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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 8 FEBRUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 19

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 8th February, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security from the Parliament of the Republic of Namibia, led by Hon. Lucia Witbooi, the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee. Part of the delegation is Hon. Julius Hambyuka, who is the Government Chief Whip, you are all most welcome – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have received apologies from the following Members of the Executive: Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care – [AN HON. MEMBER: Chinyanganya!] Honourable, do not disturb my announcement. Hon. Gen. (Rtd.) Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. Prof. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. Dr. A. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. D. Chombo, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Dr. S. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. Dr. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; and Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise on a point of order with regards to a statement that I made during debate yesterday in reply to the Presidential Speech wherein I inferred to the Acting Chairperson that I had reached an agreement with the Speaker of Parliament, being you, in the interpretation of Standing Order Number 154 vis-a-vis 157. I have since been directed to the correct interpretation and I want to withdraw my statement which I gave during the debate and follow the advice given by the Clerk of Parliament. Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise on a matter of national importance in terms of Standing Order Number 62…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, we agreed that matters of national importance are reserved for Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

HON. CHIKWIYA: I am not aware of that agreement; I am just relying on the Standing Orders.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Why not say you have a lapse of memory or you did not read the Hansard. The matters rest there.

HON. CHIKWINYA: I might have missed it, thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: So, tomorrow please be free to raise the issue.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  What is Government policy in relationship to the 821km Plumtree/Mutare Highway which was constructed by Group 5 under the acronym Intertoll which is now Instatoll to the tune of $206 million DBSA loan financed in so far as it relates to routine and periodic maintenance of the same 821km which was enshrined in the initial agreement?  What is Government policy in alignment of the current routine maintenance and period maintenance to the agreement of the Group 5 and Intertoll initial agreement?  What is currently happening is that there are sections, that 821km that is not being maintained both routine and periodic modus operandi away from the initial agreement as agreed in the DBSA loan financed 821 km. So what is Government policy as it relates to alignment of the agreement...

THE HON. SPEAKER: You are repeating yourself Hon. Member; I thought you had made your point.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and I want to thank the Hon. Member Hon. Nduna for the very important question which he normal brings into the august House.  This will also give me time to explain to my fellow colleagues and also to the people of Zimbabwe that yes indeed that agreement was there which covers Mutare-Plumtree Highway.  I also want to apprise the House that when you enter into some of these contracts, at times you miss the very important aspects of the agreement.  In this particular agreement that has been cited by my fellow colleague Hon. Nduna, apparently it did not include sections that would cover cities. So you will find that if you are moving towards the great city, the Intertoll arrangement would not give that mandate to do routine maintenance and also take any necessary charges pertaining to that stretch.  That is why you have seen that such sections, just to cite Kadoma, Chegutu, Harare, when they gravitate towards the cities they were not rehabilitating. 

I also want to highlight that I then engaged ZINARA to say let us revisit some of these clauses which do not make sense.  If we are talking of an entire stretch, why not involve cities because that forms some of the basis of the road.  This is precisely what we are doing but in the mean time, the Department of Roads under the Ministry is taking charge of those sections whilst we are arranging to have Intertoll to attend to these sections covered under cities. 

Precisely, I do concur that yes it was a lacuna in that contract where we were not supposed to be having sections omitted in that particular agreement but also, I want to allay fears of the august House that the limit is no longer the 200 facility that he is talking about.  ZINARA has paid almost half of that facility and they have also managed to renegotiate on the percentages in terms of the interests charged to that loan.  I am happy that we are not in good books with DBSA and we are actually renegotiating on some of these very important aspects of the contract.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Would it please the Hon. Minister to give us the timelines in terms of aligning the said agreement to the current state of affairs, seeing as it seems that nearly a quarter of the 821km has not been taken up for rehabilitation by Group 5 or their side-kick Instatoll and  Intertoll?  Would it please the Minister to tell us the timelines of alignment and to say whether in retrospect, local authorities can recoup from that agreement the monies that they utilized during the subsistence of the agreement which was not aligned to the current state of affairs in terms of operation?

HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to also thank Hon. Nduna who is also my fellow learned colleague that once if you enter into a contract it will be an issue of moral suasion where you cannot release some of the clauses.  In this case the contracting parties, especially from ZINARA who were sleeping on duty, they allowed some of these clauses to actually go through without them interrogating such very important pertinent clauses.  Now, it is up to the indulgence of the relevant party to then comply because contractually they are not obliged to take charge of those sections and that is why we have pursued the route of moral suasion so that they revisit.  In terms of aligning the contract, the contract has been aligned in terms of the funding modalities and grace period to pay since ZINARA was in default then. We have now aligned the contract and we are not paying accordingly without punitive measures in terms of interest rates.  I can affirmatively say alignment has been done but the aspect of those sections highlighted by Hon. Nduna involves continuous engagement with the relevant party.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: For the purposes of our records, the Hon. Member is not your learned friend; he is an upcoming learned friend.  Otherwise we will have a wrong record in our Hansard.  

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister stems out of the fact that he seems to be not very clear about the contract itself.  Does the contract exclude the contractor from working on the roads within cities, does it expressly state that or it is silent on it?  If it is silent, what about the monetary – is the contract specific in terms of the kilometers that need to be covered by the contractor?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Now, I can firmly say my learned colleague because this one qualifies.  My learned colleague has also said I am not sure about the contract, I am very sure about this contract.  The provision is very clear that whenever you go through cities they are not mandated to take routine maintenance.  So it is very clear.  That is why I was saying it was a bad contract in the first place where you were not supposed to then have sections that are not covered whilst we are talking of the entire stretch. 

So, precisely you are very right that the sections were supposed to be included in the contract but it is very clear the contracting parties, especially from ZINARA were sleeping on duty. I will repeat that again - where they were supposed to incorporate cities so that they will now be obliging Intertoll to take routine maintenance, but as it is now Mr. Speaker Sir, it then falls under the purview of Department of Roads to take charge.

Hon. Murai having stood up.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  The Hon. Member upstanding, take your seat.

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  So I do concur with the observation as highlighted in the first place by Hon. Nduna and also as the Minister that I am pursing the matter, but in the mean time, we cannot neglect cities; we have taken charge to rehabilitate those sections.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MARKHAM:  Hon. Speaker, in the absence of the urban roads not being covered, who is responsible for national roads within the urban areas?  Is it the urban council or is it the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development?

HON. MHONA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the roads that are under the purview of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development do involve trunk roads and precisely these major roads, as highlighted by Hon. Markham, fall under the purview of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development under the Department of Roads.  So we will take charge of such roads and I can just cite the one that we are talking about - Samora as it gravitates towards the great city becomes the burden of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and this is what we are doing. The other feeder roads, those that you normally see going to locations fall under the purview of local authorities.

So we are talking of trunk roads that actually come out of the cities falling under the purview of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. GONESE:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, if he can clarify who is responsible for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) roads.  In terms of the contract in question between the Government and Intertoll, does it also include completion of the dualisation on the road from Plumtree to Mutare?

HON. MHONA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, he has raised two pertinent issues, one to do with the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and also the Road Development Programme which involves the dualisation of our roads.  I would answer the first part to say the dualisation part of the road, especially the same road that we are talking about, is not under the same agreement and we are taking the dualisation as Road Development Programme under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

In terms of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, it was a programme that was identified especially with the advent of heavy rains that we are also witnessing now to take some of the roads that fall under the local authorities. It could be a rural district council or it could be DDF which is now RIDA to take charge of such roads, but that involves relevant provinces from the Ministers of State and all other relevant structures within the province to identify such critical roads and those roads will then form part of ERRP.

So basically what we are doing as a Ministry - yes, we superintend over road authorities but there are some every important roads that we then identify and take from the local authorities, but we only take for the sake of maintaining and returning it back to the local authorities, not necessarily to take the road forever.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*HON. TSHUMA:  My question is directed to the Minister Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement with regards to rural cotton farmers.  Cotton farmers have not yet been paid for the cotton they sold last season.  What is Government doing to help farmers to continue growing cotton so as to support the cotton industry because farmers have not received their money and as a result, some are failing to pay school fees for their children?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is true that payments to cotton farmers have been delayed.  What I would like inform this august House is that the Government is looking into the issue so that farmers, be they cotton farmers or wheat farmers, receive their payments.  It is Government’s wish that the farmers will be paid before the next farming season.  I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that we want to hear Government policy regarding the modalities in terms of payments for 2023.  In the previous season, farmers have not been paid but we want to know whether Government is going to resort to spot cash in terms of paying those cotton farmers.

HON. ZWIZWAI:  That is not a supplementary question.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Zwizwai, you are not in the Chair.

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is the culture and tradition of Cabinet to appraise of any season before full implementation that they broadcast the relevant figures.  It could be the selling price and I expect the same to happen from the Hon. Minister so that as we resume sitting as Cabinet, he is going to appraise the nation on the modalities as asked by Hon. Moyo.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Can the Minister explain the other alternative arrangement that Cotton Company of Zimbabwe is using to pay farmers?  The issue of giving farmers groceries and sometimes equipment to use in the fields does not auger well for farmers.  When farmers deliver produce, they are expecting to get their money in cash so that they will then decide on their own what they want to use the money for, instead of them being asked to go to a shop and pick up groceries or implements

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA)): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Madzimure for that very important follow-up question.  I think the time when that was happening was more of voluntary programme where one would want to opt to get groceries.  Of late, this is not happening.  Where people were actually getting groceries in terms of payment, going forward and as it is now, Government is going to pay farmers their hard earned money and not in form of goods.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. NGWENYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question concerns the payment model that has been said by the Hon. Minister.  I would like to know which rate they are going to use to pay the farmers because the amount they were supposed to be paid at that particular time has been actually eroded by inflation.  Right now they are still holding on to figures that were prevailing at that time.  So, I would like to know whether they are going to change from that specific value because it has been affected by inflation to the new value now.  I thank you.

          HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would also want to thank Hon. Ngwenya for that very important question, which I will actually take and relay to the Hon. Minister so that we appraise the august House of the very relevant payment modalities and not to assume whether they are sticking to the date of delivery or whether they are sticking to the prevailing market rate.  I will ask the Hon. Member to indulge with me so that I will also communicate to the Hon. Minister on that matter.  I thank you.

          *HON. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I appreciate the answers that were given by the Hon. Minister.  This question of disbursement of funds to farmers has been asked in this House several times.  Are there any plans in place to ensure that farmers are paid their dues on time?  When are we going to stop asking that question on late disbursement of funds to farmers?

          HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like also to thank Hon. Murai for that question.  Actually the farmers were paid part of their money in local currency.  What now remains is the foreign currency component, which I will emphasise to my fellow Minister of Lands to look into this matter.  In conclusion, noting that the Deputy Minister of Finance is now in the House, he can assist us on when the foreign currency will be disbursed to the farmers.

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: The question is, this question has been asked over and over again, when are we going to stop asking the same question?  That is the question.

          *HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to humble myself, we have the Deputy Minister of Finance amongst us, may you please allow him to respond to that.  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you very much for that pertinent question.  I would like to say, indeed I agree just like what Hon. Minister Mhona said.  We have been paying in two forms, the local currency as well as the foreign currency.  We have since paid the local currency component.  The outstanding amount is the USD28 million.  Last week but one is when we agreed that in order for us to pay out that money, we are paying USD5 million per week.  So, I expect that in the following week, we will be able to pay all the outstanding money in trenches of USD5 million per week.

          The second part of the question - when are we going to stop asking the same question over and over again.  The response is Government gives farmers land as well as inputs and we also buy maize from them.  Now we are saying that is not the job of Government.  What we have now started is a ZIMEX programme, it started last year.  Right now we are saying, this is going forward, most of the agro products will have their price being driven by the market.  So, we are calling the private sector to come on board to work with Government.  All we are saying is agricultural produce should be bought on the market and the prices to be determined by the market.  We want to work on the infrastructure such as irrigation so that we do not end up being on the market.  I thank you.

          *HON. GOZHO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  Since the Hon. Minister is not here, I will direct it to the Leader of Government Business.  In 2020, Government promised to build garrison shops in barracks so that the military personnel can buy basic commodities at low prices.  Have the garrison shops since been constructed like you promised?  I thank you. 

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would want to thank Hon. Gozho for the question.  The Hon. Member is so passionate about the welfare of the military and she asked whether the garrison shops have been built.  What I would want to explain to the august House is, the garrison shops may not have been constructed as expected but Government has ensured that the security forces are well looked after.  I think the Hon. Minister for Defence and War Veterans will explain to the august House the important aspects concerning the welfare of the forces so that we understand what has been done.     

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My understanding is that there are some barracks with existing garrison shops.  The Government’s promise at that time was to supply these garrison shops with subsidised commodities.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Is it your understanding or knowledge?

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Knowledge.  Understanding based on knowledge and I speak of 5.1 Battalion, that is Battlefields.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Where are these garrisons?

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Five Brigade, Battlefields.  So, they have garrison shops.  The undertaking by Government was to supply these garrison shops with subsidised basic commodities so that soldiers could buy at subsidised prices.  That undertaking was made by the Minister of Finance.  I would want to know from the Deputy Minister of Finance here present whether the present garrison shops that are already there are supplied with subsidised basic commodities so that at least soldiers can buy at subsidised prices.  Thank you. 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you so much Hon. Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Member.  On this issue, Ministry of Finance provides the resources but in terms of implementation, it is done by the parent Ministry.  At the moment, I am not sure if they have done it, otherwise – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – I would still need to check because the provisions were approved here in Parliament, so I would need to check if there was a budget for the garrison shops. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order!  The answer by the Hon. Deputy Minister is adequate.  Let him go and find out what exactly the position is and come back to the august House. 

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  I purely understand that the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) does not fall under the purview of Primary and Secondary Education.  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is a key stakeholder and this is why I am directing my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  Reports are that 5000 students had their results withdrawn because of alleged pre-exposure to examination material.  I want to believe that there are students who are arguing …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  The matter was raised yesterday and a request was made for the Hon. Minister to bring a Ministerial Statement.  I have been in conversation with the Hon. Minister. That statement is being prepared and will be presented tomorrow. 

          *HON. CHIKWINYA:  Can I re-direct my question to another Ministry?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  No.  I follow your lists.  You talk to your Chief Whip.

          The Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education having approached the Chair. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order please.  Something has cropped up that affects the Hon. Minister, so she is unavailable tomorrow but next week she will be back in Harare to present that paper.  There is some exigency that has arisen, otherwise she had agreed when I talked to her this morning to present tomorrow.  The Hon. Deputy Minister is away on leave, otherwise we would have asked him to present that Ministerial Statement.    

          HON. CHINYANGANYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for indulging me.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  Towards the end of 2022, the Government promised that it was going to roll out free basic education.  What has the Government done so far to implement that? 

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for raising that question which is really pertinent. He has asked about the payment of free education. We wish to pay school fees and give our children free education. It is unfortunate that this House...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a point of order, Hon. Chikwinya hatina Amai muParliament. Hamugone kutaura kuti taurai Amai. Withdraw that statement.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: It was out of pure respect because she is of the same age with my mother. I withdraw Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order tomorrow you may call me Baba.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking that pertinent issue, the question of free education in Zimbabwe. At times I sit and wonder whether we can afford to pay full school fees. The truth of the matter is that we are willing and we want to pay school fees for every child in this country. We have a policy document, we have a Constitution, and we have an Act of Parliament in terms of the education sector that demands that we do exactly that.

          As the National Assembly, we approved the budget. We have sat down before the end of the year with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to analyse the budget to check on the amounts that were allocated to the Ministry in terms of funding the education sector in this country. After a deep analysis of the figures, it is quite clear that we can start the implementation of the programme. However, it should be implemented in a staggered manner because we do not have enough resources to immediately implement that policy.

          So this is the process that we are going through. We have the figures on the table and we are looking forward to you to approve a supplementary budget if it is possible for you Hon. Members to make sure that our children access free education. We worked together with the Deputy Minister of Finance before the end of the year. We have the figures and we have got USD6.3 million and that USD6.3 million is not enough. It is not enough but we have to start the implementation because the Constitution says so and the Education Act says so. So this is the answer ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister has thrown the ball back to us. During the budgetary debate, Vote by Vote, I think it is this House that should have queried whether the funds were enough to roll out but what you passed as a House was...

          Hon. Zwizwai having stood up interrupting the Speaker

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Zwizwai, can you apologise for interrupting my response?

          HON. ZWIZWAI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I apologise - but I want to make a supplementary.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Wait for that supplementary. Thank you. My ruling is very clear. The Hon. Minister will come back to this House and ask for more funds, USD6.3 million, and this august House will be obligated to pass that supplementary budget. Thank you.

          Some Hon. Members having stood up

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, no supplementary, please sit down.

          HON. CHITURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is Government policy on cancer screening for men in the public sector, especially prostate cancer?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question on the policy on CA Prostate.  Prostate cancer is very common in men, indeed, in men above the age of 35 years and onwards but much more common in those above 50 years old.

          Government policy on all cancers is that people should get screened.  These days prostate cancer can be screened in two to three ways.  The first one is us putting the finger up and checking the prostate via the anal canal to check that the prostate is fine – [HON. MEMBERS: Iyo hayiite iyo!] – That is one way of doing it and a very good one…

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Biti! Can you be respectful of the Hon. Minister’s response please?  Please listen.

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  The next one is we use blood; we take blood samples and check for prostatic surface antigen quantities.  Once those are raised, we can determine whether someone has got prostate cancer or not.  So, CA Prostate is very common and we encourage all men for that matter, to get screened because if it is detected early. We can do something permanent but if we wait until it has spread it will be difficult to treat.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  The original questioner, you have no supplementary?

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Minister for that explanation.  Hon. Speaker, my supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is that we may be screening but I see that we are facing challenges in our constituencies with that post-screening if one is found to be positive of that cancer.  What is Government policy in terms of trying to treat that patient because we have so much lack of equipment in our hospitals?  What is the Government doing to try and bring this equipment down to our district hospitals?

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question on treatment.  Treatment for the prostate cancer is not confined to one method – we have more than five methods.  It can be radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgical, these can be offered to anybody who will have fallen victim to this depending on the doctor.  This is done in Zimbabwe in many places.  We have several neurologists who can offer this service.  We also have oncologists who can offer chemotherapy and radiotherapy depending on the stage of the disease.  Some of the treatment is surgical.

          It involves us removing the man’s testes so that the growth of the prostate cancer can be stopped because some of the disturbance that comes is from the testes.  Other methods involve us putting some radiotherapy things in the prostate so that it does not grow.  So, thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

          HON. T. MOYO:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, is there Government policy to harmonise the clinical way of testing prostate cancer with the indigenous knowledge systems of screening cancer?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you understand the question Hon. Minister; harmonization of testing between the usual clinical medical and the indigenous approach?

HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member.  I am sure he is trying to say traditional methods and western methods.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes.

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Definitely, we know people consult faith healers and traditional healers a lot and also then get referred to the western method later on.  So right now, we have a council led by a doctor who has learnt both traditional and western medicine.  This council involves lawyers and all people in society that will guide people and this is going to involve registration of traditional and faith healers so that they are really clear with what they can and cannot do. 

          So, we will be requesting even traditional and faith healers to look at people’s vital signs and teach them the basic things that they can refer for western medicine and those that they can keep to themselves.  We have a very good referral system getting down to the village health post where a person can go from the village post to a rural health centre, district hospital, provincial up to central hospital depending on the condition and stage of the disease.  Definitely, we are trying to make sure that we harmonise this by making sure that we work together and educate each other in the profession.  I thank you. – [HON. MURAI: Inaudible interjection.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Murai!  You cannot have a question to the Hon. – [HON. MURAI:  It is not a question.] – What is it?  Define your intervention. – [HON. MURAI: It is a point of clarity Mr. Speaker Sir.] – Can you do it through a supplementary question?  Do it through a supplementary question. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! I had recognised Hon. Madzimure, so you will come after Hon. Madzimure. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Murai! Thank you, please proceed.

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The supplementary question that I have is; are there any plans of making prostate cancer screening free – that is the first question?  The second question is; are there plans of also having a cancer levy in place pretty much along the same line as the Aids levy to alleviate the plight of the masses suffering from prostate cancer?  I say this because of the 35 years age group that you spoke to and about. 

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank you Hon. Member for that suggestion.  Cancer of the prostate definitely is affecting men but there are many other cancers as well, that is, breast, cervix and all that; if in this House we would agree that we lobby and say let us get this money, and do what we did with the Aids levy – it would be great Hon. Member so that we alleviate this suffering. So definitely, it would be useful for us as a House if we could push for that to have it free.  I would be grateful.  I thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The Hon. Member who asked the original question was specific and referring to civil servants.  Considering that the majority of these people …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, I did not quite get you there.  You said people?

          HON. MADZIMURE:  I said the Hon. Member who asked the original question was referring to people within Government employment.  Considering that those people would have attained the age of 55 and above, most of them are now pensioners who cannot afford the treatment that is required after having been diagnosed of prostate cancer. 

          Therefore, what is the Government plan to help those people, especially the pensioners who are no longer finding any joy with PSMS, which should be taking care of their health services after they have retired?

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member whose concern is about former Government workers who have attained a certain age group.  I am sure he is aware that as Government, there is a policy that above 65 years of age, people get their treatment for free and those children below five years also get free medication. 

          However, CA Prostate in particular will not affect only those who have been working for Government. It affects everyone so there is that cut off age where people get this for free. PSMS as a Government medical aid society should definitely support this. However, they were ups and downs which are being corrected.  I thank you.

          *HON. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am kindly requesting the Hon. Minister to explain again in any vernacular language, either Shona or Ndebele, the ways of testing prostate cancer that he explained well in English so that our elderly folk in the rural areas who are battling with this prostate cancer may fully understand these three methods.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Perhaps Hon. Members are not aware that as you debate here, there is automatic interpretation in the vernacular languages and the interpretation is done through the radio.  So, I am sure Members are following. 

          In future, we are looking at translating all Government policies in the vernacular languages and these terms will be clarified.  We have already started with some laws at the National Language Institute of the Midlands State University.  So, it is an agreed position that all public policies will be translated in all the vernacular recognised languages so that our citizenry can follow what the policies are all about.  So, it is a good observation.

          HON. GONESE:   Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of order relates to the response by the Hon. Minister to the original question.  When you indicated that there were three ways of testing, I think you indicated the one way you insert the finger and the PSA but you did not explain the third method which is used to test.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for your indulgence.  Hon. Speaker, there are a number of senior citizens currently who are watching Parliament debates.  We have heard the Hon. Minister indicating that for senior citizens, free medication is provided. Would the Hon. Minister clarify in which health centres those senior citizens would get that free treatment?  I thank you.

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Members for the questions you have raised.  The third method of testing is a biopsy where we pass an instrument through the urethra, take a piece of tissue from the prostate and test it to see whether it is cancerous or not. 

          About free treatment for senior citizen, I am sure if the Hon. Member has difficulties somewhere, I will be glad to be with him and approach those places where they are refusing senior citizens free treatment because – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –Mr. Speaker Sir, the general policy is that most of our Government Hospitals offer senior citizens treatment for free.

          *HON. TEKESHE: On a point of order! What the Hon. Minister has said here and what is on the ground is quite different.  There are no medicines in Government Hospitals.  A lot of people battling with prostate cancer are relying with Karanda Mission Hospital.  I personally lost my father due to prostate cancer and non-availability of medication.  So, may the Hon. Minister clearly state where exactly these medications are being found in our hospitals? I thank you.

          HON. BITI: I would like the esteemed Deputy Minister of Health to explain this, now that he has ventured into the subject of prostate cancer.  He explained that the target group is 35, 50 and above. Can you help Hon. Members, and members of the public at large how do persons or citizens mitigate or prevent this disease? What do they need to do to prevent and anticipate this disease, prostate cancer?

          HON. DR. LABODE: Sometimes there is no need for us to sanitise what is obvious. These Hon. Members live in the community and everybody knows that there are no drugs in hospitals. Everybody is buying medicine. Even an X-ray if you go to Mpilo Hospital, you are told to go to the private institution that is owned by a worker in that hospital. Let us agree that we have a problem and look for money.  Donors will not come forth if we do not explain the problems that we are facing. Let us just tell the truth. Every Member of Parliament go to your clinic and ask – Hon Mathe  will phone me and say what can I do there is somebody in Nkayi and this other person will phone me and it is like I am the minister. There are no drugs in hospitals and let us face that reality.

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I want to thank the Hon. Members. Firstly, I will approach the first question which was saying how would someone have an idea that they are having a problem with their prostate? First and foremost, the prostate when it grows big or becomes cancerous, it will block the passage of urine. When people are young and energetic, the urine goes straight up there. When prostrate comes, the urine of the affected person starts pointing down even if they are pointing their penis forward. They may have difficulty pushing out the urine. It will be difficult for it to go out. They have to strain to have the urine go out and they might even end up wetting their trousers after visiting the toilet.

          The most important thing is that there are many ideas that people say prevent most of this. Those men who are very sexually active, the rate of getting cancer is much lower than those who are not. There are so many ideas. Those who do it more frequently have got lower chances.

          Then we go to Hon. Labode’s idea that there are no drugs in the hospitals. Everyone knows that the medicines are low but the question was where is this service offered, not to say which hospital has got medicines. Definitely, we all know that medicines are difficult to get but as Government, we are doing something and we are saying we are going to be avoiding middlemen who were bringing very expensive drugs in the country. We have groups that are going out of the country now and as Government, we are going to buy directly from manufacturers while we are propping up our local companies to start manufacturing the drugs locally like what we are doing.

          I am quite aware that some instruments like open heart surgery are not functional. They are being arranged to be here. I did not say we have medicines. The question was where is the service offered? I thank you.

          HON. BRIG. GEN (RTD.) MAYIHLOME: Supplementary question. I am a senior citizen.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No. May I ask Hon. Mayihlome to have a tete-a-tete with the Hon. Minister? We cannot break our own rules.

          HON. KASHIRI: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture and in his absence, I will direct my question to the acting Leader of Government Business. I would like to know what Government policy is with regards to challenges being faced by livestock farmers especially cattle breeding farmers who have been struck by January disease and have seen the herd gone down.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Let me thank Hon. Kashiri for that very important question. I think all these years we were actually struggling with January disease and this year Government has taken it upon itself to fight and consider it as a disaster. As we speak, various teams are actually deployed to provinces to fight this menace that has seen our cattle herd being reduced in a serious manner. I want to thank the Hon. Member, that yes January disease has actually caused havoc to the farmers and I will engage my counterpart to bring to the House and explore other channels that he has embarked on to actually reduce the effect of January disease. I thank you.

          HON. KASHIRI: Supplementary! Thank you Hon. Minister for your response. You will recall that at one time Zimbabwe was a net exporter of beef to the western countries. What plans do we have as a Government to help the farmers resuscitate the herd as we go forward? I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: May you repeat your question.

          HON. KASHIRI: My question is what plans does Government have to help the farmers resuscitate the herd to what it was before. Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  It is also very important that I will pose the same question to my fellow counterpart so that he exposes the avenues that he will bring to this august House.  

          (v)HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. If we are to import dipping chemicals and all other chemicals related to the treatment of our cattle, we are paying duty, why can we not have a Statutory Instrument to say pay duty free for every dipping chemical for the cattle?

          HON. MHONA:  I think when it comes to the Statutory Instrument and the duty issue, the Hon. Minister of Finance is in the House, if you may indulge me so that he can respond to that one. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA):  The Hon. Minister of Finance, may you please respond.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Under the Presidential Tick Grease Programme, we were importing tick grease which was meant to fight January disease.  Then because of our import substitution programme, we then gave Chemplex Holdings to come up with a strategy where they are working with external companies to manufacture the grease here.  So, the tick grease is available locally and there is no need for one to look for duty rebate.  I think the issue of the duty rebate falls off.  Thank you.

          *HON. TSHUMA: On the issue of January disease, we are facing a big problem especially last year 2022, we saw goats being burnt because farmers were trying to bring and sell their livestock to urban areas.  Is there no policy that allows those goats to be examined and if they do not have diseases they are returned to their owners rather burning them? I am saying this because it is their source of livelihoods.  Thank you.

          * HON. MHONA:  Thank you Madam Speaker and I also want to thank the Hon. Member for that question.  If the law says you cannot move livestock from one place to another, if you take your livestock to other areas, measures will be taken.   That is the law but it is up to this House to amend the law if you are no longer happy with it.  Thank you.

          HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  What is the basis of allocation and disbursement of ZINARA funds where some local authorities get a small fraction of what have been allocated whilst others get more than what they will have allocated?

By way of example Madam Speaker, for the year ended 31 December, 2022, Hwange Rural District Council was allocated 96 million and got $25 million dollars while Makonde Rural District Council was allocated $80 million dollars and got $81 million dollars. So one got 26% and the other one got more than 100%.  On the uneven allocation, that is the reason why some roads in some parts of the country such as Bulawayo-Victoria Falls have been neglected to the extent that the road has deteriorated to the state that it is in at the moment.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and let me also thank Hon. Sansole for that very important mouthful question, in the sense that he started talking about the disbursements, allocation and the Victoria Falls road. Let me address the first part of the question.  ZINARA disburses upon programmes and if it is a rural district council or local authority or the Department of Roads or DDF, you present your programmes of the year and after being given the fund, you acquit.  The problem is for one local authority to get more and the other one not; the only problem that we have witnessed over years which is very pivotal is the issue of non-existence of engineers who are qualified to even take charge of the works within that particular local authority or rural district council.  In the event that you do not acquit, you do not get another allocation. 

          Madam Speaker, the allocation depends on the manner in which you acquit yourself.  You find that if other local authorities get funding they do not justify how they have used the disbursements.  ZINARA is not mandated to further disburse if you do not acquit.  So you see that others are actually utilising their allocation and others are not. 

          To then move to the issue that he has raised and also to appraise the House, with the advent of rains, we have seen mushrooming of potholes, whether they are trunk roads or feeder roads within the country.  I am happy to advise especially people from Matabeleland and our tourists that now find comfort that Beitbridge/Bulawayo/Victoria Falls Road.  We have now identified all those sections that have been affected and in the next week or so, you will see teams moving to rehabilitate damaged sections.  However, going forward, we are going to reconstruct the entire stretch from Beitbridge, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls in the same manner we are rehabilitating Harare/Beitbridge.  Currently, for the road to be trafficable, we are going to be attending to sections and I can cite one good example; the stretch between Hwange and Victoria Falls where we have got serious potholes.

So, you will see the teams rehabilitating, doing the outstretch overlay which could be 5km or 10kms and then attend to routine maintenance on the other stretch of the road.  As we speak, not necessarily Victoria Falls Road, we have also descended on all our major roads and another one I can cite is Harare/Chirundu which was also in a similar sorry state where we are attending to very bad sections.  So, this is what we are doing through the Department of Roads.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  In his response, Hon. Mhona alluded to the fact that some local authorities misappropriate funds.  As a Ministry, what action have you taken to remedy the situation?

HON. MHONA:  Thank you very much Hon. Chibaya for that very important question.  I also want to appraise the august House that Hon. Chibaya has asked a topical question in the sense that as a legislature, you superintend over these local authorities.  I will be very happy for you to summon before Parliament some of these local authorities through the relevant committees so that they account to the citizenry why they are sleeping on duty whenever they are given funding from ZINARA.  Others just sit on the funding and do not do anything knowing very well that the value for money aspect will be eroded.  So, we are appealing to the august House to use its oversight role.  You are free to engage whoever is not taking seriously funding that is being taped from the fiscus, to appear before Parliament and answer to such charges.  I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker Maam, my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister concerns roads in rural areas which are in bad shape.  Potholes are the order of the day.  May the Hon. Minister give us a timeframe as to when those roads will be attended to?  Also, the incessant rains that the country is receiving left a number of bridges destroyed.  What plans are there to rectify the problems?

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Hon. Moyo for the important question.  Let me say to the august House that those coming from Rural District Councils, we now have to agree because we know that a number of RDCs have got machinery, be it tippers or graders but were lacking fuel to do their work.  So, I want this to be on record that we are going to be assisting the RDCs so that they now avail fuel and can take charge of these bad roads rather than to wait for the Ministry to come and do your roads.  You still have your RDCs and local authorities and what we are saying precisely is that for now, make use of the idle machinery that you have within your purview.  We have also established that a number of MPs were seized with the matter of fuel for those graders, so we are saying let us agree RDC by RDC on the amount of fuel needed so that we avail that fuel through ZINARA; make sure that you attend to bad roads within the rural communities.  As of urban roads, we have flighted a tender for over 15 roads within the great City of Harare and other cities where we are going to take charge of routine maintenance of those roads throughout. 

I also want to assure all the other provinces and my fellow Hon. colleague, Hon. Biti that we have flighted a tender which is closing this week for his favourite road, Marondera/Musami.  Take comfort, we are descending on the road.  I am just mentioning a few but what we have adopted is that we cannot sit and say this road belongs to rural authority or local authority.  We now need a holistic approach so that we handle this disaster together as Zimbabweans. I thank you.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, good afternoon to you.  My supplementary question to the esteemed Minister, Acting Leader of the House Hon. Mhona, Pastor, is that we have experienced contractors who have done work on most roads throughout the country and done the work shoddily.  Some of the roads that they have done are hardly two years old but they have already been involved in serious potholes.  What policy have you put in place to manage these contractors who have not been sincere to the requirements of their contracts in terms of doing good work for the good of the citizens?  Now that you have this new responsibility of resurfacing these roads which have been damaged as a result of the rainfall, are you going again to involve the same contractors?  I thank you.

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Hon. Mutseyami for that very important question.  It was prevalent in the old era where we were seeing contractors getting away with shoddy work and they were being paid but at the end of the day they did not show the value for that work.  Now, we have blacklisted a number in terms of participating in the tendering system where we are not entertaining those who have performed shoddily.  The other problem was emanating from failure to do proper procurement, whether from local authorities or RDCs because they lacked the expertise to do and award tenders.  You would find that they would continuously engage those companies.  Now, we have committees involving Provincial Road Engineers so that when they do the adjudication they can do the checks and balances to ensure that the same contractor has not failed elsewhere. 

So, I want to allay the fears that those that did shoddy work and those that were being given tenders maybe through nepotism from RDCs and local authorities and to put it across in terms of corrupt tendencies, it is no longer happening.  We now say if we pay now, we do not pay upfront like what used to happen.  You have to get a deposit and work, and only when you produce your interim payment certificate do we pay accordingly.  We retain a certain percentage so that we are assured that you complete the works.   We have seen that with the advent of value for money audits we are not paying.  We have seen a number of contractors complaining that Government is not paying but it is because we want them to account for your works and you have to be paid adequately on what you have performed.  I also want to engage the august House as you partake in your oversight role, to keep on monitoring such projects together with the Government. 

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, my brother Kazembe Kazembe.  We have experienced police stations, even at District level, that do not have a single serviceable vehicle and this has literally crippled critical operations of the police to protect our citizens.  What is Government doing to equip the police and to ensure that they are able to deliver the services that they are expected of by the Constitution? 

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE):  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a very pertinent question.  I do agree with him that we do need a lot of vehicles in our police stations.  I would like to assure him that Government is doing something about it.  In fact, we do have vehicles that are on their way.  These are coming in batches and we have already received about 100 and we are expecting to receive another 200 in due course.  We still need more vehicles.  We hope and trust that Treasury will give us the much needed support so that we can ensure that our police have enough resources.  I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, the answer from the Hon. Minister is too general and lacks generosity in terms of specificity and facts.  I will give you an example Hon. Speaker.  Currently, there are problems to do with cattle rustling by cross border criminals from Zambia coming into Binga.  Binga Police station, which is the major police station for the whole district, does not have a single vehicle and therefore, we would like the Hon. Minister to inform this House when exactly the nation should expect the delivery of those 100 vehicles? 

What will be the priorities in terms of allocations?  Will the vehicles be issued to HQ or operational area?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA):  Hon. Sibanda, that question is a bit specific.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: It is not Hon. Speaker.....

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  It needs more detail and it is not a policy one.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  It is a policy question. Allocation of vehicles....

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  It is a specific question....

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  If I can seek your indulgence; allocation of vehicles is a policy issue.  It is either as a matter of policy; Government would say we prioritise rural, administrative or urban police stations. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  No, you mentioned quite a number of issues but if you are now talking of that, then I can indulge that.  You brought in quite a lot of issues which were specific....

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I was just giving an example so that there is clarity.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You went on and said a number of issues.  He will respond to the specific one.

HON. KAZEMBE:  I believe I answered the first question adequately but I will answer the follow up.  For me to know exactly which vehicles will go where, in my view, it is very operational.  I believe that the police have the expertise and experience to know exactly which areas to prioritise.  Obviously, they will be looking at the statistics and the need per area.  Given the limited resource, if we could have it our own way or if we had enough resource, we would have at least one vehicle per station or even more but given the limited resources that we have, we will do with what we have.  We hope and trust that Treasury, as we go along, will avail enough resources for us.  I can assure you that this is not hearsay.  Government has already ordered these vehicles and it is now up to the supplier – they have already supplied because when you order a lot of vehicles at the same time, it is not very practical for them to be supplied at that very same time. 

As I earlier on alluded to, we have already received 100.  I am sure you have seen some vehicles with ZRP number plates but not yet branded.  This is because we were now faced with a number of criminal cases towards festive season and the first batch has only been distributed but we are expecting to receive the second batch maybe end of this month or next month.  That is what the supplier promised us. Government will continue to do its utmost to ensure that our police is resourced.

HON. BITI:  My supplementary question to the esteemed Minister of Home Affairs is; it is not just the challenge of motor vehicles at police stations that is affecting police service delivery.  Even the accommodation of our police officers, some of them are staying in archaic buildings that were built by Garfield Todd in 1952.  I make reference to police and prison officers at Chikurubi and Support Unit. 

My question is, can the Minister give us assurance that service delivery by the police is facilitated by adequate provision of housing, salaries, uniforms, computers and vehicles?

HON. KAZEMBE:  I would like to thank Hon. Biti for a pertinent supplementary question. I do agree with him 100% that our police need to be resourced for them to be efficient and be able to perform their duties.  As Government, we are aware of that.  In fact, I am aware that Minister Garwe has a programme, not just for the police but for prisons also.  Government is seized with that matter – we are planning to ensure that police is self sufficient. 

I always talk about the electronic integrated solution, in my view that is the way to go.  We have already embarked on this.  It is a fact that we need to up the game. People commit offences everyday and given the system that we are using now, it is difficult to follow them up and make sure that they pay so that at least police is resourced.  By introducing the electronic integrated solution, this is going to be something of the past.  As I have always alluded to in my presentation in various platforms.  The system that we are using, we have already started deploying this system where offences are detected electronically.  If it is speeding, it is detected electronically, you are fined electronically and you are made to pay.  That way, I hope and trust that our revenues will increase.

          I agree with Hon. Biti that we need to do more and ensure that we resource the police in terms of ICT, vehicles and everything else.  We are in the process and I have said we have  started doing that, we have already ordered vehicles and we are also in the process of ordering a lot of other things to ensure that our police are well taken care of.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DR. MAVETERA) in terms of Standing Order No. 68.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

 

DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS BY ZINARA ANNUALLY PROVINCE BY PROVINCE SINCE 2013

  1. HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development which administers the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) to inform the House:

     a) how much ZINARA distributed annually province by province from all monies collected per enterprise since 2013;

     b) how much money was collected by ZINARA in the City of Harare per annum since 2013 and how much was paid out to the City of Harare over that period;

     c) confirm the payments to Univern or its subsidiary in terms of commissions in relation to other contracts and goods supplied; and

     d) progress made with Univern in relation to

            i) reducing the commission

             ii) enforcing the penalty clause in the agreement to supply graders.

                   THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Markham for the very detailed questions. On question 10(a).  Hon. Madam Speaker ZINARA was formed by an Act of Parliament, the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18].  Subject to the Act ZINARA’s first two functions are -

(a) in consultation with the Minister and the Minister responsible for finance, to fix road user charges and to collect such charges or any other revenue of the Road Fund. 

(b) to allocate and disburse to road authorities’ funds from the Road Fund in accordance with rules prescribed by the Road Administration. In pursuance to these functions, below are the province –by province disbursement figures released to road authorities for the years 2013 to 2022.

Amounts in Zimbabwean dollars

 

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

Dept of Roads

15458537015

4102299541

356508916

49668270

87912497

26555281

17825940

14669350

8771656

15945054

Dist. Dev Fund

8123542819

2026243060

153155985

12000000

19647814

20249962

6925057

3498853

1085000

2277999

Hre Metropolitan

1737095631

332008002

93272682

15970073

25366260

18529057

3310882

2360494

1376386

4764921

Byo Metropolitan

266119990

128801008

16402648

5360761

1818104

6134058

889217

974045

729015

 

Mash East

620022854

284578155

33521474

2472306

4154629

5074187

1386476

1560416

640369

2434471

Mash West

976988887

634534036

48026658

7571547

7545655

4003365

2016612

4277962

4878644

3677085

Manicaland

607589905

321533003

40824265

9549501

4178798

5640955

2035087

1820800

588212

2872103

Mash Central

483809995

352031216

27319497

4491558

3313889

1955852

1433634

1418773

166747

3785241

Masvingo

469742925

413630961

24397444

4326385

2730508

2989442

908474

1542743

522191

1426040

Midlands

892455550

402199707

49205628

5118128

7184794

5537151

3139310

2287771

781865

1992272

Mat North

422937305

327993857

218030012933699

3391053

2238272

3608413

1358736

2860281

3195536

1544040

Mat. South

550276282

179145305

31965770

2933699

3814527

3913266

1155932

1471989

500000

2370263

Totals

30609119157

9504997853

896403967

112853281

169905757

104190989

42385357

38743477

24672621

43089489

 

  1. b) On question 10(b), Mr. Speaker Sir ZINARA appointed ZIMPOST as the collection agent in 2010. This was followed by introducing the Zimbabwe Licensing System (ZIMLIC system) in March 2012 and ever since the collection of Vehicle Licence Fees has been through the computerised system.  ZIMLIC system recognises entire collections made by ZINARA as an entity.  It does not isolate collections made geographically.  Effectively, Hon. Speaker Sir, the request by Hon. Markham to know how much ZINARA collected in Harare alone is therefore not possible. In addition, the Harare metropolitan province as the capital has been central in offering license fee payment convenience to the motoring public countrywide.

          The collections have been through ZINARA’s own efforts aided by collection agents such as ZIMPOST and various banking and insurance institutions nationwide.  As request by Hon. Markham, below are the disbursements, per the prescribed rules, to the City of Harare for the period 2013 to 2022.  Let me quickly point out that disbursements allocation is derived from a scientific formula entrenched in the using road condition survey.  The formula incorporates the length of road coverage and the type of road network. The formula is meant to ensure that all Road Authorities within the country benefit from the Road Fund.

 The following are the disbursements that were done to the City of Harare.

Amounts in Zimbabwe dollars

 

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

City of Hre disbursements

1431259166

198998388

86104212

15061193

23419853

17352482

2888066

2009823

202975

218963

Annual allocations

1728489526

1359039142

86104212

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, kindly note that the City of Harare is part of the four Road Authorities forming the Harare Metropolitan Province, with the other local authorities being Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza.  For the ten years under review, the City of Harare has been averaging allocations well 70% of the Harare Metropolitan budget.

          On the third question (c) Mr. Speaker in March 2012, ZINARA entered into an agreement with Univern Enterprises to manage the supply and implementation of fully computerised integrated solutions throughout Zimbabwe that included the following.

  1. Consolidated licencing
  2. Tolling; and
  • Any other future software solutions required by ZINARA

For those efforts, ZINARA agreed to pay commission as follows;

  1. 5% of the total gross transactions value for the vehicle licence system;
  2. 16% on the total gross transaction value of fees collected through the tolling system.
  • 77% of the total value for the transit fees.

 The table below summarises what Univern has been paid in terms of commission per revenue stream and for the grader maintenance contract.

CATEGORY

2013 (USD)

2014 (USD)

2015 (USD)

2016 (USD)

2017 (USD)

2018 (USD)

2019 (USD)

2019 (ZWL)

2020 (USD)

2020 (ZWL)

2021 (USD)

2021 ZWL

2022 (USD)

2022 (ZWL)

Transit

 

466 996.74

2 441 298.57

4 789 163.10

4 839 076.64

1 287 032.35

4 246 134.28

 

4 617 848.63

 

4 462 099.32

 

3 980 531.29

 

Tolling

 

2 612 395.17

7 378 668.78

2 114 472.95

6 589 299.52

4 921 442.14

 

15 544 305.27

 

97 276 245.19

636 762.19

213 497 762.58

2 016 309.98

1 749 672 951.06

Radio licencing

 

130 530.86

256 899.56

71 357.95

432 317.36

453 140.44

 

244 876.58

 

3 330 622.55

 

12 543 841.26

 

177 585 846.81

Grader maintenance and other

 

3 346 007.13

649 405.30

5 415 566.32

9 157 096.64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vehicle licencing

 

13 053 086.00

15 816 765.43

9 260 410.74

13 930 964.10

24 902 682.28

 

45 437 409.03

 

34 076 554.78

 

370 018 646.03

 

5 276 534 309.48

Total SRTC payments

19 725 804.74

1 960 015.90

26 543 037.64

21 650 971.06

34 948 754.26

31 564 297.21

4 246 134.28

61 226 590.88

4 617 848.63

445 683 422.52

5 098 861.51

596 060 252.87

5 996 841.27

7 203 793 107.35

 

  1. The last question Hon. Markham seeks to establish progress made with Univern in relation to reducing the commission.

Madam Speaker, negotiations to review various anomalies of the Univern contract were done.  The contract is now consolidated to include all systems that were supplied and are being supported by Univern under one agreement.  The contract now has a specific timeline unlike the previous open ended contract.  The parties are now in the second phase of reviewing the terms of the contract being commission.  ZINARA shared a proposed document with Univern to reduce commission downward and engagements are underway.

  1. Enforcing the penalty clause in the agreement to supply graders.

Madam Speaker, ZINARA and Univern entered into a contract for the supply and delivery of motorised graders on 19 December, 2012 and a service level agreement for the maintenance of the graders on 29 July, 2013.  The process of delivering and handing over graders was done in liaison with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and ZINARA, among other stakeholders.  The following processes were undertaken which extended the delivery period from what was initially envisaged;

  • The inspection and validation of the suppliers technical capabilities in providing the requested equipment.
  • The quality review of manufactured equipment and components.
  • The in-country assembly of equipment process.
  • The planning and holding of a public and ceremonial hand-over of equipment to ZINARA in the presence of various stakeholders.

After all the processes were done. Graders were handed over to road authorities in July, 2013.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would just like to ask a supplementary question but I have to explain the question for point (b) on the collections.

The revenue collected is by vehicle because that vehicle can go anywhere in the country but it is collected where it is based and the reason I say that Madam Speaker, it is the traffic on the roads that is causing the destruction of the roads.  Now, for the Minister to say that they cannot isolate where revenue is - it means their formula of distribution cannot be done correctly.  My issue is very simple. 

We go on to section (d) my second supplementary according to what the Minister has just said that the revenue collection prior to ZimPost was done by the local authorities for free.  That means between 16% and 17% paid to Univern for collecting the fees was being done by all the local authorities in this country for free. 

So my question was; if it was for free and it was working and you could identify how many vehicles were in each local authority, why did you change it and pay someone 17% for doing that job when it was being done for free properly?  So you have taken the revenue streams away from all the provinces, all the districts, from all the rural councils.  You have taken their road revenue away and given it to someone else and then you expect them to fix the road.  It is impossible.

So the Minister has confirmed. I know you have taken the revenue stream, given it to someone else yet you still expect the local authorities to fix the road.  I am telling the House now, they cannot.  My question is; the new contract should be brought to this House and that is a separate statement which I will be asking for.  I thank you. 

HON. MHONA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  This is not new to this august House and I wonder why Hon. Markham did not take that opportunity to interrogate issues when ZINARA appeared before this august House regarding the same issue before us and for him to now then bring back this issue through question and answer. 

Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I think if the Hon. Member was not happy with the submissions that were given by ZINARA when they were invited by Parliament you should have actually gone through and posed the same questions that were actually posed to ZINARA so that we do not engage in a debate where I will start answering for ZINARA in this august House now, but to answer him Madam Speaker, ZINARA is taking charge of all the funding of the roads, not necessarily the local authorities.  So for us to say Harare, and I remember those days one would register even his or her vehicle outside the purview of Harare so that they would go and say it is cheaper to register elsewhere within the great city but you would see the same car plying the city roads.

So there were gaps also in that collection system that has been highlighted by Hon. Markham, but what I do not want to engage in  this particular debate Madam Speaker, is if the Hon. Member has got questions,  still it is within their powers to invite ZINARA and seek clarity further to the questions that he has raised, but precisely I was responding to the questions as they have appeared on the Order Paper and also to say that has been taken away. 

Hon. Markham, the issue to do with the City of Harare in terms of maintenance, we are saying the argument that was before ZINARA and City of Harare was, even that little that you got, how did you utilise that funding, which is also another question for another day to say even if you say it is little, the two million, how are you acquitting?  So there is also another issue of failure to acquit even for the meager allocation that you received.  City of Harare is not accounting to that.

So Madam Speaker, I think the other issues that I have seen here and how detailed the questions are, Hon. Markham is still at liberty to further interrogate ZINARA, but for your comfort, the consolidated contract, we must remember that we did not even have an end date to the previous contracts that we all agree were not done properly and for your comfort, we also have another one that is just expiring within a few months from now which was also involving number plates and we are saying this one is now less than 24 months.  Even this is very topical; we now have an end date so that we start disengaging from the contract and that we also have, for business continuity, others taking charge and we are saying we can only do it ourselves as Zimbabweans to run some of the affairs as highlighted by Hon. Markham, of which I do concur that some of these services, we can actually do it within the country and precisely this is what the Government is seized with.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. MARKHAM:  Madam Speaker for clarity, I will be very brief.  I was a Member of the Public Accounts Committee when ZINARA came to Parliament.  So all these questions were asked, however ZINARA, when it came to the crunch, failed to attend and that was never followed up by the said Committee.  They failed to come. In fact they refused to come to the House.  So I have asked the question before and I have asked them in this House before and I will continue asking it.   I thank you.

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

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order Hon. Chikwinya?

HON. CHIKWINYA:  My point of order arises from the response by the Hon. Minister to direct the Member to ask the questions to a particular parastatal which is ZINARA which falls under his jurisdiction.

As Members of Parliament, we ask the Ministers because they superintend these parastatals and because they are specific questions, the Minister had time to go and interrogate these parastatals and bring back the answers.  So I think you may want to direct us because the Hon. Minister is misleading the House by directing the Hon. Member to go back to Committee Stage yet we are allowed in terms of Standing Rule 107 to ask the Minister specific questions so that he has got enough time to investigate and give us answers.  Otherwise there is no point in having Questions with Notice.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, I am sure the Hon. Minister responded to the questions that Hon. Markham asked.  Of course, he said maybe we can then be having a very lengthy debate of some things that we mentioned before in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).  Like what I heard now, the PAC also attended and I hear that the Chairperson had to submit a report in this House concerning the ZINARA Report.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, my question to the esteemed Minister, Dr. Mhona is that you recall that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) presented a report to this august House.  In that report which actually was made pursuant to the 2016 Audit Report which was commissioned by yourself, in the form of Minister Joram Gumbo, the findings of the PAC report which was adopted by Parliament was that the granting of the contract to UNIVERN was not consistent with the Procurement Act and evidence was produced to show that the Procurement Board never set.  One of the things that both the Audit Report raise and the PAC made a finding, was that it was unfair for ZINARA to pay these huge amounts of monies that are contained in your answer today to UNIVERN when we owned the vehicles, when we own the database for the vehicles that are moving here and when UNIVERN had not constructed a single tollgate. 

          So my question to the Minister is that, should we not just cancel the agreement as was accepted by Parliament as opposed to negotiating with people who have taken millions and millions of USD from our country?  That was in fact accepted by Parliament.  They have looted enough of our resources.  If you compare the monies and I have not looked at your figures, but I am quite sure that the money that has gone to UNIVERN is more than what ZINARA had actually distributed to Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North and so forth.  For what - for software, I ask that we revisit UNIVERN; they have looted enough.  I thank you.

          HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Just also to respond to what Hon. Chikwinya said. It is still the right of this august House to summon the Minister, together with the board.  When I was referring to Hon. Markham citing the Committee business, it is still relevant because if there were some gaps, they should have also invited the Minister, together with the board or the parastatal to answer to certain questions.  Also to say, this was a problematic contract and we must admit that it was done in a manner that was unacceptable.  The fact that it did not have an end date, we needed to have an end date to start from.

          Precisely, that is what has been taken on board by Government to say we now need to agree that these contracts are going to end but we cannot do it abruptly, to say take your bags and leave.  There are systems in place.  We need continuity in terms of business.  They cannot just shut the system and say we take over.  The person who is taking over must be ready to take over and this is what we are doing as Government.  We are taking over and I have cited a very good contract of number plates which is ending in August..  The sooner the locals are ready to take over, they will take over.  We have started disengaging from UNIVERN.  So, we cannot say we have given them a lifetime.

 They were arguing to say their contracts are ending 2029/2030 but we said alas, we cannot continue with this contract which was a one pager or whatever.  We need even to regularise and make sure that we are in line.  We cannot wake up the following day and say we do not want them.  We need to take over from them and we have done that in terms of the database, which was also another problem where the database was still within their purview.  We have taken over the database and it is now within the confines of Government.  What we are saying now, for us to then say they must pack their bags and leave, I think this is precisely what we are doing.  We are less than 24 months for them to end their contracts.  So we are basically taking over the systems. 

We are saying at the end of the day, for a contract that did not have an end date; we managed to sit and say we need this to have finality in terms of the contract arrangement.  Precisely, this is what the Government is doing.   For us even if we say we cancel today, who is taking over tomorrow?  This is a process which we cannot say we will shut down our systems.  Again, the questions emanated from the Committee that was summoned before this august House and they have to justify the continuity of this contract, if you check the records.  Precisely, I do concur that it was a bad contract, no one disputes that. We are now saying we are in our stages of regularising and precisely this is what we have done.  I thank you.

          Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 68.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5; 7 to 12 and 14 to 25, be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 13 and 26 have been disposed of in that order. 

          HON. DR. MURIRE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

INSTITUTE OF LOSS CONTROL AND PRIVATE SECURITY BILL [H. B. 5A, 2022]

          Amendments to Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, Part VI, and new Parts VII, VIII put and agreed to.

          Bill, as amended, adopted.

          Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

 

 

THIRD READING

THE INSTITUTE OF LOSS CONTROL AND PRIVATE SECURITY MANAGERS BILL [H. B. 5A, 2022]

          HON. DR. MURIRE:  Madam Speaker, I move that the Bill be read the third time. 

          Motion put and agreed to. 

          Bill read the third time.   

MOTION

DELEGATION REPORT OF THE BILATERAL VISIT TO INDIA BY A PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION LED BY HON. ADV. JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT

          HON. SHAMU: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Delegation Report of the Bilateral Visit to India by a Parliamentary Delegation led by Hon. Adv. Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament from 5 to 12 December, 2022.

          HON. DR. MURIRE:  I second.

          HON. SHAMU:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I rise to give a report on the bilateral visit to India.

  • INTRODUCTION

Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament, undertook an official visit to India from 5-12 December 2022, at the invitation of his counterpart, Hon. Om Birla, Speaker of Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament). The Hon Speaker was accompanied by the following Members of Parliament who are also members of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, namely:

  1. Webster Shamu, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
  2. Priscilla Moyo, Member of Parliament;
  3. Reuben Chikudo, Member of Parliament; and
  4. Support staff.

The Parliamentary delegation was received at the Indira Ghandi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi, by the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe to India, H. E. Dr. Godfrey M. Chipare and the Joint Secretary and Chief of Protocol, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Dr. Ajay Kumar. Also present to welcome the delegation were Hon. Ravi Kushansukla, Member of Parliament for Uttra Pradesh Constituency and Hon. Sahib Sigh, Member of Parliament for Delhi.

The delegation extends its appreciation to H.E. Dr. Chipare and his able staff for facilitating the attendant logistical and administrative arrangements during the visit.

2.0      TOUR OF NEHRU PLANETARIUM, TEEN MURTI BHAWAN

The delegation’s first engagement on 6th December 2022 was the tour of Teen Murti Bhawan and Nehru’s Planetarium, a museum and library that displays the cosmological system of the galaxy and promotes astrological education. The elegant building was constructed as the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army from 1929 to 1930. With the attainment of Independence, the Teen Murti House became the first official residence of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who lived there from 1948 to the time of his death in 1964. Prime Minister Nehru was passionate about science and technology education, astrology as well as the socio-economic development of India. Upon Nehru’s death, the Government of India converted the Teen Murti House into a befitting memorial that would perpetuate Prime Minister Nehru’s passion for education. The Museum ingeniously displays a series of inter-linked exhibitions depicting the different phases of colonial history as well as the epic story of the struggle for independence through contemporary photographs, photocopies of manuscripts, letters, newspapers, periodicals and other historic documentary materials. The Nehru Planet further showcases India’s cosmic heritage, the new solar system and the life story of the galaxy’s cosmological geospatial formation.

The delegation took a keen interest on how renewable energy in the form of solar power can generate electricity.

3.0      MEETING WITH THE ZIMBABWE INDIA TRADE COUNCIL BUSINESS DELEGATION

On the 7th December 2022, the delegation met with the Zimbabwe India Trade Council Business (ZITC) delegation led by its President, Dr. Asif Iqbal.

The well - attended meeting which brought together businessmen from cross cutting sectors, including health and pharmaceuticals, construction, hospitality, nutritional foods and winery was made possible through the facilitation of our Zimbabwe Ambassador to India, His Excellency, G. M. Chipare (Dr).

The Hon. Speaker addressed the business community from a legislative perspective in view of Parliament’s role in ensuring a conducive legal environment for business to thrive. In this context, he presented an overview of the investment climate and legislation in Zimbabwe, particularly the enactment of legislation creating the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), the one – stop - shop investment services centre for ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. Additionally, he informed the business delegates of the reform of the taxation and visa regimes which spurs foreign direct investment.

Hon. Advocate Mudenda articulated Zimbabwe’s National Vision 2030 aimed at achieving an Upper-Middle Economy anchored on the Presidential mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”. Accordingly, he implored the Indian business community to explore the various investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, a country with a sound constitution that respects the Bill of Rights, including the protection of property rights. Zimbabwe is also a preferred tourist destination that boasts of the Victoria Falls, one of UNESCO’s Seven Wonders of the World. 

The Hon. Speaker also shared some of the Second Republic’s progressive policies such as the education 5.0 which strives to stimulate industrial growth through science and technology at the tertiary innovation hubs and industrial parks. The Hon. Speaker indicated that through Parliamentary oversight, Parliament would work closely with the Executive to ensure the execution of signed business Memoranda between India and Zimbabwe.

Speaking on behalf of the membership of the ZITC, Dr. Iqbal expressed the ZITC’s keen interest in investing in Zimbabwe. To this end, the ZITC has, in the past year, dispatched 3 delegations to Zimbabwe to explore opportunities with the intention of establishing a pharmaceutical company with the aim of producing affordable medical products for both domestic and foreign markets as well as establishing an India/SADC Millet Research Centre to be based in Zimbabwe, among other business initiatives.

4.0   COURTESY CALL ON SMT. DROUPADI MURMU, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA

On the 7th December 2022, the delegation paid a courtesy call on Smt. Droupadi Murmu, the 15th President of the Republic of India.

Commenting on the existing relations between Zimbabwe and India, Her Excellency, the President, Smt Droupadi Murmur, recalled the high level visits between the two countries with the latest visit from Zimbabwe being that of the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Her Excellency, Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, who visited India in May 2022 whereupon she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by G. D. Goenka University. Her Excellency applauded the cordial ties between the two countries with India having extended support and cooperation to Zimbabwe before and after independence. To date, the cooperation has included the extension of credit lines for investment projects and aid in the form of 75 000 doses of the COVID -19 vaccine, donation of 20 ambulances to the State and 950 sewing machines donated to the Angel of Hope Foundation led by the First Lady, Dr. A. Mnangagwa.

With regards to the internal situation in India, the President noted that India was acknowledged as the world’s oldest constitutional democracy that is truly representative of the people. In this context, she briefed the delegation on the structure and composition of the Indian Parliament.

Furthermore, the President encouraged the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Parliament of India to foster a positive working relationship through sharing experiences and learning Parliamentary best practices.

In response, the Hon. Speaker expressed his gratitude for the excellent hospitality extended to the delegation and extended fraternal warm regards from her counterpart, His Excellency, Dr E.D. Mnangagwa. Furthermore, he expressed his gratitude for the aid and support extended to Zimbabwe in the various sectors, in particular, health and education. The Hon. Speaker assured the President that the Parliament is committed to putting in place a sound legal framework for the ease of doing business to facilitate trade and investment opportunities between Zimbabwe and India.

The Hon. Speaker noted the historical similarities in the two countries’ struggle against colonial rule highlighting that Zimbabwe’s national liberation movement had been inspired by the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of India. That inspiration by Mahatma Gandhi was pervasive throughout the entire African continent.

The courtesy call on the President is testimony to the commitment by both Zimbabwe and India to ensuring that the long standing relations between the two sister republics continues to grow from strength to strength.

5.0 VISIT TO RAJGHAT

On 8th December 2022, the delegation visited the Rajghat to pay their respect to the iconic and legendary Mahatma Gandhi’s mausoleum. The Rajghat is a memorial garden to Mahatma Gandhi and houses his mausoleum. It features a black marble platform which marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation and resting place. His last words “Oh Lord” are inscribed on the marble platform. The marble platform is always adorned with flowers and there is also an eternal flame at its head.

The Hon. Speaker laid a wreath in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, founding father of the Indian nation. The delegation observed a minute of silence in honour of Mahatma Gandhi’s memory.

6.0      VISIT TO THE INDIAN PARLIAMENT

On the 8th December 2022, the delegation toured the Parliament Building, specifically the Parliament’s Reading Room as well as the Library. The Reading Room is the venue for a Joint Sittings of the two Houses used when the President addresses Parliament and the nation. The President addresses Parliament annually to set out the Legislative Agenda for the Legislature in a similar fashion to our Presidential State of the Nation Address.

The delegation toured the impressive Library which was established in 1921. The Library boasts of 1.7 million documents and literary works comprising reference books, parliamentary publications, newspapers and gazettes. It also houses the cased original copy of the Constitution of India which has been preserved in its handwritten form. The Library also has a section dedicated to books authored by sitting Members of Parliament.

Furthermore, the delegation had the privilege to observe the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and the Lok Sabha (Lower House) in Session during oral questions. Of note is that the Members of Parliament pose concise and incisive questions relating to issues affecting their constituencies within three minutes per each Member of Parliament’s delivery. The Ministers do not respond immediately but do so in writing.

7.0      MEETING WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE RAJYA SABHA

The Hon. Speaker and Hon. Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Vice President of the Republic of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House) exchanged views on strengthening democracy and democratic institutions, global challenges, including climate change, the fight against COVID -19 pandemic, global peace with special reference to the need for a peaceful resolution in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and issues of equality in advancing national development.

The Chairman articulated the positive strides made by India in various areas, including sustainable health delivery and pharmaceuticals, development of ICT’s, digital connectivity from the village level, infrastructure development, provision of clean running water and rural electrification. He opined that development can only be underpinned by democratic principles.

Of particular note is that India achieved its milestone in the fight against COVID-19 from a scientific perspective wherein vaccinated citizens appeared on digital data. India also produced affordable vaccines which were accessible to all countries on a need basis.

The Hon. Speaker Mudenda acknowledged the critical role played by the iconic Mahatma Gandhi in inspiring Africa liberation movements in Africa, particularly Southern Africa.  The idea of constitutional democracy was well received on the African continent. In this context, the Hon. Speaker Mudenda applauded India for its revered Constitution.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda furthermore, articulated the role of the Parliament of Zimbabwe in crafting laws for the ease of doing business and Zimbabwe’s hope of attracting investors from India. He pledged to continue supporting India’s progressive positions at the international fora as well as commending India’s assumption of the G20 leadership which it was hoped Zimbabwe’s call for the removal of sanctions and its desire to re-join the Commonwealth would be advocated by India within the G20 countries.

With regards to issues that need special attention at the international fora, the Hon. Speaker Mudenda who is a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), highlighted that climate change and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should be given prominence. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has destabilised the global economy and created grain shortages, particularly in developed countries. There is, therefore, a need for diplomatic demarches to resolve the conflict expeditiously. India’s G20 leadership is expected to play a critical role in this regard. 

8.0      MEETING WITH THE SPEAKER OF THE LOK SABHA

On the 8th December 2022, the delegation met with His Excellency, Shri Om Birla, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The two Speakers discussed possible areas of cooperation between Zimbabwe and India and explored ways of strengthening relations between the two legislatures through the exchange of best practices. It was agreed that the relations should cascade to the Members of Parliament. Accordingly, a Friendship Association between the two legislatures would be formally established in order to cement Parliamentary diplomacy between the two institutions. The two Speakers agreed to stand together in debating international issues such as climate change whenever they met at the international fora such as at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The Hon. Speaker Mudenda congratulated India on her assumption of the leadership of the G20 and expressed confidence in India’s able stewardship of the group. Furthermore, he commended India’s impressive achievements in pharmaceuticals and her selfless efforts in distributing COVID-19 vaccines to all countries in need.

The Host Speaker briefed the delegation on India’s parliamentary system highlighting the vibrant democracy which recognises multi-party democracy and constitutionalism. In this context, the Speaker called on the two legislatures to strengthen and preserve democratic practices, constitutionalism and accountability in their respective countries.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda shared the structure and composition of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Similar to India, the Hon. Speaker noted that Zimbabwe is a multi-party Parliamentary democracy. He emphasised that democracy is an evolving phenomenon. Accordingly, each country should come up with own tenets of democracy benchmarked by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. 

With regards to India’s leadership of the G20, the Host Speaker expressed national pride given the country’s mantra of ‘One earth, One family, One future’. This, therefore, calls for collective action on global issues under the banner of multilateralism.

9.0    VISIT TO HUMAYUN’S TOMB

On the 9th December 2022, the delegation toured the mausoleum of Humayun, a World Heritage monument build near River Yamuna by the Emperor Humayun’s first wife, Begum Bega, to immortalize the memory of her late husband. Humayun was a scholar with an interest in Turkish and Persian literature, philosophy, mathematics and astronomy.

Though the Emperor died in 1556, it was not until 1565 that the construction for the monument began. After seven years of construction, the tomb and the surrounding Garden were completed in 1572. Given the grandeur of the memorial, it is no surprise that the construction cost came to 1.5million rupees, which was completely borne by Begum Bega.

The mausoleum is a memorable landmark in the history of Indian architecture as it provides a synthesis of Persian and Indian imaginative geometrical architectural prism designs. The Chief architect was of Persian origin. The structure was constructed using three types of stone, sandstone, marble and quartzite.

The mausoleum is made up of several cells, with the central one containing the grave of Emperor Humayun and the other cells containing more than 150 graves of the Emperor’s close relatives, the late Mughal Emperors and their kith and kin as well as other outstanding luminaries.

Of particular interest to the delegation was how the tomb was well preserved and open to the public for guided tours. The tomb is clear testimony that it is never too late to start preserving a country’s national heritage given that it was neglected over centuries until the 20th century when the tomb’s complex was restored to its original form at the order of Lord Curzon, the tenth Viceroy of India. The delegation was impressed by India’s reverence of its cultural heritage which anchors its domestic and foreign tourism.

10.0  VISIT TO THE TAJ MAHAL

On the 10th December 2022, the delegation travelled to the city of Agra for a tour of the magnificent mausoleum of Taj Mahal. It is a recognized masterpiece of the World Heritage and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The mausoleum was constructed by order of Shah Jahan. He was the fifth Mughal Emperor and devoted the construction of the Taj Mahal to his celebrated and much beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The legend behind the building of the phenomenal Taj Mahal is the eternal love story between the Emperor and Mumtaz Mahal who worked as a vendor at a local market. The Indian ruler was so captivated by her exquisite beauty that he instantly married her. After 19 years of marriage, Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to their 14th child. The Emperor was so devastated and consequently depressed about the death of his gorgeous young wife so much that he wanted to immortalize her. He, therefore, ordered the construction of the most beautiful mausoleum in the world which took 22 years to complete under the employment of 20 000 workers.

The most remarkable and phenomenal component of the Indian Taj Mahal is the white marble dome. The walls are laid with the polished translucent marble with elements of precious stones and gems (pearls, sapphire, agate, malachite, carnelian and stones). The interior is decorated with abstract symbol sand lines from the Koran. The Taj Mahal was constructed in accordance with the Islam religious traditions.

The Taj Mahal is considered to be the pearl of Muslim art in India and the eloquent example of imposing architectural designs in Moghuls’ time. It combines Indian, Persian and Arabic unique architectural elements.

The delegation was particularly impressed by the fact that the construction of the iconic Taj Mahal was undertaken through purely geometrical imaginative visual formations in order to achieve 3D dimensional poise. There was no use of modern architectural equipment such as computers. The awe-inspiring Taj Mahal is now a world-renowned tourist destination. It attracts 10 million tourists annually, 7 million of whom are local tourists. Zimbabwe can emulate India’s experience in establishing well-groomed cultural heritage centres which can become landmarks for accelerated and enviable tourism destinations.

At this point in time of presenting my speech, may I request you to allow the ICT Department to play the interview that Adv. Mudenda did hold whilst we were on this trip. If I may ask the technical department to play the interview for Hon. Members.

          Hon. Members were shown a video of the interview that Advocate Mudenda held whilst they were on the bilateral visit to India.

HON. SHAMU: I thought that Parliament should hear from the horses’ mouth what it is that we met, saw and learnt when we were in India and that these trips are not joy rides but they are serious important missions that are aimed at ensuring that we improve the economic performance of our own country. 

11.0  RECOMMENDATIONS

The delegation recommends that the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon Zhemu Soda visits India as a matter of priority, for the purposes of benchmarking technology efficiencies and effectiveness of the power development capabilities with particular focus on both utility and off-grid renewable energy generation, including solar, hydrogen, biogas and hydro facilities.

The delegation recommends the immediate establishment of a Zimbabwe-India Friendship Association which will galvanise the relations between the two legislatures. As agreed upon during the meeting with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, it is imperative for cooperation between the two legislatures to cascade to the Members of Parliament through exchange visits and sharing best practices in parliamentary processes for the mutual benefit of the general citizenry of the two countries.

The delegation recommends that Parliament, through the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and international Trade, ensures that all signed memoranda between the two sister republics be implemented expeditiously through the aegis is of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Our Government should be encouraged to reverently preserve publicly at the new Parliament complex our original Independence Lancaster Constitution and our home grown 2013 Constitution as signed into law by the then President.

Zimbabwe boasts several cultural heritage sites which are marketed internationally. These sites should be spruced up architecturally. The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry should spearhead the process. The time has come to introspect and encourage domestic tourism. This can be done through offering attractive and affordable packages to the local market.

Parliament of Zimbabwe together with the Government of Zimbabwe must strive to promote historical and cultural heritage of Zimbabwe in the mould of the Pan – African Liberation Museum currently under construction near the National Sports Stadium.

12.0  CONCLUSION

The delegation expresses its gratitude to the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Government for affording it the opportunity to undertake the high-level bilateral exchange visit. In order to give credence to this visit, the delegation calls on Parliament of Zimbabwe, through the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to ensure the implementation of recommendations, particularly with regards to sustained and mutually beneficial relations with the India Lok Sabha.  I thank you. 

  HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

  HON. TEKESHE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 9th February, 2023.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Twenty-Six Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 9th February, 2023.

On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty-Eight Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

 

 

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