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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 29 OCTOBER 2020 VOL 47 NO 04

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 29th October, 2020

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

OBSERVANCE OF SITTING TIMES

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members are reminded that we should be in the House by 1400 hours, and not later than 1410 hours.  You should not come after the Speaker’s procession; that is out of order.

DECLARATION OF ASSETS BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I would like to advice the newly sworn in Members of Parliament that they must register their assets in terms of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Members of Parliament as read together with Standing Order No. 50 of the Standing Rules and Orders of the National Assembly.  Standing Order No. 50 states that it is a statutory requirement that every Member registers his or her proprietary interest within 60 days of the date of opening of the new Parliament and where a Member is appointed after the opening of the Parliament, the disclosure is to be done within 60 days after his or her appointment as a Member.

I would also like to remind Hon. Members who had previously declared their assets before and have, since such declaration, attained new properties to register them in the declaration register.  Hon. Members are advised to attend to their asset declaration as soon as possible at the Counsel to Parliament office which is office number 306 on the third floor, Parliament building.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRPERSONS OF PORTIFOLIO COMMITTEES

THE HON SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that MDC-T Party has nominated the following Hon Members as Committee Chairpersons:

          Hon. Peter Moyo – Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT);

Hon. Yvonne Musarurwa – Committee on Environment and Tourism;

Hon. Lindiwe Maphosa – Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development; and

Hon. Sipho Makone – Committee on Information Media and Broadcasting Services.

     HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a matter of public importance. It troubles my heart that 40 years after we dislodged the brutal British rule, characterised by acts of banditry against our people, the same people with a colonial hangover would want to lecture Zimbabwe on democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism. Indeed, it pains me that those neo-colonialists in the mould of Mr. Peter Hein are making baseless conclusions as they try to meddle in the affairs of our sovereign state, a country borne out of the revolutionary struggle for self determination.  We are not a British colony and we certainly do not care a hoot about what they discuss in their Houses.

     As a sovereign nation with equal global rights, what we ask from the British is mutual respect and not to be lectured about human rights and due processes, tenets they denied our forefathers and which we only regained in 1980.

     They hanged our women, they raped our women, they spat on our women, they had no respect for the Africans, regarding us as animals to be hunted down and then kept in their museums as trophies. Today, castles and palaces in London are a direct result of our gold and diamonds they looted, yet they have not offered to pay any form of restitution or reparations for their grand and sickening thievery. Such people with base animal instincts cannot and must not be allowed to tell us about human rights because we fought for those rights and today enjoy walking in the streets of Harare where just four decades ago we were denied the same.

     Today we vote, today we write our own constitution and today we define our own destiny through hard work and comradeship. Yes, we can argue amongst ourselves, across the political divide as Zimbabweans, correct each other where signs of omission or commission emerge but we do not need a people whose forefathers killed our people with impunity to lecture us on human rights, in fact we are better placed to advise them on human rights because we forgave their kith and kin who murdered hundreds of thousands of our people.

     Mr. Speaker Sir, perhaps time has come for us to go to the International Courts and demand reparations from the British for the atrocities they committed during the colonial era, and indeed even today through illegal economic sanctions that are designed to make Zimbabwe bleed, only because we dared take back our land. Mr. Speaker Sir, why is Mr. Peter Hain lying, who lied to him that Ms Henrietta Rushwaya is President Mnangagwa’s niece? Is there anything honourable in parroting and reproducing falsehoods from social media platforms in the so-called House of Lords, perhaps House of Lies?

     In his ignorance, Mr. Peter Hain insinuates that what Ms Henrietta Rushwaya did had the blessings of the President, what a load of rubbish from a supposed to be Lord.

     The arrest of Ms Rushwaya is clear testimony that President Mnangagwa is walking the talk on corruption and economic saboteurs of whom we have many in this country, but who are being hunted day and night by the security forces. Thieves will be brought to book. These criminals do not have political colours, they are found in all race groups. We commend our Government for arresting Henrietta and her accomplices and strongly condemn the ill informed rants on our issues that we were treated to yesterday in the British House of Lords. Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation. We are no longer a British colony. The British killed our people, they have the heads of our forefathers kept in their museums to this day as evidence of their murderous past. They killed women, Nehanda was hanged by them. History is littered with their killings, looting and abuses of Africans. Today they spend half of their sitting discussing how to manage an independent country - that is unacceptable Mr. Speaker.

     HON K. PARADZA: I rise to inform this House that on 27 October, the British House of Lords, conducted yet another of their meandering debates on the situation in Zimbabwe.

The obsession with Zimbabwe continues – reflecting, sadly, their Lordship lingering nostalgia for an Empire forever lost, and perhaps their frustration with the inescapable truth of ever-dwindling British influence across the swathes of territory, where it was once said that the ‘Sun Never Set.’

This was yet another manifestation of the mindset illustrated by Lord Adrian Palmer in 2019, when he advocated that Zimbabwe’s problems could only be resolved by way of British recolonisation.

     No doubt, having delivered this gem of policy advice to his fellow peers – all unelected by the way – the venerable Lord must have returned to the Members Bar where, one assumes, he had already spent a large portion of his day. Even sadder, Mr Speaker is the evident disdain, condescension and ill-will their Lordships harbour towards the Government of Zimbabwe and the deep-rooted ignorance of our situation reflected in many of their questions and observations.

          Note how the UK and others always speak of their support for the people of Zimbabwe – they never speak of their support for the Government of Zimbabwe.  They always shout about the millions of dollars of humanitarian assistance they dispense to Zimbabwe.  British assistance is a fact and we are grateful for it.  But, none of it is channelled through Government or Treasury.  One assumes that somewhere along the line, the funds are audited and accounted for.  As Government and also as Parliament, we are not privy to that information.  Their message though is that, we the British are assisting you the people of Zimbabwe because your own Government is failing to do so, which is nonsense.

          So, whilst they subtly seek to drive wedges between the people and the Government, they also seek to intensify the pressure on Government by way of sanctions or what they call “restrictive measures”.  In this approach, they are mirroring the sentiment reflected in the now infamous utterances of the former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Chester Crocker when he testified before the US Senate, advocating the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.  He said, “to separate the Zimbabwean people from ZANU-PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream and I hope you, senators have the stomach for what you have to do”.  The stereo type approach and largely repetitive responses from Baroness Sugg – Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the British Foreign Office to comments and questions from their Lordships, reflect also the distance which the British Government deliberately maintains towards the New Dispensation; and their stubborn refusal to acknowledge or recognise any of the progress achieved by Government since it assumed office in November 2017.

          Of note is that the Baroness chose to inform the venerable House that the UK is currently in the process of considering future sanctions on Zimbabwe – once it exits from the European Union and now it has armed itself with its own “Sanctions and Money Laundering Act”.

          As already stated by the Chief Whip, notably one of the principal items of interest in the debate was the arrest of Henrietta Rushwaya.  But their Lordship’s focus was more on the fact that the lady-in-question is said to be a relative of His Excellency the President than on the swift and commendable actions of law-enforcement agencies, to arrest, detain and arraign her before the courts on serious charges of corruption, fraud and smuggling.

          Their Lordships spent quite some time on the issue of corruption in Zimbabwe.  One eminent Peer, Lord St John of Bletso, stated that there have been “no prosecutions for corruption” in Zimbabwe and even asked what measures the British Government was taking to get South Africa to get involved in Zimbabwean affairs.

          It is this kind of ignorance, accompanied by the usual British arrogance and condescension which I believe Mr. Speaker, all Zimbabweans from whatever political persuasion they might hail –should find deeply that offensive, intrusive and completely unacceptable.

          We note without comment Mr. Speaker, serious and to our knowledge, as yet unresolved allegations of gross corruption with regards to the award of Covid-19 related contracts to companies “closely linked to senior figures in the (UK) Government” with at least two multi-million pound contracts being awarded to “dormant companies”.

          Let me also point out Mr. Speaker Sir, my research has shown that the Corporate Tax Haven Index published by the Tax Justice Network shows that the three countries that have done the most to facilitate tax fraud, tax avoidance and tax-related grand theft are the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands – all of them British territories.  Jersey, a British dependency comes 7th on the list.  All are satellites of the City of London: astonishingly, the City of London is “exempt” from, the UK’s Freedom of Information laws creating further layers of secrecy and opportunities for all manner of nefarious activity.  Their Lordships and the Baroness spent time as well on the issue of human rights in Zimbabwe and on the issue of “people being held accountable for their actions”.

          But we note without comment Mr. Speaker, the UN’s criticism of the British Government’s continuing failure to meet obligations in the UN Convention against Torture.  We note also without comment, the UK’s reversal of its previous promise to establish an independent inquiry into allegations of complicity, torture and ill-treatment of detainees held by other countries in counter-terrorism operations.

          Finally Mr. Speaker, we note without comment, the fact that the UK has yet to conduct a human rights compliant inquiry or to introduce other accountability measures for alleged abuses perpetrated by the British Armed Forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.   So, who is the worst human rights violator between Zimbabwe and the UK?

          Mr. Speaker, the British Government continually criticises our Government on issues to do with media freedoms and so on.  Not a single word was heard from the local embassy or indeed from London when AIPPA was repealed and replaced with the Freedom of Information Act yet the Honourable Lords have always had a lot to say about media freedom in Zimbabwe.

          We note without comment, the recent formal warning issued by the Council of Europe to the British Government for threatening press freedom, “after it blacklisted a group of investigative journalists and denied them access to information”.

          We note also that the UK has slipped to 35th place in the World Press Freedom Index down 2 places since 2019 and below countries such as Ghana, South Africa and Costa Rica. Zimbabwe comes in 125th position up one place since 2019.

          What we are saying is that whilst the UK is wallowing in its own problems to do with Brexit, their Covid-19 response, economic decline and so on, their Lordships might well be advised to direct their attention and opinions to their own internal problems and to keep out of our affairs in Zimbabwe.  Simply put, Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.  This Rhodesian era nostalgia must now come to an end.  This is now Zimbabwe, a sovereign state.  The British can only visit us either as investors or tourists, not as colonisers.

          We have no problem with criticism but let it be constructive and not destructive in nature.  Let it be evidence based and factual, not based on social-media hype and fabrication.  Let it be conveyed on the basis of mutual respect and courtesy, not in the form of prescription and dictation, from a master to an underling.

          Sadly for their Lordships and their Rule Britannia or Great Britain mind-set, that ship not only sailed long long ago, but it has completely vanished from view and will never return to these shores.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I want to repeat what I said after prayers.  In future anybody who is an Hon. Member of Parliament coming in after prayers shall not be allowed to enter the House.  You must be here at two o’clock and not later than ten past two o’clock.

          HON. T. ZHOU:  Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of privilege arises from our national Constitution, Section 129 (1) (m) that states that, ‘The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member is certified to be mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped under any law in force in Zimbabwe; or

Hon. Joanna Mamombe was certified as mentally ill by two Government doctors.  I therefore Hon. Speaker Sir, ask that a Privileges Committee be set to look into the matter.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.  We should be able to get an official response from the Judiciary and the doctor’s reports accordingly and compare with whosoever is the sponsor of the Hon. Member.

However, because the matter is still with our courts and the courts have not pronounced themselves as to the results of the medical findings.  We shall have to be cautious in proceeding accordingly until such time that the matter has been fully ventilated by the courts.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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

HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

HON. MAVETERA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir and a very good afternoon to you.  Hon. Speaker Sir, thank you very much for this opportunity.  I would like to thank His Excellency Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for bringing about and setting the tone for this Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe and we are very much grateful.  Let me also acknowledge and thank the mover of this motion Hon. Togarepi, seconded by Hon. Mhona.  We are very happy because indeed they spoke to issues that the President also spoke about and we are grateful.

Hon. Speaker Sir, let me first of all start by highlighting one of the key issues that His Excellency spoke about which was of unity.  He said that unity should be able to make us resolve certain differences and also make us resolve certain problems that we may have as a country and then be able to find solutions to what confronts us today.  Hon. Speaker let me be able to also acknowledge and recognise with great dismay what one Hon. Member did in this august House.

Hon. Speaker Sir, we had Hon. Chikwinya who came in one day which is on Tuesday this week and spoke against denunciation of sanctions.  Hon. Chikwinya went on to highlight the issue of corruption saying that it is the greatest course of decline and in that way he went on to say sanctions were not of any great use in this country.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on this issue, we need to speak with one voice.  We need to speak with unity when it comes to issues to do with sanctions.  We had Hon. Khupe who then went on to even talk of sanctions.

Indeed, what we expected from Hon. Chikwinya was not for him to walk out of this august House but for him to be able to recognise what his leader was doing, whereby she was speaking about sanctions.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very surprising that we have certain Hon. Members within this august House who do not recognise sanctions yet the rest of Zimbabwe and the rest of SADC knows that there are sanctions.  Does it mean that the whole of SADC is speaking against sanctions yet we have got certain Members here who are speaking for sanctions saying there are no sanctions in this country.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important for us to recognise and understand where we are coming from as a country when it comes to the issue of sanctions.  We need to be united like what the President said in his SONA whereby we are united as a country and we speak against sanctions.  We are the young people of this country and when we are young, people like Hon. Chikwinya, I would say that he is a seasoned and experienced Hon. Member.  For him to be speaking against sanctions misleading the rest of Zimbabwe, for us as young people, that is disheartening.  We are supposed to take a leaf from him as an Hon. Member because he has got experience.  For him to mislead his constituents whereby he is going ahead saying that indeed there are no sanctions, I feel that is very much disheartening.

Mr. Speaker, His Excellency said indeed, sanctions are an albatross to our socio-economi development and we are saying we need to look at this holistically.  We need to be united and have cause for us to go forward.  If we do not unite as a country, if we do not unite within us as Parliament, we are not going anywhere.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also commend what the President did.  He told us that in the Third Session of this Ninth Parliament, we are going to have a Youth Bill into place.  Since 1980, we did not have any Bill that was put in place, we did not have any Act of Parliament which we believe was supposed to enforce any law towards young people.  We want to thank His Excellency for coming up and saying there is need for us to address the issues of the young people.  The young people constitute 67% of the population of Zimbabwe and when issues concerning the young people are being recognised that is good for us and we would be happy that they are going to be addressed.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me look at the Zimbabwe Tourism Act.  As young people, we are the best beneficiaries when it comes to tourism and we are happy that the President said that there is going to be a Zimbabwe Tourism Act.  We are happy that as young people, we are going to participate in the whole economy and mainstreamed so that we go forward when it comes to tourism issues.  In that way we are very much grateful and looking forward to that Act to look and address issues to do with young people.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I go on to thank Government recently for having and approving the principles of the Patriotic Act.  Patriotism is one issue that a lot of young people need to address and understand.  We need to be patriotic and work for our country.  Yours truly, Mr. Speaker Sir, I am one person who has never left this country but has worked for this country for I know that patriotism is very important when it comes to youth issues.  I feel that it is important for young people to work for our country.  We had instances whereby we were surprised by some Hon. Doctors who I believe are of my age that went on and were seen not to be patriotic.  What we need to understand is that when it comes to such issues, as young people we need to look forward and make sure that we foster the economic development first and foster our national interest when it comes to issues to do with development.

Mr. Speaker Sir, still on the Youth Bill, as Zimbabwe, we do not have a youth council board.  The issue now is as much as we are looking at the Youth Bill, it needs to be implemented.  We need young people, we need an interface of the Government and also the people of Zimbabwe.  We are calling upon the Ministry of Youth, as much as they are coming up with the Youth Bill, they need also to constitute the Zimbabwe Youth Council Board.  Until now, it has not been constituted and we are saying who is going to be the interface between the Government and the youth?  There is great need for us to have that interface so that youth issues can be addressed.  We feel that not having a youth council is detrimental when it comes to development of young people.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in the same gesture, let me also look at the Government’s measures and strategies that have been put in place in terms of COVID-19.  Indeed we want to thank the Government for reopening schools.  At least children will be able to finish up the syllabi.  We are grateful and that was a step in the right direction but there are that are being raised whereby there is a lot of indecency when it comes to many children that are going to school.   Yesterday the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education went on and said there are some measures that they are putting in place to ensure those issues are addressed.

Mr. Speaker, there was an issue that the President talked about where he said he is going to make sure that he will preserve some jobs for young people and make sure that the Public Service will also look into the market.  Unemployment has been the greatest thing when it comes to young people.  When we are going to address the issue of the labour market, we are going to address the issue of employment and it is a step in the right direction.  We want to thank His Excellency for that.

We also want to thank His Excellency for being able to introduce the launch of the five year development programme which also is going to start in the 2021 budget.  We are happy that this development programme has got a cluster which is going to be looking at young people’s issues and we are happy that we are going to be mainstreamed into development programmes as young people.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sure there are a lot of other Hon. Members who want to speak on this issue.  We really want to thank His Excellency.  He set the tone for us in the Ninth Parliament and indeed we are grateful because as Parliament, we now know what is at the heart of His Excellency.  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

*HON. DR. NYASHANU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to start by thanking you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me the opportunity to support the speech by His Excellency during his SONA in this august House.  Let me also commend Hon. Togarepi and Hon. Mhona who also debated in support of the President’s Speech.  I would like to appreciate his words which were so encouraging which are going to pave way for development.  Let me also thank all the Hon. Members who have supported the President’s Speech during the SONA.

The first issue was of corruption, the constitutional issues and children’s issues.  I would like to thank the President who spoke passionately about development which is evident in Government programmes.  The President is doing his best to make sure there is development in Zimbabwe.  The other issue that was presented during the SONA is an issue which resonates with what the late leader of the United Nations, Kofi Annan used to talk about.  He used to explain that development means bettering people’s lives.

Looking at young children who travel long distances going to school, when these issues are addressed, then it means there is development.  Looking at women who walk long distances to access medical care from clinics, then we would claim that we have development.

I would like to thank the President for his passion regarding development in Zimbabwe.  The major challenge is corruption.  We have a number of people among our citizens who engage in corrupt activities.  Such people are disadvantaging the vulnerable women who need medical attention.  They disadvantage the sick that need Paracetamol and other medication.

Corruption at the moment is being addressed by ZACC.  Most corrupt people are the people we live with.  These are people who go to church, led by headman and led by Pastors.  My question is, what are Pastors and fathers doing in their homes to address this scourge?  Our parents were principled people who used to assist even strangers, but we are externalising large amounts of money taking it to other countries whilst our own people are suffering. This issue pains me a lot.  My desire is that fathers, headmen and church leaders should be found addressing corruption because some of the money that is being externalised and raised through corruption is being used to pay tithes.  We need to work together to address this.

I will talk about the new law regarding the rights of young children which was spoken about by His Excellency.  Children are our future and our heritage and they are Zimbabweans.  We need to look after them.  We are looking forward to this new Act of Parliament to benefit young children.  We know some Hon. Members of this august House sire children and such children are disadvantaged.  They are not looked after.  The law should prosecute such people who neglect their own children because Government cannot, through the Social Welfare department look after such children, but we want parents to be responsible for their children.

With these few words, I would like to thank the Buhera Central people whom I represent in this House.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. PETER MOYO: I would like to add my voice on the State of the Nation Address which was delivered by the President for us to know what to discuss.  I just want to dwell on the issue that he pointed out with regards to corruption.  The President alone cannot fix this problem.  It needs all of us to put our heads together and make sure that we defeat this disease which has arisen in our country.  Those people who surround the President sometime ululate when he arrives and shower him with praises saying he is a good man and he has done this and that.  If you look around, most of these people are corrupt.  They are the ones who are instigating corruption in this country.

Therefore, let us put our heads together to fight this disease in our country.  You look at the people who are arrested at the airport with gold -  those are the people entrusted to hold influential positions and they take that as an opportunity to loot the resources of this country and smuggle them out of the country.  If you go to those people, they are the people who are saying ‘I am next to the President’ yet they are destroying the lives of our children in this country.  I call upon every Zimbabwean to be a police officer or whistleblower.

The people who are entrusted with our laws in the country also are corrupt.  You now wonder why some people at different police stations have been arrested. The President is trying his level best, but he is alone in this fight.  If he was not on the forefront to fight corruption, you can be rest assured that the person who was arrested with gold at the airport was not going to be arrested.  People had the audacity to switch off the CCTV so that they would not be seen but we thank God, there were people who were honest to defeat this Lucifer.  I am happy for those people who are courageous enough.

You go to the local authorities out there; they sell residential stands to desperate home seekers.  They have become land barons in every local authority.  The President is fighting for every citizen to have shelter over his or her head, but some people are busy demolishing those houses.  They are working against the President.  It is high time the President looks around.  There are big brains out there.  There are big brains in the opposition who can take this country forward than the people he thinks love him.  Even as I speak, I can be a very good Minister.  I can do a better job than the people we think are in front of us and they are better equipped to do a better job. They are working against the President but if they come here, they say ‘ah, we are here to defend the President, we are here to support him’ but during the night, they work against him. Therefore, corruption must be fought from all cylinders. We are here as parliamentarians to make laws. The President was putting some motions to say let us start from here and end there. He is trying his level best but look right around in this country, we have got a disease of elections. We clamour to go for elections which are toxic and this has destroyed this county.

          We thought maybe elections were a messiah for us to be united and build our country but it is very unfortunate that we go to elections without the fundamental electoral reforms required to unite us. We rush for elections every time when there are elections. Let us go for elections under which conditions - under conditions to hurt each other and to throw grenades at each other?  So we need to make our laws conducive for our people and conducive for us to take our country forward. Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not have many words to say but these few words, I think they will knock in someone’s head and throw away this corruption thing. I thank you.

          **HON. MABOYI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I am here to add my voice on the President’s speech on his SONA. He mentioned quite a lot of things in his address, but I want to speak about COVID first. All I am saying is that the President did a great job even though we did not have much as a country, he played a major role in making sure that it does not impact greatly in our country, taking into congnisance that we did not have enough resources. He made sure that people remained safe by staying at home.

          This helped us so much as a country to make sure that COVID-19 does not give us great challenges. Still in the issue of COVID, there were quite a number of things that were sourced which things include sanitisers and masks which are the things that help us as a country. The President made sure that he played a major role in all this. Thank you so much Mr. President.

          On this COVID issue which is under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and as a representative of Beitbridge West Constituency, my plea to the President is that he needs to help us and make sure that we have a big hospital because we are a border town. We had a lot of people coming into the country through our town and we did not have so many hospitals. To make matters worse, a big hospital to take care of those people that tested positive and needed health care.

          As a border town, we need to have a big hospital since we are a border post that is greater than any other in this country. We need to have a general hospital to help people not only looking at COVID - there might be accidents or other outbreaks that might require major health care. Therefore, it is necessary that we have a big hospital in this border town. Secondly, I would also like to talk about Pfumvudza which is Intwasa in Ndebele and Digaudle in Venda. This Pfumvudza, Intwasa or Digaudle is done by people who have energy to dig.

          Let us look at the old people, the aged. Who is going to help them? We have realised that it is a good initiative, however we are saying the elderly need to get a programme that will help them and in helping them, it will help us make sure that everyone else gets something to assist them. We will all grow to be elderly people and therefore, we need help. This programme helps quite a number people - but for the elderly, it is quite a challenge because they do not have the energy to dig. As representatives of these constituencies that we come from – how are we going to help these elderly people to make sure that they also take part in farming?

          The third issue is with regards to schools. The President said a lot about schools.  We realise that there are quite a number of development programmes that are being engaged in. There are quite a number of secondary schools that have been built and there are quite a number of tertiary education facilities that have been put up. However, right now quite a number of children are not doing anything at school because there are no teachers.

          Therefore, we are saying to His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa there is need to make sure that we look into this Ministry of Education because right now children are not learning. We can say they have gone back to school but there is no learning taking place. There is absolutely nothing happening. Our President should make sure that they talk to people that lead these Ministries to make sure that teachers go back to school and children continue to learn because they are our future and our tomorrow. As we are here, we went through the same process of being taught by the same teachers. We need to make sure that our children also get an opportunity to go to school and learn, but right now our children are not learning. We need to look into this issue Mr. Speaker Sir. Children are not learning. Thank you so much for the few words that I have added on this SONA.

          *HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  This is the third year and I am happy to be able to debate on this SONA.  It was not coming out all this time.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to speak very few words.  The President spoke about devolution and it must include Members of Parliament and councillors.  It must not be done by councils only without MPs because we are the custodians of the people.  We move in different areas.  In my area, we do not even understand how the devolution funds were managed.  So we are appealing that the devolution issue include Members of Parliament, even for us, to just censor for free, we do not mind.

          On the issue of education, we are saying that Government and teachers must not fight to show their powers.  People must sit down and negotiate in a very good way so that the teacher can survive well because teachers are suffering.  In Botswana, you can count the number of cars parked outside and know the number of teachers but here in Zimbabwe you cannot find even a bicycle parked outside the classroom.  If we force the teachers to go to schools and teach without being well resourced, our children will not receive enough education.  That is when we hear that our leaders’ children go to other countries for education, but I am happy the President said we are going to negotiate with the teachers.

We are saying we must take the President’s words to negotiate.  So Ministers must negotiate with the teachers and not fight because we will not achieve anything.  We want our teachers to survive very well because when we were growing up, the teacher was very important and was a respectable person.  So, where is the importance now?  Therefore we must resolve this issue.

 The President also talked about the issue of health.  I do not know where other Members of Parliament come from but in my constituency, there is a very big problem.  There are no medicines, there is nothing.  We see that our leaders go outside the country for medication.  I heard that the late former President spent about $3 million to go for medication and it ended up in us not having medicines in hospitals.  So the issue of doctors, they are saying they do not have proper equipment and it is very true.  There are no medicines, there is no equipment.  Many cancer and diabetic patients are dying.

What the Ministers say when they come into this House when we ask them about the policy of taking care of the aged, they say something else and yet on the ground it is different. When someone is a cancer patient and applies for social welfare grant, that application will not come back.  For a country to be called a country it is because of the health system. Without health, even becoming a Member of Parliament does not make any sense.  You must be healthy first in order to go to school and to work.  So we are lagging behind on that issue.  The President said health must be looked into.  We have a surplus but there are no medicines in the hospitals.

A Member of Parliament previously said there are some people who say doctors must go to hospitals to prescribe medicines yet there are no medicines.  The medicines are very expensive in pharmacies.  Sometimes we end up hiding because Constituency members may bring about 20 prescriptions to us at our offices seeking for help.  So we are appealing to Government to intervene. A law must be enacted so that if someone is airlifted and goes for treatment outside the country, he/she gets arrested.  Everyone must receive medication in this country.

On the issue of roads, I am very happy.  I was in Masvingo and we are very happy, we are glad about the works being done on the road infrastructure.  The refurbishment of roads is moving forward.  We wondered where money from tollgates was going to but now, we are seeing progress.  The problem is in the rural areas where there are no roads.  Since I started my term for the past three years, I have never seen even one grader working on the roads.  So we are appealing that the programme of roads refurbishment must take place on rural roads because during election campaigns, we see politicians becoming very busy in those rural areas lobbying for support.  We must treat these people fairly.  Even before the elections, the roads and bridges must be repaired.

On employment, the President talked about employment creation but the greatest percentage of employment creation is vending.  The vendor’s life is very important during election time, but after election time they get chased away by council police.  They are trying to survive but they are being arrested by the police.  Government can get money from the vendors.  I am saying if we can have laws on vending.  As Parliament, we can enact a law which obliges them to must pay taxes so that Government benefits.

There are no jobs; there is no one who gets oxygen from pumping air.  Even right now, Members of Parliament we are saying our salaries are not enough.  So we must put laws that support the vendors because it is a major employment activity in the country.

On the issue of PfumvudzaPfumvudza is a very good scheme, but it needs to be looked into because sometimes there is corruption.  Corruption must end.  Deserving people must get the inputs.  It must not be one sided; benefits must reach the deserving people.  We must not look at political parties at the time of inputs distribution.  It must be done in time.  Even the elderly we must look after them.  We are saying Pfumvudza Programme must be done this year and the following year then after that everyone must be self sufficient.  A child must be given the opportunity to grow because not teaching the child to walk day in and day out does augur well.

We must introduce competition to farmers; empower them with skills and promotional materials and you will be a winner.  Previously, some were given diesel but they ended up selling that diesel.  There are programmes like the Presidential Inputs Scheme where a person must be given inputs and he/she pays back.  We went to a workshop where we talked about development. We talked about the youths being given loans, but some said if you fail to return the money there is no problem. But, a person must repay whatever he or she has been loaned.  The President wants development.  A person must return what he/she has borrowed so that our country will move forward.  We are aware that His Excellency the President is moving forward towards the development of our country.  However, on the issue of CDF (Constituency Development Fund), we are appealing that we must not embarrass the President by issuing meager funds. Those who are responsible for issuing out CDF funds must allocate reasonable amounts, not figures like $1700 for the whole constituency – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – People will then blame the President and not the issuing office.  Allocate reasonable amounts so that we develop our constituencies.  People think that we are issued with a lot of money and always ask about the CDF funds because they do not know that the money is meager.

On the issue of corruption, we will not be able to achieve Vision 2030 when we do not do something to eradicate corruption.  In China and Rwanda, there is zero tolerance to corruption. You will be sentenced to death because of corruption.  I remember when ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme) was introduced, there was a lot of corruption.  Cabinet had many Ministers.  Then the yesteryear President just removed the ministers and reappointed them as governors. The package was the same with what Ministers were entitled to. That is corruption; nothing was done because he was supposed to send them home to cut expenses. There were 50 Ministers and he reduced them to 15 and that did not help much. Corruption is not about money only; it involves abuse of office also.

I am pleading with the Executive not to be corrupt.  There was an investor called Dangote; people were happy to hear of his coming but he heard that Zimbabwe was very corrupt and he just left – [AN HON. MEMBER: Is that the reason?] – That is the reason, he saw it not fit to invest in Zimbabwe.  When we speak about the ease of doing business, let us do it wholeheartedly. We must not request for bribes or kick backs when giving people contracts.

His Excellency the President also talked about people who commit murder.  I was so touched by this issue but however, I was happy that when the issue of a murdered child was brought to Parliament, we all debated that it is wrong.  We must not just pay lip service but we must act.  If we say this is wrong and we start seeing some murder cases being given preference over other cases, like the case of a soldier who was murdered in Chivu, whereby the following day action was taken and people were arrested.  In 2008, a lot of people died and no one was arrested. We do not progress; if people are not arrested they will continue to murder because they know that they are protected.

If we want to support our President, we must respect life no matter what party they belong to, their age, occupation, gender, et cetera. People must be treated equally. We must be pained by the lives of our people. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to this motion moved by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona, on the State of the Nation Address by our President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me start with the concluding sentences from the speech by the President and I quote ‘this is our only home and our mother land’ – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, that sentence on its own means a lot to us as Zimbabweans and in particular, to us as Legislators and Hon. Members in our respective constituencies. It tells us we have a home, a home which has people with expectations. We are the only country that has got Great Zimbabwe; we are the only country with Victoria Falls and the only country with some renowned heroes, the likes of the late Joshua Nkomo and the late Mbuya Nehanda.

When we talk about our issues, we should understand that we are Zimbabweans and the British have no room in our home, in terms of us managing our own issues as Zimbabweans.  When we say no to sanctions, we must speak with the same voice because we have a common home.  I also want to say, just yesterday we were debating on the establishment of Victoria Falls as a city and all those who debated put their minds closely together to make sure that Victoria Falls becomes a city because it is in our mother land and it is in our home.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we would like to make sure that as Zimbabweans we remain with the concept of trying to make sure our people do not starve.  We should not have people who go out of the country to invite starvation for our people.  We must make sure that whatever we do, it is for the good of our people.  Even the Bible says, “how can you say you love God when you do not love those who are close to you” If we go to another country and show love to those who are very far away from us while our people are starving because of sanctions, then we are not doing well.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I was quite excited about the National Development Strategy which was stated in the SONA, where we find we are trying to improve and develop in terms of infrastructure in our country – the excellent roads that we see.  I am one of those people who ply the Beitbridge – Harare road and there are some sections where even if you are a careless driver you enjoy driving along such roads.  You will also enjoy coming to Parliament because you will reach here feeling well.  When you drive along a ravaged road, you even end up feeling sick.  We want such development things to continue happening.

          I am also excited that for the period 2021 – 2025, one of the two roads in my constituency has been earmarked for tarring and those roads have made a lot of noise.  Actually the roads made me win as a Member of Parliament because I said we will talk to the listening President and it will happen.  Now the roads are now being given attention.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we understand that schools are opening. Parliament is sitting though virtualy.  We were advised by the President not to relax over the COVID issue because in our neighbourhood, we have South Africa who are shaking their heads once more because the ailment seems to be coming back home.  So it is good that we continue subscribing to the WHO guidelines.  Even when we get home, let us talk to our children and continue advising them that COVID – 19 is not yet over.

          In terms of production, and productivity, the President did not means his words to say those who got land must make sure that they produce.  We all know that it is the land that actually gave us a bad name in the eyes of our former colonisers.  If the land is now in our hands, it is now our responsibility to make sure that we produce so that the nation does not starve.  We have actually shown it that even with sanctions, Zimbabwe has the capacity to continue survive.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, because our President is a listening President, he overcame the challenges bedeviling the civil service.  If he was not a listening President, he would have just ignored it and not talk about it.  He talked about it and we know solutions will come because we know our President is a person who can actually understand that people should not continue suffering in a country which we fought for and him being one of the outstanding guerrillas during the war.

          The President also touched on the issue of criminality.  Our country, of recent days, has gone through some challenges.  We have debated here the issue of Tapiwa Makore.  Such issues are not supposed to be heard of in Zimbabwe.  We have heard cases in Beitbridge of armed robberies; cases in Chivhu where some people just came from nowhere and started shooting.  Even in Harare here, things like that have happened.  This country needs to be peaceful.  I want to applaud our security forces for keeping an open eye over people who want to arm themselves and destroy innocent lives.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the President has given us an assignment as Parliament that we have to make sure that we continue rolling out and debating those Bills so that we quickly have some of those laws that are supposed to see this country tick; be established because Zimbabwe is a Constitutional country.  We have our own Constitution, a home grown Constitution, which we have to abide by and the President strictly said let us abide by the Constitution and make sure our country is governable. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. NDIWENI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was moved by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona on the SONA by His Excellency the President.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to speak on two items that were mentioned by the President.

His Excellency the President mentioned about two cancers that are affecting the wellbeing of our country.  He talked about corruption and sanctions. These are two terrible cancers which are killing our nation and are pulling down the growth of this nation.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to zero in on the relationship between corruption and sanctions.  Our President has Zimbabweans at heart. He has actually set up two strong institutions, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission as a means to fight corruption.  To add on the seriousness the President has, he went on to set up a unit called Special Anti-Corruption Unit to make sure that corruption is nipped in the bud.  These are the institutions in addition to our police and the Judiciary.  What I want to emphasise on is the relationship between corruption and sanctions.

          Sanctions happen to be a catalyst in corruption that we are experiencing in this country.  Why do I say so Mr. Speaker Sir?  Corruption is measured by what we call a perception index.  This was initiated by an organisation called Transparency International in 1995.  What they do is, they look at corruption; how the population in a particular country does business corruptly.  So, they came up with an index which is a number measured out of a hundred.  The bigger the number means the less corrupt the country is. If the figure is low that means you are a very corrupt nation. Mr. Speaker Sir, in 1995 Zimbabwe was not measured.  In 1996 we were also not measured but we were only measured in 1998.  In that year 1998, Mr. Speaker, we were at 42 and the average for the whole world was 53.  I want you Mr. Speaker Sir to follow these numbers.  It is the numbers that I want to look at so that everyone follows my line of argument.  We were at 42 on corruption perception index when the average was 53 in 1998.  In 2000, when the sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe our corruption perception index as Zimbabwe was around 30, it had gone down.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, in 2020, where we are today, our corruption perception index is at 24, so we have really gone down but we are not very bad compared to Sub-Saharan Africa.  Sub-Saharan Africa perception index has an average of about 32.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me draw your attention to the figures.  They list Venezuela as having a corruption perception index of 16, followed by Yemen with 15, followed by Syria with 13, followed by South Sudan 12 and lastly Somalia.  Somalia is a failed State and it has got 9.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to draw your attention on the group of countries that I have mentioned. Most of them are sanctioned countries; this is why they have such a low corruption perception index, why, because they resort to a survival mood, these countries have to survive Mr. Speaker Sir.  These Governments have to look after their populations.  That is why in the end, they use middlemen and all these other means in order to burst sanctions.

          So, you find there is a group of countries that I have mentioned and Zimbabwe is also in that group of countries that are sanctioned.  The sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe are actually a catalyst to the corruption that we are experiencing.  So, if anybody wants to help Zimbabwe to fight corruption, they should be standing with Zimbabwe, standing with SADC and standing with the progressive countries in crying out that these sanctions should be removed because they are ending up being a catalyst in the corruption that we are experiencing.

          Zimbabwe on its own is fighting tooth and nail to fight corruption but as long as these sanctions are there, it will be a futile exercise.  I have to extrapolate the figures and you realise that soon after the imposition of sanctions until now, the corruption has gone up.  What is happening?  I want to give a typical example Mr. Speaker Sir.  Look at our diamond trade.  If you block us from trading diamond over the counter, that means they are going to do it under the counter in order to survive.  If we are trading under the counter, that means there are going to be middlemen involved.  If you are going to block us from buying fuel openly, that means we are going to do it under the counter in order for Zimbabwe to survive and by so doing, you are creating middlemen, you are creating corrupt people.  So, it is not Zimbabwe’s fault, we are trying to survive.  Please remove these sanctions so that we survive, so that we are not going to be using all these middlemen.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, let us look at the western world.  Unites States of America on its own, the CPI for USA at the moment is around 69.  So they are not very clean but they will stand up and say ours is a corrupt nation. USA’s CPI stands at 69 and United Kingdom is on 77.  The people that are less corrupt are the ones that are making less noise.  You find right at the top you have countries like Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, they have got corruption indexes up above 80 but then they do not shout about it, some of them did not even sanction Zimbabwe because they realised that sanctions are cancerous and that they are a catalyst to so many untold occurrences.

          Mr. Speaker, in wanting to buttress my argument, I will pick just two countries, Venezuela and Iran.  They are all sanctioned countries. Venezuela by the year 2000 had a corruption perception index of nearly 27 and today is on 26.  Iran was not measured in 1998 and today is on 26. These are two countries that are being forced to operate outside the norm in order to survive.

So, in conclusion, in support of our President and the SONA speech, I would urge all progressive bodies including the Transparency International and United Nations to rally behind SADC for sanctions to be removed, not only on Zimbabwe but on all the other nations that have been sanctioned. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

          *HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to debate about the State of the Nation Address.  We were unable to debate this over the past two to three years that we have been Members of Parliament.  This is an important address that we should be debating as it has come from the President.  I would want to thank our Acting President Hon. Khupe who allowed us to debate on this motion because she could have barred us from debating on this motion – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

Without health, there is no life.  For us to be called people today, it is because we are healthy, regardless of whether one has money or not.  Money cannot buy your health, health is more important than money.  I want to applaud ourselves for having defeated COVID-19.  People were safeguarded and our President stood by our country despite the challenges.  We were able to victoriously sail past this difficult period.

          Secondly, I want to deal with the issue of doctors in our country, doctors look after our health.  Our country should ensure that doctors are well treated.   Doctors take care of our health. Therefore, they need to be motivated.  A person who is in charge of your life is akin to a domestic worker or a maid.  If you ill-treat a maid, they can burn your clothes during laundry or poison your food because she in unhappy and she can ill-treat your children when you are away.  Doctors should be well remunerated – they should be given good houses.

          We used to know that at hospitals, there would be good houses for doctors because even if the country has no money, the doctor cannot look for money for rentals, electricity and water.  However, if a doctor is renting in the high density suburbs, he will be required to pay dues to the landlord. So because of the stress and burdens that doctors will be carrying from home, they might not be able to perform their duties well.

          The health personnel should be well remunerated, transport should be provided, and it is pointless for a doctor who is to start work at 08oohrs when he has to use public transport.  Commuter omnibuses might be stopped by police officer while at the hospital patients will be dying without the doctor’s assistance.

          It should be known that the majority of the people in this country are unemployed.   In the previous years, people used to earn wages and salaries and they were able to go to health care centres whenever they fell ill.  However, nowadays the majority of our people are self employed, therefore hospitals should not be that difficult in terms of admitting ill patients.  Payment upfront should not be demanded.  Let us value our people’s lives and not money.  It is better for one to be treated first and once treated, measures are then taken to ensure that they repay for the treatment that they would have received.  At times if you visit the hospitals you find some of the patients heavily bleeding due to injuries but not being treated because they would not have money.

          The women who deliver at hospital maternity wards, their issue is painful.  In 1980 I was a grown person, I was also a war collaborator during that time and we were receiving treatment for free.  Child birth is a national duty, people are now thinking that once they conceive, they should have an abortion as there is no money to pay for antenatal clinic services.  The new born baby’s requirements are not easily affordable, hence people are buying second hand clothes that end up affecting the children.  The majority of our Zimbabwean people have now resorted to using second hand clothes.  This also applies to the new born babies who are unfortunate to have come into a world where no new clothes are given.

          When women fall pregnant, they should receive free medication. The child belongs to the country, hence child delivery should also be offered free of charge.

          There are also children who are born of fathers that would have denied responsibility or paternity.  People grow up and they have a right to have sexual intercourse, however, when a woman becomes pregnant, she cannot run away - unlike the man who can do that. Once the woman has given birth to the child, it becomes difficult for the mother to get a birth certificate so the woman is on the receiving end from day one of conception up until the child is born and thereafter.  So there should be a desk from the Registrar’s office from each and every polyclinic where women can easily get birth certificates after giving birth.  There will not be a requirement for witnesses because the clinic itself that would have delivered the child becomes the witnesses.  This will become even easier for children to acquire birth certificates, unlike a situation where the fathers run away and then it becomes difficult for them to come and have the children obtain birth certificates.  It is quite problematic for the mother to send the child to school without a birth certificate.  It is a right for every child to have an identity document in Zimbabwe

          The President also talked about food, sanitation and accommodation which fall under the local Government.  Firstly, one is entitled to accommodation.  We should hold the need for one to have a decent accommodation as a priority - it is not good to destroy people’s houses.  People should not be allowed to build houses in areas that are illegal and thereafter go on to destroy them.  They should be given houses in legal areas.

During the Rhodesian times, the conditions were bad and difficult but there were certain good things that used to happen.  I was born at the Old Highfiled Clinic, my parents were residents in Highfiled but they were renting a house.  They later acquired their own house in Glenorah.  They walked into a house that was already serviced with water and everything else.  Houses were never given to people without all the facilities, you would get your four roomed house and there would be three fruit trees outside.  So our Government should also do the same, rather than giving someone a stand without even a toilet.  People hassle to get money to buy stands and build in illegal settlements and the structures will be destroyed after they would have lost their hard earned cash.

It does not make sense for one to pay a lot of money in stands when they will fail to develop the stand and also lose it when the stands are reposed.  The issue of sanitation, water and accommodation should be looked into, people should have affordable food.  Basic foodstuffs should not rise, both the poor and the rich need to eat, so prices should be affordable – that is my plea.

On the issue of education, for one to be respectable, one has to go to school.  Regardless of the level of education that they will have attained, education is a good thing.  Education helps and one needs to have it.  Related to the issue of education is the issue of the teachers.

The President spoke well when he said that teachers have a right to speak against their working conditions.  A teacher should be given accommodation. Once you do not give a teacher accommodation, children will fail to go to school.  For instance, you are giving them $75 and the landlord requires $250 as rent.  Where do you think the teacher will get the difference?  He will not teach your children and will spend most of his time looking for money for rentals.  That is why the teachers are now doing extra lessons at home.  The conditions of service for teachers should be reasonable.

 All civil servants in the past had residences that would be built up for them and you would never meet police officers all over.  When a police officer is now a tenant to a landlord who sells drugs, he will not arrest him.  Police officers should never stay with the people because it causes corruption.  They will be drinking beer together at a beerhall.  Teachers should also be given decent accommodation so that they remain respectable people in society, unlike situations where they end up doing piecemeal jobs in order to raise money.  It is not proper for someone to say that because teachers are raising their grievances, therefore temporary teachers are going to replace them.  That is not a good idea.

I want to talk about the issue of transport and infrastructure.  If the country has no good infrastructure such as roads, there will be no development.  Transporting goods will be difficult; if the planes are not moving well, there will be no tourism to talk about. If the railway lines are not running properly and there are no trains, goods and minerals cannot be delivered.

Lastly, I would want to deal with the issue of corruption, especially on agricultural inputs.  The inputs are causing corruption.  Village heads are now corrupt because yearly they are being given inputs.  They should be told that they will be given implements and seeds this year and the following year they have to buy.  There is a lot of corruption in this country because of what is happening in our country.  We should do things that will ensure that corruption dies.  Corruption is the song of the day but no big fish has been arrested.  Corruption should be eradicated.  People should understand that there is corruption.  Even if we say that sanctions should go before dealing with corruption, it will be like putting grain in a torn sack.  We should not sing about sanctions when we cannot do much about it.  I thank you.

HON. MUSAKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President, E.D. Mnangagwa.  I would like to thank the President for being so clear in setting the tone for a development strategy.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Hon. Member, can you unmute your gadget.

HON. MUSAKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the President for setting the tone for a developmental oriented strategy after commending the successful conclusion of the TSP and laying the foundation for the national development strategy.  I also want to commend the President for being so resolute and being very clear on the irreversibility of the land reform programme and giving comfort to the indigenous people of this country that land will forever be their national asset and heritage.

I also want to thank the President for emphasising on productivity by reiterating his commitment towards the “Pfumvudza, Intwasa” and the enhancement of horticulture production which is a major foreign currency earner, and also emphasising on the resuscitation of irrigation schemes.  I also want to thank the President for setting the tone for industrialization through the efforts of Government to create a stable power supply and the Government efforts of expanding Hwange 7 and 8 and giving more space to independent power producers to partake in the generation of power under the solar and thermal programmes nationwide, which is highly commendable.  No one would want to bring industry and investment in a country where there is no stable power supply.

Some Hon. Members having been engaged in conversation. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order please.  May the Hon. Members there observe social distancing and properly put your masks on.  You can proceed Hon. Member.

HON. MUSAKWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I also want to commend the President for showing his people centred approach by emphasising the strengthening of social safety nets under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare by making sure that under such a drought prone year, Government is making every effort to make sure that people do not starve, but are provided for as far as food is concerned. On the same note, the President mentioned the issue of labour market information centres where there is one-stop shop for labour market information which is very important for investors and supports the thrust of Government being open for business. I would like to commend the President for his commitment to continued reengagement process so that Zimbabwe becomes part of the global community of nations, which is good for business in that it reduces the country risk and allows Zimbabwean companies and businesses to access international credit lines.

          I would also want to commend the President in his State of the Nation Address, where he showed his commitment for the welfare of veterans of the liberation struggle after he commented on the enactment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act. It shows the President’s commitment towards the welfare and being of the veterans of the struggle.

          On the legislative agenda, I would also want to commend the President for putting his weight behind the Sugar Industry Production Control Amendment Act which is coming so that the sugar industry will continue to play an even more enhanced role in economic development. At the same time, with his open for business approach, I would like to commend the President for putting his weight behind the ratification and domestication of the Minamata Convention which will foster responsible and mining for gold and other related minerals and hence open further markets for our minerals as a country which mines its minerals in a  responsible way. That is all for now Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you for the opportunity.

          HON. MAPHOSA: First, I would want to thank my party MDC-T for the appointment that they have made today. I am humbled. Any party or Government that invests in the young people and young generation has got surety of continuity and success. I would like to thank the party so much.

          I would want to add my voice on the SONA that was presented by the President last week. It is our first time to debate SONA and we were deprived of this opportunity for a long time. I am happy that today I will air my views. I would like to talk about the issue of the Youth Bill. I was very much excited to know that for a long time the youth have been regarded as leaders of tomorrow – leaders that are yet to come but now Government has realised that we need to take the involvement of the youth seriously and consider putting them in decision making positions and recognise them as people who can also enrich and contribute to the growth of this country.

          The President also talked about the continuity of schools even in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst we welcome that, my concern is that we all know that teachers are on strike since the opening of schools. We have examination classes that are said to be sitting but are not learning. It is a concern and I hope the Executive together with the President will look honestly to the welfare of all teachers so that they reach an agreement that will make our children to continue learning and to sit for examinations that will produce something. There is a difference between sitting for examinations and producing results. What we are worried about as parliamentarians is for us as a country to produce something after those children sit. I would like to urge Government to look closely on the plight of teachers and health workers, for us to celebrate as a country to say at least we are doing something in unison.

          I would like to talk about the stability of the foreign exchange rate that the President spoke to. Indeed, this is a plausible move and we all agree that for a long time the rate has stabilised and we have seen a lot of efforts in trying to end the black market. We hope and wish that this goes on and we see our country moving forward. This also goes to the issue of fuel prices stabilisation. Fuel prices have stabilised but we note it is in foreign currency. There is a discontinuity of having fuel in foreign currency while people have their salaries and wages in RTGS. There must be a nexus so that when somebody gets paid RTGS they also get fuel in RTGS. Our sources of income are in RTGS, so we cannot be happy and applaud having fuel being sold in us$. I hope Government will look into that.

          There is the issue of Pfumvudza  - when I was going around the country with one of my Committees I did not understand much about it. When I asked, I got an explanation of how it is done. This is a great move but my wish is to see some technology in it. Why not try to modernise  Pfumvudza? It is indeed there to eradicate poverty in our country and it is there to uplift the livelihoods of those households which do not have any form of income or who are not able to do those things on their own. The concept behind is very good and impressive. When I was following it, I just said I would do this in my backyard and see what I will produce. I wish the programme could be modernised because the manual labour behind it is like some form of punishment on those that do not have, unlike those that have tractors and ox-drawn equipment.  I urge our Government to research and find ways to do this noble programme in a modern way.

          I would also want to talk about the issue of engagement and re-engagement. This is very important if we are going to venture in a lot of businesses that will uplift our country and stabilise our economy.  This is a very important aspect of engagement and reengagement, so I will urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs together with his counterpart to take this thing seriously and make sure we get something from it.

          The President also spoke about Bills and the Bill on war veterans.  I was so much humbled because I was part of the team that went around.  It was so touching to see those that had fought for this country but they are living in abject poverty.  Some of them when they were relating their encounters and looking at the deformations that they suffered and the pain that they still relate to – I want to applaud that this Bill has gone through and at least they will be going to get something though a lot of them have died.  We wish their families and wives could benefit from the passing of the Bill.

          The President also spoke about the mining sector and of note is the Minamata Convention.  I was privileged to go to the workshop and I was shocked to learn that mercury has got a lot of disadvantages especially when it comes to child birth and women themselves using mercury.  I also urge the Ministry of Mines and all those that are involved to make sure that they work hard in conscientising the community on the disadvantages of using mercury and giving alternatives that will not hinder their family income.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if we look at our country right now and if I zero into my province Matabeleland South, a lot of people are surviving on gold mining.  Most of them are small scale miners.  Some of them even use mercury in their homes to produce gold, so it is important for an alternative to be given to enable the families to continue getting their source of livelihood rather than abruptly stop their source of income by disbanding the use of mercury without offering an alternative.  If people stop producing gold, what then will they do for a source of living?  I hope the responsible ministries will seriously look into these issues.

          I would also want to talk about the Provincial Council Bill.  I think this has taken too long and I would like to encourage the Minister of Local Government to try and speed up the coming of the Bill to Parliament and ensure that devolution is implemented.  I was a member of the provincial council elected in 2013.  We went on for five years without being sworn in or even being told how it was going to work.  So we are now in the third year of the second term and still nothing has been done so far.  If we are to be seen as a serious country and serious Parliament, we must make sure that we pass this Bill because for us to pride ourselves as a Parliament, we should be getting pressure from provincial governments.  As we are at a national level, it is difficult for us to know all that is happening, the challenges and so forth.  Therefore devolution must come to pass as a matter of urgency.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. CHIKUNI: Thank Mr Speaker for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the State of the Nation address which was moved by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona.  I was very pleased to hear His Excellency the President, E. D. Mnangagwa complimenting Zimbabweans for good behaviour.  He urged us all to be disciplined because when COVID-19 started, Zimbabweans listened to the President and self isolated.  So, the President urged us to remain resolute in following all rules and regulations pertaining to Covid-19 such as sanitising, putting on masks and social distancing to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

In his speech, he also touched on the issue of farming.  Our President has a vision.  This year our cattle perished especially in our rural areas.  The cattle are so thin that it is a burden to make them plough.  Because of the introduction of Pfumvudza, we do not have to harness our cattle but can do the 4960 holes which are not a large hectarage to be worked on.  If one wakes up early in the morning with the assistance of family members, it can easily be done and there is great likelihood of getting a good harvest.  People adopted the Pfumvunza option with joy.  In Chimanimani where I come from, they have always ploughed by hand in the mountains.  People are happy as they have dug the holes, they have been given fertiliser and seed and all they are waiting for are the rains.  It is a worthwhile vision which will enable everyone to sustain themselves.  There is DDF everywhere and my plea is that they should be given tractors from those that came so they can assist people plough their fields because people lost their cattle.

The President also spoke about engagement and reengagement with other countries.  It is another commendable vision because when Covid-19 arose and we were ill prepared for the pandemic we were able to get assistance from those countries he had engaged in order to curb the pandemic.  He also thanked those all weather countries and all Zimbabweans who assisted with making of masks and sanitisers.  If you see a father thanking his children, those children will be blessed.

The President also touched on the issue of Bills and I remember the Children’s Amendment Bill.  I hope it will also look at those children we call stateless.  We have many children, men and women which the State is not aware exist but they live in this country.  I think it will also look at addressing this issue and other children who are born out of wedlock – the fathers are not looking after them.  The Bill should ensure that these children have identification documents like Birth Certificates and national identification.   Every Zimbabwean is entitled to national identification.

          The State must know how many people are in the country.   As a result of none registration, we will discover that many people do not have adequate personal identification documents when we go to census.  It also helps women when they deliver babies alone without the father figure as it will be easy for them to acquire identification documents.  So, I expect the Bill to address all these issues because women suffer the most to live with children who do not have identification particulars.

          The President also spoke about the NGO and PVC Amendment Bill saying that all the NGOs must be properly registered and that we are going to give food to people.  When most of these NGOs are on the ground, they do not stick to their mandate for which they were registered for and all these things are going to be scrutinised to ensure that they are doing what they were registered for in the designated areas.  Some claimed that they have 700 NGOs but the NGOs are not on the ground.  I think I have said enough.  I thank you.

          *HON. SAIZI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to contribute to the issue that was tabled by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO):  Order, order Hon. Member, may you please unmute your device?  You are not connected.

          *HON. SAIZI: Thank you Hon. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add a few words to the motion that was tabled by Hon. Togarepi and seconded by Hon. Mhona in line with the State of the Nation Address by the President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

          As a representative of Muzarabani, I want to speak to the issue of roads.  I am one of the people who managed to get this development.  We have a road that comes from St. Alberts leading to Dande. The road had not been tarred since 1980 till 2018, that is when the road was tarred.  So, we are happy about this development.

          Hon. Speaker, there is only a stretch of three kilometers of untarred road but looking at the work that was being done, I noticed many youths, both boys and girls, being employed which was a very good thing.  This project of reconstruction of roads around the country will see local companies being considered for tenders thus contributing to job creation.

The President also spoke about the issue of dams.  I am happy Hon. Speaker that Muzarabani also got the opportunity for the construction of Silverstream Dam that is currently under construction.  The wish of the people of Muzarabani is to see another big dam being constructed. This would benefit them a lot.   The dam is called, Mavhuradonha.  The construction of this dam will bring development to the people of Muzarabani and the whole province because it will be big enough to service the whole province.

          In addition, if it was possible, we have other smaller dams like Charmwood Dam.  The dam wall was washed away, which means we need repairs on the dam wall so that irrigation can resume in the area.  This dam can also help a lot at Chawarura Vocation Training Centre.   We also have another smaller dam called Kasho, if desiltation is done, we can get enough water to assist the community.  Around Muzarabani Constituency, we have many small dams that need desiltation. If this were possible, it would help us a lot.

          I also want to touch on another issue that the President alluded to and that is the issue of Pfumvudza.  This is a very commendable thing and people in Muzarabani were surprised because most of the time when we talk about the issue of inputs, they delay to be delivered to people but this time around, people received farming inputs in time.  We are only waiting for the rains now. If we receive enough rains Mr. Speaker, we foresee a bumper harvest through Pfumvudza.

          I also want to talk about corruption and sanctions.  Hon. Speaker, I am happy to say that in this august House we are speaking with one voice that sanctions must go.  We were tired of people arguing about the 2018 elections but we cannot continue looking in the past.  We must be united as has already been alluded to by the Opposition that sanctions must go.  This will help us as a country.  Unity will also help us to eradicate corruption because without unity, it is difficult to fight corruption.  I want to applaud the vision by the other Hon. Members and the encouragement from the President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa that we must fight corruption always.

          I want to conclude by talking about the issue of COVID-19 and applaud the President of Zimbabwe.  When he first spoke about the issue of lockdown, we saw it as not being fair to the whole country but later realised that it helped us a lot as it helped to preserve our lives.  He also encouraged us to continue observing the WHO guidelines so that COVID-19 does not affect us again.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

          +HON. E. MASUKU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, can you hear me?

+THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You may proceed Hon. Member, we can hear you

+HON. E. MASUKU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  His Excellency spoke about unity in Zimbabwe.  Zimbabweans are united.  Mr. Speaker Sir, people are prepared to adhere to the laws governing the nation and this shows unity.  His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa spoke about Pfumvudza/Intwasa.  In Matabeleland North Pfumvudza/Intwasa is already under implementation.  Our people are busy and I believe that this is going to eliminate poverty and hunger in Matabeleland North.  As residents of Matabeleland North, we are busy implementing the programme.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the President also spoke about how sanctions are affecting Zimbabweans.  The Western World believes that they are punishing individuals but this is not true.  This is affecting the general populace of Zimbabwe.  Mr. Speaker Sir, these are not targeted sanctions but they are sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.  As Zimbabweans and people of Matabeleland North, no matter how tough the going might be, with the little resources that we have, it does not matter what they are doing to us, we know that we have a leader who cares for us.  Despite the prevailing circumstances, Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very happy that the President clarified that land would not be given back to white commercial farmers.  There are some who are saying land will be taken back to the previous owners. Mr. Speaker Sir, land will not be taken back because this country got its independence after a protracted struggle.

Many issues were mentioned by other Hon. Members.  I would like to urge my fellow Hon. Members and the people of Zimbabwe to take heed of the words that were said by His Excellency during the State of the Nation Address.  With those few words, I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. L. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for awarding me this opportunity.  First and foremost, I would like to pass my greetings to you and to my fellow Hon. Members who were with me in the last Parliament and the new Hon. Members.  Mr. Speaker Sir, my name is Luwazi Sibanda.  I represent Matabeleland North Province, the richest province in Zimbabwe with its natural resources.  I would like to thank people from Matabeleland North who have afforded me a second chance to come to this august House.

Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency talked about the climate change.  We have noticed that the climate change has affected the rainfall pattern.  There are areas like Binga where there is less rainfall.  Hon. Dr. Khupe said that the Government should look at the irrigation scheme programmes.  Mr. Speaker Sir, despite that Binga has the largest water reservoir, the Government must prioritise Binga, as a victim of colonial displacement, for it to get more irrigation schemes.  The irrigation scheme like Simathelele, I think it should be expanded to benefit people who are living in poverty and hunger in the drought areas like Binga.

The President also spoke about education in Zimbabwe.  In Matabeleland North, children still travel long distances going to school.  Some travel 10-15 kilometres on a dusty and sandy road. Education is the gateway to economic empowerment.  We urge the Government to revisit the rural schools in Matabeleland North

I am surprised that as Matabeleland North is the richest province with natural resources such as gold, coal and tourism – the government must ensure that those natural resources are used to build schools and roads in this province.

Timber is found in Matabeleland North in Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Lupane, but when you go to schools, you find that children learn sitting on the ground or small chairs whilst timber is found in this province. It is very painful that Matabeleland has been marginalised for a long time whilst it is rich in natural resources.  I think the Government should see to it that we get more attention than any other provinces because most of the resources do not benefit people from those areas

The President spoke about devolution of power.  The President must look into that, that local authorities must benefit from their resources.  If you go to Hwange, you will find that compound looks like it has been deserted for a long time.  Coal is from Hwange but if you go there, it looks like the place has been deserted a long time ago.  In devolution of power, the President must also accommodate the locals, they must benefit.

Lastly, I would like to urge Hon. Members of this august House to be united in any debate that is brought in this august House.

HON. MKARATIGWA:  I am pleased to acknowledge the decorous address that was presented to this august House by His Excellency, the President of the Republic Cde Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Third Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Indeed, it is an over arching synopsis of the state of the nation.  We thank His Excellency for renewing the nation’s hope and your courage, astuteness and servant leadership is already paying dividends.  You are comprehensively and unwaveringly wading through the waters of impeding national challenges, yet with simplicity, cooperation, national pride, you are driving the adaptation of policies and programmes to national characteristics, hence the giant in us as Zimbabweans has begun to rise again.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as the Member of Parliament for Shurugwi South, the people are grateful for the Government’s drive towards food security, underpinned by the Presidential Climate Proofed Agriculture Programme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa among other livelihoods sustainability programs and economic empowerment initiatives.  Livelihoods sustainability is important in our society which is under the threat of shocks induced by climate change and variability.  Climate proofing, coupled with the ongoing economic and political proofing, has the propensity to galvanize attainment of vision 2030.  Roads are being built and it is evident to any well meaning Zimbabwean that the country is now well set in the path of recovery and transformation. The cooperative approach embedded in His Excellency’s personality and conduct is a strong social capital that enables us to yield positive results as exuded during the COVID-19 pandemic era.  We saw many corporates coming on board in solidarity with the leadership His Excellency and we your people, are indeed appreciating the nature of your inspiring leadership which we have also embraced and now the light to our paths in our daily engagement in service – we have embraced less talk and more action and replaced vindictiveness with unity, cooperation and selflessness in love and solidarity with all groups that make up our society.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, Shurugwi South is situated in the Great Dyke and coincidentally - with pleasures your leadership has appointed me to chair the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development - hence, on that one note, my views represent the broader Zimbabwean community beyond my constituency. The mining sector is key in the attainment of Vision 2030 for Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, there are a number of challenges staring in the sector’s face. Our small scale and artisanal miners are grateful for the raft of changes the Government is making along payment models upon delivery of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries.

          Efforts are being made through the parent Ministry to address most of the challenges but still mining disputes continue to impact negatively, particularly on gold production in the country. The vastly informalised small scale and artisanal miners are leading to gold leakages. Exploitation of miners by unscrupulous and unsustainable livelihoods which are another cause of excessive negative reliance on the natural environment for livelihoods with add effects on the rise of climate change and variability.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, prioritization of the Mines and Minerals Bill will go a long way for the economic development of Zimbabwe. I am glad that in the State of the Nation Address, His Excellency emphasised the need to make sure we deliver on the finalisation and enactment of all outstanding Bills. There are also claims of children being involved especially in small scale and artisanal mining. this is against international and our national labour laws and practices. These young people are dropping out from both primary and secondary schools.

          As a result, they are falling away from the mainstream economy. In that respect, the proposed Children’s Amendment Bill together with the Mines and Minerals Bill and the unemployment benefit schemes trickle down effects can help protect children from such disadvantages. I have noted Mr. Speaker Sir that we are deriving benefits from our peaceful co-existence with the mining companies among other ethical investors in the country and throughout their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

          The partnership is birthing infrastructural development support programmes in hospitals, schools, vocational training and technical colleges, universities, rural community livelihoods improvement throughout the country is guaranteed. Nevertheless, there still exist divergent and convergent voices with regard to relationships between mining companies, communities living in mineral rich areas where mining companies operate, the civil society and the Government as well as the natural resources management pundits.

          On the other hand, citizens are grappling with economic challenges, social economic security of mining workers, post mine life and during mining work stoppages. Shabani/Mashava Mine is one case in point and we need to urgently draw lessons from past experiences as we move towards Vision 2030 with the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra tied to engagement and reengagement being the bedrock of economic direction.

          I must testify that during budget consultations when we were in Mberengwa and Zvishavane, the community of Zvishavane was highly expectant, following pronouncements by His Excellency that Shabani Mine and Mashaba Mine should be prioritised and revived to better the livelihoods of the existing communities and they were wondering why the pace is so slow when His Excellency has dictated what should happen.

          The proposed Economic Empowerment Act as well as the amendment of the Environmental Management Act should help in that regard, especially through the leave no one behind bottom up approach adopted by this Government including through devolution. The slow pace of doing business we are witnessing in some of our Government Ministries and Departments does not seem to tally with the Vision 2030 that is just a decade away as pronounced by His Excellency.

          The work ethic should reflect the haste, for example the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development has been experiencing the opposite with regards to the Mines and Minerals Bill. With your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, we ended up appointing a Steering Committee to expedite the finalisation of incorporation of the reservations that were raised by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. Indeed, we are finalizing the Bill which has to be submitted to Parliament soon after incorporating views from the All Stakeholder Conference we expect to be announced soon. The Bill would in fact will help address most of the issues infesting the sector in Zimbabwe.

          Corruption is still there and with the ongoing efforts, citizens are becoming more and more proud of their motherland again. It is indeed true that a brighter future depends on us all as enunciated by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa,. Cooperation is yielding a common and shared responsibility among citizens and national development partners, inclusive of the private sector, NGOs and CSOS as well as the bureaucracy. We are enjoying the collegiality and simple, honest and selfless contribution and criticism is yielding positive results, unlike the former selfish and hedonistic approaches.

          Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that this country invest in the establishment of the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development among other initiatives. Already, the pleasing report of the rise in innovative products certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe this year is good news. Zimbabwe requires that for smaller equipment and machinery retooling as we support development of our small and medium enterprises. Some technologies more affordably, if investors can help in transforming our broader economy from agriculture to mining and manufacturing, we will rid the economy of many other ills such as child labour and local financial incapacities experienced by our local industry, Mr. Speaker Sir.  That can also support our elderly and child headed families predominant in our rural communities and in particular those who rely more on primary production that is labour intensive.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can you avoid reading.  Please refer to your notes as much as possible.

HON. MKARATIGWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  In ending Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank His Excellency for highlighting the need to ratify the Minamata Convention.  This is key in facilitating responsible mining in Zimbabwe.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  There are only five minutes left Hon. Member.  Can you wind up.

HON. MKARATIGWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The most important aspect is for us to move carefully like when you are crossing a flooded river, you use a stick in one hand so that you feel the depth. This is how I feel the Minamata Convention would, if we ratify, help us to be part and parcel of a global initiative that has got a say in making sure we promote the development of newer and better technologies like the use of Borax which can replace mercury in the processing of gold.  If this is rolled out, it means in terms of cluster mapping, it can actually help in the creation of employment, it can actually help boost the manufacturing sector thereby boosting the number of young people that can be employed. Also in terms of import substitution, we can slowly move away from imports which actually negate the gains that we gain from the foreign currency proceeds that we benefit from the mining and agricultural sector exports because besides the mining sector, you will find us importing things like tooth picks, wooden boards for use in our homes and food when we have got good land and soils in Zimbabwe.

So Mr. Speaker Sir, initiatives to do with incubation hubs as explicitly stated by His Excellency in his State of the Nation Address should be used and these should help us to actually come up with very simple, fine products that will substitute imported products and ensure that the internal resource mobilisation drive that we are undertaking is actually mobilised by preserving the much needed foreign currency.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

+HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to deliberate on the SONA speech which was delivered by His Excellency and was moved by our Chief Whip, Hon. Togarepi seconded by our Chair, Hon. Mhona.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me deliberate in a language that I am comfortable in.  I come from Insiza South.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the people of Insiza South appreciate the speech that was given by His Excellency, E. D. Mnangagwa during the State of the Nation Address in this august House.  The area I come from in Matabeleland South is an area which falls under Region 5.  This is an area where people rear domestic animals like cattle.  There is not enough rainfall in Matabeleland South but let me thank His Excellency the President who spoke about sanctions, corruption and mentioned sanctions which are economic sanctions that were put by the white people.  Then he also spoke about corruption which involves a lot of bad things that are perpetuated and done by people.

Where I come from Mr. Speaker Sir, people might say that sanctions are not evident but let me say that there is a road which links West Nicholson and my constituency.  This road was supposed to be tarred but only 5km of that road was tarred.  Up to now, there is no development.  There is another road, a road which links Avoca and Filabusi which was tarred for 10km in 1992.  Up to now, there is no development.  This is because of sanctions Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am saying this so that people understand that sanctions are affecting development.

In Insiza South Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the way the President spoke about the health sector, particularly COVID-19 because when we compare Zimbabwe with other countries you will discover that in Zimbabwe God should be thanked because he intervened. Local statistics are differing from global statistics.  Yes, we were affected by COVID-19 but we need to appreciate God because our statistics are lower than other parts of the world. Zimbabweans are people who listen when they are counseled and guided; they adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. People are beginning to relax; some no longer wear their masks.  I would like to urge them to continue adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.

Let me also talk about Pfumvudza programme. People are concerned in my constituency because this programme is run by Agritex Extension Officers.  People are expressing concern over the transportation of their inputs because councillors and Members of Parliament were left out. Agricultural Extension officers are charging people for transportation and most people cannot afford paying for such.  I am saying this because His Excellency the President and the Minister of Agriculture is aware of the situation. So, my request is that this issue needs to be looked into.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me now speak on the issue of devolution.  When the (CDF) Constituency Development Fund is disbursed and when it reaches to councillors, we need to be told so that our input in the implementation of various projects is considered.  Sometimes we see developmental programmes happening in our constituencies despite the fact that we are Members of Parliament and without being told about such projects.

Mr. Speaker Sir, on sanctions, the Umzingwane Dam which feeds into Mawabeni or which takes water from Mawabeni River has been drastically affected by siltation; this needs to be looked into.

I will touch on education, my request is that teachers should be guided and they should seek divine intervention so that they can also be considerate because they are given the task of looking after students and teaching them.  Now, they are acting as if they are incapacitated and even after being given salary increments they are failing to deliver. My request is that they should be considerate.  Let me end by saying that we appreciate what His Excellency the President is doing because in everything that is happening he says that if people agree then the will of God happens.  I am saying this because some of us in this august House have decided that we need to unite against sanctions across the political divide yet the whites have a saying that ‘if you cannot beat them you have to join them’.  Mr. Speaker Sir, sanctions are affecting all Government sectors.  The voice of the people is the voice of God. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. TEKESHEthe House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020.

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