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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 23 June 2020 46 48.
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER’S RULING
MATTER RAISED BY HON. SIKHALA REGARDING THE
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Speaker’s ruling on a matter raised
by Hon. Sikhala in relationship to the statement by the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage regarding the rumoured coup on Wednesday, 18th June, 2020. Hon. Karenyi in directing her question to the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage sought to find out the policy on which the Hon. Minister had made the statement on the rumoured coup. The Hon. Member argued that the coup represented the high form of constitutional infraction and questioned why these plotters were not arrested.
The Hon. Minister Kazembe informed the House that he had made the statement on behalf of the National Security Council. He indicated that the issues were sensitive in nature and what he announced to the nation was adequate. He also indicated that he could not give the finer details as it would jeopardise national security and interests. Hon. Sikhala also expressed concern that he was specifically mentioned in the statement and he retorted that it had devastating results at his life.
I indicated that I would have a look at the full statement and make a ruling within two weeks. As I preliminary ruled on Wednesday, 18th June, 2020 when the matter was raised by Hon. Karenyi, my ruling still stands and I repeat that the matter concerns issues of national security and as such, no further details can be made beyond the statement made by the Hon. Minister. Hon. Sikhala as a lawyer, I am sure you fully understand these issues which can be dealt with outside the purview of Parliament. I so rule.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
VACANCIES IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE HON. SPEAKER: On 23rd June, 2020 which is today,
Parliament was notified by the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirayi (MDC-T) Party that the following Members of Parliament had ceased to be the members of the MDC-T Party and therefore no longer represent the interests of the party in Parliament, with effect from 23rd June, 2020. The Hon. Members affected are as follows:
- Hon Amos Chibaya – Mkoba Constituency
- Hon Happymore Chidziva – Highfield West Constituency
- Hon Bacilia Majaya- PR Mashonaland Central Province
- Hon Mucharairwa Mugidho – PR Masvingo Province
- Hon Virginia Z Muradzikwa – PR Harare Province
- Annah Muyambo – PR Harare Province
- Hon Francisca Ncube – PR Matabeleland North
- Hon Nomathemba Ndlovu - PR Matabeleland South
- Hon Murisi Zwizwai – Harare Central Constituency
Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that,
“the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or to the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it;”
Pursuant to the above, I do hereby inform the august House that vacancies have arisen in the constituencies stated above by the operation of the law. The necessary administrative measures will be taken to inform his Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of the existence of the vacancies in line with Section 39 (1) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 213] as amended – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Order, order, order! Can you maintain order please? Hon.
Members, order, order!
*HON. MATHE: I would like to thank you Mr Speaker for granting me this time to raise a point of privilege. I would also want to show gratitude on the debate that happened last week in this House towards the issue of bond notes. We thank the Reserve Bank of Zimbsmbe for the quick issuing of the press statement to this effect which made the community to know that bond notes are still valid because the notes are no longer accepted. People are suffering because even after the press statement shops still do not accept bond notes.
Everyone who is vending in Victoria Falls or Binga or anywhere in Zimbabwe should be notified through the radio or television that these notes are still usable and this should be done during this week as a manner of urgency. Police should also arrest shop owners and people who are refusing to accept bond notes in both rural and urban areas.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chief Police Officer is not allowed to speak in Parliament. Let us wait to hear from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development concerning the issue.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having moved notices of motion
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, you have in the past demanded such reports. I hope you will read them so that we can engage on some robust debate on the same.
VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE BILL [H. B. 16,
First Order read: Committee: Veterans of the Liberation Struggle
Bill [H. B. 16, 2019].
House in Committee.
Clause 1, put and agreed to.
On Clause 2:
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Mr. Chairman, I put before the House an amendment of Clause 2, change of the term liberation war fighter to war veteran for the sake of consistence and taking note of the representation made by the war veterans constituency during the stakeholder consultations held by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee countrywide. The term liberation war fighter is being amended as substituted with war veteran.
The second one is the change of the term temporary refugee camps to transit camps. All the associations during the consultations were not comfortable with the use of such terms as refugee camps on the section dealing with interpretation of terms. The affected groups argued that the term was foreign to them and did not give a true reflection of the activities that took place in these camps. I appreciated the concerns raised by the associations and agree on the need to change the term temporary refugee camps is hereby substituted with transit camps. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Chairman, I stood up to debate this particular section and you gave the opportunity to the Minister to move for the amendment but this is not the substance of the whole section.
What you have moved for the adoption is the amendment but not the debate of this section.
THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Chairman, so why would you then
allow the Minister to come in before I could have debated.
THE CHAIRPERSON: But I did put the question for debate.
HON. MADZIMURE: No. I did stand up and you called the
THE CHAIRPERSON: After the Minister has responded and made some proposals to amend, I asked for any further debate.
HON. MADZIMURE: No, you asked for the adoption of the amendments. That is what you did.
THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that is when I asked for the debate.
How can I ask for the adoption?
HON. MADZIMURE: Okay, we have not adopted it, I have a debate.
THE CHAIRPERSON: No, we cannot go back because we have
already adopted it.
HON. MADZIMURE: No, we have not.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We have already adopted it, I cannot reverse. I am sorry. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Order in the House Hon. Members, Order! I have already made a ruling and there is no need for you to continue making noise.
On Clause 3:
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Mr. Chairman Sir, I put the amendment of Clause 3 on the removal of the word the Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces or his/her alternate and substitute it with a representative from the war veterans who shall be the Chairperson of the Board. There were concerns during the stakeholder consultations and debate stage over the inclusion of the Commander Defence Forces as the Chairperson of the Board. The provision is being amended as recommended. The words the Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces or his/her alternate shall be replaced with a war veteran appointed by the
Minister after consultation with the President who shall be the Chairperson of the Board.
The second one is the term liberation war fighter to war veterans for the sake of consistency and taking note of the representations made by the war veteran’s consistency during the stakeholder consultations held by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee countrywide. The term liberation war fighter in Clause 3 is being amended and substituted with war veterans. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chairman, I have got two issues with
the amendment that is being proposed by the Hon. Minister of Defence. Whilst I agree with the Hon. Minister that it is not right for the Commander of the Defence Forces to be Chair of the Board. I have reservations and I want the Hon. Minister to explain. The Chairperson of the Board should not be somebody that is picked by the Minister in consultation with the President. I want to believe that it will be proper and prudent because the war veterans is a small component which is dwindling as we go by and it is only fair that the appointment of the Chairperson should have an input of the component members of the war veterans. I think this question of having the Minister and the President privately choosing a person - they may choose a chairperson who may not be in the liking of the general membership of the war veterans.
The second issue which I have a challenge with is this amendment of removing liberation war fighter to war veterans. My understanding and why I want the Hon. Minister to explain is that for some of us that have brothers that went to war and perished during the struggle for this country, we believe that they were freedom fighters. They went to fight for the liberation of this country. The phrase ‘liberation war fighter’ is a better phrase than the word ‘war veteran’ because the phrase ‘war veteran’ twenty years from now, a person that fought in the DRC war or Mozambique can also claim to be a war veteran. This is because that person will have fought in a number of wars. What we need is this question of the liberation war fighter so that there is a distinction. This is the reason why we pointed out at the second reading stage – I would be happier to say that Hon. Oppah Kashiri is a freedom fighter. It is more befitting than saying she is a war veteran and to that extent Chair, I ask the Hon. Minister to probably educate me further.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Chair. Twenty years from now
and it is a fact, we will not have a person who will have fought in the liberation struggle. That means this law that we have before us is a law that we have a time limit and it must be really distinct as to who we are trying to take care of. Twenty years from now, we will not have a person who will have fought in the liberation struggle of this country for us to get the independence. These are the people that we are talking about. So, it must be distinct that we are dealing with the freedom fighters.
Secondly, on the issue of the leadership of the liberation struggle
Board, if we look at how we have redefined the fighters of the liberation struggle, we have now neutralised the element of the fighter. You look at the number of people, the sectors that must form part of the Board, the vote that will come from those people who were not combatants, who did not participate in the real war is now greater than the people who fought in the liberation struggle. This poses a danger of us ending up with the voice of the real fighters being drowned by people who did not fight in the liberation struggle.
It is a fact that a fighter who was trained and given a gun to shoot, again allowing himself to be shot as well is not the same as myself who during the struggle, had some time where I also carried some material for the fighters. Even though I could have done it consistently for six months, that does not make me a fighter of the liberation struggle. So, I implore the Minister to seriously consider the fact that we may dilute the importance of a fighter during the liberation struggle. Let us stick to the fact that we fought a war. We had our fighters who fought the war and all what we are doing here is to compensate for the period where these people could not be seen anywhere. Mujibha and Chimbwido could move around and do their normal business but a liberation war fighter did not have that opportunity to do so, had no latitude to do so. So I strongly feel that let us not dilute the role that was played by the fighters during the liberation struggle. We can take off all these other groups, Chair. We can take care of these other groups specifically taking care of them in their own right but we cannot now try to smuggle in a lot of people to ride on the back of those who really fought for this country.
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the two Honourable Members. Hon. Madzimure and Hon. Mushoriwa, for raising very fundamental concerns, concerns which I want to stress that what we are dealing with today is a situation which is not starting from today. There was a War Veterans Act which was already in place and in operation. Very clear and explicit and the war veterans themselves were very clear in as far as the term or interpretation is concerned. So this is not a new Act at all.
The other issue which they raise is that you are bringing in other categories which may have a bearing on those that participated in the liberation struggle, in the actual fighting. It does not. The Bill recognises all the categories of veterans of the liberation struggle as provided for in Section 84 of our Constitution which really defines them as those who fought the war of liberation, those who assisted the fighters during the war of liberation and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle. The Bill also made a very clear distinction of all the four categories in Section 2 where it defines each category separately.
Furthermore, Section 12 (6) gives the Minister power to come up with various Statutory Instruments for categories of veterans of the liberation struggle showing that these categories are not treated the same and hence their benefits differ. Let me also emphasise that the issue of a war veteran presiding over the board came from the war veterans themselves and they will have latitude to recommend a possible candidate into the board. So over and above the Minister making recommendation to the President and appointing the chair of the board, it is very clear that this will be a process which will allow consultations.
The fear is that maybe the Minister will impose someone of her liking.
but when it involves war veterans, it will clearly be a consultative process. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.
Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 7 put and agreed to.
On Clause 8:
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Mr. Chairman, I put the amendment to Clause 8 on powers of vetting officers. The term
‘liberation war fighter’ is being amended to ‘war veteran’ in line 24 of Clause 8. This is in line with the representations made by the war veterans constituency during the stakeholders consultations held by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee country wide which called for the amendment of that term. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 8 put and agreed to.
Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 9 to 27 put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 to 7 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 8 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CENSUS AND STATISTICS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2020].
Eighth Order read: Second Reading: Census and Statistics Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2020].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I rise to give my second reading speech on the Census and Statistics Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2020].
Madam Speaker, our democracy is based on the principle of one- person-one vote. This is the principle whose absence in colonial times caused our forbearers to be disadvantaged, disposed and ignored, and it is the principle for which we have fought and paid for very dearly indeed, as you all very well know.
Primarily Madam Speaker, the principle of one-person-one vote means the entitlement of every citizen to vote at local and national elections, but it also bears the meaning that one’s vote is equally as important and carries the same weight as the vote of any other person.
The importance of this principle in the latter sense is recognised by the Constitution in Section 161. Subsection (3) of that section provides that the ‘boundaries of constituencies must be such that - so far as possible at the time of delimitation, equal numbers of voters are registered in each constituency within Zimbabwe’. Earlier, that section in subsection (1), it is provided that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must once every ten years conduct a delimitation of the electoral boundaries into which
Zimbabwe is to be divided’, with the rider that such a delimitation should fall as soon as possible after a population census.
If however the delimitation of electoral boundaries is completed less than six months before polling day in a general election, then it is provided in subsection (2) of section 161 that ‘the boundaries so delimited do not apply to that election, and instead the boundaries that existed immediately before the delimitation are applicable’.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, now seven years into the new Constitution, we are faced with the undesirable prospect of using the same electoral boundaries as were used back in the 2013 general election for two reasons. The first is that the next census is only due to be completed in 2022. Even if all the data for 2022 was availed timeously, that still brings us uncomfortably close within the range of six months of the next election in 2023. Secondly, ZEC will simply not have the time to do the consultation, produce the report and lay before Parliament its preliminary and final delimitation reports to enable Parliament and the President to properly consider them. Remember also Madam Speaker that voter registration is done on a continuous basis by the Commission.
One solution to this dilemma is to delink the decennial census from the delimitation exercise, which proposal has been mooted by me in the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 2. On reflection, this is the least desirable expedient of all. Given that the voters’ roll cannot be closed before the declaration of a general election, ZEC must be able to depend upon reliable up-to-date census data to complete its delimitation exercise in a meaningful way.
Furthermore, a Parliament that does not reflect in its composition as closely as possible the principle of the equal representativeness of constituencies is a Parliament that also compromises the principle of one-person-one vote.
Of the other possible solutions, the only achievable one in the short time available to us before the next delimitation, is to amend the Census and Statistics Act [Chapter 10:29] so as to align the taking of decennial national census in a manner that will enable the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to take into account census data in timeous fashion. This requires us to curtail for the next election only the period within which the census must be taken. Accordingly, Clause 2 of the Bill before you will require a decennial census to be taken and completed by 1st July, 2021 and thereafter, every 10 years from that date. This, we believe will afford ZEC ample time to delimit electoral boundaries in accordance with census data.
In conclusion, I urge you Hon. Members to pass this Bill to uphold our democracy and the principle of one-person-one vote. I thank you.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Committee is
quite pleased - your Committee Hon. Madam Speaker supports this very noble Bill before us. We concur with the Hon. Minister that this is a very important tool of this august House. The Committee managed to sit yesterday, trying to go through the Bill and truly speaking this is an amendment that is very important.
I will go through what the Committee resolved to do pertaining to this Bill. Madam Speaker the Census and Statistics Bill which was gazetted on 12 June, 2020 seeks to amend the principle Act, the Census and Statistics Act 10:29. The aim of the amendment is to facilitate for the alignment of the decennial national census in a manner that will enable the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to take into account census data when delimitating election boundaries every 10 years, as required by Section 161 (1) of our supreme Constitution. The decennial national census in Zimbabwe took place in 2012 and the next one is due in 2022. The harmonised elections in Zimbabwe are also due to take place in 2023, in line with Section 239, read together with Section 161 of the supreme Constitution.
There is need to align the two events to occur in a manner that is systematic. The new provision will afford ZEC to make use of the most current census data and give them ample time to delimit electoral boundaries in accordance with census data. ZEC is mandated under Section 239 (f) to delimit constituencies, wards and other electoral boundaries. Delimitation is supposed to be conducted once every 10 years, after a population census as provided for in the Constitution.
Section 161 (1) of our supreme Constitution which says that “Once every 10 years, on a date or within a period fixed by the Commission so as to fall as soon as possible after a population census, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must conduct a delimitation of the electoral boundaries into which Zimbabwe is to be divided”.
Madam Speaker, the Constitution further stipulates that the delimitation process must be completed six months before a general election takes place. If the delimitation process is completed less than six months before the general elections, then the proposed boundaries will not apply in that election. Instead, boundaries that existed before the delimitation will be applicable. Noting that the decennial national census is due to take place in 2022 and that census results may take considerable time before they are released with the general elections due in 2023, there are high chances that the two processes may continue to be detached from each other and this will continue to be problematic. It is also important to know that last delimitation process carried out for 2018 harmonised elections were conducted in terms of the old
Constitution and based on the voters’ roll without any linkage to the
This can have implications on the electoral process. Also population changes over time, people die, others are born into the world, while others migrate to different places. Population dynamics in the country has been significantly affected by migration both intra, that is rural –urban, urban- rural and abroad in search of better economic prospects. This has resulted in significant difference in the sizes of constituencies and wards, necessitating the need for rationalisation of constituencies and wards.
Madam Speaker, the analysis of Clause 2 of the Bill seeks to amend Section 12 of the principal Act by inserting an additional clause which reads as follows “Notwithstanding that the 10 year period from the census of 2012 has not yet expired, the next census shall be taken so as to be completed by 1st July, 2021 and thereafter a census shall be taken every 10 years from that date”. This new clause seeks to ensure that the decennial national census which was due to take place in 2022 will be moved forward to be done and completed by 1st July, 2021 as a measure to facilitate the delimitation process by ZEC. The delimitation process is a critical component to the electoral process, hence the urgent need to pass the legislation.
The Committee noted that the Bill is a good law as it seeks to facilitate and shaping new constituencies and wards while being enforced by the most current census data. It was observed that the current delimitation process which created the current constituencies and wards has not been linked to the census, hence becomes problematic. The Committee also noted that the new provision will also ease budgetary constraint on the fiscus given that the two processes would now be done at least two years apart. The two national programmes usually require huge monetary resources for them to be undertaken. Currently the national census is aligned up for 2022 while the general elections for 2023. Your Committee also recommends that the Bill be approved as it is in the national interest.
In conclusion, the Committee deliberated on the amendment Bill and unanimously agreed that the Census and Statistics Amendment Bill was an important piece of legislation that seeks to advance the electoral process, hence supports passage of this Bill.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. First and foremost I
applaud the Minister for bringing up this Bill, for the very reason that we are creatures of an election as an august House; and impeding upon that process, or not carrying out that process infringes upon this Constitutional provision that seeks to get the electorate have a choice of their Members of Parliament and bring them to the august House so that they can carry out their mandate according to Section 117 up to Section 119 that speaks to and about the issue of representation and lastly the issue of law making. Madam Speaker Ma’am these three very key issues and very fundamental tenets of the august House cannot be carried out except if Members of Parliament are chosen by the electorate and come into this House.
The Hon. Minister has made it very crystal clear that as long as we encroach into the six month period before election, we might have to use a fictitious data of census that was carried out in 2012. Then in 2013, it was quite able to interrogate the number of voters and the population demographics of 2012. However, ten years down the line, I shudder to think what it is that census could do Madam Speaker. I come from a constituency which is the epicenter of cholera and typhoid. This has been caused by the deficiency of water and sewer reticulation issues.
This is because the infrastructure is now moribund, rudimental, archaic and antiquated. It does not match the population that is currently there Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Let me give you an example, the current infrastructure was made for four thousand people whereas if we have the census with the right numbers we certainly can have the right infrastructure, quantum taking care of the right numbers of the electorate. Madam Speaker Ma’am, the current situation has a deficit of infrastructure of more than 25 000 to 50 000 households. I speak so because it is not only for election purposes but it also speaks about infrastructure development. If no one else seeks to align themselves to the ethos, dictates and the proposal of the Minister, we, the people of Chegutu West stand here today and cry that there be delink from the delimitation and the census. It is not only after ten years that the census can be carried out but we want the census to be carried out expeditiously as he proposes in 2021 so that we can have an alignment of the infrastructure, election and the census which is effective, efficient, robust, resilient and speaks about today’s issues.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the people of Chegutu West have stood here today through me to bring up this proposal and I applaud the Hon. Minister for bringing this up. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: I want to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill to this House. It is a Bill that many people having being waiting for since we were going to have the Census in 2022 which is a year before the national elections. People were concerned about the budgetary effect of the Census. Madam Speaker, we were going to have a Census in 2022 and then national elections in 2023, this was going to have a negative impact on the fiscus. It was going to be very difficult for us to adjust and be able to take care of the two national events in two subsequent years. So, I think this is very important.
The other alternative was just to do the delimitation using previous results of the census but that was not going to make a lot of sense because of late we have seen a lot of movements, some have gone out of the country, some have relocated so we have a lot of displacements.
Because of that, we need to have statistics that speaks to what is on the ground. I think this is quite a noble Bill which we must support so that we speak to the Constitution where even the right to be represented should relate to the statistics for example how many people should be represented. I think this is very important. It is very clear that thereafter, we will then go back to our ten years, so it makes a lot of sense. I want to thank the Minister for bringing the amendment to the House. Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
Speaker, I am humbled by the support, firstly from the Chairperson of the Committee and his Committee, Hon. Mhona, Hon. Nduna for his contribution representing the people of Chegutu and Hon. Madzimure for his contribution actually highlighting some of the concerns that we also had. I must say this is simply an alignment process where we are shifting dates of Census and I take note that there is not much debate surrounding this amendment. With those remarks I now move that the Census and Statistics Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2020] be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
CENSUS AND STATISTICS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3,
House in Committee.
Clause 1 and 2, put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
CENSUS AND STATISTICS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2020] THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam.
Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam.
Speaker, I now move that Orders of the Day Numbers 9 to 16 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 17 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT ON THE RE-ENGAGEMENT VISIT TO THE UNITED
KINGDOM OF SWEDEN
HON. K. PARADZA: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House takes note of the Report on the Re-engagement visit to the United Kingdom of Sweden by a Parliamentary Delegation led by the Hon. Advocate J. F. Mudenda from 9th to 10th September, 2019.
HON. MADIWA: I second.
HON. K. PARADZA: 1.0 Introduction
1.1 Within the context of the current re-engagement process spearheaded by H.E. the President, Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo
Mnangagwa, and in pursuit of Parliamentary diplomacy as approved by
Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly led a Parliamentary Delegation on a re-engagement visit to Stockholm, Sweden on 9 and 10 September 2019.
1.2 The delegation comprised the following Members and
Officers of Parliament:
- Kindness Paradza, Member of Parliament and
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and
- Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Member of
Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and
- Joshua Sacco, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce;
- Sen. Douglas Mwonzora, Member of Parliament;
- Rumbidzai Chisango, Principal External Relations
- Shepherd Manhivi, Committee Clerk and Secretary to the Delegation; and
- Clive Mukushwa, Security Aide to the Hon. Speaker.
- From the onset, the delegation wishes to extend its sincere gratitude to H.E. Alice Mashingaidze, the Republic of Zimbabwe’s
Ambassador to Sweden together with her able staff and Mrs. Sofia
Margareta Andrietta Calltorp, former Swedish Ambassador to
Zimbabwe who completed her tour of duty in August 2019, for their sterling work in ensuring that the Parliamentary diplomacy visit to Stockholm was successful.
- It should be noted that Stockholm is only one of the four capitals the delegation initially intended to engage. Due to circumstances beyond the delegation’s control, visits to Washington, London and Brussels had to be postponed to mutually agreeable dates in the first quarter of 2020.
2.0 Purpose of the Visit
2.1 The re-engagement visit sought to complement the efforts of the Executive by articulating the major political and economic reforms being instituted by the Second Republic through parliamentary legal processes. Furthermore, the interface sought to strengthen bilateral relations between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Swedish Riksdag in areas of common interest.
2.2 To that end, the delegation held several meetings with the following stakeholders:-
- Dr. Andreas Norlen, Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag and his delegation;
- Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, Head of Africa Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and her delegation in place of the Swedish Foreign Minister who had resigned when the delegation arrived;
- Olle Thorell, Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on
Foreign Affairs and his Delegation;
- Mrs Asa Jarskog, President of the Swedish-Southern Africa
Chamber of Commerce;
- Anna Sundstrom, Secretary General of the Olof Palme
International Centre for Democracy and her delegation; and
- Mr Leif Isaksson, International Secretary of the Swedish
Trade Union Confederation and his delegation.
3.0 The Delegation’s Message to Stakeholders in Sweden
3.1 Of paramount importance, the delegation emphasised the opening up of democratic space in Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa’s leadership whose mantra is that “Zimbabwe Is Open For
Business” and should attain an upper middle income economy by 2030. The delegation informed their hosts that the New Dispensation under the leadership of President Mnangagwa had opened up the political democratic space. That is why 133 political parties emerged to contest the 2018 Harmonised Elections while 23 candidates registered to contest the presidential race. The electoral environment before, during and after was extremely conducive except for the regrettable violence in August 2018 and January 2019.
3.2 The stakeholders were informed that Parliament, through its constitutional mandate, is seized with instituting political and economic reforms. The reforms are anchored on the recommendations by
International Election Observer Missions during the 2018 Harmonised Elections, civil society petitions and the Montlanthe Commission recommendations.
3.3 With regards to electoral reforms, the delegation informed the Swedish stakeholders that POSA and AIPPA had been repealed while measures will be taken to strengthen the independence of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the enforcement of the Electoral Code of Conduct through Multi Party Liaison Committees, among other measures.
3.4 Furthermore, the stakeholders were informed about the economic reforms being undertaken by Parliament to create a conducive environment for the ease of doing business. Accordingly, Parliament is currently considering the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) Bill which is now at Committee Stage. Once promulgated into law, it will create a One Stop Investment Centre and will harmonise Special Economic Zones and Joint Venture economic enterprises in order to attract domestic and foreign direct investors in Zimbabwe.
3.5 Additionally, the delegation advised the stakeholders that the indigenisation legislation had been repealed by Parliament through the Finance Act of 2018 because it negated foreign direct investment.
Foreign investors can now hold 100% shareholding if they so wish.
3.6 The delegation explained the ongoing political dialogue process comprising 19 political parties except the MDC-Alliance.
Overtures are underway to ensure that the main opposition party, the MDC Alliance, becomes part and parcel of the political dialogue so that the political dialogue becomes inclusive.
3.7 The delegation appealed to Sweden to assist Zimbabwe achieve a positive international image as it embarks on the highlighted reforms. In this context, the delegation called on the removal of the illegal sanctions which are hurting the Zimbabwean economy and the ordinary citizens.
4.0 Meeting with the Head of Africa Department- Ministry of
4.1 The Parliamentary delegation diplomatic overtures led to the resignation of the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Maggot Wallstrom, who strongly contended that failure to dialogue with
Zimbabwe was a “bad policy” more so that the former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe was no more on Zimbabwe’s political arena. On the delegation’s arrival, she opined that,
“The other insight is that countries should not be isolated.
It’s such a bad policy. Now that Mugabe has died, look back at
Zimbabwe’s history and what happened when the country became isolated. How has it helped North Korea, how is it helping Iran? At the moment when countries are isolated, they join. They look inward and stop developing. To think that you should not meet them because you dislike their politics is the worst-it only gives more power to the reactionary forces and those who do not want democracy or democratic development. Then civilization itself goes backwards”.
Her resignation demonstrated the impact of the delegation’s visit, wittingly or unwittingly. As a result of her resignation, the delegation met with officials from the Africa Desk led by Mrs. Irina SchoulginNyoni who is the Head of the Department for Central, Eastern and
4.2 The delegation explained the electoral and economic reforms being championed by Parliament, specifically making reference to the repeal of POSA, AIPPA and the Indigenisation Act. POSA will be replaced by MOPA which is to be accented to and signed into law by the President. AIPPA is being substituted by the Freedom of Information
Bill, Protection of Personal Information Bill and the Media Commission Bill in order to address freedom of assembly and expression as championed by the Constitution.
4.3 While the officials made a commitment to advocate for
Zimbabwe’s re-engagement, they noted the following areas for action by
- Called for the need for dialogue between H.E. the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, and Leader of the main opposition Mr. Nelson Chamisa.
- Called on Zimbabwe to address currency volatility issues which create negative perceptions for investors.
- Called for specific programs to advance gender issues including gender budgeting.
- Called for programs to strengthen citizen’s involvement in political processes.
- Called for the expeditious adoption of key political and economic reforms through the Parliamentary legislative processes.
5.0 Meeting with the Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag
5.1 The Meeting with the Hon Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag was held at the Riksdag Buildings. In attendance during this meeting were Ms. Sara Heikkinen Breitholtz, a Member of Parliament representing the Social Democratic Party and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mats Nordberg, Member of Parliament representing the Sweden Democrats and a substitute Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ms Yasmine Posio, Member of
Parliament representing the Left Party and Substitute Member of the
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ms. Teres Lindberg, Member of
Parliament representing the Social Democratic Party and Vice
Chairperson of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Ms. Anna Karin Hedstrom, Head of the International Department of the Riksdag and Mr. Ralph Hermansson, International Parliamentary Advisor.
5.2 In his opening remarks, Hon. Dr. Andreas Norlen, Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag gave a historical background and the current composition of the Riksdag highlighting that the Riksdag was bicameral until 1971 when it became unicameral. The Riksdag comprises of 139 Members from 8 political parties who are elected after every four years.
The Riksdag has 15 Standing Committees.
5.3 The host Hon. Speaker outlined his role as Speaker, specifically that he chairs the Riksdag Board, represents Parliament and Sweden both within and outside Sweden and he also leads the process of forming a government.
5.4 Hon. Advocate Mudenda extended his appreciation to the host Speaker’s gesture to meet the delegation at the Parliament
Buildings. Furthermore, he extended his appreciation to the Swedish
IPU delegation for proposing an Emergency Item during the 140th
Assembly of the IPU held in March 2019 calling for humanitarian aid in support of victims of Cyclone Idai which ravaged parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Subsequently, Zimbabwe received humanitarian amounting to over 600 million United States dollars for the reconstruction efforts.
5.5 The Zimbabwe delegation elaborated on efforts being undertaken by the Parliament to effect political and economic reforms as well as alignment of laws to the country’s Constitution. It affirmed that the Parliament of Zimbabwe is committed to the upholding of the tenets of the Bill of Rights as enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
5.6 The Swedish delegation welcomed the positive initiatives aimed at promoting democracy and democratic institutions through the political and economic reforms. In this regard, they called on the
Parliamentary delegation to:
- Ensure the expeditious implementation of the highlighted political and economic reforms.
- Ensure an inclusive political national dialogue that should foster public trust, ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights as well as paying attention to gender based violence.
5.7 In response to some of the concerns raised by the Swedish Speaker of Parliament, the Hon. Speaker indicated that the political and economic reforms are matters of legislative processes that occur in time through Parliamentary due diligence. The Hon. Speaker further explained that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Gender Commission speak to the political dialogue matrix and gender based violence respectively. Additionally, the Swedish funded Institutions such as the Zimbabwe Institute have been assisting in the political party inclusive dialogue efforts. In further response, the Zimbabwe delegation advised their Swedish counterparts that democracy is an evolving phenomenon. It has taken, for example, 584 years since 1475 for Sweden to evolve its democracy to what it is now.
Thus, Zimbabwe’s democracy must be given chance to nurture its young democracy.
6.0 Meeting with the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on
6.1 Hon. Olle Thorell, who is a Member of Parliament representing Social Democratic Party made reference to the long standing relations between Zimbabwe and Sweden which date back to the days of the Zimbabwe liberation struggle. Accordingly, he was keen to learn of new developments taking place in Zimbabwe and to explore possible areas of cooperation.
6.2 The delegation briefed the meeting on current developments highlighting the electoral and economic reforms, political dialogue and the re-engagement processes which seek to not only open Zimbabwe to the world but to enrich democratic processes as well. It made it clear that
Zimbabwe has a Government formed in line with the results of the 2018 Harmonized elections.
6.3 Hon. Mwonzora briefed the Meeting on the position of the MDC Alliance highlighting that the party is advocating for mediated dialogue that is essential but that it must be genuine, unconditional and predicated on national issues.
6.4 With regards to possible areas of cooperation, the delegation appealed for funding to capacitate key institutions such as Independent Commissions to effectively discharge their mandate. In addition, there is need to increase funding to Parliament which is being channeled through the Zimbabwe Institute as well as the scope for capacity building programmes.
6.5 The delegation appealed for the removal of sanctions and ending Zimbabwe’s isolation which has had a negative impact on the ordinary citizen.
6.6 Hon. Olle Thorell encouraged Zimbabwe to learn from the Swedish experience where all political parties had put aside their differences, formed alliances and a Government based on national interest. Accordingly, all political parties in Zimbabwe should engage in dialogue for the good of the country.
7.0 Meeting with the President of the Swedish Southern
Africa Chamber of Commerce (SSACC)
7.1 The Swedish Southern Africa Chamber of Commerce is an independent, non- profit making organisation that promotes trade and investment between Sweden and Sub-Saharan Africa.
7.2 The President of the SSACC has a keen interest in Zimbabwe and as such is willing to market Zimbabwe to her membership as part of re-engagement through Business interface. However, she emphasised that Swedish businesses are averse to risk and corruption preferring to invest in countries where there is policy consistency and the legislative framework governing various sectors of the economy.
7.2 The Zimbabwe delegation informed the Chamber President that the Indigenisation Act has been repealed and the investments will now be driven under the ZIDA Act whose Bill is currently before Parliament. It will address the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. The delegation assured the Swedish Chamber that foreign investors would be able to repatriate their profits back to their country.
7.3 The Chamber President welcomed the developments with regards to the progress on the ZIDA bill. In this regard, she proposed convening a dialogue where representatives from the Zimbabwe business community would interface with her Chamber Members. In this regard, the Swedish Southern Africa Chamber of Commerce is willing to facilitate this engagement.
8.0 Meeting with the Olof Palme International Centre
8.1 The Olof Palme International Center is currently supporting political party dialogue in Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Institute. In addition, the Zimbabwe Institute has supported Parliament in its capacity building programmes for both Members and Officers of Parliament. The Centre works closely with the Social Democratic Party in Sweden as well as the Swedish Trade Union Confederation.
8.2 The delegation, briefed the Secretary General of the Olof Palme Centre on current developments in Zimbabwe focusing primarily on electoral and economic reforms as well as the political dialogue efforts taking place in Zimbabwe.
8.3 The Secretary General of the Centre welcomed the positive developments taking place in Zimbabwe and expressed a keen interest in maintaining programmes under its funding. In the spirit of encouraging an all-inclusive dialogue, the Centre sponsors joint youth programs across the political divide through the Zimbabwe Institute. The Centre was keen in advancing political and economic reforms being undertaken by Zimbabwe and, therefore, there was need for sustainable interface with the Centre.
9.0 Meeting with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation
9.1 The Swedish Trade Union Confederation is one of the largest Trade Union Centres in the world. It has a long history of financially and morally supporting Trade Unions in Zimbabwe.
9.2 The delegation and the Trade Unionist exchanged best practices on labour rights for all workers, including the civil service and the right to collective bargaining. Of particular interest to the delegation was the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (NTF) which Zimbabwe has crafted into law so that recommendations arising from NTF are legally binding to all parties to the negotiations.
9.3 Of note is that Members of the Swedish Trade Union
Confederation have the right to support a political party of their choice although such a practice can create unnecessary political imperatives where there is change of government.
10.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
10.1 The role of Parliament in the re-engagement process through Parliamentary diplomacy cannot be over emphasised. The visit to
Sweden has strengthened the resolve to complement the Executive’s efforts in re-engaging the International Community and affirming the mantra that Zimbabwe Is Open for Business. Accordingly, efforts must be made to ensure that the delegation proceeds to Washington, London, and Brussels on the re-engagement trail through Parliamentary diplomacy. The visits will also help address the apparent negative perceptions about Zimbabwe.
10.2 While all stakeholders welcomed the positive developments as articulated by the delegation, it was clear that the international community expects Zimbabwe to focus on the implementation of political and economic reforms as well as the protection of human rights as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. Accordingly, Parliament of Zimbabwe will expedite the realisation of political and economic reforms as well as complete the aligning of all outstanding 60 laws to the country’s Constitution. This requires the concerted support of the
Executive because it is the Executive that generally originates the Bills.
10.3 The Zimbabwe Embassy in Stockholm needs to continuously engage the Swedish Southern Africa Chambers of Commerce with the view of jointly convening the proposed Business Conference. In addition to the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the
Parliament of Zimbabwe can delegate representatives from the Portfolio
Committees on Foreign Affairs and International Trade as well as
Industry and Commerce to attend the Conference in order to unpack the ZIDA Bill once it is promulgated into law so as to foster business reengagement.
10.4 From the delegation’s interaction with the Olof Palmer International Centre, there is a possibility of broadening the scope activities funded through the Zimbabwe Institute. Accordingly, there is need to engage the Zimbabwe Institute on possible areas of cooperation, especially in the quest for inclusive national political dialogue through national consensus building. Parliament should encourage the Zimbabwe Institute to carry on with the multi-party dialogue with the view of persuading political parties to embrace gender parity in their Party
Constitutions in line with the national Constitution.
10.5 Parliament may wish to immediately appoint a Constitution Committee to oversee the implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In addition, this Committee would oversee the alignment of legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
10.6 Corruption remains a major economic challenge and a major disincentive to local and foreign direct investment. Parliament should ensure that all institutions fighting corruption are adequately resourced through the National Budget so as to augment the President’s crusade against corruption. I thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to
thank the delegation that represented our country. It is very important that we re-engage as Zimbabwe. We are not at war with anyone. We want to live in peace with other countries. Therefore, I want to thank the Committee which was led by the Speaker that they did a good thing by going to put it in black and white that in Zimbabwe we are in good books with each other. There are a few who propagate disharmony but as Zimbabweans and political parties in POLAD, which is led by those people who were called by the President that they should come together and build our nation; we live in peace woth each other.
I am gratiful for the opportunity that we were given that our people should know their representatives. We take this opportunity to engage other nations. What has caused strife in our country are sanctions which were imposed on us. It is not what is happening in Zimbabwe, it is being caused by sanctions and not the people of Zimbabwe. Hon.
Chairman, you did a good job. It is very important for us as Hon. Members that wherever we go, we should speak well of our country so that we remain united. We do not want people who tarnish the image of our country. As we are re-engaging, we want to work together but in our midst there are some who are against that, who are busy misrepresenting our country. Our democracy – since 1980, we have been holding elections and we do everything in terms of democracy. When it comes to rule of law, as a country, our courts do their work. Those who want to approach the courts go there and will get judgement according to their issues. There is nothing that can be said we are not doing in Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker, I think there should be more re-engagement processes. We know that because of the Covid-19 pandemic which is hampering our travels, we could have gone out and engage the UN, SADC and I know SADC will really understand us. We can go to America and other European countries who do not understand why we are under sanctions. Some of the people who caused the sanctions are no longer there. So we want to explain to them. I want to respect this Committee and that resources should be availed and they should travel to all the other countries so that our voice as Zimbabweans is heard. We are not at war with anyone. We want to remain united with all the other nations but enemies in our midst are the ones who are denigrating our country and portraying it as a bad country. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to applaud the delegation led by Hon. Speaker, Adv. Jacob Mudenda, Hon. Paradza and the seconder Hon. Chief Whip. Madam Speaker, there are just five issues that I want to bring to the fore that we can take a cue from in terms of our engagement and re-engagement with the Swedish community. Madam Speaker, what I want to bring to the fore is that we can take a cue from in terms of our engagement and reengagement with the Swedish Community. The first thing that Sweden is renowned for is the ease of doing business. We got a law that speaks to and about the
Special Economic Zones. The Second Republic’s mantra is: 2030 upper middle income economy led by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa and could fit in very well by the ease of doing business, coupled with the issue of the Special Economic Zones. Kugara nhaka kuona dzevamwe and if you want to see far, you need to stand on the shoulders of giants. Here is a giant and the people of Zimbabwe and indeed those of Chegutu West want to excel in the ease of doing business.
Our economy is skewed towards the informal sector and a lot of that is in my constituency. However, for us to have a vibrant and robust Government, we need to pay our taxes, formalise the informal sector and make sure that we pay our dividends so that we can use what we have to get what we want. So, the ease of doing business and this country we are talking about is Sweden and the biggest economy in the world who is the U.S.A. is ranked number 23 in terms of the ease of doing business in that index. Whereas, globally Sweden is number one according to the ranking of 2017.
In 2010 where I ask for you to take a cue from, they were number 17 but come 2017 they are already on top of the world and the biggest economy is number 23. We need to take a cue from their ease of doing business. They also have global competitiveness – they rank number one after having occupied the sixth place for a very long time. This delegation was not misdirected. It directed its efforts very well. Hatina kupedzera tsvimbo kumakunguwo idzo hanga dziripo. We went for the jagular not and it was well directed.
We always speak about the gender parity and gender equality. Zimbabwe Parliament because of our 60 proportional representation for women, we rank average 30% in terms of women representation whereas continentally, the average is 20%. I speak about the closing of the gender parity in Sweden from 81% that was the gender gap that was there but now there is parity. There is 50/50 in Sweden. The issue of gender equality is the gender agenda in the Sweden legislative community.
I say this because they were ranked by the world economic forum global gender gap index, the fourth world economic forum global gap index. They ranked Sweden. I speak about this so that we do not put our efforts and direct them aimlessly in other jurisdictions. Let us get what we can and take what we get from the Swedish Community. Let us learn from them.
The fourth issue is that it has low levels of corruption. The Second Republic is all about reduction, eradication, removal and annihilation of corruption. Here is a country where we sent a whole delegation to go and take a cue from the best. If you want to go far, you go with someone and we want to go with Sweden. We do not want to walk this path alone, we want to remove this corruption. They are number four out of 186 countries globally in terms of the perception of corruption - the way they are perceived, in which case we as a country only dream to get to number one. So, here is a country which is four places from number one which has pledged to be our friend.
The fifth and last issue that I want to talk about in terms of Sweden is that they are highly innovative. We are currently grappled with education 5.0 where we do not only want to churn out graduates that are full, waxing lyrical and devoid of practical ability in terms of production and production. Here is an opportunity to move with the best in terms of innovation. As a country we are endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth and the better if we utilised them, beneficiated, value added and enhanced our innovation.
I went to Europe once and I saw the roads and the infrastructure of transport in Belgium and somebody whispered into my ear to say this country that you call Belgium has not even one mineral but it has become what it is, robust, resilient and efficient infrastructure in terms of transportation because of beneficiating and value adding the resources of DRC, because DRC was a former colony of the Belgian community. However, we have only excavated about twenty of our more than sixty minerals. We need to enhance our innovation. Let us ask - inyathi ibuzwa kwabapambili - Sweden how they have done it so that we also do it with our minerals in terms of innovation.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to applaud the delegation that went and came back. They saw and they conquered and now they are here to report back like the dove in the days of Noah. The people of Chegutu West Constituency send their love and they sent me to applaud this report that has been presented by the Speaker’s delegation. I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. K. PARADZA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 24th June, 2020.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that House revert to Order No. 10.
HON. PARADZA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WOMEN
AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
DEVELOPMENT ON FACT FINDING VISITS TO SELECTED
MINISTRY DISTRICT OFFICES AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
HON. MADIWA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio
Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development on Fact Finding Visits to Selected Ministry
District Offices and Women Empowerment Projects in Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.
HON. K. PARADZA: I second.
HON. MADIWA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Ministry of
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises
Development faces challenges in the execution of its mandate, especially at district level. The challenges, among others, are inadequate office space and insufficient project funding. This was highlighted by the
Ministry officials during the Committee’s induction seminar held from 8 to 11 February, 2019 at Montclaire, in Nyanga. To familiarize itself with these challenges, the Portfolio Committee toured selected district offices and projects in Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo and Matebeleland South.
The Committee toured the following projects:
- Nyamukovera Garden at Nyaguwe River and Kuwirirana Knitting
Cooperative at Nyamashato Primary School in Mashonaland East
- Biriri Women's Craft and Genstar Honey Processing Plant in
- Mhiti Gardening Cooperative and Great Zimbabwe Craft Center in
- Rovona Raita Mopane Caterpillars Processing Center in
The Committee also visited Ministry district offices in Murehwa,
Chimanimani, Masvingo, Chivi and Beitbridge.
FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
1. State of District Offices and General Infrastructure
The major concern that the Committee was confronted with at the district offices visited was the deplorable state of offices and furniture that officers were using. To begin with, most if not all Ministry offices at the districts were rented. At Murewa Center, the Committee found that the Ministry was accommodated at Chimedza Complex at $220 per month; in Manichanland it was housed in the Agribank Building at $150 per office per month; in Chivi District they are accommodated in Chivi Rural District Council offices; while in Beitbridge it occupied an old building which used to be a Police camp.
The Committee noted with concern that some offices were hardly suitable for use as public offices. They lacked basic requirements such as sufficient ventilation, were crowded, and in some cases too small. Ablution facilities at some district offices, such as Murewa Center, were not functioning. In Chivi and Beitbridge district offices were overcrowded as four officers were sharing one office. At Chimanimani District office, the Committee was informed that at least six (6) officers were using one (1) office. This greatly compromises the performance of officers. Privacy and confidentiality of clients seeking services related to gender based violence and other forms of abuse could not be guaranteed. Lack of privacy was highlighted as the main reason restraining potential clients from bringing up cases with the Ministry.
The Committee therefore expressed concern on the general outlook of almost all offices visited. Their immediate premises were unkempt and needed face lifting in order to project the good image of the Ministry
The Committee further noted that all district offices visited had no adequate furniture and even basic items such as chairs and desks. The furniture which was being used was old and damaged. This was either obtained from or shared with other Ministries. At Murewa Center, the Committee was informed that the three chairs used by the Ministry of
Women Affairs belonged to the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture, and whenever that Ministry was having meetings, the chairs would be moved from the office.
- Shortage of Office Computers, Printers and Lack of
To be efficient, public offices are now expected to use computers and Internet facilities in the collection, processing, storing, distribution and exchange of documents and information with other administrative bodies and citizens. However, the Committee observed with deep concern that most district offices had no computers and were not connected to the internet. At Chimanimani District, there were only two computers shared among 24 officers without internet connection.
The Committee was further informed that there was no functioning printer, since the only one printer available broke down in 2017. The situation was similar at other district offices. For instance, the Committee noted that at Chivi District 3 officers were sharing one computer. At Beitbridge office, four (4) officers were sharing an office.
They were sharing one laptop donated by the International Labour
Organisation to documents and process the work of the entire district. The officers indicated that there was no internet connection for a month due to payment arrears.
3. Mobility of Officers
The Committee was also deeply concerned that all the district offices that were visited had no transport. The Committee was informed that district heads had no vehicles. There were also no motor bikes for officers who are expected to monitor SMEs and cooperatives projects in their wards. The Committee received disturbing reports that motor bikes, purchased four (4) years ago, which by now should have been distributed to all districts, were still parked at the Head Office in Harare, awaiting distribution. The reasons given to the Committee for the long delay in distributing these motor bikes were not convincing. The Committee was informed that training of riders and provisions of riders' safety kits were the main reasons the Ministry has failed to distribute the motor bikes. The Committee was told that ideally, District Development Officers should be based at the office two (2) days while three (3) days should be spent in the field. However, without reliable means of transport, District Development Officers overseeing 32 wards, in the case of Chivi District, were not visiting projects as frequently as they should.
The Committee was informed in all the districts visited, that Ministry Officials were failing to meet the requirements for cooperative projects to be visited at least once every month by junior development officers and once quarterly by the district head. The Committee was further informed that consistent adherence to projects monitoring schedule was not possible as officers were relying on transports services by partners and Non- Governmental Organisations operating in their area.
Pertaining to cooperative projects coordinated by the Ministry, the Committee observed with concern that with few exceptions, most projects were predominately engaged in the primary sector of the economy. This is a sector that is involves the extraction of raw materials. These projects range from market gardening projects, crafts making centers, to chicken rearing enterprises into which women mainly venture. It is the view of the Committee that by concentrating on extractive activities, the Ministry projects are losing a lot of value and money to players down the value chain which process and add value to products that they produce.
5.Use of Modern Machinery and Technology
The Committee noted with concern that projects do not use modern machinery and technology. As a result, some projects, for example Mhiti Garden in Chivi and Nyamukowera Garden in Murewa tended to be at peak during the rainy season when water is available. The two projects were found to be operating at low ebb due to minimum use of irrigation technology during the hot dry season. The cooperative projects also tended to be at small-scale and subsistence oriented, producing small quantities of products such as fruits, vegetables, tomatoes and chickens that are sold directly to consumers and restaurants. It is the view of the Committee that without full adoption of modern technology and scaling up operations into value addition and beneficiation, SMEs and cooperative projects in districts will not be able to develop and transform into commercial scale.
The Committee also noted with concern that at Biriri Women's Craft Center, Chimanimani, members were still making and processing their products manually. The Committee's view is that the adoption of modern technology in processing raw materials will go a long way in improving the quality and volume of products produced. However, the
Committee was pleased to note that there are already initiatives towards value addition and beneficiation in some districts. For instance, Nyamukowera Garden in Murehwa uses modern solar powered vegetable drier and packaging. Genstar Honey Processing Plant in Chimanimani, through ILO constructed the plant and acquired modern filters and settling tanks, at a cost of US$100 000. In Beitbridge, Rovona Raita Project, funded through ILO and Africa Development Bank, is finalizing amacimbi/madora processing plant using modern boilers, driers and packaging equipment. These are positive developments towards value addition and beneficiation.
- Underfunded Cooperative Projects.
The other issue submitted to the Committee at all the projects toured was the challenge of inadequate capital investment. Reports received indicated that apart from funding provided through ILO, UN Women and African Development Bank, the Ministry of Women
Affairs, Community, SMEs Development was not doing enough in terms of providing additional funding to propel projects into full scale operations.
At Nyamukowera Garden, the Committee was informed that 3 hectares were not enough for a 30 membership project for it to operate at commercial scale and that 5 additional hectares were required. Other requirements were a 15 horse power pump; that additional two 1000 liter tanks; and high-efficiency solar panels in order to pump enough water for the project. The Committee was of the view that the Ministry should as a matter of urgency, support Nyamukowera project through provision of additional capital investment, otherwise the project is now at the brink of collapse, yet all the basic equipment are in place. The same scenario applies to Genstar Honey Processing Plant in Chimanimani, where the plant was constructed and equipment was purchased in 2016, courtesy of funding from development partners, yet three (3) years now, the plant is not operating. The explanation given by Ministry officials that the members of the cooperative were not united was found to be unsatisfactory by the Committee.
The Committee however, was pleased to receive reports that the
Ministry had engaged a partner, Africa Fruit, to assess the project, provide more equipment, and inject seed capital required to acquire initial volumes of honey to begin processing. The partner after two years will hand over the project to the members.
The Committee was further informed that there were a considerable number of funding vehicles at the disposal of the Ministry, which include: Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank (ZWMB);
Women Development Fund (WDF); Community Development Fund
(CDF); Micro Enterprise Development Fund; and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO). The multiplicity of funding facilities was described as chaotic by Ministry officials as it is difficult for the Ministry to coordinate and monitor.
7. Access to Lucrative Markets
All the projects toured informed the Committee that they were severely hindered by limited access to lucrative markets for the various projects produce. In fact, projects located in outlying areas such as Nyamukowera Garden project in Murehwa endure access roads that are in a bad state. Projects such as Biriri Women's Craft and Great Zimbabwe Craft Center, informed the Committee that they needed to be linked to tourists’ markets at domestic, regional and international level
for them to sell their handcraft products.
8.Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects
The Committee was informed that Genstar Honey Processing Plant in Chimanimani, Great Zimbabwe Craft Center in Masvingo, and
Rovona Raita Project were constructed at a cost of US $100 000, US$50 000, and US$256 000, respectively. The construction of these project facilities was a combined effort of respective rural district councils, Public Works Department, Forest Commission, EMA, DDF, and development partners that included International Labour Organisation and Africa Development Bank. Considering that huge amounts of financial resources are at stake, and also in the interest of transparency and accountability, it is the view of the Committee that frequent audits of these constructions and funds disbursement be carried out to ensure value for money.
9. Training and Capacity Building of Project Members
One of the key functions of the Ministry is to provide, coordinate and facilitate technical and entrepreneurship skills and management training that support the development of women, communities, cooperatives, and SMEs. In this regard, the Committee was grateful to note that all the districts and projects visited reported that they had been trained and empowered in various business acumen skills. However, the Committee was told that the Ministry has a challenge in terms of the key competences such as marketing skills as most of its officers were social scientists.
From the submissions made to the Committee during the tour the following observation were made.
- That although the Ministry has effectively decentralised critical services to the grass roots level, setting up standard offices, furniture provision and general infrastructure remain a key challenge.
- That at districts, electronic collection, processing, storing, distribution and exchange of documents and information among administrative bodies and between administrative bodies and citizens, may be constrained due to critical shortage of computers and weak or absence of internet connectivity.
- That due to shortage of transport, at all districts visited, Junior Community Development Officers and District Heads, were not able to visit and monitor projects as per the requirements of the Ministry, yet they are on the payroll collecting monthly salaries. The Committee noted that officers are in offices most days of the week, yet the requirement is that they should be visiting projects in their wards at least three days of the week.
- That most cooperative projects remain predominately extracting primary products and generally at household level. The majority of projects have not fully and or are in the process of adopting of modern technology, value addition and beneficiation. This scenario severely retards SMEs to do mass production of quality products for marketing at national, regional and international level.
- That despite the existence of a multiplicity of funding vehicles at the disposal of the Ministry, the Committee observed that development partners, ILO, UN Women and Africa Development Bank, were more visible on the ground in terms of the funding of most cooperative projects. The Ministry is apparently failing to provide capital support for most projects to enable them to embark on full scale operations in their various ventures.
- That most cooperative projects are not well linked to lucrative markets at domestic, regional and international level. The Committee further noted that without vibrant marketing strategy, the projects face the risk of continuing to operate at subsistence scale without developing into commercial scale.
- That District Officers were not mobile as they have no vehicles to monitor projects with whilst a fund has allocation for project vehicles.
- That the Ministry has no evidence based information systems.
Given that SMEs and cooperative projects at community level are the main source of employment and are major contributors to value creation in emerging economies, the Committee made the following recommendations.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SMEs Development, through the Public Works Department, should progressively put in place state of the art buildings, offices with ablution facilities, at all districts, in order to provide adequate office space for all its officers beginning December 2019.
- The Ministry should with immediate effect release vehicles secured for projects that are at Head Office in Harare and motor bikes purchased four years ago to enable officers to monitor projects.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SMEs
Development, in line with Government’s e-Government programme and public sector reforms should urgently procure modern computers, laptops and connect all its district offices to Internet by April 2020.
- The Ministry should have one funding mechanism for its projects which should be well managed and coordinated like all funding coming under the Women’s Micro-Finance Bank by January 2020.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SMEs Development should facilitate SMEs and cooperative projects to market their products through trade exhibitions and other forms of linkages to lucrative markets at domestic level, regionally, and internationally. The Committee strongly recommends adoption of modern technology so that these small businesses can interact with customers, both in terms of providing the services or products and engaging them afterwards. Through ICT adoption and use, in partnerships with rural district councils, the cooperative projects has potential to open a lot more avenues and opportunities for opening up online markets and so they can offer 24/7 customer services by December 2019.
- The Ministry should urgently facilitate capacity building for its officials on the technical aspects of women issues and community development principles which seems to lack on the ground, by the end of 2019.
- The Ministry should conduct project feasibility studies, impact assessments and ensure ownership of projects by communities. On the same note, projects economic zones should be established and ensure they are established in areas of their highest potential. The Committee expects a plan of action before the Ministry’s 2020 budget presentation to the Committee.
- The Ministry should sensitise communities in madora harvesting business especially Rovona Raita project marketing to do away with side road selling. This should be done before the next madora harvesting season around October 2019.
The main conclusion made by the Committee was that though the
Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development has decentralised, a lot remains to be done to ensure quality service to the people. A majority of Zimbabwean women and girls especially those in the grassroots are still yet to benefit from the
Government’s women economic empowerment initiatives as funds are thin on the ground.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to the report that was presented in this august House. What we noticed is that there is problem with office space. You know as women, people come with different issues, for example, abuse. These issues of abuse do not necessarily affect women only, there are men who are victims of domestic violence and to report such cases sometimes is a bit of a challenge if there are other people in the office. So, I would like to ask that there should be shelters for such victims. We know that they deserve their privacy.
The other thing is that there is need for computers because it is important to keep records; just writing small pieces of paper is not a good way of keeping records. My request is that the Ministry should receive computers, vehicles and motorcycles. If such things are bought and hidden at head office, we end up not knowing whether they were bought for the rural people or those who are keeping them.
We know sometimes women try their best to engage in income generating projects but my request is that these women should get modern technology. Some make handicrafts and other things, I know that if Government assists women their livelihood will be enhanced. In other countries we have noted that there are women who are engaged in similar programmes. It is important to introduce exchange programmes with women who are even beyond our borders. This will help our women so that they identify virtual markets even outside the country, for example, we know that sometimes women go to Trade Fairs. As a Committee we request that this should be broadened nationwide and not only continue to send the same people year-in, year-out. Also my request is that Programme Officers should be empowered with equipment that they can use.
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to support the presentation by the Committee on Women’s Affairs. We know that as women, we are the bedrock of our families and we are the pillars that people depend on. When we looked at the annual budget we discovered that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has the smallest chunk. However, there is a big task ahead of them. They are supposed to go around the country; they have a number of projects throughout the country but they do not have enough resources to tour such projects because they do not have vehicles or motorcycles. There are some motorcycles that were bought which have not been distributed to women and because of that such projects do not perform well.
Of course there are some donors who donate money but donations alone without monitoring and evaluating do not auger well with the projects. We also heard that there are shortages of chairs in offices.
This is not good for offices where many people visit. We want District Development Officers to be empowered. We know that they are not moving around but this result in loss of revenue. We also heard that these officers who move around touring projects do not have necessary expertise to understand gender issues. We heard that there are some people who move around who have their own gender based violence issues so people with knowledge and expertise should be deployed.
The Committee heard that there is a cooperative which is not performing well because its members are not united. This is as a result of lack of expertise on the side of the leaders. So, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs should engage qualified people who can counsel and make people understand that if you are not united you will not go anywhere. We heard that there is not enough land, just 2 hectares is too small for that Ministry and as a result our request is that they should be allocated land so that they can expedite their duties and also till the land commercially. At the moment they cannot engage in commercial farming because they do not have the necessary expertise. Government should prepare people so that they can work on their projects and identify markets. For them to identify markets it is important to have a good road network. The other thing is that the Women’s Affairs Ministry should empower people with irrigation knowledge because we have noticed that most people wait for the rain season to start farming.
There is also need for them to be given modern machinery instead of waiting for one season so that they can be productive. This will not only benefit women but both men and women. I thank you.
*HON. NYERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stood up to support what the Chairperson of our Committee said during her presentation. We met a number of challenges when we were moving around. We went to Nyamukowera in Murehwa, which is an agro-based area which does not have a ready market. A lot of women were complaining that they do not have a ready market and there is no good road network. They normally go to Shamva and they were saying that at times they would use small boats to cross a river in that province.
The other problem that we faced is that women are not empowered, they are not free. They do not have enough time to engage in various projects. They also encounter problems of shortages for example bikes that were bought but were not distributed to these women. The Ministry should resolve the issue and it does not make sense that the bikes have not been distributed for four years.
Madam Speaker, the Chairperson mentioned a number of things so
I decided to debate in support of women. There is a certain area in Beitbridge where women are selling mopane worms. This may be a project yet the resources are not there. If a project is identified, surely all the necessary amenities should be there. With these few words, I thank you.
*HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank the
Chairperson of the Women’s Affairs Committee. I appreciate the report that was presented. For sure, we moved around the country and I would like to support what was presented. A lot of things have been said but let me identify some issues that were not mentioned.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry is for Women’s Affairs and Small to Medium Enterprises. So, we met a lot of people who were not satisfied with the aspect of small to medium enterprises coming under this
Ministry of Women’s Affairs although it includes men, women and youth. So, they wanted clarity on that, particularly concerning gender which is not only about women but about both women and men. So, some thought women’s issues should be about women’s issues only because SMEs cover more than 60% on its own.
The SMEs should be a standalone entity according to the people. So, that should be looked into. Secondly, the projects that we saw are very small. In other meetings, I remember the President Hon. Mnangagwa mentioning that women should identify and engage in big projects. The money that women are given is a paltry sum which results in them engaging in small income generating projects. So, my request is that if it is a garden, there should be value addition empowered with solar so that they can produce and export dried vegetables. This might result in big projects. We need sanitary pads in this country. Sanitary pads fall under the Women’s Affairs Ministry. So if the Ministry concentrates on women’s issues, then there is need for a women owned factory which would be responsible for manufacturing sanitary pads instead of the current situation where women continue complaining. We can do these masks which came as a result of Covid-19. These should be produced by the Ministry because women mostly engage in sewing.
The other issue is transport. My request is that all Ward cordinators under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs should be given motorbikes and other forms of transportation and every district should be given a car because it is difficult to move around without vehicles. The other point again is that every project should have monitoring and evaluation policy so that people understand how much money the project was given, what was done and what was not done. Then we can sit down and evaluate these activities. I believe this will assist the Ministry particularly in the evaluation of such projects so that good things can be replicated.
Looking at offices, most offices are in urban areas. Let me give an example of the Women’s Affairs office in Kwekwe, it is not in the CBD. When you get into town, you have to travel for three to five kilometers to get to the office despite the fact that someone will be coming from the rural areas. They get into town and then they have to commute again. These offices should be located in the CBD. With those few words, I thank you.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I rise to support the gender issues. Women are very important people. These are people who are honoured nationwide. Yes, we want women to be given money for projects and to engage in various activities but these projects should be done district by district and constituency by constituency. However, we have noted that when these monies are disbursed, at times they are given to prominent people who are known by the Ministry or related to Ministry officials.
This does not reflect the freedom of women.
Madam Speaker, in other areas, they are just told that a Women’s Bank was opened, their names are written down. However, they end up coming to us as their Members of Parliament seeking our assistance. Some end up saying that they wasted their monies going to such centres seeking for these monies. So, my point is that there should be transparency in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; it is not good to pilfer or to steal to give your relative.
Madam Speaker, we are sick and tired of hearing complaints by women who did not benefit. Women’s Bank should benefit people constituency by constituency. There must be a database of beneficiaries in every constituency and every district of women who are engaging in various business activities. At times women complain that they are not being given money. We have a problem with the Women’s Affairs Ministry. The Bank which targets women is not found in different localities. This Bank should be decentralised instead of expecting women to move around towns, going to big cities like Harare and
Masvingo. So, I would like to support the issue of the Women’s Ministry.
There should be transparency so that Members of Parliament know the databases and even when women are given their pads, there should be a database. For me as a man to be given pads for distribution will not be correct. We need to see young girls running around and these things should be clear to everyone.
At times it seems as if there are shady activities so there must be transparency and clarity in the Women Affairs Ministry. A mother is a mother and a grandmother remains a grandmother so even if my wife or daughter benefit; yes it is a good thing because they will be assisted by the Ministry but my point is that the money that is being referred to is not evident on the ground. We have not seen it so I am saying that the money should not be concentrated in town centres but should benefit rural areas and growth points like Murambinda, Chipinge and
Checheche. There are a lot of banks in these areas, for example in
Checheche there is CBZ and POSB. The Women’s Bank should also rent in post offices because if we expect this bank to be based in town centres, our mother and women will not be able to commute to town centres. So, we expect the Women’s Bank to rent its space in different localities in post offices so that women benefit throughout the country.
I stood up to support women’s issues. Gender issues also involve us as men. Yes, it was mentioned that men are being beaten up and they do not speak up. It is true, it happens. At times you speak about it, but you need to be a courageous man. We are in trouble Mr. Speaker Sir. Men are in trouble. Some are being abused by women. This is the case the world over and not only in Zimbabwe but internationally. When a man is beaten up, no one speaks about it. I would like to request that women should not engage in domestic violence and men should look after their wives instead of perpetuating violence. I thank you.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I would like to support this report which was presented by the Women’s Portfolio Committees. Looking at what has been said by different speakers, I am very glad because women are analyzing what is happening in different localities. As women, we feel pained that we have our own Ministry which is supposed to represent us. Yes, gender is also involved in the Ministry but since it is the Women Affairs Ministry, we expect that women’s issues will be looked at. We request that areas like Mwenezi where there are Mopani worms which are a natural resource, women be able to utilise them. Unfortunately, we cannot sell them at a profit. We notice that they are sold at a cheap price but resold at large profits in towns.
My plea is that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs should look at the issue. There should be beneficiation in every locality looking at the processing of different produce and concentrating on how the community can benefit or get value from the produce. There are a lot of issues that we are looking at in the Ministry such as the point that officers in different areas should be women. I am not saying that men should not be employed but women’s issues need women who understand such issues. For example, if I have been physically abused, there are some words that I cannot speak or talk about when communicating with a man. My request is that the Ministry should look at the issue and engage more female officers.
The other things are to do with transportation. Yes, there are a few projects but to expect women to travel for 50 km so that they submit their project proposals or apply for funding is difficult. They end up using a lot of money for printing and other requirements yet they do not have that kind of money. Even though they want to start their own business, they might not have the requisite documentation. These are the few points that I wanted to add. Thank you.
*HON. SHIRICHENA: I stand to add my voice on this motion on women’s issues. I believe that women are 52% of the total population of Zimbabwe. The success of a woman is the success of a man and children but looking at the Women’s Affairs Ministry which is supposed to help us as women, I believe that things are not in order. For a woman to have a good livelihood, Government should look at workers who are there to enhance the livelihood of women. According to my knowledge, you discover that in ten wards, there is one coordinator who might not necessarily be able to service the whole ward. My request is that we have a ward coordinator in every ward.
I would also like to say that as women, we are told that we have a
Women’s Bank which gives us loans. I would like to say that the money that is in the Women’s Bank is peanuts as it is not enough to fund women’s projects so that we have sustainable projects. I stood up to say that Government should add more Ward Coordinators throughout the country and also when the annual Budget is being presented, the
Ministry of Women’s Affairs should be given more money instead of being given change from other ministries. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. *HON. CHIKUNI: Let me conclude by thanking the Chairperson of our Committee. For sure, we toured the projects observing what is hampering our Ministry from growing. I observed that from each and every District, the offices that we saw do not qualify to be offices of the Ministry which is 40 years now.
In each and every District, there are people who are mining gold or diamond but the councils which are there should speak to those miners so that they erect infrastructure for those ministries. You cannot say it is a Ministry office without furniture. They can only accommodate two people at a time. I was thinking that this new dispensation would rectify that.
The other thing is that our Ministry employs people who are not competent. There is a lot of nepotism and that is hampering progress in the Ministry. Officers in the wards are not competent and you know that most women are not educated. They only went up to Grade 7 but they can work skillfully. They want people who uplift their lives – people who monitor them from time to time. The officers who are there do not know much about the Ministry. They are not educated.
In some of the wards, you go to District level and it is much better but if you get to the Province, there are men who just say this is women business. They do not know that there is gender and SMEs. I am urging the Ministry that it should be investigated because it has a lot of work to do. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MHONA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th June, 2020.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 18 has been disposed
HON. TOGAREPI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE 63RD COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF
WOMEN ON SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS, ACCESS TO
PUBLIC SERVICES AND SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
AND GIRLS HELD IN NEW YORK
HON. KWARAMBA: I move the motion that this House takes note of the Report of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women on Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable
Infrastructure for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and
HON. MKARATIGWA: I second.
The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) was held from 11- 23 March 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America. The Parliamentary delegation was headed by the President of the Senate Hon. Mabel Chinomona and comprised of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Zimbabwe
Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) Hon. Goodlucky Kwaramba
and Hon. Sibusisiwe Budha respectively, Director in Madam President of the Senate’s office Mr. Kudakwashe Guvi, Aide to Madam President of the Senate’s Office, Mr. Simeon Chifamba and Mrs. Farai Chidongo secretariat and technical advisor to the delegation. This year’s conference was held under the theme,” Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
This report will focus on key issues from remarks made at the official opening by the UN, AU, SADC and the Zimbabwe ministerial statement. Key issues from the IPU session will also be covered. Zimbabwe held two side events. The report will, in conclusion, give lessons learnt and recommendations that Zimbabwe can take up in addressing social protection, infrastructure and use and access to public services from a gender perspective.
2.0 Official Opening ceremony of CSW63
2.1.0 Remarks by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres
In his remarks the “Secretary General” stated that the Commission could easily be called the Commission on the Status of Power whilst quoting Professor Beard who said “If women are not perceived to be fully within the structures of Power, surely it is power we need to define and not women.” A call was made to member states to acknowledge the power of women and to address the imbalance in power relations. He acknowledged that having women at the table enhances sustainable peace. Furthermore, he noted that parity is about our effectiveness in securing peace, advancing human rights and achieving the SDGs.
2.1.1 Remarks by the UN Women Executive Director,
Key highlights in her remarks included women's ability to access public services, especially in acquisition of relevant identity documents whilst also noting that most women are found in the informal sector and hence need social protection. Concern was expressed over water and firewood collection which compromises their security hence the need to provide clean accessible household water. Emphasis was also made on the need for women and girls to be active participants in infrastructural development than just recipients. On access to safer public spaces, the director bemoaned the lack of security due to poor lighting and harassment, especially at transport terminals. She noted that public services can create a positive image on gender equality.
2.1.2 Statement by the Chairperson of the CEDAW reporting committee
Of key importance was that CEDAW is the only human rights instrument that acknowledges gender social protection systems.
Emphasis was however on the structure of social protection. Article 13 of CEDAW calls for social protection such as healthcare, pension and maternity protection. The issue of social protection for migrant worker as some do not even have documents.
2.1.3 African Union Statement to CSW 63
The African position was hinged on the family. The chairperson highlighted how gender inequality and social protection affects the stability of the family and hence social protection can be used to address the imbalances which affect women and girls. The issue of home based care work was emphasised which undermines women’s productivity.
2.2.0 Zimbabwe Statement to CSW63 presented by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises.
2.2.1 The ministerial statement noted how Zimbabwe had mainstreamed the SDGs into its national development policies and programmes to underline its commitment towards the provision of social protection, public services and gender equality as highlighted in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). The work NSSA is doing in terms of social protection was emphasised as well as the progressive constitutional provisions and legislation such as the Social Welfare
Assistance Act, the Refugees Act, Disabled Persons Act, Older Persons
Act to address social protection
2.2.2 Other issues highlighted in the report included education especially with ECD having been introduced and Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) for the vulnerable- STEM was cited as well as ZIMDEF for having contributed towards development of human capital for industrial growth and expansion. The statement also noted the 145 vocational training support. The minister however bemoaned the brain drain as its professionals in strategic areas have left for greener pastures.
2.2.3 Other social protection systems noted included the HIV/AIDS levy, provision of healthcare, provision of water and sanitation infrastructure, energy, power and rural electrification supply which has reduced care work though a lot still needs to be done. However, challenges noted included Gender Based Violence and child marriages.
3.0 Zimbabwe Side Events
Zimbabwe held two side events - one by The Ministry of Women
Affairs, Community and SME development and another by the Office of
Her Excellency The First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa on the Angel of Hope Foundation.
3.1 Community based initiatives for building resilience and social security for women: Ministry of Women Affairs, Community
Small and Medium Enterprises
This side event focused on what the Government of Zimbabwe is doing in terms of safety nets for women. Key issues outlined included the internal lending system through SACCOS. After women are trained and certificated, loans are then availed to start businesses in groups. The group’s performance is monitored by government. Such projects include aquaculture, horticulture, market gardening and poultry to name but a few. Ministers of state also gave contributions highlighting the success of these interventions in their various provinces. An issue on protection of migrant women was raised during plenary. Contributions from plenary included how empowerment should not only end with small projects but should also be extended to professional empowerment such as education and increase the number of women professionals.
3.2 Side event by Angel of Hope Foundation: Office of Her Excellency the First Lady of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe
This was held by the office of Her Excellency The First Lady of Zimbabwe Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa. Key issues highlighted included the work of the foundation, assisting the disadvantaged or vulnerable in acquiring identity documents, access to sexual reproductive services - capacitating them for sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects, building homes for them and mostly the painful case of the Doma people. The Doma case attracted a lot of attention and could attract partners for the foundation.
4.0 The Inter Parliamentary Union session: Investing in Gender equality parliaments ensuring social protection, public services and infrastructure deliver for women and girls
The delegation attended the IPU session held under the theme highlighted above. On the session on Sexism, harassment and violence against women MPs with the hash tag #NotinMyParliament#, a call was made to Parliamentarians to push for a code of conduct and establish internal disciplinary measures to fight sexual harassment. It was noted that this was real in all Parliaments and would guarantee social protection of all women MPs who are targets of their counter parts. The absence of such measures has made these cases go unreported.
MPs were also urged to be more aggressive to ensure Gender Responsive Budgeting is done and that key ministries dealing with social protection systems, public services and infrastructure receive adequate budgets in order to deliver to the people. Decision making on budget allocations, taxation and income distribution are crucial to redress existing imbalances in society. Consideration of taxation policies that enhance women’s economic empowerment was also key.
The issue of unpaid care work was raised with emphasis on the need for the state to ensure that it is accounted for and social protection measures are in place. MPs were also challenged to ensure that all infrastructural development programmes are engendered and that monitoring mechanisms are in place. Emphasis was on people with disabilities and elderly who are not always catered for in infrastructural development. These should not be left behind hence the need for ramps, sign language, Braille etc. Infrastructural development should enhance gender equality.
The IPU also held side events outside their key session entitled.
“Women in Politics: Getting to equal”, where major gains made in terms of representation in Parliaments in 2018 especially for countries who have adopted quotas were highlighted. The setbacks, barriers and opportunities for improvements were discussed.
5.0 NHANGA-BINTI Session by Rozaria memorial Trust
Rozaria Memorial Trust is a Zimbabwean NGO founded by a goodwill ambassador to the UN and Human rights lawyer advocating for women and girls’ empowerment, Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda. The concept was developed from the traditional Nhanga system. This is a place where girls would meet and discuss various issues. The Nhanga is basically a safe space for women to dialogue. Members of Parliament shared their experiences in the struggle for leadership, the rough terrains traveled and challenged the young women and girls to fight for their space.
Discussions around the women’s quota issues were held through an intergenerational dialogue. The two young Nhanga ambassadors based in America donated sports kits to a few schools in Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central which were handed over to the Ministers of state for the respective provinces.
6.0 Briefs from CSW 63 Side Events
6.1 The delegation attended a number of side events hosted by various UN member States. Most of those attended were from the region where the delegation felt best practices would be obtained because of the common regional backgrounds and challenges. However, a few from Western countries were also attended especially Britain, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada and Hungary who have made strides in achieving gender equality. Agenda 2030 emphasises on leaving no one behind hence the need for social protection for all. Issues on social protection public services and infrastructural development will be covered in themes, mainly infrastructure which will cover water, energy, transport, housing and public amenities and information communication and technology, public services such as Education, Health delivery systems, access to identity documentation and social protection as in child care, paid care work, safer cities, pensions and insurance.
6.2 Access to water
Eighty percent of households are without water and these rely on collection by women and girls. Key issues from side events on water included ensuring that social protection and infrastructural development is prioritised so that no woman or girl spends back breaking hours’ every day in collection of water and fuel. Over 2 billion people still do not
have water services. Women and girls’ security is compromised as they travel long unsafe distances in search of water. Lightweight borehole pumps that are easier to pump for women and within accessible distance were recommended. This has resulted in women having more time for productive work which empowers them. Social protection through water infrastructural development will restore the dignity of women. Social protection is not a charity case but a right.
6.3 Access to Energy
It was reported that only a third of national energy plans refer to women specific concerns. Search for energy duties force the women and girls to sacrifice their time, health, safety and hopes for work and education. Best practices learnt from Zanzibar reveal that the government has rolled out a solar project where illiterate women in rural areas are trained in installation and repair of their solar systems. Some have even become engineers in their own right something which the government Zimbabwe can understudy and empower our rural women.
6.4 Access to Public Services
In terms of access to Public services what was most interesting was the
Kenya system known as HUDUMA. This is where decentralisation of Public services has been done to the lowest level of government structures. Women are able access government services of up to 8 departments under one roof especially identity documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards and passports. Women no longer have to incur expenses of selling the little that they own for transport to the city to access these documents since it is now accessible. Huduma Mashinani is a one stop shop. HUDUMA has transformed accessibility and quality of service. HUDUMA has many other services such as the mobile app and has various affordable social protection initiatives such as HUDUMA life insurance, health, the HUDUMA card which gives access to credit. This could also be possible in Zimbabwe through public private partnership (PPP) with mobile networks like, Netone, Econet and Telecel. For such programmes to be successful PPPs were encouraged.
Sanitary wear in Kenya is also accessible to girls from poor backgrounds and have access to skills development programmes and recreational facilities such as the Tutuzela play centres. Interventions by the delegation sought to find out the social protection measures for PWD and domestic workers. This was not adequately addressed which reflected the challenge is common to all countries.
6.5 Safer Cities
The issue of safer cities as a social protection issue was key especially considering that our economies are highly informalised and the majority of women fall under this category. Issues included women being the early birds heading for the market as early as 4pm using un roadworthy vehicles and cities with poor lighting hence compromising their security. As informal sector, they work till late and have to manoeuvre the unsafe jungle and in the dark going home. This makes them susceptible to sexual harassment, violence and rape even at transport terminals. Best practices were obtained from South Africa which has designed a
MeMeza Community Safety system. This has brought communities together working in partnership with Community Policing Forums and South African Police (SAP).
MeMeza offers a wide range of personal safety tools such as personal safety alarms, loud lightweight crime deterrent and lipstick pepper sprays. It is affordable and every woman can carry the safety alarm. In event of danger they sound the alarm button which will alert the SAP, giving the location, who will rush to protect the individual. Considering the fact that South Africa has a high crime rate and robbers mostly target widows, elderly women and female headed households, the MeMeza has become handy. A video was shown where women gave testimonies of the success of this community policing alarm. This is something that Zimbabwe can invest enhance public service delivery and social protection of women and girls.
6.6 Social protection for single women parents
This issue is one that has never been considered by many countries but through CSW 63 and it became apparent that social protection systems need to address the challenges of single parents or female headed households. A side event by Hungary showed that the state prioritised childcare for single parents to enable them to engage in productive work. The need for legislative amendments to make the life of single parents bearable is necessary. Single parents face social exclusion yet there are many reasons behind single hood. It is important to assist with employment and community programmes for parental support and activities for children. Legal support as a social protection was raised as key issue as this group faces serious legal issues.
Psychosocial support is also key in the form of counselling services. Hungary has created a single parents centre which provides such services.
6.7 Social protection in terms of pensions and insurance.
Most side events on social protection covered issues to do with pension schemes and insurance especially for vulnerable groups. Developed countries and some in Sub Saharan Africa such as Namibia and South Africa pay out monthly grants to disadvantaged groups such as the elderly, people with disability and orphans. Developed countries such as Canada, Britain, Sweden to name but a few have the unemployment benefit as a social security measure. It is the responsibility of the state to provide social protection to its people. The delegation raised issues to do with migrant workers, domestic workers and those in the informal sector and how other countries are providing social protection.
6.7.1 Access to health care and health insurance was emphasised. In South Africa they are only covered in terms of health. Women and girls need to access sexual reproductive health care in terms of cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening and access to family planning services. Of major concern was the fact that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer and has become the number one killer cancer in women, China was cited as having the highest rate because of its one child policy which forces many women to undergo abortion. A healthy woman means a healthy nation, hence the need to invest in healthcare and guaranteed health protection for all.
7.0 RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DELEGATION
7.1 The delegation recommends that the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and Parliament should;
|Item||Action||Responsible Portfolio Committee||Timeline|
|1.Call for adequate resources to be availed towards ministries dealing with social protection issues ;
Labour and social
Education, Health and child care, Lands
Energy and Power
Home Affairs and
|Exercise its role in the budget making process ZWPC Advocacy on adequate budget
allocations in line with the
|Labour and Social
Health and Child Care
Lands, Agriculture, Climate. Water and
Public Works and
Energy and Power
Home Affairs and
|Workplans to be determined by
|2. Taking Public
Services to the people
|Exercising its oversight function on taking
services to the people
Lobby through position papers the government to roll out public services to the people
Affairs and Security
|Workplan to be determined by the portfolio
|3.Increased investment in renewable sources of energy||Exercising its oversight function Parliament must call on the Ministry to invest in renewable sources of Energy
Lobby the Ministry
|Energy and Power
|Workplan to be determined by the portfolio committee
|4.Urgent call for Smart cities through improved security in cities, safe reliable and affordable transport system in both rural and urban areas||Exercising its oversight function and representative role
ZWPC to advocate for safer cities and affordable transport system
|Defence , Home Affairs
and security services
|Workplan to be determined by the committees
|5.Empowerment of single mothers through provision of
child care services and
|Exercising oversight function on women economic empowerment and child care services Advocacy on women empowerment||Women Affairs,
Community Small and
Health and child care
Labour and Social
|Workplans to be determined by relevant portfolio
|6.Call on government to ratify outstanding ILO conventions relevant to labour standards and amend labour laws to cover domestic workers||Exercising oversight function in line with
Section 34 of the
ZWPC to lobby the relevant Ministry
|Labour and social services
|Workplans to be determined by portfolio
|7.Establishment of internal
mechanisms to deal with sexism, sexual harassment and violence
|Parliament to set up an institutional mechanisms to deal with issues of sexism and violence against MPs||CRSO
ZWPC members serve in committees of Parliament and members in relevant Portfolio Committees will spearhead these advocacy issues in the various committees they serve
In conclusion the delegation acknowledges the work and hospitable nature of the Zimbabwe Mission to the UN who assisted during the two-week session. The Women’s Caucus was able to meet with other women caucuses from different countries in the side events and exchanged notes on the theme where advocacy issues were drawn. A monitoring plan will be drafted for implementation of the CSW63 Agreed Conclusions noted in the above recommendations. CSW63 was a success and it is only through enhancing social protection, public services and engendered infrastructural development that Agenda 2030 and a middle income economy by 2030 can be achieved as no one will indeed be left behind. I thank you.
HON. MASARA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this
opportunity. I am the seconder of this motion. I was one of the delegates to the UNCSW Conference held from the 11th to the 22nd of March, 2019. I am not going to dwell on the various issues that the Chairperson has already touched on. We borrowed a leaf from other countries on issues such as social protection system for single mothers. When we look at our own situation back here in Zimbabwe, there are issues that we feel we could borrow and use them here.
The issues that have never been considered by many countries but became apparent at CSW 63 were the challenges of single mothers and female headed families. Other Governments that have similar issues like in Africa, those people are catered for by the Government. They get some hand outs in terms of pensions, health insurances and families are catered for in terms of school fees. When we go to the child headed families, we also notice that as Zimbabwe we are not the only ones who have the vast number of families that are headed by the children or aged. In Zimbabwe, we are far much better in terms of looking after those families that are headed by the children.
On social protection systems and pensions in America and other western countries, they have their own systems but they also acknowledged that Zimbabwe is one of the developing countries that has done something that is commendable. In Zimbabwe, we are still able to pay our pensioners and they also applauded us. On access to energy, we still need to have a delegation that should also go to countries like Zanzibar where we can learn from experiences because we heard that the women there are the ones who are in charge of companies that produce energy.
The women go to colleges and in Zanzibar, the women are engineers on their own. We feel we should have a delegation from the women representatives in Parliament that should go to Zanzibar and get an experience so that when we come back home, we are also able to say as per our provinces, we do the same things that they do so that we try to mitigate the shortage of energy that is affecting us as Zimbabwe.
I also want to touch on the last issue which is safer cities. Of course, we are the second best from South Africa but in South Africa they have modalities that we can also use as Zimbabwe. Most of our economy is informal and if we look at our women, most of them are in informal trading. If we look at what time our women go to order their goods and whatever, we see that the mode of transport that is affordable is not there when they wake up around 4 a.m.
As a country, we can also adjust and allow our ZUPCO buses that are affordable to start around 4 a.m. so that when we talk of empowering women, we will be walking to the talk. Those ZUPCO buses should at least start around that time so that our women are not raped and robbed of their hard earned money. We should also work hand in hand with our Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises such that the Ministry must also ensure that countrywide, women are catered for, they get transport and they are safe.
Some Hon. Members having been making noise
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon.
Members at the back please lower your voices.
HON. MASARA: Most of our urban centres in terms of energy
we are still far much better even though we also felt the heat of the Covid-19 but we can still afford to have our cities running. That is something that we feel as Zimbabwe we can still copy and assist our women so that when we say women empowerment, we mean it and we are walking the talk.
Finally, on the side events that we attended as Zimbabwe especially the IPU, they also touched on the issue of sexual abuse for female parliamentarians. It is something that as a country we can deal with such that our women when they come to Parliament, they do not feel out of place because of sexual abuse. It is an issue that was debated so much by all countries including us as Zimbabwe on the IPU. I feel that there is still room for change and improvement as a country.
The Chairperson touched on the Nhanga issue where an NGO us run by one of us. We felt that she should come and do those things here such that our young girls also get something because the majority of the girls, do not know the purpose of an aunt. We felt as a Caucus we should work with them here so that we train our girls and give them opportunities. Even those who are orphaned can also get lectures for them to improve. We will also prepare them for other future generations. I rest my case.
*HON. MADIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am happy with the report that was presented by the Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. It is with pride that our nation is a nation which works with other countries. Looking at international treaties and protocols our Government commits a lot of resources. This reflects that as a nation we are doing a number of things towards the empowerment of women and gender equality. CSW is a United Nations Commission which is the main organ which looks at women’s issues particularly gender equality and the empowerment of women which makes me to appreciate our nation which has ratified a number of protocols including the Beijing
Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and others which reflects that Zimbabwe does not exist in isolation but we follow what other nations do and we do not do this in hiding but we do this in public. We exchange notes with other countries like the report mentioned.
What I would also like to say is that Mr. Speaker Sir, we normally talk about these issues. I know that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development normally goes to the United Nations in New York to report on all resolutions and agreed conclusions that were agreed on the previous year during the CSW and then they present evidence of what the country would have done. So, I would like to say on that note, the Ministry should work hard so that when such conclusions are presented they are done in a satisfactory manner.
As Parliament we also need to exercise our oversight role. We know that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and
Medium Enterprises Development looks at such issues. We heard the Chairperson talking about energy, education and health. These are critical areas which we see on the Beijing Platform for Action. There are 12 critical areas that we touch upon. When we talk about such issues, for example regarding energy, we look at whether the Ministry of Energy and Power Development is doing its job of coordinating other Ministries in issues to do with energy aimed mainly at women as they play the role of cooking for their families and if there are interventions in place that make such tasks easier for them. So, we need to look at what the energy sector is doing.
We also need to look at what the education sector is doing in order to encourage the education of women. We need educated people, women found in high positions. Yes, women should be educated. We need educated women taking up such positions even on sexual reproductive health. Women who die during child birth - these are some of the issues we need to look at. I am happy that these are some of the interventions that are happening in the health sector.
However there are other sectors that we need to consider also when going to the CSW. We need to show case what we are doing as a nation, so that we see that women are being economically empowered. I am happy that as Zimbabwe we do not live in isolation but we are demonstrating that we are in concurrence with what is happening throughout the world. We need to continue show casing what we are doing as a nation. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice and thank what was done by Hon. Kwaramba and her team for representing us and presenting what we are doing in Zimbabwe. She spoke about children who do not have documents. These are issues which touched me. We need everyone to be documented so that there is evidence that these are Zimbabweans.
They also spoke about people who live with disabilities. As women we face a lot of challenges when we give birth to disabled children. At times the husband might leave the family. So, I am happy that these issues were captured in their report so that Government assists such people, not forgetting the marginalised communities. I stood up to thank the First Lady who went to visit the Doma community and this mainstreaming of the Doma community will help them to alleviate the different challenges they are facing.
The Committee spoke of challenges of water in different areas. They mentioned that women spend many hours queuing for water. So I would like to request that a lot of water sources be erected in different areas so that women do not queue for hours.
Then going to the energy sector, solar energy which was mentioned is a natural resource which is not bought but is a God given resource. Instead of using fire wood and cutting down trees I believe that we should go that way. Thank you for the presentation, thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MHONA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th June, 2020.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the rest of the Orders of the
Day be stood over until Order Number 19 on today’s Order Paper has
been disposed of.
HON. MHONA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT ON THE 74TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION
(APU) HELD IN BANGUI
HON. T. ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move the motion standing in my name:
That this House takes note of the Report on the 74th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) held from the 13th – 14th June, 2019, in Bangui, Central African Republic.
HON. MUKUNYAIDZE: I second.
HON. T. ZHOU: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. The 74TH Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union APU was held in Bangui, Central Africa Republic on the 13th and 14th of June, 2019. Delegations from 22 Member Parliaments participated in the meeting, namely, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon,
Gambia, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria,
Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal and
Zimbabwe. Hon. Mabel, Memory Chinomona, President of the
Senate and Chairperson of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians for the APU, led a Parliamentary delegation comprising the following Members and Officers of Parliament to the 74th Session of the APU:
- Theresa Makone from the Senate
- Spiwe Mukunyaidze from the National Assembly
- Tafanana Zhou;
- Califinos K. Guvi, Director in the President of the Senate’s
- Rumbidzai P. Chisango, Principal External Relations
- Simeon Chifamba, Security Aide to the President of the Senate.
It should be noted that the Hon. Members are elected Members of the Executive Committee of the APU.
The opening session was held on 13th June, 2019, with Hon.
Herbert Djono Ahaba, the Minister for Development, Energy and Water
Resources and personal representative of the Prime Minister of the
Central African Republic in attendance. In his opening remarks, Hon.
Laurent Ngon-Baba, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Central African Assembly of the Central African Republic, applauded the decision to hold the meeting in the Central African Republic in line with the APU’s principle of geographic rotation of venues of the meetings.
Hon. Ngon-Baba briefed the meeting on the socio-economic and political situation in the Central African Republic, highlighting that the country has restored constitutional democracy through the adoption of a new constitution, election of new President and Members of Parliament and the establishment of new government institutions. In this regard, he extended his gratitude to the international community specifically the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of Central African States, the European Union and the United Nations for their central role in the signing of the peace agreement on 6th February, 2019. Within the context of fostering regional peace and integration, the Hon. Speaker called on Member Parliaments to play a leading role in advocating peace and promote integration among the people of Africa.
In his address during the official opening ceremony, Hon. Alassane
Bala Sekande, Speaker of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso and
Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the IPU, echoed the same sentiments on the need for Parliaments to collectively work toward achieving democracy, peace and freedom throughout the African continent. In this context, he commended the newly elected leadership of the Central African Republic for their commitment to promoting peace and national unity in the country.
Turning to the work of the APU, Hon. Sekande reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the APU implements necessary reforms to strengthen its role and solidify its position globally. In this regard, the APU had fruitful discussions with the State of Qatar on possible areas of cooperation. Accordingly, the APU and the State of Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March 2019, which covered upgrade of the APU website, renovations to the APU headquarters and establishment of a department in charge of partnership building and institutional development. The Chairperson also indicated that he had undertaken bilateral visits to the People’s Republic of China and the Shura Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He underscored the importance of effective participation of all Member Parliament in activities of the APU and timeous payments of subscriptions in order for the APU to effectively execute its mandate. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. MUKUNYAIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will speak on admissions and re-admissions. The APU had not received any new applications since the last Executive Committee meeting. Lobbying missions had been undertaken to Cape Verde and Mozambique. The two countries are still to officially express their interest to join the APU. It was noted that there is need to encourage other African countries, particularly from Southern Africa to join the APU. In this context, it was hoped that the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the APU would encourage other African countries to join the APU. Particular reference was made to the close of the rotation of the Chairpersonship on a regional basis.
Implementation of decisions and recommendations of the
In his report to the Executive Committee, the Secretary General outline activities he had participated in since the 73rd Executive Committee meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria. He highlighted the following activities:
- International Workshop on experiences of national reconciliation held on 17th and 18th January, I Rabat, Morocco;
- 29th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union held on
3 and 4 March 2019 in Amman, Jordan;
- 14th Session of the Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States held from 11 to 14 March 2019 in
- 140th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and related meetings held from 6 to 10 April, 2019 in Doha, Qatar;
- 10th Conference of Speakers’ of Parliament of the parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie held from 25 to 27 April, 2019 in Burkinga Faso;
- 1st General Parliamentary Assembly of the G-5 Sahel interParliamentary Committee held on 12 and 13 May, 2019, Ougadougou, Burkina Faso.
The Secretary General’s participation was within the context promoting cooperation between the APU and other regional and international Inter-Parliamentary organisations. Accordingly,
Parliamentarians called for their inclusion is such missions in future.
The Chairperson of the APU called on all Member Parliaments to implement resolutions adopted during the 73rd Session of the Executive Committee and the 41st Conference of the APU held in November, 2019, namely on the following:
- The Role of Parliaments in the fight against terrorism, armed gangs and organised crimes in Africa;
- The promotion of private investment as a major factor in economic development in Africa;
- Promoting girls’ education as an effective means of combating early marriages in Africa;
- The motion to support the G5 Sahel countries and other African countries who are victims of terrorism;
- The recommendation on the establishment of a special court in
Africa to judge cases of terrorism;
- The recommendation on the creation of an African Solidarity Fund for victims of terrorism.
It should be noted that these resolutions were submitted to the relevant Committee at Parliament for action. The delegation to the Executive Committee submitted the status of implementation for some of the resolutions to the Secretariat of the APU for their information.
Consideration of the audited management account for the 2018 financial year
The Executive Committee noted with concern that several countries had not honoured their obligation to pay subscription to the APU, thereby hampering the implementation of planned activities. Members called on the APU to enforce the provisions of Article 26 of the Statutes of the APU which states that “A National Group which fails to pay its annual contributions for two financial years shall have its rights suspended.”
Parliament of Zimbabwe falls into this category as we owe 107 969 Euros accumulated over the period 2015 to date. The delegation was embarrassed during the heated discussion on outstanding subscriptions, particularly given that the President of Senate is the
Chairperson of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the APU. In this regard, the delegation calls upon Parliament to facilitate the urgent processing of the subscriptions to enable the delegation to effectively participate in future meetings of the APU.
Proposed Amendments to the APU Statutes
The Executive Committee considered the proposed amendments to the APU Statutes and Rules of Procedure submitted by the National
Group of Burkina Faso. Principally, the proposed amendments address issues of inclusion of women and young Parliamentarians in national delegations to the APU, formalisation of the rotation of the
Chairmanship of the Executive Committee among the sub-regions of the continent, opening of the observer status within the APU to non-African Parliaments and Parliamentary institutions in order to expand the partnership network of the APU.
Following a lengthy discussion, the amendments were adopted by the Executive Committee and will be dully submitted to the 42nd Conference for adoption in November 2019. The Zimbabwe delegation fully supported the progressive amendments.
Topics for deliberation during the 42nd Conference of the APU
The Executive Committee deliberated on the Draft Agenda for the 42nd Conference scheduled for November, 2019. The following topics were agreed upon:-
The importance of young people’s contribution to the promotion of democracy, peace, security and the rule of law in African countries
Promoting a diversified economy and the local processing of basic commodities to create employment for women and young people
(Economic and Sustainable Development Committee)
Date and Venue of the 75th Session of the Executive Committee
The 75th Session of the Executive Committee will be held in Djibouti in November, 2019.
Statements endorsed by the Executive Committee
The Executive Committee endorsed the following statements at the conclusion of the meeting.
Statement and Support to the Central African Process
Within the context of the Peace Agreement signed on 6th February, 2019, between the Government and 14 armed groups resulting in the creation of an inclusive Government. The Executive Committee extended its full support to the peace process and encouraged the parties to the agreement to continue to fully implement the agreement. The Statement calls on the United Nations Security Councils to lift the embargo on arms imposed on the Government. Furthermore, the
Statement calls on international financial institutions to provide financial support as part of the ongoing peace process;
Vote of thanks to the authorities and the People of the Central
The Executive Committee extended their gratitude to the President of the Central African Republic for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements that contributed to the successful hosting of the 74th Executive Committee of the APU.
The delegation notes with concern that Southern Africa is under represented in the APU. Notably, Angola. Mozambique and Zimbabwe are the only representatives from the region. Accordingly, the delegation recommends that Parliament informally engages other
Parliaments within the SADC region on the possibility of joining the APU. The Presiding Officers can spearhead this process when they interact with their counterparts at regional and international for a.
The delegation strongly recommends that the Administration of Parliament makes an undertaking to clear the outstanding subscription arrears to enable the delegation to effectively participate in future meetings of the APU.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. K. PARADZA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th June, 2020.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. K. PARADZA, the House adjourned at Three Minutes Past Six o’clock p.m.