one we oppose as a matter of principle.
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: So, if you object, it is my humble prayer Hon. Members that we are not going to ring the bell again and be in the same circumstance that we had just now. As far as we are concerned, if we are going to ring the bells again and we go through the same process, I think I am not going to take any objections because truly speaking, we cannot be wasting people’s time.
Hon. Mushoriwa, I am directing that the bells be rung and I do not expect any other objection that is going to come through. We will do the same procedure as we did before. I thank you.
AYES 40: Hon. Chibagu G, Hon. Chikwama B, Hon. Chombo M, Hon. Dzepasi G, Hon. Gandawa M.A, Hon. Gorerino O, Hon. Kapuya F, Hon. Karumazondo M.T, Hon. Khumalo M, Hon. Khumalo S.S, Hon. Madhuku J, Hon. Madiwa C, Hon. Makari Z.G, Hon. Masango C.P, Hon. Masenda N.T, Hon. Masuku E, Hon. Masvisvi D, Hon. Mayihlome L, Hon. T. Mliswa T.P, Hon. Mpame C, Hon. Mudarikwa S, Hon. Dr. Murire J, Hon. Musakwa E, Hon. Mutambisi C, Hon. Ncube S, Hon. Ndiweni D, Hon. Nduna D, Hon. Nguluvhe A, Hon. Nhambo F, Hon. Nyabani T, Hon. Nyabote R, Hon. Nyere C, Hon. Raidza M, Hon. Saizi T, Hon. Seremwe B, Hon. Shamu W, Hon. Sibanda M, Hon. Tshuma S, Hon. Zhou P, Hon. Ziyambi Z.
Tellers: Hon. Nduna and Hon. Kapuya
NOES 26: Hon. Banda S, Hon. Biti L.T, Hon. Chidziva H, Hon. Chikwinya S, Hon. Gabbuza G, Hon. Gonese I.T, Hon. Hwende C, Hon. Machingauta C, Hon. Madzimure W, Hon. Mamombe J, Hon. Maphosa L, Hon. Matewu C, Hon. Mbondiah M, Hon. Mokone S, Hon. Moyo C, Hon. Mukapiko D.L, Hon. Musarurwa W.I, Hon. Mushoriwa E, Hon. Mutseyami C.P, Hon. Nyokanhete J, Hon. Nyoni I, Hon. Saruwaka T, Hon. Sibanda L, Hon. Tekeshe D, Hon. Tobaiwa J, Hon. Watson M.J.
Tellers: Hon. Mutseyami and Hon. Tobaiwa.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, I have 40 Ayes and 26 Noes. Therefore, the question is accordingly adopted.
Amendment to Clause 5 put and agreed to.
Clause 5, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 6 to 9 and Schedule, put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Eight Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 1st November, 2022.