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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 9th April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

      HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I indicated that I wanted to raise a point of privilege.

       THE HON. SPEAKER: Please proceed.

       HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege after some perennial challenges that are facing Members of Parliament each time they come to the House. There is a challenge in terms of accommodation. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Members get very desperate to a point where some sleep in cars and others are disturbed by the approach of some of the hotels. When Hon. Members go to hotels, they are told in an unfriendly way that we are not taking Members of Parliament, and they say they want to be allowed to deal with their customers, which is very disturbing. The honour and the respect that Hon. Members of Parliament must be accorded, they are not getting any.

       My issue is, we are sitting this week and we know if we are going to sit next week, those responsible in Parliament Administration, why do they not engage service providers? I am raising it here because I have engaged Parliament Administration not once but many times, but we are assured and it is only this week that we are going to be sitting and many of our Members were desperate.

Some got accommodation around 3.00 a.m. If the staff have challenges, why do they not inform the Hon. Speaker early enough that we are supposed to sit next week, but hotels are not accepting our people because of non-payment? We know that there could be challenges in terms of funding the stay, but they are not the source of money. If they are told that the money is not there, why do they not tell the Speaker that we cannot sit because next week we do not have enough resources than to have people so desperate?  

       So, my request is that, through your office, we convene a meeting. I do not know whether this is the correct thing to do, but where you give us how we have to deal with this thing because it is perennial. Every week Hon. Members are faced with this challenge of accommodation. It may not be Parliament Administration’s problem, it may be because of funding from Ministry of Finance, but they should know this thing upfront.

Some of the hotels end up sending Hon. Members away like at Pandhari. It is a dilapidated hotel and it is like people left that hotel 10 years ago. Hon. Members of Parliament go there because the hotel is flexible and nobody is using that hotel at all. So, I am requesting you Mr. Speaker Sir, that a permanent solution is found to protect the dignity of Members of Parliament. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

       THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! If I understand your English properly, you say perennial, I have been perennially in this office and you are raising it here, in this House.  The two Chairpersons - the Chief Whips, that is the Government Chief Whip and the Opposition, are both Chairpersons of the welfare of the Hon. Members of Parliament. What has stopped you from engaging me?

       Hon. Member, Government Chief Whip, you have sent me WhatsApp messages even when I am in Honolulu seeking my guidance. I have given that guidance accordingly and accordingly, you responded gratefully. I am here, unless you have temporal lapses that I am the head of this Parliament. Last time when there was an issue, I recall that the Government Chief Whip approached me and the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion was not around. I approached the Head of State and Government, His Excellency Dr. Mnangagwa. He immediately called the Permanent Secretary Mr. Guvamatanga and asked, is there no budget for Parliament?  He said yes and he asked, so why are you not paying hotels?  Your Excellency, it will be done immediately because the situation of that particular week had become desperate and I had been informed.  I do not want to hear the same story again and I am saying, my office, including my WhatsApp, is open… - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections.] – Now, without nailing you Government Chief Whip, last night you sent me a message concerning the interviews that we conducted last Thursday, gave me an opinion and I replied immediately.  You acknowledged my reply, but there was no mention about this issue… - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections.] – If there are any issues, let us face them together under my leadership.

       Now, may I know the update? Are Hon. Members now booked in hotels?  - [HON. MEMBERS: No! Fuel!] – Do not mix up issues.  

        HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker, as an update, I want to acknowledge that I should have told you. When I spoke to you last night, the situation had improved a bit, but there are still some Hon. Members who have not been housed properly.  I really take your advice and will definitely talk wherever there is need. I have always done so, but this was overwhelming, very much overwhelming because Rainbow Hotel, for some reason, was not taking up, Crown Plaza told us they would take 20 and some hotels even refused, but I take your advice Mr. Speaker. I will definitely advise you in future. - [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -

      THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you, let us coordinate better.  I hear some whispering voices that are a bit loud on my left and on my right concerning coupons… - [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – Now, may I again be appraised Hon. Togarepi?

       HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, like I said earlier, it is still the same that either the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion is supposed to fund the fuel coupon service providers.  They tell us that the fuel coupons were not paid for and the service provider was not ready to release the coupons for the period that Hon. Members are raising…

      THE HON. SPEAKER: How long is that? – [HON. MEMBERS: Three weeks!] –

      HON. TOGAREPI: It is two weeks - [HON. MEMBERS: No, it is three weeks!] – I am not aware of the other week, but if it is three weeks, it could be that other Hon. Members got coupons and others did not because I also collect from the same pool and I got them.

        THE HON. SPEAKER: In the past two weeks?

       HON. TOGAREPI: Yes, but they did not get anything this last week, some had to stay in Harare with relatives. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

         THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that information. Again, honestly two weeks, two weeks muchitambura?  - [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – Ini ndiripo? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mina ngikhona? [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I think you have a problem, you have a problem.  In Ndebele we say, umntwana ongakhaliyo ufela embelekweni, mwana asingacheme anofira mumbereko, but do not wait until you are about to die. Let us handle these issues spontaneously as they arise so that we can find some solution accordingly - [HON. MEMBERS: Salary! salary!] – I have taken those two, the rest of welfare, I wait to be advised by your two Chief Whips and the Committee on Welfare. Thank you.

I have a request from Hon. Gwangwaba on a point of national importance.

        ^HON. GWANGWABA: Good afternoon.  I have stood to talk about a problem along the Zambezi River.  The Zambians are coming into the Zambezi River and are now killing our relatives along that river.  Right now, as I am talking, in the Negandini area of Nyaminyami, there is someone called Robert Mpofu who was killed by the Zambian poachers, and up to now, we have not yet retrieved his body.

        I am appealing to the parks rangers and also the army to intervene.

       THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.  However, this question concerns the Zambezi Valley, so it should be a written question so that the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife can properly respond.  I suggest that you write to the Clerk of Parliament so that next week during the Question and Answer Session, the Minister will respond.  I thank you.

        HON. MATEWU: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise on a point of national interest.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on the 5th of April 2024, that is last Friday, the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. John Mushayavanhu issued the Monetary Policy Statement in terms of the Reserve Bank Act, [Chapter 22;15] which was followed by the Presidential Powers and Temporary Measures, [S.I. 60 of 2024].   

        Mr. Speaker Sir, we expect the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to come to this House and explain to us how the new currency is going to work.  We owe it to the people, whether we are also going to amend the Finance Act which we voted for in December of 2023 because if the new currency is going to work, the common denominator must be confident.  We must be confident that it will work, the people of this country, the region, and the international community must be confident in the new currency.

       However, confidence will only come if the Government is confident in our currency.  Hence, we need to know if the Finance Act which put everything in USD terms with respect to government services, I am talking about passport fees, fuel and every service that the Government offers, must then follow suit and be accessible in Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) otherwise this will remain a damn spat and it will not work.

  So, Mr. Speaker, we expect the Minister of Finance to come to this House and amend the Finance Act to ensure that we can now pay for anything in Central Government using ZiG, otherwise we are wasting our time.  I thank you.

        THE HON. SPEAKER: Your request is accepted and will ask the Hon. Minister to present a ministerial statement to explain so that after his explanation, as representatives of the people, you will be able then to go back and explain equally, in equal measure, to the people you represent.

        HON. MUTSEYAMI: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Speaker Sir, my point of national importance is that we have an International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances which is on the 30th of August, 2024.  Zimbabwe has neither signed nor acceded to the Convention.  This Convention applies to the victims who would have died as a result of the disaster, like Cyclone Idai, it applies as well to enforced disappearances like we have situations we had, of people like Itai Dzamara, Manyama, and many others who passed on then.

         So, Mr. Speaker Sir, my appeal, through your office, is to find means as to how we can come up with the motivation for our Government to accede to this Convention since I believe it is an important Convention which applies as well to us as a country.  I thank you.

       THE HON. SPEAKER: We will engage the relevant Minister and find out the modalities on how to handle your request.  

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

       HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 7 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order Number 8 has been disposed of.

      HON. KARIKOGA: I second.

      Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND

RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

       Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2023.

       Question again proposed.

       HON. DR. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA:  Thank you for this important opportunity Mr. Speaker, to contribute my views on this important report.

        The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is one of the most important Commissions in the country.  Important because it addresses issues that are critical and fundamental to development, Vision 2030 and the attainment of an upper middle-class income society by 2030. Peace and reconciliation, conflict prevention and conflict resolution are all prerequisites to sustainable development and success.  You only have to look at Israel and Gaza in the State of Palestine for a more graphic representation of the absence of peace and reconciliation.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Commission for a clear report on activities which I must admit had also educated me on how broad the mandate and scope is, from political conflict to early marriages and teen pregnancies, drug and substance abuse, agriculture and mining conflict to human wildlife conflict as well as sources of conflict that afflict communities resulting in the absence of peace.  Indeed, the report demonstrates peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us.

        Mr. Speaker, the Commission established in terms of Section 232 of the Constitution, has its report demonstrating its commitment to conflict prevention and social cohesion through programmes and activities that were rolled out to all the 10 provinces, cascading to local levels, the villages and schools, creating ownership for peace and reconciliation through local participation and proffering of solutions for cohesion and reconciliation.

        I applaud the Commission for the extent of coverage given limited resources and delayed budget disbursement.  Out of the 105 new complaints received in 2023 and added to the 2022 backlog to make it 138, the Commission was able to conclude by way of investigation and resolution on all these cases ensuring peace and reconciliation as the basis for development.

       Of concern and for attention is the fact that 47% were political conflicts. 27% were Masvingo Province followed by Mashonaland East Province.  The political parties and political leaders need to be accountable and very supportive of the Commission’s pursuit for peace through resolution of past, present and future conflicts.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Commission’s strategic plan for 2023 is comprehensive and focuses on specific but broad issues, all seeking to achieve its vision of a peaceful Zimbabwe for all generations.

        With a lot of activities focusing on political conflict because of elections, the Commission successfully campaigned through various media advertising platforms, peace caravan vehicles across provinces and indeed, peace prevailed before, during and after elections.  That was a job well done.  The Commission was very visible during the period reported on and their message was present and visible, achieving the intended results.

         Mr. Speaker Sir, again I applaud the Commission for structuring itself to be able to go beyond the obvious sources and causes of conflict.  The villages, households and local communities all participated as a foundation of national peace and development.  The Commission is applauded for programmes and initiatives on Gender-Based Violence, teen pregnancies and child marriages, drug and substance abuse, farming and mining conflict and human and wildlife conflict among others. These were brought to the fore, how they are potential sources of conflict and if left unchecked, can be serious conflict situations affecting national peace.

         In the same vein, let me acknowledge and commend the Commission for complying with section 9 of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission on gender equality in its organisational structure.  I think that is why they have been able to cover so much, taking preventative actions and mediating or conciliating disputes for peace.  The setting up of child protection units and anti-stock theft communities among others, with the participation of local leadership is a sustainable way of ensuring long term peace and reconciliation.

         The Commission adopted an effective strategy which is that local communities under their local traditional and political leadership, are best positioned to deal with conflicts applying indigenous knowledge and ways of investigating and dealing with conflict.

        Mr. Speaker Sir, the establishment of peace champions and ambassadors for anti-drug abuse, drug awareness campaigns and gender focal persons in schools and communities indeed is applauded. It is a sustainable way of dealing with the scourge, and is to be applied to the other challenges to address addiction, antisocial behaviour and violence which undermine peace.  It also addresses sexual violence and child marriages among others.

       Mr. Speaker Sir, the report clearly outlines the major socio-economic challenges impacting on peace and reconciliation, key among them marginalisation of some communities, poor road infrastructure, poor communication networks, management of natural resources and non-harmonisation of some pieces of legislation.  An example here is the Mines and Minerals Act of 1961, on how it deals with agriculture priorities and mining priorities.

Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me at this juncture, to thank His Excellency the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for recognising the top performance by NPRC and giving them a top performance award.  I congratulate NPRC for such a performance.  It has proved beyond doubt that all Commissions led by women are doing excellently well.

        In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, I urge Government to adopt and actualise the Commission’s recommendations for continued improvements and sustainable peace.  There are recommendations on specific areas, from drug and substance abuse to human and wild life conflict and mining by makorokozas.  Addressing all these potential sources of conflict provides basis for sustainable economic growth in line with vision 2030.

Let me end Mr. Speaker Sir, by saying peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

       THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Member going outside, can you come and see me now.

       HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this very important report that was tabled by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.  I will begin by quoting one of our great late Vice President Ubaba John Landa Nkomo, who coined the adage to say ‘peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us’. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  That is a sort of visionary leadership that creates the atmosphere that we require as a country to prosper.

       Mr. Speaker Sir, we have seen the conflict zones of our world, how devastating and how painful people live under those kinds of conditions.  I remember one great nation in Africa here, Libya, which was well led by one great leader, the late Col. Gaddafi, what a peaceful country.  Everything was going well for them until conflict started.   I remember at one point, the Libyans were actually, if you wanted to go and study outside their country, the Government was providing for you everything. Their buildings were all quite okay but when conflict was brought by the people that love to bring conflicts in most parts of the world, now they are living in abject poverty.  It is so scary.  

I will want to commend our Government, our President, His Excellency Hon. Dambudzo Mnangagwa.  I want to commend all the stakeholders of Government, including you Mr. Speaker Sir, as the head of this institution.  I am glad today you put it so well that umntwana ongakhaliyo ufela embelekweni. The peace that we enjoy as Zimbabwe is the kind of peace that can only prosper us as a nation.  It is so important therefore, to safeguard that peace at whatever cost. This Commission that was put, has actually done so.  We have just come out of our own elections in 2023.  I am sure everybody here will definitely agree with me that our elections were so free and fair, all because of the peaceful environment that we enjoy as a country.  That is the kind of peace we need to all safeguard here, despite our ideologies or our standing in society.

        If we look at this Commission, they have actually tried to guard and prevent more than curing.  This is exactly what we ought to advocate for as Members of Parliament here as we go out to our constituencies.  We should never find ourselves in a situation where we now want to put off the fire.  We must always make sure that the fire does not start in the beginning.  This now talks to us understanding that we are supposed to be one here.  I have always on many occasions, stood up and say there is no Shona, no Ndebele, no Venda, no Tonga or Kalanga.  We are all one creation by God and the moment we understand that, we are going to live together harmoniously.  The moment we try and want to separate each other, the moment we try to say this one comes from there and this one comes from there, this is where conflict will begin.  This is where we will never progress as a nation.

        I was saying to somebody, in most cases, the only person who knows exactly who you are is your mother.  I will get up and say I am a Tshuma, but do I really know that I am a Tshuma?  What if my mother took a turn - and this I say more particularly to people that want to be tribal all the time.  You will hear somebody saying, I am Shona, ndiri mushona chaiye and I have said to somebody - what if your mother took a turn and met a Khumalo guy and you are Khumalo and you are hating your own people?  So, we should never hate each other because of things that we have no control over.  It is very important as Members of Parliament to actually spread the word of love.  If you cut a Shona speaking person, it is red blood, so is a Ndebele person, so is a Venda, so is even a Tonga.  Why are we then now trying to separate each other over things that really do not matter?

        I even say to other people, are you aware that once upon a time, everybody spoke the same language?  The only mistake that they tried to do was to build a tower over Babylon to go into the heavens.  God now said no, these people are now trying to come into my bedroom, and he separated them. That is how people started speaking different languages so that they could not understand each other in order for them to try and do their project of trying to build going up.  So, we were once one people, talking the same language.  So, it is very imperative for people to understand that peace will only begin when you realise that there is no Shona, there is no Ndebele, there is no Kalanga, we are all one.

       I want us as a House to understand that there are some institutions that also want to bring havoc in our societies.  Those institutions must be dealt with and be dead expeditiously.  For example, I was appalled to see the way the City Council authorities, here in Harare and even in Bulawayo, the city council police, how they treat vendors.  They will go out there, beat them up and loot their stuff.  Now, can you imagine one day, if those people will stand up and say enough is enough, what is going to happen?  There is going to be a conflict and we are going to lose lives.  People are going to be injured because of somebody who does not want to be responsible enough to know and be cautious enough to say if this person is doing something wrong, there are good ways of dealing with such a situation than being inhuman in the manner that we have seen these Harare Municipality Police, the Bulawayo Municipality Police, conduct their business.

       So, it is very important to have all these institutions probably re-oriented and let them know how to carry out their duties, even the police themselves.  For example, if you go to a soccer match between Highlanders and Dynamos, most of the violence emanates from the police themselves. They become trigger-happy and they shoot teargases all over, then what is next is stampede and people are injured, some even lose their lives.  It is important for our national institutions to also adhere to good governance, the one that you always pray for when you open Parliament here.  It is very important that people always think about those things and do things in a dignified way.  We are human beings, we should be dignified.  It is even like people who issue us with coupons here in Parliament, you actually go there as Hon. Members of Parliament, we are now like sort of fighting over there to simply get coupons, whereby a system can be devised…

         HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  I have read and understood the National Peace and Reconciliation Report.  The Hon. Member has not spoken to what the report says so far.  Everything that he has spoken about is the coupons, the games and everything which has nothing to do with the National Peace and Reconciliation Report.  With due respect, Mr. Speaker, I humbly request that the Hon. Member debate the National Peace and Reconciliation Report.  I thank you.  

         THE HON. SPEAKER: I hope you have read the report carefully.  One of its recommendations is that peace be maintained in Zimbabwe.  The Hon. Member is trying to say, how does peace escape us?  It is because of unnecessary conflict. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  Hon. Tshuma, please proceed.

        HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is always refreshing to have a Speaker like you, who is very open-minded - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]–

        THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I do not know a Speaker who is like me.

       HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.  Thank you for enlightening the Hon. Member so that he opens up his mind to understand that when we speak about conflict, we do not need to have it happen.  We need to actually proffer solutions that can prevent it from happening in the first place.  That is exactly what I was trying to come up with.  That is why I was giving all these examples, even the issue of coupons, I was talking about it as a cause for conflict because we cannot be going there to stampede for something that must be given to us in an honourable manner.  These are the things that should be addressed in any given situation.  

As I was saying, it is very important therefore, for us to look into these things deeply.  Right now, go into even the churches which are supposed to be religious and exemplary in terms of peace and harmoniously living together, there is so much fighting in there. I do not know what Government can do, but we ought to look at that sector. I was amazed to see a video of brethren in a church throwing fists at each other instead of throwing holy fire and good words coming to bless each other but instead, they were fighting.

        These are the kind of things that if not corrected, will then grow and cause society not to be able to live harmoniously. I did not write anything Mr. Speaker. I am saying this from my own head because I am talking of things which are practical and things that are happening, which I think the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission should be looking into as they have ably done. When I began my debate, I said they are more preventative than trying to stop something that has already started occurring.

      So, I want to conclude by saying let us all be grateful for a peaceful nation like ours and let us preserve that peace by all means. We might be different in our ideology. I could be from a certain party and you are from another party, but the Zimbabwe that we have is one. If you go outside of this country, you become a foreigner and you will be treated as such. It does not matter whether you have got a degree or whatever. In a Shona adage they say, mwana waMambo muranda kumwe.

       Therefore, it is important to definitely try by all means whether you go to church and ask God to cast away the demon of trying to sell out your own country. If you are a traditionalist, go to your Mudzimu and ask them to definitely make sure that from today onwards, you actually say to yourself, I will never sell out my country. Do not sell your land, your country and do not demonise it either.

        There are squabbles all over the world. America has bad things that happen every day as well as Britain, China and other countries, but they do not go out there and start talking about it in public. They sort it out themselves just like you said to our Government Chief Whip that he must come to your office and that you are open all the time. They must learn the same thing. Our fellow Zimbabweans must learn the same things that if there is a problem, the President has been open about this when he said I am open for business and my door is open anytime.

Let us come together, let us talk about issues and there is no need to fight.  We are all one and maybe one day if you behave like this, we will stop having people on the left hand and people on the right hand and we will all sit together because you will have seen the kind of mentality that we have. At the moment, at times it is difficult to mix because we might end up having bad apples mixing with good apples and then whatever happens, the basket ends up being rotten. All I can say Mr. Speaker is peace begins with you, peace begins with me and peace begins all of us. I so submit.   

THE HON. SPEAKER: Before I call for further debate, is Hon. Surrender Kapoikilu around and Hon. J. Tshuma around? If so, I want to see them as soon as I vacate the chair.     

Some Hon. Members from the left side having said it is now their turn to debate.

THE HON. SPEAKER: There is no list here. I have four eyes and there is no list here under item Order No. 3. Sorry.

       +HON. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity. I will add my voice from what I read from the NPRC Report. The first thing that I would want to dwell on the NPRC Report is that it was given a lifespan of ten years. The Commission existed from 2013 to August 2023. What made them to fail to work perfectly is that the lifespan had elapsed. Reading this report, I found out that when they tried to rectify the conflicts of 2008, they were told that their lifespan had expired, which meant that they failed to work perfectly.

When reading the NPRC works dwelling on the past, the present and the future which is upcoming, peace is a prerequisite to everyone and it is within everyone. Peace is like food that we consume. If you do not have food, you do not have peace, you are disturbed and without peace, you are disturbed. A country without peace does not develop. A country without peace does not advance in anything because there would be nothing happening because people will always be at each other’s throat fighting.

In this report, I found out that there is an issue that concerns us a lot. Where we are here, we are said to be on the East and what I can say is it is on the West in Matebeleland. This issue of early childhood marriages or children that are forced into intimate relationships

before they reach age of maturity.   This is one thing that the NPRC was supposed to look into but because they do not have enough arresting powers, it is now being said their time for existence has elapsed.

Like I said, NPRC focuses on what happened in the past, present and future.  There are issues that happened in the past that still need the NPRC’s attention, issues that happened in 1980 to 1983 of the Gukurahundi that still need to be attended to, people are still surviving with such issues to date. This is happening because no one is willing to address these issues. It is like a wound that is within someone and no one is willing to treat it.

I can refer up to 1987, but all that I am making reference to is from the report, it is not coming from my head. We had our inter-party dialogue in 2008 that gave birth to the Kariba Draft; in 2009 the Constitution gave birth to the Government of National Unity (GNU). This is all the NPRC would look into and fix a lot of issues since we have unity.  We have seen instances of grievances that need to be addressed. If possible, I am appealing through you Madam Speaker, that the NPRC Commission be revived, but we need the NPRC’s report to be in existence.

We request for everyone to be united, even from the churches through to traditional leaders.  We want representatives from all religious sectors because if we take views from only one party, we will not achieve our purpose of having reconciliation because it will be one-sided. 

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me the opportunity to debate on this report, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Report.

Madam Speaker, let me acknowledge that the Commission has managed to abide by the provisions of the Constitution as well as the provisions of the legislation, which is the National Reconciliation Act of 2018 in respect of submitting their report and I think it is commendable. We need to understand, Madam Speaker, the genesis of this Commission for this is a very important Commission as alluded to by my fellow Hon. Members who debated before me.  Zimbabwe has had a history that we are not proud of and it resulted in several conflicts leading to thousands of our people perishing because of the differences that we have had.

After 1980, we have had two cases that resulted in the setting up of this Commission and you know that before the setting up of this Commission, the Inclusive Government had a tripartite Ministry of National Healing and Reconciliation then led by the former Vice President, the late Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Hon. Sekai Holland and the late Hon. Gibson Sibanda.  They came up with foundation by which the 2013 Constitution was birthed and also the setting up of this Commission.

In our earlier years of Independence Madam Speaker, we lost thousands of people during what we call Gukurahundi in the early 80s. I know that the late President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe acknowledged that it was a moment of madness though to date, the scars of that Gukurahundi are not yet healed.  I say this because during that time I was doing my Grade One - I know that many of the Hon. Members were yet to be born, but without closure and mechanism to make sure that there is reconciliation and peace building, it becomes a problem for this nation to move forward.

Then fast forward Madam Speaker, you will also recall that during the 2008 elections, we went through a period where we also lost a lot of lives due to political differences.  This is the reason why when we set up the Inclusive Government, when we did the Global Political Agreement in 2008, the first thing that we did was to make sure that we have this Commission.  Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, it took us five years after the 2013 Constitution, to have the legislation being enacted, which Parliament passed in 2018.

Now, when we want to look at the performance of this Commission, had the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission performed its duties according to the dictates of the legislation, had the NPRC carried its mandate to the satisfaction of the ordinary and general members of Zimbabwe and citizens of Zimbabwe at large, I want to state Madam Speaker, that if you go through the NPRC Act, and I want to start with one of the core fundamental duties and mandates of the Commission, it is conflict management.

It is clearly spelt out in Clause 252 (C) of the NPS which states that NPRC must provide national reconciliation and truth telling.  There is no healing without a mechanism where we are open to each other on what has actually happened.  We know in 1994 there was a genocide in Rwanda.  One of the things that they did in Rwanda was to set that mechanism to have the perpetrators and the victims together so that the truth could be told.  We know South Africa also did that.  Our Commission Madam Speaker, has not done that.  It has not done sufficient work towards the truth telling and reconciliation matrix so that we can move forward.  I know there is an adage that says, time heals but the truth of the matter is that time does not heal.  What heals is an honest and truthful process that takes into account the grievances and injuries of people.

The other issue that the NPRC is supposed to do is conflict prevention. This is also clearly spelt out that the NPRC should have a mechanism to have early warning mechanisms so that they avoid conflict.  One of the things that you will realise from this report

is that when you look at it, it talks about the 2023 Elections. You will realise that there were quite several political conflicts but the NPRC, I want to submit that it did not take a proactive role.  I note from their report that they talk about the peace caravans, and what they did to try to talk about peace during the elections.

 However, one would have expected more from this Commission in that we needed to see a chapter or two or three paragraphs where we understand the discussions in terms of what the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission should have done in terms of the political players that were participating in the elections.  We wanted to see that being brought in and the mechanism to see the various Sub-Committees that were set up in terms of making sure that we will prevent conflict.  

If you check, Madam Speaker, you will then realise that most of the cases that are set by the Commission create a problem in terms of resolving some of these matters.  We have been told that there were several cases, we know that Masvingo topped the list with 27 and Mashonaland East with 22, but what we do not see from this report is what then happened.  Was there prosecution, discussion, national healing? The reason is because the National Peace Reconciliation Commission’s job is not just to give us statistics without telling us what then happened and how the Commission then sat with the various protagonists in terms of making sure that we will not have similar problems.

The other aspect which I wanted to mention; if you look at this report, it is interesting.  It says that in other provinces, the cases were so many, but then there is an interesting aspect. In Bulawayo Province, there were zero cases reported to the National Peace Reconciliation Commission.  There are two issues, either the people in Bulawayo are so peaceful and they are leaving in harmony or it is because the National Peace, Reconciliation Commission did not have its tentacles across all the parts of Zimbabwe.  Technically, I do not believe that it is possible, if NPRC was covering the entire nation, that it could fail to have cases being reported, even just to have one or two cases being reported to it.  I think there is some anomaly in those figures and something needs to be looked into.

Madam Speaker, the report briefly talks about the financial aspect in respect to the things that the NPRC has done.  One of the things that I would have loved to see in this report, just like we want to see company reports where you put your financial report and we also have an auditor’s report pertaining to the usage of the funds because this is one of the things that is fundamental.  We want our Chapter 12 Commissions to operate above board.  Part of the reason why we need this to happen is that we have also discovered that one of the key drivers of conflict in this country is the usage of public resources.  It is crucial that Chapter 12 Commissions like the National Peace Reconciliation Commission should lead by example.  Once they have done that, they would have set a template for all other entities to do.

Lastly Madam Speaker, I also note that there is something that is missing from this report.  The Commission groaningly talks about their engagement, cooperation with the police and other State institutions, but for some strange reason, I think it skipped the writers of this report, we know that we have had cases where the citizens of this country have had matters that they have had conflicts with State agencies, police and generally, one would have expected that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Report should encompass everything so that we know the state of the nation at a particular time.  The question of leaving some of these conflicts not reported creates a problem.  I believe that inasmuch as we want to thank them for abiding by the Constitution and by the NPRC Act of bringing the report, we are appealing that in their future reports, we hope that they will improve in terms of the content and make sure that they include all aspects of conflict resolution.  I believe conflict is not good for the country and I agree with the late Vice President’s motto which was that ‘peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us’.  Indeed, when we have peace, we will be in a position to live harmoniously, but also prosper as a nation.  

However, peace cannot only just happen, it is the manner we speak, it is the manner we do our business. Even when we are here in Parliament, it does not necessarily mean whenever we have political differences, I think we should agree to disagree on certain matters, but then agree that we are all Zimbabweans and we all have a right to live in this country.  This is our Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is our country that God gave us.  I thank you.

HON. MUGWADI: Thank you for this opportunity to add my voice to the debate that is on the table which is the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.  

There are things that I feel I should speak about before I forget them.  If peace is going to be a permanent feature in our communities and the country at large, individual Zimbabweans must be at peace with themselves first. The definition of being at peace with yourself before we go deeper into the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is to come to independence and national programmes and I am inviting everyone in this House to come to Murambinda, Buhera and throng the national celebrations of independence.  That is being at peace with yourself.   If you do not come to national fundamental processes or programmes like the national heroes and national independence, it means you are not at peace with yourself and you are a potential threat to peace yourself because you do not know who you are.  

I expect after this report that the Tenth Parliament is going to witness probably a major strategic shift from ambiguities into strategic clarity as far as observing national programmes is concerned.  I have said this because the coming together of a nation is hinged on observing such programmes.  There is no way we can expect to come together and find ourselves in the same thinking cap if we cannot unite on small matters that we must all have total appreciation that indeed this country was fought for and when it was fought for, we need to meet together to celebrate those that gave service to the nation and helped us to be an independent nation with right to self determination and total sovereignty like any other nation. If we cannot be at peace with ourselves around those programmes, we cannot be at peace with each other even as political formations.  

I must say as I go deeper into the report, Madam Speaker, the first thing that I probably want to confront peacefully, the key word there is ‘peacefully’, the issues that have been raised by colleagues from the opposite bench regarding the serious national question of Gukurahundi.  Others say nothing is being done.  Let me bring to your attention in this House…

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mugwadi, when debating, you must not respond to what other Hon. Members have said.  You can refer, but you must not respond.

        HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  May I take this opportunity to appear to refer on the issue in question.  You know Madam Speaker, I want to give you a situation that once happened.  There are people that have loved so much to talk about this issue as if they know anything about it but in reality, they end up exposing themselves because they literally have no knowledge about how this issue unfolded and how this issue is being addressed.

I am very thankful to the Second Republic Madam Speaker, and His Excellency President Mnangagwa’s Government.  When I grew up, the question of Gukurahundi was not an issue that could be talked about.  The word itself could not be said freely but now people are able to raise it at any forum because Government, especially the Second Republic has opened up on the need to allow people, both the people in the communities and societies that were affected, to talk about it freely and express themselves and that is happening under the progamme which is happening in the southern provinces which were by and large affected by that.  So, for anyone to say…

        HON. HAMAUSWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

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

        HON. HAMAUSWA:  Madam Speaker, I appeal to you to direct the Hon. Member who is debating to focus on the debate.  The report is so fundamental to the nation of Zimbabwe.  It will help this House if we really focus on what is contained in the report.  It will help us and we will also be thankful to the Hon. Member.  Thank you.

         THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I am sure he is also focusing on the report.

         HON. HAMAUSWA:  Madam Speaker, there is nowhere in the report where it is written about Gukurahundi.  The report largely speaks about other issues.

       THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  He is referring.  Hon. Mugwadi, please may you proceed.

        HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I reiterate that it is important to be at peace with ourselves.

        HON. SAGANDIRA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, if you have some issues, I will also give you time to debate.  You will also contribute to the debate.

        HON. SAGANDIRA.:  I have a point of order Madam Speaker.  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The fundamental…

        HON. NYABANI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] 

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nyabani, please may you take your seat.

        HON. SAGANDIRA:  Madam Speaker, the fundamental freedoms of human beings are enshrined in Section 58 of the Constitution which talks about the freedom of association and freedom of disassociation.  The Hon. Member who was debating was talking about some Hon. Members who should be attending to functions such as Independence and others, but there is freedom of association and freedom of disassociation.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I understand every patriotic Member must attend national programmes.  If you are patriotic, Independence is a national programme – [AN HON. MEMBER:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.] – I am ruling Hon. Member and you cannot raise a point of order over my ruling.  Thank you.

         HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was about to give reference to an event which was organised by a certain trust one of the days to discuss about this issue of Gukurahundi and there was a 22 year old young man who was invited before a panel of a group of some foreigners, particularly from the Western nations, to give his alleged experiences during this era.  The young man cried before the cameras and then even went further to say he lost his biological mother and father in the process.

       So being a very good listener unlike others, I asked a very pertinent question – ‘young man, you are only 22 years, you say your biological mother and father died during those circumstances.  If you are 22, it means you were born in 2001, because that was last year.  So how do you come to this meeting as a supposed primary source of evidence about Gukurahundi to say your biological mother and father died during that era when it appears you had not yet even been conceived when that happened because you were only born after 2000?’

Why am I raising this issue Madam Speaker…  

      HON. G. HLATYWAYO:  Point of order Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker, we are debating the NPRC report.  The Hon. Member is telling us stories.  We do not want to hear stories.  Can he debate the report –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]–

       THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are out of order.

       HON. MUGWADI:  Madam Speaker, I would like to raise a point of privilege.

      THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mugwadi, please may you proceed.

      HON. MUGWADI:  With your indulgence Madam Speaker, I am sure there are issues between me and Hon. Gladys Hlatywayo,but they are very personal; they are very good because they are social between the two of us.  I am sure she wants to hear my voice, otherwise good afternoon Hon. Gladys Hlatywayo.  May I proceed.

        *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You can go and discuss outside later.

         HON. G. HLATYWAYO:  Point of order Madam Speaker.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Point of order Madam Speaker.   

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members of Parliament, please I will not allow you to disrupt the smooth running of this House.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  Madam Speaker I am not disrupting.  Can you allow me to air what I want to say?

THE HON. DEPTUY SPEAKER:  You are disrupting Hon. Member.  Please take your seat.  Please may we behave like Hon. Members and like adults.

HON. MUGWADI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I just wanted to say there are fundamental national programmes happening in Matabeleland and other certain provinces to address that and everyone is aware, the chiefs are aware.  They are participating.  The victims are aware, they are participating.  There is a whole programme of Government that is happening there.  It might be that you do not like the approach, you are entitled to that.  You may not want the person leading it, you are entitled to your own opinion.  Some even were trying to lobby chiefs from this House not to participate.  The chiefs there were divided, but that does not stop a programme from happening and it is happening.  As Hon. Members, remember, we have a national audience in this House, we can seek to pretend as if there is nothing that is happening, but we may differ with the process that is happening.  You are allowed to differ, that is being at peace again with yourself.

        May I go to the question of elections?  The National Peace and Reconciliation (NPR) report is very clear and categorical, in terms of describing the period before the elections, during and after the elections.  The catch phrase is that everything between those three fundamental periods was very peaceful.  As Zimbabweans, if we are at peace with ourselves in this House, we must start by clapping our hands for our own selves as a nation because we behaved peacefully, chose our leaders peacefully and being in this House, all of us were peacefully chosen, including some of those who appear to be very much disappointed with the peaceful process that even made them to become Hon. Members of this House.

We do not lose anything for acknowledging the reality on the ground that indeed we are a peaceful nation.  Madam Speaker, if you characterise the Zimbabwean situation in comparison with what is happening in countries neighbouring us and some distant, you will appreciate that otherwise in Africa as a whole, there are no peace-loving people that can be comparable to the people of Zimbabwe.  In stead of starting to query our identity, we are a peaceful people and that is the permanent identity that has been bequeathed to us by our forefathers.  Instead of celebrating that identity, someone who is looking into my eye right now wants to present this country as a nation in a catch 22 situation; as a nation that is violent.  I do not know whether there are rewards for presenting our nation in the text of notoriety before international platforms.  

We are peaceful and we had a peaceful election.  Probably, if we compare, we know all what happened in 2018 in the elections preceding the previous.   We had peaceful campaigns before the elections.   We had a peaceful voting process on the day of the elections, but soon after the elections, there was an attempt to torch flames in this country and everyone knows what was attempted on 1st August, 2018.  There was an attempt on this country, trying to use an electoral process that was peaceful by its own standards to try to ensure that there was violence in Zimbabwe, instability and a disturbance of peace.  However, I am so happy that the majority of the people of Zimbabwe rejected those agents and provocateurs and we were peaceful; peace managed to reign.  If we compare it by the elections of 2023, we never heard any of those instances.  That shows that indeed, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the consummation and its works speak for themselves.  We must indeed  acknowledge that this was an institution, very relevant and very viable to the extent that even as its term of office expires, in 2023, we must as Members of Parliament, probably lobby for the extension of its term of office because the nature of human society is such that conflict  is inevitable.  Conflict of one way or the other, like what Hon. Tshuma was talking about.  In fact, it appears to me that those quiring those speaking, have not read the report.  The report itself is even very clear on some of the issues that it ventilated in society.  Some of them involving the dams that he was talking about.  The human and wildlife conflict, the conflicts between societies borders, boundary disputes within villages.  Those things are referred to in this report.  So, I do not think that the House should be bothered by the laziness of others, in terms of reading reports as they come fully in order to be able to debate adequately.

I must speak to the observer missions because the report refers to them, I think on page five.  It spoke to the observer mission of course albeit and brief.  I do not know whether the Commission was fearful of pointing fingers at certain observers.  What I have seen is that, now that we are a matured democracy, there is no doubt about that, we are a mature democracy.  We are further maturing like wine, but we have serious threats to our peaceful core-existence as a people.  I want to say here as Parliamentarians, we can differ in this House.  Some are for and for others it is for the optics, but the truth of the matter is that outside there, we identify ourselves as true Zimbabweans, brothers and sisters with each other.

Now, here is the danger that comes, there are some of us who are very receptive to outsiders and views of outsiders.  Of course, they say he is a fool he who does not take advice from others, but I would like to say, it is a thousand times foolish, he who takes every advice about your nation from everyone that comes from every angle.  The observers that came to observe our elections are not Zimbabweans and they will never be Zimbabweans because after a certain number of days, they will take to the airport and board the aeroplanes and leave.  However, at the end of the day, we are left together as Zimbabweans to heal with each other, to deal with our circumstances and issues.

Now, here is what was attempted in 2023 General Elections, some observers had an agenda.  The agenda not such that you will be in power, especially those who are very feverish and engaged in so much all sorts of friends and experts to get into State House.  They do not want to take you to State House per se, they do not even envision because they know probably that you do not have the capacity to be there, but they want to torch flames because there is a message they want to send about Zimbabwe.  When they present Zimbabwe as a violent nation, investors do not come and invest here, they go to the neighbouring countries…

HON. NDEBELE: On a point of order, Hon. Speaker.  Standing Order Number 85, clarifies that a Member must not shout whilst deliberating.  He is shouting at us.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mugwadi, on Standing Order Number 85 (a), a Member, while in the House, must not converse in a loud voice.  So, you must not be debating in a very loud voice.  

HON. MUGWADI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for reminding me of my duty to find peace with myself.  I agree very well.  I was talking about observer missions.  I was saying these observer missions, some of the conclusions they made are not informed by realities on the ground, but they are aimed at trying to make you and me the opposed and us, lock heads and start fighting.  When we start fighting, they do not stay to see how the violence goes on, they leave.  They go back to their countries and start laughing.  They will be laughing, particularly at those they would have instigated to start violence.

I am so happy that in 2023, we did not have anything of that sort and I know that the temptation might have been there for my colleagues from the opposite bench, but I am sure this time the Holy Spirit worked very well and we should work to resist that temptation even in future.  The report of the NPRC also spoke about the awareness campaigns that were taken by the Commission through the radio, social media, national television and newspapers.  I must say, in fact before I proceed, Madam Speaker, I am sure you are aware that I am a very good timekeeper and I calculate every minute that was taken from by needless interruptions.  Those minutes remain mine.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mugwadi, you are left with five minutes.

HON. MUGWADI: I was saying the Commission’s report

is very clear and talks about activities that were taken by the Commission to work with churches, the media and traditional authorities to educate them and in some instances, resolve disputes between and among them.

  I am so happy particularly with the decision to work with the media. For those who have cared to understand our community, the media is not regulated responsibly and it can take even flames and become a threat to peace and security in this country, peaceful co-existence in particular. The headlines that we make speak about ourselves as a society. There are some headlines like programmes that are started by others that ‘there will be a shut-down in Harare and that if we do not remove someone peacefully, we will remove them violently’.

In some instances, with the elections or without the elections, we will achieve a certain political end. Those things have got a potential to disrupt our peaceful co-existence. I am sure the NPRC needs to look into this issue to understand and also begin to monitor the language that politicians speak, whether that language is sensitive enough to respect the need for peaceful co-existence or not.  There should be certain punishments levied on politicians who are insightful.

Some of the politicians could be suffering from mental inadequacies and they end up threatening peace during elections, during campaigns or unleashing young people or other members of the society. That should not happen. I am so happy that the NPRC was able to engage even political leaders around communities in order to familiarise them with the need to have peaceful non-violent elections.

As I conclude, there is a question of being at peace with our own culture. When we are talking about peace, we are not talking about the absence of violence, that is not what peace is all about. That is why I started with the concept of being at peace with yourself as an individual. There is need for our society to be at peace with its own culture and I am so happy that on page 38, the NPRC refers to it that there is a growing trend which is becoming a threat to our own culture and peace as a society.

The culture and trend of adopting, grabbing and trying to impose certain practices, some of them referred to in the report like drug abuse, we did not have a culture of drug dealing in our society. It is an imported phenomenon, just as much as we do not have a culture or tradition of homosexuality. I am sure and so sadly, that there are those who worship it and there are those who have vouched the police and some of them in this House. I do not want to name them but they know themselves but the NPRC sticks to that. That is the only way we can be able to let peace reign when we are at peace with our own culture, even not cutting down trees, not to indulge into homosexuality. Thank you so much Madam Speaker for the time.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let me draw your attention to the ruling which I made on Rule No. 85 (a). “A member, while in the House, must not converse in a loud voice,” it is not referring to an Hon. Member who is debating, but it is referring to Hon. Members whilst you are sitting there, you must not be talking in loud voices. Please, may you all be guided accordingly. Thank you.

HON. GUMEDE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise today to address a matter of paramount importance to the stability and prosperity of our nation. The NPRC, as custodians of the people’s interest, it is our solemn duty to ensure that this vital institution operates effectively, transparently and in accordance with legislative frameworks set forth in our Constitution and established under Section 251 of our Constitution, the NPRC best way to responsibility of fostering national healing, peace building and reconciliation.

It is the linchpin upon which the public of our society’s unity is. However, as we gather here today, we cannot ignore the critical short-comings that have hindered the NPRC’s duty in fulfilling its mandate. On the strategic alignment with national goals, the NPRC alliance with Zimbabwe’s Development blueprints including the National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030, it also underscores its commitment to contribute in the country’s overall problem by focusing on things such as conflict prevention and reconciliation. The NPRC demonstrates its recognition of peace as a crucial catalyst for development.

It also noted its comprehensive approach to conflict resolution using a multifaceted approach to conflict management, encompassing complaints handling, research, victims support and gender sensitive initiatives. It also reflects a deeper understanding of a complex nature of conflicts in Zimbabwe by addressing issues such as political conflicts, early child marriages and of human-wildlife conflicts. The NPRC demonstrates its commitment to promoting peace at various levels of society.

I note again, its proactive measures to prevent conflicts during electoral periods including voter education and engagement with political parties. It has more potential if it works in earnest with multi-stakeholder infrastructures for peace to create an enabling environment for peaceful elections as well as contributing to the stability and democratic processes in Zimbabwe. Empowerment through the NPRC holds emphasis on dialogue, mediation and capacity building initiatives, underscoring its commitment to empower communities, to resolve conflicts peacefully by training peace structures, gender focal persons and internal mediators.

The NPRC does invest in building sustainable peace building capacities at both local and national levels. On evidence-based policy recommendation, the report research efforts and subsequent policy recommendations demonstrates more of its commitment to evidence-based decision making in conflict resolution and peace building.  We see that it is commissioning research projects on social cohesion and artisanal mining meaning, it generates valuable insights that can inform targeted interventions and policy reforms to address underlying causes of conflicts.

The report also speaks to resource mobilisation and operational efficiency in that, despite facing challenges such as staff attrition and inadequate resources, it has resilience in delivering its mandate effectively. A budget support amounting to $11.2 billion, the NPRC prioritises service delivery while investing in staff wellness and capacity building initiatives to maintain a motivated workforce.

Finally, collaborative partnerships for peace with stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Africa University underscores recognition of the importance of collective action in promoting peace and reconciliation.  In leveraging expertise and resources from diverse partners, the NPRC strengthens its impact and reach in advancing its peace-building agenda.

Overally, the NPRC’s executive summary reflects a comprehensive and proactive approach to promoting peace, reconciliation and justice in Zimbabwe by addressing a wide range of conflict related issues and leveraging strategic partnerships.  It demonstrates its commitment to fostering sustainable peace and development in the country and with the NPRC’s shortcomings, there seems to be a result of being prevented from meeting the constitutional mandate.  It looks like it has not enjoyed much support from the Executive and faced numerous funding and operational challenges as a result.

Its composition also contributed to its lack of independence and effectiveness. It failed to tackle the Gukurahundi subject and to establish a way forward that creates peace.  If it takes a Jomic style mechanism, for example, it will have political strength to confront politically motivated violence.  We need a stronger NPRC and for it to be strong, it needs the right people as Commissioners, adequate budgets, a streamlined and concise mandate.  The NPRC should have clear and narrower responsibilities.  Its current functions remain too wide and too broad.  Parliament must also play a more proactive role to protect bodies such as the NPRC from external interference.  Party activists, for example, must not be Commissioners.  The NPRC’s lifespan should be extended with restructuring and re-organisation so that it is more independent, effective and efficient.  I thank you.

HON. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity to add my voice to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission debate.  Allow me to reiterate Madam Speaker, what one of the Hon. Members said earlier, Hon. Mugwadi on the importance of attending national events like Independence Day.  It is not just an event, but an important marker of peace, and an indicator of achieving peace in our sovereign country.  So, it goes without saying that an elected legislator should attend such an important event that celebrates peace and independence in this country. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –A lot has been debated and I will do my best not to be redundant and repetitious.  Peace is very important in any nation and is a prerequisite for continuous economic development in any country.

First of all, I am glad that the Commission reported on its financials timely to demonstrate its use of public resources which was above board according to the Auditor-General and also according to the Commission’s Act, the report was submitted on time, which is recommendable. I am also happy that the Commission engaged all its stakeholders across the board, showing that they do not operate on an island. It also shows good corporate governance.

Let me also state that when it comes to receiving and resolving complaints, the Commission did a splendid job – if you look at the report, over 138 complaints were received and 104 of those complaints were resolved, which is over 75% of resolved conflicts.  This speaks to the efficiency of the commission, hence let me applaud the NPRC Commissioners and staff for such a splendid job.

On awareness campaigns, I am happy to read that the Commission outdid itself.  They over achieved when it comes to doing these awareness campaigns which is part of their programming.  If you look at their targets, the Commission had targeted to do 40 campaigns, but if you look at the report, they did 66 campaigns. Again, this speaks to the attitude and spirit of the NPRC Commissioners and staff, which I also think is commendable.

Let me focus on rehabilitation programs and report on drug and substance abuse amongst youths, if you look at the prevention of conflicts. The report explicitly states that the uptake of drugs and substances resulted in invalid behaviour.  I am glad that the House debated on drug and substance abuse and that relevant ministries should take a look at this aspect of the report and consider the recommendations.

 I am happy to read that when the Commission was conducting its campaigns in schools and communities, they also took time to take notes and recommendations from students and members of the public, some of the recommendations are noteworthy.  For example, some of the students suggested that in order to curb drug and substance abuse, NPRC should encourage other line ministries or law enforcement to do the following: the need for boarder checks to stop the illegal inflow of drugs and toxic substances; training of school heads and teachers in psycho-social support, counselling and therapy skills in order to assist learners; partner with Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for training sessions and awareness campaigns, especially exhibiting samples of commonly abused drugs; establish peace champions or ambassadors for anti-drug abuse and hold drug awareness campaigns in schools.  I think these suggestions are very good and the relevant authorities should consider them.

In conclusion, I also encourage the Commission to visit other countries where they can look at best international practices where they can best enhance their programming in the lifespan of their Commission.  Especially visiting countries like Rwanda, for example, where peace and reconciliation was done at the highest possible level.  

So, in conclusion, I think the report is splendid.  The Commission is doing its job and should be commended for that.  I thank you.

      HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thought I should also add my voice to this NPRC report which I found to be very informative and which was done on time.

 The Commission respected the requirements of the Act, NPRC Act [Chapter 10:32] and they reported on time, which is very important and must be applauded for.  I want to say as the oversight entity, Parliament must feel respected and the people of Zimbabwe respected when a Commission sticks to the expectations of the law.

Madam Speaker, I also observed in this report that they talked about their theme which was the prevention of conflict.  It was a very critical and proactive approach and you could see this in many of their activities during the period of the report.  They did a lot of awareness campaigns to ensure that communities live in harmony.  They went around educating many communities as a way of preventing conflict and that was very crucial.

       I also observed that the Commission also has an area where they deal with research; researching about conflict and sources of conflict.  I thought deeply about it looking at the issues that you see on social media, newspapers, and various forums where people talk about conflict.  Sometimes some of the said conflicts may not be conflicts per se but in Zimbabwe, we have a tendency where we have a group of our citizens or nationals who survive on creating stories either for sympathy, to make money from donors or just to create an environment where when you look at it, you would think there will be no Zimbabwe the next day.

      However, with research, NPRC can also research whether these are not stories created just to cause disharmony among the people of Zimbabwe.  Where there is evidence that conflict is being perpetrated by either a group of people or a specific part of our population, it should be taken proactively to ensure that we prevent conflict.

I also want to applaud the Commission for its inclusive approach. I saw they engaged churches, chiefs, and many groups in our society; the effort was to find ways of preventing conflict. I hope in the future, NPRC will come to this House and also find a way of creating harmony.  Madam Speaker, you may have noticed that when we started this Tenth Session of Parliament, there was acrimony and words that were being thrown across the divide.  Therefore, I think we also need NPRC here to manage some of the petty misunderstandings.  They start petty like that and end up creating conflict that can even disturb the harmony of our nation.  

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission also hinged their effort on our NDS 1 to say ‘with peace, development follows suit’.  So, the effort by the Commission will bring peace and once we have peace, an atmosphere conducive to economic development will then be created.  

I want to say the Commission is serious about its mandate, the attitude that we see in the Commission must be respected and I encourage Parliament and the Government, to allocate enough resources for this important Commission so that they do their work and continue to create an atmosphere of harmony among our people so that we develop our country.  Future generations to be on a foundation where our people are united.  This different categorisation where people either say you are this type of tribe, church, political party, and all these other things, need to be dealt with very early before we develop into a situation that we may not be able to deal with in the future.

Madam Speaker, you would find that the NPRC had challenges. One of the challenges was polarisation, like I have already said, I think they may also want to come to Parliament or they may also want to continue working on removing polarisation.   We have a culture that has been developing for a long time, from 2000 upwards where our people believe that if they have different political persuasions, they become enemies, they declare enmity that they do not want to interact with anybody, they call each other names - that is polarisation.  Even if something is done, that is very good for the country, but because I am from a different position, I just have to oppose it.  There should come a time as a people that what is good; we stand together and say this is good for our nation and encourage the good things to proceed.  Where something is wrong, we then stand together again and blame what is wrong and promote what is good.  Therefore, it is very critical to observe such things.  NPRC observed that this polarisation is the source of much of the discontent or the conflicts that we face.

The other issue was related to the inadequacy of resources.  We all agreed and I got my other fellow Members debating here, appreciating the good work of the NPRC.  If we appreciate that they are doing a good job, why are we underfunding them? We must fund them adequately so that they continue to unite our people and it is good for the image of our country. The other issue that I saw in the report was about them not being sure about their future because the law appeared to say they were supposed to live for a period and then disband.  It looks like while they are doing this good job, they are also asking themselves are we going to be there tomorrow.  I want to encourage Government and Parliament to really ensure that they give this Commission certainty so that they know that they will continue to work in that space encouraging our people to be united.

      They are losing workers to attrition, people going for greener pastures.  As we lose those who are capable, who have passion to work in this Commission, it means we are losing on people who can achieve the objectives of the Commission. I think it is again upon Parliament and Government to ensure that they have adequate resources to employ technical people.  They could be legal people, they could be people who are professionals in counselling, all those people they want in their day to day activities.  They must be there and their expertise maintained in the Commission.  If we allow them or we leave them to lose such critical workers, it means we may not then get what we saw in this report.  What we have seen them doing when they are coming to our communities to ensure that we live in harmony as a people.

Madam Speaker, I would really want to say as Government, as Parliament we need to give them enough support and continue to give them enough space to then do their work for the good of all of us.  I am happy that the President has always said let us live in harmony as a people and I am happy that in this House, all Hon. Members who were debating also encouraged the same, taking cue from what the President has always been saying.  It means peace is critical to everybody.  We want to go home and sleep, not imagine that somebody would disturb my peace.  I want to come to Parliament, work and represent the people of Zimbabwe peacefully knowing that the peace that I want as a person is also given to the next person and we are all in harmony. That alone will give you even time or the interest even to research on issues that we debate here.

So many of these areas that are challenging our people, they talked about the child abuse that we see, we see issues that they discussed in their reports around drug abuse, all those areas can only be dealt with, followed either by Parliament or by Government if we are working together.  Anything that disturbs peace stops us from concentrating on issues that are important for the survival of our nation.  So all the issues that are worrying us, we must also ask ourselves as individuals that as I am worried about conflict, how many of these areas where conflict is found, am I also involved?  

I hope in their researches, Madam Speaker, the NPRC will also investigate lies because rumours can be created about an individual.  Lies can be created and the whole world then believes.  We are actually in a very difficult state as a country, but when you see Hon. Members here appear to be throwing words across the divide, you think they hate each other.  I will tell you and if the NPRC were going to come here, I would tell them these people are lying because I see them hand in hand happy everywhere.  They only want to come here, make a lot of noise.  Maybe because of cameras they want to be seen like they have problems.

       I have seen Hon. Members from the opposite side and Hon. Members from my side pretend to be shouting.  I do not know who they want out there to see that they can shout at each other, but I see you in hotels very close, sharing closely and when you come here you pretend to be enemies.  So, it is my hope that as Parliamentarians, let us be a good example.  The good relationship - I see you in each other’s cars talking, sharing the same table, joking every time.  If we can take that home and help the Commission on its work to unite the people of Zimbabwe, you will become complete representatives of the people of Zimbabwe than pretending.

      I am telling everybody from this side and that side, do not pretend. I think some are paid to be seen on camera making noise or insulting each other.  We want to have a harmonious country, a country full of happiness.  We need to respect each other. When I see an Hon. Member, when I see a person from any other political party, he is a Zimbabwean first before he becomes that other person on that side of politics. We should live together, friendly, with the same hope for our country so that we move forward.

       Madam Speaker, it is my hope that after this debate on this Commission’s report, when we go out there, maybe with your recommendation or your ruling Madam Speaker, we can travel together to communities with maybe the leadership of NPRC so that we go and tell them that when we come here, when my other Hon. Member is not there when I say they are bad, I would be lying.  Do not listen to me. We are all the same.  That will be very good because as politicians, we must learn from our leadership.

         I can speak on behalf of my President.  Whenever you complain or raise negative things about others, he has always says to me, when you think that he is doing that which is bad, what have you done in return which is good so that that person is converted to then follow you because you are doing good?  If you insult and I also insult, where do we end with a polarised environment that is not good for the development of our country.

I just stood up to debate after realising that there were Hon. Members who really wanted to flex their muscles, but the issue of this report was to show us the environment that we are living in, the challenges that we are facing.  What we can do as a people to ensure that we live as one, harmoniously and peacefully.  That is a critical prerequisite for the development of this important nation.  

So Madam Speaker, I hope you will take my word and request the NPRC to come and ensure, if you were going to allow me, that we may dissolve this divide and have people sitting among each other because the mentality of just sitting on the other side, you will just see yourself as different, but we are all Zimbabweans.  Let us be united and be peaceful for the development of this beautiful country and I would be very happy to see that we are united, we develop our country which is the only country that we have.  If I say negative about you, if I say anything negative about our country, the suffering that comes does not affect you alone or me alone.  We all suffer for using our mouths for the wrong things.  I want to encourage all the people of Zimbabwe who are going to read this report to respect each other and live in peace and develop this country.  I thank you.

      THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Togarepi.  For the first time, I have seen unanimous agreement on a debate.  That is highly commendable.  Also, we will take note of your recommendations.  

        HON. KARENYI: Thank you Madam Speaker. May I also take this opportunity to add my voice on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).  I am happy that we are debating this as a nation and also trying to mend ways to make sure that we also bring development in Zimbabwe.  One of the roles of the NPRC is to ensure peaceful resolutions of disputes, post conflict healing and justice and conflict prevention.  May I also go to the issue of community engagement, which is also highlighted in the report.  The report highlights the extent of community engagement that took place during the peace and reconciliation tour.  The Commission highlighted instances where they worked closely with the local people and also the community also managed to add their voices on the issue of the report.  They were also trying to promote inclusivity and ownership of reconciliation processes at the grassroots level.

As part of the Commission’s community engagements’ observations that were reported, some of the issues which were mentioned include the issue of drug and substance abuse, the issue of child marriages, and shortage of medical facilities in some of the hospitals in the rural areas.   Conflicts that are arising from these issues were highlighted in the report.  However, the report does not address on how these issues can be addressed.  What actions were taken to prevent or minimise these issues because of importance are the issues of child marriages.  The report mentioned the arrests of drug barons but does not offer a solution or actions that have been taken to help the drug users.  The report mentioned on pages 29 and 31 the interventions to curb the excessive use of drugs, but does not highlight on the issue of recommendations on what will also happen.

The report did not mention the issue of those children, especially the young girls on the issue of their safety.  Another issue that was raised in this report is child marriages and how communities are not reporting some of these issues.  The report did not also mention how we can also educate the community on the issue of child marriages.  The report also highlighted, which was one of the things I am also touched with, the issue of the benefits from the donations that are brought by donors to help these young mothers to an extent that these young mothers would see as if it is a benefit, may be have these kinds of child marriages.

The assertions from the report show that these children are not protected in these communities as the parents also benefits from these child marriages.  As such, it has been observed that the Commission does not address or give recommendations on how these issues of marrying off young girls is being handled and what is being done to ensure these cases are reported and these girls are also assisted.

On human rights violations and transitional practice, given the focus on reconciliation, the report brought to the attention of the Commission’s observation of post-election environment.  Referring to Sections 14 to 16 on the report on 2.2.2, the report states that the environment was peaceful and political players moved freely and campaigned for their candidates.  What the report does not bring to light is the loss of life and human right violations that was also witnessed during these elections.

May I also mention that the report was also given an opportunity maybe to highlight these kinds of human rights violations.  The opposition parties were also being attacked, people being killed during rallies.  I can mention of Mboneli Ncube…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Karenyi, I have with me the report and I would like to request you to stick to what was written in the report.  Thank you.

HON. KARENYI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I thought maybe I was now trying to say they mentioned the issue of the human rights but they left out some of these issues.  As you have guided me, I will not mention names and I will only concentrate on the issue of the report of the NPRC.  The human rights violations that were not documented in this report do not speak on the efforts to ensure justice of these victims, in line with the constitutional provision, promoting transitional justice and measures.

On monitoring and evaluation, an argument might touch on the Commission’s monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, emphasising on how they align with the Constitution on the constitutional obligation to assess the impact of their interventions, track progress and ensure accountability in achieving reconciliation goals.  Part of the missions’ mandate as highlighted on page 1, is compliance handling and investigations. The report mentioned some of the complaints that were raised on how these were handled by the Commission.

On page 7 of the report on 2.1.4, it speaks on the Commission’s engagement with the stakeholders as required by the Constitution, highlighting on this report and it speaks on pages 31 to 34 about the socio-economic challenges.  The Commission’s key findings as reported also highlighted that there are part of the countries where there is marginalisation of the minority groups, especially in Kariba.  They mention poor road infrastructure and how this is also affecting school children as noted in Chief Matibe’s area where some students have to travel long distances to schools. Lack of resources such as Wifi to help these children as required by the new curriculum, there is no conducive learning environment in some of these satellite schools. All these observations were made, but that is not in the report. What is not in their report are recommendations to the responsible ministries.

      The Commission does not speak on how the ministries are expected to resolve these issues. There is also no transparency on how these areas are being assisted to help these children to make sure that we also increase their educational facilities. The report does not disclose if the responsible ministries are aware of these conditions and if anything is being done to help to improve people’s living, especially in those minority areas and minority groups.

         HON. J. TSHUMA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

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

HON. J. TSHUMA: My point of order is that the Hon. Member  should be directed to stick to the report that we are talking about. It looks like she wants to put in new issues that I think she must actually move a motion about that. If she wants to bring issues that she discovered, it is still okay and it is good, but let it be done through her bringing a separate motion. Today, let us debate the report that is before us.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Karenyi, please proceed.

HON. KARENYI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will go to the issue of recommendation. On drug and substance abuse, I recommend that the education and awareness must be done to the youth and also that the Government must also have programmes like cash transfers to make sure that we help these young girls and boys so that they also have something to do in order to keep them busy. I also propose that as Government, we must make sure that we create jobs so that we allow these children to look after themselves.

On early child marriages, I propose that the Government must also engage on programmes to make sure that they provide safe houses, especially for the young girls and to make sure that these young girls are also having an opportunity to go back to school and have some education on reproductive health. On the issue of human rights and transitional justice, I propose that we make sure that the police would also arrest these perpetrators and investigate thoroughly that those perpetrators are brought to book.

On marginalisation, the Government must provide a budget to build schools in Kariba especially in Chief Matibe’s area so that we also help our children to have good education. On elections, I propose that we must have electoral reforms so that we also have the following:

  • A clean voter roll so that we do not go to the issue of conflict especially when we go for the elections.
  • I propose for equal coverage on the issue of media to have equal access to media so that every party is given an opportunity that will also reduce the issue of conflict.
  • I propose that we must have electoral reforms like having some reforms on the issue of assisted voters, to have even a cut off to say like someone who is going to be assisted must be like someone who has got a disability or someone who is older rather than to have command voting,
  • I propose that we must have clear mechanisms to address electoral disputes,
  • I propose that we must have an electoral code of conduct to make sure that we avoid political violence, especially during our election because at the moment, ZEC says they have no powers to investigate. So we must also give them power to make sure they also investigate this kind of violence.
  • I propose a multi-party liaison Committee that must be very effective because if you allow parties to meet, they can also share ideas that will also reduce the issue of conflict. They should be instituted throughout the electoral cycle, and not to just have them during the elections.

On our reconciliation Madam Speaker, I propose that the Government must have programmes of national healing. I remember from 2010 to 2013, there was JOMIC, which was also promoting peace and I remember very well that parties were working hand in hand and it also helped during those elections. The Commission must also engage all victims of political violence and to compensate the victims to allow the healing.

Finally, I propose that on traditional leaders, we must have our clear policy so that our traditional leaders must not be used by political players. Thank you.

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

HON. M. NDLOVU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 10th April, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker, I move that all other Orders of the Day, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 11 has been disposed of.

HON. M. NDLOVU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 147th ASSEMBLY

OF THE IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS HELD IN ANGOLA

Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 147th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings.

Question again proposed.

       HON. TOBAIWA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker for letting me add my voice to this debate on the report that was tabled in this august House by Hon. Karikoga. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Dr. Tulia Ackson from Tanzania for her new role as the President of the IPU. As Zimbabwe, we wish her the best and fruitful term.  

       Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to also congratulate Advocate Mudenda for the recognition of a wonderful job he did as a member of the IPU Executive Committee and the certificate he was awarded in that regard.  Now, that your term expired last year, my hope is that you will now use the experience that you gained together with your international experience, to lead by example here back home and usher a new democratic way of doing things that will see Parliament becoming an institution that the public has faith in and also represent the welfare of Members of Parliament and their privileges.

        Madam Speaker Ma’am, the IPU adopted the Luanda Declaration on Parliamentary Action to peace and justice, strong institutions at their disposal, which requires that with all avenues at their disposal, Parliament should promote human rights, transparency and accountability. It is in this regard that as Parliament of Zimbabwe, we are challenged.  We need to lead in the reforms that will guarantee the respect of all human rights starting with ourselves. This august House should be a reflection of our efforts.

       Madam Speaker, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and its optional protocol handbook was launched.  I hope it will go a long way in changing how we conduct business and effort towards the elimination of all forms of discrimination and abuse of women to be realised in that regard.  I hope that it will also mean that this Parliament will also have a better way to deal with women during conflicts.

Madam Speaker, I also want to touch on the youth participation in the National Parliament in 2023 which was launched and will pave way for the youth in Parliament.  I hope this will also encourage others in the House, not to fear the presence of the young people in the lower House.         We all know we do not want such progress defeating such endeavors that saw a number of youthful Members of Parliament after the August 2023 elections, and that was progress in the right direction.  Madam Speaker, I urge that we move with speed in enhancing public engagement and encourage the IPU.  We need to quickly work around establishing Constituency Information Centres.

       As I conclude, I remain grateful to the Parliament of Zimbabwe as a member of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).

      HON. KARIKOGA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. As the mover of the motion, I want to thank Hon. Tobaiwa for her contribution in the debate of this report.  

I move that the motion be adopted.

      Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the delegation to the 147th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings held from 23rd to 27th October, 2023 in Luanda Angola, put and agreed to.

      On the motion of HON. KAMBUZUMA, seconded by HON. HAMAUSWA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.


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