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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 29 June 2016 42-73
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 29th June, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
RASING OF POINTS OF ORDER AND MATTERS OF PRIVILEGE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind Hon.
Members that each time they rise on a point of order or on a matter of privilege, they should cite the relevant Standing Order and the provisions and sections of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act [Chapter 2:08]. This will assist the Chair in making a
HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, before we go to the
point of order, I am asking for Notices of Motions.
HON. MUNENGAMI: Sorry, thank you Madam Speaker, I will
raise it after.
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NO. 51
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam Speaker, I move that provisions of Standing Order
No. 51, regarding the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven O’clock p.m. and...
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. GONESE: I will cite the Standing Order I am referring to.
It is in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member...
HON. GONESE: It is a very valid order...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did not say it is not valid.
HON. GONESE: I want to read the provisions to you - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. GONESE: The provisions of Standing Order No. 62 stipulate that on a Wednesday, private members’ business takes precedence. I have noticed that on the Order Paper, there is a Notice of Motion. I listened to the Minister, he is already moving that Notice of
Motion which is on the Order Paper which is in violation of Standing
Order No. 62. If you can allow me to read the provisions of that
Standing Order – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members on my right,
could you please wait so that we understand each other here – [HON.
MEMBERS ON THE LEFT: Yes.] – Even you, you are also making a
lot of noise.
HON. GONESE: Before I go to the substantive matter...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you put a
point of order, before the Minister had finished..
HON. GONESE: The point of order relates to that Notice of Motion, it is not properly before this House at this point in time. That is the reason why I am...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am also going along with
Standing Order No. 61 (g) where motions, can you hear me?
HON. GONESE: Yes, I can hear you very loud and clearly.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Where motions by a Vice
President or a Minister, relating to the business of the House take precedence.
HON. GONESE: It does not apply here. If you can allow me, we have to read them in conjunction – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I am not just relying on
Standing Order No. 62, I am relying on the whole gamut of the Standing Orders. The point which is very clear is that Standing Order No. 62, stipulates in ambiguous language that subject to the provisions of Sub
Order 2, Government Business must take precedence on Tuesdays and
Thursdays. Then it goes further to say, ‘unless the House has by resolution otherwise determined on Wednesdays, the routine of business shall be as follows’:- In order of precedence
- Notices of Motions standing in the name of private members
- Private members’ Orders of the Day,
- Other notices of Motions and Orders of the Day’. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
I have not finished, if you can allow me you can just be patient.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am not talking.
HON. GONESE: Because I am very clear of where I am going. THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am listening.
HON. GONESE: In my respectful submission, the motion which the Hon. Minister has placed on the Order Paper, is under other notices of Motions and Orders of the Day. The Standing Order which you have referred to does not relate to the Order of the Business.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It does Honourable Member.
HON. GONESE: If you can just allow me to articulate the point.
Motions by Vice Presidents or Ministers relating to the Business of the House, that motion in my view is misplaced and I will also mention that this motion – it was not supposed to be on the Order Paper and I will explain why. I downloaded the Hansard of yesterday and I am going to
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We do not want to get into the
Hansard again because we will not finish.
HON. GONESE: It is important because that is how that notice was smuggled. The Minister specifically stated that the reason why he was adjourning the debate, Honourable Zindi was on the floor and she was still proceeding with her report and the Hon. Minister said no, we want to take into account the submissions which are coming from the Portfolio Committee and everyone thought that we were going to adjourn the House. In bad faith and with malice forethought, the Honourable Minister then stood up to give notice and we objected to the giving of that notice. That is what transpired and I have the Hansard which I can cite. I have downloaded it from the internet – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - The record will bear me out.
That is what the Minister did.
There was an objection which Madam Speaker which we ignored. Unfortunately, Notices of Motions are not put on the Hansard but there were vigorous objections when that transpired. That is the point Madam Speaker. This motion is not properly before us. Under normal circumstances, in terms of Standing Order No. 61, there is an order of debate there.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes there is an order of
debate, can we go along with that.
HON. GONESE: Let me just read it out. Under normal circumstances, I want to read it out so that there is no doubt as to what the provisions stipulate. “Unless these Standing Orders otherwise permit
the daily routine of business must be as follows:
- Swearing in of new Members;
- Announcement by the Speaker;
- Messages from the President;
- Giving of Notices of Motions.
Yesterday that Notice of Motion should have come at the beginning under normal circumstances.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we talk of yesterday
when it is today.
HON. GONESE: Yes because it relates to what is supposed to happen today. Then we have Requests for Leave, Take Note Motions, Questions and so on and then the Order Paper. We did all that without that notice being given. I am aware that there is a provision which allows a Minister or Vice President to bring a Notice of Motion in between other Orders of the Day – I am aware of that provision. However, I am saying that this is not applicable for the reasons which I gave earlier that first and foremost, the reason why the Minister adjourned the debate was that he wanted time, actually to quote him he
“wanted to chew the cud”.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member can you please
take your seat.
HON. GONESE: No I have not finished and you cannot interrupt me. Why are you interrupting me? Yesterday it happened. The other day it happened and then you made a ruling when I had not completed my submissions.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I know you do not finish.
HON. GONESE: The only reason why you are saying so is because you are interrupting me. I am simply saying when we are in this august House, we must behave honourably and not mislead each other. If the Honourable Minister was genuine in adjourning the debate, then we should not have done anything to deal with this Bill because in his own words, he wants time to consider the submissions which came from the Portfolio Committee. There is nothing which is against the spirit of what he said himself.
This particular motion is to deal with automatic adjournment. It is not to deal directly – you must look at what is the import of something, the import of this motion is not to deal with the business of the day but rather to deal with suspension of the Standing Orders relating to automatic adjournment. This can come later at 6:00 p.m. because at 6:00
p.m that is when Government business will take precedence and I have got the backing of our Standing Orders which is our Bible in this august
House which strictly says that “any other” and this motion falls under any other.
Private Members’ Motions actually take precedence over this particular motion and this is a motion for which notice was irregularly given yesterday. Accepting for one moment that the notice was validly given, which I am not accepting because I believe that it was actually smuggled – but even if we were to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that this notice was properly given, the point still remains that Notice of Motion cannot be at the beginning because it does not take precedence today. It falls under the category of any other notices. It comes after Questions without Notice then Questions with Notice then Private Members’ Notices of Motions and so on. It is only at 6:00p.m. that the Standing Orders and I am going to read it because it is important.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think you are now through.
Would you please take your seat?
HON. GONESE: I have not finished speaking.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: When are you going to finish
HON. GONESE: Last time you interrupted me and promised a ruling which you never gave. Last time you interrupted me and said we have understood your point. I stood down and thereafter you never gave a ruling and instead, a meeting was held nicodemously. So, today allow me to finish because last time I acceded to your request in good faith. He said we have understood your point, point of administration and we are going to look into it and I will make a ruling, which you never did. So I have no guarantee that today you are acting in good faith.
The proviso – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I am advised Madam Speaker that Honourable Chamisa has spoken to the Honourable Minister, we can stand this down and then we go to question time. If that is the case, I have no problem with that – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- On the understanding of
Honourable Chamisa, I will briefly make way for – [HON. MEMBERS:
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, Hon. Gonese
no, we cannot have that. No! Hon. Minister please, can you take your seat. Hon. Gonese, if there is something, I have to give you... Hon.
HON. GONESE: Please, I was just reading the proviso – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker. After the
consultations that we have had, I am no longer proceeding with the point of order. However, when the Minister has moved his motion, I have got a right to debate that motion and I am going to debate the motion.
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NUMBER 51
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I move that the provisions of
Standing Order Number 51, regarding the automatic adjournment of the
House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock and Twenty Minutes past One o’clock on a Friday be suspended in respect of the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, (H.B.1, 2016).
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker that is not the procedure. You
ask for debate and that is what I have been waiting for.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is there any debate?
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I know
with the emotions, this can happen. It is understandable. I am objecting to the motion by the Hon. Minister on substantive grounds and I am going to outline those grounds. First and foremost, the import or the effect of the suspension of the Standing Orders is clear to everyone. It is because the Hon. Minister wants to fast track this Bill so that we conclude it.
I am aware because yesterday on the ZTV news, there was an announcement by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe that
Senate has been recalled for tomorrow. That is very presumptuous Madam Speaker. I do not know the basis of assuming that we would have concluded deliberations on this Bill. The announcement was clear that the Senate has been recalled to debate the Local Government Amendment Bill. How do they know that this august House would have passed the Bill?
We are not agreeable because we are the Legislature; we are the representatives of the people of this country and this business of Bills passing through this august House at the supersonic speed of an unidentified flying object is not acceptable. This august House is supposed to make laws. We are supposed to pass laws and not for laws to pass through Parliament. That is the important point Madam Speaker on which I vigorously and strenuously oppose to the suspension.
Madam Speaker, we have got Hon. Members and one of them is seated in this august House, Hon. Chirisa. She has got proposed amendments to this Bill. In terms of the Standing Orders, those proposed amendments cannot be placed on the Order Paper before the conclusion of the Second Reading. We want Hon. Members to acquaint themselves with the proposed amendments from Hon. Chirisa. Hon.
Chirisa, can I have those amendments to show that they are genuine.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, no. Hon. Gonese, would you please …
HON. GONESE: I am giving my reasons. I am talking about the amendments. These are the amendments that she wants to move. THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese!
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I have not finished my submissions. Why do you not allow me to finish? I am just citing these amendments as the reason why I am objecting. These are substantive amendments and I am citing them so that you all know that they are substantive amendments which Hon. Members are entitled to have sight of at the time when we go to the Committee Stage. So, if we are going to suspend automatic adjournment, it means that today after the Second Reading, we proceed to the Committee Stage when Hon. Members have not been given an opportunity to see these amendments, deliberate on them and use their wisdom or otherwise to decide whether they are in agreement with those proposed amendments.
For that reason Madam Speaker, I would want to reiterate. Let us not suspend automatic adjournment. Let us conclude our Second Reading today, have these amendments placed on the Order Paper and we go to the Committee Stage tomorrow. The recalling of the Senate was done prematurely. It was presumptuous; it is wrong and is not acceptable. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MAJOME: I thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity to debate the point of order in terms of suspending automatic adjournment. I wish to lend my voice to the opposition to suspend the Standing Rules and Orders for two reasons. Madam Speaker, the reason why there is so much commotion in this House actually demonstrates the very grave importance of the matter at hand. This is a Bill that has raised emotions not only in this august House but from the length and breadth of this country once this Bill was tabled.
Madam Speaker, it is no secret that yesterday when the Hon. Minister who happens to be my totem brother was asked and rightly so to substantiate his reasons for wanting to fast track the Bill.
Unfortunately, in his whole address, it was not possible to salvage any single code and reason why this Bill should be fast tracked. If the reason is that because the Senate has been called, clearly if this august House is not yet done with this Bill and has not addressed its mind to it, then clearly the reason that the Senate is waiting cannot be the reason why this must be rushed.
Madam Speaker, each and every member in this august House is here for a reason. Therefore, Hon. Chirisa has a democratic and constitutional right to table amendments before this august House. It is in the interests of each and every member of this august House to actually listen to, see, read and pay attention to the proposed amendments that Hon. Chirisa is wishing to propose. If I may say so, it is also in the interest of the Hon. Minister. In fact, the Hon. Minister should actually be grateful to the efforts and the interests of Hon. Members like Hon. Chirisa who are indeed taking his role seriously. We have gone to the trouble of even proposing draft amendments.
Madam Speaker, if the leave that the Hon. Minister seeks is granted, we will indeed have shot ourselves in the foot. This august House will have deprived itself of an opportunity of seriously and truly considering possible changes to a Bill that will improve the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. Madam Speaker it is no secret that even as we speak now we have a crisis in terms of even the payment civil service wages. Matters of local governance are matters of the economy and revenue. If we gave ourselves an opportunity as Members of this august
House to seriously take our time to improve the state of local
governance in this country, we would actually not be in a position that we are now.
Madam Speaker, local government is an area that is replete with possibility of revenue generation that is troubling our nation. We can solve the problems eventually of the tax, of not being there revenue to pay civil servants and even Members of Parliament who are here, including you Hon. Madam Speaker, you are not going to have your monthly salary because we have dire problems with the economy of this country.
Madam Speaker, local government issues; the local government Bill and local government legislation are a grand opportunity for us as legislators to seriously construct so that we can increase the revenue making mechanism. So, the time that is required Madam Speaker is not the kind of time that my Hon. Minister who is my hon. brother seeks to postpone.
Also, there are other issues that Hon. Members have that want answers from Hon. Ministers. Already from the composition of the front bench of the Government right now, it appears that there has been a presumptuous decision that Hon. Ministers are not going to attend the
House because questions are not going to be answered today because the Hon. Minister wants to present the Bill. Hon. Madam Speaker, that is an insult to the people in this country. There are questions around the bond notes and the civil service salaries and so on. So, to stop all other business of Government so that we fast track an ill conceived and rushed Bill that does not address the issues that we require; that would not address the bread and butter issues of our people. Madam Speaker, for those reasons, I also oppose that. Thank you.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Madam Speaker, I rise again as I rose
yesterday. Is this august House, helping the situation by putting in legislative law with proper thought, understanding, consultation out there to the public when we continue to trash the Constitutional requirements, even the Standing Orders and Rules requirements in this august House?
Madam Speaker, you are the one who controls this House. Honestly to allow suspensions of normal business of Parliament for the sake of fast-tracking a Bill when the economy of the country is not performing well, I believe that we are not doing this in a proper way, all of us, I am not excluding myself. I do not understand what is special about the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and this particular Bill when we have not put in laws for the whole nation when the laws which should be aligned with the
Constitution need to be brought to this Parliament. We have spent three years in this Parliament and suddenly we see urgency.
Today I read the news that the same Mayor was acquitted by the court and was immediately arrested. So, people are going to be given false charges because you want people out of certain offices. We cannot legislate for a person, let us legislate for the country. I stand here to say we are Zimbabweans, we are brothers and sisters – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – we cannot come here to fight for one thing, one thing, let us fight to bring this country to normalcy! We are not able to pay people this month, we are going to pay transport fares, are we going to ask Government to get out of office because we have failed to pay people?
Let us not play games.
Madam Speaker, I plead with the opposite side to say let us be legislators, let us be nationalists – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I know that a number of these people who are nationalists in mind have conceded that they are being forced because they are afraid of being fired – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaah!] – In your conscience, you know that, do not just say aaah. Madam Speaker, I plead with you, let us not fast track this Bill. I do not know what remedy we are going to put by rushing a Bill which I told you yesterday that I need to go through it. I need an advice, I do not have an office. Also I have to look for a lawyer, my lawyer was busy, he needs to tell me what to correct and I still have not managed to do it. Why are we fast-tracking the Bill?
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to
thank all the Hon. Members who are in this House. What is happening now is that the Minister is asking us to fast track this law, he is prepared to come here on Saturday and Sunday because he wants to fast track the Bill. My problem is that the Minister is coming to make the law but he is now changing the Constitution. We are now going to the fourth year of our term, and he is saying we need to amend the Constitution and fast track to suit what he wants us to do.
Madam Speaker, as far as I am concerned, representing the people of Musikavanhu, I am saying Hon. Minister, please follow the peoples wishes. We are not happy with what is happening, it is displeasing that you continue suspending business. We know that in our culture, if you do something which is taboo at a funeral, that thing will continue, you end up suspending people in appropriate places like at the buses –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – you suspend councilors and you continue doing that. Seeing what is now happening, you are even suspending the laws which make Parliament work properly. At times you are suspending and yet you do not have the powers to do that and I am
afraid one of these days you are going to suspend His Excellency President Mugabe.
Madam Speaker, I am pleading with you, let us not talk of suspension and suspension, but let us follow the Constitution and the laws.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, address the
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: My apologies Hon. Speaker. Madam
Speaker, I am not going to continue because I want my fellow Members to make their contribution but my main point of standing up and contributing is that we do not want the Minister to fast track this law. We need to take it up step by step. Unfortunately, the Senate has been recalled so that this law is fast tracked but we are not a rubber stamping organisation, we are law makers. My main fear is that my colleagues on the other side are supporting and working according to this because they have been independent - we do not know, it is up to them.
However, I am only urging my fellow members that we are oppressed now but in 2018, please select properly and set your leadership. I will conclude by saying that we have these members listening to my contribution and I would like to thank the Minister because whenever you are making the laws, please avoid fast tracking so that all the things fall in line. At the end of it all, we will be able to conclude and adopt this Bill.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are just debating on the suspension of order… -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise in support of the motion moved by the Minister and that I have been listening to the arguments by Hon. Members. If we are to deliberate about the recalling of the Senate which is not part of this august House, we have to focus –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order! In terms of Standing
Order 68 (d), well I can read to you so that I can help Members of Parliament who cannot read –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. HOLDER: On a point of order Madam Speaker, he must withdraw his statement. I cannot sit down kana asina ku withdrawer kuti the Hon. Members cannot read, he must withdraw that statement. We are in this august House because we can read and understand, he is dhereraring me. For him to come here and utter such utterances is unacceptable, he must withdraw.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I do not have
such voice to make you keep quiet. If you keep quiet yourselves, he will sit down. You cannot make him to sit down before I tell him to sit down.
Hon. Holder, you will come up after him –[HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections]- Hon. Members, I am the Presiding Officer here, you cannot make him sit down…
Hon. Holder having left his seat going towards Hon. Chamisa –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Commotion in the House –[AN HON. MEMBER: We cannot
stand this public insult, saying that we are ignorant people. It is coming out live on the national television whilst he is saying that we are uneducated. So he should withdraw his statement]- -[AN HON. MEMBER: We were voted in, we are people who are educated and we cannot be abused by people who are stealing money from councils. They are changing clothes because they have enough money because they are stealing and abusing funds from councils. Please do no abuse us, let us do business. When you came, you were talking about people who were fired, who are these people who were fired and you are now playing to the gallery because there is television coverage. Where does non-education come in?
Hon. Chinotimba having left his chair to approach the Hon.
Deputy Speaker – [OPPOSITION MEMBERS: Chami! Chami!]- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- -[AN HON. MEMBER:
Tisu tirikutonga, hatigare pasi, maguta kunyarwa imi]-
[Commotion and pandemonium in the House]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order we are now
proceeding. We start by Hon. Chamisa withdrawing what he said. -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, with all due respect; let me start by asking you to lay charges against Hon. Holder. - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Madam Speaker we understand that you gave me the opportunity to make my contribution. According to the Standing Orders, we are told that when a member is contributing, the others should be given a chance to make their contribution and I am saying ...
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let us start by looking at
what really caused all this commotion. When you were making your contribution, you said some of these members are not learned and that led to the commotion. So, let us go step by step. The first step is for you to start by withdrawing your statement? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Hon. Chamisa, you will be given the chance to make all the contributions you want.
HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, I am not sure as to what I should withdraw.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You said that you want to
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, I would like to get into constructive criticism. What statement should I withdraw?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I am
addressing and informing you that we should be following procedures in this House because we are simply wasting time. We need to give each other time to make contributions and from there, we will check on our progress. Hon. Chamisa, you were making your explanations so that you may educate your fellow legislators who are uneducated. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order, order please! Let us have order please!
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, I was not quoted properly
and I will repeat that if you are saying it is unparliamentary, I will withdraw. I responded to an Hon. Member who had asked a question and the Hon. Member said he is not illiterate but he is literate. I then said, if you are illiterate I will read for you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa, you were
debating and there was no chance for you to respond to any question. Therefore, I am pleading with you that you withdraw your statement for the sake of progress. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, we may waste time and I understand the Standing Rules and Orders in Annexure (b), that is where all the offences which are committed in this House are explained. Therefore, I am not going to accept any charges laid against me because it is unfounded. When I said there are some people who are illiterate, if you do not agree with me, I bet you that we have some people who cannot even write their names.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: He is saying there are some
people who cannot read and write and that is all we are asking you to withdraw that statement which you made. Order Hon. Members. Hon.
Chamisa, Hon. Members felt insulted by you saying there are some who cannot read. So please just withdraw. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, what am I withdrawing?
Am I withdrawing their despondency or that there are people who are
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa please! Hon.
Gonese, I had recognised Hon. Chamisa. I did not recognise you.
HON. GONESE: I am aware of that Madam Speaker but I am
going to …..
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, I have not
recognised you please with due respect. I was talking to Hon. Chamisa.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I wanted to help.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, please I had
not recognised you.
*HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, the way I understood this
issue is that we cannot stop Parliament because of the financial situation – we have no money in the country and the banks do not have any cash. Those are the issues that we should be talking about here. Those are issues that we need to address. This one pertaining to what I said, my request is that before you make your ruling, you go back to the recording and listen to what I said. You will realise that I was not in violation of any Standing Order. You have the right to tell me that I am at fault after listening to it and I will withdraw if I am wrong.
Hon. Holder, by knowing his offence actually decided to leave the
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let me give
a ruling here on the two issues - [HON. MEMBERS: Which issues?]- like what you are saying that Holder did something that I did not see – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Gonese, I heard everything which was said.
HON. GONESE: No, you have not heard it officially. In terms of
68(d), I have not made any submission..
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: How can you say that - Hon.
Chamisa was saying that when he was debating..
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I want it on record.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you please take your seat.
HON. GONESE: I want to raise an issue, you do not know which issue I want to raise – [HON. MATUKE: Uyu akudherera Speaker and we will not allow that.] –
HON. CHIBAYA: Hapana munhu anofanira kuvhundutsira munhu muno and akasikwa achirova kudarika vamwe hakuna and anogona kurova kudarika vamwe hapana.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please sit
down. Hon. Gonese I said please sit down, take your seat.
HON. MURAI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, I am tired of that
whispering – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have my rights no, no.
HON. MURAI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am not taking any points of order. Hon. Murai please take your seat – [HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Chibaya. I think we are now through. My ruling is, tomorrow I will look into all those cases/issues. Hon. Chamisa was complaining about Hon. Holder. The other members were complaining about what Hon. Chamisa said. So, on these two issues, I will look into that after the House has adjourned – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, that is my ruling.
HON. MURAI: On a point or order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
HON. MPARIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
*HON. MPARIWA: I am quoting Standing Order No. 68(d). I humble myself before you, I want the august House to be aware that in this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon.
Speaker let me just say a few things.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What exactly do you want to
*HON. MPARIWA: What I want to say is, I have been in
Parliament since 2000, I witnessed people fighting and that was Hon.
Bennet and Hon. Chinamasa. When Hon. Bennet actually hit Hon. Chinamasa, it did not take time for him to be removed from Parliament and he had to leave the Chamber. Secondly, – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – may you please be attentive then you can deny me of what I want to say. There is someone who said derogatory statements to the female members on this side of the House and called them prostitutes. Madam Speaker, I want that Hon. Member to tell us whom he was prostituting with, if not, we are not going to proceed unless you make a ruling on this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, can we have order
please. Hon. Members, that is a new allegation. Hon. Mpariwa, did you say that, Parliament cannot proceed if here is no ruling?
*HON. MPARIWA: Madam Speaker, I requested that Hon.
Members be attentive. We said we wanted that Hon. Member to reveal where she found us engaging in prostitution. That is what I said. She should reveal where she saw us engaging in prostitution. It was Hon.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Referring to Hon. Mpariwa’s
case, the person who is said to have said that is not the person who had the floor. So, I did not hear that. Yes, I did not hear that and for that reason we will need to – I will not make a ruling on something that I have not heard – [HON. MUCHENJE: We actually heard her saying all those allegations. We did not come here to engage in prostitution. We came to Parliament not to be told that we are prostitutes.]
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Madam Speaker, I am requesting that we have order in this august House. There have been allegations by Hon. Chamisa and him allegedly being attacked by Hon. Holder and also allegations that he said Hon. Members are illiterate and that Hon. Holder is drunk. Since we have cameras here and the ruling that you have given to refer to cameras is correct, in order to have fruitful deliberations, I propose that you stand by your ruling. It is not an issue because it was recorded. Those who were present saw what actually happened and it is also on camera, so you can always go back. Now as Hon. Members, remember the whole country is watching what we are doing and it is unbecoming before the nation at large.
We are not going to be taking any sides but we need to follow the rules as Hon. Members. Both parties are not clear of what exactly took place. So, my request is that we continue with proceedings in an honourable manner. I thank you.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank Madam Speaker for the request
made by Hon. Dr. Gumbo who is a Minister. For sure it is a good idea that this august House should proceed with deliberations. The reason we are here is that we are coming from our constituencies where we represent people who elected us into office. As we come to this House, we come with concerns raised by our constituents that lead to fruitful deliberations. We need to follow the law of the land. If we abide by the laws there will be fruitful deliberations in this House.
For anyone who will have committed an offence, there should be no partisanship whether one is from the ruling party or the opposition. That should not be the case. The issue that I am talking about Madam Speaker is the same issue that we want to address which is causing others to make noise in this House, thereby disrupting proceedings. My request is that as you give your ruling, may you please make a ruling that will leave all Hon. Members satisfied than for us to sit down and interrogate the ruling and say I never heard this and why has this taken place. That is what is causing confusion.
Lastly, once we stand up to say “point of order”, you ask us to refer to the section that we are using which is good Madam Speaker. The section that we are talking about is Section 68 (d) but none of us really understands what Section 68 (d) is taking about. The reason being - I have mentioned this before, when Honourable Mudenda was in the Chair, that when reforms were made of the Standing Orders, we as Members of Parliament did not have sight of the Standing Orders. We do not even know what Standing Order you are talking about. The only people who are aware of the Standing Orders are those people who sit in the SROC. It is them who have the Standing Orders on their computers and the Clerk. So, how do we know the Standing Orders if we have not had sight of them and they have not been given to us. We need them so that we can read and understand them. The reason why we keep erring in this House is because we are not aware. We have not been availed the corrected or edited Standing Orders. So, there is need to give us those Standing Orders. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. I
want to respond to what has been raised by Hon. Members. Once people do not listen and make noise whilst you are talking; that is what I am giving a ruling on, that we will look into everything that transpired in this House. I cannot give a ruling on what I have not seen, but the cameras are here, the media is here as well as the Hansard Reporters. I will then give a ruling after looking at all this evidence – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
If it is an issue of Standing Orders or the books or the booklets, Administration is working on those books. Hon. Mudenda responded to that. They are still being worked on and Hon. Mudenda gave that ruling that once they are done, but we want to work on what has happened in this august House, so that we proceed with the business of the august House.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker my point earlier on was that the Minister followed due process yesterday and today, to ensure that we continue with the business of the day.
The other point that I wanted to say Madam Speaker is, this Constitution came into effect in 2013 and Hon. Members have been complaining… – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members
HON. ZIYAMBI: Members have been complaining that there is a slow process of realignment of the laws and the Hon. Minister came and said I want to do this…– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - They complain again to say that we do not want that, yet he is complying with the provisions of the Constitution that dictates that we have to ensure that the laws are aligned. So, we cannot have both ways that we say we want the laws aligned and at the same time we question where has he been. He has come forward to do what he is supposed to do. Why are we denying him the chance to do what he is supposed to do? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, my point of order is that…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, can we have order
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: The Hon. Member is not debating on
the suspension of the rules. He is actually arguing that this change of rule, which is being fast tracked in Parliament, is aligning the law to the
Constitution, but the Bill for the whole alignment, where the Government has abused the Constitution in not having a full metropolitan council. We should have these MPs and these MPs in those metropolitan councils helping the mayor and others to administer.
He is not here and he is fast tracking a piece and this here, is a whole lawyer abusing us in this office. I think it is not fair for an MP to come and belittle us and say this is what you are asking for.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudzuri, as far as I understood what he was saying, I do not think there is anyone who is belittling other Hon. Members here. He is debating on what he sees has been brought here by the Minister. If you want to debate, you can as well stand up and we recognise you and you debate. There is no problem of challenging what someone is saying.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was debating to indicate the urgency in trying to realign the laws. One of the criticism has been that there is too much corruption and the Minister, if you look in terms of Section 278, it says a councillor, a chair person, can only be suspended or removed from office according to this section, but it goes on to say, where it states Speaker, you substitute with Minister, indicating what the Minister is doing. He is using the powers bestowed by the Constitution to correct a legal lacuna which is there so that he can execute his duties properly. There emanates the urgency of the matter in that, for him to execute his duties properly, he has to realign this particular section with the Local Government Act so that he can do his work properly. So, I think the Minister has satisfied all the requirements that are required in this matter, so that he can execute his duties. I thank you.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Minister, in his submission, Madam Speaker, in fast tracking this Bill which resulted in the Minister wanting to suspend automatic adjournment of the House at 6.55 p.m, the Minister cites or flags a number of issues. One of the issues that the Minister flags is that he wants to deal with the mischief of corruption in Local Authorities as a matter of urgency.
Madam Speaker, I realised that issues of corruption are being dealt with without the Bill and I will cite examples. One example happened today. Mayor of Harare, Ben Manyenyeni - a court ruling said he must go back to work and get his full benefits and just as he was leaving the court, he was taken by members of the Anti Corruption Commission. So, issues of corruption are being dealt with outside of this Bill. So, I will leave that aside.
What we are talking about here, Madam Speaker. We are talking about two things. We are debating whether or not we should maintain a constitutional democracy or we should decline into an autocracy.
Madam Speaker, we are debating suspension of rules. Suspension of rules, Madam Speaker, means we are mutilating the Constitution and I will tell you the reasons.
As one Hon. Member who spoke before me said, this Constitution came into existence in 2013 and this is the fourth year. Ever since the Constitution came into operation three years ago, the country has been waiting for the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act among other Statutes to be amended so as to devolve powers to local authorities according to the independence they are entitled to under Chapter 14 of this Constitution. The Minister has not done that in three years and this is the fourth year. Today the Minister comes and he wants to suspend all rules and regulations of this House so that he brings a Bill which deals with one person, Ben Manyenyeni. This is a Ben
Manyenyeni Bill. Madam Speaker we cannot allow it to happen.
Let me give you the background. I will go to the background Madam Speaker. The Mayor and councillors of Gweru brought to court an application challenging their suspensions while the Bulawayo High
Court declared the suspension of the Gweru mayor and councillors to be unconstitutional. The suspension of the Mayor of Harare was declared valid by the High Court in Harare and that is why he went on suspension. When he made an urgent court application, it was thrown out on the basis that the Minister…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member…
HON. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, I am giving you
background. Let me give you background.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I want to remind you that we
are debating about the suspension of automatic adjournment – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interventions.] –
HON. MARIDADI: I am putting it in context Madam Speaker. I do not want to be quoted out of context. Madam Speaker, I want to quote the legal issues involved; Section 278 of the Constitution that I am holding, which came into being in 2013 sets out the sole grounds on which mayors and councillors can be removed from office. It states that an Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment of an independent tribunal to remove them. So far, no Act provides for the setting up of such a tribunal. Section 114 of the Urban Councils’ Act gives the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing powers to suspend mayors and councillors for up to 45 days while their conduct is being investigated and allows the Minister to dismiss them if the investigations show that they are guilty of gross mismanagement of the council affairs.
Madam Speaker, the High Court of Bulawayo held that in the absence of an Act of Parliament allowing an independent tribunal to be established as envisaged by the Constitution, the mayors and councilors of Gweru who were suspended by the Minister got a court order to go back to work, which the Minister ignored. The mayors and councilors of Gweru could not be dismissed and there could be no valid reason for their suspension.
Madam Speaker, why is the Minister trying to rail-road suspend the Constitution, suspend Standing Order so that he brings a Bill which deals with mayors of Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru? Let me tell you where the Minister is coming from and we can see him from afar. The Minister, because time is running out for the dismissal of Manyenyeni, he wants to bring this Bill so that he can go and dismiss Manyenyeni. Madam Speaker, you do not make laws for one person, this country does not belong to Manyenyeni. The country belongs to 15 million people, the Minister cannot come up with a Bill to deal with one person. A Minister cannot be allowed to do that. We make laws for posterity not for one person. If the Minister has a problem with Manyenyeni, he is free to approach the courts and deal with Manyenyeni as an individual and not try to bring the whole nation to support him deal with Manyenyeni. I rest my case, thank you.
Some Hon. Members having been throwing some papers on the
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. There is something happening there Madam Speaker. It will cause disorder – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – if you can allow me Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We want to assist each other. Hon. Madam Speaker…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, let us have order.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to echo the sentiments of Hon. Gumbo when he spoke eloquently earlier on that the whole nation of Zimbabwe is looking at us as the representatives of the people to pass laws for the order and good governance of this country. What is now happening is that Notice of Amendments have been prepared and they are being circulated to all Members of this august
House so that they can acquaint themselves with what one of our Hon.
Members would like to propose as amendments. As the Notice of Amendments are being circulated by staff of Parliament to all Members in this august House, what I am seeing is embarrassing. We are having a situation where Hon. Members are throwing those Notice of
Amendments – I do not know those who are in the gallery, the press – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – what are we trying to portray Madam Speaker? I am appealing to all Hon. Members to behave honourably. You do not behave honourably by exhibiting the kind of behaviour that I am witnessing. I would like Hon. Speaker, if Hon. Members can be advised that the way that they are behaving is not respectful of this august House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you please
help me so that…
HON. GONESE: I am trying to help Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to help you as well.
We are debating on the issue of suspension of the Automatic
Adjournment, someone is distributing something, I do not think it is yet time to bring the amendments because we are not yet debating on the Bill. We want to pass this one, we have to finish on suspension so that we do something – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: This is a point of order, I am not debating. This is a point of order Madam Speaker. It is not like the amendments are unrelated because they are related to the Bill. It is not like they are notices of amendments for some other business. This business we are debating now is adjournment to enable us to extend the time so that we can then debate it today. At the same time, it is to enable Members to have sufficient time to acquaint themselves. If it waits until the time you are talking about, they will ask for more time. So, I believe at this point in time, Members must behave honourably. If notices of amendments are being circulated, they must take them and not behave in the manner they are behaving. It is also causing pandemonium. There was commotion in this House as a result of that conduct. I submit Madam Speaker that such behaviour is unbecoming of Hon. Members.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, while I hear
your point of order – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Member, would you please behave! Would you please respect the House? I hear your voice on top of all the other voices. Please respect others. Hon. Gonese, “warikurasa mapaper.” It does not stop us to proceed with those amendments. That has nothing to do with our debate. There are others who have the amendments. Can we please proceed with what we were doing?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Madam Speaker, I stand on a point of order using Standing Order Number 98, which says that when a debate has been prolonged, it must be brought to a vote in order to continue with the business of the House.
I so move Madam Speaker.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, it is not proper. You allow someone to finish first. He should bring his motion after someone has finished debating. Objection Madam Speaker. It is not correct. You recognised him and another Hon. Member was on the floor; he has not finished – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. CHIBAYA: On a point of order Madam Speaker, I have a
question. If you are seated on that Chair as the Chairperson and give partisan rulings, what do we do in this House? We are not happy with the rulings that you are giving; you are displaying partisanship.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Standing Order Number 98
allows a Minister to come in if debate is being prolonged. He can suggest that a vote be made for the Bill to proceed. I allowed him because he is a Member of Parliament and a Minister as well.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, the Standing Order that has
been cited has been misapplied. I want to read the Standing Order because the advice that the Chair has been given is not correct. I will read it. Standing Order Number 98 (1) reads as follows, “After a question, except a question already barred from debate under the
Standing Orders has been proposed from the Chair.” These are the words that I would want to underline. Those words were not proposed from the Chair, so the Standing Order has been misapplied. You are using Standing Order 98 (1) inappropriately.
First of all, it was Hon. Gumbo who raised it and not the Chair. It must come from the Chair and the way you proceeded, it did not come from the Chair to begin with. It is the Chair which must formulate an opinion that this debate has been prolonged. It must not be raised by a Minister or an Hon. Member. The Standing Order makes no reference to a Minister. It does not make any reference to the Minister at all. It simply says, after a question has been proposed from the Chair, either in the House or in a Committee of the whole House. So the question must first be proposed by the Chair, which has not happened. So, if that happened in the manner that it has happened or have been applied, it is not correct. It is inappropriate, it is an abuse of the rules. The Chair should be the one who proposes not a Member or a Minister, it is not correct. There is also another point – [HON. DR. GUMBO: Kuchikoro waisanzwisisa.] – aiwa ini ndine Masters inini, ndakaita graduate manje manje, I now have got a Masters degree from Africa University not University of Zimbabwe pamunopa madegree e fake kuma doctorate.
There are two aspects, in terms of the rules of national justice …..
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Member.
HON. GONESE: Yes.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It had been brought to my
attention that the debate was going on and on, so then I put the question to the House – [HON. MEMBERS: No, no!] -
HON. GONESE: There was also a second aspect. The second
aspect is that unless such a motion is an abuse of the minority, this is an infringement. Firstly, the question must be proposed from the Chair. The second point is that unless it appears to the Chair that such a motion is an infringement of the rights…..
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Gonese
HON. GONESE: I want to read it, I have not finished…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, would you
please take a seat.
HON. GONESE: No, I have not talked about the infringement of the minority. There are three points which I want to make. The first point is about the proposition. The second point is about an infringement of the minority. That question cannot be put if it is an infringement of the minority. Read it, you can also take time to read what we are talking about. There is an infringement of the rights of the minority. I submit that the Chair did not apply its mind because there is a second aspect in that Standing Order which talks about the suppression or an infringement of the rights of the minority. The manner in which the question was proposed by the wrong person which is the Minister is an infringement of the minority.
Thirdly, it cannot be applied in the manner that you have purported to apply it. If you have got somebody who is on the floor, in accordance with the rules of national justice, you cannot have that person who has not concluded her or his debate being interrupted in the manner that the Hon. Minister purported to do. We should have allowed the Hon. Member to conclude his or her debate then the suggestion comes. I want to reiterate - it does not come from the Minister, it does not come from any other member and that is my point.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: My ruling on the point of order is we proceed because the Hon. Member who proposed that the debate was going on and on was also reminding me that we should put the question. So, I agreed to that and put the question that - [HON.
MEMBERS: No, no!] I have already passed on that – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON
THE WORKING CONDITIONS AT THE HWANGE
COLLIERY COMPANY LIMITED, NATIONAL RAILWAYS
OF ZIMBABWE AND DETE REFRACTORIES
HON. KWARAMBA: Madam Speaker ….
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no need for a point
of order, I have asked for Hon. Kwaramba to move her motion.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Madam Speaker, are you saying I am
no longer allowed to raise a point of order. I stood up to claim my priviledge, personally I feel that what is happening in this august House is tantamount to rape. Madam Speaker, you have given a ruling but that ruling actually shows signs of partisanship. The point is if people have decided that they want to come and pass the Bill, they do not need the Opposition; we do not want to go out because it is a duty but our argument is that we have not yet interrogated this Bill and you cannot force us to look into this Bill. This is tantamount to rape, thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are
reiterating the same statement.
Hon. Eng. Mudzuri having stood up.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mudzuri, please take a
HON. MAJOME: On a point of order Madam Speaker. While I
do understand the need for progress in the House, there is an outstanding issue. When Hon. Madam Speaker put the question to the House, there was a response to the effect that there must be debate and the Hon. Madam Speaker did not rule about dividing the House. There was an objection….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, I did not hear that.
HON. MAJOME: There was an objection Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Objection about what?
HON. MAJOME: No, there was an objection and a call for division on the question as to whether or not we adjourn the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did not hear that. It is
because you are making a lot of noise. Who called for the division?
HON. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, it is our democratic right to
express ourselves. We did call for a division.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese did not say
anything about that.
HON. MAJOME: It was not him who called for division but
there was a call for the division.
Hon. Gonese approached the Chair.
HON. MAJOME: Hon. Madam Speaker, my respective view is
that there was a call for division and the Hon. Members who called for it have a democratic right to be allowed to express themselves in this Parliament in that way. I would propose that we proceed in that light so that we can then make progress.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ngatitaurirane chokwadi. I
did not hear anyone calling for division of this House. If there was someone, we would have acted that way – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.]- We have already passed the stage of calling for a division.
I cannot hear anyone who is calling from his seat but someone who has asked to be recognised and told the Chair that they are asking for a division, and then I would have acted accordingly. Not anyone who is calling from anywhere, it is very hard.
HON. MAJOME: Hon. Speaker that becomes unfortunate
because it becomes a very undemocratic Parliament.
HON. SARUWAKA: Point of Oder!
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am not going to entertain
point of order, Hon. Saruwaka would you please sit down.
SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE ON THE WORKING CONDITIONS AT THE HWANGE COLLIERY
COMPANY LIMITED, NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF ZIMBABWE
AND DETE REFRACTORIES
HON. KWARAMBA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the working conditions at the Hwange Colliery Company Limited, National
Railways of Zimbabwe and Dete Refractories (S. C. 8, 2016).
In line with Parliament’s role of upholding the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare conducted an inquiry into working conditions at Hwange Colliery Company Limited. National Railways of Zimbabwe indebted refractories, Section, 65 of the Constitution provides for Labour rights which encompasses the right to fair and satisfactory conditions of work.
The inquiry was propelled by the outcry of employees from various organisations seeking the Committee’s intervention over unfair labour practices by employers, irregular payment of salaries and the 2015 nationwide job dismissals. The dismissals were a result of the precedent set by a Supreme Court ruling on the case of Nyamande and others versus Zuva Petroleum Private Limited, in July 2015 on the basis of which employers dismissed workers on notice without any financial packages. Hence the committee was obliged to establish the welfare of the country’s workforce by visiting the above mentioned companies.
Our objectives were to establish workers conditions of service, including remuneration, working environment, health and safety practices at the companies.
The Committee conducted fact-finding visits to the following government owned companies from 4-7 October 2015:
- Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) which is a coal mining entity;
- National Railways of Zimbabwe-Dete Station (NRZ) which is a transporter of public goods and services by rail; and
- Dete Refractories, a brick and tile manufacturing company.
The Committee also considered written submissions from the three companies.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited
At the time of the Committee’s visit, Hwange Colliery Company
Limited’s production levels were 6 million tonnes of coal per annum.
The company’s mining equipment had become obsolete, particularly underground mining machinery and the bulk of production was being undertaken at its open cast mining fields. Management informed the Committee that the company could not afford to purchase or repair machinery and subcontracted part of its work. Major challenges faced by the company include, lack of working capital, obligation to supply coal to the Zimbabwe Power Company while competitors export, attachment of company assets by creditors among others.
HCCL owed its 3 000 employees, 25 months’ worth of remuneration in salary arrears dating back to 2013 and amounting to US$45 million. Additionally, pensioners had not received any financial benefits since 2009. The committee was informed that the employees were being paid monthly US$200 salaries and received food hampers as mitigation against economic hardships. However, workers’ representatives highlighted that these items were being issued inconsistently and the last disbursement of the food hampers had been in May 2015. The Committee further learnt that HCCL paid school fees for workers’ dependants at selected schools. Nonetheless, the company sometimes failed to pay school fees on time resulting in students being turned away. The Committee was also informed that the letters of assurance for payment sent to schools by HCCL management were no longer acceptable to most headmasters.
In addition, the workers representatives reported to the Committee that although medical aid deductions appeared on their pay slips, nothing was being remitted to the medical aid fund, resulting in employees having to buy their own drugs when they visit the under-resourced company clinic or other medical centres. Furthermore, the Committee was informed that HCCL management had failed to facilitate any Works Council meetings since 2013, on the basis that they were occupied with other work related duties. The workers representatives also reported that management had rejected their cost-cutting proposal of repairing the company’s malfunctioning machinery, in order to avoid the more expensive option of hiring contractors who require immediate payment.
The Committee learnt that HCCL had an effective safety and health policy which was shown during its tour of the company’s open cast mining site. Members of the Committee had an opportunity to observe employees who were dressed in protective clothing such as overalls, helmets and safety shoes operating heavy machinery during the tour. The Committee also had sight of the newly acquired equipment from Belarus, India.
4.2 National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
4.2.1 The NRZ is in a state of decline with a decrease in performance from 9.5 million tonnes of cargo moved in 2000 to only 3,8 million in 2014. Management informed the Committee that the company could not generate adequate resources to sustain operations or improve the situation. The company’s infrastructure is in a deplorable state with railway line speed restrictions reported to be 57 covering
278,31 kilometers of rail at the time of the Committee’s visit. Having decommissioned electric locomotives, the company manually controls trains and diesel locomotives. In addition, the entity’s functional mainstay wagons decreased from 7 152 in 2000 to 3 015 in 2014 and the coaches from 194 in 2000 to 62 during the same period. NRZ management has over the years taken various initiatives to improve the company’s precarious resources position including introduction of public-private partnerships and sourcing recapitalization loans from the Development Bank of South Africa which requires the Government’s support as guarantor.
4.2.2 The company had 5 805 workers and at the time of the
Committee’s visit employed contract workers during peak periods. It was also staffed by 32 members from the Zimbabwe Defence forces whose salaries were paid from the army and only obtain allowances from NRZ. At the time of the Committee’s visit NRZ’s employees had accumulated 11 months salary arrears amounting to US78.9 million. Management informed the Committee that salary reductions had been introduced in order to improve predictability of payment dates and the lowest paid employee’s salary was US$172.50. However, the employees’ representatives lamented the lack of fixed payment dates and that salary reductions had left some employees earning US$50.00 as a monthly salary which could not meet basic living needs. The employees’ representatives proffered that company properties such as unoccupied houses in Dete, butcheries and bulky scrap metal be sold to raise funds for payment of salaries.
*HON. SARUWAKA: Madam Speaker on a point of order, I
refer to Section 56 (3) of the Constitution which states, “Every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic or social origin, language, class, religious belief, political affiliation, opinion, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status, or whether they were born in or out of wedlock.”
Madam Speaker I quoted this particular provision because I
strongly feel that what you have done to me today is in breach of this provision. I have every right as a Member of Parliament, in this House, after you had recognised me to take the floor. The provision that was raised by the Minister came after you had already recognised me. It was going to be fair if you had allowed me to debate and then attend to the Minister. But the fact that you had already recognised me, I felt discriminated when you stopped me from debating.
I strongly feel that you have discriminated me. Is it because of my dreadlocks or the political party that I belong to? I want to understand the reason why after nominating me to take the floor you then reversed that decision?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have heard you Hon.
Member, I will recognise you next time. What you are saying is not that I hate you, it is not that but because our debate has gone on and on so we had to get somewhere, we stop and proceed with something. I am sorry about that. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – May you please proceed Hon. Member?
HON. KWARAMBA: 4.2.3 The poor state of affairs at NRZ can
partly be attributed to:-
- theft and vandalism of transmission cables dating back to the
- non-availability of spare parts;
- old equipment such as locomotives and wagons;
- lack of recapitalization and working capital and
- low business partly due to competition from road transport that is haulage trucks.
4.2.4 NRZ management admitted to the Committee that the company was unable to provide safety clothing for its employees. In addition, the workers’ representatives informed the Committee that there was systematic violation of the organizational safety and health policy at the company as employees had to perform their duties without protective clothing or face dismissal. A case in point was a railway line patrolman who maintained a railway line in the wild animal infested Dete area without any form of protection at the risk of being attacked by lions, elephants and other wild animals.
4.2.4 The Committee learnt that the NRZ partially remitted employer/employee contributions to Railmed, an in-house medical aid fund, resulting in the company failing to provide adequate health insurance for its employees. The workers’ representatives decried that the company offered funeral assistance but was unwilling to advance loans for medication purposes to works whom it owed salaries. The Committee was also informed that the company remits partial employer/employee contributions to the Pension Fund, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the Zimbabwe National Manpower
Development Fund (ZIMDEF) which delayed the payment of retirees’ benefits. These included 456 workers retrenched on the basis of the precedence set by the July 2015 Supreme Court Ruling. The workers’ representatives complained that the dismissals only affected lower grades and management used the opportunity to dispose of vocal workers and those of ill-health including an employee who had served the company for 34 years and had a year left before retirement. Finally, the workers’ representatives bemoaned the high rental charges imposed on company houses in Dete which led employees to seek cheaper accommodation elsewhere where they had to travel long distances to the work station.
4.3 Dete Refractories
4.3.1 Dete Refractories is part of the Last Hope Estate in Dete which is under the supervision of Ginhole Investments Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ). The IDCZ took over operations of the estate which was a distressed company from the Zimbabwe Development Corporation in 2005. Dete Refractories manufactured tiles and bricks. At its peak the company employed 76 workers but had only 14 workers left at the time of the Committee’s visit. The Committee was informed that the major challenges faced by the entity include: low worker morale and lack of markets for their products. Efforts made to revive the company over the years include: acquiring a US$100 000 loan from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa in 2010 and the construction of a larger kiln with a holding capacity of 100 000 bricks.
Management informed the Committee that salary arrears accumulated by 2014 varied across the grades, with the highest amounts being US$2 822 and US$60 719 for operatives and management respectively. At the time of its visit, the Committee was informed that 2015 salaries had been paid in full from January to August and only payments for the month of September were outstanding amounting to US$155 and US$2 933 for operatives and management grades respectively. Contrary to that, employees informed the Committee that the General Manager habitually issued empty promises of salary payment which were never fulfilled when the company made profits.
The employees reported that at one time, they earned US$25 each after five months of non-payment. Further to that, the employees emphasised that the highest amount they ever received as salary was
US$50 per individual after three months without payment. The General Manager, Mr. Zivanai informed the Committee that the company sometimes issued tiles and bricks to employees as payment, a position which was confirmed by the latter. Other allowances accruing to employees include a non-contributory funeral assurance scheme for all employees.
While the General Manager told the Committee that employees received work suits every six months and had last been issued with new work suits in January 2015, employees informed the Committee that the clothing they were wearing had been purchased for purposes of its visit. Furthermore, employees complained that the General Manager habitually used abusive language when addressing them. The Committee also had an opportunity to meet the Chairperson of the company’s Board of Directors Mr. B. Mushowe who led eight other companies under the IDCZ.
Summary of Workers’ Grievances
- Total neglect of employees’ welfare issues by companies.
- Salary arrears without any indicative dates of payment.
- Bullying by management at Dete Refractories where the General Manager was reportedly in the habit of using abusive language when addressing subordinates.
- Salary reductions at NRZ to paltry amounts which could meet basic living needs of workers and their families.
- Lack of fixed dates of salary payments which made it impossible for workers to plan.
- Victimisation in the dismissal of workers at NRZ on the basis of the July 2015 Supreme Court ruling which affected lower grades only.
- Non-remittance of deducted moneys appearing on pay slips which prejudiced workers of due benefits, such as medical aid and retirement packages at HCCL and NRZ.
- Violation of safety and health requirements at NRZ and Dete
- Reluctance to offer medical assistance and settling salary arrears by companies.
HCCL and NRZ are of strategic importance to the country’s economic development. While HCCL is the major supplier of coal to Hwange Thermal Power Station and its viability guarantees coal supplies to power projects and the manufacturing sector, the importance of a functional national railways system cannot be overemphasised. Similarly, the role played by Dete Refractories to the Dete Community as a source of livelihood should not be understated. Apart from loss of employment for more than 8 000 workers employed by these entities, the closure of HCCL will create yet another ‘ghost’ town and exacerbate poverty levels in the country.
The relationships between workers and management of the three companies were characterised by mistrust which compromised productivity. There was generally low workers morale due to nonsettlement of salary arrears without any prospect of payment in sight. Workers and their families could no longer lead decent lives due to irregular payment of salaries. Employees of Dete Refractories and NRZ were exposed to unhealthy working conditions due to lack of protective clothing. The subcontracting of work at HCCL lacked transparency. NRZ manually controlled trains and diesel locomotives should be maintained. At the time of the Committee’s visit, the management of HCCL had failed to organise Works Council meeting for three years, which is a violation of Section 25A (5) of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] which entitles a Works Council to be consulted by the employer on operations of the organisation.
Lack of markets for bricks and tiles was one of the major challenges faced by Dete Refractories. Dete Refractories is situated in a rural area where there is very low demand for commercially manufactured tiles and bricks. Therefore, management of the company violated provisions of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] by using these items to pay employees salaries at the usual market price value. Section 12A (2) of the Act stipulates that remuneration in kind should be appropriate for the personal use and benefit of the employee and his/her family. Furthermore, the value attributed to such payment shall be fair and reasonable. NRZ owns some properties such as houses in Dete, butcheries and bulky scrap metal. The equipment acquired from Belarus, India did not improve production levels at HCCL.
There is urgent need for the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Transport and Infrastructural Development to find effective long term solutions to reverse the down turn at HCCL and NRZ. Immediate forensic audits of HCCL, Dete Refractories and other under- performing parastatals should be conducted in order to establish the state of affairs at these companies as such inquests have proved to be effective in this regard. For example, the Auditor General’s Narrative Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals of 2014, which among other issues debunked the situation at the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
HCCL, NRZ and Dete Fefractories should devise innovative ways of improving business and implement reasonable steps towards settlement of salary arrears in order to boost employees’ moral and ultimately, productivity. Dete Refractories should vigorously seek local and regional markets for its products, these are tiles and bricks. NRZ should modernise its old equipment which created high maintenance costs that results in uncompetitive pricing and services as compared to road transport.
HCCL should earmark proceeds from some of its coal mining concessions for full medical aid subscriptions and school fees payments for its employees and their dependents since failure to access medication and education negatively impact on the lives of its workforce. The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing should support the local manufacturing industry through procurement of construction products such as tiles and bricks from Dete Refractories.
The Government should assist NRZ in its recapitalisation drive by guaranteeing the loan implementation of recommendations of the
Auditor General’s Narrative Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals of 2014. These include regular review of monthly bank reconciliation statements and evaluation of investment properties to guard against fraud.
Under utilised company assets such as houses at the NRZ- Dete Station should be rented out or sold to raise revenue for settling salary arrears. In addition, rental charges on NRZ houses should be scrapped to allow employees and their families to stay free of charge until the company resumes regular payment of full salaries. NSSA should conduct regular health and safety inspections at all companies nationwide, regardless of size, particularly in outlying areas of the country such as Hwange and Dete.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services should immediately conduct an inquiry into working conditions at Dete
Refractories. The management of HCCL should comply with Section 25 A of the Labour Act by organizing monthly Works Council meetings to discuss the best interests of the company including the best possible use of its human, capital, equipment and other resources that maximum productivity and optimum employment standards may be maintained.. In accordance with Section 12A (2) of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01], management of Dete Refractories should immediately stop paying workers’ salaries with tiles and bricks, which are inappropriate considering the circumstances. In the event of failing to raise adequate funds to pay employees’ salaries, mutually beneficial arrangements of other forms of payment in kind should be made with the workers. The IDCZ should consider limiting the number of portfolios under the leadership of an individual in order to facilitate effective oversight and accelerate the recovery of distressed companies, such as Dete Refractories.
NRZ should consider partnering with ICT operators in order to come up with efficient communication solutions for train control purposes. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should expedite the comprehensive alignment of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] to the Constitution in order to guarantee fair and satisfactory conditions of work in the country. The alignment should be done without delay to avoid piecemeal solutions such as the Labour Amendment Act of 2015 which was enacted to address the 2015 countrywide job dismissals.
The above recommendations are to be effected by August 2016.
Conclusion - workers are key assets for the realisation of optimum out puts by organisations which leads to a country’s economy prosperity. Hence, there is urgent need for concerted efforts to restore the dignity of workers because without workers, Zimbabwe’s socio-economic transformation cannot be achieved. Thank you Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. PROF. MOYO): Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th June, 2016.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. PROF. MOYO): Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 43 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 44 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 1, 2016]
Forty-Fourth Order read: Resumption of debate on the Second
Reading of the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill [H.B. 1, 2016].
Question again proposed.
HON. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I just want to acknowledge and say that this Bill is a very powerful Bill and I will begin from where I left off.
Other Issues Raised by the Public
Members of the public complained that the publicity was not adequate and urged Parliament to look for better ways to inform the people of public hearings. People from the rural areas said they do not have access to newspapers and chances of seeing an advertisement are minimal.
Lack of copies of the Bill and the Constitution was raised. People were not able to contribute meaningfully because they did not know the issues. They urged Parliament to make enough copies and to distribute them in advance. Parliament was also urged to start advertising public hearings two week before the event.
THE COMMITTEE’S OBSERVATIONS AND
The Committee expressed disappointment that Members of the
Committee were not involved in the preparations of the public hearings on the Bill because the Executive did not give Parliament enough time to consult. This resulted in the Administration of Parliament acting on behalf of the Committee by coming up with the itineraries and suggesting dates for the public hearings and dates for Committee meetings. Although the Committee went ahead with the advice and instructions from the Administration of Parliament, in future the Committee urges the Executive to take Parliament business seriously and give the Committee enough time to consult.
Therefore, in relation to the above, Parliament was not given enough time to make necessary arrangements like sourcing for funds, advertising, consulting the public and looking for venues for the hearings. The whole process was rushed and the Committee wonders why suddenly the Executive was in a hurry to come up with the Bill considering that the Constitution was done in 2013 and the Committee has been asking for the alignment of local government laws for some time. The Committee also observed that there was poor publicity of the public hearings and members of the public complained that they did not receive copies of the Bill and the Constitution. The Committee urges Parliament to start advertising about two weeks before the event and to find a way of circulating copies of the Bill in advance. The Minister is encouraged to consult as much as possible regarding the independence of the Tribunal in order for the process to be transparent.
In Section 157 A (2), the Committee noted that there were some amendments made to the Bill to the effect that Judicial Service
Commission was substituted by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
In Section 157 A (5), amendments are also to the effect that the Law Society of Zimbabwe and Civil Service Commission are the ones nominating or appointing members or alternates to the Independent Tribunal. The report presented was based on the information gathered on the first draft Bill that was circulated in May 2016.
HON. CROSS: Madam Chair, it is three years since we adopted the new Constitution of Zimbabwe and one of the most fundamental principles enunciated by the new Constitution is the principle of devolution of power away from Central Government to local authorities that have been democratically elected. I will just quote one sentence from the Preamble – There must be devolution of power and responsibilities to lower tiers of Government in Zimbabwe. In part 1, in
264, it states that, “wherever appropriate, Government powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out their responsibilities efficiently and effectively.” In Section 2, it says, “the objectives of the devolution of Government and responsibilities to provincial metropolitan councils and local authorities are” and here I quote again, Madam Speaker,
- “To give powers of Local Government to the people and to enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them.
- To promote democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent Government in Zimbabwe as a whole and finally;
- To recognise the right”, these are strong words Madam Speaker,
“the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development”
Madam Speaker, the principle of devolution is a foundation principle of many successful countries. If we look at the dramatic changes in Rwanda, one of the key principles in Rwandese evolution from a state in crisis, to a developmental State that is growing rapidly today; one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, is the fact that they have devolution as a basic policy – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members order please.
HON. CROSS: They have devolution, the principle of devolution of power. If we look at the Kenyan Constitution, they have devolved power to 57 local authorities and 70% of the revenue of Government is devolved to local authorities for local expenditure. If we look at any other developed country in the world, whether it is the United States, Britain or Germany, the principle of devolution of power to local authorities is a fundamental tenet. I cannot imagine a situation where the democratically elected Mayor of London could be removed from his position by the Minister of Local Government in Britain – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. CROSS: Madam Speaker, this Bill has one job in mind and
that is to give the Minister, powers that were stripped from him in the constitutional process. Under the present Local Government Act, both of them, he has the power to suspend and remove councillors and councils. He has the power to appoint a Commission to run those local authorities. He has exercised this power no less than 14 times since the MDC Government took control of local authorities in 2000.
On these 14 occasions, he has often replaced democratic elected councils with Commissions as he has done in Gweru and in the case of Harare, a Commission run the City of Harare, which contains a third of the population of Zimbabwe and is the largest metropolitan centre in Central Africa, ran it for two years without any cognisance to the democratic rights of the people in that City.
Madam Chair, I do not want to make this long, otherwise we are going to be here all night. Let me just say this, that the future of this country is not going to be found in Mberengwa; it is going to be found in the cities – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - It is the cities that generate our GDP. If we have a look at South Africa, 60% of the
GDP of South Africa is generated in Gauteng. That means 60% of the revenue to Government is generated by Gauteng. I would imagine the percentage for Zimbabwe for Harare is even greater. Harare
Metropolitan Council consists of five cities. Chitungwiza’s population today is over two million; the population of Harare is over three million. If we take the combined population of the five cities, we are approaching six million people Madam Chair, that is 50% of the population of Zimbabwe.
The Government of this area, under the new Constitution, is represented by the elected councillors in that area. The Mayor of Harare is the Chairman of the Metropolitan Council; he is the premier of the Metropolitan Council. Madam Chair, when I flew in to Cape Town the other day, the picture on the wall of the Cape Town Airport was not that of Jacob Zuma, it was that of Helen Zille because Cape Town is a D.A.
managed province of South Africa and the situation is – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, let us have order
HON. CROSS: Madam Chair, the point I am making is that, I cannot imagine a scenario in South Africa where the Minister of Local Government would have the power to suspend the Mayor of Cape Town under no circumstances, no matter how justified. It will be left to the people to decide who is going to be the Mayor of Cape Town. This Bill is not fulfilling the mandate of Government to align the laws of Zimbabwe to the new Constitution. It does not do that in any sense, in fact, I want to say to my colleagues on both sides of the House, that in my view, this actually subverts the Constitution. It represents an attempt to subvert the principles which were agreed during COPAC. The power to suspend is represented by the desire to actually control these local authorities for partisan purposes.
Now, I will refer to the suspension today, the arrest today of the Mayor of Harare. I just want to point out to members that the first suspension of the Mayor of Harare by this Minister was done without recourse to the courts. After 45 days, no substantiated charges were raised against him and I personally am completely satisfied that he has no charges to answer, whatsoever. The Mayor of Harare has 30 years of experience in the financial world, he is a top flight executive, and he is a man of considerable integrity. When he resumed work after 45 days, he was in the office for 24 hours and then the Minister illegally, in my view and unconstitutionally, again suspended him for 45 days. In fact, the Minister conveyed the view to the Mayor in a private conversation that if necessary he would suspend him repeatedly until 2018.
When the Mayor of Harare appeared in the High Court today, the High Court ruled that his suspension was illegal. He walked out of that court and walked onto the streets and was immediately arrested. Now Mr. Speaker, I need to know - how did the arresting authorities know that he was going to win his case? How did they know where he was going to be and why was he arrested immediately after this event? The
Minister has assured me this afternoon that he knows nothing about this
- I do not believe him. I believe that in fact, this is carefully managed, manipulated and it is a bankruptcy to this Bill here in this House. I would not be surprised if the Minister does not stand up in this House and make allegations about Bernard Manyenyeni. Mr. Speaker, I spoke to members of the Corruption Commission this morning and the Commissioners have told me that the allegations against him involve the supply of chemicals to urban councils. I want to categorically deny this allegation here this afternoon. Right now, the Mayor of Harare, the most senior citizen in the City of Harare, the man responsible for the welfare fifty percent of the population of Zimbabwe is in Avondale Police Station cells.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: On a point of order. The Hon.
Member is now interfering the with the court’s process and it is sub judice.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): The
case is not yet in court.
HON. CROSS: I want to inform this House of these events and I understand that the Anti Corruption Commission was formed 12 years ago. In 12 years they have not made a single arrest, they have not had a single conviction for corruption. You mean to tell me that in fact no cases of corruption have been brought to the Commission over that period of time? If the Mayor is found not guilty on these allegations, I personally am going to demand the resignation of the entire Commission because I think this is a politically inspired action and it is merely a backdrop to what we see in this House today. We have violated our rules, we have violated the Constitution. I want to inform the Minister that we have taken the whole Act to the Constitutional Court. Tomorrow morning, we will lodge an urgent court application to have this entire charade set aside by the Court.
Apart from these fundamental issues, I want to debate the following issues as far as the Bill itself is concerned. First and foremost, the Constitution calls for the establishment of an independent tribunal.
My understanding of independent tribunal is one that does not report to Hon. Kasukuwere. That is my understanding. When you have a tribunal which is selected by the Minister, paid by the Minister, whose secretarial services are provided by the Minister and the Minister can dismiss any member of the tribunal at anytime at his own will, you do not have an independent tribunal. It is a complete violation of the Constitution and I am certain that when we eventually get our day in court, and this has been before the courts for two months without a court date being set, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Constitutional Court will back us on this issue. Furthermore, because we are impatient to see these Bills amended so that they will be brought into line with the Constitution, I hope and trust that our Judges will knock down all the clauses in the Urban Councils and Rural District Councils Act that are unconstitutional today, and they are many.
The second point is that the control extended to remuneration of the council – now if you pay someone to do something and you determine his remuneration, believe me, you control him. This is totally unacceptable. I want this House, if we are going to pass this Bill, to determine the remuneration of the tribunal and not the Minister. I think it is absolutely a fundamental principle. There is no question that the secretarial services provided to the tribunal will be critical in the exercise of its mandate. The fact that the Minister wants his Ministry to provide the secretariat when he in fact is the accuser in the matter, he is the prosecutor and this is simply unacceptable. We must demand as a House and I am glad that Hon. Zindi has in fact given a very balanced report from the public hearings and I want to commend her for that. I notice that this was one of the issues raised by the Committee.
How can the Minister have the power to remove a member of the tribunal once it is appointed? It should be more like the dismisal of a judge, these people have a constitutional responsibility, they should not be subject to ministerial directive or control. I think it is essential if we are going to have an independent tribunal.
The last thing that I want to say is to refer to the constant disruption of democratic councils. If we take Gweru for example, we have won two cases in the High Court and I asked the Minister of Justice, is it the policy of this Government to allow Ministers to continually appeal these decisions to higher courts. Gweru Municipality is in the Supreme Court at the moment. It is costing Government thousands of dollars and it is costing us thousands of dollars. It is completely futile because the first two orders by the High Court were absolutely clear. He acted unconstitutionally. He had no mandate to do so. In Bulawayo, the High Court judge ordered our council to go back to work. When they went back to work they were locked out of their offices. This is bizarre. Is this a constitutional state or what? Does the rule of law apply here and what is involved?
Before I wind up, I want to say this abuse of central Government powers over local authorities must stop. It is the Minister’s responsibility to produce to this House a Bill which will align the Urban Councils Act, the Rural District Councils Act and the Town and Country Planning Act to the new Constitution. I suggest to him that rather than wasting our time with this futile and unconstitutional exercise today, he should get on with his job and amend the Local Government Acts properly.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice on the issue of the Local Government Amendment Bill. I am here to support the person who is seeking this amendment to the Bill and the drafter of the Bill. I do not believe that I will take ten minutes.
The issue of local authorities should be looked at carefully. Corruption is rife in local councils. I am the President of the Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Councils Workers Union and I know a lot of things. Hon. Kasukuwere is not the first one to suspend councillors. Even ZANU PF councillors such as Chidhau and others were suspended for misbehaving. Today, if someone has been suspended, why should we then say they should not be suspended because they are one of your own?
Hon. Speaker, in the house where I live we have equal rights, my wife and myself, but there is a head of the house. These equal rights do not apply to all and sundry. It is not proper that the Minister should not be more seniour than councils or superintend over councils. He should superintend over councils, he should superintend over mayors and if a mayor has misbehaved the mayor should be expelled. If councils have erred, they should be dismissed.
I support the Minister’s draft. Why I am saying so is because I heard about Rwanda, Congo and Kenya, but in Germany, mayors are subjected and are expelled or dismissed by Ministers. Why should Zimbabwe be an exception? Those that support the opposition parties, not in Zimbabwe - but all over Africa, in their own countries, they do very well, but they tell us what not to do. They say that mayors should not be dismissed when they have the power to dismiss their own. I say no, I do not believe that this is proper.
*HON. CHIDAKWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. A lot of the people who were speaking were talking about the dismissal of the Mayor and they were not given the chance, so this is what he is talking about. Are we here to pass a law that deals with one person?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
You are overruled. I have given him the floor. I have ruled that there is no point of order. He is talking about international practice. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order. Please be quiet.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: The issue of the Minister giving people money, let me tell you Mr. Speaker, our judges and the lower courts, they are the magistrates. They are paid by the Government, but they do not care that they are paid by the Government. They give rulings. Today, Hon. Cross has disclosed that the matter has been dealt with, it has been heard in court, but the people who presided over the case did not bear in mind that they are paid by the Government. No judge will say because they are paid by the Government, if Hon. Chinotimba has stolen because he is from ZANU-PF party, then let me not apply the law properly. That is not correct. People who offer a service are paid and they need to be paid properly and they will do their job professionally.
The Minister has no money in his pocket. The money belongs to the Government; the money belongs to the Ministry. If a Ministry is given some money, it is the Ministry and not the Minister. It is the Ministry that the Minister superintends over. The Ministry has accounting officers and so on. If people have been elected, this is not the first time. We have NECs in the industries. When the workers and the employees have differences, they will look for an independent arbitrator that is called by the NEC. They do not care who pays the piper. They apply their minds to the issue.
It is the same with the Electoral Commissioner. If he had been elected, if they had been given a job, they run those offices although they are paid by Government. They do not make rulings that are in line with Government wishes. They look at the law. The Minister should look at people that are professional and they should have rules that should guide them in dealing with enquiries. It should not be the duty of
Parliament to look for the people who deal with this tribunal. The Minister and a Member of Parliament are the same. They are all legislators. He comes from Mt. Darwin where he represents the people, the same applies to me. So, we are one and the same. The Minister should be given his powers.
We have heard that, I do not know, when they say the communal lands or in the rural areas, they do not want to see development because the people in towns are better than those in the rural areas. I strongly object to that notion. Hon. Speaker, I should have called for a point of order. This is akin to treating rural dwellers as second rate citizens or that the people in towns cause them to lose. If they had six million, they should have won. That is not correct. There are very few people in the urban centers. They represent a few people.
The crux of the matter is that with regards to the issue of finance in terms of local Government, a local authority should not have 90 bank accounts whilst it is failing to pay its employees. What is the meaning of this? How can they have 90 accounts, one with 10c, 40c and the like when workers are not being paid?
I am saying that the Minister should be given power– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - The Minister should be given power to superintend over the operations. What I am in agreement with the opposition…
*HON MAONDERA: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir. We have observed that he has spent a lot of time on the floor. How many minutes are remaining? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - *HON CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker, I had said I would not spend 10 minutes. I said so. I had indicated that I would speak for 10 minutes.
My considered view is that as an individual Hon. Member is that the Bill should be passed. I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much
Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand to speak to the amendments to the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill. I want to deal with it in two ways. I want to deal with it from both the process and content point of view. Mr. Speaker, it is most unfortunate that we had to spend two days stuck on issues of process. I think if we had been more careful about our process, we may actually have had enough time to deal with the principles of this Bill. Of all the Bills, issues of local government are the things that affect people on a day-to-day basis, particularly women. This is because local governance has a real impact on the day-to-day living of the generality of women in terms of energy, school or health.
I think I am quite sad and I was withdrawn in the past two days because I thought it was quite unfortunate that we got stuck on issues of process Mr. Speaker. However, let me raise the issues that I think are problematic around the issue of process. The first one is that when the Minister raised the issue around this particular amendment, I thought he was going to speak to why he confined himself to one aspect of the Bill and not the other aspects of that Bill. I think he still could have done that without necessarily bringing a Bill that speaks to a local government amendment - as if he is amending the entire local government. When we did the General Laws Amendment Bill; that was the opportunity for which the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs would have brought this particular aspect that the Minister wants to deal with.
If the Minister is saying his major problem at this point is the issue of corruption, he would have taken one aspect that was going to address the lacuna in the law, through the General Laws Amendment Bill so that when we get into the Local Government Amendment, we were going to deal with principles and issues that are involved in it. I think it is unfortunate that we find ourselves in that situation. However, I think it also speaks to the issues around how Government works because if there has been enough consultation on what is important at any given time, that issue would have been dealt with.
Mr. Speaker Sir, once again, I wish to raise an issue of process which should have been avoided. Part of the emotions and anger that you are seeing, arise from people who felt that they were being left out in the consultation process. I want to speak about what happened around Matebeleland South and North. Even from a Parliamentary point of view, before I even move to an Executive point of view; it is unfortunate that it took a lot of lobbying and arguments to bring in things that are basic. Section 18 in our Constitution provides about fair regional representation. You cannot have a whole list of where you are going to conduct public hearings and leave two provinces namely Matebeleland
North and South.
What is particularly sad for those who were part of the constitutional process, we know that the context around issues of local government and devolution were more spoken about in those provinces. Therefore, to come with a Local Government Bill which you think you can have and have a conversation, and deliberately leave a particular group, is problematic. You then go into problems where people will now say, you are discriminating us on the basis of where I come from. If you think you can have three public hearings in Mashonaland East and without shame, you think it is alright to not even have one in
Matebeleland North and South is problematic.
If the Minister sits here and hears the comments that were coming from Matebeleland North and South, he needs to understand that what was underlining the anger was the issue that you had shown that group of people that they did not matter in the issues of governance. When you come here and one has a problem in engaging in a process, it is borne out of the other issue that are being brought in that – I raised the issue of process in that you cannot have a good outcome out of a wrong process.
Mr. Speaker, I know that in terms of numbers and voting, the Bill will probably pass. We know that it is a foregone conclusion, but I think what is important is that; let us learn that the development of a people and a nation comes out of the ability and understanding of everybody thinking that they are part of the governance process. Yes you can win by numbers, but you may also lose by loosing those who could be working with you in the process. I will speak on that issue because I want to go on to the issue that the Minister raised, that of corruption. I know that this issue is being thrown back and forth because people are upset and angry.
However, let us assume – let me humour the Minister; let us assume that in all genuineness, indeed he wants to deal with the issue of corruption. Hon. Minister you will not address corruption as a person and as an individual. You will address corruption because the community is with you. As it is right now, it does not matter who is being fingered for corruption. You can arrest that particular individual and you could be right. However, in the minds of somebody in the street, they will always think that, that person is being persecuted because it has not come from the communities.
If you read Section 264, which deals with devolution, I think it is the underlying principle of what we are talking about on local government. I am glad that the Minister and I are still trying to learn what law is. He will understand this because we probably both failed. If you read Chapter 14 on devolution, it is the only other provision that has a preamble. You will know Hon. Minister, that if you are doing Statutory Interpretation, which we both failed. If you find that in a particular provision…
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga having been addressing the gallery.
THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Member,
address the Chair.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I am sorry, he probably
passed, but I failed. If we go to that Chapter 14, all the other Chapters do not begin with a preamble. This one begins with a preamble because it was important to underline why that particular provision was critical and important. If you allow me Mr. Speaker, it says; “Whereas it is desirable to ensure: (a) the preservation of national unity in Zimbabwe and the prevention of all forms of disunity and secessionism; (b) the democratic participation in government by all citizens and communities of Zimbabwe; and (c) the equitable allocation of national resources…”
Mr. Speaker Sir, what I wanted to bring was the issue of the desirability of national unity. What you saw in the last two days, does not show a desirability of national unity. It speaks to a nation that is disunited and it is unfortunate that what you saw in here typifies what you saw during the public hearings. That you had violence at public hearings is an indication of our lack of creating a unity in bringing people together. Mr. Speaker, I am saying so because, like I said, we may spend time here, we may go and vote or do anything, we may actually celebrate at the end of the day but the question that everyone should take home is; is this going to facilitate national unity or is it providing for disunity? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Having said that Mr. Speaker, I am imploring the Hon. Minister because I hoped he was going to do it in the Second Reading.
I am imploring the Hon. Minister to speak in very clear terms, what it is that he intends to do over the subject around devolution. If he does not do that, it is going to be an empty victory in this House. People out there will not understand what this is all about. Like I said, even if I humour him, and believe that he is doing it in essence and genuinely because he believes there is a problem, no one will buy into that particular process. So, I am hoping that when he gives his response, he will be able to say to us and I am not sure how he intends it. I am not sure whether he is going to bring another amendment specifically to deal with devolution.
I know that the answer we have had all this time has been that there is no money. However, I also hope that the Minister will explain to me what money is being looked for in terms of creating the provincial councils, which brings together probably once a month or quarterly both the Members of Parliament, the councillors and everybody else to sit in a room and discuss issues. I do not want somebody who is corrupt. I have been fighting with the City of Harare, for example, about paying rates. So, I am genuinely interested in being governed properly but I want a system and structure to which I can go and represent my issues so that they are dealt with. I am not sure how much it would cost to create that provincial council. I am sure those people that are part of the provincial councils that were elected would love to come and be able to do their work. It is ridiculous Mr. Speaker, that people that were elected and announced to have been elected are still sitting at home and people still think it is okay. It is wrong at every particular level so I am hoping that when he stands up, he will be able to explain to us.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, I just want to raise an issue which I think is an issue of technicality and he may assist me in understanding it. The tribunal is supposed to deal with both rural and urban councils. We have now a split Ministry; we have an urban local authority and rural. So, what happens with those? Where is Hon. Ncube in this particular process? Like I said, I could be wrong but at a technical level, I am not sure. Around that tribunal, I raised the issues of fair regional representation. I am hoping that when we then have Members that sit on that tribunal, those members are representative of all the regions and are representative of the gender representations because we are not going to be able to have members who represent a particular region and have a particular ethnic thinking around it. That would also be quite problematic. Like I said Mr. Speaker, for me the most unfortunate thing around this whole thing is that it has taken all the smaller issues and actually refused to deal with the elephant in the living room because this is supposed to be a Bill on devolution. That we do not have devolution just makes it impossible for us to engage with it both from a process point of view and from an outcome content point of view. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. MATUKE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to make my contribution on the Bill raised by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. We are very grateful for the
Minister for introducing this Bill. I have a lot of experience through working for local authorities or councils where I worked for 15 years. I know pretty well how they operate. I have realised that the Council Chairperson and the Mayor run these councils as if they are running personal businesses. The Bill which has been raised by the Minister is a solution to that because it is aimed at helping the general populace.
Local authorities get money from rates and taxes and there are a lot of ways they use to bring these monies to the councils. Unfortunately, the Mayors and Chairpersons of Councils, instead of channeling the funds to the growth of these local authorities or benefit of the public, end up fattening their pockets. They give each other allowances and I can say truly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I think
what we are doing now is quite unfair. We are supposed to maintain the silence that was maintained when Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was actually debating. Order, order! Hon. Chibaya, I will give you the floor if you have got any objection to what is being contributed. Can you resume your debate?
*HON. MATUKE: In order for these local authorities to operate properly, it calls for the Government and the Minister to have control in their operations. We know there are some councils that deliver services to the people because they are led by Mayors who are people conscious but we have other Mayors who, when they handle these positions, take them as personal properties. We have had instances whereby people pay licences and when you look at the roads in those areas, they are full of potholes. Talking of the allowances, the Mayor or the Councillors will be driving three top of the range cars.
When we talk of corruption, some Members are angry because of this Bill as they have also been benefiting from the corrupt activities of these councillors. They know that this Bill has come to seal the loopholes that were giving them benefits. You are defending them by rejecting this Bill because you are benefiting from them.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker, my counterpart here is making very serious allegations that Hon. Members on your left are guilty of corruption by association and that they have been benefiting improperly from Mayors and so on. Those are unsubstantiated and false allegations and I submit that that should be withdrawn. It is unparliamentary to make baseless allegations against Hon. Members of this august House. There is no such evidence. If someone is opposing the Bill, that person is not supporting anyone. We are simply looking at the principles surrounding the Bill in question and not defending anyone. I submit Mr. Speaker Sir that those submissions are unparliamentary and must be withdrawn.
* THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I beg
you, if you used that language whereby you inferred that people are benefiting from corruption, may you please withdraw that statement.
*HON. MATUKE: Mr. Speaker, I would urge both parties; ZANU PF and MDC not to abuse funds from local authorities in a corrupt way. You should not benefit from corruption. My view is that this Bill – (HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, I am the Chair and I
am giving instructions.
*HON. MATUKE: What we intend to do is to develop the country. This country needs to be developed and if you have a Minister who is prepared to fight corruption so that both rural and urban develop from the rates and rents which ratepayers pay, this is an excellent Bill. We have read in the press and we hear of councillors, chairpersons and mayors who pay the salaries to workers which are more than services provided. The money collected is channeled to the salaries and no development is taking place. This is the reason we are thanking the Minister for bringing the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, if we have such mayors and council leaders who do that, they should be fired and the good ones employed but my experience is that most of the councils are failing to take care of the rate payers. Therefore, this is an important Bill, we should be grateful to the Minister so that he fires these people and employs people who are people conscious.
In conclusion, Government can only do well if it is supported by councils, local authorities and parastatals who are upright but if these quasi Government institutions are corrupt, there is no development in the country. Hence, it is essential that the Minister should have such powers to fire errant people.
HON. DR. KEREKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to contribute to this debate where we are …
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order is based on that we are, a multiparty Parliament but why are you only picking on ZANU PF members only, this is bias, if you want to practice this bias, go to the ZANU PF Headquarters and make presentations.
HON. DR. KEREKE: I want to add a voice to this very important motion. The issue at hand is that we ask the question as a Parliament, as a country, do we want to comply with the Constitution and I want to believe the answer is yes, we want to comply with the
Constitution. As it is, this moment, if say a councillor for example in Harare takes a gallon of gasoline and burns the whole Town House, the country has no mechanism to fire that councillor which constitutes to gross misconduct. If we look at a councillor for instance, whether it is by natural deterioration of health or is a result of consumption of narcotic drugs, a councillor loses his mind, he goes mad, going around tearing pieces, currently the Minister has no mechanism of how to retire that councillor. The law provides that where a councillor has been incapacitated physically, through ill health, there is need for them to vacate office.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when you look at the vice of corruption as we speak now, if the Hon. Minister discovers that a number of councillors have corruptly disposed council land, there is no mechanism of how to deal with such malpractices. So, the Bill gives that preamble to say we need to create an enabling piece of legislation of how to deal with glaring situations which require that Government intervenes. There are various forms of lunatic mindsets when you look at how to deal and eradicate corruption, we need a definite law. With that background, I am very pleased that a well meaning Bill has been placed before us. If there are sections which require modification, that cannot stand in taking away the urgent need to close that deficiency in our laws.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when we look at our own judiciary, there are laws that are spelt out on how to deal with areas where there is need for correction. If we go into Government, in individual Ministries, the Public Service Commission has well laid out procedures of how to deal with indiscipline but when it comes to local authorities, there is currently no law which guides Government in dealing with inappropriate contact like abuse of office and incompetence. When you look at what the Bill is simply trying to do, it is trying to conform, to comply with the Constitution. Various Members who have contributed, have asked why the rush. Clearly, I agree with Hon. Cross when he said local councils - urban and rural, affect the economy in many ways. We cannot afford as a country to leave such an important sector, ungoverned by specific laws that would enable the Hon. Minister to correct certain deficiencies.
When we look at the City of Harare Mr. Speaker Sir, it is the domicile of our industry. The City of Harare is resident to the heartbeat of our industry. You go to Bulawayo, we have critical industries that need to be revived. The reason why our industries may take longer than expected to recover is that it is where we have poor service delivery by local authorities. When local authorities are not discharging their duties proficiently, there is need for legal instruments to correct those deficiencies.
There were contributions by earlier presenters that the Bill did not touch on issues of devolution, on areas of provincial councils, etcetera.
Mr. Speaker Sir, that submission pre-supposes that the intention of the Hon. Minister was to create an umbrella amendment to deal with everything else. The objective of this particular amendment is to close a specific urgent gap that is there in our laws. That is to say, how do we deal with the removal from office mayors, councilors and chairpersons, which is critical at the moment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, advocated and she put forward a suggestion for consideration. She indicated that we consider looking at all the provinces and regions and make sure they are represented in the tribunal. My personal view Mr. Speaker Sir, is that a tribunal is simply a body to adjudicate, establish facts and come up with rulings in much the same way as a legitimate court will listen to facts. The accused would present their case, the State would present its case, and then the adjudicating body considers the facts and churns out a verdict. It is not possible to interpret and extrapolate regional balance into every other body.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a tribunal say of three people cannot possibly represent 10 provinces. It would mean the Hon. Minister appointing 10 tribunal members; that would not be practical. Rather geographic balance means in those institutions where it is practical to do so; otherwise one would say we should have 10 magistrates to look at one case to reflect regional balance. That is an extreme case of interpreting regional balance.
The next issue - Hon. Cross indicated that there is no independence as proposed in the Bill. Mr. Speaker Sir, quite to the contrary, there can be no other way to guarantee independence than what is proposed in here.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: On a point of order. I have been sitting and listening very intently and I am just wondering whether the Hon. Member is trying to assist the Minister in his response when he comes forward. I think it is not his role – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – can I be protected Mr. Speaker.
It is not his role to explain one speech after the other. It is the work of the Minister in his response, why is he usurping the Minister’s powers?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Overruled, Hon. Member.
HON. DR. KEREKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The issue of
independence is well represented in the draft as proposed, for two reasons. The first one is that the Hon. Minister, is in no way going to hand pick individuals of his liking but rather, the law society of Zimbabwe has got its own processes. The Zimbabwe Law Society is a creature of statutes that emerged from this Parliament. It is not a creature proposed to becoming from what the Hon. Minister is proposing.
It is very critical for us to understand what the Zimbabwe Law Society is and what they do. Pre-independence 1975 there -about, that is when they constituted the bar which was then restructured in early 1981 there about. Every practicing lawyer in the land is a member of this body and it is created by statutes. Given that here the tribunal is going to be a quasi judicial arm in so far as adjudicating over disputes of this nature is concerned, it is important that the Chairpersons are drawn from the collectivity of the pool of legal minds in Zimbabwe. The governance of the Zimbabwe law Society is such that they would be the best in the country for that matter, to know which bodies, which persons, which specific skills to assign for a given challenging issue at a given local authority.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I also need to mention that the entirely of our country’s judicial services - rather judiciary from regional magistrates to high courts to labour courts right to the apex institution, the Constitutional Court, originate from the Law Society membership. So, the issue of independence, I think that side is well taken care of.
Secondly, the issue concerning Public Service Commission is intended to bring the practical balance outside legal considerations. The Bill contemplates that two persons who have deep knowledge of local governance are also part of the tribunal so that the legal side and the practical side are blend together.
So, I want to end Mr. Speaker, by saying the Bill goes a step further to propose that the Hon. Minister is given an independent pool from which he selects the nominations - from the Zimbabwe Law Society, the Public Service Commission and this enables the independence. The issue about remuneration, all of us here are remunerated from a common port of Government and we are operating as an independent Parliament though we derive our salaries from the Salaries Service Bureau (SSB). Independence does not mean you are not paid or that you work on a pro bono basis. I thank you, Mr. Speaker
Sir and I support the Bill.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker …
HON. MUKUPE: Mr. Speaker on a point of order, could you just clarify for us how many times you are allowed to debate on the same motion. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):
Order, order I cannot hear what he is saying Hon. Members, could you come again Hon. Member?
HON. MUKUPE: Could you clarify for us how many times a Member is allowed to debate on a motion because Hon. Maridadi actually debated on the same motion yesterday. - [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order he has not
debated. I am informed Hon. Maridadi has not debated.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I wish to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government for the very balanced report which captured views from a diversity across the spectrum of our society although there are issues that could have been done better like in Matabeleland North and South. The Portfolio Committee only went there after concerns had been raised.
I want to start my debate by saying that Hon. Minister, the Bill is going to sail through and there is no question about that. The Bill will sail through because Bills have been brought to this House, debated and people seated on your right hand-side of the House have supported the Bill whereas people seated on the left hand-side of the House have objected to Bills. Amendments have been brought, put into that Bill and Bills have sailed through and gone to the President for Presidential assent and have become law. Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the Hon. Minister that the Bill is going to sail through whether people on the left hand-side of the House say yes or no, the Bill will still sail through. I will tell you why I say that.
Mr. Speaker, a man who is 6 ft. 2 and weighs 85 kilogramme, goes out there in Mabvuku, takes a five year old and has sex with that five year old without her consent – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – The rapist has succeeded in raping the five year old but that is not consensual sex but rape. Rape will remain rape - whether you get arrested, convicted or get away with it, rape will remain rape – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] –
The Hon. Minister has brought this Bill. It reminds me when I was a lot younger and following proceedings of this House. One Minister, I do not remember who it was who brought a Bill before this House. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) was then the late Dr. Zvobgo, an intelligent legal mind trained at Harvard. He said, “Minister, the reason we are having problems with your Bill is that you did not put it neatly. You should have put your Bill more neatly and smart. The Hon. Minister should have been smarter and should have put his Bill more neatly, otherwise we would not have spent two days debating issues of process and housekeeping issues.
I urge the Hon. Minister in future - this side of the House is in the minority and can make all the noise we want. A Bill will still sail through if it is sponsored by a Minister. The Minister’s duty is to make sure that he brings things that are clearly and neatly packaged so that we do not waste tax-payer’s money. We are representing people here, we do not come here to make noise but come to pass laws and the Minister must be smart – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. Speaker, local authorities, municipalities and State-owned enterprises are at the core-face of Government service delivery. People talk to Government through local authorities and State enterprises and it is imperative that they be run properly. I totally agree with the Minister that the mischief of corruption in local authorities must be dealt with. I am holding this book by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of Zimbabwe which talks about corruption. All these issues of corruption must be dealt with and not only in local authorities.
Mr. Speaker, allow me to do this; painstakingly I have taken a toothcomb and gone through this report. What I have produced is this three paged document which talks about corruption in Government ministries including the Ministry that is headed by the Hon. Minister I will tell you of the corruption in your Ministry Hon. Minister. Here we go Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, payment made amounting to $11 000 545.00 by Treasury on behalf of the Ministry without supporting documents and this is on Page 181 of the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] - I am dealing with issues of corruption.
Mr. Speaker, no deal note – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order less noise in the House Hon. Members.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, Page 188 of this same
document says that no deal note or investment certificate on investments amounting to $2 000 000.00 and that Ministry is directly under the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
The third issue, Mr. Speaker, – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
interjections.] - I will contextualize it and it is absence of property register. Non submission of valuation certificates, and this is on Pages
200, 206 and 2007, I so submit.
I will go to the other issues. I said earlier, like most of the speakers, that local authorities and State owned enterprises are at the core-face of Government service delivery. Section 301 of our
Constitution talks about allocation of State revenue. For local authorities to operate effectively, Government must allocate a minimum of 5%, so it could be anything above 5%. - a minimum of 5% to local authorities, but that has not been done.
Mr. Speaker, those that know business say that 30% or revenue must go towards recurrent expenditure and that includes salaries; 70% must go to capital. In local authorities, Harare City for example, 80% goes towards recurrent expenditure and mostly salaries. You are not going to be able to sort that out because Government itself, its budget is $4 billion. More than $3.6 billion of that money goes towards recurrent expenditure which is mostly salaries. How do you sort out local authorities when you have failed to sort out the national Government? When you are dealing with a problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear,
hear.] – I am talking about local authorities, it is like going into a household. If there is a problem in the house of drunkenness, and the father comes home drunk, the son who is 18 years comes home drunk, you must first deal with the father. This is because in Shona vanoti panotsika remberi ndopanotsika reshure. You deal with the father and then you deal with the son. You do not deal with the son because the son is not in charge of the household.
So, let us deal with corruption in Government - enough of that Mr. Speaker. I told you that I went through this document with a toothbrush. I want to let you know that in this document that I extrapolated from this report, with Government Ministries or to with accounting officers in our Government, 12 of them - including the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change, all of them have been implicated in corruption.
Mr. Speaker, you cannot want to deal with corruption of the Councillor who has taken US$1 500.00 in sitting allowances when you fail to deal with a Permanent Secretary who has made US$5 million to disappear. That is a travesty of justice, –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- local authorities, Government’s local debt, because
Government’s debt is in two parts. There is local debt and there is international debt. Government debt is about US$1.3 billion. Some of that money was borrowed from local authorities like City of Harare and City of Bulawayo, and I will tell you when that money was borrowed.
Mr. Speaker, when war veterans wanted their gratuities, the Minister of Finance then was Dr. H. Murerwa. Dr. Murerwa was asked by the President to disburse $50 000.00 each to war veterans. His response was that Your Excellency, there is no money and the President said, find it. He went to local authorities to borrow that money. Most of that money has not been returned and that is why most local authorities are limping. I will leave that aside.
Just before the elections in 2013, there was a directive by the
Minister of Local Government, the predecessor of the current Minister. He ordered local authorities to scrap all monies owed to local authorities by people out there. In a stroke of a pen Mr. Speaker, Harare City
Council lost US$600 million in revenue. It will take Harare City Council an entire generation. It will take deliberate action by the Minister and deliberate action by the Government to ensure that City of Harare starts operating again.
This Bill that has been brought by the Minister, as all other members have said, this Constitution came into being in 2013. As Members of Parliament, we have been singing and shouting at the top of our voices, getting purple in the face saying Hon. Ministers should bring Bills to Parliament to align laws and one area that we should have dealt with is the area of devolution. As was said by one speaker, the area of devolution speaks to the unity or lack thereof in this country. Without dealing with the issue of devolution, we have not dealt with issues of unity.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of devolution is more important than all the other issues that this Government can think about. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I am speaking like this because I have the advantage of having a Ndebele mother and I know exactly how she felt about the issue of devolution. She always told me that Matabeleland lagged behind in development because Government took a deliberate policy to sideline Matabeleland North and South. So, that is the mischief that the Minister must deal with. The mischief of devolution and the mischief of bringing development to Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, and the Minister cannot come and tell us that he wants to deal with the issue of corruption...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Less
noise in the House Hon. Members.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Local
Government is a very hard working man and I have a lot of respect for him. But, on this one Minister, you are exerting your energy on the wrong things. This Bill is going to pass as I said, and it is going to be victory for the Minister. Minister you can go and bungee jump and celebrate all you want, but it will be an empty victory. It is like victory to a person who says I have had good sex with a five year old, and they have not been arrested.
In conclusion, this country belongs to 14 million people, and it does not belong to one person. Fourteen million people, most of them represented by Hon. Members across the divide. People have said we want to be consulted. Minister you must consult widely. I know you have ambitions to become President of this country one day, but Minister, you cannot become President of a whole country if you fail to bring a clean Bill. I am not insulting the Minister. Every one of us here can be President. You must be 40 years old, a Zimbabwean and you must be literate. That is what the Constitution says and the Minister qualifies. He is 40 years old, literate and he has ambitions. That is why he is going around making this Bill. He has ambitions. I rest my case. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for the report that she gave us and in my contribution, I want to bring to the attention of the Hon. Members to the provisions of the Constitution that speaks about separation of powers. Our Constitution dictates that there be separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. If you go into the Constitution, it will clearly spell out the tiers of
Government on Chapter One as the National Government, the Provincial and Metropolitan Councils, local authorities, urban and rural. So it states that this is part of the Executive.
In saying this, the Constitution on Section 264 speaks about devolution. Allow me Mr. Speaker to read what the Constitution says in Section 264 (1). It says whenever appropriate, I want to underline the word appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to Provincial and Metropolitan Councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
In the beginning I said that the Executive authority is in Central Government, provincial councils and local authorities. On devolution, it is clear that in doing devolution, there are certain things that have to be taken into consideration and having said that, I want to go to Section 278 which speaks about the removal of Chairpersons. It says that in 278 (1), Mr. Speaker Sir, ‘The seat of mayor, chairperson or councillor of a local authority becomes vacant in circumstances set out in Section 129. If you go to Section 129, it talks about the tenure of seat of Member of
Parliament and (f) says ‘if, without the leave of the Speaker or the President of the Senate’, If you go to Section 278, it says ‘wherever you refer to the Speaker or President of the Senate, in Section 125 you substitute that with ‘Minister’’.
In other words these Sections are acknowledging the role of the Minister in whatever the local authorities are doing. So, when we talk about the removal of councillors and you remove the Minister from that removal process, you are not complying with the Constitution. So, I want to applaud the Minister for bringing the Bill. He is empowered by the very Constitution that we are saying we should uphold because it says when you talk about the removal of a councillor, you go to the
Sections that speak about the removal of MPs and you substitute the Speaker with the Minister. I have referred to the tiers of Government in my earlier presentation to say that you cannot divorce local authorities from Central Government. They are part of Central Government and when we speak about devolution, it speaks about where there is competence and they can carry out the duties efficiently. Those Hon. Members who are doing law know that there are certain rights which are progressive rights. If you look at the Constitution, it is talking about certain provisions being met. In other words it is not a provision that you can work up and say all of a sudden there has to be devolution. There are certain benchmarks that have to be met by the Executive to say that this particular local authority meets the specification that require that the full devolution has to be allowed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to commend the Minister as Hon. Dr. Kereke said, he spoke like a learned colleague, in that he articulated certain provisions and I cannot articulate them any better, but I want to applaud the Minister for bringing the Bill. It is better late than never. I thank you.
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir
for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution. Let me first
start by thanking the Minister for bringing this Local Government Laws Amendment Bill to Parliament. In fact, I am part of the Committee that went across the country soliciting for information on the Bill. But, like what our report has highlighted, the Bill that we were working with is the first draft and this first draft had issues that we were also in dispute with. There was an importation of the Judicial Service Commission and this is one of the issues that we were concerned with.
The views of the public came out as a result of such importations. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that members of the public were not properly informed about the Bill and their views were also not informed. When we saw the Second Draft of the Bill, which imported the Law Society of Zimbabwe as a function and the Civil Service Commission as a function, we noted that the two issues that were cardinal, the fact that the Minister was being given too many powers, and the second one that the Tribunal might not be independent, were satisfied. So, at the end of the day we have noted that the Bill as amended by the Minister is in proper order, it has been well couched. Personally, as a Member of Parliament for my Constituency, I support this Bill and I would like to thank the Minister.
I thank you.
HON. SAVANHU: Hon. Speaker, I want to contribute to this very important Bill by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National housing, Hon. Kasukuwere. I want to refer this House to
Section 119 (2) of the Constitution which says, ‘Parliament has power to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution are upheld and that the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest’. So, this is what the Minister of Local Government has done.
If you go to Section 278, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing is in compliance of that Section.
Subsection 2 states, ‘An Act of Parliament must provide the establishment of an independent tribunal to exercise the function of removing from office mayors, chairpersons and councillors’, but on the grounds that are stipulated here – that of gross incompetence, abuse of office, and inability to perform the function of that office. So Mr.
Speaker Sir, I want to support the Bill. I want to say that any delay of passing this Bill is a direct encouragement and creation of fertile ground for corruption and abuse of office in the local authorities and abuse of office by public officers having held those positions without any code of conduct.
Mr. Speaker Sir, even in Industry and Commerce, they have codes of conduct to govern the operations of their companies. Section 9 of the
Constitution states that, “the State must adopt and implement policies and legislation to develop efficiency, competence, accountability and transparency.” So, the Hon. Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing has complied with the sections of the Constitution. I support that the Bill be passed without any amendment.
I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. ZVIDZAI: Mr. Speaker ,I wish to thank you for this opportunity to speak on this Bill. I would like to say from the onset that the passing of this Bill today as will happen, is one of the saddest things that will happen to our local governance here. This Bill is very much anti-the people of Zimbabwe. This Bill today, the only person who will celebrate, he has walked out; is the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. He has sort to have as much power as possible in the administration and control of local authorities and it is very sad.
It is said because power corrupts, he has got power already, he is allowed to coordinate local authorities and provincial councils, and he has got power. He seeks to have absolute powers through the architecture of this particular Bill. The Constitution requires an independence tribunal so that we can dilute the power of the Minister.
Vamwe vachapembera n’anga inobata mai muno umu.
Mr. Speaker, what does the Minister want to do with all this power? He wants to speedily stampede us into concluding this so that he can line up his pockets because absolute power corrupts. I have got personal experience in this particular sector. When the Minister demands for so much power so that he can dismiss Mayors and replace with his own appointed Commissions, it is because he wants to use those Commissions for corrupt purposes to loot, to steal and enjoy improperly from the sweat of the people of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister has laboured to say I want to deal with corruption but I want to tell you this. What the Minister wants to do is to centralise corruption; that is what the Minister is seeking to do. He seeks to own the totality of corruption in all the local authorities in this country. He wants to make sure that he has got a say in all the tenders in Harare and to make sure that he can take charge of Easy Park and line up his pockets. He wants all the aluminium sulphate business in Harare, we wants all the line business in Harare. He is actually busy preparing himself to the biggest tender entrepreneur in this country and we must not allow that. The people of Zimbabwe in their totality across the political divide must know that this is what the Minister is trying to do. The Minister wants to make sure that he goes to Bikita and dictates how the tenders for the road from Mukaro to Chikuku will be done and who does it and it will be him doing that.
Mr. Speaker, while colleagues might celebrate that they are getting their way through this Bill, the people of Zimbabwe in Mt Darwin should frown upon the Minister for refusing to put together a law that will entitle them to 5% of the national budget, this is what he must be stuck with. How do you take money from central Government to the people, he is failing to see the importance of that. He would be rather be looking at how to chase around...
HON. KEREKE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):
What is your point of order?
HON. KEREKE: Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order is that it is common cause that when a member is debating, you cannot make scurrilous criminal allegations on another member or an Hon. Minister. The Hon. Member has made very disturbing statements that are not parliamentary to say the Minister wants to centralise power to line up his pockets through corruption – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to be heard.
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):
Order Hon. Members.
HON. KEREKE: Freedom of speech, the right to free speech does not allow a member to trample on the rights of another. That is not the Constitution. So the Hon. Member must withdraw his obtuse statement.
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, there is
an allegation that you allege that the Minister would want to centralise corruption. I think that is unparliamentary can you withdraw that statement.
HON. ZVIDZAI: I withdraw my statement Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to emphasise that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, less noise in the
House, Hon. Members.
HON. ZVIDZAI: Mr. Speaker, a people centred Bill would have dealt with the facilitation so that local authorities throughout the country would enjoy. For this past budget, they would have allotted between themselves or among themselves something like US$200m. They are being denied this by the Minister not dealing with the issues of devolution. So, the issues of devolution are not academic, they are real issues, they are food they are bread and butter issues for the people out there. The Minister has to deal with those as a matter of urgency. Mr. Speaker, I also want to talk to issues of process and particularly deal with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and think that as a House we must frown upon professionals who are required to exercise their professional quality for the benefit of the nation and yet they forget about the professionalism and deal with political expedience. The three members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee who believe that they do not understand what is independent, Mr. Speaker, I attempted to understand the dictionary meaning of independent and it means people being able to make a decision without due influence. In this particular case, the way this tribunal is architectured by the Minister leaves very little to be connected with independence. The Minister wants to appoint the chairperson. He wants to dismiss the chairperson at his will. He wants to determine the remuneration. He wants to do so many things that will compromise the independence of this tribunal. Why does he want that? I fear to get back to where I was. There certainly is an interest which is not related to the people of Zimbabwe in this particular approach.
The Parliamentary Legal Committee has failed dismally to advise this House appropriately and I know the three of them are all people who are facing some challenges in their party. I am sure they did what they did to make sure that the Commissar does not affect their ability. They are compromised. They should have recused themselves even from this process. It is very sad.
If you look at the Bill, you will also notice that it is so fatally incomplete. You do not understand whether there is still staff in that
Ministry. You do not understand whether there is still a lawyer in that
Ministry. I forgive the Minister and I believe he is busy trying to be learned. For example, in Gweru, the Minister went out there and fired everybody and such an eventuality can happen again. Do we have provisions in the Bill to say in the eventuality of him as he is likely going to do fire, the whole of Mutare, Bulawayo and what will happen? It is sad. This Bill needs to be beefed up so that we do not end up with a vacuum. In Gweru, we have a vacuum already because the Minister has illegally forced a commission which is not allowed at law. The Minister is behaving very dangerously.
Madam Speaker, I have recommendations particularly around the issue of the independent tribunal. I have got no quarrel whatsoever with respect to what the Minister should be able to do as he manages his purview but let us respect the Constitution. Let us respect the supreme law of the land. This is what three million Zimbabwean people said they want, a devolved state, an independent tribunal and how do you measure. The Minister should not be able at all to remove any member of the tribunal once constituted. The Minister should not be anywhere near the decisions of who would be in that tribunal. He must sit in Mukwati Building while it is happening in Mutare, very far away from his influences for it to be independent.
There is another absurdity in that Bill. The Minister requires that if the tribunal finds the mayor liable for removal and recommends removal, if they do not remove the mayor, then the tribunal will be required to pay. The council will say to the tribunal, you have done this process, and we have paid you but we need a refund. This in fact is trying to force the tribunal to pre-decide what the tribunal should do – that the end result must be the firing of the councillor or mayor.
Lastly, what the Minister is trying to do is to try to create a relationship between the three spheres of Government, namely central Government, provincial councils and the local authorities. That is what he attempts to do but he completely forgets that the relationship is tripartite. It is not a relationship only between central Government and local authorities. It has got to be a relationship between all spheres of Government, central Government, provincial councils and local authorities. He fails to do that. What will be the relationship between the local authority and the provincial council for example as these cases of impropriety happens? Does the provincial council have a role? Why is the Minister oblivious of the existence of that additional tier of Government which has got a role to play?
In view of these contributions I have made, I think this House must agree that this is a very bad law. It is an ugly law. It has never happened in this House that people will haggle and argue and shout at each other and get divided, we are more divided now than when we got in here. Thanks to this very ugly, unlawful, unconstitutional, inhumane piece of nonsense.
*HON. MAHOKA: Let me start by thanking the mover of this Bill and I am very grateful because when you look at people on both sides of the House, they are people who have been consulting and referencing from their Constitutions since afternoon and the aim is for the development of our country, Zimbabwe. This is really what is necessary in the development of the country. Hon. Members have managed to stay up to this time because they want to contribute to the development of their country.
I am also glad to say that both sides of the House are in agreement on the progress which will be brought by this Bill and this is shown by the way they are debating. My plea is that whatever the two sides have said, they have come to the agreement that this is an excellent piece of legislation. Madam Speaker, I have never seen such a situation whereby Members on both sides of the House agree that this is a nice Bill. The reason why they are all saying it is a good Bill, it is because it is fighting corruption.
*HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order. I do not know why Hon. Mahoka is saying we are in agreement. Is she talking on behalf of the whole House or her particular party.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mahoka is simply
introducing her debate and she will clarify as we go along. Madam Speaker, before you came in when you were out, people understood what we were saying. We are saying, when the previous Speaker was on the Chair, he understood and was in agreement with the proceedings of debate in this House. We are asking you, Madam Speaker, not to change and continue from where he left off because Hon. Mahoka is saying we are in agreement - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – You have heard what she has said and yet you are saying that she is still to make her point - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Now, Hon. Member, please
listen. The Hon. Member is just introducing a statement or is still making her introduction and I interfere, is that okay - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MUNENGAMI: The statement that she has just said is wrong. She was saying something which is not true and it is your duty as the Speaker, to correct that. That is why when someone says something wrong, you always say withdraw your statement, even before that person has finished.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are
saying what was happening before I was here and now, what I am telling you is that, I will only take into account and be accountable to what has been said during my presence. What was said before me, I did not hear.
I thank you.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue that we are discussing is on corruption. The majority of us have agreed that we do not want corruption. The majority of the Members here are not for corruption. So, the majority is happy about this law that is being amended.
The law is not crafted by political parties. The Members of
Parliament that are here, in terms of the quorum, craft the laws. I have observed what has happened here Madam Speaker, and I have observed that the Members of Parliament are happy with the law which is being proposed because it intends to remedy the mischief of corruption.
Minister, I am quite grateful that you have clearly looked at issues and you have shown that you do not tolerate corruption. We have all agreed that corruption is a bad cancer which should be eradicated. I have observed that the majority of the members who are still here this evening shows that their intention is to pass laws that enable Zimbabwe to prosper. We should be grateful for that.
Hon. Maridadi spoke very well on the issue of corruption …-
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
*HON. MAHOKA: He supported it very well because corruption should be eradicated - [AN HON. MEMBER: Musadaro Chirandu.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are allowed to make
reference. I am the Honourable Presiding Officer, not Chirandu -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. MAHOKA: Madam Speaker, every member was elected
to represent their constituency, hence everyone perused to see if there were omissions by the Minister so that maybe, there may be additions. The majority are in agreement. It has been observed that the law, as crafted by the Minister, was well done. Thank you very much for bringing such a Bill. We are happy about such a Bill.
Madam Speaker, we should just ensure that we get to the bottom of this and conclude this matter. I do not believe that after I have finished speaking, not more than three or so members will speak. I say so because the majority of the members have already spoken on this Bill. What has pleased me, Madam Speaker, is that the majority of the speakers who have spoken when these television crews were here - well, if I show you the messages that are coming from the other side, I have messages to show that they are very happy.
They have sent a message to show and express their gratitude that what the Minister has done is a good thing because the Minister has thought of eradicating corruption. Minister, we thank you. You have decided that Zimbabwe should rise from the ashes. These are the bread and butter issues that the Hon. Member was talking about. Our children are going to be well fed. Well done Minister. Kudos to you.
Madam Speaker, I am grateful because such things, such excellence in performance is rare. Let me thank the President, His Excellency Cde. Mugabe who rightfully chose Ministers. The President did very well and I would like to congratulate him for that…- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – …because the Bill that has been brought to Parliament has let people spend the whole evening here with a view to take Zimbabwe further and that it be prosperous.
*HON. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We thank Hon. Mahoka for her words that the President, Cde. Mugabe did well by appointing Ministers. Is she saying that, when she once said that the Vice President is a duck, she was lying in line with the words that she has spoken today - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Hon.
Member, what you have said is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the debate.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Madam Speaker for the protection. Let me conclude by saying that the Hon. Members who are in here, I thank them for this Bill that has been passed - well done. Such
Bills should come to Parliament. We should spend our evenings here. That is why we were elected by our electorate to come here and to ensure that we make laws for the good governance of Zimbabwe. I thank you for everything that you have contributed and lastly, I thank the Minister and urge him to remain steadfast so that Zimbabwe can scale dizzy heights. Whilst others demonise us, Zimbabwe will be moving forward. I thank you Minister.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. Speaker, I am not ashamed to stand before this august House and congratulate the Hon. Minister for bringing this Bill to this House. I am also not ashamed, Hon. Speaker, to stand up and support this Bill. This is one of those Bills that have come before this august House which has generated a lot of interest. Apart from generating a lot of interesting, I have become very suspicious Madam Speaker, to note that …- [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we hear the Hon.
Member who is debating.
HON. MANDIPAKA: There are others from the opposite side…
- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please lower down
your whispers, we want to hear the debate.
HON. MANDIPAKA: I will retake it Hon. Speaker. I am saying, this is one of such Bills that have come before Parliament and has generated a lot of interest. On the same note, it has unsettled and disturbed the minds of those in the Opposition - I do not know why. Madam Speaker, Hon. Maridadi got it right when he said this is a Bill that is going to sail through. Why did he say that? He understands the old adage and even current, that the minority might have something to say but the majority will have its way – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam Speaker, allow me to quote Section 279 of the Constitution which talks about the procedure of local authorities. The Section reads;
“An Act of Parliament must provide for the procedure to be followed by councils of local authorities.” The Hon. Minister has basically done that. He has brought a Bill that has to do with procedures to be followed by councils and local authorities. Madam Speaker, we in the majority are not disturbed by the fact that the Minister should superintend over local authorities, councils and municipalities. I think it is in order that he does that. It is within his purview as provided for by the laws of the land.
However, Madam Speaker, I would like to differ a little bit with the observation made by Hon. Cross in his debate this morning – [AN HON. MEMBER: Tambosita mangwanani here.] – He gave an example of London. It is unfortunate that he can bring an example of our erstwhile colonizers who were not even transparent in the running of the affairs of these local authorities. Madam Speaker, you will also note that Hon. Cross talked about South Africa when he talked about portraits, maybe of mayors or councillors in various localities in South Africa. However, if you look at what is happening in South Africa today, we have a lot of upheavals, fighting going on in these various local authorities. Zimbabwe cannot emulate violence; that is why we are putting legislation so that we have sanity in our municipalities
HON. MAONDERA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. Madam Speaker, I find it repugnant and it pains me a lot that some people speak about colonizers yet they were serving in Selous Scouts and
Pfumorevanhu. I find it very painful. If you have a tainted past…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No point of order Hon.
HON. MANDIPAKA: It is unfortunate Madam Speaker. He will seek to use all types of propaganda - that is not going to work. I am going to tell the truth. Hon. Cross cannot give us that example because it was bad – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, we
have to listen to what he is saying.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Madam Speaker, it is also unfortunate to note that our counterparts in this august House, more-so from the Opposition made frantic efforts from the very beginning to force a rejection of a Non-Adverse Report. We were following. They also made a bid to stop this debate. That causes me to have a suspicion. Madam Speaker, there is a wrong notion from our brothers and sisters in the Opposition that this Bill relates to a particular personality. This Bill is intended for the generality of Zimbabweans and not a particular person – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Madam Speaker, once
again, this Bill – it is unfortunate, I heard that it is intended to dismiss, suspend or otherwise expel those corrupt elements.
Interestingly Madam Speaker, it is the Opposition that speaks loud about corruption. When we make laws that would bring sanity in our local authorities, it is the same Opposition which speaks loud, it is unfortunate. Madam Speaker, let me state that the ills and rot in local authorities have to come to an end and this can happen when we have pieces of legislation where our Ministers are empowered to deal with rot and corrupt elements. This is such a Bill that we want see thriving and that the Hon. Minister should be able to superintend over all local authorities, municipalities and councils. It is unfortunate if our brothers and sisters in the Opposition have some of their members who will be caught in the web. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDARIKIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The big
fish are caught towards the evening. I would want to thank my colleagues on this part of the House for standing resolute after they had realised that this Bill has loopholes and needed to be perfected. I do not disagree that the Minister should have brought the Bill. The point that we make is that, we have observed that the Bill that has been brought needs fine-tuning here and there.
It is a pity that the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) rigged. They excluded members of the PLC Committee and sat on their own, it is shameful. When we do Parliament business, it should be transparent and show that it is in line with our wishes as Parliamentarians. Thirty one years ago, the late Patrick Kombayi was suspended as Mayor of Gweru. Thirty one years and above after have lapsed, his son is now being suspended as Mayor of Gweru. Hon. Minister, we urge you to ensure that 17 persons cannot be corrupted over a single issue, I do not think so.
Next time when you appoint a Commission, we do not want to hear that you are either related to them through marriage or that you come from the same communal area. As Members of Parliament, we abhor such activities. We want you to show that you do not countenance corruption at all in the appointment of members of the tribunal. If it were to be done that way, it would be better. True, I heard one Hon. Member saying that you have no power to suspend, which is incorrect. I recall that Mayor Tawengwa was suspended as Mayor of the City of
Harare. You have just tried to make sure that you brighten your case.
Be that as it were, Hon. Minister, we urge you to ensure that there should not be too much interference by the Executive on the operation of local councils. If this Bill is passed, we expect you not to interfere with the operations of the councils so that the operations are good. We have provincial councils; I heard an Hon. Member saying that they passed it for expediency’s sake. We had provincial councils so that Members of Parliament are also members of those councils, so that they assist the Local Government in running the functions of these municipalities. This is what devolution is all about. There should be sufficient funding so that the provincial councils become operational. This will then enhance our governance systems.
You have left out something in this Bill which I anticipated that you should look at. Government should pay its debts to the local councils. Failure by the Government to pay its debts is causing lack of proper service delivery. Government is not paying for services rendered for refuse collection, water, et cetera. Government should not be exonerated for its failure to service debts. Countrywide, you observe that local councils are failing to give service delivery due to the fact that Government is not paying them.
When you appoint an independent tribunal, I have serious problems in finding out what an independent tribunal is all about. How can an independent tribunal report to a Minister? Independent commissions that we have in the Constitution are appointed by the President after a certain process. It is very easy that the President of a country can be impartial and not a Minister. This is because he represents a single constituency in Mt Darwin, but the President represents the entire country.
We will make a lot of noise but we know that eventually it will carry the day and it will be passed. I ask you as a nephew to Nehoreka to look into these issues so that there be an independent tribunal. I believe that the amendment that ushered in the law society makes sense. I had problems with what was initially intended when the Judicial Services Commission was said to be impartial. I have difficulties with that, if it is the law society I am agreeable. What I am apprehensive of Minister is that the complaint will have come from you, and you are the one who would have instigated the investigations, then you appoint a tribunal. I believe you have heard my concerns and would also want to believe that the experience that we shared in the last two days showed you that we are not here as the MDC T to rubber stamp such decisions. I thank my colleagues on this side of the House for standing firm. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I
would also want to add my voice to the debate on this Bill. Madam Speaker, what has happened from last week, and in particular over the last two days reminds me of what happened some years ago when an author by the name Salman Rushdie wrote a book which was entitled
Satanic Verses. After writing that book, there was consternation in the Moslem world to the extent that I think I think that it was the Ayatollah of Iran who issued a fatwa for Salman Rushdie to be killed.
What it reminds me Madam Speaker is that in this country, during the course of the public hearings, we had a lot of disturbances which happened at some of the public hearings. My understanding is that when the public hearing started in various centres, they were fairly peaceful. The thrust of the submissions were very clear that the majority of the participants were against the Bill. It was only when that realisation
came to pass that when it came to the public hearing at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), we had a lot of commotion followed by the public hearing in Highfield.
What is clear Madam Speaker is that according to most people in this country, the perceptions of the majority of the people who participated in the hearings are that this Bill is akin to the satanic verses; it is similar to the Satanic Verses in terms of the commotion that it has caused, not just at the public hearings, but even what has transpired in this august House. It really shows that there is something very seriously wrong with the Bill in question.
Madam Speaker, I am now going to the substance of the actual Bill. When you look at the memorandum to that Bill which I am going to go over, it states that the purpose of this Bill is to amend the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act so as to align certain provisions of those Acts with Section 278(2)(3) of the Constitution. It then goes on to lay out the provisions of those subsections. What the people of Zimbabwe have found problematic with that memorandum is
that it is narrow in its scope.
When you look at the Constitution itself, a lot of the speakers who have spoken before me have made reference to the provisions of Chapter 14 which deals with devolution. When you go to the actual Constitution Madam Speaker, you find that there are many sections that actually deal with devolution, starting from Section 264. Those sections are very comprehensive; they run from Sections 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269,
270, 271, 272, 273 and it goes to the Third Part dealing with Urban Local Authorities, up to the last section which is Section 279.
What a lot of people find objectionable Madam Speaker is that the Hon. Minister has chosen to leave out all those provisions of the Constitution which deal with local authorities and devolution and just concentrate on one particular section, which is Section 278. It is very unfortunate. Others who have spoken before me have mentioned that the Hon. Minister has had ample time to deal with the provisions of the
Constitution in trying to align all the Acts to the Constitution.
I am aware that the Hon. Minister’s predecessor had consultations on a draft Local Government Bill. Those consultations were quite extensive and a lot of submissions were made in 2014. There was a workshop at Rainbow Towers where members of the public, various residents associations, specifically mentioned issues and areas which were supposed to be dealt with. However, the Ministry and I understand that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. George Mlilo was present and is still the Permanent Secretary in that Ministry. Therefore, I would have assumed that the Ministry has got some institutional memory so that even when there was a change of Minister from Hon. Chombo to Hon. Kasukuwere, that institutional memory was going to assist the Minister so that he would have come before us with a comprehensive amendment to the Act in question so that we deal with these issues once and for all.
We on this side of the House, strenuously object to the piecemeal approach which the Minister is going about in terms of the amendment to the two Acts. We will not accept that piecemeal approach. We want a holistic approach whereby all the provisions of the Constitution are adhered to. Speaking on behalf of the people that we represent and the various persons who participated in the public hearings, we cannot allow this to happen. The Hon. Members who have already spoken before me have already alluded to the fact that we are now into our fourth year after the adoption of the new Constitution and we cannot understand why the Ministry which has been seized with those matters has not come before us with comprehensive amendments to all the provisions in the various Acts which are not in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker, we believe that there is no excuse. If, as I intimated earlier on, if the Hon. Minister and his predecessor were sleeping on the job, it is not our fault. They should have come up with a holistic approach and comprehensive amendments and we would have been supportive of this Bill, if that Bill had been comprehensive, encompassing all the aspects which have got to be dealt with - we would have been in support of the Bill.
Our suspicion and it is a reasonable suspicion is that the reason why this Bill is being brought at this point in time is to deal with the issues of mayors and councillors who the Minister wants to get rid of. Other Hon. Members have already spoken about the 18 councillors who were suspended in Gweru. At least I find it very difficult to fathom that all the councilors in Gweru would be corrupt. All 18 of them, I find that very astounding. At the end of the day, the Hon. Members who have already spoken before me have mentioned that the Minister lost in court, not once but- twice. He has noted an appeal to the Supreme Court, today it is now on public record that the Minister has lost again in the case of Mayor Manyenyeni. A ruling was handed down by Justice Lavender Makoni and Justice Lavender Makoni as I understand it made a ruling that firstly the suspension of Mayor Manyenyenyi was invalid. I understand that order also speaks to the fact that the Minister cannot again suspend the Mayor of Harare. As a matter of fact, one of the arguments was that the Minister was suspending installments.
The allegations which were the subject of the second suspension were well known to the Minister at the time of the first suspension but he chose to leave them aside so that he can then invoke them at a later stage. I understand Madam Speaker, in upholding the application of Mayor Manyenyeni, the Minister was ordered to pay costs and those costs are not going to come from the Minister’s pocket but from the tax payer’s money. We cannot allow a situation where the Hon. Minister fights cases where he has got no prospects of success, knowing full well that even if he loses, it is not going to cost him personally. I believe that the Hon. Minister should be responsible enough to appreciate that when we deal with matters of governance, we must uphold our very own Constitution which deals with issues of good governance.
Going now to the other issues of constitutionality, when it comes to the appointment of a tribunal, the Constitution is very clear that this must be an independent tribunal. Before I go to that, let us look at the issue of suspension. I want to highlight this fact to the Hon. Minister that when you look at the issue dealing with judges, I just want to make an analogy; the framers of our Constitution saw it fit to make adequate provisions which actually detailed what has to happen when charges of misconduct have been laid against an hon. judge. Those provisions are very clear that only when a Tribunal has been appointed, that is only when a judge is suspended by operation of law. If the framers of the Constitution wanted to give the Minister similar powers, they would have been enshrined in the Constitution.
Madam Speaker, the reason why in terms of Section 159 the procedures and processes relating to the suspension of judges and their removal from office were elaborately laid out was because the framers of the Constitution were cognisant that this power must be spelt out in the Constitution. The fact that this power was not spelt out in the Constitution leads me to one inescapable conclusion and that is that the framers of the Constitution did not want the Minister to have such powers.
I know that the Hon. Minister is now studying law. He knows that when you at statutes, and this also applies to the Constitution, first of all we must look at the mischief that the Legislature wanted to cure. So, we must ask ourselves in this august House. What was the mischief that led the framers of the Constitution to come up with the provisions in Section 278 which stipulate that the tenure of office of councilors must be similar to those of Members of Parliament, as stipulated in terms of Section 129 of the Constitution?
Madam Speaker, Section 129 is very clear that; let me read it out for the benefit of all Hon. Members. It is very clear that the tenure of a seat of a Member of Parliament, if the member is convicted outside Zimbabwe of conduct which, if committed in Zimbabwe, would be an offence – I am not going to read the whole Section but I think those parts which are relevant to the submissions which I am going to make. It said that if a Member is convicted in Zimbabwe, of an offence of which breach of trust, dishonesty or physical violence is an essential element. It also goes on to lay out other circumstances where if a Member of Parliament has been convicted, that Member of Parliament would lose his or her seat. Those provisions actually stipulate that if a Member of Parliament is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for six months or more without the option of a fine or without the option of any other non-custodial punishment, unless the Member on appeal, the conviction is set aside or the sentence of imprisonment is reduced to less than six months. Therefore Madam Speaker, if you have got any councilors who are guilty of corruption, they can be arrested and if they are tried and convicted they would lose their seats as councillors in terms of the provisions which I have alluded to.
The other point is that there should be no reason to differentiate between councillors and Members of Parliament. We all have a mandate from the people. Madam Speaker, one thing which I want to emphasise which is a misconception from other Members, particularly those on your right is to assume that the Minister is a supervisor of local authorities, he is not. Other Hon. Members have already spoken about devolution and I am not going to repeat the arguments which they articulated, but suffice to say that the mayors and the councillors derive their mandate from the people who voted for them. So, they should be accorded similar respect.
My learned colleague, Hon. Ziyambi, made reference to Section 129 (a) and (k) and they said that we must then substitute the Speaker or the President of the Senate as the case might be, for the Minister. I just want to remind the Hon. Member and to highlight to this august House that the long and short of it is that Section 129 (k) speaks of a situation of a Member of Parliament who has, in terms of a letter written to the Speaker of Parliament or the President of the Senate lost their positions as members of the political party, that is only when the Minister can intervene. If you then say that the Councillors can lose their seats on the same basis, what it simply means is that we are talking about a situation where a councilor has either crossed the floor or has been expelled from the political party of which they were members at the time that they were elected to Parliament. Those are the only circumstances where in terms of the provisions which were cited by Hon. Ziyambi, that we can then import the meaning in those sections, where you can then substitute the Hon. Speaker or the President of the Senate, as the case maybe, with the Minister.
In conclusion, Madam Speaker, the position of the Hon. Members on your left is very clear. What has happened, in terms of the procedures relating to this Bill, is unacceptable, it is diabolical, it shows a sinister motive on the part of the Hon. Minister. It is clear that they just want to deal with powers to suspend and ultimately remove elected Councilors and Mayors and we will not accept that. So, we do not accept this Bill and we reject in its entirety
When you look at the provisions relating to suspension, you can see how much of the footprints of the Minister, he still wants to live on the Bill. If you look at the nomination of lawyers to act as Chairpersons; the principle is alright but what is objectionable is the fact that the Minister still insists on having nine nominees. If he gets a list of three members, he will say, look I do not like these people; give me another list, until he gets the people whom he finds acceptable.
As a matter of fact, we do not believe that the Minister should even have the power to appoint the tribunal because it defeats the whole the purpose of being independent. It could just have been a compromise but the bottom line is that the Minister must not even have those powers.
Secondly, Madam Speaker we have got the provisions which have come from the Minster of the Civil Service Association. I want to place it on record, we never agreed in the PLC, on having this association at all. At no point or at any stage was this ever mentioned, that is an invention of the Minister. I want to be very clear that we intimated in our sentiments that we could not accept, that in fact the Civil Service Association was even worse than the Judicial Service Commission for the simple reason that the Civil Service Commission is an Executive Commission. We cannot separate the Minister from that commission which is also part of the Executive.
If you want to have independence, I want to reiterate; this Bill is unconstitutional, this Bill is unacceptable, we do not accept this Bill, it must be rejected in its entirety and we will not have anything to do with this Bill. We reject it and we insist – [HON. MEMBERS ON THE
RIGHT: Unconstitutional, unconstitutional.] - MDC Hon. Members left their seats and marched..
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Members for their contribution. What is quite clear Madam Speaker is that the MDC are trying to protect criminal cabals – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
*HON. MURAI: On a point of order! Madam Speaker, my point of order is on this, we can never see a leopard trying to look after the sheep because it will devour them. Therefore, we have to effect this march out because there is no need for staying behind.
HON. KASUKUWERE: The colleagues on the right were not
making contributions to help us in crafting a law that helps the people of this country. It was a succession game, in this party, there is a challenge. There are looking for a new leader, hence all the contributors who were coming in front, all they were doing was campaigning – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Minister, I am appealing to you to just debate according to the Bill and not provoke any other situation.
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order! Madam Speaker I have a point of order. People can disturb me, they can continue to haul like concubines – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would you please withdraw
HON. MARIDADI: I withdraw.
Hon. Maridadi walked out.
HON. KASUKUWERE: Madam Speaker, the last man standing has gone out. I want to thank the Hon. Member – [HON. MEMBERS:
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Where is this noise coming from? I wonder.
HON. KASUKUWERE: Let me thank the Chairperson of the Committee Hon. Zindi and colleagues who worked hard to produce their report. In response Madam Speaker, I will quickly deal with some of the areas that they had raised with us that is to do with powers to suspend and remove a Councillor. Quite clear as the law stands, those powers are still with the Minister but what we did not have and what colleagues have talked about is that the missing link was what we do after suspending a Councilor. What we are now going to be able to do after the passing of this Bill is to set up a tribunal which will look into the case, the merits or lack of them and give us direction to the Minister in terms of proceeding and way forward.
Secondly, with the regards to the ability to consult the local people before suspending the councillors, Madam Speaker, I want to submit that we do not have a recall mechanism. Once one has been elected a Councilior, he will be a Councillor until his term of office comes to an end to the extent that if people raise concerns, the Government must have a mechanism and I, as the Minister and superintendant of the local authorities must be able to assure the communities and people and say, this is what we are going to do. The following colleague or councillor is being suspended but his case must be looked at fairly.
Thirdly, that the tribunal be appointed by the Parliamentary Legal
Committee (PLC). That will be a challenge Madam Speaker. There is Separation of Powers. You cannot have a situation where another arm of Government wants to superintend or supervise another. We have got the three areas which is the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature, one of the other cannot interfere with the work of the other.
The role of our Residents Association, it is a fact that most of the
Residents Associations are formed by people who would have lost elections. Now to then say, we have an opposition party to sit in a Tribunal that looks at a case involving the victor in an electoral process, again is a travesty of justice.
With regards to the remuneration of the Tribunal, Madam Speaker, this again the Legislature cannot be involved in the administrative that are within the province of competence of the Executive. With regards to the payment of the expenses of the Tribunal, the colleagues were already talking about the provincial councils. These have not yet been enacted.
Lastly, the amendments to cover the alignment of the whole Act, I addressed the issue in my speech at the Second Reading. I said, we are only for now trying to address the issue of the Tribunal but the Attorney
General’s Office is seized with the drafting of a comprehensive law that will cover all the areas that colleagues are concerned with.
With regards to the contributions, I think Hon. Cross is no longer in here but I think all he did was to give us a story of the history of how Mberengwa is inferior to Harare. It is no longer the Belingwe and
Salisbury of yesterday, we are a neutral state, we are one country. The people in Mberengwa are just as useful as the people in Harare, so this discrimination is unacceptable – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - He further went on to talk about the democratic alliance of South Africa. I can almost tell Madam Speaker that he envies what is happening in the
Cape Colony, if I were to say, in the Cape Town and that is not
Zimbabwe. We are not a province of South Africa, Zimbabwe is
Zimbabwe and South Africa is South Africa so what the DA does in
South Africa does not affect what happens in Zimbabwe. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
Madam Speaker with regards to the suspension as he alleges that we have suspended and caused the arrest of the Mayor of Harare, these two processes are quite separate. As the Minister in charge of Local Government, we are only dealing with issues to do with the administration of our Local Authorities and in this particular case
Harare. What has happened with the Zimbabwe Anticorruption Commission (ZAC), it does not report to this Minister and our hands are clean, we have nothing to do with what has befallen the Mayor. Save also to add that a few days ago, ZAC arrested the Acting Chief Executive Officer of ZBC. The MDC never made noise but today because they find that one of their own is in trouble, they want to blame this Government. I think we must allow our institutions to do their work and in any case, these matters will go to court and we cannot comment on them.
Madam Speaker, with regards to Gweru, again the MDC in Gweru is not just MDC is Gweru. We suspended the entire council including members of ZANU PF. We wanted to give them an opportunity to state their case before a Tribunal. The same political party rushed to the courts, we also went to the courts. Yes, we lost in the courts but we are allowed in terms of the law to appeal to the next level in terms of the law. We have appealed to the Supreme Court and that matter stands there. The fact that Kombayi is not in office is as a result of him having taken us to court and we have also gone to defend ourselves.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Chinotimba for his excellent contribution and support. In fact he raised a very important issue of multiple accounts. The City of Harare is infested with serious corruption. Just a few days ago the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report clearly indicated the decay that has beset our capital. We have a situation where two sets of computers are generating invoices, one which goes to the Local Authority and one which cannot be accounted for, yet we have city fathers who are supposed to superintend over these Local Authorities. This level of corruption Madam Speaker cannot be allowed to exist a day longer and continue like that.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga spoke of the devolution and I covered this. This is going to be addressed by the new amendments but let me add and say, like Hon. Ziyambi said, “it depends on the ability of the State”. We cannot just rush in to set aside 5% of our national budget to pursue an objective which we know our nation can hardly afford at this point in time.
With regards to the unity of our country, I do not think the MDC can lecture us with regards to unity. If they have formed over ten political parties in less than five years, they cannot talk of unity any further. They have no reason to talk about that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - let alone with regards to a Tribunal. This is an ad hoc and not a permanent structure. We will have several of these across the country. I said it yesterday, we have over 1 956 Councillors across the country and if we are going to have one permanent Tribunal, it will then cease being a Tribunal but becomes a court. So we are saying we will have these independent Tribunals across the country in the various provinces as and when issues arise.
I want to thank Hon. Matuke for his very distilled response and contribution. Indeed Hon. Matuke is an experienced administrator. He has been in local governance for a very long time of over 15 years and his contributions basically confirm why we brought this Bill here. We must protect the interests of the poor, those who pay their little savings to a Local Authority which ends up abusing it.
Hon. Kereke, once again I want to thank you very much for your contribution. You have correctly alluded to the grand corruption that is now being witnessed across the country in our Local Authorities and this again cannot be covered up.
Hon. Maridadi, except from campaigning like I said earlier on, had no other issues to talk about.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Ziyambi again for his very solid presentation. The tiers of Government do not create room for another republic within a republic. The fact that they are Local Authorities, they are creatures of statutes and cannot become independent. Independent from who? We are one country, we are the Government, we are the national Government and it was never the intention of our Legislatures to create a republic within a republic. And I want to thank Hon. Ziyambi for knocking sense into colleagues who were having difficulties in understanding very basic requirements of the law.
Hon. Muderedzwa, thank you again for your very solid support to the Bill, the same to Hon. Savanhu who spoke very strongly again as an experienced local government practitioner who was involved in the City of Harare. He brought forward some of the corrupt activities that have hitherto been covered up by the MDC.
Hon. Zvidzai has left the room but what we could only hear from him is that actually they were running a process of aggregating the requirements is it lime or aluminium sulphate? I did not even know about aluminium sulphate that is supplied to the Local Authorities. It appears it is now the business of our colleagues putting these orders together and making money out of it and this is what we must fight in these Local Authorities. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
*Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Mahoka again for her solid contribution and supporting us that we should definitely be moving ahead and fighting corruption because corruption is a cancer in our society. We also heard talk zvekuroodzana in Gweru and things like that. Ndodaira kuti vanga vaona kuti nyaya yacho yapera.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister
please stick to one language.
HON. KASUKUWERE: Ooh Madam Speaker, I was responding
to the individual contributions but thank you very much.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is for the sake of the Hansard Reporters who are recording.
HON. KASUKUWERE: My apologies. Hon. Gonese who led
the walk out again, it was all obiter dictum. It was nothing except a good story which made nothing. He did not tell us anything that would make a difference serve to try and defend a lost cause. I am happy that they have moved out including him.
Lastly but not least Madam Speaker, let me thank all the Hon. Members for their commitment to a clean Government. I think the statement we have made as a party is to send a very clear message to the people out there, that ZANU PF cares for the ordinary men and women in our country. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- This attitude will carry us forward. If we allow the people to be abused, it is a fact that councillors in many instances have been taking advantage of those who cannot have a voice. So what the party has done and what Government is doing, confirms our commitment to clean governance, spirited campaign and fight against corruption. I thank you Madam Speaker.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.1,
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 4 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.1,
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill [H.B.1, 2016] be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
On the motion of THE HON. MINISTER OF LOCAL
GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING
(HON. KASUKUWERE), the House adjourned at Quarter to Nine o’clock p.m.