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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 31 JANUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 14
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 31st January, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. What is it Hon. Mliswa? Can you state your case clearly so that you are recorded appropriately? What is the issue?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Chikwinya was pointing to Hon. Sacco saying that he is wearing Party regalia and I told him it is not. It is a national dress and I am proud of it. Not only that, he must have longs again to accompany it and a tie of a national dress and a white shirt and he would look very nice. I actually commend him for that. In fact, all of us must be wearing that. Well done Hon. Sacco.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. The issue of the national dress was approved here. It was moved by Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni. So there are no issues.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and good afternoon. I rise on a point of national interest which is premised on the evictions that are currently taking place of compound dwellers or those that are in farm houses whose farms are owned by A2 farmers. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Constitution is very clear in Section 295 and Section 72 that those people will not be taken to any court of law for the purpose of land redistribution. However, Mr. Speaker Sir, I request that the Hon. Minister of Lands comes to this House and makes it very clear in terms of the continued stay of those former farm workers in those farm houses in the compounds as it relates to their continued stay in those places vis-a-vis the Global Agreement that seeks to compensate the former farmers using the USD3.5 billion. My issue is premised on the continued stay of those former farm workers to avoid the flagrant eviction…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, what is your prayer?
HON. NDUNA: My prayer Mr. Speaker Sir, is for those former farm workers to continue to be given lease of stay in those former farm workers’ compounds as opposed to being evicted in the manner that they are being evicted currently.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, did you check whether the evictions are in terms of a High Court order, because I do not want to waste my time.
HON. NDUNA: Yes Mr. Speaker Sir. They are not in terms of any court of law. They are in terms of the power of the A2 offer letter given to the current farm owners. So I request that the Minister of Lands comes and clarifies that matter.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I think it is important, even to the Minister of Justice who is here to understand that the Land Reform Programme has got two programmes, the A1 and the A2. The A2 has a map which every farmer is given and if the compound is within the boundary, it is yours and it is for the workers. What has been happening is that most people have been staying in these compounds and are also getting involved in criminal activities. I have three compounds on my farm and they belong to me. They are for my workers not for the people to just get involved in activities which are not for it. Hon. Nduna must understand and he knows better…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. That is not a point of order. You are now debating. Allow – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, can you hear me? Order, allow the Hon. Minister to appear with his Ministerial Statement and then issues will arise at that point and you can argue the case – [HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sorry. All I am saying…] – Order! I have ruled.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, all I am saying is there are High Court orders. I am trying to help, being a lawyer and I know them. There are High Court orders. Hon. Nduna must give us an example of an eviction which happened without a High Court order…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! - [HON. T. MLISWA: ...without a High Court Order.] – Order, order! Let us hear the Hon. – [HON. T. MLISWA: I know Hon. Nduna needs votes for next year. So, he is trying to protect some of his voters. He is very intelligent but he cannot use this Parliament for that.] – Order! I shall not allow debate on a statement of national interest.
HON. TOGAREPI: I rise on a point of national interest. These past two weeks, I have been travelling up and down from Masvingo and I have witnessed several accidents. Our Government has done a good job on the Masvingo Road. It is wide and people are travelling well and safely but when you go to bridges, I witnessed about 17 accidents and most of them were happening at the bridge. Our roads are wide but when they get to a bridge they go narrow and accidents are happening. I was thinking Mr. Speaker, what can be done by Government and the Ministry of Transport to deal with the bridges because of those wide roads, people are now speeding so much but when they get to the bridges you see accidents. Several of them these past two weeks and I was saying to myself Government can do something to deal with the narrow bridges, especially on highways so that we can save lives. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Chief Whip. MDC-T, you will have only one person to present because we agreed to four presentations.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of interest arises from what has become a national scourge that has emerged, especially involving our youths with regards to drug and alcohol abuse. Recently Hon. Speaker, there was a story of a high school which expelled several students after having found them guilty and in possession of drugs and alcohol and having partaken in the consumption of these drugs and alcohol.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Hwende, stop taking those pictures please.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I want to believe this is a crisis emerging in the majority of our constituencies. I remember the Member of Parliament for Harare West raising this issue with the Minister of Home Affairs. I also did at some particular time. My prayer Mr. Speaker in respect of Government’s initiatives of curbing this issue; may the Minister of Home Affairs address Parliament on the steps that have been taken by Government and perhaps produce statistics if we are seeing any reduction to the same? Also, how we can assist our local communities to ensure that this scourge does not affect this emerging generation. Fingers are also being pointed to law enforcement agents that they are also now beginning to trade in these drugs and therefore we are all exposed Hon. Speaker. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Would it not be richer if you raise this issue through a motion so that there is debate on this national scourge.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I will do that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: MDC-T, you will have to choose who will present between Hon. Tekeshe and Hon. Maphosa – [HON. TEKESHE: Inaudible interjection] – You stand up when addressing the Chair.
HON. TEKESHE: As she is the only lady, I will give her the opportunity.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Chief Whip for giving me the opportunity. My point of national interest emanates from these big houses that sell chicks to the public, especially the women of our country. Mr. Speaker, there has been a rise of these hatcheries especially Hamara where a whole lot of chickens are dying after people have bought them, maybe days or even on their way home. Being a chicken farmer myself, I bought 400 chicks from Hamara on the 9th and about 150 died before I got home. Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that this chicken rearing is not a new thing. We were brought up by our mothers and fathers who used to do this business and we have never seen such happening. You will remember that when you bought chicks you would get five extra chicks and it was rare for the five extra chicks to die during the space of rearing, which is the six weeks.
I will quote someone who sent this on Twitter, the Queen of baTonga. She says ‘I am very disappointed by the quality of birds you sold to me’. She quoted the Hamara chicks. ‘I bought 100 and 45 died. The 55 are still chicks weighing less than 500 grams after four weeks. They are eating feed like goblins. I am returning the birds to you tomorrow. This is unacceptable practice.’ Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not a laughing matter. My thought went to an old woman in Mangwe where she will go to buy 50 of these chicks and these chicks died before they could do whatever they wanted to do.
So, I implore this House through you Mr. Speaker, that the Minister responsible, I think for Agriculture and the Committee, to dig into this to see what is the cause. I am thinking that the hatcheries or houses themselves have some sort of neglect or they know that they are selling sub-standard chicks to poor citizens who want to live. We must know that most of the people are living through the rearing of chickens and vending. This is my prayer Hon. Speaker. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Hwende, the Chair is the Speaker. I must be heard in silence. Hon. Maphosa, you will have to, in future convince yourself about the integrity of your sources. I am not aware of the queen of baTonga.
HON. MAPHOSA: Mr. Speaker Sir, that was just an example but I have done enough investigations on this. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, so quoting such sources may not be convincing. In any case Hon. Maphosa, I think your first port of call is the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe. Refer that matter to the director, Consumer Council to investigate the issue before we proceed to ask the Hon. Minister. - [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible Interjection.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Pardon, you did not approach the Chair. Unfortunately, you did not approach the Chair. You can do that next week, tomorrow or even on Thursday. Thank you.
LEAVE TO SUSPEND PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDERS NO. 53, 66 (2) AND 68
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Speaker Sir, I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Orders Number 53, 66 (2) and 68 regarding the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than on a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday and Private Members Motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after Question time and Questions, be suspended with effect from today and for the next series of sittings in respect of Government business. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Nduna, I am speaking. Hon. Member, before you object, there is an Hon. Member who is seeking clarification.
(v)HON. GONESE: I just want to seek clarification from the Hon. Minister because he has generally said Government business and I know that Government has a lot of things that may be coming. I was of the opinion that if he has some business with some urgency to it, the Hon. Minister should specify the business. Some of the Standing Orders which he mentioned relate, for example to Private Members business, which takes precedence on Wednesdays after question time. In short, it impinges on the rights of those private members.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. The clarification sought here Hon. Minister, is the nature of Government business and whether this is going to be indefinite. Is there any time limit for the suspension? That is the question for clarification from Hon. Gonese.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, we can suspend for this week and if there is still anything that we need to do, we can still seek leave for next week so that we can clear the Bills. If there is anything outstanding then we can always indulge you so that we do not have a timeline that is not specific.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright, just one week.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Yes, we can always indulge you and seek leave again if there is still business to be considered.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon Minister, With that understanding, Hon. Mushoriwa? It is okay? Thank you very much. There is no objection and it is agreed to.
Motion put and agreed to.
SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OFSTANDING ORDERS NO. 53, 66 (2) AND 68
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIR (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Speaker Sir, I move that the provisions of Standing Orders, Number 53, 66 (2) and 68 regarding the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. on sitting days other than a Friday and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday and Private Members Motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after Question time and Questions, be suspended with effect from today and for the next series of sittings in respect of Government business. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. - [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, why do you not lower your voices and whisper to your colleagues and respect the House? I have seen one Hon. Member who I shall not describe or name laughing to such an extent that she had to recline backwards. That is not being honourable. Hon. Members speak and laugh in style - [Laughter.] -
Motion put and agreed to.
LEAVE TO MOVE FOR SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER NO. 142
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I rise to seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Order Number 142 regarding the introduction of Bills be suspended in respect of the Police Amendment Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER NO. 142
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I move that provisions of Standing Order Number 142 with regard to introduction of the Bills be suspended.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE 7TH MAY 2022 BY-ELECTION
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise that this House takes note of the report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 7th May 2022 by-elections presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 241 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with Section 13 Subsection (1) of the Electoral Act.
I move that the debate do now adjourn to allow Members to read the report.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 1st February, 2023.
SECOND READING: JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2022]
Second Order read: Second reading: Judicial Laws Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2022]
- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members by the door there, this door is open and I do not want to push you out.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to thank the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the detailed report that they presented to the august House.
I, also in the same vein Mr. Speaker Sir, want to thank Hon. Members of this august House for a very enlightening, lively debate on the Second Reading of the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill. The report and the debate raised pertinent issues which deserve to be responded to.
I will start by addressing issues raised in the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. In the Report, the Law Society of Zimbabwe raised a pertinent issue in which they argued that virtual sittings potentially infringe the Constitution which gives accused persons the right to a public trial and civil litigants the right to a public hearing.
In the same vein, Hon. Biti and several Hon. Members also raised the same issue during debate. I would like to gladly inform the Hon. Members that due to the beauty of technology, virtual sittings may be made accessible to the public through video conferencing which can accommodate a number of people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the introduction of virtual courts is not meant to deprive the right to public hearings but rather this will increase the accessibility of court proceedings to the public since virtual sittings can potentially accommodate more people than some of the physical courts. For example, Zoom meetings can accommodate up to 500 people per session.
Allow me to address the second issue raised by the public on Clause 5 of the Bill which seeks to amend Section 13 of the High Court Act, Chapter 7:06. This clause inserts a section which prohibits the High Court to deal with a case or a claim which falls within the jurisdiction of an inferior court or tribunal, except on appeal or review. The public highlighted that this clause is in violation of Section 171 of the Constitution which gives the High Court inherent jurisdiction.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the law seeks to make sure that justice is delivered expeditiously. This will shift the burden from the High Court to specialized courts such as the Labour Court and the Commercial Court which will carry the jurisdiction of the High Court in matters which they are competent to hear.
By passing this law Mr. Speaker Sir, the legislature will promote speedy delivery of justice by competent specialized courts. It is pertinent for the Hon. Members to note that the Bill seeks to align Section 85 of the Labour Court Act, Chapter 28:01 to the qualifications of a judge provided in Section 179 of the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to kindly address concerns raised by the public on Clauses 16 and 17 which propose to alter sentencing levels for scrutiny and review provided for in Section 57 of the Magistrate Court Act. The Bill proposes that cases will be sent to a judge for an automatic review only where a magistrate has imposed a fine beyond level 10 or more or two years imprisonment. In the cases where a lower sentence has been imposed, it will be sent to a regional magistrate for scrutiny. Some members of the public were of the view that magistrates despite any ranking should not be allowed to scrutinise cases of other magistrates. It is argued that this lowers the standards of checks and balances in the justice system.
Allow me to indicate that the law does not intend to lower the standards of our justice systems. These provisions intend to bring sanity and excellence in the justice system by allowing senior magistrates to play a supervisory role on junior magistrates. This will further shift the load off the shoulders of the High Court Judges who are currently overwhelmed by cases on their desks. Thus, it is proposed that the law should allow the junior magistrates to be scrutinized by the senior magistrates who have expertise and experience.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee also recommended that marginalized populations who are not familiar with vast technologies must be fully accommodated. What is envisaged in the Bill is not to limit trails only to virtual trials; the idea is to accommodate those who are inconvenienced by travelling or by the other party to the trial who cannot attend trial. An example is a litigant who wants a divorce but the other part is out of the country or anyone who wants to prosecute a civil claim but he or she is not in the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me now to address issues raised by Hon. Members. Let me first address an issue raised by Hon. Mashakada who affirmed that the Bill is treating criminal civil matters differently in terms of consent, whether or not to hold a virtual court sitting. According to the law Mr. Speaker Sir, both civil and criminal matters require consent of the litigants as to whether the case may be heard physically or virtually. Thus, the law does not discriminate civil matters and criminal matters.
Hon. Members raised the point that in a virtual court, if an accused gets convicted, he or she might skip the borders. The amendment in Clause 18 of the Bill will provide for virtual court sittings in bail and remand other than initial remand proceedings. The provision will not apply to the trial itself. The provisions of Section 194 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act shall continue to apply in respect of trials. Section 194 (1) provides that every criminal trial shall take place and the witnesses shall accept as is, otherwise specifically provided by this Act or any other enactment, give their evidence by voice in an open court in the presence of the accused unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance of the proceedings in his presence impracticable. The court may order him to be removed and direct that the trial proceed in his absence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to tackle the issues raised by Hon. Mliswa on physical interaction which he says is very important in criminal trials. As I said, it is vital to note that in criminal matters virtual court sittings will be done during initial stages of a trial such as remand and bail applications. In those proceedings, the Bill in Clause 18 has a provision that the prosecutor and the accused have the right to question a witness and to observe the reaction of that witness.
Allow me to address the challenge of internet connectivity which most of the Members alluded to. I would want to submit to this House that those challenges maybe be improved but this should not stop the enactment of the law that establishes virtual court sittings.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to concur with Hon. Togarepi who indicated that the law does not seek to do virtual courts on everything but to necessitate the existence of virtual courts so as to allow those who cannot be tried physically to be able to access justice, thus living no space and no one behind. It is important for our country to move with technology and I urge Hon. Members to be able to embrace this change.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to conclude by advising Hon. Members that this new legislation is open to amendments. I want to encourage Hon. Members that instead of dismissing this Bill, let us come up with progressive ideas that will sharpen the Bill so that our country may attain expeditious justice. I move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
JUDICIAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 3, 2022]
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 3 put and agreed to.
On Clause 4:
HON. CHIKWINYA: My request is that may the Journals Office resubmit the Bills to our emails. I understand that they were sent long back but can they resubmit all the Bills that are meant to be dealt with perhaps this week so that we can go through them.
HON. GONESE: I have engaged the Minister of Justice and as you have noted, I was on virtual in my vehicle following the proceedings. So, when the Hon. Minister sought to have the Committee Stage to be dealt with today, I tried to engage and unfortunately he said the stage had already been passed. I have since conferred with the Hon. Minister and I hereby submit that in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe, this is a Bill which has got some important provisions where I wish to make important contributions. Unfortunately, I had not anticipated that the Committee Stage was going to be dealt with today. I have engaged the Minister and I asked for his indulgence to have the Committee Stage deferred to tomorrow. I seek that you report progress and seek leave to sit again. Tomorrow I will be having all my notes and I will be able to make the relevant contributions. I have actually engaged the Minister; I was on virtual as you noted, so I had to rush to the Chamber Hon. Chair. The Hon. Minister said in his response at the Second Reading that Hon. Members will be free to make contributions to enrich the content of the Bill. This is what I intent to do. Unfortunately, I do not have my notes with me and that is the reason why I am seeking his indulgence and also the indulgence of the Committee so that tomorrow we will be able to do justice on the Committee Stage. When the Bill passed Second Reading, I did not object Hon. Chairperson.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Gonese, your indulgence has not been accepted by the Hon. Minister.
HON. GONESE: As I have already indicated Hon. Chairperson, under normal circumstances, we have two stages. The Hon. Minister will be able to listen to the submissions which I will be making tomorrow. This is a very important Bill, the Law Society of Zimbabwe made its submissions and I do not have the papers with me at the moment. We only passed the Second Reading stage just a few minutes ago and as Hon. Chikwinya has already alluded to, a lot of us do not have the Bills with us...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Gonese, your point has been noted, please take your seat.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Hon. Chair, I move that we report progress and seek leave to sit again.
Committee to resume: Wednesday, 1st February, 2023.
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL [H. B. 2, 2022]
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on Second reading of the National Security Council Bill [H. B. 4. 2021].
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to start by thanking the Hon. Members that debated the National Security Council Bill and also thank them for their contributions to the debate. Basically, this Bill is about compliance with the Constitution in order to set up the National Security Council. So it will give effect to the structure of National Security Council when it should sit, establish its secretariat and what we are trying to do is to ensure that it complies with the constitutional provisions. Therefore, I want to thank the Hon. Members and the Committee on Defence that interrogated the Bill. I now move that the Bill be now read a second time. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Is the Chairman of the Defence Committee here or any member of the Committee? If you are here - did you table your report?
HON. NGULUVHE: Yes, we are here. We have not tabled our report.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So the report was not tabled and that is where the glitch is and therefore, the Hon. Members did not debate. The Hon. Minister will have to adjourn debate or if the report is ready, I will ask the Acting Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee to present the report.
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. INTRODUCTION
The National Security Authority Council Bill [H.B. 10, 2021] was gazetted on 6 June 2022. It seeks to operationalise the provisions of the Constitution by specifying additional members of the council, functions and also to bring it into operation. The National Security Council which shall be chaired by the President is vital in coordinating defence policy, foreign policy, non-State security policy issues arising from threats posed by natural and human caused calamities such as disease outbreaks and climate change consequences and to reconcile diplomatic and military commitments and requirements. Thus, this report summarises the views gathered during the targeted consultations held by the Committee.
The National Security Council is being established in line with Section 209 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) Amendment (No. 20). Security issues are important for development, both at national and international level. In this regard, Section 10 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, highlights that “the State and every person, including juristic persons, and every institution and agency of Government at every level, must promote national unity, peace and stability’. In the same vein, the Declaration and Treaty of SADC of 1992 outlines that “war and insecurity are the enemy of economic progress and social welfare”. At international level, Sustainable Development Goal 16 calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies in order to achieve sustainable development. It is a fact that the SADC region, the African continent and the world in general has been facing a number of security challenges, some which impact on Zimbabwe economically, socially and politically. For instance, in Mozambique, there have been acts of violent extremism and terrorism in the Cabo Delgado region and the country has to be on high alert to ensure there are no spill-over effects into the country. Other security challenges that affect the region, continent and globally are associated with food shortages, conflicts over natural resources, climate change, migration, disease outbreaks, wars among others.
Therefore, the National Security Council will regularly review national security policies in view of any prevailing national, regional and international security developments and direct the taking of appropriate action. It will also ensure that civil society organisations are not misused by terrorist organisations, whether as a way for such terrorist organisations to pose as legitimate entities. It is against this background that the National Security Council becomes relevant to assess the socio-economic and political impacts of these security threats on Zimbabwe and to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the relevant authorities.
The Committee had an opportunity to interact with the following stakeholders in order to get more information and an appreciation of the operations of the National Security Council:
- The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Ambassador Marongwe,
- The Deputy Commissioner General of Police
- The Commissioner General, Prisons and Correctional Services
- Officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet
- Zimbabwe Peace Trust and the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) The Committee adopted a targeted approach in its public consultations, in order to get detailed and incise information on the establishment of the National Security Council.
Purpose of the National Security Council
The preamble to the Bill clearly lays out that the National Security Councils is being established “to ensure effective co-ordination of security related and intelligence functions of the State’. Stakeholders in the security sector opined that in essence, the National Security Council would be established to aid the work of various State Security organs already in place. It was highlighted that the current set up created a silo mentality where each organ of State Security such as the Police, the Defence Forces, Prison and Correctional Services or the Intelligence Services had no obligation or appropriate platform to openly share information and ideas with each other. The National Security Council would bridge that gap.
Clause 3: Composition of the National Security Council
There was general concurrence among stakeholders on the composition of the National Security Council which largely had to be flexible and had to be at the discretion of each Sovereign State. The Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) stressed that there was no standardized composition of a National Security Council widely due to the fact that countries were at different levels of development, politically, economically and socially. It was noted that in some countries such as Nigeria, the National Security Council had a National Security Advisor who ran an office known as the Office of the National Security. It is through this office that a national security strategy or national security policy is developed in order to enhance the work of the National Security Council. In addition, the Advisor is responsible for taking down minutes during council meetings as well as coordinating the work of the council. In the case of Zimbabwe, the work of the National Security Council shall be coordinated by the Director General of the Intelligence Services.
The Committee also learnt that in other countries, the National Security Council incorporates the Minister of Justice to ensure that the council operates within the confines of the law. However, Clause 3 (1) (i) of the Bill which gives the President the discretion to call any Minister from time to time to be part of the council, bridges that gap.
There was, however, concern on issues of gender parity in the composition of the National Security Council, in light of the fact that office bearers in the security sector are appointed on merit and the sector is currently male dominated. Nevertheless, the Committee would encourage that the National Security Council should always be mindful of gender issues in its deliberations of security related matters.
Clause 4: Functions of the National Security Council
It was noted that the council would provide similar services to those currently provided by the Joint Operations Command (JOC). The JOC was the supreme organ for the coordination of State security in Zimbabwe. It was highlighted that the JOC would continue to provide operational services while the National Security Council would be responsible for making key polices at the highest level.
Clause 5: Meetings of the Council
Stakeholders applauded Clause 5 of the Bill which makes it mandatory for the National Security Council to meet at least once every three months. Regular meetings would ensure continuity and close monitoring of resolutions. The Committee learnt that in one of the country’s neighbouring countries, the National Security Council has not met in over two years and thus, rendering ineffective the establishment and existence of such an important organ of the Sovereign State. Thus, in essence, Clause 5 seeks to guard against such complacency.
Security Related Matters: State Security vis-a-vis Human Security
Whilst security matters are confidential and are not always discussed in the public domain, as outlined in section 5 (2) of the Bill, it was clear during the Committee’s interaction with the stakeholders, that security matters should not be restricted to purely State security concerns alone. There are many facets of human security that have a bearing on State security, for instance food insecurity, climate change, gender based violence, health issues, among others. A typical example of the nexus between State security and human security was evidenced when the country was hit by Cyclone Idai and the COVID-19 pandemic where members of State security were called upon to assist ordinary citizens in various ways. To this end, the Committee noted that it is important for the National Security Council to be well informed about various aspects that have a direct bearing on human security so that the country plans adequately for security threats that will affect the country in the unforeseeable future.
Relationship between the National Security Council and Parliament.
Section 5 (2) of the Bill outlines that meetings and Committee business are not for public consumption, but the council may inform the public of any of its resolutions which are in the public interest. Notwithstanding the need to observe confidentiality on all security matters, it is the Committee’s position, that the general public be kept informed through the National Security Council’s regular reports to Parliament whenever it is justifiably relevant to do so. This will enable Parliament to conduct its oversight work in line with section 207 (2) of the Constitution, whilst at the same time ensuring that citizens receive relevant information from the supreme policy making entity.
The Committee noted the following:
The Bill basically sought to fulfill section 209 of the Constitution that calls for the establishment of the National Security Council. It observed that the Joint Operations Command (JOC) - a combined unit comprising commanders of the security services, was already undertaking some of the functions which the National Security Council would eventually perform. The Committee thus, stressed the need for clearly defined roles and responsibilities of both organs in order to avoid duplication of such roles and functions.
The Committee noted that while the Director-General of Intelligence Services would provide secretarial services to the council, a fully-fledged permanent secretariat would have to be put in place to support the Director General’s office. In the absence of such a permanent support staff, it becomes practically difficult for the council to satisfactorily perform the tasks outlined in section 4 of the Bill, or to implement its decisions effectively and in a coordinated manner considering the diversity of the individual portfolios of each of the council members.
The Committee noted that Section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) Amendment (No. 20) provides for the need to consider gender parity in public bodies, including in elective positions. Considering the fact that currently, the state of affairs shows male dominance in the occupation of the highest offices across the echelons of the security sector, it remains unlikely to see most women sitting in the National Security Council. While the Committee recognises the sensitivity of most of the issues to be handled by the council, it also values the contribution of women in decision making at the highest levels of society, hence the need for their active presence in the council.
By end of October 2023 the responsible Ministry should consider establishing a fully-fledged secretariat that would be headed by the Director General of Intelligence responsible for the day-to-day operations of the council;
The National Security Council is implored to be mindful of gender parity in its composition as well as in its deliberations on security matters and crafting of policies.
There is need to ensure that the National Security Council reports to Parliament, as and when necessary in line with section 207 (2) of the Constitution in order to keep the public informed of national security related developments.
The Committee supports the establishment of the National Security Country and the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs should be commended for seeking to give effect to its establishment in line with section 209 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20). The Constitution is the supreme law of the country and it is important that its provisions are respected and honoured, as demonstrated through the enactment of this Bill. Furthermore, the Committee would like to encourage all the different arms of State security to work collaboratively for the good of the country. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice regarding the National Security Council Bill. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs for bringing this Bill to Parliament and giving us an opportunity as a Committee to respond. This is one of the requirements of the Constitution Section 209 that there shall be National Security Council (NSC) in this country. The NSC fills in a very big vacuum that has existed since independence in that some of the things that should have been done by the NSC have been covered rather informally or by other organisations like the Joint Operations Command (JOC). The JOC is chaired by either, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs or the Minister of State in the President’s Office. This NSC gives responsibility where it belongs. Mr. Speaker Sir, it gives responsibility to the Head of State who is Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This will give an opportunity as well as a forum for the Commander-in-Chief to have a long term perspective or view of what is happening in the country; in the next 10 years, 20 years or 50 years to come. It may at times, be confused with JOC in that the issues are all operations related or security related but this is very different. The NSC will cover issues that may appear very simple. Issues for example on religious radicalisation, discovery of minerals or lack of, education, climate change, technological development, drug abuse, migration, human trafficking. These are issues that may appear very simple and at times maybe not affecting ordinary citizens but with time; 20, 30 or 40 years from now, may have a long term impact on the country. Hence, we believe that this is a great opportunity for this country to start looking at issues correctly in the eye.
I applaud the Committee for looking at this Bill, giving all its support to the Ministry that tabled this Bill to Parliament. Also, as a major milestone in fulfilling the requirements of the Constitution, Section 209 that there shall be National Security Council Bill and the Bill is fully supported. I wish to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of national security is an issue of high importance. It has been unfortunately politicised in this country in a manner which does not give it the credibility and responsibility which it deserves. If you go through Section 206 to 209 of the Constitution which talks about the National Security Council, it talks about entire services. Mr. Speaker Sir, the aspect of the JOC which for a very long time we have always known to be the supreme security organ – the issue of JOC must automatically fall away because JOC is not constitutional. The President in his powers being the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, has the right to summon any commander and be given a report. JOC has become political. JOC is not constitutional. So we cannot have a situation where you have a National Security Council in terms of Section 209 at the same time you say that JOC is superior. The Hon. Member Nguluvhe spoke about JOC being superior, who is JOC when there is a constitutional requirement of 209. JOC automatically ceases away and this is the last time we want to hear JOC because JOC has confused this country. It was formed during the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia time. It is a Rhodesian approach to security, yemakuhwa, yegossip.
Security does not require gossip. Security requires the President to be briefed honestly about the issues of national security. We cannot have a situation where it is very clear that the President himself will chair the National Security Council and so if the President is chairing the National Security Council and receiving reports from the Service Chiefs and Ministers, who then should be more superior to that?
So JOC is not chaired by the President. The President is the number one citizen of this country and should be well informed on all security issues. So JOC ceases automatically. The key issue here is on structures which will ensure that this is efficient. There must be provincial, district, ward and constituency structures of security because the issue of security is an on-going matter. The only way you can get the truth about security is to get information from the bottom to the top. The only organization in this country which can give you reliable information on security is the ZRP.
Hon. Nguluvhe will agree with me that the ZRP is in every constituency and district While the CIO is not in every constituency and district, so, are the prisons. So the police are the only ones who can give you true information because they are with the people. Some of the information coming from the security sector ave makuhwa. Where is your source of information - because the critical issue about security is where is your source of information? – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –
Not only that, you also have ZANU PF which has a Secretary for Security, Hon. Matuke who is here. I am sure CCC has got one. I do not know if they are still putting their structures or they are yet to appoint one but MDC-T has got one. The good thing about this is that all the political parties are aware of the need for security. Maybe Hon. Biti can tell me who the Secretary for Security is. The issue of security is critical to the country especially in a polarized environment like this, the President must be able to get the right information and it must be pretty clear he is getting reports from the Service Chiefs and Ministers. The National Security Council is very important in that it will save the country.
Not only that, Section 207 (2) talks about oversight. For a very long time we have been intimidated that we cannot ask - the Security Council is subject to oversight by this House. This Parliament has the right to summon the National Security Council to answer because it is tax payers’ money. There is no organ that you cannot say is not subject to oversight. Then it is not part of this country, iorgan yemakuhwa. So, let us separate maorgans emakuhwa neenyika. The National Security Council iorgan yenyika and in the Constitution, vanobvunzwa kana zvisingafambe mushe kuti zviri kufamba sei.
This is important because when you lack oversight then there is a problem. Most of the reports which come through fail to have oversight because there is this thinking amongst Zimbabwean people that you cannot invite the CIO, army or police to oversight. Who are they? They are organs of Zimbabwe who report to Zimbabwe through Parliament and that must be understood without fear or favour. The moment that we do not take ownership of organs that belong to us, then we have abrogated our duties as Parliament. That is one thing that I am happy about that they are subject to oversight by us.
Whether it is CDF – Commander Defence Forces, they respect the Constitution. They went to the war to liberate this country so that we can have one man one vote and respect the Constitution but there are people who put them in bad light. People who want to think they gain favours by not inviting them for an oversight by Parliament, which is a dangerous precedent at the end of the day. You know when issues involve the security of this country people are scared. Why should we bring them? Tichati chii and so forth, yet kana vachida mari vanouya munomu. Kana vasingadi oversight ngavasapihwe mari yenyika. Mari yenyika inoda kuti tizive kuti iri kufamba sei uye maoperations ari kufamba sei. Kune nyaya dzevanhu vanenge vanzi vatorwa ne CIO, for example. The CIO must be questioned kuti Dzamara akafamba sei uye zvese zvakafamba sei.
This is the moment for us to exercise our right. There is no individual who must disappear in this country without us knowing how he disappeared. Kana zviri kunzi ioperation yeCIO, CIO ngaishevedzwe before the Committees in this Parliament kuti tivabvunze kuti imi muri kunzi makatora munhu, makatora munhu sei? It makes them clean and it also makes the country clean because if you do not talk about certain things, Zimbabwe is marred with controversy of abducting people and CIO unfortunately, is associated with that. The only way they can clear themselves is to appear before this House and be asked questions to say these people are disappearing, is it you doing it or not? Then they answer and it is on record. For as long it is not on record this country will be tainted badly every day.
No wonder why as we go to elections, Zimbabwean elections are never peaceful no matter what happens because people say there is too much interference of State Organs. What are State Organs doing interfering with politics yet it is one man one vote? So, we need to be very clear about these issues because for as long as we want to be part of this global village there has got to be rule of law. One of the functions of the National Security Council is rule of law.
What is rule of law? Mr. Speaker, you can have peace but peace is not rule of law. There is a difference between peace and rule of law. Rule of law must be observed at all times and this again will do us good with the international community because it is a constitutional requirement and any issues of security can be traced kuti zvinhu zviri kufamba sei uye zvamira papi apa. The issue of peace and rule of law is very important. There is nobody who questions the powers of the President. The President has the right as the Commander-in-Chief, no wonder why the President is known as the President of Zimbabwe, Head of Government, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. So, he is supreme and everything is beyond and it is good.
We had a situation before Mr. Speaker, and Hon. Ziyambi who sits in Cabinet will tell you or even Hon. Biti who used to sit in Cabinet, that you could not have the Minister of State Security chairing the National Security Council of this country. So the information he is giving to the President could be true or not true. Iye mbune President wenyika ngaacheye Security apihwe the right information. He does not have to be informed by anybody Mr. Speaker. When he chairs that Committee, he has a true briefing on what is happening on the ground. He does not need a second or third party and that is why we are polarized because most of the reports which were coming through were lies.
They were reports full of lies. Dzimwe dzaienda kufactionalism yemusangano uri kutonga ZANU PF vachinyepera opposition. Saka all of us here have suffered due to misinformation because there has not been a proper structure which is constitutional. These reports are subject to oversight. They must be made public and at the end of the day, I am happy that the National Security Council consisting of the President as the Chairperson, Vice President and such Ministers and Members of the Security Forces and other persons who may be determined in the Act of Parliament will constitute that. There is no better arrangement than this arrangement.
We also want to talk about the issue of national security as just not about politics. National security is not about targeting Hon. Job Sikhala. Those are minor issues. In fact, it is actually a national security threat when the whole system targets one person. It becomes a national security threat. There are more pressing issues in this country than us pursing individuals because of politics. That must end. Today, what do we have? We have the whole world talking about Hon. Job Sikhala. He is more famous than this country today. That on its own is a threat to the national security of the country when we are bent on individuals rather than focusing on the real issues.
The economy and inflation are national security threats and when we have ministers getting houses for US$500 000, a deputy minister getting loans for US$300 000 while MPs who have the oversight role get US$40 000, we saw that as a national threat because this Parliament must be respected and must be well resourced. Where there is a poor Parliament, there is no country. There is no country where you see poor Parliamentarians busy passing the budget for US$350 000. Right now no-one here can call the security agents to answer where the US$350 000 came from. You are all scared but when it was US$40 000 for the MPs, the whole country was talking. I will be asking Hon. Mthuli Ncube tomorrow where that money came from and where it was budgeted for. All these issues are national security issues if they are not attended to.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Mliswa, you have five minutes to go.
HON. T. MLISWA: You know Hon. Speaker, when I am like this, I speak on behalf of everyone because most people cannot say what I am saying. In their hearts they are saying thank you and they are also praying for me. So, allow me to do this because the moment they bring this up, they become a national security threat to their party and they are expelled. We do not want that to happen. So Mr. Speaker, the issue of under-funding institutions, not paying civil servants and everyone else the right remuneration is a national security threat.
The issue of this police guy Muvhevi is not about what he did. I am more worried about how many more Muvhevis there are with such a spirit. This is because of poor remuneration. These people have been trained to be soldiers, policemen, State security agents and they committed their whole life to that. Now because of poor remuneration, they are out and the only skill that they have is to hold a gun. He now starts a career of armed robbery because the only thing he knows is a gun. So, the Muvhevi issue is bigger than Muvhevi. We must remunerate our people fairly. Once you do that, it does not become a security threat. So, it is important to look at the symptoms rather than say but look at what Muvhevi did. My concern today is - how many Muvhevis are there in this country? How many police officers and security agents are out of the system? There are those who were in the system for 32 years and they are now going to London to be nurses. When they go there, what do they say? So, we have information leaving this country because of poor remuneration. At the end of the day we must all be remunerated equally and fairly, starting with this House. The National Security Council must understand this House passes laws and has oversight. How can you give MPs oversight role when they have been given US$40 000 allowance for a house in the high density area to have oversight over a Minister who has been given US$500 000 and stays in Mt. Pleasant? Even our skins are different because of where he lives and where an MP lives. So how do you ask questions when you have one car and they are driving two cars and they get books of coupons to do work? MPs do not work and now we are going to elections and they are praying that we do not win because we are not resourced. This is a national security threat and the reason why most of the MPs do not come back is not because they do not work hard. It is because they cannot get to the constituencies since they are under resourced. The next person who is coming is somebody who comes three months, has money and they are given money. When they come in, they never come back here again. So, how can you continue under-resourcing parliamentarians and having this turn-over which is out of this world? Look at the turn-over of MPs sitting there? Most of them become paupers when they leave Parliament and when they die they are not even taken care of at the end of the day.
I am standing here saying this august House is the number one institution in this country. We make laws for the Judiciary; for good governance and we have oversight over the Executive and there is no way that any entity can be more superior to us. It is important that we understand it. I have always said if the Central Intelligence Organisation in this country was doing its job, they were supposed to have briefed the President that MPs are not happy. When they are not happy, how do they campaign for their President? I am saying the truth; though they love the President, they have no resources because they are taken elsewhere.
The plundering of resources in this country is a national security threat. How much of our resources have been plundered? Giving wealth to foreigners is a national security threat. I was in Nigeria and Dangote today has got one of the biggest oil refineries and he is Nigerian.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, your time has elapsed.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker, I move that the Hon. Member’s time be extended by 15 minutes.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your time has been extended by another five minutes.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Members, I appreciate. I was in Nigeria and Dangote was given the biggest refinery. He has got it and he is Nigerian. In Zimbabwe, can we talk about anyone with a mine like the other companies have? Manhize is not giving to Zimbabwe. Why do we not trust our people? Where will they go? The only place they know is Zimbabwe. We went to the struggle to fight for this country and not to give resources to foreigners. Even if they helped us during the struggle, it does not mean we surrender our souls and our resources to the foreigners. That on its own is a national security threat. The resources for this country – the President says nyika inovakwa nevene vayo but how can the owners do that if all resources belong to foreigners?
The President is voted for by the majority of black people here in Zimbabwe because they believe in him. We do not vote in China. Which Zimbabwean today has got a mine in Russia, China or the UK? We must say the truth, they come today in this country and they are revered more than war veterans who have suffered. We are not even prepared to pay the war veterans what belongs to them. War veterans are living in a manner we do not understand. Why are we not empowering our own people? They are taken to court in handcuffs and leg irons in this era to please who – the foreigners? One person went and lied to the President that war veterans were turning against him. Which war veteran would do that after surviving the war of liberation and all relatives were killed? Why would one go to such a point of attacking those who liberated us? It was however not verified that the war veterans had turned against Government. How could they have done that?
The war veterans only went to Hon. Mthuli Ncube to get their money through a court order and they were leg ironed - in this era? This country is spiritual and the war was won, not because they had better arms or tactics. Ambuya Nehanda was involved and that is why you see her statue there. She did not use her spirit for us to be poor and war veterans to be arrested. It was for us to have our own land, so by not following our tradition, it is also a national security threat. Hon. Nguluvhe and Hon. Mayihlome are here, ask them. ZIPRA assets were also taken. Why were they taken? I am glad that the President has started compensating war veterans but compensation is not good enough, they must get their assets back if we are one Zimbabwe. The late father of Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo worked to get those things. If we are one Zimbabwe, allow others to get what they want. A lot of things which have gone wrong in this country is because there is no reliable source of security. The only way the reliable source can happen is through the National Security Council where the President will chair it and chairing it means you will hear it from the horse’s mouths.
You have no people, it is the same thing today and you know Mr. Speaker Sir, the Political Commissar for ZANU PF has been talking about structures which are outside ZANU PF and it is clear they are causing havoc because he is telling them ED for this, ED for that - yet there are proper structures in ZANU PF. The branch has got ‘that’ what they are doing; the district has got ‘that’ what they are doing and so forth.
To me it is another source of National Security where you have people emerging from nowhere. The next thing you will see them in the primary elections. This issue also of people visiting the President all the time when he is on leave at his farm must stop! Let him rest, let him farm, makuhwa chete yet they do not go on the ground doing work but when they see the President, they will smile, they are hypocrites. That is also a national security threat, we do not want hypocrites. So, I would like the President to take control of this.
The only thing I would like to add in the composition - it would also be good if the secretary for security for the ruling party be there as well, as well as the Opposition so that it is seen to be Zimbabwe. It does not mean the opposition must be left out, it is the Government in waiting and there is nothing wrong with having them sitting in there because it helps the country move forward. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you for allowing me to join this debate on the Second Reading of the National Security Council Bill [H.B. 2, 2022].
Mr. Speaker Sir, the enactment of this Bill is long overdue in that this current Constitution became law in May of 2013, so to have this being enacted now when the National Security Council is specifically legislated for in Section 209 almost 10 years later is not good enough. I think the Constitution is very clear, Section 324 of the Constitution makes it clear that constitutional obligations must expeditiously be implemented.
Secondly, I acknowledge that the draft Bill reproduces Section 206 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe because Section 206 lays the foundation of the National Security Policy of Zimbabwe and it says that ‘at the heart and anchor of the National Security Council of the Country is the fundamental rights and freedoms and the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution and the rule of law’. Two points are entrenched by the Constitution: that security is about fundamental rights and freedoms and democracy and the rule of law. Underpinning that foundation is important, because it recognises the changing nature of security which is little understood, with great respect.
Forty (40) years ago, the major national security threat to any country was a physical war. Right now, the world is witnessing a war between the Ukraine and Russia but since the Second World War, intra-State wars have become limited. The chances of Zimbabwe ever going to war with its neighbours are extremely limited. So, the major source of national insecurity is actually domestic issues. Domestic issues have actually become the biggest source of instability.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look in the last five years, the biggest forms of instability in our country have included things that we do not control, the issue of COVID. COVID is a national security issue. The issue of floods and cyclones that we do not control, those are major sources of insecurity.
Third and perhaps most importantly is economic instability, unemployment, the fact that 95% of our people are unemployed is a source of national insecurity. The fact that 68% of all people in urban areas are living in rented houses is a source of national insecurity. The fact that our exchange rate is now 1200 and someone keeps on saying zvakarongeka is a source of instability. The fact that 4 million Zimbabweans, 73% of our best people are out in the Diaspora is a source of instability. So, we must recognise the changing nature of national security.
Therefore, the composition of the National Security Council, with great respect, must recognise these new change dynamics of national security. It is not sufficient and good enough that your traditional security ministers must be the dominant members of the National Security Council. If you look at the proposed Clause 5, only the Minister of Finance is added to the Minister of Defence, the Minister responsible for Home Affairs and the Minister responsible for intelligence.
I submit that the Minister of Health must be there for obvious reasons, the Minister responsible for Climate must be there for obvious reasons because the biggest existentialist threat we face as a country is global warming. It is now raining in April because of global warming. Some parts of Zimbabwe are becoming deserts because of carbon emissions; hence that minister must be in the National Security Council. The Minister of Justice who is seated over there must be in the National Security Council because the anchor of National Security Council as I have submitted before is human rights democracy and the rule of law.
So, we must move from a security polity, a security discourse which looks at physical threats or as Hon. Mliswa has mentioned, the National Security Council is reduced to gossip, how many wives does this one have, how many children does this one have, whose girlfriend is that one – that is not National Security. We must incorporate these other threats that have evolved in recent times.
The fourth point I want to make is the relationship between the National Security Council and the joint operation. The Joint Operations is traditionally an operational issue, JOCs are there traditionally for operational issue. If you have a war or you are involved in a war, you need regular briefings on operational issues, logistics, bullets and so forth.
Now, you have a National Security Council given the important function of defining national strategy of the country. This Bill must marry and define the interrelationship between JOC and the National Security Council. This Bill must make it very clear and unambiguously that when it comes to national security issues and strategies, it is the National Security Council, a constitutional body which is superior to any other body. We cannot remain with JOC being quiet, off radar and offline – we must recognise it because nyika isecurity and security inyika. JOC must be recognised in this Bill and the relationship between JOC and the National Security Council must be recognised.
We have a tendency of treating security as shadowy and a treat to citizens. Security cannot be a threat to citizens because the function of security is to protect citizens. Here in Zimbabwe we have reduced and made security synonymous with threats against the citizens. If I see a member of the CIO I run away but that should not be the case at all. We must take security away from nocturnal zones it currently occupies right on the table. That is why I propose that part of the harmonisation of the Constitution is that the Intelligence Service Board which is provided for in the Constitution – that Bill must come. We know of the Police Service Board, we know of the Prisons Board, we know of the Army Board but let us have the Intelligence Service Board. Let us know who the Permanent Secretary is just like we know that there is Bhasera there and there is this one there. In other words, the submission I make is that let us not make intelligence private property. Let us not make intelligence shadowy and nocturnal. It is very important that the individual feels secure in this country.
The fourth thing I want to say is that I used to sit in the National Security Council. One of the things we were very quick to move is issues around leakages in the economy. The economy is hemorrhaging from three things. First, is illicit financial flows; between 2009 and 2013 the country lost $3billion in illicit financial flows. The major culprits in illicit financial flows are multinational corporations, global white monopoly capital, the ZIMPLATS of this world, the Old Mutual of this world. We are losing money through illicit financial flows, through transfer pricing, through thin capitalisation. The National Security Council must have a specialised unit that deals with financial hemorrhage. We must have sophisticated financial experts trained in Oxford, University of Zimbabwe, Makerere University and at Harvard who are sufficiently equal to the thieves at ZIMPLATS, Old Mutual and First Mutual are able to beat. We do not have those people at the present moment.
The second issue is our own domestic corruption, how much has been lost in terms of Command Agriculture. How much has been lost in terms of people who do not deserve, illegally accessing foreign currency through the Dutch Auction System? I said the other day that since June of 2021, the Dutch Auction System has disbursed more than US$3 billion but the country has nothing to show for it. How much has been lost through contracts given to people without delivering? The reports of the Auditor General show massive looting in this country. In 2018, $1.7 billion was lost. In 2019, $3.5 billion was lost and in 2020, $10 billion was lost. Before this Parliament, there are two Bills of unexplained expenditure - $10.6 billion Financial Adjustment Bill, $106bn Financial Adjustment Bill for 2020. Our National Security Council must deal with the issue of internal hemorrhage.
Third, is our minerals; Zimbabwe is rich because we have 63 minerals. Botswana has got one mineral, diamonds. The per capita income of Botswana is US$9 000 and the per capita income of Zimbabwe is US$179. With our 63 minerals, we have nothing to show for it. Lithium has become the world’s most valuable mineral. A tonne of lithium is costing US$80 000. Suddenly we are dishing out lithium left, right and centre as if it is confetti at a wedding. People are coming to Zimbabwe being granted special mining licenses without the US$100 million that is demanded in Section 139 of the Mines and Minerals Act. Hon. Temba Mliswa has mentioned Manhize. Manhize has got rights to US$40 billion metric tonnes of iron ore, one of the world’s biggest iron ore reserves given to the Chinese for nothing and for free. That is a crime against the people of Zimbabwe. That is a crime against millions of Zimbabweans who are yet to be born. They are going to urinate on our graves 100 years from now, for the crimes we are committing now of selling our country to Russians, Belarusians and Chinese.
I submit that these are the things that the National Security Council must deal with and not follow Hon. Mliswa in trying to find out how many children he has. This is a very serious Bill. We must take note of the changing nature of security and we must create, particularly on the membership of this body, a council that recognises that national security issues have moved from physical war. You no longer need a bomb to cause chaos; you just need a smart phone. Today, the Justice Committee was having virtual online hearings on zoom and to prove that cyber security is a national security that zoom meeting was invaded by pornography. If you look at the current composition of members of the National Security Council, some of them do not even have email addresses. If you talk of a mouse they think you are talking of a “mouse” and not a gadget.
We must be wise and I know that the Minister of Justice is listening and I hope our comments can be incorporated.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Firstly, I want to acknowledge the Committee through the Acting Chair who presented a comprehensive report and the progressive recommendations that they gave as well as the Hon. Members that debated the Bill.
Like I said, the Bill is about compliance with the Constitution and I want to acknowledge what Hon Biti said but also indicate that even though we are late but better late than never. At least what has been happening in the Second Republic is to ensure that we catch up with everything that we were required to have done before. This is part of that work, to ensure that we come up with an Act that will give effect to the establishment of the National Security Council.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank the Hon. Members. I listened attentively to the debate and it was very robust. The majority of the issues do not speak to what we want to do in the Bill; it pertains to the actual work of the National Security Council.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister, may you connect your gadget please.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will now proceed. I think those on virtual will pardon me for having been failed by technology. Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively, there was the issue that the Minister of Justice is not part of the architecture of the Bill. In our current set up, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is the one responsible for Prisons and therefore he is covered in that regard and has always been I think even during your time, he was. He is part of the National Security Council. Also Mr. Speaker Sir, the National Security Council, what it does is not similar to what JOC does and I tend to gravitate to what Hon. Biti said. JOC is operational, the work of the National Security Council is policy and to assess whatever the security threat that may be there. This Organ is chaired by the President. In my considered view, we still need JOC because it is operational but we are now establishing a statutory body, the National Security Council that will now look at security threats, come up with policies and issues that need to be interrogated and then direct the relevant Organ to do that, that is to direct JOC to then do that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the functions of these two are totally different and I do not believe that JOC should be made a statutory body because we have Acts that deal with these issues - these are the Defence Act, the Police Act and they define what they must do. So, I believe that what was lacking was this top Organ in a statutory form being constituted so that it gives directives and it is established in such a manner that everyone knows that it has to sit once in three months. The reports may actually be made public, it depends on the nature of the report but security reports by their nature, you refrain from publishing them in Parliament but if a report is extremely necessary that it has to be tabled, then it has to be. That is the reason why you find that if the President deploys the military to another country, then he must cause Parliament to know that he has done that within seven sitting days of that particular Parliament.
I believe that this is a progressive Bill that is now going to give effect to everything that Hon. Biti was saying. Our security threats are not only military or conventional, we may have a security council that will primarily discuss about monitory, how they are a threat to the nation and this can also be done.
I also want to thank Hon. Mayihlome for his debate and he was fully supporting the Bill. He indicated that JOC has been there like I explained and that it is very necessary that we have JOC. Also Hon. Mliswa, very passionate debate but I just want to correct him. The larger part of his debate, he was debating issues that must be debated by the National Security Council. We are here to give effect to that, to legislate, to make sure that we come up with that Bill. If there is a security threat to the citizens, then it will be tabled there and debated but what we are doing now is, we are saying let us come up with a Bill that will formalise that structure. I believe that is the essence of our debate. I believe there is convergence in that regard, even those who were critical about certain issues, they are converging that we need a National Security Council Bill that will give and formalise this.
He spoke about issues of poor remuneration; that is the work of the National Security Council to say what is the effect of poor remuneration on our security and come up with recommendations and policies. We are saying let us come up with this Bill and let us pass it into law and then be held accountable because that is all allowed. We are all accountable; we are all answerable and responsible to Parliament. The Vice President, the Minister of Defence or the Minister of State Security can be asked on anything. We are not immune to be asked.
I have already alluded to what Hon. Biti has said that we are bringing this Bill late and I have indicated that it is our desire as the Second Republic to ensure that we fulfill all our obligations we are supposed to satisfy in terms of the Constitution and this is what we are doing. I am sure Hon. Members can allude to that fact that even our universal periodic reviews, our human rights obligations, our reports are now up to date and even our treaties, we are trying to make sure that everything is up to-date and this is part of the work that His Excellency is saying, let us push and make sure that we are a law abiding State.
Hon. Biti also alluded to say that the majority of our security issues are domestic; I agree and I am saying if we set up this, it should be able to deal with those domestic security issues and come up with policies to deal with them, be it illicit financial flows, issues to do with agriculture and so forth, these are the issues that will be deliberated and say to what extent are they impacting on our State security.
He also indicated that the composition of this National Security Council must recognise the new and changing dynamics. We deliberately included a clause that allows the President to incorporate any other so that we do not replicate Cabinet by this National Security Council. The traditional ones, they also undertake surveillance to say these are the issues that are of a security nature. If it is a domestic issue pertaining to climate change, the Minister of Environment will be called upon to say we have this issue, come let us discuss. But we were constrained to say that let us not duplicate but restrict it but open it up to ensure that whenever an issue is being discussed, the President is at liberty to invite any other Ministers.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have already spoken about the relationship between the National Security Council and JOC and indicated, Mr. Speaker, that the National Security Council, the thrust is policy and national security threats and I have already submitted the other issues that they have indicated about illicit financial flows, the white global monopoly capitalist, the need for a specialised unit to deal with financial hemorrhage and all these which I have indicated that they are also issues that will be dealt with by the National Security Council in terms of formulating policies and looking at the threats that may come to our country.
Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, in summary, I wish to thank the Hon. Members for the robust debate and implore Hon. Members that this is a very good Bill. We are trying to comply with the constitutional provision, albeit late and move that Mr. Speaker Sir, the National Security Council Bill [H. B. 2, 2022] be read a second time. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order really is to commend the Minister. These Bills that he is pushing belong to other Ministers, that is the truth. He is busy doing work on their part. Being leader of Government Business does not mean that you have to work for others because his salary and package does not change. They are given a salary and package and they were supposed to have moved these ages back. He is bringing them now towards the end as he wishes to ensure that the President complies with the Constitution.
Every Minister must understand that for you to be an effective Minister, you must push Bills. It is not about appearing on official opening. They have attended more official opening ceremonies than moving motions here. So we cannot continue like this and I mean this. We have to agree to have all this which was supposed to be done. The Ministers’ question time, they do not come, be it pushing of the Bills they do not come. So really why are they paid? They are adults, they are not children.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa.
HON. T. MLISWA: The fact is that they are given a job by the President to discharge duties on behalf of the President, on behalf of the country.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. We need to move forward. We need to go to the Committee stage.
HON. T. MLISWA: So you know Hon. Ziyambi is very kind but I think a report must go to the President that all these Bills were supposed to be moved by certain Ministers who are absent but they are still paid a lot of money. They were given houses worth US$500 000, what more could they want?
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL [H. B. 2, 2022]
House in Committee
Clause 1 and 2 put and agreed to.
On Clause 3:
HON. BITI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have a few comments. The first one which is a drafting complaint – Clause 3 (1) (i) of the Bill read with Section 11 of the Constitution says any other Minister who the President may from time to time appoint in consultation with any of the Ministers - this is the Head of State we are talking about. The word in consultation is different from after consultation. In consultation means in agreement, so the Head of State cannot be in agreement. In other words, the actions of the President cannot be subject to the consent of a Minister that he appoints. It cannot be after consultation. So the word there must be changed. It cannot be in consultation but after consultation. So that is my procedural drafting complaint.
Another complaint is that I hear the Minister when he says we should not replicate Government, but there are certain issues that are now mainstreamed that are security issues. So if you look at the Bill, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is there. It is not a traditional security Bill because that is an explicit acknowledgement of the fact that the mismanagement or management of the economy is a mainstream security issue. You cannot keep on saying like I said in my submission in the Second Reading zvakarongeka, zvakarongeka when the exchange rate is now 1:1500. There are two other Ministers who should be included in the Security Council without necessarily reducing the National Security Council to being a mirror of Government. One of them is the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The Minister of Health and Child Care, the last three years the real war we have fought Madam Speaker is COVID-19. The second Minister whom I think should be mainstreamed and because the Minister of Health and Child Care is the Vice President for now, there will not be any physical addition of numbers but in future when another Minister of Health and Child Care is appointed other than the Vice President, I think it is important that he is there. There is TB and we have been fighting HIV for the past 25 years. I think the Minister of Health and Child Care should be there.
The second issue Madam Speaker is the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Global warming is for life. Carbon emissions are with us for life. I think this Ministry should be mainstreamed as a national security issue. If you look at the state of the environmental degradation across the length and breadth of our country, the fact that our seasons have now changed - when I grew up, it used to rain in October, now it rains after Christmas. We used to plant in October now we are planting on Christmas day. So the Minister of Environment Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must be there. So in the case of these two ministries, they should be included because they are part of mainstreaming national security. I thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I also want to add on what Hon. Tendai Biti has said, that we now need, as we construct the Security Council, to consider security in its broad sense whereby we are also looking at human security. If you check the issues of environment and issues of health, we are now having challenges with unemployed youth in our country who are actually causing a lot of havoc in the communities. Therefore, the Security Council should focus on the threats to peace and security. Especially in the future, we should look at what is going to happen if this generation is going to be affected by drug abuse. The issue of drug abuse is actually causing a major security threat in the country.
There is also wanton disregard of the law, even in our roads, meaning that the Security Council should have that broader aspect. If we focus on the traditional aspect of security then we are going to miss a lot of major issues that we should consider. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I want to believe that every political party believes that their party is supreme in its structures. My question here involves the sector for security for the ruling party. If the party is supreme, it means that the security forces report to him if we have to be serious about that. I do not understand when they say the party is supreme but the ruling party security person is not there, who they must report to. That is what I understand ‘the party is supreme’. So, how can it be supreme when their own sector for security is not there? I think this has got to be with every political party at the end of the day. Also, they must include it. That is my proposal.
If you look at Parliament, the Standing Orders Committee, we have got leaders of opposition. Why are we afraid to have the opposition sit in there because in Parliament we have it in Standing Orders? This is what makes us divide people. The leader of opposition sits on the Standing Orders Committee and all that, so why can they not find themselves there? Not only that, the NGOs, there is a Bill which you have done very well Hon. Ziyambi, so what is their threat now? Why not invite them to also be there?
Not only that, there also must be a section that says that the council can invite any person or organisation to appear before them, that is important. They can invite because if there is an issue relating to a matter of national security, they can invite them to come and be asked questions so that the information is authentic, rather than hearing it from other people. The National Security Council has its own reports but in those reports, the people they mention, if it deems necessary they invite them for verification because if we do not have that to verify information, it then becomes a problem. So, there must be that provision to invite a person or organisation.
If we talk about climatic conditions which Hon. Biti talked about, we do not necessarily need a Minister to sit there but they can be invited to explain what it is of national security effect that they think. That will be my contribution.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Chair. On the first point, on the composition, I agree with Hon. Biti. In fact, I would have even wanted to end where it says ‘any other Minister who the President may from time to time appoint’. So, I think the rest is not necessary. So, I am proposing to delete from where it says ‘in consultation with any of the Ministers’. I think it should end ‘any other Minister who the President from time to time appoints’. The reason being that it can be an issue to do with food security, what has the Ministers of Intelligence, Defence and Police to advise the President? He knows about that. He can just do it himself. I think that is in order. I propose that.
Then, I do not agree that we should add the Minister of Health and Child Care and the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry as permanent members. The reason why I say so is, you can actually have food insecurity, it can be a national security threat. Something can actually – like what Hon. Hamauswa has said, he referred to the issue of drugs. We will end up saying the Minister of Youth must also be within the Committee.
I think let us allow the President, from time to time to appoint a Minister who then sits to deal with that particular issue. That is my submission that if I can have the indulgence of Members on this. Let us give the President, without consulting. In fact, the President always consults but we must not limit him. He may consult his mind and if he is convinced that he is making the correct decision, let us allow him. I believe that the way it is crafted, it takes care of our fears, climate change, drugs, food security, whatever other threat that may come in because these would be discussed if there is an issue that is arising out of that. Those are my submissions and the amendments that I propose.
On Hon Mliswa’s proposal, I respectfully submit that issues of the Executive are different from Parliament. The composition of Parliament includes the ruling party, Opposition and Independent. In the Committee on Standing Rules, you can have independent, opposition and ruling party but it is in the discretion of the President who he appoints to be Cabinet Ministers. The Bill speaks of State Security issues, composition of a National Security Council in terms of the mandate that the President has been given to set up and not in terms of somebody who is an opposition leader in Parliament. I submit Madam Chair.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, out of an abundance of caution, I propose that we add a proviso that says the National Security Council is the apex Organ in Zimbabwe on National Security Council matters. Thank you very much.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Chair, if you look at the composition of the council, like he is rightly saying, it is chaired by the President. Any other Organ is not chaired by the President, so the supremacy of this is already there – [HON. BITI: Inga mange mabvuma wani.] – I am not seeing any reason – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – JOC is not chaired by the President. So this council is chaired by the President. Its supremacy is already there – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. Members, I think this has to be put in Hansard. May you please take the floor.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Chair, once you have this arrangement from a constitutional point of view, you cannot entertain any other security organ. JOC was chaired by the Minister of National Security. The President, once there is this council, JOC falls away because if they have to put together operational clusters, that is up to them. JOC being part of it and the President saying you will do this and you will come to us and not to have a National Security Minister and the DG reporting to the President, it creates problems. That is where the confusion starts and we have seen it. We do not have to point out names. When you have a Director General of CIO, he is good enough in the President’s office and deals with the President. What do you need a Minister to also give the same report? He has got all these Service Chiefs whom he can be talking to but the President has the right to invite and talk to them. We cannot have a parallel structure. I propose that it is very clear. If they make JOC operational, ndizvozvo. Again, with this whole thing, JOC ceases really. JOC inyaya yesecurity, vanogara vachitaurirana. What we have with JOC are all the Service Chiefs and the Ministers who are in Security as chaired by the Minister of National Security. This National Council is chaired by the President. There is no need because all those people who are chaired by the Minister of National Security are also part of the Committee where the President is. What is the point of another meeting because all of them as you can see are all part of the National Security Council? So, why should we have another meeting? The Minister is there and must say whatever they are saying to the President, the Commander Defence Forces might say whatever they are saying and so forth vari pamwe chete. The difference is that the President now chairs it, which is the right thing to do. Vose imomo hapasisina makuhwa kuti uyu anoenda uku, uyu oenda achinyepa. Minister vanotaura, Commander Defence Forces, Commissioner General of Police, DG ibambazonke ipapo. Mukuru wenyika aripo hapasisina imwe meeting.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I propose to make an amendment on Clause 3 and have a new Clause 3 (1) that reads, “The council shall be the apex Organ for National Security matters.” The other sub-clauses will be renumbered accordingly.
Hon. Chair, I have another amendment in my name. On Clause 3, the old sub-clause 3 (a) on Composition of Council where it says, Composition of Council and it says, the Council consists of the following members; (a) The President.
I propose that it reads (a) The President, who shall be the Chairperson of the Council.
Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.
Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause 4 put and agreed to.
On Clause 5:
HON. T. MLISWA: On Clause 5 (1), on the day or days fixed by the President, the Council must meet at such times and places as the President may determine.
Presidents differ and you cannot take this President the same as any other President; they must meet, at least, quarterly and as … - [HON. ZIYAMBI: Zviripo wani, provided that Council meets at least once every three months.] –
HON. T. MLISWA: I think it is clear. Sorry, I had not seen that. I withdraw.
Clauses 5 to 8 put and agreed to.
On Clause 9:
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I appreciate that security matters are confidential but because the definition of security has changed to include things that are - in fact, the bulk of security we are now dealing with are not operational issues like how many guns do we have? How many troops did we send to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or to northern Mozambique?
I submit that the Minister of State Security must provide an annual report to Parliament, that of course, leaves out sensitive things but should be able to deal with general security council issues like a flood in Zimbabwe; food security, drought and so forth; a general report. If the draft, as it stands, allows the President to present and incorporate in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), a national Security Council report. Let the Minister of State Security present a standalone report, not necessarily on things that are obviously not for public consumption but if we agree Madam Speaker Ma’am, that security has been redefined, then it means that most national issues now are not as sensitive as how many guns do we have? How many soldiers to northern Mozambique? This would be my submission.
So, a carefully worded Section 9(2) can be made that says, the Minister of State Security shall present a report to Parliament which shall be consistent with security interests of the country. I think that would be good enough. Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Chair. Madam Chair, ministers by their very nature, do not bring annual reports of their work to Parliament. So, the Minister of State Security cannot bring a report of that nature because he is not the one who chairs the organ; it is the President. The clause indicates that in his State of the Nation, he can include issues that he believes are of interest.
However, if there are issues that are of interest to Parliament, Parliament has got other ways, in fact, Parliament is allowed to summon any member of the Executive to present a report on the state of any security matter that they deem is of national interest and that can be done. I believe that in the format that it is, Hon. Members can allow it to pass. It is not defective to the extent that members would be prejudiced. I believe that it sufficiently covers, Hon. Biti, what – [HON. BITI: It will create culture of accountability.] – Yes, but culture is already inculcated there. The President, in his State of the Nation, will then have to ensure that some of those issues, he will report on them. The President has always been doing that in terms of issues to do with climate change, food security; those have always been covered.
I believe that it is sufficient in its current format and plead with Hon. Members that the clause be passed in its current format. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I will go back to Clause 5 – [HON. ZIYAMBI: Procedure does not allow you to do so!] –
THE ACTING CHAIRPERSON: Honourable Member, you cannot do that.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have not finished speaking yet, allow me to finish speaking please; mabva makambira kudai ndisati ndatombotaura. Aaah aah musavhunduke, musavhunduke teererai.
You see, I support Hon. Biti in line with what is already provided for that. The council must meet at least every three months. After that meeting, can we get a report and that was my reference. After they have met, can we get a report - what is wrong with that? It is there already, they are meeting and we must know from an accountability point of view. They have met and what have they come up with and so they cannot keep quiet. That was my whole point.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I think with the nature of this council, it is being chaired by the President. I think the Constitution is quite clear that the President comes on the State of the Nation unless you have called as Parliament, but it is usually the Vice President. So I am thinking on this one that the President comes and addresses us on the State of the Nation Address and it is quite clear.
HON. T. MLISWA: What I am trying to say is if this report can be tabled by the Leader of Government Business and it is allowed, that is my point Madam Chair. The Leader of Government Business tables the report.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, if you go to Clause 5 that he made reference to, trying to smuggle in his thinking to Clause 9, it covers what he is saying. It says in sub-clause 2, Clause 5, meetings of the council and of its Committees are not public but the council may inform the public of any resolution of the council where it is necessary in the public interest to do so. So it is there and once the council meets or committees of council meet and there is an issue of public interest that can be done. In my earlier response, I have indicated that if it is an issue of public interest, there is nothing that stops Parliament to summon any Minister or even the President, the Constitution allows that. That is why I pleaded with Hon. Members that it sufficiently covers everything that you are afraid of in the Bill in its current state. I so submit.
HON. BITI: Madam Chair, Clause 5 that the Hon. Minister refers to already says council can go public on matters of national interest. So at the end of the year, let us create a situation where an annual report is presented. I sat in the National Council, you hardly discuss security issues because those are operational issues. You discuss issues which are of national interest like floods in Chipinge. There is nothing wrong in a report being tabled. Institutions and nations are built on the basis of the collective memory of that Nation State and the collective memory is contained in those reports. Researchers and students will work on those reports.
Parliament too has the basis of standing up and debating. There are so many parastatals now under the President like DDF but it lays a report in Parliament. There is nothing wrong in the culture of reports because we already have it. It aids to and abates the culture of accountability. They put a report and we do not want to know how many guns have been bought from China – we are not interested in that. We are interested in these social security issues. What is happening with drought, COVID and floods? I have just seen a video from Hon. Hwende, of a road in Gokwe that looks like a planting field. That is a national security issue. That is our appeal Madam Speaker Ma’am. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, on the issue of DDF, it is a parastatal and this one is a council and not a parastatal.
HON. BITI: It is a constitutional body and it is even bigger than DDF.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that is what I am saying. So we cannot be able to compare those two and even in terms of chairing.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Chair. I also want to emphasize on the need for annual reports and also ad hoc Committees if there are some extraordinary issues that might emerge. For example natural disasters, it will be important that the Security Council can issue a report and in the report, you would also want to see the report predicting the nature and shape of threats to security and also highlighting issues that can promote peace and security in our country.
Those reports will guide even issues to do with budgeting. They will be working hand in hand with the Committee on Defence. So without those reports, we will be like moving or sailing on unchartered waters because there is no guidance in terms of supporting and in terms of identifying the new courses that should also be given to our security forces. There are kind of training that needs to be in line with the 21st century threats to security.
If you Google on the National Defence University, even starting with the establishment of the National Defence University, it means the Ministry of Defence is ahead of Parliament and Parliament is way behind in terms of coming up with the laws that will accommodate those changes. If you check at the courses that are being offered, they are offering courses like Strategic Defence and Security. Those are the courses which can be contained in the report because the reports will also look at our borders.
We now have the discovery of minerals like the reports of massive deposits of oil, we do not know whether it is true and what is likely to happen. We know that wherever there are oil deposits, there are also issues to do with insecurities and threats to terrorists. They also follow all areas where we have oil deposits or where oil is being extracted. So what is going to be the future of the Zambezi Valley? Are those people really secure?
The security report will predict that if we are going to extract oil resources in Muzarabani, are we not going to rethink of another way maybe different from the way that was used by the Smith regime, of putting landmines, but it means there is now need for a new method of making sure that the border is secure because back then the border was secured through landmines. So how are we going to secure the border with the ban of the landmines? What kind of security measures do we need to put in place in light of the discovery of oil in Muzarabani? Another issue which is also of major concern, the xenophobic attacks that have been happening in South Africa, it is a major security concern which the reports should actually consider.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Chair, the period where we are debating is over. We are zeroing in on Clause 9 and the issue that was raised by Hon. Biti is about reports. What Hon. Hamauswa is debating is very good, I agree with it but he is out of order.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Hamauswa, we do not want to continue repeating same issues over and over again, this is very clear. If ever there is anything affecting security, it is clear on Clause 5. It is very clear that whenever there is any security concern that will be reported. Now we are going to Clause 9 and this is what we should be debating. When it comes to reports, reports will come on the State of the Nation Address. Is there anything you want to say outside of this? We cannot continue repeating and saying the same things.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Chair, I do not want to appear as if I am just raising unnecessary arguments, I really appreciate what the Hon. Minister has said. My focus was on emphasising even on the contents of the reports. We should also be able to be guided from the point of law, to say what are the issues that should be contained in the reports; so I was trying to emphasise the real need to make sure that we put more emphasis on the need for reporting and the reporting should come annually or on ad hoc basis. Those are the two points that I have highlighted and to say these are the issues that should be contained, that is why I gave an example of discovery of oil. You can agree with me that the reports should be predictive also to say what will then happen. So those are the things I want to emphasise. If you say it is just a report, then it will be left to those who are reporting on what should be contained. Why not make it somehow closer to exhaustive to the nature of the report? I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: The issue is so clear that if ever there is any issue – of all those issues that you have mentioned; if there is any security concern, it will be talked about in those meetings and then we will have the communication accordingly. I think we have heard reports from the Ministry of Local Government and all the Ministers when there is any issue of concern. If it is a security issue which is of great importance, it will be tabled in this House and it is clear in this Bill.
Clause 9 put and agreed to
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 4 to 11 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 12 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRISONS AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICE BILL [H. B. 6, 2022]
Twelfth Order read: Second Reading: Prisons and Correctional Amendment Bill [H. B. 6, 2022].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present my second reading speech on the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Bill. This Bill seeks to repeal the Prisons Act and enact a new legislative framework.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the recommendation to repeal and enact the new Prisons Act was borne out of the realisation that the current legislation is inadequate and out of sync with the current international norms and standards relating to prisons administration. This Bill, Mr. Speaker Sir, seeks to align the existing Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Act with the Constitution of Zimbabwe 2013. The Constitution of Zimbabwe created, in its Part 5 of Chapter II, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS). The Constitution elevated the status of this institution to be a constitutional entity with a broadened mandate. The broadening of the scope of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service’s mandate has necessitated the review of the governing Act to ensure that the legislation is in sync with the constitutional provisions. The increased scope of the role of the ZPCS now includes an express provision on rehabilitation and correctional services which was neither categorically provided for in the previous Constitution nor in the Act of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the proposed new Act therefore, seeks to modernise the prisons legislation with a view to ensuring that it meets the international norms and standards regarding prisons administration including the way prisoners should be treated. This includes focusing more on restorative justice through rehabilitation rather than incarceration of offenders. The proposed legislation will also ensure that the prison system caters for the needs of the vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, juvenile offenders as well as persons with disabilities and other special categories in society that have special needs. The current system lacks a supporting legislative framework to ensure that these values are entrenched within the prisons service.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to broaden the scope of the parole system. Under the current legislation, parole is very limited in scope as it only applies to that category of prisoners who are serving extended sentences. The proposed legislation seeks to provide for the eligibility of every prisoner to apply for parole regardless of the nature of sentences they are serving. This would mean that all categories of prisoners would be eligible to be considered for parole at some point whilst serving their sentences.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the current legislation does not provide re-integration plans for a prisoner after serving their prison terms and this generally affects their smooth integration back into their communities thereby increasing chances of recidivism. The proposed legislation seeks to promote community involvement in prisons and correctional service in order to ensure that prisoners will not face difficulties and hostilities in being accepted back into their communities and within their families.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the proposed legislation will also provide for the establishment of correctional community centres throughout the country which essentially will be open prisons. These will be used for providing the prisoners with the necessary life skills through training and rehabilitation as well as ensuring their reintegration back into society. These centres will also ensure the decongestion of prisons as certain prisoners would be released from standard prisons to reside in such community centres. They will serve the purpose of easing the transition of inmates from incarceration life to community life.
The new law will extensively provide for health care services for inmates by guiding principles on health care of inmates. This is in compliance with Section 48 as read with Section 50 of the Constitution on the right to life and rights of arrested/detained person. The proposed legislation goes on further to extend an inmate’s right to consult with a medical practitioner of their choice at their own expense.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Constitution states that every person has a right to legal representation. Section 50 of the Constitution spells out that any person who is arrested must be permitted without delay to access a private lawyer. In tandem with this constitutional provision, the proposed law affords inmates access to their lawyers before and during their trials. Further to that, the new law provides for a paralegal system in prisons and institutions, in order to assist inmates who cannot afford legal fees.
Unconvicted prisoners have a constitutional right to be tried within a reasonable period of time. As a way to ease prison congestion and avoid lengthy remands, the new legislation proposes that a list on unconvicted prisoners be submitted to the Registrar of the High Court every quarter, giving details as to when they were admitted to prison. Mr. Speaker Sir, I therefore urge Hon. Members to support and pass this Bill. I so submit and move that the Bill be read a second time. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill is very long. We ask the indulgence of the House and the Minister that the debate be adjourned to tomorrow so that we can read. It has got over 85 pages and over 140 provisions. So to do justice to the Bill, we ask that we adjourn now and then we are allowed to debate tomorrow.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 1st February, 2023.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 6.
Motion put and agreed to.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on Second Reading: of the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I wish to thank the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for their report and observations, as well as an extensive report that they produced. I also want to thank Hon. Members of this House for the positive contributions and for a very vibrant and engaged debate on the Second Reading of the Child Justice Bill. The report and the debate raised relevant pertinent issues which I wish to respond to.
I will start by addressing issues raised in the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Committee raised a pertinent issue on the minimum age of criminal responsibility having been set at 12 years of age, and some concerns raised by the public that 12 year olds may still be too young to be found of having criminal capacity. It is my submission Mr. Speaker that we are in a technological era where children have access to more than we had during our time and are exposed to a lot more due to technology and free access to information. So 12 years is an acceptable age for criminal capacity.
As Zimbabwe is a peculiar case compared to our neighbours, South Africa who according to the South African Child Justice Act of 2008 set out the age of criminal capacity of a child at 10 years. Crime level and its evolution in Zimbabwe is lower and has been at a lower level of evolution in comparison to South Africa, thus making our case peculiar and incomparable to our neighbours. It is necessary to note that there is a provision that leaves room for evidence to be provided or furnished to establish and prove that a child between the ages of 12 years of age and 14 years does not have criminal capacity, which is a reasonable compromise for situations where a child in conflict with the law between those ages can still be found without criminal capacity (if established through evidence). It is encouraging to hear the positive contributions from Hon. Sibanda and Hon. Banda in this regard.
Mr. Speaker, there was also a proposal that the Crtiminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act be amended so that it is in line with the Child Justice Act on age of criminal responsibility. As we are all part of legislative making body and my Ministry being responsible for the legislative alignment process of all legislation to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it is our duty to see to it that all legislation is aligned. As it stands now, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act is in the process of being aligned with the Marriage Act.
Regarding the issue raised on the Government supporting and ensuring that resources are availed for the construction of more correctional and rehabilitation centres for juvenile offenders that incorporate health and educational facilities, it is a very crucial point which is our prayer, as it will allow for better operations and effective implementation of the Child Justice Bill if passed. As highlighted by the Law Society of Zimbabwe as provided for by Clause 5 (ix) (j) that the principle must be holistic enough to also include reformation and rehabilitation (not just reintegration) as per Article 17 (3) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, this can only be carried out through support with resources and capacitation in terms of facilities.
Allow me to kindly address concerns regarding child friendly courts and the diversion process. The Bill’s objective is to meet international standards as provided for in the United Nations Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which address the treatment of children in conflict with the law. The rights of a child like any other accused person must be protected. It is encouraging to see that the Bill has been well received based on the contributions from the Hon. Members.
This Bill has come as a necessity as mandated by Section 19 (1) of the Constitution which provides that the State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in matters relating to children, the best interests of the child concerned are paramount. Section 19 (2) (c) further gives a critical mandate to the State to adopt policies and measures within the limit of the resources available to it, to ensure that children are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse. The establishment of child friendly courts is definitely a milestone in our justice system. Separation of children in conflict with the law from adult offenders protects these children, their rights and allows room for their rehabilitation without being tainted as well as their re-integration.
Mr. Speaker, in the same light, I appreciate the contribution by Hon. Banda, where he has suggested that the protection of children in conflict with the law is enhanced by the public and the press being excluded from trials. The child friendly court system seeks to ensure this is provided for. As for the diversion process, a look at formulating a legislative framework that spells out how the diversion process should be carried out is necessary together with ensuring that there is a speedy process from where the child protection officers begin to the diversion committees to the stage where prosecutors and magistrates become involved. I concur that sentences should show restorative justice which would need to be set out in sentencing guidelines.
The Committee also recommended that training for officers should be established to ensure the protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law from any abuse, violence and mistreatment within the system during any stage of the justice process. Awareness of the law is also necessary to enable the general public, children, institutions, to be well informed of the law and the protections it provides for children as well as prevent children from falling into a life of crime. We will ensure that this is carried out, as empowering people with knowledge of the law is a step towards good governance as required by NDS1 if the Bill passes.
Allow me now Mr. Speaker, to address one very pertinent issue raised by the Committee as well as the Law Society, which speaks to the process of age determination which are said to be too broad. As highlighted in the report, paragraph 34 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 24 of 2019 (CRC/C/GC/24) 1 provides for assessment of the child’s physical and psychological development to be performed by professionals skilled in evaluating different aspects of development. In Zimbabwe, as is practiced by Social Welfare and many others, it is the practice to use professionals such as dentists who have received the required training to determine such. It is however necessary to highlight that the process of doing so through professionals such as dentists is costly and resource support for such accommodations would need to be taken into consideration.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to commend the Hon. Members for mobilising the public in their constituencies to attend and participate in public hearings. I encourage all Hon. Members to maintain the same energy going forward for this Bill and all others that follow.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to conclude by advising the Hon. Members that this new legislation is progressing in the right direction for our justice system as a country, as many countries already have standing legislation on Child Justice and Child Justice Courts, whereby going forward, we will seek to adopt best practices to make our system conform to the international standard for child justice and child protection. I want to encourage Hon. Members to embrace this progressive step in our justice system whose aim is to protect our children and their rights. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that the Bill be read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Wednesday, 1st February, 2023.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.