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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 6 JANUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 10

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Friday, 6th January, 2023

The National Assembly met at Nine o’clock a.m.

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

PRESENCE OF ZEC CHAIRPERSON AND DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON

          THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA): Order, compliments of the new season. I wish to recognise the presence in this Chamber, of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). You are welcome.

TABLING OF THE PRELIMINARY DELIMITATION REPORT

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and good morning. I rise to move that whereas Section 161 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that once every ten years on a date or within a period fixed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission so as to fall as soon as possible after a population census, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must conduct a delimitation of electoral boundaries into which Zimbabwe is divided. 

          AND WHEREAS ZEC commenced the delimitation process in June 2022 and submitted its preliminary report to His Excellency, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa on 26th December, 2022;

          AND WHEREAS Section 161 (7) (c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013), states that the President must cause the preliminary report to be laid before Parliament within seven days, for Parliament consideration and referral of any issues to His Excellency, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for ZEC’s consideration;

          NOW, THEREFORE, I, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, do hereby lay the ZEC Preliminary report before the National Assembly for consideration.  I thank you.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AN AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2022 PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE DELIMITATION EXERCISE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I seek leave of the House to move that an Ad hoc Committee on the analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise be appointed in terms of Standing Order Number 25.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, this is in view of the limited time within which Parliament is expected to consider the report and present its findings and recommendations to His Excellency the President.

          HON. BITI:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and compliments of the season to you.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have read Standing Order Number 25.  It is clear that a Member can move a motion pushing for the establishment of an ad hoc committee.  Hon. Togarepi is within his own right to do so but I would like, in his motion, to clearly define the terms of reference.  Standing Order 25 (1) makes it clear that the terms of reference must clearly be defined, so roughly the Ad hoc Committee must look at legal compliance.  Was the Constitution complied with?  Were all the laws complied with? 

Secondly, the terms of reference should include whether Section 161 (5) has been respected.  Section 161 (5) says all constituencies must be equal.  There is a margin of error of 20 per cent of that criteria that is set out there. In other words, is the data justifying what is in that report we have not seen?  My appeal is that let us have clarity and certainty on the terms of reference so that there is no ambiguity.  I thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.

THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA):  Hon. Togarepi has requested for a notice for him to be able to move his motion.  That is the leave that he is asking for.  Whenever he is going to be presenting the motion, indeed he is going to be outlining the references and everything that is supposed to be happening. 

Motion put and agreed to.  

MOTION

APPOINTMENT OF AN AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2022 PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE DELIMITATION EXERCISE

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I move that an Ad hoc Committee on the analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise be appointed in terms of Standing Order Number 25. 

Madam Speaker, I would also want to present the terms of reference of the Ad hoc Committee as follows: 

To analytically consider the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 Preliminary Report on the Delimitation Exercise and to report its findings and recommendations to the National Assembly and Senate by 13th January, 2023.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Madam Speaker, I do not have a challenge in terms of having the Ad hoc Committee set. I think as previously stated by Hon. Biti.  We need the terms of reference to be clear.  To simply say an analysis, I do not think it is actually proper.  Let us have the proper terms of reference to say what is it this ad hoc committee is going to do, so that when the ad hoc committee reports in this august House, we should  be marking it on the terms of reference, but if you give them just simply ‘analysis’, it does not make sense.  Let us have the proper terms of reference.  Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Mushoriwa, I think it is quite clear.  I think you know what analysis means.  It means that you need – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-  Order, order!  I am saying yes, that is it.  It is an analysis and that is the point of reference.  Thank you.

HON. BITI:  Madam Speaker!

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Biti.  I am still indulging Hon. Mushoriwa.  Order! I am still communicating to Hon. Mushoriwa.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Madam Speaker, when you say ‘analysis’, the definition of analysis differs.  I do not know your definition, my definition and the definition of all the Hon. Members here.  What we are asking for Madam Speaker is very simple.  I think it does not destroy anything.  Let us just have proper terms of reference.  You do not want to send a Committee to just do and then they do any other thing that they want to do.  Let us have the proper terms of reference and the Constitution is clear.  Delimitation is a product of the Constitution.  Let us say this section - has it abided by this section and the like?  That is what we need, not just a blanket statement to simply say an analysis.  The term ‘analysis’ by its nature, you cannot define it and have a consensus on that definition.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Noted, I am sure I will get a response soon.

HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me also join others in complimenting you for the new season and every Member here.  We thank the Lord for having sailed from 2022 to 2023.

Madam Speaker, I also agree that an ad hoc committee be set up, but my appeal is on the composition; if you may also consider the gender balance in terms of the Committee.  If it is a member of 30, we also seek to have 50/50 as reflected in the SADC Protocol on Gender and the African Union, the Charter on Gender Balance.  It is an appeal that women have got to be reflected in that particular Committee because we matter, we have constituencies and we have women who stand for communities.  Thank you Madam Chair.

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you, that is noted.

HON. MARKHAM:  Good Morning Hon. Speaker.  Compliments of the new season.  Madam Speaker, on the terms of reference, I think two issues must be clear.  Hon. Mushoriwa pointed to issues that should be identified and two of the things in the terms of reference, the variance of 20% should be allocated and viewed carefully, particularly in constituencies where they have already maxed out at virtually 20% more than the average.  The reason being there is a lot of rural to urban migration and this plan should be for the next 10 years.  So that must be carefully looked at in the constituencies that are already at the maximum that they are not going to overrun. 

The second issue Madam Speaker, for a term of reference…

HON. TOGAREPI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I would like to say what the Hon. Member is saying is going into a report which we have not yet seen.  I think if you can allow the tabling of the report.

HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker, I am prepared to give the floor provided they give us the terms of reference now.  Thank you.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My point of contribution is that in the event that the Delimitation Report is tabled as it is going to be those Members who may be found to have been affected or constituencies that may be found to have been affected, may not be part of the ad hoc committee because that would be a conflictual position.  They will have a conflict of interest.  Thank you.

HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  As you are aware that when ZEC was doing delimitation they used the voters’ roll, so as Members of Parliament…

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Order.  You are out of order.  You are going to comment on that when you are   reporting and you are going to be debating.  Thank you, you can sit down.

HON. TOGAREPI:  Madam Speaker, the Committee’s terms of reference will include whether the report satisfies all the requirements of the Constitution as defined in section 161.  So it is everything. 

Motion put and agreed to.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE ZEC PRELIMINARY DELIMITATION 2022 REPORT

THE ACTING SPEAKER:  In anticipation of the motion by Hon. Togarepi, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders nominated the following Members to serve on the ad hoc committee on the analysis of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 2022 preliminary report on the delimitation exercise:

Hon. C. Madiwa, Hon. C. Mpame, Hon. K. Musani, Hon. Sen. T. V. Muzenda, Hon. Sen. D. Mwonzora, Hon. M. Ncube, Hon. A. Ndebele, Hon. D. Nduna, Hon. Sen. D. P. Parirenyatwa, Hon. Sen. Chief Siansali, Hon. P. D. Sibanda, Hon. D. Tekeshe and Hon. P. Togarepi. 

Hon. Togarepi will be the Chairperson -  the terms of reference of the Committee have already been mentioned.

HON. L. SIBANDA:  Compliments of the new season Madam Speaker and all Members of Parliament.  Madam Speaker, the composition of the ad hoc committee is not okay because there are only two women in that ad hoc committee.  Please can gender be considered?  I thank you.

HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker, on a point of clarity.  My point of clarity is that women are actually the majority in the country.  Women are 51% of the population and there are two on that Committee.  That is unacceptable.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Sibanda. You said I am ignoring people from virtual, my apologies I will recognise you.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker compliments of the new season to you and the whole House.  Madam Speaker, I think it is important to note that the debate which will come up as a result of the Ad Hoc Committee which will feed back to the House, most of our Hon. Members will be on virtual and there is a serious challenge as we speak today with regard to network versus issues of electricity.  This Delimitation Report is a very critical issue which affects all Members of Parliament, inclusive of people they present.  The issue of network is a challenge.  I call upon the House, with the involvement of the Administration of Parliament, to address this critical issue of accommodation for Members just for the purpose of debating this Delimitation Report so that everyone will have a chance to air their voices to the constituencies that they represent.  Further to that Madam Speaker, with regard to this Delimitation Report, I do not know how practical it is as we speak today for Hon. Members to have physical access to this report whilst the Ad Hoc Committee which will be dealing with this, a Member will be dealing with the report at his own pace.  When the debate comes in with the feedback from the Ad Hoc Committee versus what Hon. Members would have gone through, that will merge to bring up something.  So my prayer is for the House, through the Administration for Members to have access to this Delimitation Report whilst our esteemed Ad Hoc Committee will be working on it and I pray as well that this Delimitation Report is on electronic copy.  The electronic Delimitation Report must be accessed by all members.  This is my prayer to you Madam Speaker and I seek your response to that, I thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you very much in response to that, the facility that is there currently is for us to distribute it electronically and I think as Parliament, we have gone electronic a long time back and that is what is there.  It is unfortunate we do not have hard copies - we only have electronic copies which have already been distributed.  – [HON. MARKHAM: And on the issue of virtual.] – On the issue of virtual, I think Parliament is attending to that...

          An Hon. Member having stood up

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you cannot be up standing whilst I am giving a ruling.  I am saying we are going to debate this on the 17th and 18th and Parliament is making a facility to make sure that is put in place. I thank you.

          HON. MATEWU: Thank you Madam Speaker and compliments of the new season.  Madam Speaker, whilst we get this Delimitation Report on electronic form, it is also important and imperative that the raw source document...

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: You are not connected Hon. Member.

          HON. MATEWU: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I was saying that the raw source document for the Delimitation Report is imperatively the voters’ roll; this is where the Delimitation report was derived at.  For Members to have proper debate and analysis as you said, we need access to the electronic voter’s roll.  Give us pure data and to see how exactly the report was derived at.  There can be absolutely no debate without actually having the electronic voters’ roll send to all Members.  I thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM: On a point of clarity Madam Speaker.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of clarity?

           HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, I have downloaded some of these maps, there are illegible.  Can these maps be made available for us to pick up, at the Papers Office or at ZEC in detail so that we can see what is going on? From these maps we have here, we cannot see where our boundaries are.  I thank you.

          (v)THE TOFFA: I am making a follow up on what Hon. Mpariwa raised that the Committee has only two women (Network failure)

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Members, I am being advised here that in the Standing Rules and Orders, even Hon. Mpariwa, you raised that issue; this is a Committee that has been appointed by the Standing Rules and Orders and I am sure we will all understand and appreciate that these issues were raised and I think we are quite clear that this a Committee which was agreed upon in the Standing Rules and Orders.  I thank you.

          (V) HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I have just opened the material send to us by ZEC and I am not sure if everyone has managed to open.  It is just one map nothing else, no figures, no information no details. I do not think that is a report Madam Speaker with all due respect.  It is not a report, it is just a memo, they actually acknowledged that due to the voluminous nature of the report, we cannot send you and we have only sent you a link of this map.  So how are we going to analyse and to make an informed decision from a map with no figures?  How many people are in this constituency and how many people are in Kwekwe Central, how many people were shifted from this ward to another ward?  How are we going to make that analytical analysis? It is just a map Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker are you with me?

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, I am communicating with them I also need to have a copy so that I speak from an informed position.  I will respond to you just now.  I am getting a copy so that I see what has been sent so that we can all agree.  I thank you – [AN HON. MEMBER: Hon. Chikwinya respect the Chair.] -

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The fact that you are going to respond, I wanted to say is it because ZEC has a challenge in producing a physical map that we will go through and see where the boundaries lie.  You cannot analyse something that is produced in a manner that then confuses you as an individual. 

          Madam Speaker, we have been attending ZEC meetings without a physical map that tells you where the boundaries are; there is no analysis that we will be talking about.  So without that, we cannot proceed Madam Speaker if the report does not include physical documents in terms of the maps; and also the census report must accompany that report because for you to delimit, put something into wards or constituency, you need wards to have boundaries, and also the census report that has the numbers; that is the only way we can proceed.  So you cannot go on to conclude the delimitation without the physical boundaries and also the figures that must accompany the report.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you.  Hon. Members, what has been sent are reports, annexures and also maps to all Hon. Members emails.  It is not just maps.  Thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker, in order to help the debate or the problem, can  they confirm, in the reports that we are receiving that in each ward, the polling stations that are there and those that have been established are listed for each ward?  So in my Ward A, there will be 20 or 30 polling stations -  are they listed in these reports because that is the criteria and the basis of the delimitation because ZEC has moved everything around pertaining to polling stations; which is a good idea but we need to know which polling stations are in which ward in order to assess a delimitation?

          The second problem is; I presume this is done on the basis of the Voters Roll that will be released.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you.  On what has been sent, I see national wards map; there is actually a wards map that is there and if ever anything is lacking, we are going to be debating this on 17th and 18th.  Order, Order Hon. Markham. 

          What we need to do is to give recommendations and if there is anything lacking, we indulge and then that will be part of the recommendations that we forward so that we have a comprehensive report that is then tabled.

          HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Madam, that is clear.  However, my question was, are the polling stations in each ward listed? That is all I need to know.  Thank you.

          (v)HON. WATSON:  My point of order is that one of the reports sent on email is a PDF document that will not open. So, of what value is it?

          My other point is that we were denied when we had our final meeting with ZEC, the information that relates to polling station registered voter figures.  We were given constituencies and wards, pre-delimitation and post delimitation but not actually polling stations.  Voter registration is polling station based. It is my personal view that it is impossible to ascertain the veracity of the figures given and the report without those polling station figures.  So, if they are not included in this report, which I cannot now see, we need these in order to establish veracity.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Hon. Watson, this is exactly what I am reiterating that we have an opportunity and a chance to give all the submissions.  I am glad you are saying that you indulged ZEC at one point and communicated about that.  So, I am sure as we go, these are some of the recommendations we will give so that at least we can then be able to have a comprehensive report.  Thank you.

          (v)HON. PHULU:  Hon. Speaker, my point of order is about Members on virtual; there is no mechanism for Members on virtual to vote …

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Members on virtual - what?

          (v)HON. PHULU:  To vote; remember when we make those resolutions, you were saying what is the House saying, Aye or Nay?  We have to go to a certain…

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  I have already indulged you.  The reason why I am even communicating with you now shows that I have already indulged you but of course…

          (v)HON. PHULU:  Madam Speaker, I am saying when we debate, we have to vote and our virtual systems do not have the mechanism…

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  You are out of order Hon. Phulu.  ((v)HON. PHULU:  But Madam Speaker, how are we …) You are out of order, bye bye!

          HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I was listening to the Hon. Government Chief Whip when he outlined his motion and made reference to the issue of the timeframes which I am very cognisant of.  We are in agreement with the establishment of an Ad hoc Committee but we must also be aware of the fact that we have an Ad hoc Committee which does not usurp the powers of this House.

          When we look at the Constitution, the reference is to Parliament.  When we look at the recommendations that are going to be made, the comments that are going to be made, are going to be made by Parliament and when we talk of Parliament, we are talking of the two Houses.  I believe that because of the limited timeframes, it is important that we raise all the critical issues at this juncture so that we are in a position to debate meaningfully on the 17th and 18th January.  We are not going to meet again before 13th January, which is next Friday.  So, it is imperative that all the critical issues are raised at this point in time.

          In your response to some of the Hon. Members who have already contributed, you did not make reference to the issue raised by Hon. Madzimure; that is that of the census.  When we look at the provisions of the Constitution in Section 161, it makes reference to several factors that have to be taken into account by ZEC in presenting the preliminary report and one of those critical issues is the movement of the population and also the census.  I believe that question has to be answered because we cannot meaningfully debate whether that preliminary report is in compliance with all the provisions of the Constitution without access to that detailed census report so that we can cross-check.  It is not just about registered voters; that is a factor that is mentioned specifically, the population which is not the voter population but the population in the country; there has to be some co-relation between the population, voter registration and whatever delimitation and the final outcome of that delimitation.  So I believe Madam Speaker, it is critical that we get a response as to when they have access to it.

          When we look at the timeframes, it is very clear that if we get those documents say on 13th, we will not be in a position to debate meaningfully on 17th and 18th; and I believe that these are questions that must be answered now so that before we disburse, we are aware that all the issues that will enable us to comply with the provisions of the Constitution are addressed; that will be my point Madam Speaker and I believe that it will not be appropriate for us to adjourn without a response as to how and when we will get access to the census report as well.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER:  Thank you, that is noted Hon. Gonese.  I still insist that what we have here was the tabling of a report and the presentation of the Ad hoc Committee Constitution.  I am now saying what we need to do as a House, is for us to submit all these concerns so that at least we now know that there is something lacking.  If there is anything lacking, then at least we will be able to see how best we are able to get that. Those are some of the recommendations we will be able to give.

          So as it stands, what has been given is what is available and anything that is lacking, that is part of the submissions that we have to give to say, we have not noted this, we have not noted that, we feel this is what needs to be done.  In that way, those are some of the recommendations we are giving to say, we feel that there is something that is lacking; that means even as much as we are going to debate, if that is lacking, then there is nothing much to say.  I think to that effect, I am sure we will be able to go forward.

          HON. GONESE:  I hear you Madam Speaker.  What I was simply explaining is that when we present the report, we will not have a second bite of the cherry. The point being that if we are going to make substantive recommendations, they must be informed by all the issues which are referred to in Section 161.

          Again, let us bear in mind that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is required to publish a final report and they will not revert to us. That is the reason why I am saying all the documentation which we will require in order to make those appropriate recommendations must be availed to us in good time. After the 13th, we will not be able to meet again. We will only meet when we come to the debate. That is the point which I was making. Otherwise it will be pointless to say on the 18th, we have no access to the Census Report – it will have no meaning or benefit to anyone because we will not be able to say we believe this should not have been done this way because remember ZEC will then take into account our submissions in order to decide whether to adjust or amend the preliminary report before coming up with the final one.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you. I continue saying the same statement that what has been availed is what is available now. As a team, we just need to work on that which is available and we give recommendations. That is one of the recommendations; like I said if you are saying that the Census Report is missing then that is part of the recommendations.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: I rise in terms of Standing Order Numbers 72 and 73 in respect of point of privilege. My point of privilege relates to the passage of the PVO Bill [H.B. 10A, 2022]. I want to raise on Order Number 53 – you will recall that the…

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: This is an extraordinary sitting which is specific to the Delimitation Report. If ever there are any issues that you want to raise, you will raise on a normal sitting day.

On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Ten o’clock a.m. until 13th January 2023.

 

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