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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 AUGUST 2023 VOL 49 NO 51
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 22nd August 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON SPEAKER
DISSOLUTION OF THE 9TH PARLIAMENT
THE HON. SPEAKER:
Hon. Members of Parliament;
Members of the Fourth Estate;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The 2023 harmonised general elections which take place tomorrow, have in tandem beckoned the dissolution of the 9th Parliament midnight today. It is in this context that we pay hearty and sincere tribute to all of you Hon. Members and staff of Parliament for having contributed to the efficient and effective functioning of the 9th Parliament.
Hon. Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;
As we reflect on the 9th Parliament’s accomplishments and challenges, we must always acknowledge that our journey was a collaborative effort, one driven by the constitutional aspirations and expectations of the people of Zimbabwe, without whose steadfast trust and unwavering belief in our ability to make the 9th Parliament vibrant during its Parliamentary processes. It is to the people that we owe our allegiance. It is from them that we drew our strength and determination to excel in the 21st century as the institution of Parliament with a central role in the overall governance matrix of Zimbabwe in making laws for peace, order and good governance. As we contemplate this reality, the profound observations of Professor S. Adejumobi, the Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), resolutely affirm that "…parliament plays a crucial role in gauging, collating and presenting the views and needs of the people, articulating their expectations and aspirations in determining the national development agenda." As you will recall, the 9th Parliament was urged upon to contribute towards the realisation of the National Development Strategy by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, who opined during the inaugural State of the Nation Address that: "United by our vision to be a Middle-Income Economy with a per capita income of USD3 500, increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030." Thus, the 9th Parliament was undergirded by this onerous responsibility to align Government development goals and the legislative landscape with National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025). That became the bedrock of achieving vision 2030 through Parliament’s fulfilment of its legislative, representation and oversight roles.
Honourable Members of Parliament;
You will all agree that the 9th Parliament rose to the challenge of contributing towards achieving an empowered and prosperous upper-middle-income society as evidenced by the crafting of a robust Institutional Strategic Plan (ISP) (2018-2023) at its inception. The ISP (2018-23) was a bold statement of strategic intent towards making a quantum leap in the evolutionary reform process by enhancing parliamentary and participatory democracy whilst recognising the indispensable role of the institution in the national governance matrix and the national development agenda architecture. Drawing its strength from the national Constitution and the NDS, the ISP’s mission crystallised as: “To protect the Constitution, make laws for good governance, effectively represent the people and hold the Executive and public institutions to account”. This mission inspired our Parliament to work in unison underpinned by our common vision of “a strong, independent, people-driven, world-class Parliament” for a better Zimbabwe within the world polity.
Despite the two-year disruptive challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the other negative exigencies, the 9th Parliament excelled in fulfilling its constitutional mandate. Consequently, the 9th Parliament recorded a remarkable increase of 38% in the number of Bills passed, that is from 50 in the 8th Parliament to 69 in the current Parliament. Of historic note was the Constitution Amendment Number 2 Bill which, among other things, reinforced the national commitment to mainstreaming of gender equality and youth representation in the decision-making processes of the nation. This palpable milestone was achieved through the extension of the women’s quota in the National Assembly by an additional term to 2033, the allocation of 30% local authority seats to female councillors as well as the inclusion of a youth quota of 10 members in Parliament in the National Assembly. Furthermore, a plethora of laws were enacted, including the Marriages Act, the amendment to the Health Services Act and the Education Amendment Act which, inter alia, promoted access to education for pregnant school children, in pursuit of leaving no place and no one behind as well as giving impetus to the heritage-based education philosophy. It is also noteworthy to acknowledge that this Parliament recorded a first when both Houses of Parliament passed the Institute of Chartered Loss Control and Private Security Management Bill, a private Member’s Bill piloted by Hon. Joshua Murire. This Bill now awaits Presidential assent and signature.
In the same context, the 9th Parliament recorded considerable improvement in the quality of debates in both Houses, thus contributing to the qualitative legislative agenda. The improved quality of debates assured the nation of the enactment of qualitative and robust laws which the citizens of Zimbabwe will always be proud of.
Turning to its oversight function, our 9th Parliament was indeed defined by its countless Committee enquiries, meticulously crafted oral evidence sessions and incisive questions posed both with and without notice in fulfilment of its oversight role. Consequently, Parliament observed an increase in compliance by the Executive in the submission of peremptory statutory returns to Parliament. The compliance rate rose to 78% up from a paltry 3% recorded at the beginning of the 9th Parliament. Furthermore, our impact in following up on the Auditor-General’s Reports resulted in the establishment of the Central Internal Audit Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which was tasked with the mandate to produce Treasury Minutes that are essential in providing an effective tracking and response mechanism on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations. I am also delighted to inform you that the 9th Parliament performed extremely well in pursuit of its succinct representative role as evidenced by the number of Committee recommendations adopted by the Executive. Additionally, mention should be made of the remarkable feat achieved in the employment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) by Members of Parliament. I commend the Members for their excellent project implementation rate that met the needs of the people. The CDF had an almost full utilisation with a commendable accountability rate that passed audit scrutiny. I trust that the 10th Parliament will maintain this momentum and ensure the sustainability of the CDF under a legal framework yet to be promulgated.
It is with great pride and satisfaction that I report on the stellar performance of the 9th Parliament in the realm of parliamentary diplomacy. The dynamic engagement with the international community yielded indelible outcomes that elevated the status and influence of Zimbabwe on the global political stage. Among these achievements are the following:
- The President of the Senate, Honourable Mabel M. Chinomona, assumed the Presidency of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) uncontested. The APU is a prestigious continental organisation that promotes parliamentary cooperation and integration in Africa.
- Chief Fortune Charumbira was elected to the iconic position of the Presidency of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), a deliberative body of the African Union that propagates the political aspirations and economic interests of the African people.
- Your Speaker had the distinct honour of being in the Executive Committee of both the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global organisation of 178 national parliaments that foster peace and democracy for all, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, a regional inter-parliamentary body that facilitates political cooperation and integrated economic development in Southern Africa.
- Your Speaker also stands as the sole nominee candidate from the Africa Geo-Political Group due to receive the prestigious IPU Cremer-Passy Award. The Cremer Passy Award is given to a Member who has excelled in advancing the mission and vision of the IPU. This is a testament to the Speaker’s unwavering commitment to Parliament processes internationally.
- Acknowledgement is pronounced towards the contribution of Members and Staff of Parliament who served diligently and with integrity in various Parliamentary bodies such as the IPU, SADC-PF, APU, Pan-African Parliament (PAP), Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP-EU), Association of Senates, the Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECAA.
- Our staff has been recognised and occupy key roles in organisations such as the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA) where Doctor Munyoro is the current President and the Africa Colloquium of Legal Officers where Mrs Hove, the Deputy Counsel, is also the President of the organisation. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In international diplomacy, the 9th Parliament successfully hosted the 78th Session of the Executive Committee and the 44th Conference of Presidents of National Parliamentary Assemblies which was held in Victoria Falls from 5th to 11th November 2022. The hosting of these meetings received high commendations from the foreign delegates who expressed their admiration for our infectious hospitality.
In the same vein, the 9th Parliament recorded high levels of international diplomats who paid courtesy calls to the Parliament of Zimbabwe. This is in consonant with the engagement and the re-engagement mantra of the Head of State, His Excellency, the President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa. Some of the courtesy calls have resulted in the arrangement of bilateral exchange benchmarking visits with sister Parliaments.
At this juncture, I would like to take the opportunity to offer a special thanks to the leaders of all the political Parties in the 9th Parliament, their Deputies, the Party Whips and their Deputies and Committee Chairpersons who also constitute the Liaison and Coordination Committee (LCC). These were the heartbeat of our Parliamentary processes as guided by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO). Furthermore, the 9th Parliament could not have functioned effectively without the tireless and dedicated service of the Administration of Parliament whose professionalism is a credit to the leadership of the Clerk of Parliament, Mr. Kennedy Mugove Chokuda. The performance of the 9th Parliament Administration, underpinned by the adherence to Quality Management System (QMS) standard and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 9001:2015), was beyond reproach. To date, the Parliament of Zimbabwe prides itself as the only ISO 9001:2015 certified Parliament in the world. To be also noted, is the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) whose constitutional mandate is aptly provided in Section 151 of the Constitution, has diligently presided over welfare issues of both Members and Staff of Parliament as well as ensuring that vacant posts in all Constitutional Independent Commissions were timeously filled. Remarkably, the CSRO has already approved the establishment of the Parliament Training Academy (PTA) which is envisaged to play a critical role in the capacity development of Officers and Members of Parliament. Already prior to its full functioning, the PTA has developed modules that are integral to the effective performance of Members. Additionally, the Committee approved the integration of the Parliament Programmes Unit into the structures of Parliament in order to guarantee sustainability and the continued harnessing of resources for the optimal performance of the institution.
As I conclude, I know you are all anxious to leave and get ready to exercise your democratic right to vote tomorrow. I, therefore, have the honour and privilege to wish you well in your future endeavours in life whether or not you will make it into 10th Parliament. Zimbabwe needs each one of us in whatever station we may find ourselves.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!
GOD BLESS ZIMBABWE!!
I THANK YOU!!
The Hon. Speaker adjourned the House at Twenty Minutes to Three o’clock p.m.