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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 21 MAY 2024 VOL 50 NO 52

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 21st May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

INVITATION TO JOIN AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS’ NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE)

 THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to remind Hon. Members who are interested in joining the African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE) to register their names with Mr. C. Ratsakatika, the Principal Committee Clerk, in Office number 335. The Network is a continental Parliamentary body that has been in existence for 10 years. Zimbabwe has been a member for the past nine years. Some of the objectives of APNODE are:

1) to sensitise national Parliaments and Parliamentarians about the importance of evaluation for oversight policy and decision making; – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can I have your ears?

 2) to enhance the capacity of Parliamentarians to demand and utilise evaluation evidence in their Parliamentary duties; and

3) to share Parliamentary best practices across Africa and beyond.

HON. SHAMU:  Mr. Speaker Sir, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your elevation as Secretary for Finance of the Politburo of ZANU PF. It is indeed a befitting elevation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I thank you Sir.

HON. SPEAKER: The new nomenclature is Treasurer-General. Thank you for your commendation.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.

HON. N. NDHLOVU:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

 REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

FOR THE YEAR 2023

                THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2023, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  Mr. Speaker Sir, ZEC is an election management body established in terms of Section 238 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Its main function is to prepare for, conduct, supervise all elections and referendums in Zimbabwe.

The year under review saw the successful conduct of the harmonised elections, by-elections and the conclusion of the delimitation exercise in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In addition, all vacant proportional representation seats in the National Assembly and local authorities were filled in terms of the law. The Commission was allocated ZWL896 billion to support the electoral processes of which ZWL664 billion, that is 74%, was accessed. With a full complement of Commissioners, 2023 saw the Commission meeting six times in line with the provision of the law and in addition, the Commission recruited 66 new employees, with 44 females; 40% being females and 60% being males. While maximising on 14 languages out of 16 which are enshrined in the Constitution, the Commission made use of various methods and media platforms to provide electoral related information to the masses. Voter registration played a pivotal role in as far as inclusion is concerned within the electoral process. With regards to voter registration, 2023 saw a total number of 705 243 voters being registered, of which 330 979 were males and 37 464 were females. The Commission conducted an annual stock take in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, Chapter 22:19 and in accordance with Section 92 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act [Chapter 22:23]. The Commission also disposed obsolete assets and equipment which included vehicles and furniture among other things and realised a total of USD168 000. The Commission also conducted renovations at its Head Office, Provincial District Offices as well as warehouse. Finally, during the year under review, the Commission participated at various international events. These events are important for knowledge sharing and benchmarking of electoral standards. So, I submit.

          HON. G. SITHOLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir. The report has not been shared. We have not received it, so maybe it will not be possible for us to debate it now.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I am advised that it was shared, please check your email addresses. The report should have been circulated electronically.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE):  Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present the report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. The move that the House takes note of the report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for the year 2023 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The 14th Annual Report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission provides an overview of the activities of the Commission in 2023 which were carried out in line with its Constitutional mandate and functions as provided for in Section 243 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In line with the focus goal of decentralisation, offices were opened in Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North. The Commission also had the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Staff Regulations, referred to as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Condition of Service Regulations 2023, Statutory Instrument 241 of 2023, promulgated during the period under review. In 2023, being an election year, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission conducted elections monitoring activities such as pre-election visits, election days monitoring and post-election visits. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission election report has been adopted and publicised and in addition, monitoring visits were made to prisons, children’s homes and a high-level enquiry was made on the human rights situation of persons affected by underground and surface coal seems fire in Hwange. The Commission received a total of 815 human rights violation complaints in January 2023 to December 2023. Of the 815 cases received, 440 cases were received and actioned by the Northern Region Office.

One hundred and fifty seven cases were received and actioned by the Southern Region, 61 cases were received and actioned by the Eastern region office and 157 cases were received and actioned by the Masvingo Office.  The Commission, under Administrative Justice Unit, received a total of 496 cases during the period from January to December 2023.

In fulfilment of the Commission’s constitutional mandate to

promote awareness of and respect of human rights in accordance with Section 243 1(a) of the Constitution, the Education, Promotion, Research and Advocacy department conducted human rights awareness using a variety of multi- media approach during the year under review.

The department conducted a total of 121 outreaches

throughout the year.  These included ward based community outreaches in Insiza and Beitbridge Districts, that is Matabeleland South Province as well as in Nkayi and Bubi Districts in Matabeleland North Province.  Unstable pricing mechanism and exchange rates volatilities continue to affect the achievement of key deliverables and targeted performance levels in the face of inflation.  This remains the reason for non-achievement of planned activities as the budget would have been drastically eroded. I so submit Mr. Speaker.

HON. HAMAUSAWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  Standing Order Number 15 stipulates that there must be a standing Committee designated as the Business of the House Committee for the organisation of sessions, the management and the conduct of the daily business sittings of the House.  It clearly stipulates how it should be constituted.  I read this Mr. Speaker Sir, because of the two motions that were moved, we were not aware that we were going to debate them.  For the sake of the effectiveness of our sessions, I request that this Committee be constituted so that when we agree, we will not be surprised that there are some reports that have to be debated.  As you can see, there are no Members who are prepared to debate these motions, yet we have this Committee which is supposed to be doing things that are outlined in the set of orders as I have alluded to.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Do not confuse policy and administration.  The Policy is there, being what we have on the Order Papers is what should be there and administratively, as I indicated earlier, what was required was for the soft copies to be shared among the Hon. Members of the House in time so that you can go through them.  So, to some extent, you were correct but to some extent, you were also incorrect because the Order Paper is there before you, but administratively, the soft copies should have been shared with all Hon. Members.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I do really appreciate and agree with what you have said.  It is only that I wanted to clarify that like tomorrow, we agree as Chief Whips that because of the exigencies of time, we are not able to exhaust everything that is on the Order Paper.  So, we agree as that Committee of the Business of the House Committee, what we are going to prioritise on each day such that when we come here, our Members are prepared accordingly.  That was my concern to see two motions coming in and there is no Member who is prepared to debate after agreeing that on the Order Paper, we are going to discuss motion 1, 2, 3 and 4.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Wazvisungirira.  It is the duty of the Chief Whips to liaise, inasmuch as that liaison is proved by the fact that you have Members who are supposed to debate on each of these order items.  So I want to believe that there was some communication, otherwise these papers will not be produced.  I was indulgent with you. Normally we do not comment on the ruling of the Chair.  That should end today.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): I move that the debate be now adjourned.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Let us make sure that all Members have

 the soft copies of the two reports please.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that all other Orders of the Day be stood over until Orders of the Day Number 3, 4 and 5 have been disposed of in that order.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

          Motion put and agree to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR THE ACCESSION OF THE AGREEMENT TO

AMENDING SADC PROTOCOL ON ENERGY

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): I move the motion standing in my name that:

WHEREAS section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Agreement to Amending the SADC Protocol on Energy as well as the Amendment Annex 1 to the Protocol was adopted at the 41st Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2021;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Agreement;

WHEREAS article 20 (3) of the Agreement provides for ratification of the Agreement by any SADC member after its adoption;

AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a Party to the Agreement;

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for accession.

           HON. TIMBURWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Distinguished Hon. Members of this august House, I rise to address the esteemed Assembly on a matter of critical national and regional importance - the ratification of the amended SADC Protocol on Energy. It is common cause that Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that any convention, treaty or agreement concluded by the President with foreign states or international organisations requires Parliamentary approval. Today, I present the case for our nation’s accession to this significant protocol, which aligns with our collective aspirations under Vision 2030.

           The agreement to amend the SADC Protocol on Energy, as well as the Amendment to Annex 1 of the Protocol, was adopted at the 41st Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2021. It is noteworthy that while Zimbabwe is not currently a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Energy, our nation is eager to become a party to this agreement. Accordingly, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforementioned Protocol be approved for accession. This august House further resolves that the SADC Protocol on Energy, as amended in August 2021, be approved for ratification. It is evident that the Republic of Zimbabwe aspires to join this Agreement, thereby aligning with the objectives set forth in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Treaty, which has been in force since April 17, 1998. The utilisation of energy is integral to economic growth and development, the alleviation of poverty, and the improvement of living standards and quality of life throughout our region. Our region has undertaken various policy reforms aimed at:

  • Promoting market based and private sector led infrastructure and service provision.
  • Segmentation of energy supply systems.
  • Introduction of regulatory reforms.
  • Privatisation
  • Migration towards cost reflective tariffs and energy prices.
  • Increased regional cooperation and coordination of operations.

Our region is endowed with diverse energy resources, including gas, biomass, petroleum, hydro and wind. The institutional changes within SADC must necessarily respond to the ongoing policy reforms in the energy sector. Therefore, in my capacity as a fellow legislator and an energy expert with extensive corporate experience, I support the resolution of this august House that the amended SADC Protocol on Energy be approved for ratification.

Reasons for Ratification

I will summarise the reasons for my support of this ratification as follows:

  1. Promotion of Citizen Participation – The ratification will promote and encourage the direct participation of citizens and communities in the development and efficient use of energy resources. For example, in my own constituency of Chegutu West, we have remote communities such as John Bhinya and Tiverton which will greatly benefit from this initiative.
  2. Development and Efficient Use of Energy Resources - The provided amendments will support national and regional industrialisation, skill development and the creation of employment opportunities.
  3. Social, Economic and Environment Benefits – The protocol will ensure the social, economic and environment use of energy resources in a sound and safe manner.
  4. Management and Coordination – Management and Coordination structures will be established, defining functions to assist the implementation of regional energy programmes and projects.
  5. Adoption of New Technologies – The ratification will help us achieve harmonisation and the adoption of new energy technologies that are low emission and environmentally friendly.
  6. Energy Security – Ensuring energy security within the region is crucial. With member states like Angola and Tanzania having excess generational capacity, the amendments will enhance infrastructure development for transmission capabilities. Zimbabwe, with its central position in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), stands to benefit significantly.
  7. Investment Promotion – Creating risk mitigation instruments will attract investors to the energy sector. Investors such as Invictus in Muzarabani, are already creating employment and increasing our asset portfolio. These mitigations will ensure secure investments in the SADC region.
  8. Gender Equality and Youth Involvement – the protocol aims to harmonise national and regional energy policies while promoting gender equality and involving youth in planning, programming and executing energy projects

In conclusion, for those Hon. Members concerned about checks and balances, Article 4 of the agreement to amend the protocol establishes a Committee of Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for facilitating the development and implementation of a balanced electricity generation mix. This Committee will also develop a regional data bank and assist member states in creating an enabling legal and fiscal environment for cross-border energy trade and transmission within the region. For all these reasons, I reiterate that this House must approve the amended Protocol on Energy for ratification by the Republic of Zimbabwe.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Madam Speaker, the decision by the Executive to bring this Protocol for approval by this august House is noble but Madam Speaker, my only challenge which I believe we need to deal with as this august House is that you are aware that as a country, we have been facing energy crisis for some time. Madam Speaker, you are also aware of the challenge that we have had at Hwange and the breakdowns that are there. You are also aware Madam Speaker, of the challenge that we have had with our rainfall pattern which has made the generation of energy at Kariba a little bit unreliable and there are also other challenges even in respect to our failure as a country to make sure that the small mini hydro power stations in Zimbabwe are not fully functional.  Madam Speaker, what I would have wanted the Hon. Minister to explain to this august House is why, as a country, it took us  three years to seek ratification from Parliament.  Why were we not one of the first countries to ensure that we seek the approval of this august House, given the nature and extent of the energy crisis that we face as a country?

          Today Madam Speaker, if you go into Harare, a number of industries - the small businesses that we have in our constituencies are failing to perform primarily because of the challenges that we have on the question of energy. Whilst we support and want this House to approve this protocol, I think in future and even now, it is imperative that when there is a delay of this nature, the Hon. Minister should also be pressed with the burden to come and explain to this august House why it took us this long for us to seek approval because unless there are other things that the Government would then say no, we did not do this timeously because we wanted to do a, b, c, z.  I also believe that it is imperative that when a country is faced with an energy crisis and an opportunity arises within the SADC region, there is a mechanism that can allow us then to tap into those countries that have got access to energy.  I think it should have been something that we should actually be quick to grab and bring to this august House. 

          Madam Speaker, we support this protocol but we just urge that the Executive needs to be speedier in terms of dealing with matters that affect us as a nation. I thank you.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I also want to add my voice in support of the ratification of the amended SADC Protocol on Energy.  It brings or it promotes harmonious development of National Energy Policies, something that is important and crucial, considering the importance of energy in terms of promoting development, especially industrial development in the region.  It also deals with matters of common interest within the SADC region and if there is a protocol that outlines the guidelines on how these matters of common interest are going to be managed, it reduces conflict within the region.  Therefore, Madam Speaker, it is also my view that this is a good move by the Executive to bring this protocol for ratification by Parliament. 

          The Protocol also seeks to promote equitable development of energy within the SADC region and if this protocol is signed, it also shows the commitment of the Zimbabwean Government to abide by SADC rules and protocols.  We are equally worried that the delay by the Government to sign such important protocols not only for this particular one on energy but all other protocols, shows reluctance of the Government to abide by the rules of the game.  Therefore, when it comes to Parliament, it brings confidence that our Government is ready to also be bound by multi-lateral regulations, protocols and principles. 

          It is also important because there is a move across the world towards cleaner fuels which I think if our country participates fully within the region, it will also indicate its willingness to participate fully in international agreements which then binds countries from different continents.  I believe that when it comes to regional or financing on energy development, the Government of Zimbabwe benefits because it is showing the willingness to be bound by such protocols.  If it fails to ratify such protocols, then no one will be willing to give funding and energy in Zimbabwe is a critical issue.  We have load shedding, we believe that signing of this protocol is going to open doors for investment in the energy sector.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

AMENDMENT OF THE DEPOSIT PROTECTION CORPORATION ACT

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the protection of depositors and investors’ deposits in banks and other financial institutions.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. M. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma`am allowing me to add a voice on this very important topic about deposit protection. Basically, I will speak about a few concepts in my discussion and the first one is the financial stability. The deposit protection promotes financial stability by ensuring that depositors’ funds are safe, thus preventing banks that will run at a loss and also encourage the confidence in the banking system. The second concept that I want to discuss is the consumer protection, to say the deposit protection provides a safety net for depositors by ensuring that they are compensated in the event that a financial institution fails.

Currently, if a bank fails, the deposit protection provides up to a thousand USD, which is not adequate to really cover the expenses that depositors would have incurred. The next component or aspect that I think is quite important is the economic growth by providing secure environment for deposits task. Depositors’ protection encourages savings and investments, thus investments which in turn can support economic growth. During the late 90s, I witnessed a pensioner, who collapsed in front of a bank after realising that the bank had closed and he had saved for over 40 years in that particular bank.

I think as a country, there are few issues or things that we need to do and part of the issues or things that a country can do is to strengthen the deposit insurance framework. To say the Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe can strengthen the legal and the institutional framework for deposit protection, this could involve reviewing and amending the Laws, insuring adequate coverage and efficiency resolution of failed banks. The liquidity process sometimes takes years to be done as maybe corporate governance organisations will be waiting for their share. The other important aspect is that of supervision by the RBZ. There is need for a regular supervision, regular audit and inspection so that there is early detection of banks that will fail.

The other aspect is the enhanced financial inclusion, where we are saying we might need to expand the banking networks to cover even the rural communities or rural populations so that at least everyone is in the basket of banking. I also encourage that we must also look at building public awareness. The deposit Protection Corporation needs to educate the public about their rights and responsibilities as depositors. They could involve creating awareness campaigns about depositors’ protection. I submit Hon. Speaker Ma`am.  

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that debate do now adjourn.

         HON. CHAIMVURA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION ON THE ELECTION

OBSERVATION MISSION TO RUSSIA

        Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation on the Election Observation Mission to Russia.

        Question again proposed.

        *HON. CHAIMVURA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma`am. The Russian election which was conducted in a peaceful manner without any dispute should be exemplary to other countries. This pleased us very much. Russia trades gas and fuel with other countries. This did not disturb the country. Zimbabwe is a country that is friendly to Russia. We should have a policy whereby Members of Parliament can go. I also witnessed elections through the opportunity that was awarded to Hon. Shamu, where they elected a leader of their choice. As the majority of Zimbabweans, we should also follow suit once we have elected a leader, there should not be any disputes. They do not even congratulate those that would have won the elections. Madam Speaker, the leaders on the left are incapable of congratulating our leader President E.D. Mnangagwa. What they can only do is to dispute the election results … [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

       THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order in the House.

HON. MAKUMIRE:  On a point of order.

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

*HON. MAKUMIRE:  Thank you Madam Speaker. We kindly request this august House to remain respectful in terms of the debates that we will be having in this august House. I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Point taken. Go ahead Hon. Member.

*HON. CHAIMVURA: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me. We are grateful for what Russia did and we wish we could copy the manner in which they smoothly handled their own elections. This was done in peace, and Zimbabwe should follow its footsteps so that when our President comes in this august House, the Opposition should be happy and should be in this august House.

*HON. KUKA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker. May the Hon. Member confine herself to what is contained in the report and not on the Opposition?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please debate on what is in the Report.

*HON. CHAIMVURA: Madam Speaker, I am grateful for what occurred in Russia during the election time…

*HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Thank you Madam Speaker. When we go on election observations or benchmark visits, the purpose is for us to learn so that we come and implement in our country what we would have learnt – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Therefore, Madam Speaker, I am asking for the Member to be protected because she is sharing with us what she learnt in Russia. I thank you.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We have heard you. Can the Hon. Member go ahead with debate?

*HON. CHAIMVURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. With those few words, I will not continue debating any further. I thank you.

HON. MUGOMO: Thank you Madam Speaker. Good afternoon. Madam Speaker, I rise to report on the 2024 Presidential elections of the Russian Federation. As a member of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, I   had joy and great honour to travel and observe the elections of the friendly Russian Federation people. Russia and Zimbabwe have historical and mutually beneficial ties dating back to our armed liberation struggle days. Russia is a great power with no colonial heritage, unlike other European countries which have historically exploited African people and their resources. Russia views Africa as equal partners in mutual cooperation. With the shifting global geopolitics, it is imperative for African nations to revisit our foreign policies and adopt a  realistic and pragmatic approach founded on mutual respect, mutual interest and equitable cooperation. The trip to observe the elections was in response to the invitation extended to the Parliament of Zimbabwe by the Russian State institutions which include the Federation Council and the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. We had the honour to carry out the mandate of election observation unhindered.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the foundation for the holding of credible, free and fair elections, including the guidelines on voting rights, is clearly enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which is the basis for transparency in the conduct of elections. Availing opportunities to vote for all categories of citizens is vital. The electoral system ensured strict adherence to security and transparency protocols on the ground. The Russian Federation  has eleven different time zones spread across 17million square kilometers with over 113 million voters registered within and outside the country. This staggering geographical description and figures necessitated the conducting of elections over a period of three consecutive days. This decision was widely consulted with all stakeholders, including the electorate and the Central Elections Commission. This inclusive decision allowed better flexibility and comfort for all participating voters. The Presidential election of the Russian Federation is conducted after every six years through the secret ballot. To be able to participate, one had to be at least 35 years old and resident in Russia for not less than 25 years. Dual citizenship and resident permit in a foreign country automatically disqualifies you from running for office. Party candidates must have a minimum of hundred thousand nominators while independent candidate must have a minimum of three hundred thousand nominators to be considered by the Central Elections Commission. The incumbent President is allowed to renew the term only once. As provided in the Russian Constitution, the criteria for the selection and election of the President finally produced four candidates; namely Vladislav Andreyevich Davankov who is a deputy in the Russian State Duma representing the New People’s Party; Vladimir Vladimovich Putin, an independent candidate who was the outgoing President; Leonid Slutsky, a parliamentarian and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and Nikolay Karinotov of the Communist Party.

Mr. Speaker Sir, campaigning in this election was done unhindered. With very little security presence, campaigning could be held peacefully. Objective and reliable voter information was provided by both public and private media, with digital platforms providing a major role in information dissemination as regulated by legislation on elections in the Russian Federation. Streaming websites could independently cover these election campaigns. There was a guaranteed coverage of election candidates by the State broadcasting companies such as Russian News Agency TASS, State funded international news television channel Russia Today (RT) and most popular TV channels such as Russia 1, Channel 1 and  NTV. Digital platforms such as Telegram groups and websites became the mainstay of the campaigns during the campaign period. It was a hive of activity on State broadcasters and more than 6 700 regional and community television stations.

        Allow me at this juncture, Mr. Speaker Sir, to commend the Chairperson of the Central  Elections Commission, Ms. Ella Pamfilova and her independent electoral authority staff, comprising of sincere and competent individuals who had very proactive interaction with the voters. Their discharging of duty in a transparent, trustworthy and inclusive manner was a crucial lesson for democratic advancement. The Commission used manual and electronic voting systems efficiently and transparently. Verification took just a few seconds and I need to  underline that no violations or irregularities were noticed. The election was conducted with utmost secrecy, with transparent ballot boxes reinforcing the legitimacy of the electoral process. Materials provided to each polling station met the international standards criteria. The use of technology, in particular the State automated system of the Russian Federation, provided an alternative option on how to vote and there were election monitors verifying the authenticity of the votes. Electronic voting was able to minimise number of errors and speed up the electoral process. The security services were so professional and they let people do their voting freely. Installations and cameras prevented any fraud or improper actions that could interfere with the proper conduct of these elections. A secure online system was provided for the remote electronic voting in far regions of the Russian Federation. Digital online booths on the polling stations, accessing the C.E.C portals on laptops and smartphones, made the voting process fast and less congested at the polling stations. I observed that most voters who turned out at the polling stations were elderly due to their preference of manual voting whilst according to voting patterns we were advised on the youth preferred electronic or online voting. The Central Elections Commission ensured  that the elderly and the disabled could vote from the comfort of their homes by bringing the ballot box to their places

Madam Speaker, vote counting and result-establishing process was done through the use of video surveillance and recording. Vote counting is done through the sophisticated Ballot Processing Complexes (BPCs). These are automated tools for counting votes. The results are  known in just a few minutes as the processing of ballots, checking of control and other ratios of the protocol data is done electronically.

Finally, Madam Speaker, the election environment was peaceful, free and fair. President Vladimir Putin emerged the winner with a landslide 87% of the vote and was so recognised, with other participants conceding defeat peacefully and with honour. The reluctance by Western capitals to recognise President Putin’s victory is a political maneuver in their complex geopolitical game but as mandated by our team of the Zimbabwe election observer mission to Russia, I can safely say President Putin won resoundingly, in a fair election. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to air my views on the 15th to 17th March Presidential Elections conducted in Russia which were monitored by the electoral board called by the Central Election Commission of Russia. What is important is the lessons that we drive and how they can be used to our own circumstances. The first point of port of call is the issue of electoral voting system. For electronic voting system, there is a software which they used called SAS Vibrant. That system actually allowed members of the public and the general citizens to see the Presidential candidates on it. They were able to see if their names were registered on it, to see the manifestos of the candidates as well as to allow such members to vote electronically. That is the beautiful milestone in our modern-day lines.

Madam Speaker, let me be honest with you colleagues on the issue of queues that the issue of queuing is a laborious and monotonous exercise. As a country, we must embrace this kind of system. Let me be honest with you again. If you look at this system, it was secured from the outside internet world. Above all, it had 3 500 experts who were watching it to protect it from external threat. The election was water-tight electronically. I would like to applaud the Russian…

          All the mics switched off.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I am being advised that there is a technical fault and they are looking into it.  So, let us be patient.

HON. TOGAREPI: Because of the power challenge, I am advised that the Hon. Member who was debating will resume tomorrow. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. KAMBUZUMA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. KAMBUZUMA, the House adjourned at Seven Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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