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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 JULY 2022 VOL 48 NO 63
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 21st July, 2022.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MR. O. ZVAVAMWE, COMMUNICATIONS AND ALLIED INDUSTRY PENSION FUND AND MRS. P. MOYO
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Monday 18th July, 2022 Parliament received the following petitions:
- Petition from Mr. O. Zvavamwe beseeching Parliament to exercise its legislative and oversight roles on the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and Zimbabwe Republic Police so that they carry out investigations in a transparent manner.
The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petitioner’s prayer is not within the mandate of Parliament.
- Petition from the Communications and Allied Industry Pension Fund (CAIPF) Ad hoc Committee imploring the Pension Fund Management and Board of Trustees to make adjustments to pension payouts as recommended by the Justice Smith Commission.
The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petition does not contain a prayer to Parliament that is within its mandate and the petitioners have been advised accordingly.
- Petition from Mrs. P. Moyo expressing concern on the plight of pensioners not being considered by Parliament. The petition was deemed inadmissible as the petitioner did not meet statutory requirements and the petitioner has been advised accordingly.
I have six requests for statements on matters of national interest. Political parties should coordinate because the maximum we can take is only four.
HON. T. MOYO: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir. I rise on a matter of national importance which arises from the late disbursement of funds for the payment of school fees under the BEAM facility and the grant in aide. Mr. Speaker Sir …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, you had Ministers yesterday present both the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Services and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. These matters should have been raised.
HON. T. MOYO: We had a meeting in the morning and we agreed as a Committee that this …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Meeting of who?
HON. T. MOYO: We had a Portfolio Committee meeting and we agreed as a team that we need to raise these issues.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think raise it as a question because that statement begs for a response. It really begs for a response if there is that anomaly. Please do that either orally or by written way.
HON. MASENDA: Thank you Hon Speaker Sir. Good afternoon. My point of national interest is based on the production and sale - [Technical glitch] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, we cannot hear you. Your network is very poor, next time come to the House.
HON. MASENDA: Can I continue to give my presentation Mr. Speaker Sir?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your connectivity is poor, come to the House next week or if you are nearby, you may come to the House. We cannot follow you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My point of national interest is as follows: three weeks ago, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased interest rate to 200% from 8%. The increase would appear to be good to the banks. However, companies and manufacturers seeking loans to fund production will struggle to pay back the loans. The RBZ’s move followed a sharp rise in annual inflation from 131.7% in May to 191.6 this month, this is Africa’s if not the world’s highest rate. The bank said it raised the interest rates to discourage arbitrage through abuse of currency that is from the auction market.
Along with the inflation surges, Zimbabwe’s manufacturers, traders and consumers have been further hit by a rocketing black market exchange rate from where they get foreign currency to pay for goods and services. The manufactures and consumers were last week paying up to ZWL800 to USD1. In January last year, ZWL120 would buy USD1. The cocktail of interest rates policy intervention and galloping parallel exchange rate will obviously result in hyper inflation and product shortage.
While the introduction of gold coins is moot, I say this because the consultations have not been done wide enough to see the impact of the gold coins. Meanwhile, there has been no announcement of measures to support industry to access reasonably priced funds to produce fairly priced products.
Secondly, no measures have been put in place to support the workers who are the producers of goods and services who still earn their salaries and wages in ZWL.
Thirdly, there are no measures to ensure that the citizens who are the consumers of the product and services are protected.
Therefore, can the Minister of industry and Commerce come to the House and give a Ministerial Statement explaining the following:-
- The 200% interest rate is prohibitive for production borrowing, what measures does the Minister have in place to save industry?
- Hyperinflation is a result of high production cost of goods and services, what is the Hon. Minister doing to keep production cost low and protect the consumers against inflation?
- What is the Minister doing to ensure that well meaning companies are able to access currency from the auction market? What is she doing to make sure that they continue getting it and not to suffer because some are selling the money outside the market?
- How will the introduction of the gold coin worth approximately 1800 USD help the poor citizens in the rural areas to preserve value? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your statement is a mouthful of economic matters. I thought you should have dealt with this yesterday.
HON. MADZIMURE: They appear to be matters of economics but their effect has got a direct impact on manufacturers so there is a disconnection between the Ministry of Finance and the Minister of Industry. So what I expect is for the Minister of Industry and Commerce to say how she is going to ensure that we serve the manufactures at the same time protecting the consumers which fall under her purview.
THE HON. SPEAEKR: Hon. Biti as former Minister of Finance and Economic Development would really agree with me that the source of the problem is the Ministry of Finance and the Exchange rate regime. I think put it as a question for next week, you cannot make a statement like that and then call for a Ministerial Statement. The Minister of Industry and Commerce is a consumer of the policy.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, if you could give me the opportunity to ask the question next week.
HON. MARKHAM: My issue is more of a point of priviledge and it is current. The City of Harare issues licences to businesses through their health department. A week ago, the City stopped issuing licences or processing them for people with citizenship numbers ending in 00, which are basically Whites, Colourds and Indians. My concern is if there is a problem, people should be warned – they were not warned.
When people went to their offices - which I physically did yesterday, I was embarrassed to the extent where the department personnel moved away and the Chamber Secretary as of now is still unavailable. Hon. Speaker, I need to be guided accordingly; should I approach the Minister of Justice to give us a statement as whether I am indigenous or not because my ID ends in 00 or am I still, 42 years after independence, an alien?
Secondly, there is a major issue here - why did the City of Harare, if they had stopped processing on those grounds not inform the public?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Again, very good statement which begs a response in the national interest, can you bring it next week?
HON. MARKHAM: The guidance I am seeking is also on my citizenship and some of the people I represent. My question is how the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs views the people with 00 at the end of their identity cards.
I only got involved yesterday just before Parliament, so, my issue is this current issue is stopping businesses from running legally.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Again that matter is very urgent; we should have cleared that yesterday with the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The other element of your question requires a response from the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
* HON. NYABANI: Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank His. Excellency the President for the good job that he is doing: distributing farming inputs and implements, construction of dams and ensuring food security but let me say that all these things can be very successful if our farmers are given fertilisers and inputs at a cheaper price. For instance, some are getting bags of fertilisers and seed maize. My request is that GMB depots should be filled to capacity. The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture should sit down to determine what should be done so that our farmers have enough inputs.
HON. HAMAUSWA: My point of national interest concerns the low rate of voter registration. If we check the current levels of the people who are registering to vote, it is really worrisome. As we move towards 2023 elections, I do not think it will be a good thing to keep quiet as if things are okay. This is why I am raising this issue in this august House so that the Minister of Justice may call upon ZEC to do another Voter Registration blitz similar to what happened in the first quarter of this year. During the first quarter, Voter Registration Programme came before the mobile issuance of identification documents, yet the I.Ds are a prerequisite of voter registration. As a result, when we were mobilising people to vote, they faced the challenge that they had no I.Ds. Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, I am humbly requesting that the Minister of Justice considers and ensures that ZEC do again another voter registration blitz so that Zimbabweans will be able to register to vote and exercise their right and duty to vote next year. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Again, that is a much compounded question. I would have been very pleased if you asked that question yesterday because it is urgent. Raise it next week so that we get some response.
HON. TEKESHE: Yes Mr. Speaker, they were on the list but they did not get the chance to ask questions.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Because you asked too many supplementary questions. All is not lost. Next week is next. Can you make sure that through your Chief Whip, you are number one and are able to ask the question. The same with Hon. Markham, Hon. T. Moyo and Hon. Madzimure.
HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker, I seek clarification. If you, as Chair, may rule on the number of supplementary questions to a maximum of three, I think that will ensure that people who will be on the list will be given a chance to ask questions. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You want me to use Standing Order No. 215?
HON. T. MOYO: Yes.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You will notice that in some cases, I refuse supplementary questions because the responses from the Hon. Ministers were quite pointed but I get your suggestions, definitely.
HON. NDUNA: I rise on a point of order, it is that would it please the Hon. Speaker insofar as it relates to operation of Committees to adhere to Section 18 (2) of the Standing Rules and Orders. I am encouraged by your previous ruling, or rather point and section. Would it please you to adhere to the ethos and values of Section 18 (2) that speak to the composition and leadership of the Committees insofar as it relates to interest and expertise to enhance the expeditious, efficient and effective operation of the same?
THE HON. SPEAKER: In Ndebele, Shona and I think in Tonga, when a male dog is giving you its back, you cannot ask whether it is female or not. The quoted sections are misdirected and have nothing to do with what you have said. This issue must be raised with the Chief Whips and in your caucuses because it is the political parties that nominate and appoint leadership to the Committees from the parties. So, tell each other the truth during caucuses and reform accordingly. This applies to all political parties.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 7 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 8 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 14, 2021]
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Labour Amendment Bill [H. B.14, 2021].
Question again proposed.
HON. E NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise to present a report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the report is on public consultations on the Labour Amendment Bill [H. B. 14, 2021].
The Labour Amendment Bill which was gazetted on 19 November 2021 seeks to align the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] to Section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions. It addresses emerging issues such as labour broking,
violence and harassment at the work place with a view to close the gaps in existing legislation. At independence, the Government of Zimbabwe introduced social reforms to placate the masses who were aggrieved by the debilitating effects of colonialism. The Constitution recognised
Roman-Dutch common law as a source of law in Zimbabwe, thus allowing courts to protect individual labour rights based on constitutionalism. In June 1980, Zimbabwe joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO), whose membership meant that the state undertook the obligation to protect all labour rights, including individual labour rights. Indeed, based on these obligations, the state enacted Minimum Wages Act of 1980 and the Employment Act 13
of 1980. For all this progress, however, the fact that these rights were not constitutionally protected but included in several statutes resulted in the fragmentation of labour laws, which made it difficult to effectively protect individual labour rights.
The enactment of a new Constitution in 2013 culminated in guaranteed several protections for individual labour rights. It is against this background that the amendment seeks to align the Labour Act to the
Constitution and to promote the ease of doing business through streamlining and promoting timely conclusion of processes, particularly the labour dispute settlement and retrenchment processes.
Parliament Administration, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Silveira House, organised a workshop to unpack the Labour Amendment Bill for the Portfolio Committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare from 20 to 23 May 2022 in Nyanga. This workshop enabled the Committee to understand the technical provisions of Bill. Thereafter, the Committee conducted public hearings on the Labour Amendment Bill in line with Section 141 (2) of the Constitution which makes it mandatory for Parliament to involve members of the public in the legislative process. To this end, the Committee split into two groups which conducted public hearings in all the ten provinces of the country and were conducted from 30 May to 4 June 2022. In addition, the Committee received and considered written submissions on the Bill from stakeholders such as the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), PAAWUZ and Deaf Zimbabwe Trust, amongst others.
3.0 SUBMISSIONS AND FINDINGS ON THE LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL
3.1 Clause 1: Short Title
There were no comments from members of the public on this clause on the short title of the Act.
3.2 Clause 2: Definitions of Gender Based Violence and Harassment
The public raised concern that Clause 2 of the Bill failed to properly define sexual harassment and its various forms to avoid ambiguity, misinterpretation and abuse of the Clause. It was noted that the definition of harassment should be in line with the framework of the ILO Convention No. 111 and according to the General Observation of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (ILO Committee of Experts). Emphasis was also made on the need to insert a provision outlining the prosecution
procedure of perpetrators of gender-based violence and sexual harassment. The public further recommended that the clause includes whistleblower protection for those who report gender based violence and sexual harassment. Additionally, members of the public stressed the need to add a provision for the reinstatement of victims of sexual harassment in the event of an unfair dismissal. Finally, the public also appealed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare to expedite the ratification and implementation of the ILO Convention No. 190 so as to shape the future of work based on principles of dignity, respect and freedom from violence and harassment. The ILO Convention 190 provides an international definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment.
3.3 Clause 3: Definition of Forced Labour
This Clause exempts any work that is done as part of communal work or services from forced labour. No comments were made by stakeholders and members of the public on this clause.
3.4 Clause 4: Protection of Employees Against Discrimination
The Public welcomed the provisions of this Clause in strengthening laws against discrimination and harassment as it will create a conducive and safe environment within work spaces. Although commending the intention of the provision, the public noted with concern that the
clause failed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular the right to reasonable accommodation, disability friendly infrastructure and equal pay. It was noted that the law should clearly articulate the rights of persons with disabilities considering their plight
on issues relating to inclusivity and workplace accessibility.
A recommendation was also made to provide for a mandatory 15 percent employment quota of persons with disabilities in both public and private sector organisations in line with the National Disability Policy of 2021. This could go a long way in protecting persons with disabilities from discrimination when they seek for employment.
3.5 Clause 5: Protection of Employee’s Right to Fair Labour Standards
The public supported the proposed amendment which prohibits violence and harassment in the work place which was deemed to be an advancement of the country’s labour laws to comply with international best practices. However, the public proposed a raft of fair labour standards that the clause should comply with in terms of section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The public recommended that the Bill should include the following employee rights:
- Right to fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be
paid a fair and reasonable wage that ensures a dignified life and satisfies the basic needs of livelihood of every worker and their family consistent with the breadbasket or poverty datum line.
- The right to participate in collective job action including the right to strike, sit in and labour withdrawal.
iii. The right to engage in collective bargaining and freedom of association without fear of being victimised.
- The right of employees from forced labour, in particular, being forced to work overtime.
Clause 6: Amendment of Section 8 of the Labour Act
The Committee did not receive any comments on this Clause which amends section 8 of the Labour Act by including the actions by employers who engage in actions that amount to violence and harassment as an unfair labour practice.
3.7 Clause 7: Employment of Young Persons
The public applauded this provision which outlaws the labour of persons under the age of 18 years and increasing the penalty of persons found guilty of conducting child labour from 2 years to 10 years. However, concerns were raised regarding the blanket cover of the clause on child labour which failed to set out exceptions for holiday work done by school going children to contribute to their school related expenses. On this note, the public recommended that exceptions should be made on holiday work for school going children considering the different
social and economic structures within the society. It was also suggested that the Government allows a 16-year-old to work since he /she would normally have finished the Ordinary level of education.
3.8 Clause 8: Duration and Termination of Employment Contract
The public welcomed Clause 8 mainly on the basis of its intent to address the rampant casualisation of work. However, the public noted that there should be clarity on whether the 12 months defined in the Clause includes the 3-month probation period to avoid scenarios where
an employer finds a loophole in the provision. Furthermore, the public suggested that a provision should be made in the Bill on the conversion of fixed term contracts of the Bill after 12 months. It was further noted that, there is need to put to an end to casualisation of labour, there should be a law put in place, governing the duration of how long one should be on fixed term contract or maintain the one in the labour act which says that if one works for 6 consecutive weeks in 4 consecutive months, he/she should be deemed a permanent employee.
3.9 Clause 9: Retrenchment and Compensation for Loss of Employment
Members of the public registered their concern at the amendment’s failure to review the minimum retrenchment package of which currently stands at one months’ wages for every two years served in terms of the Labour Amendment Act of 2015. In this regard, a proposal was made to make the retrenchment package 3 months’ pay for each year of completed service. Further suggestions from the public were to the effect that the 60-day period slated as the timeline for the payment of retrenchment package be reduced to 30 days bearing in mind the
volatility of the current economic environment. Although the public welcomed the provision for an agreement on an enhanced retrenchment package between the employer and employee representatives, it however expounded on the need for in-depth consultations to be done with
employee representatives in the event that an employer sought to retrench 5 or more employees. The public also indicated that loss of employment does not change whether an individual has lost their job in whatever manner they still have to be compensated.
3.10 Clause 10: Non-Payment of Retrenchment Packages
The public supported the amendment and emphasised that no exemptions should be made on the payment of retrenchment packages.
3.11 Clause 11: Maternity Leave
There was general consensus with the proposal to remove all qualifying periods for maternity leave. Members of the public further proposed that the 3-months maternity period should be flexible to allow extension in cases of birth complications, caesarean operations and still birth. Additionally, the public called for the introduction of paternity leave for a period ranging between 14 and 30 days. It was also suggested that the Clause provides for interval leave days for pregnant women separate from the stipulated maternity leave.
3.12 Clause 12: Contracts for Hourly Work
The public applauded the new provision on labour broking, emphasising that it will ensure that there is equality in the workplace and that employees engaged through a labour broker have the same benefits as other employees. Nonetheless, the public expressed reservations on the Clause’s regulations which were left open ended with no time restrictions. On this note the public suggested that the Bill should ensure that labour brokers meet a certain criterion in order to allow employees to recover damages that may arise from an Employment contract. Secondly, the public recommended that the clause should provide the conversion of maximum caps on period and Frequency of labour broking arrangements.
3.13 Clause 16 and 17: Formation and Registration of a Trade Union
Members of the public welcomed clause 16 and 17 but proposed an insertion of paragraph (h) which reads ‘the name of the applicant or its shortened form may not so closely resemble the full name of the shortened form of an already existing trade union or employer’s organisation’. This was emphasised as critical in addressing confusion in the registration of trade unions. Furthermore, submissions from the public proposed that a provision be made in the clause to outline 1000 members as a minimum requirement for a trade union to be registered to avoid the mushrooming of incompetent trade unions.
3.14 Clause 18: Application for Registration of Trade Union
The public opposed the provision of this clause, indicating that it warrants too much interference on the affairs of Trade Unions or employers organisations by the Minister. This concern was cited to be in contravention of the freedom of association and the right to organise.
3.15 Clause 19: Considerations Relating to Variation, Suspension or Rescission of Registration of Trade Unions or Employers Organisations
On clause 19, the public argued that the removal of the word ‘registration’ from section 45 of the Labour Act fails to abate the fear of infringement into the rights and freedom of trade unions and employers’ organisations. The requirement to consider the representation of multiple
stakeholders was deemed to be too wide and could result in the infringement on the affairs of trade unions.
3.16 Clause 20: Supervision of Election Officers
Concern was raised on section 51(1) under clause 20 which gives right to any person directly involved in a trade union or employers’ organisation election to complain to the Minister about the conduct of the election on grounds of fraud, coercion or unfairness. An argument was made to the effect that subjecting election disputes of Trade Unions or employers’ organisations to the Minister or Registrar amounts to interference in the affairs of a trade unions which is a violation of Article 3 of C87 of the ILO Convention. In this regard, Clause 20 was opposed by the public.
3.17 Clause 21: Collection of Union Dues
The amendment to repeal subsections 2, 3, 4 and 5 of section 54 of the Labour Act was supported by members of the public. However, specific concern was raised on the need to repeal subsection 5 of section 54 as it was an appeal against the Minister’s decision arising from the repealed subsection 4 of section 54.
3.18 Clauses 22: Regulation of Union Fees
Members of the public had no objection on this clause which repeals the Minister’s power to regulate union fees.
3.19 Clause 23: Formation of Employment Councils
Members of the public supported this Clause which seeks to ensure that all employment councils are governed as statutory employment councils. On a different note, some stakeholders called for the repeal of Part VIII of the Labour Act on Employment Councils citing that they were no longer serving their mandate or duties according to section 62 of the
Act. It was highlighted that NECS were only bleeding the already struggling workers of their hard-earned salaries by forcing every worker to contribute and failing to serve the interests of workers i.e. to negotiate Collective Bargaining Agreements and resolve labour disputes in their
sectors. NECS were noted to be negotiating salaries that are way below poverty datum line. Instead, a recommendation was made that collective bargaining be done at Ministry level under the supervision of Labour Officers, for instance, the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development should necessitate meetings between employers’ organisations and trade unions in the sector to negotiate working conditions for employees.
3.20 Clause 24: Constitution of National Employment Councils
This clause was noted to be progressive, particularly the provision of bringing together unions for bargaining. In so doing, this provision grants workers under the National Employment Council (NEC) a powerful collective voice. However, the public suggested that guidelines for admission to the NEC be provided by the Clause. Furthermore, the public suggested that paragraph (g) of section 58 under this Clause be repealed and substituted by the following provision; “The NEC Board shall determine the minimum threshold for admission into the
NEC”. This was highlighted to be fundamental in curtailing briefcase unions and the multiplicity of unions.
3.21 Clause 25: Designated Agents of Employment Councils
The public was of the view that Designated Agents in Labour Offices should have the power of the Labour Officer to expedite the process of labour disputes. Furthermore, the public recommended that designated agents of Employment Councils be decentralised in order to address the backlog of labour disputes. However, some stakeholders highlighted that the Designated Agents of NECs were failing to finalise labour disputes on time due to corruption. Thus, a proposal was made to disband the Designated Agents and leave the labour dispute resolution role to Disciplinary Committees at shop floor level while appeals would be directed to the Labour Court or Labour Officers. In this regard, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should ensure that every organisation have a properly constituted Disciplinary Committee.
3.22 Clause 26: Scope of Collective Bargaining Agreements
The public were of the view that the proposed amendment omitted the right to collective bargaining.
3.23 Clause 27: Submission of Collective Bargaining Agreements for Approval or Registration
On this clause the public raised concern over the amendment’s substitution and repetition of the same provision that requires the Minister to specify the public interest concerned that would have caused the refusal to register a collective bargaining agreement. Concern was specifically raised on section 79(2)(a), (b) and (c) which provide provisions for interference with the rights of parties to free collective bargaining. In highlighting these concerns the public argues that the discretionary power of the authorities to approve collective agreements through this section was contrary to the principle of voluntary bargaining enshrined in article 4 of the Convention.
In this regard the public proposed the repealing of section 79(2)(b) of the proposed amendment and 79(2)(c) of the Labour Act.
3.24 Clause 28: Amendment of Collective Bargaining Agreements by the Minister
The public called for the repeal of section 81(1) of the labour Act and its substitution with, ‘Where a collective bargaining agreement which has been registered contains any provision which is or has become inconsistent with this Act or any other enactment, the Minister may direct the parties to the agreement to negotiate within such period as he may specify for the amendment of the agreement in such manner or to such extent as he may specify.” However, the public proposed the removal of the phrase ‘or any other enactment’ in the proposed amendment to make sure that the amendment is in line with the Labour Act.
3.25 Clause 29: Binding Nature of Registered Collective Bargaining Agreements
The public acknowledged this clause and proposed an addition of paragraph (c) to section 82 that provides the following; ‘any portion of a collective bargaining agreement which has been ratified by the parties thereto shall be binding on the parties notwithstanding that any other portion of the agreement has not been ratified.’
3.26 Clause 30: Powers of the Labour Officer
The public welcomed the provisions of this Clause which replaces section 93 of the current Act to allow for registration with a Court a dispute or unfair labour practice settlement and for the labour officer to issue a certificate of settlement which will have the effect of a civil judgment.
3.27 Clause 31: Compulsory Arbitration
The Clause was criticised for failing to strengthen the Labour Court’s functions, powers and enforcement of decisions. Reference was made to section 98(13) and (14) which still recognise the Magistrate’s Court and the High Court in enforcing the decisions of the labour court and the arbitrator. This was raised as a serious concern that will be detrimental to the enforcement of decisions of the Labour Court in common law administered courts and worst still prolong the dispute resolution process and cause congestion in other courts. In this regard the public recommended the substitution of the phrases ‘magistrate court’, ‘high court’ and ‘appropriate court’ with labour court in section 98 (13) and (14) in order to accord the labour court with the prerogative and power in decisively dealing with all labour related cases.
3.28 Cause 33: Liability of Persons Engaged in Unlawful Collective Action
Vast submissions were made on this clause which seeks to enforce criminal charges and penalties on those involved in unlawful job action by workers in essential services and other services. The public argued that the proposed amendment was ultra-vires to section 65(3) of the Constitution which provides for the right to collective action to every employee except for the security forces. Further arguments pointed out that the amendment fell short in decriminalising legitimate strikes. The public expressed concern over the amendment’s failure to recognise that the right to strike is an intrinsic corollary of the right to organise protected by Convention No. 87 of the ILO. The public further voiced out that the provisions of this clause infringed on the rights of the people alluding to the fact that;
➢ Workers’ rights should be prioritised and strengthened
➢ Reprisal for collective job action be regarded as an infringement on workers’ rights
➢ The Bill should be cognizant of the rights of workers for collective action
Concern was further raised on this clause’s discriminatory approach to those working in essential services, highlighting that the Clause appears to be a targeted piece of legislation to those working in the essential services such as in health and education sectors.
➢ The public proposed for the amendment of sections 107, 109, and 112 of the Labour Act to remove excessive penalties in the case of an unlawful collective job action.
➢ Secondly, the public proposed for clear provisions to be set out in the Bill that protect workers and their representatives against anti-union discrimination.
➢ Thirdly the public proposed that penal sanctions be imposed only in the event of a strike causing violence against persons or damage to property.
3.29 Clause 36: Investigation of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations
The public opposed the provision of this clause, indicating that it warrants too much interference on the affairs of Trade Unions or employers organisations by the Minister. The public was of the opinion that outside control of workers organisations and employer’s organisations should only take place in exceptional cases.
3.30 Clause 37: Schedule of Minor Amendments
There were no comments from members of the public and stakeholders on this clause.
3.31 Application of the Labour Act
The public expressed their concern on the application of the Labour Act arguing that, Section 3(2) Labour Act provides that Act does not apply to Public Service. The Bill is silent on this matter and there is need to amend the clause to allow Labour Act to apply to public servants so as to achieve harmonisation of labour laws between public and private sectors. Public Service workers constitute a very large proportion of formal employees, hence there is need to ensure all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law according to section 56(1) of the Constitution.
3.32 Age of Retirement
Members of the public bemoaned that the retirement age of 65 years was too high in view of the low life expectancy in Zimbabwe. This resulted in most people passing on before enjoying their retirement or pension benefits. A proposal was therefore, made to review the retirement age to 50 years.
4.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
4.1 There was generally low attendance of the public hearings by members of the public which can be attributed to lack of awareness of the activity due to poor publication.
4.2 In terms of international best practice, fathers are granted paternity leave to support mothers and their families upon child birth and Zimbabwe is lagging behind in this regard.
4.3 Child labour is still rampantly practiced in some parts of the country, especially in agricultural plantation areas which can be partly attributed to lack of Government support for vulnerable children such as orphans and child headed families.
4.4 Persons with disabilities generally experience extreme difficulties when seeking employment in Zimbabwe.
4.5 It is commendable that Clause 2 of the Bill covers sexual harassment which is an issue affecting people in the work place across the country however, the Clause does not penalise the perpetrator of this vice or provide counselling services for the survivor.
4.6 The life expectancy of Zimbabweans has declined over the years to an extent that a majority of people pass on before attaining 65 years of age. According to the World Health Organisation
(2020), the life expectancy of Zimbabweans stands at 57.7 years for males and 63.6 years for females which translates to an average of 60.7 years.
4.7 Employers were noted to be in the habit of stripping their organisations of assets before declaring bankruptcy in order to avoid paying workers’ retrenchment packages.
4.8 According to the Labour Amendment Act (2015), the retrenchment package is a paltry one months’ worth salary per every two years.
5.1 The Management of Parliament should revamp the institutional public relations strategy, particularly public awareness methods of activities such as public hearings in line with modern means of communication.
5.2 The Bill should provide for paternity leave for a period of 1 month upon the birth of a child to enable the father to take care of the mother during recovery, newly born baby and family. This right to paternity leave should only be granted to a father in respect of children born to the same mother.
5.3 The Committee strongly supports Clause 7 which provides stiffer penalties for perpetrators of child labour from level 7 or 2 years to level 12 or 10-years imprisonment. In this regard, the
Committee calls upon the government to provide adequate support for vulnerable children.
5.4 The Bill should provide for a 15 percent employment quota for persons with disabilities in both public and private sector organisations in line with the National Disability Policy of 2021.
5.5 Clause 2 of the Bill should stipulate stiffer penalties for perpetrators of sexual harassment with a maximum of 10-years imprisonment and prosecution should even apply to persons who
committed offences before retirement.
5.6 In addition, the Bill should provide for counselling services to survivors of sexual harassment through the Police Service’s Victim Friendly Unit.
5.7 The Bill should reduce the voluntary retirement age from 60 to 55 years to afford pensioners time to enjoy their benefits. This should also be the age at which retirees start accessing their pension benefits.
5.8 Provision should be made for the government to investigate companies that retrench workers due to bankruptcy in order to safeguard the interests of the workers
The Bill is a progressive piece of legislation as it seeks to sanitise the labour sector and align the country’s labour laws with the Constitution and international best practices. Although the
Bill has noble proposals, several grey areas that need special attention were observed by the Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, stakeholders and member of the public. The Committee implores the House and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare that all raised observations and recommendations
therein be given due diligence so that we transform Zimbabwe’s labour sector towards the achievement of National Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Agenda. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker, with your indulgence, may I suggest that we adjourn debate to Tuesday so that we have sight of the report of the Committee which is very comprehensive and makes very interesting suggestions by members of the public on some of the clauses so that we have a rich debate. We are ready to debate but our debate will be incomplete without taking into account what members of the public have said.
HON. T. MLISWA: I object. My objection is that I will not be around on Tuesday, so I would have wanted to debate. I am flying out, so I agree with Hon. Biti, I was sitting here and taking notes. You know I am very attentive to such issues, so if I could be allowed to debate and then the debate can be adjourned.
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order arises from the issue raised by Hon. Mliswa. If he is flying out this weekend, he can still contribute virtually. So I think we need to adjourn then debate on Tuesday.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Moyo, please approach the Chair.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for that magnificent overruling. I want to appreciate the motion by Hon. Ncube in terms of the Labour Amendment Bill, which is quite critical according to Section 141 (2) of our Constitution. Firstly, the concerning bit is the public engagements that we are having, the hearings. I do not know how effective they are and who we are calling because I see that on Clause 1, the Short Title, nothing was said; gender and then forced labour, nothing was also said, yet it is quite a topical issue. So it would be good next time to get figures of those who attended each session so that we appreciate that it involved many. Of late, public hearings are not well attended and I think the issue has been brought up to conscientise the Members of Parliament to be in the forefront of doing that but the Members of Parliament are also under resourced, so I do not know how they will do it. So the exercise becomes questionable in terms of its credence and information given.
Despite those comments, I will add my voice to the Labour Amendment Bill. I want to talk about the issue of forced labour and the definition of it, which I think must be elaborated. I am a farmer and I want my children to understand farming. We also talk about age, child labour. I want my son to know how to operate a tractor at the age of 10 years because I also believe you must catch them while they young so that they can understand how the farm works. The question now is, is that forced labour; is that child labour? We need to be very careful because today’s lack of us being keen – the success of the former white farmers in agriculture was that they taught the children whilst they were young. We need to be very careful because we also say we must catch them while they are young so that they can understand the operations of any business. We invest in a lot as people in our businesses and the challenge is always the management of the business is premised on a lot. I have got some of my children who are not academically gifted and yet from a manual point of view they are quite handy. You would want them to also play their role and be successful in that regard. How do we handle that because it is not clear? I gave an example of a parent who says to his son or daughter - even the mothers use their daughters to wash plates and cook. Is that also child labour Mr. Speaker?
We need to understand there is also culture, tradition and heritage. Are we now all going to do away with our tradition because we need to deal with these labour issues? It is quite contentious because our culture and tradition believes in you teaching these people and they are one. We had our sisters cooking for us when they were 12 years old. How do you define that? We must be pretty clear because if we do not do that, a lot of parents will go to jail unintentionally. We are trying to build a law here, and not only that but those children will use it against us the same way we grew up being whipped. Today if your child decides to go and report to the police that you beat them up, you are put in jail. We need to be very clear. There is no clarity on this issue and it has to be looked into because at the end of the day we will all end up in prison. The young people who are growing up know their rights. They understand social media and they read. They are well vested in SDGs and so forth. Clarity is sought on that and I think we need to zero on it.
The sexual abuse of women is worrying because it has become a norm and it has reduced the integrity, credibility and dignity of women because they have no choice. I saw that in times of the penalties. It was prescribed that they want 10 years which I am saying at the end of the day; we must be very clear. Ten years with appeal or without appeal or what so that when the law is enacted, it must be clear. The problem why we are having problems with so many laws and sections of the Constitution is because there is no clarity. We must be able to take corrective measures and seize on this opportunity to be very clear and specific that there shall be no appeal and no amnesty on this. It has to be fast-tracked because you would have injured a person. You go to report and that person is taken to court and is given and comes back to the company again. They victimize that person for reporting them. How are you protecting them? So, first there is no appeal, no bail given, fast-track straight to prison because if they go back to work the person who had reported will forever be victimized and it becomes difficult. That is why women who are sexually abused keep quiet because they know the boss will come back. How are we ring-fencing that making sure this does not happen? The whole point of the law is not crime to consistently happen. We must prevent it. We must stop it. Somebody must think twice that if I am going to sexually harass a woman I am going in for 10 years with no bail, no amnesty and no appeal. To me, that has got to be very clear.
No wonder why from a political point of view – there is sexual harassment. No wonder why most women do not want to go into politics because it is tainted. They already stigmatise other women in politics that aaah, munodanana nemashefu. That is why I also said to the women, why do you also like being given free seats when you are 55% of the voters? Why are you not voting for yourselves? Why are you asking for 60 seats for free? They do not come for free. You have the numbers to vote, go and get your votes through voting. Get into office through the votes of the people who are the majority. It will continue. No wonder why there are not many women in politics. It is because of that. No man wants his wife to go into politics, most men rather. Those who are in, I like it; you have men who understand and there is trust between the wife and the husband but they always think once they go there that is it. The easiest way to destroy another woman when they are contesting is to say ari kurara nanhingi. Zvosvika kunababa kumba uko vomubvisa mupolitics. I am talking about reality. They smear campaign each other. If you look at Hon. Ncube, the Chairperson of the Committee, she has integrity. You can see that and these are the women that we want but the people’s assumption is that any woman who is involved in politics would have been sexually harassed and it is a favour. My plea to women is - stop these seats because they do not at all help other women from coming through. Other women will say I am not going to try it.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, would you mind if you can address the Chair.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. So to me we need to be very clear on that. No wonder why we are constantly coming with affirmative action for women, we extent the term, 30% councillors should be women or a quota for women. There must be no quota for anyone – forty years after independence – quota for what? If women in their culture do not want to be leaders, allow that to happen and let us continue. We cannot force them to lead Mr. Speaker Sir.
I want to also talk about the issue of school going children. I am on a farm. I have a got a school and the responsible authority. There is agriculture happening and at times you will more or less have to say when our parents grew up they would go and herd cattle so that they get school fees because the parents do not have it. Is it bad to allow a person to volunteer themselves to work for the purpose of their education? The problem is, if you do not allow them to work voluntarily for their education even if they are 10 years old Mr. Speaker Sir, when a parent dies they become orphans. If you are an orphan even if you are 10 years old, you will have to look after the young ones.
There are those who took care of their siblings at the age of 10 when their parents died. Now if we are not careful, tradition and families will suffer because the law will be restricting them from doing what they have to do. I am very much worried that we are not dissecting and being very clear in terms of this law and so forth. My father will tell you that baba namai vakafa ndikachengeta vanin’ina vangu ndine 11 years. Now the parents have died and there is an 11 year old who wants to work for them to survive. How then does it sustain the family? Our culture and tradition must be observed when we are passing the laws all the time and we must separate issues.
I then go to the liberation struggle of this country; people like Perrance Shiri and a lot of others went to war when they were 9, 10, 11, and 14 - which is illegal. So we then allowed people to go to the struggle, there was no age limit - they were liberating the country and had no choice but to go there. What about if there is another opportunity for people to liberate their country, how will certain generations do it at the end of the day?
The late Perrance Shiri will tell you that he was a commander at the age of 16, 19 years but it was for this country and many others. So we will destroy ourselves and we will not be able to defend some of these issues.
The issue of stiffer penalties, the Committee zeroed in on sexual harassment but on others you did, they were not specific. We need to be specific on these penalties. What happens to companies which are known, today no wonder why other foreign companies, the Chinese and many others are abusing our people because the labour law does not protect our people? There is no law to say once you abuse people: _
- One is compensated for so much
- So much is taken from the company and
- You leave the country.
Why are we not coming with such laws, we know the bad labour practices that our own people are going through but we are now giving an opportunity for us to come up with stiffer measures that will talk so that when investors come in, they are aware.
Zimbabwe is open for business indeed, but now it is open for abuse by foreigners on our people because we have no laws that protect our people who work. Let us be specific on the laws, we make the laws, why are you afraid to make laws.
I want to talk about the stiffer penalty which has been mentioned. We need to have a country that will protect its people, today our people are in South Africa or Dubai working, they work left, right and centre overtime. Overtime is very important. What is the definition of overtime? We must be very clear because there are times when there are power cuts, people do not work, you then wake them up to work. Hon. Matangira will agree with me being a farmer that you have got irrigation going on, you have people changing pipes and sprinklers and then suddenly electricity goes. You are forced to stop operations and the workers must come back. On my farm, they have to wake up even at 12 midnight because that is what gets the farm going.
So we need to also understand the industry sector, may we be very clear in defining that in agriculture, what sort of labour practice, industry, civil servants, that is the reason why at times there is no work ethics. We constantly say at times the civil servants know when to have tea yet there is a queue of people, lunch they will have, four o’clock they will be going yet they are leaving queues. We must be able to be very clear that would they have used a quality time in ensuring that there is service delivery at the end of the day. In an economy where things are difficult like this, you take extra ordinary measures from a labour point of view to sustain the economy.
We must also be able to have a provisional for emergencies; after the emergency, the law will apply in this regard so that at the end of the day, there are no people losing in terms of cases in courts.
The other issue is that there are difficult conditions and what I would like to also look at is we have learnt the lesson that no matter what goes on, inflation has totally made workers and production weaker and not motivated; it is not their fault. So, what do we do? Our workers need to go to hospitals but with inflation, they cannot afford. We now need to come up with a way of seeing how we can support all this so that production happens because right now production is not happening, workers are sticking to their rights. There cannot be moral persuasion; it got to be the law that talks to how we move forward and all that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this country has got to come up with its own laws which are conducive to the environment; that is why as legislators, we must change the laws from time to time to accommodate what is prevailing on the ground. Without that, it will become a problem. Investors must know that when you are coming to Zimbabwe, the worker must be respected. There should be a law which guides investors in coming here. Before they leave their countries, they must read. How are workers in Zimbabwe going to be treated?
We respect their laws especially the Chinese and everybody else. One of the things that Chinese have said is that we do what we do because your laws are weak. When we are in China, no one can do what they want to do, they abide by their laws and the only thing that they can keep a country going is when you have laws which are clear, specific, laws which are not discriminatory, laws which enhance the future of the country, which fit into the bigger vision of the country.
The 2030 middle income economy we are talking about will not happen if the workers are not well remunerated and if they do not know what is in it for them. This is the time to come up with laws that will give them that motivation to say indeed a middle income economy can only happen when there are laws which talk to that. This Bill is critical that it looks into that and remain specific.
I want to conclude by saying that we as a nation, have suffered historically of abuse but the late Tongogara talks about a Zimbabwe which he wants to see young men and women play with each other whether white or black but that is the Zimbabwe that we want. We want a Zimbabwe where the labour movements are not seen to be against the Government but working with the Government because of the situation; being tough means everybody is an enemy. Within political parties, everyone is an enemy, within the country everybody is an enemy yet they are advocating for the rights of the people.
The labour movements that we have today must also focus on labor issue and less politics at the end of the day. May the politicians allow them to practice and to stand for the workers not just say to them they are there to go against the Government. There was the issue of collective action amongst workers, they have a right and when it is enshrined in the Act and the Constitution that they have a right for a collective protest, it is allowed. It is sending a signal to the authorities. When workers are marching, probably the President does not know. In most countries they march in the road that they know the President uses and as he is driven, he is able to ask ‘who are those workers and what are they doing’. Then it gets to him and he is told ‘these are workers who have not been paid or who are being abused from a labour point of view’. It gets to the Head of State and action is taken.
It is the desire of every child to be heard by the father. The father of this nation is the President. So when they are protesting or when there is collective action, kuda kunzwikwa na baba. Hakusi kuti vari kushora baba kuti aiwa baba zvinhu hazvisi kufamba zvakanaka chimbotionai pano and so forth, but it must be done peacefully in accordance with the law and so on. The liberation struggle was about economic emancipation and for as long as we do not understand that economic emancipation is what the liberation struggle was about, we will not leave a legacy which will make us be known as leaders that represented and were for the people and the country. The aspect of name-dropping and makuhwa is unnecessary.
There was the issue of many labour organisations coming through, yet what they are fighting for is one thing. They must put their heads together. It is like the many churches which are there. It is only one God we pray to though they are many. There is only one issue they are fighting for. So, let there be an umbrella body at the end of the day which politicians like because we are all divisive and our strategy is divide and rule. We also take this to other organisations so that they can always be divided. At times, we do not have to divide and rule. We need to unite so that there can be collective action for the good of the country.
I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity, indulging me and like I said, I am travelling and I was taking notes. You have allowed me to do that and I really want to thank you because it is a very critical issue and I want to thank Hon. Ncube for bringing it up. I have no doubt that other members will contribute and exhaust this whole debate and let it reach a logical conclusion which is good for our country. Thank you.
(v)*HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I also want to add my voice to this report by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Ncube. Being one of the participants in the public hearing, we were actually put off by one issue which has to do with the rights of persons with disabilities. It was quite outstanding in the Amendment Bill that there was no talk of persons with disabilities and how they were going to be catered for in the employment sector.
Mr. Speaker, you will understand that at places of work that is where we normally see a lot of barriers to inclusion where we find our people who are disabled or living with disabilities are unable to cope with situations. This Bill could have come up with a number of areas where they could have also identified how they will deal with persons with disabilities. For example, at the moment we have got only two sign language court interpreters in this country. It is a wonder why we have gone two yet we have a lot of sign language interpreters in our own nation. Such people are not employed but we only have two. It means we are not doing justice to persons with disabilities.
Secondly, the respondents were also suggesting that even our security services can also employ persons with disabilities considering the technology that we have today. They can also do some work in the office and they need to be considered. I want to say that area really left a gap in terms of this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, the right of person to job action was talked about but my proposal is, those who are going to intervene and end up destroying property, stealing and so forth should be given punitive measures so that they do not disturb those who are actually carrying out the industrial action. This is their right yes, to go and show that the job action is going on but those who will be coming to disturb the peaceful demonstration must be punished accordingly. Even those who are on industrial action should participate in identifying such criminals that will get into their procession.
On the issue of the Employment Council, it became very apparent that a number of our employment councils are no longer interested in representing the people but in fattening their pockets. As a result, I feel it is good that when we continue with these employment councils, we are supposed to monitor the way they are carrying out their activities so that they do not disadvantage the people they represent. At times people end up going on strike, not because they will be doing it deliberately but because they are not properly catered for. They do not have the voice that is supposed to speak on their behalf.
I also wanted to say something about attendance at these public hearings because this has been mentioned. I want to say one of our challenges is the publicity that is given and we do not even have a situation where people know who should attend. Those who are giving information at that level must be explicit and consistent because last week we visited a place in my constituency and before people got there, I went to the venue and I was told that only children were supposed to attend. When I asked the Chairperson who happens to be the Chairperson of this Committee, she indicated that it was wrong. I want to say it is good that we give correct information to people.
In addition to that, we are supposed to vary our venues because if you continuously go to one venue, those people will get fed up because today there is a committee and tomorrow another one, all going to the same venue. We must make sure we vary these places and make sure that we cover the constituencies that we have. Specifically, I want to narrow down to Triangle Gibo Stadium where we thought if we go to children we will see workers from Mkwasine, Chiredzi Town, Hippo Valley and Triangle but what we saw there were about 20 people from the management only and no workers. When we tried to delve into the Labour Amendment Bill, they did not even respond or talk. So what we got there was only a prayer and I feel there should be something wrong happening there in terms of labour issues.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 26th July, 2022.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that all Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day No. 15 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. LEONARD CHIKOMBA
HON. NGWENYA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House-
EXPRESSES its profound sorrow on the passing on of the late Member of Parliament for Gokwe-Kabuyuni, Hon Leonard Chikomba, on Saturday, 28 May, 2022;
PLACES on record its appreciation for the services which the late Hon. Member rendered to Parliament and the nation at large;
RESOLVES that its profound sympathies be conveyed to the Chikomba family, relatives and the entire Nation for the loss of the Hon. Member.
HON. T. MOYO : I second.
HON. NGWENYA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is with a heavy heart that I rise on the sad occasion of the passing on of Hon. Member of Parliament for Gokwe-Kabuyuni and member of the ZANU-PF, Hon Leonard Chikomba. He was a man, not only of vision and leadership but also of firm belief and solid unwavering dedication to his work which he showed as he served the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and that of Foreign Affairs and International Trade from 2013 up to his untimely death. A highly regarded hero and veteran of the liberation struggle for freedom and democracy as shown by his works. He was an astute businessman whose interests were mainly vested in cotton and maize farming, transport, chain of supermarkets, butcheries and hardware stores that he owned. He was an active member of the ruling party ZANU-PF and also a member of the Central Committee where he played a great role. In 2005, he was elected Member of Parliament and he served in the Transport, Media and Communication Development Committee, where he ascertained that the transport concerns of his constituency were duly heard and attended to. He served selflessly in his representative role in Parliament with unbridled passion, focus, determination and uncompromising loyalty to his constituency and the nation at large. He has hence been referred to as being an unorthodox cadre who followed his conscience and spoke from his heart.
Hon. Members, we gather here today, not only to grieve but also to celebrate the life, achievements and dedication of Hon. Leonard Chikomba. He was loved by his family, the people that he served and helped and also by the people who worked alongside him. He remains an exemplary role model in whose footsteps we should aspire to follow. In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere condolences to his dear wife Margaret, his son Edward, his two grand children and the whole Chikomba family on this sad loss. This son of the soil will be missed dearly. He is gone but not forgotten for his words will be forever remembered. The entire nation salutes and thanks him for the great work and service that he delivered, not only to his constituents but to the whole nation as well. I thank you.
*HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to support the motion raised by Hon. Ngwenya. Mr. Speaker Sir, we were so much troubled by the passing on of our colleague Hon. Chikomba in May. Hon. Chikomba was a friend to everyone. He did not discriminate against anyone. In this House, he would befriend people from both your right and left sides, regardless of their political affiliation. He did his job well so much that we inherit a lot from his hard work. He was nicknamed Bhudhi because of his hard work. Bhudhi means brother and may also mean someone who is willing to assist if you are in trouble. It may also mean someone who can stand with people in times of need. He could stand solidly with his constituents in Gokwe-Kabuyuni. There are several ethnic groups in that constituency but he did not discriminate regardless of whether the person is Tonga, Korekore or Ndebele. He used to work with all of them without discrimination. From the time I knew Bhudhi, some 10 years ago, he used to be a Member of Parliament of some of the areas under my constituency, areas like Jirivanda, Tengwe, Chireya, Nyemba. When he passed on, all the people in Gokwe North mourned and were troubled that we have lost one of us, a reliable person that we would go to in times of need. Bhudhi was a hard worker. At one time he got more than 20 bales of cotton whilst I had only harvested five. After comparing five and 20 that he got, that shows he was a hard worker.
There was a time when people were disgruntled by the cotton prices but he managed to buy a brand new tractor. Bhudhi was well known not only in Zimbabwe. He was someone who was popular in an area and was able to travel out of the country. He would go to watch Manchester United. He used to communicate with Sir Alex Ferguson. He used to be well received by Sir Alex Ferguson in the United Kingdom. If Manchester United loses a match, he would directly communicate with Sir Alex Ferguson to find out what the problem was if Manchester United lost. Considering how popular he was out there in the United Kingdom, he never showed it but was a down to earth person. When I got an opportunity to go to the United Kingdom, I did not even get the opportunity to get close to Sir Alex Ferguson but for him, it was just a phone call away. He would travel on Friday to the United Kingdom to watch Manchester and came back on Sunday after that match. If you look closely at how he started, he had humble beginnings. He did not consider his background but he worked hard. He started off as a bus driver and was very popular with people.
He used to play Chitekete, a song by Leonard Dembo. Going to Gokwe from Mberengwa after he started his businesses at a place he named Chitekete. Even if you go today, you will find a place called Chitekete and a lot of his businesses - including butcheries, nightclubs, restaurants and lodges. He did not have a wish to build in Borrowdale because his house at Chitekete is as good as mansions you find in Borrowdale or Mt. Pleasant. He is one of the Members who would travel back home every weekend to meet his people. He would celebrate each of his successes and invite people to celebrate with him and would slaughter a cow. Even when he lost elections in 2008, he did not give up and managed to come back in 2013. That shows that he, unlike other people, did not give up and he would have simply retired. That showed how hard working he was. He also had businesses in Siakobvu. There is a time when we travelled for the Education Amendment Bill in Siakobvu. We found a lot of businesses and restaurants where you would refresh. He also had businesses in Binga and that showed that he built quite a big legacy. Without wasting time for other Members, I would like to express my deepest sorrow over the loss of Hon. Chikomba or Bhudhi. I wish his son Edie will take over his empire and businesses. He liked his family so much that he named his grandson after him, Leonard Chikomba, without giving him another name. I wish all MPs would love our families just like he used to. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
(v)HON. NDEBELE: Thank you for your indulgency Mr. Speaker. Could I kindly request that your good office as well as the mover and seconder and of this motion, to leave it on the table for the next two weeks. Some of us are away traveling but we will be most grateful for an opportunity to contribute to this motion.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that important request, it will be honoured.
*HON. MATAMISA: I would like to thank you Hon. Speaker for the opportunity you have given me to contribute to the motion that has been raised by Hon. Ngwenya and seconded by Hon. Moyo with regards to mourning one of our colleagues, Hon. Leonard Chikomba.
I am one of those who had the opportunity to meet Hon. Chikomba the very day he met his fate; it was around 1100hrs before he went back to his constituency. Hon. Chikomba was someone who would laugh before he started talking. Whenever we met he never addressed me as a Member of Parliament but regarded me as a mother. He was well known for the love that he had to so many people. He was always in a jovial mood whenever you met him.
His love for the people followed him even on the day of his burial - there were thousands and thousands of mourners in attendance. Staying in Gokwe was because of the nature of his work and this only proves that he was someone who could stay with other people very well, because of that was given a place to build a homestead in an area where he was not born. He originally came from Mwenezi and the people of Mwenezi also came for his burial.
I knew him in 2002, in the provincial office within our political party, ZANU PF. He was not glued on lower levels of party politics only. He decided to go and assist the people in communities. Around 2003/4, we thought he was joking when he started campaigning for a parliamentary post and we were shocked in 2005 when we saw him in Parliament.
Given the way we lived together with Hon. Chikomba and worked well with him even within the political party, his passing away is a great loss. However, we accept God’s will on his departure. May his soul rest in peace.
HON. NDIWENI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Ngwenya for moving this motion which was seconded by Hon. C. Moyo on condolence message to our late Member of Parliament and friend, Hon. L. Chikomba.
Hon. Chikomba was a friend, a brother and colleague to me; I knew him as man of integrity when I was very young in my early 30’s. Some people might not be aware of his beginnings; the Hon. Member came from humble beginnings, I think Hon. Moyo alluded to the fact that he started off as a bus driver. He used to drive omnibuses that we now call ZUPCO that was in the first deployment and I knew him at that time. My mother knew him and she is the one who first introduced me to Hon. Chikomba because he happened to be a friend of my brother as well.
Hon. Chikomba, up to the time when he left us, people would have thought he is a rich somebody who must have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth but the man worked from humble beginnings. Some people might not be aware, I will give an example of how organised he was. We have plenty of indigenous farmers that do farming and they think that you can be a farm manager and a Member of Parliament at the same time. Hon. Chikomba was one person that when I talked to, he also shared with me information to say he does not want to go farming and mess up; he wanted to get somebody professional to help him.
So, he was one person that would always look for managers, he had a manager at his farm, somebody professionally trained to help. He was a well organised person; he would deploy professional people around him.
I admired the way he carried on. By that time I was finishing college, he was a businessman and by the way, I originally came from Midlands; this is how I came to know Hon. Chikomba and that is why I called him a brother.
It was not only on his business life and his interaction with people; he was also a family man. Previous speakers have alluded to the fact that he loved his family and I want to emphasize that fact. Each time they would come to visit me in Karoi, he would come with his wife and family, and they would pass through going to Kariba. He was one of those men that each time there was a holiday, they would decide to take their families, which some of us even if we have money at times we just go to the bottle store and drink but Hon. Chikomba was a family man; he would take his family to Kariba, Mauritius, London, so many places. So, I really appreciated and valued his family values.
For business people, it is not very common; they are hardly seen with their families when they move in public but with Hon. Chikomba, it was the exact opposite.
Touching on his personality as well, he had an exceptionally good personality; he was a lovable person, and seldom would you find him angry. If he got angry, it was because somebody would have angered him. Seldom would he anger people. So, he was a man that interacted very well. There is evidence even in the Parliament that we are in, Hon. Chikomba was friendly to almost everyone and it was evident again when we went to bury him in Gokwe-Chitekete there. I do not think any late Hon. Member has been buried by as many Hon. Members as they were available in Gokwe when we buried Hon. Chikomba. I applaud Hon. Members for taking their time to come and share our grief with the people of Gokwe – Kabuyuni. The people that were there as well were evident to the man’s personality like he was affectionately called ‘bhudhi’.
I asked one of the elders in our part to say how they managed to control the crowds that came in here. I was told we had to limit, top five in every district and branch. If they had left it open to everyone, I do think there was going to be commotion at that burial. They actually had to try and limit to say it should be top five in the districts or branches, so there would be order. So, he was really a man of the people. We worked very well and I think the nation has lost a very valuable member of this society. I pray that God gives friends to his family, wife and the son that they continue with the legacy that Hon. Chikomba left. I will conclude by saying I wish and pray that his soul does rest in peace.
(v)*HON. C. MOYO: I want to pay my tribute to the mover of the motion, Hon. S. Ngwenya who was Hon. Chikomba’s friend, seconded by Hon. T. Moyo. This is a great loss to us. I did not call him ‘bhudhi’ as others called him. When we met, he would call me sekuru, he respected me as his uncle. Our relationship was that of an uncle and nephew. I remember very well when we went on public hearings; we would hear phone calls coming through. We asked him why he never taught his sons to drive. He introduced me to one of his sons at Crowne Plaza which was one of his favourite places where he wanted to stay whenever he was in Harare. We were together in the Foreign Affairs Committee where we did our work serving the nation.
He was someone who was reserved and did not speak all the time but whenever he spoke or made a contribution, you would acknowledge that something meaningful or factual has been said. To those from Gokwe-Kabuyuni, you have lost a great person in Hon. Chikomba. We all say it is God’s will and time that we get to depart as people. He is someone who served the nation wholeheartedly.
At one of the occasions we met, he actually persuaded me to buy balls for games in my constituency because he was also doing the same. The idea was to have a tournament in the community. He forced me to buy four balls and even gave me the number of the person who was selling these balls. He was someone who socialised with everyone despite political affiliation. I bought those balls after having been persuaded by Hon. Chikomba and this was a lesson to all of us that if you have a network or contact, do not just keep them to yourself but share with others. It is actually a network for us.
He was not self-centred; he talked to everyone across the political divide. Secondly, as I mourn Hon. Chikomba, I remember I was on my way to Kariba and was passing through Chitekete. I contacted Hon. Chikomba as I could not proceed because I was tired. I understand he had a place there and he assisted me with accommodation for the night. I saw him when I came back from Kariba in Harare.
I was in Binga when I heard about his demise. I travelled from Binga straight to Gokwe and caught up with the burial proceedings. I was shown the accident scene. I encourage you to be strong and I say my nephew is gone. Very few are like him who would respect me just like he did. This was a great loss to me. I would like to say, may your soul rest in peace my nephew. Thank you.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate. The way I knew Hon. Chikomba was another way round. When I was growing up, I grew up next to the district of Chikomba. So, in my mind when I heard that there is Hon. Chikomba, I thought he was from around Chikomba and that maybe we use the same road wezhira Masvingo Road to Chikomba. So when I then realised that he was not from there, it still did not affect me a lot because he was a man who was prepared to embrace everyone. For your own information Hon. Speaker, there are certain MPs who consider that they come from a certain party and then there are MPs who do not care which party you are from. They associate with anyone. A number of times, I would go into the dining and I would be sitting there taking my cokes and he would say you cannot pay for that while I am here. So he would buy rounds for everybody who was inside. That is the Hon. Chikomba that I knew. There were times when we were sort of nonsensical and being a nuisance and he would call me and say Hon. Banda, that is not the way an Hon. Member debates. You need to behave like this and that and that is something that Hon. Chikomba left us with.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am imploring the Hon. Minister of Finance that when we go to a funeral to mourn one of us we would have lost, we really need to go with our hearts and not to go and look for coupons. I think the welfare of MPs and staff of Parliament has to be revisited in a way that does not make MPs stoop so low as to go to a funeral just for coupons and not necessarily to mourn the deceased. I am glad I went there and many Members that I know went there because they were genuinely going to mourn the loss of a wonderful Hon. Member. I think that has to be looked into.
Hon Chikomba, among other MPs, has been taken by the Lord without being given some of the things that were supposed to be given to him. Is Hon. Chikomba’s stand going to be given to him and that other car that is being discussed in the corridor, is it going to be given to him? Nobody really knows. So Mr. Speaker Sir, your MPs are now like paupers and their welfare needs to be looked into, especially those that are going to come after 2023 should not face what the current generation of MPs is facing.
With that Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to wish our brother Hon. Chikomba peaceful rest in the heavenly realm. May the Lord bless him, make him rest in peace and be with his family and everything and everyone he has left behind. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would also like to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Ngwenya, seconded by Hon. T. Moyo on the sad demise of Hon. Leonard Chikomba. Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon Chikomba was an embodiment of a lot of unique attributes that are enviable by people at large. When I first met him here at Parliament, he came to me and said ah, you look wise; it seems you are my brother. I asked what he meant and he said ah zvinongoitwa nevayerashoko and I said indeed you are right.
From there, he would always call me young man and whenever we moved with the Mines Committee, he would say mukanya do not go on the bus, come with me so that when I feel tired you are the only one who can drive me because there is nothing you can do to me, you are my brother. So, we bonded that way and each time we moved around on Committee business, he would always teach me the importance of patriotism, loyalty to one’s party, to the people and leadership. He was an embodiment of all those things. He would teach me that wherever we were, our families are important. He would always ask if I had left my family well and everything in order. He would put family first and from such a person, you would just see a loving father.
He was a man who loved his constituency. Most of the time he would say, this week even if we come from committee business work late, I will have to go home because I have spent the whole week without seeing the people of Gokwe. I will go even if it is just for a day and come back. He loved his constituency and you would see a man who loved his work.
There is a time when he was really down when people peddled some unfounded accusations against him. He came to me and said my young brother, at my age, can I go and ask for some money from someone or be looked after by someone. That is not me and it has pained me. I could see that it really affected him. Most of the times, you would see that he was a man who cherished hard work and he would always say let us work because we can only improve the lives of the people if we work. We can only improve our own families if we work. So, he believed in working hard and producing and everything would be alright. He would even say that all these things that are being increased in prices, if we produce them, who will then increase the prices because we will have them in abundance. He valued production and working and I believe that the best recognition we can give to him is to emulate his good value system of working hard for Zimbabwe and the people, the value of honesty, integrity and friendship. He would always smile and he was a friend of everyone. You would see that most people in this Parliament all held him in high esteem.
So, I would say to mukoma, maita shoko bvudzijena, maita makwiramiti, mahomuhomu; Vanopona nekuba, vamushamba negore; Hekani shoko, vana vapfumojena vakabva guruswa, shoko mbire yesvosve vanobva Hwedza, vapfuri vemhangura, vekumatonjeni vanaisi vemvura; Zvaitwa matarira, mumabwe, mhanimhani tonodya svosve, tinobvira maita zvenyu rudzi rukuru, matanga kugara; Vakawana ushe neuchenjeri, vakufumba, hujeukidza kwakabva tagerwe rinengova jemedzanwa; Kugara hukwenyakwenya, vari mawere, maramba kurimba, vanazvikongonyadza kufamba hukanya; Zvibwe zvitedza zvinoteedzera vari kure asi vari pedyo vachitamba nazvo. Zvaitwa mukanya, rudzi rusina chiramwa; Maita vari makoromokwa, mugara ndaguta. Aiwa zvaonekwa vhudzijena. I thank you.
*HON. BHUDHA-MASARA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the opportunity you have afforded me to debate on the motion on the death of Hon. Chikomba. I had known Hon. Chikomba since 2013 when he was a Member of Parliament. We knew each other from the Mines Committee. He was someone who would stand for anyone. We were both new to Parliament and I had no light of leadership and by that time I had no transport. I got into his car but I was not very free because of our different political affiliation and we did not trust each other. I paid for my transportation and he refused my offer. I was afraid but I did not know that I was afraid of someone who was very open and humble to everyone. He was someone who so much loved his family and was dedicated to his political party. He knew my husband before I knew his wife. We started knowing each other at Hwange Safari Lodge when we were together with the Mines Committee. At one time, he proposed to visit me at my hotel room but I was shocked why he wanted to follow me to my room at the Safari Lodge. I later knew that it was a prank with my husband; he wanted me to know that they already knew each other and were friends. I was shocked to know that my husband knew Hon. Chikomba. They were always in Victoria Falls together.
Hon. Chikomba was a businessman and whenever he was on the phone, he would be talking of business. Hon. Chikomba was focused on his family and it is very rare to come across a businessman with so much wealth to be loyal to his family. I only knew his wife and no other women in his life since 2014. He was not known for any other miscellaneous activities in his political party. He was someone who could give you advice, not to be glued on your role as an MP and tell yourself that you are going to die as an MP. He would advise us that as MPs we were supposed to look at other avenues of income. He advised us to embark on sustainable projects so that when we leave Parliament we would be able to have something to rely on.
Hon. Chikomba left behind good legacy and we remember your words that when you are in Parliament, it is not an opportunity for you to find a death haven. You should look for other revenue income opportunities in life. I say to the family, may you be comforted by the Lord. Hon. Chikomba was a hero. He fought a good fight. May his soul rest in peace. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Ngwenya, seconded by Hon. Moyo. When I had shops in Gokwe that was when I knew him. He was into transport business. He was one of the people who made me feel at home in the august House. When we met as MPs, he would always call me Tekeshe throughout, even at Crown Plaza where we were staying. He was one of those MPs who did not dwell much on political affiliation. He interacted with everyone across the political divide. There are other MPs who do not even communicate with one another in this House. He was not selective and would always emphasise on life after politics. He could separate politics from business. Despite the fact that we were from different political parties, he would still love and communicate with everyone. Hon. Chikomba would easily interact with everyone regardless of their political affiliation. May Hon. Chikomba’s soul rest in peace and may his family be comforted by the Lord. Thank you.
(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to join in debating the motion as raised by Hon. Ngwenya and seconded by Hon. Moyo. I am so sad to play my part in expressing my sympathy and condolences to the Chikomba family. I was shocked to hear that Hon. Chikomba had passed on, remembering that he had passed on in a car accident.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Go ahead Hon. Molokela. You are cut off Honourable.
(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I went to Gokwe – Kabuyuni to say goodbye to Hon. Chikomba.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Go ahead Honourable. I think there must be something wrong with your connection. While you look for a stable connection, I can move on to Hon. Nyathi.
(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I can hear you clearly Hon. Speaker. I do not know whether you can hear me clearly?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Now, I can hear you.
(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was one of the people who were at Gokwe – Kabuyuni. I was able to go there because I knew this man personally. When I joined Parliament, he was already a Parliamentarian. He is the one who approached me first. He greeted me and told me that he heard that I am the MP for the Colliery. He said he has asked around to be shown the Member of Parliament for Hwange. He looked for me and he was a very friendly person. He was not from my political party but he said he wanted to meet the Member of Parliament for the Colliery. From that day onwards, I became free with him since he had shown that he was free with me. For the past few years, at any given opportunity when I saw him, I would be able to chat with him freely. I was not from his party but he was able to relate with me even though I was from a different political divide. He was a man who loved people, a man who loved humanity, a man who did not care which background one came from but a man who was happy and comfortable among people.
When I went to Kabuyuni, that was the message that I heard. Mourner after mourner, tribute after tribute, they highlighted the fact that he was a man of the people. Originally, he was not from Kabuyuni but he went there because of work related reasons. If you go there today, that place is now called Chitekete in honour of his favourite song by the late Leonard Dembo. He was Mr. Chitekete himself. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chikomba’s family for such a powerful son that they gave to the nation of Zimbabwe. He was a patriot, a man who loved his country, and a man who was willing to see Zimbabwe move forward. He was willing to work with everyone from every political party. We will miss his leadership, warm heart, friendship, generous and kind heart. May he rest in peace. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)*HON. R. R. NYATHI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for granting me an opportunity to add my voice to the motion that has been raised by Hon. Ngwenya, seconded by Hon. Moyo. Hon. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank all Hon. Members who joined us in mourning Hon. Chikomba. It shows that he related well with people. He is one person who would properly give advice without embarrassing anyone. He was also a senior member in the Parliament of Zimbabwe. In other words, the Parliament of Zimbabwe lost a very important person.
In the Midlands Province, he was a Member of Parliament representing Gokwe – Kabuyuni. We did quite a number of programmes together with the late Hon. Member. We also lost a principled and hard working man who worked for his country, the party, as well as his family. He was also a businessman. The late Hon. Chikomba was a prosperous business-man but he was very humble and would relate well with everyone, be it higher people in society or the low. I believe fellow Hon. Members can learn from the conduct of the late Hon. Leonard Chikomba.
He was also a Central Committee Member in ZANU PF. He rose through the ranks from the juniors up to the province to the Central Committee. We also used to see his reports and it shows that he contributed to the development of this country. As youths, we lost a very important person. Midlands Province and the country at large have also lost an important person. Even the President, His Excellency Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa would visit the late Hon. Chikomba’s homestead whenever he visited Gokwe and would drink and eat there. At his homestead, there were rooms where the leadership would sleep. Even his widow is different from other women. She would receive people very well. She is very hospitable.
Hon. Chikomba’s death came very untimely because he died in a road traffic accident. We also see the President calling for the repair of roads because we have lost a lot of heroes through road accidents. It does not mean that rural roads should not be tarred. Through the New Dispensation, the ideal situation is all the roads must be tarred, including rural areas because if the roads are good, it shows that peoples’ lives will be protected. We keep on calling upon the Minister of Transport to continue looking on the roads, be it in the rural areas or highways so that they preserve peoples’ lives. Mr. Speaker, there are certain things that we do not have control over. I would like to say to the Zimbabweans, whilst we mourn the late Hon. Chikomba, there are certain things that are beyond your control. You cannot choose where to be born, you cannot choose parents and you cannot choose the number of years to live. The onus is upon us to live each day as if it is the last day. Which means you need to relate very well with other people as well as God because anytime you can go even without preparing just like how Hon. Chikomba died without even falling sick after attending a very important meeting, we only got to learn that he had died.
Hon. Speaker, we cannot choose the age at which to die. We have no control over the future so I would like to say, God is the giver and the taker of life. For those who read the Bible, Job, Chapter 8 verse 11, you can come all the way from wherever you are coming from but where the demarcation is put, you cannot cross beyond that - be it in the middle of enjoying life or in an aeroplane or wherever, when the time comes for you to die, you cannot go beyond that time. Some die whilst very sick and some die after living very well. What I would like to say to Hon. Members and the Chikomba family is we mourn with you, we lived well with him. For me he was my nephew, he used to call other Hon. Members and ask them to greet me as his uncle. So we will never get to hear that voice again. We are in deep sorrow because we know where he used to sit in Parliament and we are aware that he will no longer be with us. Let us live our lives to the fullest and work well without any blemishes, just like how this man lived. To Zimbabwe as a country and the whole family, let us mourn with hope of meeting him again. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to debate on our colleague who left us. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to appreciate the time we had together with Hon. Chikomba. When we joined him in 2018 as new MPs, we were told that he is a very senior member in this august House. When we joined as new Members, we did not know anything about Parliament. We worked with him in the Mines Committee. We really felt welcome because of how he used to conduct himself. We get consolation from the word of our Lord, Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 2, that says, there is a time for everything, ‘a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted’. We get consolation from these words because God gave us those words that indeed we are going to die. So, everything has its own time and we assume that he died and he will arise. During the time we worked with him, we realised that he was a humble person who conducted himself very well.
We heard from the Hon. Members who raised this motion, they said a lot of good things that he did through his hard work. We heard that he had transport business that used to carry all sorts of goods from the Grain Marketing Board as well as timber. He was a Member of Parliament as well as a Central Committee Member in ZANU PF. It is a very high post that is why he was given accolade by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe because of the work he did in ZANU PF as well as the whole country.
He was also involved in the fuel business, butcheries, general dealer and he was also a farmer. If we scrutinise all the work that he did, it was quite a lot. He was very humble, despite all that. He used to bring himself down to the level of some of us who have nothing. For some people who are so prosperous, it is as if they will not greet you through a handshake but through an elbow as if they wipe their hands after greeting you.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we shared the same totem so as we enter the Chamber, we would recite our totems and enjoyed together with fellow Hon. Members whom we share the same totem with. There are quite a number of us, including Hon. Musakwa who is here, we had a good time with the late Hon. Chikomba. We remember him for all that as well as other things. When we used to sit in the Mines Committee, he would call to find out where the meeting would be, or to ask me whether the meeting would take place and I would tell him that indeed, the meeting was there on virtual. He would say, let me use your gadget since I would be having the link for the meeting. He would say, do not put that link on his phone but on Hon Ngwenya’s phone.
I really had a good time with the late Hon. Chikomba. We learnt a lot from him. He would tell us that he is a business-person who is into transportation of maize and would invite us that if ever we needed maize for campaign, he would provide us. I was expecting that I would receive maize for me to campaign but now I lost a lot because the person who promised me that is no more.
I am really grateful for the time we had. Let us not lose hope as we mourn. I would like to thank God for the life he had. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
(v)*HON GOZHO: I would like to thank Hon. Ngwenya for moving the motion and Hon. Moyo for seconding. They have raised a very important motion. This is a very touching issue to us as Hon. Members. I came to know Hon. Chikomba in 1999. I regarded him as my father. He supported ZANU PF and I was supporting MDC. After going for a campaign for my party, I would sleep at his lodge. He would invite his wife to meet me and we would laugh and enjoy each other’s company. He did not matter that I was from the opposition. He was someone who had love.
I do not forget this other year when Hon. Chikomba saved me from political violence. He hid me in a certain place for safety. He taught me that we should love each other despite political affiliation. It was so shocking to me when I heard the news of his demise. He is someone who knew my husband and family. They were good friends with my husband. I would like to express my condolences to his wife and family. It is very painful to me and to the children of this nation. It is my desire that the constituency gets a Member of Parliament who is of the same calibre as that of the late Hon. Chikomba. He was someone who cared for everyone. He even gave food to his constituents. He would even feed members from the opposition. This is something that some Members of Parliament today cannot do.
Let us love each other. With time we will leave all that we have around us. I would like to thank the Hon. Member who moved this motion. It is very painful when I hear people talking and giving testimonies on this particular Hon. Member because he was someone who had love. I thank you.
(v)*HON. MIRANZI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Just like what everyone was saying about Hon. Chikomba, he was someone for the people. He did not segregate or look down upon other individuals. He was someone with a good personality different from others. He did not consider people because of political affiliation. He interacted with everyone from across the political divide.
If we went to Kabuyuni, we would sleep there at his lodge. He would explain to his workers that there are people who are coming there. He would actually laugh at us despite us campaigning for the opposition. We would work in his constituency freely. We would not expect any violence or intimidation because we knew we were in safe hands despite being from the opposition. On his funeral people from all political parties were there to mourn him. He was someone who did not segregate people because he mingled with everyone hence you saw the crowd that was at his burial.
Looking at the work that he engaged in this country, he actually did a very splendid job. Each and everyone has his own time but God knows why he took him away from us. I would like to say to the Chikomba family; we are mourning with you and we sympathise with you following the loss of your beloved one. I would like to say, may his soul rest in peace, a hero to us all.
(v)*HON. GANDAWA: I would want to contribute a few words with regard to the demise of the Hon. Member. He was a father to us. Growing up, he was friends with my father. Whenever I saw the two, I would call him my own just like I called my own father. We used to meet with him in Gweru when we were growing up and later we met him in Gokwe.
His death was something that was very painful to me. He is someone who supported me in my business. The first time I got a business contract, it was Hon Chikomba who assisted me, it was not easy given my age to embark on a business those years from Hwange, and from Gokwe carrying coal; it was not easy but he is one of those people who assisted me. Looking at my business today, he is one of those people who supported and gave me advice just like a father. I would like to say, may his soul continue to rest in peace. I thank you.
HON. NGWENYA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 26th July, 2022.
On the motion of HON. MATAMISA seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty Three Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 26th July, 2022.