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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 JULY 2021 VOL 47 NO 68

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 22nd July, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. DR. NYASHANU:  I rise on a matter of national interest. in yesterday’s Question and Answer session, I felt that the issue to do with the late payment of cotton farmers was not conclusively dealt with. I kindly request, through you Chair, that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries,  Water and Rural Resettlement brings to this House a Ministerial Statement on progress with the operationalisation of the Land Bank which was launched by our President in April 2021.  I say so Madam Speaker because I feel that a bank which offers the correct banking products to the farmer and with the correct bank charges should be the panacea to the challenges our farmers are currently facing.

Farmers need access to bridging finance which bridges the funding gap between time of harvest and delivery and the time the farmer eventually receives payment.  I must also stress this point Madam Speaker Ma’am, that it will be irresponsible for us to expose farmers to markets.  I see some farmers are accessing credit from money lenders to bridge the funding gap, a practice which will never transform our agriculture.  In most of his presentations in this House, the Minister speaks passionately about rural transformation through agriculture, which is quite commendable but I would rather talk about societal transformation because I believe that agriculture, ranging from small holder to commercial agriculture with the correct Government interventions and support, can surely transform our society.  I so submit Madam Speaker Ma’am.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyashanu.  You have raised a very important point of national interest and I concur with you that the Minister should come to this House with a Ministerial Statement. I would like to ask the Government Chief Whip to convey the message.

HON. T. MLISWA: I am hearing that Hon. Nyokanhete would like to move a motion.  He seems to be having his hand up.  Probably you can allow the privileges to stop since he did not present his notice.  I was just telling Madam Speaker in case she did not hear him.  Am I correct Hon. Nyokanhete?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyokanhete can do that on Tuesday because we had already passed that phase.

HON. MASANGO: It is with a very sad heart that I followed the statistics on COVID deaths.  I might be wrong in my analysis but it seems the mortality rate among men is almost equal but this year I have heard of more COVID deaths in men.  The reasons might be varying but to me the main one is centred on social factors.  We talk and encourage washing and sanitising of hands but truly this is mostly followed by women.

Why do I say so?  This is because women are always within the reach of water.  Before cooking they wash hands, before breast feeding they wash hands, after visiting the rest rooms they wash hands.  Women’s hands are practically always in water but it is a very different story for men.  I have also noticed that men like sharing.  They can share a cigarette, beer, scud and supper.  When sharing, there is no washing of hands or sanitization, kugamuchidzana chete.  During all this sharing there is no masking.  There is also the issue of social distancing –these men cannot do it whilst the other one is sitting far away.  Vanotogara padyo nepadyo.

          Hon. T. Mliswa having wanted to raise a point of order.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.  Hon. Mliswa, you cannot stand on a point of order over a point of privilege.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  What rule is that?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Give her time.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Yes, I can give her time - not to say I cannot do a point of order. Hon. Togarepi munofanira kuverenga marules musangotaura kunge muri parally ye ZANU PF.

          HON. MASANGO: When it comes to steaming, men are not that patient.  So they would not and as I said in this august House sometime in 2019, men do not visit health institutions.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Masango, remember it is a one minute statement.

          HON. MASANGO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was saying as I said in this august House sometime in 2019, men do not visit health institutions when ill, vanozoenda kana zvaipa.  More women are being tested and vaccinated, but most men are ignoring the call for vaccinations and testing.  I have noticed that men go to health care centres  for help when it is too late and they die.  I can give an example of most COVID deaths in my constituency. Tests are mostly done when people are dead of which most of them are men.  My prayer is for our men to up their game on being healthy.  The campaign should now be centred on encouraging them to mask up, wash hands, sanitise and social distancing, otherwise this will be a women only country.

          God created us differently: male and female, with different roles and different responsibilities.  Men, please stop letting all our efforts and Government’s efforts of fighting COVID-19 down.  Mask-up, social distance, wash hands, sanitise, get vaccinated and get tested.  I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Masango.  Thank you for reminding all of us that we should always observe COVID-19 regulations and also thank you for your analysis but I am not sure whether your analysis is true that men are dying more as compared to women. All the same, I would like to urge us all to go into our communities and urge our people to observe COVID-19 regulations and also to be vaccinated.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for having to question that analysis.  I think if she had put it the way you did, it would have been acceptable that COVID-19 is for everyone.  Everyone must be protected but it was a very sexist presentation which was based on men.  Where is the reference, where are the statistics?  She did not bring that.  I think it is important that this House is seen to be a House that represents everyone.  The women must also represent men progressively and men must also represent women.  So, for her to be able to single out men, may I also single out men to be the breadwinners.  They are the breadwinners, they are always working and they are the ones who are making families survive.  As a result they are constantly engaging and the only thing that she can do is to be able to say as a nation, may we be able to observe, mask-up, wash hands and observe physical distancing, but for her to be able to say women are alone – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can I be protected?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!

          HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, we do welcome the message for everyone and I would like to say let us be united in fighting COVID-19 and not single out anyone but be able to say, let us move together in fighting COVID-19. As Madam Speaker said that everybody must be involved, if we single out certain people, we will then be asked to prove with statistics.  Madam Khupe is a doctor; she knows you must refer whatever with statistics.  So we cannot have this.  I would like to applaud Madam Speaker for standing up and correcting such.  I have nothing to say but for the women to be guided by your statement that COVID-19 is for everyone and we must fight it together.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I think it is not proper for you to talk on top of your voices whilst you are putting on a mask, hamunzwe kutsva?  Again, the other thing is, points of privileges are not for debate Hon. Mliswa.  It is also not proper to say men are the breadwinners.  – [HON. T. MLISWA: So let me say most men.]

          HON. MOKONE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise on a point of privilege.  Once again, a dark cloud hovers around the media fraternity.  Last week, we lost a journalist by the name Sandra Nyaira and just yesterday, we lost Tawanda Gudhlanga, who also succumbed to COVID-19.  Madam Speaker, we would like to extend our condolences to the families and may their departed souls rest in eternal peace.  Madam Speaker, as a Committee, we are concerned with the rising cases of infections in the media fraternity.  As we speak, we are reliably informed that Montrose Studios in Bulawayo is hit hard by the scourge.  We had more than four cases as well at Pockets Hill here in Harare.  We therefore, urge the Ministry to continue to prioritise the safety of journalists.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

                    HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of national interest, condolences to the Haritatos family on the passing away of Peter Haritatos, a former Member of Parliament who was equally a ZANU PF Central Committee Member.  More importantly, it is the role that he played in being a liberator of this country.  He was accorded the Provincial Liberation Hero status, which is deserving.  It is not many white people that stand for the emancipation or the freedom of black people.  He had been denied access to school because he was not European and went to Rimuka. On that, he leaves a legacy.  I used to be the Provincial Chairman of Mashonaland West and equally, the Chairman for the Mines and Energy Committee where he also served.  He was a progressive man who united Mashonaland West Province and the country.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Remember, it must be a one minute statement Hon. Mliswa.

         HON. T. MLISWA:  Yes.  For that, we would like to extend our condolences to the Haritatos family, Hon. Vangelis Haritatos, George Haritatos, the grand children and also pray for the mother who is in a critical condition as well because of this Covid.  Lastly Madam Speaker, it is sad that he was infected when he was trying to help somebody who wanted a loan from him.  He assisted him with the loan but he then was infected and he is no more.  He died while helping people and not many people do that.  May his soul rest in peace.  Thank you.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker Ma’am , I rise that this House takes note of the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2020, presented to this House in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Ministry, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates.  I thank you.

         I now move that the motion be removed from the Order Paper.

         HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, the Hon. Minister cannot remove it. It is a very important report.  It has been tabled, it is subject to debate and he cannot expect Members to debate it right now.  They need time to look at it.  There has been the COVID aspect.  It was six months ago and there have been issues which are beyond our control.  As a result, we need to study it and it is a very important report pertaining to this country, especially people from Matabeleland would want to contribute to it or else it would not be taken well that it was removed.  It cannot be removed but maybe deferred.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, for tabling purposes, it is adequate for the Minister to withdraw the report but the Committee can still bring the report to the House for debate.

         HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, I think we need to be guided by rules.  It was moved for debate.  What if we had decided to debate what would happen?  Now, it has to be removed and the Committee must bring it again.  It does not make any sense.  What about if we have decided to debate it?

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  That is the procedure.

         HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, under which rule?  Clerk, may you advise properly.  We start asking for rules because Madam Speaker is not guided by you.  “Musangovapa zvinhu musina section yacho.  Varikugona basa, musakanganise basa ravo.”  Unless somebody had gotten up Madam Speaker, and said it has not gone before the Committee, it must go before the Committee. But that was not discussed Chief Whip.  Somebody could have said, let it go before the Committee and procedure must be followed.  If they want me to say that, then I can.  Let it go back to the Committee and then it comes back after the Committee has looked at it. That is the procedure.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. For the purposes of time, I move that we adjourn the debate and proceed with other business. This is submitted in terms of Section 323 like you said, and there is no resolution because it is an independent commission. So, next sitting, if there is no one who wants to say anything, then we remove it from the Order Paper, but for the purpose of progress, I move that we adjourn debate on it. Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

         Debate to resume: Tuesday 27th July, 2021.

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE CRIMINAL LAW (CODIFICATION AND REFORM) (STANDARD SCALE OF FINES) NOTICE 2021

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I move the motion in my name that WHEREAS subsections (5) and (6) of Section 280 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23], provide that if the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs wishes to give effect to a Statutory Instrument to replace the First Schedule (“Standard Scale of Fines”) to that Act (by reason of a change in the purchasing-power of money or for any other reason), he must lay the drafty statutory instrument before Parliament, and that the statutory instrument shall not come into force unless approved by resolution of Parliament;

          AND WHEREAS the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has, in terms of Subsection (5) of the said Section 280, made the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) (Standard Scale of Fines) Notice, 2021, on the 21st July, 2021;

          AND WHEREAS the said statutory instrument was, in accordance with Subsection (5) of the said Section 280, laid before Parliament on the 21st July, 2021;

          NOW, THEREFORE, this House resolves that the said statutory instrument be and is hereby approved. I so move Madam Speaker.

         (v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  Madam Speaker, is it not possible for the House to adjourn?  I think most of the Members are on virtual platform.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  We can now hear you properly Hon. Mushoriwa, you can start again.

         (v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  I wanted to debate on the motion that the Hon. Leader of the House moved.  The question of the adjustment in terms of the standard scale of fines, the Hon. Minister had just put it on record that the changes that the Minister wants this House to rectify should speak to the overall economic trajectory and projections that the Government has actually envisaged.  The challenge that we have is when we then look into the statement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the positive attributes projecting where this economy is heading is in variance with the one by the Hon. Minister of Justice.  He has actually put levels or the percentage changes in terms of the fines.  I think there is need for an adjustment which will be in line with the inflation projected by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development because anything else will then create a wrong impression and the market will read this differently.

         (v)HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Firstly, I would also want to revert to the situation pertaining today.  Those of us who are on virtual have hardly been able to follow the proceedings and as it stands, I was not able to get the gist of what the Hon. Minister has presented.  My suggestion is that may the matter be deferred so that I follow from Hansard precisely what the Hon. Minister has laid on the Table.  From the little that I gathered it relates to the debate on fines.   I think it will not be appropriate for us as a House to endorse what the Minister has tabled because we have not had adequate opportunity to read, understand and appreciate what it entails.  As representatives of people, I believe that we should be given that opportunity.  Today, those of us who are on virtual have had very serious challenges.  From the beginning, I have been trying to raise my hand but I do not know whether the system was recognising me or not. The long and short of it is that we are dealing with a very important issue which affects the generality of the public when it comes to the issue of fines.

The other point I would want to raise in addition to the subject matter is, either the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliament Affairs superintends over the Ministry of Justice as well as the Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance, that they have an opportunity to look at the scale of fines so that they can give meaningful input.  My request Hon. Minister would be for this item to be deferred so that the two Portfolio Committees have a look at the Statutory Instrument per se to look at the scale of fines.  I think as an institution, we are being anti to approve of something which we have not yet acquainted ourselves with. Coupled with the challenges that we have met today, that is my humble submission Madam Speaker.

HON. NDEBELE:  Madam Speaker, I just want to join the other Hon. Members that have invited the Minister of Justice to ensure that the new schedule of fines is consistent with what is obtaining in the macro-economic environment.  If the percentage increase of those fines overshoots or does not match the rate of inflation, then we run the risk of promoting corruption within the Police and the Judiciary.  Closer home Madam Speaker, if you may allow me to check with my learned brother what the new schedule of fines may mean to those of us on this side of the House, that had charges laid against us and appeared before Privileges Committee.  What does this new scale of fines mean because we run the risk of paying forever should this House decides that we are supposed to pay those fines.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Members who have debated and contributed.  Madam Speaker, the fines that we are introducing are motivated by the need to ensure that we have law and order in the country.  Also, we need fines that are deterrent.  So they are pretty much consistent with what the Minister of Finance is doing.  We do not want affordable fines.  They will not be deterrent enough.  They will allow criminals, if I may quote what we were told by the law enforcement agency what people are saying, ‘kuti ndinokurova ndonokubhadharira fine’.  In other words, somebody is saying I will do whatever I want because I have the money to pay the fine.  So we want them to be deterrent so that the general populace will be deterred from committing crime rather than encouraged to commit a crime.  That is the thrust that we are taking.  We do not want to link that with inflation as if the levels of fine are a measure of economic growth.  They are being put to ensure that we deter.  We are not even putting these fines as a revenue collection strategy.  That is not our aim.  We would rather have zero collections but 100% compliance. As a nation, the economic development of the country will be there.  We will have a boom in our economic development with zero fines but with law and order in the country.  This is the thrust that we are looking at.

I did not get much from what Hon. Gonese said. Hon. Ndebele, I think I have answered that we are not looking at inflation or the performance but we want them to be deterrent.  We have tried to moderate the least fines but we believe that the rest must be deterrent enough so that even if I think of committing a crime, I will think twice.

As to your second question about what happens in this august House, I think Parliament is independent to fines that are meted out by the Judiciary.  It is a matter that this august House will determine on and conclude.  I do not think you will need to worry about that.  It would be concluded in this august House.

Having said that Madam Speaker, I urge Hon. Members to pass these fines and move that they be adopted so that us as a legislature we will be sending a message out there that collectively, we are prepared to fight the scourge of corruption, the scourge of lawlessness by imposing stiffer fines.  I so move that the schedule of fines be passed by this august House.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

 (v)HON. GONESE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

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

(v)HON. GONESE: Thank you very much.  As the Hon. Minister has indicated in his response, he could not follow what I said in my contribution and by the same token, that was precisely my point that today the reception was poor.  I did not hear his initial presentation because that time I could hardly hear him.  So that was my request, that can this item be deferred so that we can follow from Hansard precisely what the Hon. Minister presented because in his initial presentation, I could hardly hear a thing at that point in time.  By the same token, he did not hear my contribution and I think that in all fairness, this is precisely the reason why I put the request that the item be deferred so that I follow the initial presentation for me to make a meaningful contribution.

The other aspect of my contribution relates to the Portfolio Committees on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as Budget and Finance. We have not heard their input in relation to the statutory instrument which is being gazetted.  I believe that as an august institution, we are guided by the views of these Portfolio Committees which would then have an opportunity to interrogate in greater detail the scales for fines.  That would partly respond and answer to what Hon. Mushoriwa had asked as to whether it is linked to different economic mediums.

As it stands, we are being asked to endorse blindly on something where we have not received guidance from our Portfolio Committees. More importantly, because of the situation which has been obtaining today, I think it is in the interest of all of us to defer this item so that we can debate more meaningfully when the system is operational, hopefully next week.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  I appreciate his first point if he did not get what I said but I would have accepted if I had moved the motion and sought leave to do it the same day but I gave notice yesterday which means the Hon. Member, if he checked with Hansard, was supposed to have seen that this item was there.  Yesterday I came to this august House and gave a notice of motion that today I will do that.

       On the second point that it should be referred to the Budget and Justice Committee, the policy or thrust is that the august House agrees that there must be a fine schedule.  That is the reason why you see even when the Minister of Finance comes here and issues a Budget Statement, he can even indicate that tonight he would be changing excise duty.  That is not referred to the Budget Committee. It is not a line budget item. It is a fine or deterrent so that we have law and order.  It is like we are now giving criminals notice that we want to go to them to say can you give us your views about this.

I think the general principle is as a nation, we agreed and the Act allows the Minister to just come and lay it before Parliament for approval.  I seek the indulgence of Hon. Gonese that what I have done is sufficient as opposed to giving notice to criminals to say that you can do this between now and this particular item.  It is not a budget item to refer to the Budget Committee. There are no legal issues per se, except that it is a figure that we believe is deterrent enough.  I seek the indulgence of Hon. Members to say that can we pass the schedule of fines.  We have always done this in terms of when the Minister of Finance comes and presents the Budget Statement but we saw it prudent in between the budgetary process to increase and the law stipulates that I bring the Statutory Instrument before Parliament for its approval as opposed to the general route that we follow that we publish a Statutory Instrument, take it to the PLC and if they agree, it continues being effective.

I move that this House approves the standard scale of fines.

(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order, the Hon. Minister did not answer pertaining to the problem we have had with the system.  When we started Parliament, the number of participants on the virtual was 142 and because of the system, we now have 91 participants.  This means that this House needs to participate fully in terms of this debate.  I am not also sure if it will kill the Minister or inconvenience him to simply defer this matter to Tuesday so that at least the House properly considers this matter.  The system problem is truly beyond our control.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mushoriwa and Hon. Gonese, you should have read your Order Paper because the Minister gave a notice yesterday.

(v)HON. GONESE:  I think the Hon. Minister did not hear my point.  Today we are not talking about yesterday and also input the question to the House, I was not able to follow proceedings because of system challenge. A lot of members on virtual had to leave because they could not follow the proceedings.  

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  But we still form a quorum Hon. Gonese.

(v)HON. GONESE:  Most of the Hon. Members would not hear him.....

HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order.  The Hon. Member should have read the Order Paper. Secondly, we have a quorum.  Thirdly, he should not speak saying ‘we’ as if he is a trade unionist.   Everyone who is on the virtual platform can speak for himself or herself.  We are wasting time.  Let us proceed.  This is something that is very routine.  We should not waste time because we have other business to deal with here.  I think the Hon. Member, with all due respect, must allow us to proceed.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I agree with you Hon. Togarepi.  Hon. Members should have just read the contents of the motion on the Order Paper.

         (v)HON. R. R. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker Maam, I think the Hon. Minister has clarified in detail what we are supposed to do.  He has made it very clear that these are fines and they do not have to be referred to any Portfolio Committee. I have seen problems here in Shurugwi North where people generally just go and hit somebody or injure someone and they pay a fine of Z$20, until they had to call out the justice people and everyone to say this must be stopped. Anyone who creates a criminal offence must go to Hwahwa Prison without an option of a fine and it helped. The Minister has already moved and I am seconding that the Minister is right. Let us go ahead. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020

         Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2020.

Question again proposed.

         (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is an integral commission in terms of the industry running the affairs in the country. If you check the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Report of 2020 and then you check its mandate and what it is supposed to do, you will realise that there are a lot of gaps that need to be filled.

Firstly, it is agreed and understood that we are under COVID and that COVID is affecting a number of ways and things that we normally do as a country and probably the world over. There is also an issue that we need to mirror, put in terms of human rights – the rights of the citizens of a country, their democratic right that needs to be exercised. You will understand and also know that in the year 2020, other countries that have also been affected by COVID have had a chance to exercise their democratic right in terms of general elections in Africa and outside Africa and also by-elections and other electoral activities.

       What we have discovered is that in Zimbabwe in the year 2020, there have been very few or no activities. You will realise that even registration of new voters, ZEC has done very little and even in terms of their work at provincial level, it has been very minimal. You will realise that even in terms of funding, they have actually been complaining that the funding level has been too low to an extent that ZEC has actually, in my view, been operating just like a shell in 2020.  As we speak right now, we have got numerous vacancies in the House and a number of constituencies do not have Members of Parliament. A number of wards in this country do not have councillors. By-elections and representation is the key ingredient in a democratic society.  There is an adage that  says that there is no taxation without representation.

         When you have more than 20% of the country not being represented and you have an Electoral Commission that is supposed to do its work, then you put the democratic ethos of a country in jeopardy. In my view, I believe that as a country we need to ensure and allow ZEC to do its work to make sure that it is properly funded and that it is given all the resources so that it can play a significant role in this country. We do not want to have a situation where other people will then tend to view the electoral commission as a commission in handcuffs. It appears as if it is doing the bidding of other people rather than the mandate which it was given by the Constitution and the people of Zimbabwe.

      The current state which we have about ZEC is a sorry state. Inasmuch as I believe that this country is under COVID, there are a number of things that have happened in this country which are actually worse than holding an election in terms of the spread of COVID. We have had quite a number of church gatherings, some apostolic sects having more than 10 000 people gathered at a shrine. You and I know, because we are creatures of politics; you know that when people go for voting, they do so in a single line and the question of social distancing can actually be enforced because our law enforcement agents normally mann these polling stations and they will be in a position to say people need to exercise the COVID protocols. If we continue to have a situation where we have got a dysfunctional ZEC, then I believe that we are destroying this country.

         Right now we are here passing laws, budgets and other things, but we also need to be cognisant - what about the people of Kuwadzana who do not have a voice in Parliament? What about the people in Highfield, in Mkoba, they also need to have their voice.  They need to have a channel upon which they can throw in some of their recommendations and some of the things that they want Parliament to do and to change.  We are all Zimbabweans from one end to the other.  From Zambezi to Limpopo, every voice needs to be represented in this august House and every voice also needs to be represented in our local Government.  Let us deal with them.  Let us untie ZEC so that it is actually worthy …

          HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order. Thank you Madam Speaker.  My point of order pertains to what he is debating about.  There was a state of public health emergency that was declared and a Statutory Instrument to deal with that.  The Hon. Member would have debated that at that particular time. He must zero in on the ZEC Report as to the laws that are in place in the august House and seek an opportunity to debate and not to vote those to take effect.  So I think if the Hon. Member can direct himself to the contents of the report, we will make progress.  If he is dissatisfied with any law that is in place, this is the right forum. You are supposed to have raised it at that particular juncture.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I think the Minister is actually misdirected.  The issues that I am actually raising are contained in the same…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mushoriwa, you must stick to the report.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Precisely Madam Speaker, the things that I am raising are the issues that were raised by them and they are contained in the ZEC Report, unless the Hon. Minister is actually trying to say we cannot debate the issue because they were supposed to be debated on another fora.  The truth of the matter is that what I said and have been debating is contained within the ZEC Report of 2020 and the Hon. Minister, if he is in doubt, can actually check.  Having said that, I think I have made my point and my contribution pertaining to the ZEC Report. I believe what I have said carries weight and can help ZEC as we go forward.  We do not want a repeat, come 2021 to then get the same report that we have actually heard in 2020.  I thank you.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Suffice to say that what he was labouring under is not in the report.  We made a resolution as a country that we need to fight COVID-19 and our main thrust is, let us reach herd immunity as early as possible.  So, what we have tried to do as a country is to mobilise our resources to procuring vaccines to make sure that Zimbabweans are safe.  You do not vote when you are dead.  You do not exercise your democratic rights when you are dead.  What we are trying to do is, we have a state of public works emergency.  We have this thrust; we must ensure that Zimbabweans are protected.  Other countries are actually applauding the efforts that we are making.  Australia, South Africa and Botswana actually acknowledge that Zimbabwe is going in the right direction.

          I was hoping that Hon. Mushoriwa was going to applaud His Excellency for the way he has led the country during the COVID period.  I believe that all things being equal, once we have raised herd immunity, we are going to vote.  So for now, we stick to the laws that are there.  Having said that, I notice that there is no debate, I move that this report be removed from the Order Paper.  I thank you.

          Motion; withleave, withdrawn.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Order of the Day, Number 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 is disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION BILL [H. B. 5, 2020]

          Fifth Order read: Second Reading: Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H. B. 5, 2020].

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I rise to give my Second Reading Speech for the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill. This Bill is a very beneficial measure that Government is putting in place in compliance with the Constitution.  Its enactment is not only demanded by Section 210 of our Constitution.  It also commends itself to our country for being the right and moral thing to do.  In saying so, please do not think I am attacking the honour and integrity of our security services.  Without them, the peace and safety of our beloved country will be impossible.  Many members of the security sector have paid with their lives to keep our people safe and our home country.  The words of a certain famous epitaph are true of our heroes - “When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow, we gave our today”.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me take this opportunity to thank them for their priceless service to our country and I want to invite Hon. Members of this House to do the same.  I think they deserve a pam pam for the work they are doing to keep us safe.  If you can give a round of applause to our security services for what they do to ensure that we are safe. –[ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – I am sure Hon. Members will  agree that this is one of the safest countries in Southern Africa and we owe it to these great men and women who keep us safe.  I will not go into the particulars of this Bill, which are adequately addressed in the explanatory memorandum thereto.  I urge Hon. Members to have a look at the explanatory memorandum and appreciate what the Bill says.  I wish here to advert to certain very pertinent concerns expressed to me by the security service themselves in order to put their minds at ease.

Firstly Madam Speaker, as a matter of general principle, let me say what we all know.  Each one of us is not the best judge of our own conduct.  Psychologists and scientists of human behavior have studied the phenomena of what are called cognitive biases at great length.  These biases affect institutions, as well as individuals.  We need each other to tell each other where we are going astray.  That is what friends do and I put it to you that the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission, if it discharges its mandate faithfully and properly, will be a friend to the security services and not an adversary.  It is not in the interest of the security services themselves that there should be, within their ranks, a single individual who dishonors their reputation by his or her misbehavior towards any fellow service members or towards any members of the public they are supposed to serve.

         The perennial problem of who guards the guardians will never leave us entirely.  Over the millennium, one solution that societies have come up with to cope with this problem is to appoint other guardians so that the guardians guard each other, as well as themselves.  This, Madam Speaker Ma’am, is the basis of the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers.  Each one of the three branches of Government may blunder but if any one of them does, either or both of the other branches can step in to act as a remedy or check on the straying branch.  In this way, the peace of the State and social harmony and progress are secured for the benefit of us all.

         At this point, let us concede that the security services, as a board, have made an important representation to me on which I am prepared to give some way.  You will read in Clause 13 of the Bill, in particular in Sub-Clause 2, Paragraph (b), “that the Commission will not investigate any complaint where the action complained of is the subject of any court proceedings or of any investigation by any other independent commission.”  My concession is that I wish to add an additional Paragraph (c) to the provision as follows; “where the action complained of is the subject of an internal disciplinary process by the appropriate security service at the time the complaint is received by the Commission.”  So, if there is an internal disciplinary process that is ongoing, if the Commission receives a complaint, they must defer and allow the internal disciplinary process to be completed.  This addition seems to have been left out of the Bill by an oversight because elsewhere in the Bill, it is expressly provided: namely in Section 16, Sub-section (3), Paragraph (e) that the Commission can order the appropriate security service concerned to institute appropriate internal processes against the member complaint.

         Madam Speaker Ma’am, it has been properly represented again to me that allowing the Commission to be the place of first resort with regards to complaints against the security services may not be appropriate, practicable or desirable in any case.  It would, in many cases, mean that the security sector is unjustly deprived of its power of discipline and self regulation over its own members.  I accept this but would only add that this right or privilege of the security service must not be abused.

In that vein, I would add a proviso to the proposed Clause 13, Sub-Clause (2) (c) as follows; “provided that the Commission is of the view after consulting with the appropriate security service and taking into account any of its concerns that the internal process in question has taken too long, then the Commission may fix a reasonable period within which such process must be concluded, in default of which the Commission may itself thereafter entertain the complaint.”  I think that this is a reasonable accommodation of the competing concerns of the security services and of members of the public and other persons who may have complaints against them.

         In conclusion Madam Speaker Ma’am, I urge you Hon. Members to pass this law and in doing so, raise another important milestone in the development of our democracy.  I therefore move Madam Speaker Ma’am that the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H.B. 5, 2020] be now read a second time.

         Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am advised that the report is not yet ready today, so I move that the debate do now adjourn.

         Motion put and agreed to.

         Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 27th July, 2021.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

         Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I wish to thank Hon. Members of this august House for the enlightening, lively debate on the Presidential Speech delivered by His Excellency, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe during his State of the Nation Address and the legislative agenda address on 22nd October, 2020.

         The said lively debate during the course of the current Session of the Ninth Parliament raised quite pertinent issues on various subject matters and I will try to respond to some of them Madam Speaker Ma’am.  As the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, allow me therefore, to respond to issues pertaining my Ministry that arose during the debate. Although the issues raised are structurally diverse, most of them revolve around comparable subject matters. Consequently, I shall not individually or particularly respond to the aforementioned, but will concentrate on the subject matter arising from the various contributions made by the Hon. Members. The Hon. Members posed very pertinent questions relating to the following issues:

-         The COVID-19 pandemic,

-         Government’s measures to effectively and efficiently deal with corruption,

-         Land barons, and

-          The rise in murder cases.

         Madam Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency emphasised on the need for a brave fight against COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic featured prominently in Hon. Hon. Members’ contributions. As we are all aware, to date, we have experienced two waves and we are now in the third wave of this pandemic. As a result, we have been in and out of lockdown. There is also an impending third wave, hence we have been tightening restrictions. There has also been a constant message for everyone to mask up, sanitise and maintain social distancing. The previous and current restrictions are so as to minimise the spread of the virus.

         The restrictions as expected have had positives and negatives. Positives in that it helped in containing the spread of the virus, avoid deaths and also reducing pressure on our health delivery system. So far the virus has not been as ravaging as we have witnessed in other countries. Although we have had many deaths of over a thousand, other countries have had hundreds of thousands.

         The negatives were hugely felt from household economies to the national economy. Businesses were mandated to suspend operations for long periods. This led to job and financial losses. Also, public service delivery was disrupted. Parliament was not spared. The execution of the legislative agenda set by His Excellency at the opening of the Second Session of the 9th Parliament was disrupted. Parliament had to adjourn all activities for long periods. Government departments which were involved in the process of coming up with Bills had to halt processes.

This means we failed to finish Bills. The President in his address called upon the Third Session of the 9th Parliament to expedite the completion of processes with regards to all outstanding Bills, agenda and no-agenda. In his words, “the enactment of which will help to deepen the ongoing economic reforms as well as entrench constitutionalism and our democratic culture.” To date, the third session has managed to pass the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, Constitution Amendment Bill No. 1, Constitution Amendment Bill No. 2 and Manpower Planning and Development Bill. The Marriages will soon be passed by the Senate.

The other Bills are at advanced stages in the National Assembly. These are the Forest Amendment Bill and Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill. Some of the outstanding Bills from three Second Session’s legislative agenda are expected to be introduced to Parliament during this current session.

         Madam Speaker Ma’am, the pandemic also presented challenges to our justice delivery system. Court operations were severely affected - consequently, access to justice was also affected. Lockdown measures affected both the reporting and completion of cases in the courts. Challenges presented by the COVID-19 forced the Judicial Service Commission to come up with strategies to ensure that the wheels of justice do not grind to a halt. The Commission entered into a partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) with support from the European Union to create a virtual court at the Harare Magistrate Court. The Commission also joined hands with the UNDP and prepared to establish at least one virtual court in each of the ten provinces during the course of this year. The equipment has been procured and will be installed in the courts.

         One of the subjects which featured prominently is how Government is dealing with corruption. As His Excellency said, corruption cannot co-exist with sustainable economic development and growth. The Government’s objective is to build a new Zimbabwe anchored on transparency, accountability and hard work. Therefore, Government has already taken the initiative and established institutions to deal with corruption. This has seen the establishment of Special Anti-Corruption Courts, Special Anti-Corruption Unit within the Office of the President, the incorporation of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act and enactment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act. In the pipeline, to ensure transparency and accountability are the Mines and Minerals Amendment Act and Public Finance Management Act. In addition, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has since formed the Police Anti-Corruption Unit under the Criminal Investigations Department to deal with corruption cases.

         In terms of the National Development Strategy, Government shall implement the anti-corruption strategy and enforcement of assets forfeiture. In combating corruption, priority shall be given to public prosecution and asset forfeiture. The Government is capacitating the Zimbabwe Judicial Service Commission, National Prosecution Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission with the requisite capacity and skills to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes related to corruption. Similarly, Government is expediting the establishment of a Commercial Crimes Court to fast-track the prosecution of such offenders. The General Notice 625 of 2020 established the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.

         These are institutions which are vital in the combating of corruption. Government has also taken a deliberate approach in increasing staff head count in these institutions. Both the National Prosecuting Authority and the Judicial Service Commission have seen a steady increase in the workforce since 2016. The National Prosecuting Authority has been on a massive recruitment drive of degreed prosecutors. The same applies to the Judicial Service Commission which has been recruiting magistrates and doing staff training and professional development.

         In 2020, there was an anti-corruption training conducted by a judge of the Uganda Anti-Corruption Court, Hon. Justice Lawrence Gigudu. The training was attended by a combined total of 261 participants drawn from the Judicial Service Commission, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Special Anti-Corruption Unit, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Police Anti-Corruption Unit.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of land barons also features prominently in the contributions made by the Hon. Members. The issue of land barons has been a menace. To deal with this, the Commission of Inquiry into the Sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005 was set up by Presidential Proclamation 4 of 2017. Government’s overarching objective of establishing the Commission of Inquiry was to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the status of State land in and around urban centres in Zimbabwe. This broad objective being underpinned by other specific objectives which are as follows:

1.1           To identify all State land that was acquired and handed over for urban development since 2000;

1.2           To ascertain the status of such land in terms of ownership, occupation and development;

1.3           To investigate methods of acquisition and/or allocation by current occupants and owners of such land;

1.4           To investigate and ascertain the actors involved in such allocations, occupation and use;

1.5           To proffer solutions to the challenges identified from the investigation; and

1.6           To document and report to the President in writing, the results of the inquiry

The report revealed that politically connected politicians, land barons, property developers and housing cooperative leaders illegally sold state land.   The Commission also reported that there are many ways of suspected corruption which need to be further investigated and prosecuted.  The Commission recommended that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police must investigate all officers, past and present involved or connected with management of urban State land.

The Commission also recommended that there must be a lifestyle audit on all the officers who were involved in allocation, planning, valuations, survey, allocation of commonage, creation and transfer of title since 2005 amid claims of abuse of office, receiving bribes and general corrupt conduct.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, arrests have been made and the cases are before the courts while other cases are under investigations.  Investigations are going to be done province by province.  The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has already started probing cases for Midlands as recommended by the Commission of  Inquiry.

Honourable Members also raised the issue of a rise in murder cases.  The gruesome murder of a child called Tapiwa Makore featured prominently.  This murder left the whole nation heartbroken.  Murder is a very serious crime, worse the murder of a child to that effect. It is something that is extremely disheartening.  The right to life is a fundamental right enshrined in Section 48 of the Constitution.  This is a non-derogatory right which can only be limited in strict circumstances. To emphasise on the fundamentality  of this right, murder in aggravating circumstances attracts a death penalty.

The retention of death penalty for murder was a deliberate move which was supported by Zimbabweans because of the sanctity of human life.  Section 44 of the Constitution requires every person to respect constitutional rights.  These rights include the right to life.  The same provision also places an obligation on the State, every person, juristic persons and Government agencies to respect constitutional rights.   The Government is going to make sure without fail that the right to life is protected and all culprits involved in the spate of murder cases face justice and get sentences that fit the seriousness of the crimes.

Madam Speaker, in closing, I am humbled by the motion moved by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona, that a respectful address be presented by this House to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.  Once again, I would like to thank Honourable Members for the thoughtful debate. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I wish to thank the Hon. Members for a robust debate on the Presidential Speech that happened at the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Madam Speaker, I will be able to respond to some of the issues that were raised during the debate, issues that pertain to my Ministry.

Some of the issues include that as a country implements NDS1, let us make it a point that women and youth are included in the manufacturing sector to drive our economy and return Zimbabwe to her rightful place, that of the bread basket of Africa.

Madam Speaker, the Manpower Planning and Development Act [Chapter 28.02] as amended, makes it mandatory for every higher and tertiary education institution to have an innovation hub and industrial park.  The Ministry has established innovation hubs in its institutions of higher learning particularly University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, National University of Science and Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Harare Institute of Technology, Bindura University of Science Education and Great Zimbabwe University. The hubs are all inclusive.  It is in these hubs that innovative ideas are harnessed to increase production of goods and services.  Further to that, enrolment statistics in our universities now indicate that female students constitute 54% of the students population while in teachers’ colleges female students now constitute 80% of the student population.

Despite its location, the enrolment of Lupane State University does not reflect local ownership as a lot of its students come from other provinces.  Madam Speaker, Lupane State University is a national institution which attracts and enrolls students from all over Zimbabwe, just like any other university.  There are no restrictions to discriminate students from Lupane community to enroll at Lupane State University for any programme of their choice.  In addition, universities have different mandates and as such, they are encouraged to recruit from all over the country so that a student from any place or any province who is interested in a course offered by Lupane can be enrolled.  In the same vein, students from Lupane are free to enroll from any university of their choice in Zimbabwe.  Lupane State University has started a programme of upskilling secondary school science teachers so that they improve the pass rate in the province for them to be able to go to university.

Productivity- in His speech (SONA), the President said that we need to produce if we have to succeed as a country or nation.  We have to use what we have to look after ourselves. The Ministry has introduced heritage based education 5.0 to promote productivity in institutions.  Education 5.0 emphasises five (5) pillars which are teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation.  The heritage philosophy leverages on Zimbabwe’s competitive advantages particularly with regards to the use of natural resources endowment and excellent ecological endowment for the production of goods and services.

Empowering women and closing the gender gap - the Ministry has taken a deliberate decision to ensure that there is 50:50 gender balance in our boards and councils under its purview.  In the appointments of Chairpersons, as we speak today, all university councils are at 50:50.  In the appointments of Chairpersons, the Ministry ensures that if the Chairperson is male, the Vice Chairperson is female and vice versa. More than half of the councils or around half of the councils in this country, for the first time, are being chaired by women.  The Ministry is also ensuring that it is increasing female graduates in all higher and tertiary education institutions.  All councils and boards which were recently appointed by the Minister with prior endorsement by the President observed this constitutional obligation of gender parity and empowering women and we are still on the move to make sure that nobody is disadvantaged because they wear a skirt or trousers.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MADIRO):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Pursuant to the State of the Nation’s Address of 22nd October 2020 by His Excellency, the President, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa and subsequent constructive debate by Hon. Members of this august House, allow me to contribute towards the debate by way of an update on what the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has executed so far.

Madam Speaker, if it pleases His Excellency, the President, allow me from the outset, to restate his expectations of my Ministry as outlined on paragraph Number 25 of His State of the Nation Address.  His Excellency the President adjured the Ministry to ensure that we focus on: ‘Road construction, modernisation and rehabilitation throughout all provinces of the country to enhance connectivity and facilitate greater economic trade within the country as well as the region as a whole’.  Further, the President underscored the need for the Ministry to: ‘...Unlock the value of the utility of local financial resources, skills and companies with the view to yield impressive results and to vigorously pursue that model going forward in development of other infrastructure projects’.

Madam Speaker, with the guidance and bold leadership of His Excellency, the President and a deep understanding that transformative measures in infrastructural development are required to underpin the drive towards the attainment of Vision 2030, we quickly sprang into action.  Deriving from the target prescribed by Item 498 of the National Development Strategy 1, to increase the number of kilometres of road network to meet Southern Africa Transport and Communications Commission standards from 5% to 10% by 2025 and to increase the number of kilometres of road network in good condition from 14 702km to 24 500km by 2025, we heeded the President’s call to prioritise and accelerate completion of ongoing road projects.

Madam Speaker, as you may be aware, on 9th February 2021, His Excellency, the President declared the State of Disaster on our roads through the promulgation of S.I. 47 of 2021.  The declaration provided a strong basis for the Operationalisation of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme e (EPPR 2).  The ERRP 2 reinvigorated massive road rehabilitation and maintenance initiatives throughout the country.

Madam Speaker, the ERRP 2 is consistent with the collective aspiration and determination of the Government of the Second Republic to achieve an Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society by the year 2030.  Pursuant to this Vision 2030, Government will, for the next five years (2021 to 2025), be guided by interventions undertaken through the National Development Plan 1 (NDS 1).  The provision of an efficient transport system is a key enabler for economic growth and development f our country.  We are also aware as the Ministry that the productive sectors such as agriculture and mining, identified as key to the success of NDS1, will thrive on a good road network which facilitates the efficient transportation of people and goods between sources of raw materials and production centres as well as to diversified markets.  It was therefore imperative that Government makes deliberate interventions in order to redress the bad state of our roads through the implementation of ERRP 2.

Madam Speaker, ERRP 2 is premised on the concerted efforts of all road authorities in improving the condition of the country’s road infrastructure network in the next three years (2021 to 2023).  The programme is divided into three distinct phases.  Phase 1 runs for a period of 12 months and targets projects which respond to emergency works in need of urgent attention such as washaway repairs, potholes patching, reseals, rehabilitation of isolated sections of the road, grading, re-gravelling and other routine maintenance activities.  These interventions are aimed at improving accessibility by communities to service centres.

Madam Speaker, phase two, which shall be implemented in the subsequent 12 months, will focus on full rehabilitation and reconstruction of failed sections of the road network.  This will lead us to phase three which shall also be implemented in the last set of ensuing 12 months.  The third phase will concentrate on reconstruction of bridges and other hydraulic structures previously damaged by cyclones which have battered our country in the past few years.  Madam Speaker, Government has set aside ZW$33.6 billion as funding for the ERRP2.  The amount will be rolled over the three-year tenure of the programme.  Funding for this programme will be resourced from Treasury, ZINARA Road Fund and a portion of Devolution Funds meant for the implementation of road projects.  We have put robust measures in place to ensure that the resources are used efficiently for the benefit of needy communities.

Madam Speaker, while Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme 2 is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, structures have been instituted at all levels of Government to ensure coordination of the programme.  At the provincial levels, there are provincial technical committees chaired by provincial development coordinators.  The provincial committee report to an inter-ministerial technical committee set up at the national level.  These committees are responsible for the day to day running of the programme.  The programme steering committee, to which the inter-ministerial technical committee reports, is responsible for giving policy direction to the programme.  We have put in place competent and capable teams at both the national and provincial levels to superintend over the requisite processes and deliver a successful programme.

Madam Speaker, Government’s initiative to deliberately devolve power to the sub-national structures in road rehabilitation is commendable. It is premised on the need to enable faster, efficient and effective response to challenges such as those that have necessitated the implementation of this ERRP2.  We have ensured that the projects undertaken under this programme will cause highest social and economic impact on our rural and urban communities ever.  The projects being implemented under the programme have been carefully selected under guidance from the local leadership in order to reflect the needs of the locals to be served by the infrastructure.  The processes that have been instituted are to ensure the deployment of resources in an efficient and effective manner, for the implementation of selected projects within prescribed time frames and budget.

Madam Speaker, allow me to venture into the statistics of ERRP2.  Under the auspices of the ERRP2, an estimated 50 000km of road infrastructure is targeted for rehabilitation and upgrading.  This gives an average of 5 000km in each of the country’s 10 provinces.  As of 30 June 2021, road authorities have managed to do resealing of about 30.8 km. Rehabilitation and construction is now at 164.6km, while 874km of road have been re-gravelled.  A total of 4115.8km of road have been graded so that it becomes trafficable.  Further, 333 drainage structures have been repaired and constructed.  Furthermore, 42 wash-aways and gulley reclamation have been done.  Bush clearing has been achieved to the tune of 3 934.95km and a total of 7 515km of road have been pothole patched.

Using own resources, the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has opened 158 km of Harare-Beitbridge Road to traffic.  This road is currently being rehabilitated by five contractors, namely Bitumen World, Fossil Contracting, Tensor Systems, Masimba Holdings and Exodus and Company. Various other works are in progress on a cumulative 130km along the Harare-Beitbridge road.

With regards to modernisation, my Ministry has re-designed the Mbudzi Interchange to unlock congestion.  The construction of the inter-change and by-passes will be executed after the tender stages and award have been completed.  In the same vein, the Ministry is working on the modernisation and decongestion of the Mabvuku turn-off, by way of an overpass or interchange.

From an economic perspective, the ERRP2 is expected to provide opportunities to private contractors and suppliers, ensuring their active participation and contribution to economic development while at the same time fostering their own growth. The programme shall, through labour-based road maintenance and rehabilitation activities as well as hiring of casual labour by contractors, create an estimated 20 000 jobs for local communities, including opportunities for women and youth.  The ERRP2 therefore seeks to advance Government’s thrust on community involvement under the devolution drive as well as empowering women and youths towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

I implore Hon. Members to take their time and travel along the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge road to witness for themselves the seriousness of Government on matters of infrastructural development.  To date, at least 170 km stretch of road have been opened for traffic between Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu.  This is in line with the SADC Protocol for the provision of a seamless regional integrated road network.

As I conclude, allow me to thank His Excellency the President for his unwavering support and guidance as we execute his vision.  We are inspired by his strong resolve to guide Zimbabwe along the path of rapid socio-economic transformation across various sectors of the economy, including the infrastructure utility cluster.  We have no doubt that with his guidance and the growth trajectory he has set for the motherland, Zimbabwe shall reclaim its glory and its position as the hub of transport connectivity in the region.

I also want to express profound gratitude to the Hon. Members of this august House who have rallied us along through their noble oversight function.  We shall continue to subject ourselves to their oversight function as the representatives of the people with the view to work towards accelerated transformation and development of infrastructure.  I thank you.

         THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  I think it is worth commending that we have had the SONA since the birth of this Parliament and ministers are coming to respond.   I think we need to applaud – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  It is quite good and we would like to thank the Executive for taking it upon themselves to also come and do that.

HON. MADIRO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 27th July, 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI:  I move that all the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIFTH REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND TOURISM ON DINDE COMMUNITY PETITION

          HON. MUSARURWA: I move that this House takes note of the Fifth Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism on Dinde Community Petition.

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

HON MUSARURWA:

1.0 Introduction

A petition from Dinde Community, from Katambe Village in Hwange was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism by the National Assembly on Tuesday, 20th April 2021. The petition signed by 20 petitioners whose names are supplied, mainly alleged that Geovannah Consultancy, which was contracted by Beifa Investments to do an Exploration Environmental Impact Assessment for a coal mining project did not consult the affected Katambe Villagers. The petitioners also alleged that the participants register in the EIA document reflected names of persons who did not originate or reside in Katambe Village in Dinde. Thus, the Committee considered the petition and resolved to inquire into the allegation from Katambe villagers as that petition met the requirements of section 149 (1) of the Constitution.

2.0 Objectives of the Enquiry

The broad objective of the enquiry was to get an in-depth understanding of the concerns of the Dinde Community residents raised in their petition. In more specific terms, the Committee sought to;-

  1. ascertain whether there was any consultation that was done for the Exploration EIA in the Katambe Village; and
  2. establish the origin of/and manner in which the names and all the details of the people which were in the EIA document were obtained.

3.0 Methodology

To get a technical and operational insight into the allegations made by the petitioners, the Committee received evidence from the Environmental Management Agency and Geovannah Consultancy Company on 11th May, 2021 and conducted a fact-finding visit to Dinde Community from 26th to 28th May, 2021. From the evidence and submissions received, the Committee was apprised on all the procedural aspects of the law in developing the exploration EIA and the necessary steps that EMA followed before the EIA certificate was issued to the consultant. These steps included a project verification exercise, a due diligence meeting which was attended by the Dinde Residents Association, village heads, village secretary and all relevant Government departments, and a tour of the project site. The residents explained to the Committee how the consultation process was conducted as well as the way the details of the people in the EIA document were acquired. It suffices at this juncture to highlight that the Committee noted that the submissions from EMA and the Consultant were consistent.

4.0 Committee’s Findings

4.1 Project Background

The Committee found that Beifa Investments (Pvt) Limited was issued with a Special Grant Permit on 17th January 2020 by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to undertake coal exploration on a 4 070 hectares land located in Dinde under Chief Nekatambe. The proposed project site is within the jurisdiction of the Hwange Rural District Council covering Wards 13, 14, 19 and 20. Ward 13 with 789 households had the biggest size of the claim covering 3 159.4 hectares translating to 14.8 percent of the total size of the ward. This is the only ward which was under the current scope of exploration. This therefore, means that there was nothing that was happening in terms of exploration in the other three wards. During the exploration process, a total of thirteen holes were to be drilled to a depth of 100m in roughly a linear pattern. No drilling was to be done within homesteads or sacred sites like graves or disturbances of existing infrastructure or displacement of people.

4.2 The EIA Process

The Committee found that all prescribed projects listed in the First Schedule of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) have to undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment in terms of Section 97 of the Act. In this instance, the coal exploration is a prescribed project covered in Clause 7 (a) on the list which provides for mineral prospecting. Section 99 of the Act provides for the contents of the EIA report while stakeholder consultation is provided for under Section 10 (4) of S.I. 7 of 2007. EIA studies are done by registered consultants in terms of Section 8 (3) of S.I. 7 of 2007. In this case, Geovannah Consultancy was engaged by Beifa Investments to carry out the EIA study for the coal exploration project. The consultant submitted a prospectus report before being requested by EMA to undertake a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed coal exploration project on 26th October, 2020. The consultant submitted the EIA report to the agency for review on 17th November 2020 before an EIA certificate was issued on 30th December 2020.

4.3 Due Diligence by EMA

The Committee also found that the Environmental Management Agency conducted a verification and due diligence meeting on 15th December 2020. The meeting was attended by the project representatives led by Chen Tian Xian, community leaders represented by Atanas Moris Shoko from Dinde Residents Association, Councillor Moris Sibanda, Village Head Lambo Chuma, Barnabas Dube from Dinde Residents Association, Paul Ngwenya the Village Secretary and Alexander Ncube from Dinde Residents Association.

Verifications were done with all Government departments whose comments were attached in the EIA document. Community leaders and Government officials confirmed that consultations were done during the EIA study. A tour of the project site was conducted by EMA and the community leaders. It was explained to the community leaders that should there be positive economic fundamentals indicating that it would be profitable to engage in mining in the area after exploration, a different EIA process would be done. Meanwhile, EMA continued to monitor the project to ensure that the Environmental Social Management Plan was being implemented as prescribed in the EIA study.

4.4 Complaints raised by the community to EMA

EMA received complaints from the community in January 2021. The community resisted the project commencement and denied having been consulted by Geovannah Consultancy Company. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights wrote to EMA on the 11th February 2021 seeking clarification regarding the matter to which the agency responded on 15th February 2021. Hon R Moyo, the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution together with the Provincial Mining Director engaged the community on 1st April 2021 on the matter but it remained unresolved until the petitioners engaged Parliament.

4.5 Submissions from the Consultant

The Committee found that in terms of the background to the project and the EIA process, the consultant’s explanations were consistent with what EMA had submitted to the Committee. The Committee was advised that twelve of the petitioners were on the attendance register of the consulted community members of Dinde. Technically, the consultant met all the procedural requirements of the law. The consultant used his own discretion to identify key stakeholders such as Chief Nekatambe and his Village Heads and officials from the various government departments. He submitted that he used interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions in the form of stakeholder meetings and virtual consultations as his consultation methodology. He submitted to the Committee that the main objective of the consultation process was to inform the stakeholders of the potential impact of the proposed project and not to get their consent for project implementation.

The consultant maintained that the affected community was consulted but the consultation was done in the context of the COVID-19 regulations that prohibited gatherings in excess of fifty people. The Committee was informed that Chief Nekatambe actually convened the meeting on 26th November 2020 and invited the Geovannah Consultancy, Mr Dickson Ncube, the Headman of Ward 13 the target area for the exploration work, and Village Heads namely, Davison Ndlovu, Cosmas Nkomo, Fred Isaac Mabuyu and Dinde Residents Association Members at DDF Community Hall where the Dinde Community usually held their community meetings.

This meeting was attended by thirty-six people. Their names, village of origin and contact details were supplied. The target population for the study was Katambe village only, nevertheless, village heads from Chamashoko, Bhani, Nkolongwe, Mubhola and Kalisime attended the meeting as well.

4.4 Submissions from the Dinde Community

The Committee found that when village heads were invited to the meeting by the Chief, they did not know that it was a consultation meeting with the investor. Some of the village heads were shocked to realise that their names and villages of origin on the attendance register were used as evidence of consultation. Dolica Sithole one of the village heads advised the Committee that they were informed by the Chief that they were not supposed to refuse the coal exploration project since it was a government programme.

The Committee found that not all village heads had adequately and effectively explained the purpose of their meeting with the Chief and the investor to their community members. Most of them did not understand the difference between exploration and the actual coal mining processes.

The Committee was also informed that Atanas Shoko, Chairperson, Alexander Ncube, Treasurer and Barnabas Dube, Secretary from Hwange Residents Association, were never invited but gate-crushed their way into the meeting that was convened by Chief Nekatambe inviting the Headman and Village Heads at DDF Community Hall. Hwange Residents Association Members queried why non-residents of Katambe Village like Casper Ndlovu and Lazarus Kwidini were attending the meeting while there was no representation from their village. When asked by the Committee why the three members from Hwange Residents Association’s names appeared on the attendance register of the people who were consulted, they submitted that they were asked to sign the attendance register in order to know the number of people who had attended the meeting. The association members informed the Committee that they were not permitted to speak at the meeting but were surprised to realise that the register that they had signed was used by the consultant as a reference point for permission to allow exploration to take place.

The Committee found that at a later date, Hwange Residents Association also conducted a paid workshop for the village heads. The workshop objective was to explain to them what the law provided regarding the development of their community. The village heads were asked to sign their names in the attendance register. This register was then annexed to the petition as signatures of the petitioners. Ironically, twelve people who appeared on the list of petitioners also appeared in the list of people who were consulted by the consultant. Village heads claimed that they appended their signatures to a workshop attendance register which had nothing to do with the petition that came to Parliament.

5.0 Analysis of the Key Issues

From the two oral evidence session and fact-finding submissions, it was clear that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) and Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007, Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations provide the rationale basis for the Committee’s recommendations on the issues raised above and explained below.

Three important and critical issues emerged. These can be summarised as follows; - There is need for;

1) Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007 to offer a threshold or standard for the stakeholder consultation and not leave the discretion entirely to the consultant;

2) Raising the awareness and comprehension levels of the traditional leaders and ordinary people on the EIA and consultation process; and

3) Transparency and accountability on the operationalisation of coal mining investments.

5.1 EIA Legislative Framework

The conduct of EIA studies is regulated from sections 97 to 108 of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) as read together with S. I. 7 of 2007. Section 10 (4) of S.I. 7 of 2007 provides that “Before any environmental impact assessment report is furnished to the Director-General, the developer shall carry out wide consultation with stakeholders.” This provision does not offer a threshold or standard for the stakeholder consultation and remains qualitatively open to the discretion of the consultant. It remains questionable how the consultant determines that the consultation with the stakeholders is wide enough. There is obviously a gap that consultants can manipulate to their advantage at the detriment of affected communities. The existing legal framework allows the consultant to identify their own key stakeholders. It is also disheartening to note that the purpose of stakeholder consultation is not to get consent for the project implementation as this is not within the purview of the EIA legislative framework, but to discuss the potential impacts of the proposed project. In that vein, Geovannah Consultancy maneuvered through the processes, satisfied the procedural requirements of the law and EMA confirmed that by issuing an EIA certificate to the company to begin its exploration work.

5.2 EIA process awareness raising

It is apparent that the Dinde Community are expressing their displeasure at the lack of communication and transparency in the manner the coal exploration process was handled. The community is in the dark regarding the whole exploration process, either because their traditional representatives have not adequately or clearly informed them about the exploration exercise or they have not been made aware at all. Both consultants and lawyers can easily take advantage of the Community’s ignorance and manipulate them to accept the project or reject it through swaying the community’s thinking towards what they want them to believe.

Therefore, there is need to protect the rights of people living in mining areas while the Government promotes economic investments. The community needed information to be able to make decisions on development plans that directly affect them. Transparency and accountability on the part of investors must be guaranteed for the Dinde Community to develop trust in the investment projects that are taking place in their area.

As legislators, our obligation is to ensure that mining is governed and managed in a manner that is in the national interest, promote economic development without undermining the rights of the residents of surrounding communities. Informed by these pertinent observations, the Committee recommends that the Executive urgently considers the following;

6.0 Recommendations

6.1 The Committee recommends that the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry immediately amends the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) to clearly spell out the scope and standards to be followed by registered consultants on stakeholder consultations by 31st December 2021.

6.2 It also recommends that the Environmental Management Agency introduces creative capacity building initiatives for communities in mining areas to understand the EIA processes and provide the local leadership with the requisite information that empowers them to handle the consultation processes by 31st December 2021.

7.0 Conclusion

If the rights of communities living in mining areas are not protected and guaranteed, and transparency and accountability are not upheld, the nation will witness divisions and disagreements between and among communities because of investment in their respective areas. Communities need to be informed and adequately capacitated to be fully knowledgeable about mining ventures so that they decide from an informed point of view. With the above submissions  Mr. Speaker Sir, I now commend this report for consideration by this august House.

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

         HON. MPARIWA: I second.

         Motion put and agreed to.

         Debate to resume: Tuesday, 27th July, 2021

         On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Two Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 27th July, 2021.

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