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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 8_MAY_2013_VOL._39_NO._14
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 8th May, 2013.
The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MR. SPEAKER
VOTE FOR A WOMAN CAMPAIGN LAUNCH
- SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Women in
Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) is inviting all Members of Parliament
(both male and female) to a launch of the ‘Vote for a woman’ campaign
[HON MEMBERS: - Inaudible interjection] - Order, Order hon. members.
I have to take that again. I have to inform the House that the
Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) is inviting all Members of
Parliament (both male and female) to a launch of the “Vote for a woman campaign and its publications which include the gender audit for political parties, baseline study for Binga, Shurugwi, Makoni and
Hwedza on Women’s participation and the 2012 annual report. The launch will take place on Thursday, 9th May, 2013 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Harare from 1730 hours to 2000 hours.
MDC-T CHANGES TO COMMTTEE MEMBERSHIP
- SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that the MDC-T Party has made changes to committee membership whereupon Hon.
Mudavanhu moves from the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child
Welfare to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and National Housing.
- SPEAKER: I wish to urge all Party Whips to encourage their members to attend today and tomorrow’s sittings in order to meet the two thirds majority which is 144 members, requirement for the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill in terms of Section
52 of the Constitution.
HON. MASHAKADA’S ACADEMIC PROFILE
- SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that Hon. Minister Tapiwa Mashakada recently, successfully completed his research towards a doctoral degree in Economics and was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Economics of the 13th March, 2013 by the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. I would like…. [HON MEMBERS: Ululations.]- . Order, I would like to lead the House in congratulating the Hon. Minister on his attainment. Please take note of the change in his title to Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: May I move that Question Time be
stood over until we have disposed of Order of the Day, Number 1.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT (NO. 20) BILL
(H.B. 2, 2013)
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: May I particularly thank you for recognising me this afternoon as I proceed to present the Second Reading of this Bill which reading in my submission is of critical historical importance.
For some of us who go to church, we know and are aware of the book of Prophet Nehemiah. In the first chapter of this book, the Prophet describes how Jews coming out of captivity painstakingly rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem. Each and every one of them was determined and did participate.
For 33 years, Zimbabwe Supreme Law has been a ceasefire document negotiated at Lancaster House, England in 1979. The desire by Zimbabweans to write a new Constitution by themselves and for themselves started in 1999 agitated in the main by the National
Constitutional Assembly. The process of writing a Constitution has been long and arduous. We failed to agree on a new Constitution in 2000. Nevertheless we soldiered on. The process gathered momentum as the years went by and on 15 September 2008 the three main political parties represented in this Parliament and Government signed the Global Political Agreement to address the main ills facing, in the main – the governance of this country.
In my submission, the cornerstone of the Global Political
Agreement is the provision for the writing of a new Constitution for Zimbabwe. That writing of that Constitution was done in an inclusive and transparent manner. In the past four and half years, the people of Zimbabwe, just like the Jews in the time of Nehemiah, have painstakingly participated in the production of a Bill I present before you today.
The crowning achievement in this process was the “YES VOTE” in the Referendum on 16th March, 2013. I stand before you to ask in all humility to transform the Referendum result into law by passing this
Bill. Again, a lot of you will be aware of the New Testament story of
this colt which was freed and joyfully strode into Jerusalem with Jesus on its back. The passing of this Bill marks our passage into a new Zimbabwe.
There were various stages in the process leading up to the writing of this Bill. I am not going to go through every stage which we encountered and the manner in which this particular Constitution was done or written. Suffice to say that from 2009 up to today, we have traversed a number of stages which has made it possible for us to come to this day.
- SPEAKER: Order! Hon. member, your microphone is off.
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I beg your pardon. I was making
reference to the various stages which we followed in this Constitution making process. I do not want to belabour this House by going through each and every stage, suffice to say that the culmination of all these stages was the Referendum of the 16th of MARCH, 2013. I now want
Mr. Speaker with your leave, to address the main features of this Constitution, Amendment Bill No. 20.
Mr. Speaker Sir, one important aspect of this Constitution is the provision of the Preamble. What is of particular importance is that whilst we provide the Preamble in this Constitution, the current Lancaster House Constitution does not have a Preamble. This was a positive development because the Preamble sets out who we are, where we come from and where we are heading. In particular Mr. Speaker Sir, it will be noted that the Preamble of this Constitution which is at page 15 of the Draft which is before you, addresses the issue of diversity in this country.
Whilst addressing the issue of diversity in this country, that same
Preamble again proudly states that we are one unitary country. That Preamble Mr. Speaker recognises our history, the history of the liberation struggle and the many troubles which we went through in order to come to our Independence in 1980. That Preamble says we want good transparent governance, respecting fundamental human rights and the rule of law. The bottom line is that, we want fairness. Importantly Mr. Speaker Sir, this Preamble acknowledges the Supremacy of God. To those honourable members who have taken the trouble to read this whole Draft, it is quite clear that there is a thread which runs through this Draft from the Preamble and all the way to Chapter 18.
The thread which runs through this Draft is the thread of fairness. What the people of Zimbabwe said in this Constitution is that we want good, transparent governance, tinoda kutongwa zvakanaka. I know that some people want to govern but I come from a school of thought which really implores the governing to govern properly. That is all I say; tirikuti muBumbiro iri, tapota titongeiwo zvakanaka. Where is this aspect captured in this Constitution? What I am going to do is to go through the whole document and to identify those aspects or those pages and those chapters where the issue of fairness runs through this whole document.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to make reference to Chapter 1. It sets out the Founding Principles of this Constitution. I have already said that, that Preamble proudly describes our nation as diverse but as one. If you go to the Founding Provisions on Chapter 1, at page 16, a very clear statement is made in Section 1 of that Chapter. It says “Zimbabwe is a unitary, democratic and sovereign republic.” That is a carryover from what our Preamble says. This is particularly important Mr. Speaker Sir when we go to the Chapter which deals with the Provincial and Local Governments, your Devolution Chapter.
I want to particularly make reference to that Chapter because there has been a misunderstanding with respect to what Devolution means that Zimbabwe is being split up in different little countries. When we go to our Preamble, when we go to our Founding Provisions, it is quite clear that, that is but a misconception and a misconception only. You will also note that in the Second Chapter which sets out our National Objectives. I am looking at page 18 particularly Section 9. The issue of Good governance is also addressed. You will see that if you go to page 42, the President is obliged to govern properly. This is set out in Section 90.
You will also note that when we go to the powers of the Attorney General at pages 50 – 51, again the issues of good governance are set out. You will also note Mr. Speaker that when we go to page 66, which deals with Elections, the issue of transparency is again set out. You go to page 77, which outlines the principles in respect of which our Justice system must work; the issue of good governance and transparency is set out. You go to the principles involving Public Administration on page
81; again transparency and fairness are set out. You go to page 83 Mr. Speaker, the Conduct of Civil Servants, again the concept of transparency and fairness is set out. You go to the conduct of members of the Security Services on page 85; again the issue of transparency and good governance is set out.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what I am trying to show is that principles set out in the Preamble threads which we see in the whole of this Constitution. It is very important that when one reads this Constitution, he must be able to pick those threads which are in the Preamble and then look at how those threads are actuated in the whole of the Constitution.
Transparency and certainty are principles running through the whole
Constitution. In this particular situation, I want to address the issue of
Term Limits. Term Limits in this Constitution apply to the office of the
President. They apply to judges of the Constitutional Court, to
Permanent Secretaries and to Commanders of our Security Services.
The reason why this thread again which runs through the whole Constitution is that there be transparency and certainty. We are not only looking at transparency and certainty, we say when you are in power there is need to put in a succession policy. As they say Mr. Speaker Sir, a success without succession is not success at all. These Clauses are Clauses which run through the whole Constitution and the various passages which I referred to. When we refer to these threads which run throughout this Constitution, I want to stick to various and specific Chapters in this Constitution. Obviously, I cannot go to each and every chapter for obvious reasons but with respect, I think there is need to pick certain important provisions in this Constitution and speak to those Chapters or to those Provisions.
The first chapter I want to address Mr. Speaker Sir, is Chapter 3; which deals with the issue of Citizenship. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have crafted a chapter on citizenship which, although not perfect, is a chapter which recognises the mistakes we have made in days gone by.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the essential elements of this chapter on citizenship are as follows:
- Citizenship is now gender neutral. It can be obtained through either maternal or paternal side of the family.
- Abandoned children below the age of 15 are entitled to citizenship by birth. This is a brand new innovation in this Constitution.
- Citizenship is not lost through marriage or dissolution of marriage.
- Citizenship cannot be revoked if it makes one stateless.
- I believe this is critically important. A citizen by birth cannot lose his citizenship no matter the circumstances. I always said there is a Shona saying which says, “une benzi ndoune rake kudzana unopururudza”. – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible
interjections.] I hear the Ndebele version but I also hear that there is another version that, “Ana Chombo ndeane wake”, which is not part of this Constitution. What is important is that no matter what a citizen by birth wants to do, that person cannot lose his/her citizenship.
Another important aspect which has been brought about by this
Constitution is to address the issue of the ‘so called aliens’ and I say the ‘so called aliens’ because most of these people have never been aliens. Most of these people have never known any other home except Zimbabwe and Section 43 of this Constitution specifically addresses this issue and makes it quite clear that the persons who came or who are coming from the ‘so called SADC countries’, ordinarily are resident in Zimbabwe and bear children in Zimbabwe are considered, from henceforth, citizens of this country. I am sure that persons who were so grouped and may be at times described in derogatory terms can now stand as proud Zimbabweans and exercise their right to vote in the coming election.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I come to Chapter 4, The Bill of Rights. Mr. Speaker Sir, the current Constitution recognises two sets of rights: political and civil rights. This is common in just about every country but we have gone far in this new draft. We have expanded this Bill of Rights to include not only political and civil rights but to include socio-economic, cultural and environmental rights.
If there is any attack on this Constitution, surely one cannot attack this Bill of Rights. This is an expansive Bill which makes sure that we are doing in Zimbabwe what is good for us Zimbabweans and what is in the best interests of our country and in what is best international practice.
Again Mr. Speaker, I do not believe it is necessary to go into further detail. Members have looked into this draft and they have poured over it and I want to proceed to the next Chapter. Before I do so, I just want to address two issues particularly to the religious groups.
The first one has been that this Constitution is going to provide abortion on the take. This could not be further from the truth. In this country, we have what is known as the Termination of Pregnancy Act. What these people have said is exactly what is prescribed by this piece of legislation. There is no truth in the allegation that this Bill is granting the termination of pregnancy on the take.
The other issue Mr. Speaker which I want to address, relates to
Section 78 of the Constitution which touches upon Marriage Rights. The argument, again misconstrued, is that this Constitution is going to allow for same sex marriages. Mr. Speaker Sir, when one reads Section 78, one must read it as a whole. Section 78 (3) is very specific in its terms and it says persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other.
One must also read this particular Section with Section 56 of the same Bill of Rights which is the equality and non-discrimination clause. Mr. Speaker Sir, some of us have looked at this clause and have looked at Section 78 and concluded that this Constitution provides for same sex marriages. I want those people, with respect to go back and look at Section 56 (3) and then to go to the South African equivalent which clearly protects sexual orientation as a right. Our Section 56 does not and when one reads Section 56 and Section 78 of the Bill of Rights, one is left to wonder kuti ko vari
kurasika papi… [AN HON. MEMBER: Paimba yeround]- …
because this Constitution, contrary to what they say is not allowing for same sex marriages.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I come to Chapter 5 which deals with the
Executive, Chapter 5 which deals with the Office of the President,
Cabinet and related matters. Mr. Speaker Sir, depending on the paper one reads, we would have read in the paper of your choice that the President’s Powers have gone up in smoke. One paper would say, “President’s Powers still intact”. The truth of the matter Mr. Speaker and according to our Constitution, the true position is somewhere in between. The Constitution addresses both sides of the coin and sees to it that a proper balance is kept. How is this proper balance kept?
Firstly, I have already made reference to the Presidential term limit. What it means is that as a President is going to be in power for a specific time of 10 years and no more, the issue of patronage fall away. What it means Mr. Speaker is that we now have a President who must appoint running mates. The issue of succession is addressed [AN HON. MEMBER: Kwete zvokungoti vana Mai Mujuru nanaNgwena izvo]-. So, we now have a situation where there is certainty. You know very well that when A goes, before his term of office comes to an end, then B must take over. This new innovation of introducing term limits in our Constitution will go a long way to solve our problems in this country. There are issues of the declaration of war and peace and dissolving Parliament and you will notice when you read this particular chapter that the Executive to a large extent is going to report to Parliament and in certain circumstances, the Constitutional Court will have the final say.
I now come to the Legislature, Chapter 6 of our Draft Constitution. Members will know or would like to know that we have not made any changes to the number of Houses which are currently in the current Constitution. Members will also know or would like to know that we still carry the 210 constituencies in the House of Assembly. I do not limit this to women because this positive advancement of women must obviously affect everybody in the country. Members would like to know that 60 seats have been provided for women in the House of
Assembly, women only. This particular arrangement lasts for ten years. Thereafter; we hope that women would have been able then to bring themselves up to the same level as men. Again, these women are not going to be elected on a first come or on a first past the post basis. They will be elected on a partly system, six women per province. We also have retained 80 members of the Senate but of those, 60 members are again going to be elected on a party system, proportional representation.
Two out of the 80 are going to be representing the disabled persons.
Mr. Speaker Sir, some people have argued that because the disabled are represented in the Senate, why do we not represent, a, b, c,
- e. It was important and necessary to start. It is my submission that a good start has been made and as time goes on, if it is found necessary that there is need to provide for class representation, this issue can be looked at into the future.
We come to Chapter 7, the chapter dealing with elections. Mr. Speaker Sir, we say elections must be conducted in an atmosphere devoid of violence. As I shall comment later, the fact that we provided for this in the Constitution does not guarantee a violent free election. We need to do more. We can only do more if we adopt a culture of constitutionalism. It was necessary to set out the State’s obligations in this Constitution so that at no stage, must the state be left unknowing as to what its obligations are. We also provided in this particular chapter that the State has got an obligation to make sure that everybody who must vote is registered as a voter. I am glad that currently, the
Government of this country is putting in various modalities to make sure that this is done.
Mr. Speaker, I come to the Judiciary and the Courts. The important innovation in this chapter is the introduction of the
Constitutional Court. This is going to be a stand-alone court not a court which is part of the Supreme Court as is the current position. The rationale of introducing this court is that we have introduced a new set of values in Zimbabwe. We have introduced a broad Bill of Rights in
Zimbabwe, we have introduced a lot of new concepts and principles in Zimbabwe and we need a court which is going to see or to oversee that those new and broad principles are protected and carried out. Admittedly, there is going to be a transitional period in respect of the persons who are going to sit on this particular court but the principle is that at the end of the day, we should have a stand-alone Constitutional Court in this country.
I have already made reference to the issues of principles of public administration and leadership, the issue relating to the civil service. They are obliged to conduct themselves in a transparent manner and in a manner which emphasizes good governance and the rule of law. With respect, I need not say more about them at this stage.
I come to the issue of the Security Services. Mr Speaker Sir, this Constitution makes the point very clearly that all our Security Services are subservient to civilian authority not vice versa. It is our hope indeed and I believe it is a hope of every Zimbabwean, that as we go through this Constitutional process, this particular aspect of this Constitution will be respected by members of our Security Services. Again, in order to give certainty, transparency and in order to eat into that issue of overstaying, members of the Security Services have been limited in their terms of office. What it means is that you are appointed to a term of five years, after five years and you are entitled to another five year term.
After the ten year period, no matter we all go up in a riot and say that you must be re-appointed, that is the end of you as Commander of that wing of the armed forces. It is a positive development and this is consistent with the term limits which have been imposed in respect of a lot of senior officers recognised in this particular Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have been criticized in Africa in that we glorify individuals and not institutions. This Constitution creates independent commissions and these independent commissions have been tasked with supporting our democracy. It is hoped that with this Constitution, with the creation of these independent commissions we can look at institutions and not necessarily at individuals in order to make sure that our country is properly governed. Whilst looking at these institutions, I want to look at the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is on page 99 of the Draft Constitution. I want to disabuse this thought that this Commission was put in place as a witch hunting Commission. It was not. When you look at page 99, you will come to realize the rationale behind the setting up of this Commission.
We do not believe that we are going to be in a permanent state of conflict and this Commission is therefore set for ten years with the rider that if it becomes necessary then the Commission can be put into place again.
Mr. Speaker, let me go to another institution which is again a new innovation but which is critically important in the context in which we found ourselves in Zimbabwe today. This is the National Prosecuting Authority. The National Prosecuting Authority is set up outside the office of the Attorney General’s Office. That National Prosecuting Authority is tasked with carrying out all criminal prosecutions. The reason why this institution was set up is clear; you cannot deny the problems which we have gone through in this country. This National Prosecuting Authority is to address those very issues which we experienced in the past years in our country.
I come to provincial and Local Government. I have already made reference Mr. Speaker, when I addressed the preamble about the diversity of our country. When one looks at Chapter 14, it provides for local and provincial governments. Again it is clear that this particular provision is a provision which seeks to hold transparency and democracy in our country. You notice that this particular Chapter, particularly in the preamble, goes back and marries with preamble. The values in the Preamble and founding principles are repeated on page 264 and page 265, dealing with functions of provincial councils.
Importantly Mr. Speaker, you have a Council at provincial level, a Council which is headed by an elected person. You have at provincial level, ten people who are elected to be members of that Council. Mr. Speaker, ten persons who eventually will become as it were a Cabinet of that Council. They will be tasked with overseeing or with chairing the various committees of that particular Council.
Mr. Speaker, we do not forget our traditional chiefs. We respect them and in Chapter 15, we set out that respect which is accorded to them. Again as I have said, in other respects, we expect these chiefs to be transparent. We expect these chiefs to be democratic, we expect these chiefs to follow the rule of law.
We are aware that we have gone through a Land Reform Programme. This Constitution addresses this issue. In Chapter 16, we have come to realise and we provided that we can no longer go back on the land issue. We have sought to protect whoever is on land so that there is no unwarranted interference with the occupation by that person of that particular piece of land. Obviously, if there is due process, then there is going to be intervention because due process is taking over.
What is important in this particular Chapter is that we have set up the Zimbabwe Land Commission. A Land Commission which will ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land.
The last one Mr. Speaker, we must address the issue of finance. I do not believe that it is necessary for me to go through the details of the financial provisions which are contained in this Chapter because there is not much difference between the current Constitution and the Bill which is before you.
Chapter 18, the last chapter, provides for the general supplementary provisions in this Bill. It provides for the amendment of this Constitution and any migration from the current Lancaster House Constitution to the Constitution which I am sure this House is going to pass after debate. It is important that I address the issue of how to amend or how this Constitution is going to be amended. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am looking at pages 125 and 126 of this Bill. In terms of the current Constitution, this Bill was placed on public display, that is published in the Gazette 30 days before it was presented in this
Parliament. That was the minimum provided for by the current Constitution. What this Constitution says is that if there is going to be any Bill to amend it, then it must be gazetted for not less than 90 days. This particular Bill is aware of certain special provisions which must be protected and these provisions are firstly, the Bill of Rights provision, which is Chapter 4, the Agricultural Bill provision which is Chapter 16.
The position is as follows;
In an ordinary amendment, one needs a two-thirds majority before that particular amendment is passed.
If it is a Bill seeking to amend the Bill of Rights to Agricultural Land and seeking to amend term limits, in addition to two-thirds majority, you also need to submit that amendment to a referendum. More Mr. Speaker Sir, in respect of term limits, the person who is the incumbent at the time, cannot benefit from that amendment in addition to other peculiar provisions which are set out in this particular draft.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I need to come to a conclusion. I am doing so because I am aware that members have thoroughly gone through these documents. Let me say without any fear of contradiction Mr. Speaker, that I am proud to be associated with this Bill just as yourself and hon. members should be. However, as I have said earlier, having a good Constitution on its own is not sufficient. It is of paramount importance that we respect the Constitution and the laws made in terms thereof. We need to develop a culture of constitutionalism. As already said, a good Constitution does not on its own deliver an election which is free from violence. As I indicated earlier, the passage of this Bill represents our collective triumphant march into a new Zimbabwe. Whilst I may not agree with every aspect of this Bill, I want to concede that this is overally a good Constitution.
The Constitution process took a long time. Despite the time taken, persons and institutions were committed to its final and successful conclusion. I thank you Mr. Speaker and hon. members for the part you played in the process. In particular, I want to thank the Select
Committee core-chaired by the indefatigable Hon. Mwonzora,
Mangwana and Mkhosi. I wish to thank members of the Management Committee for their tireless efforts, at no extra remuneration, in the production of this Bill.
I extend my sincere appreciation to UNDP and the many development partners who provided material support to this process. I want to thank the drafters, Judge Chinhengo, Brian Crozier and Mrs.
Priscilla Madzonga for a job well done; not forgetting Professor P.
Makhurane and H. Sadza for chairing both the 1st and 2nd Stakeholders Conferences. I want to thank the people of Zimbabwe and in particular the leadership of political parties and Government for their support.
Last but not least, I want to thank the staff in my Ministry led by Mrs. Mabhiza who is here today, for having been present for me and the process at all times.
Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, we could not be here but for God’s guidance. In the Roman Catholic Church, there is a chorus which goes Handigoni kukutendayi zvakakwana. We simply cannot thank God enough. We need to acknowledge in humilit, that we are all here today because of his Grace. I thank you Mr. Speaker [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
- SPEAKER: Order, order.
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am certainly not debating my speech but members will have picked up a document which reads Notice of Amendments, Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20. I simply seek to give notice to hon. members that I will be moving these amendments during the Committee Stage of this Bill tomorrow. I want to say that all the amendments which are set out are amendments which arise out of full and agreeable consultation of all the parties involved in this process. This particular document is a result of the meeting on Monday of the management committee where everybody was agreeable to these amendments.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Honourable Speaker Sir, -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -
- SPEAKER: Order, order. Minister you can continue, I have recognised you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Honourable Speaker Sir, I
want to thank you for this privileged moment that all of us hon.
members in this House are having. This once in a life-time experience of debating a new constitution for a country. I think, Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a revolutionary moment and a moment that we will treasure that we were there and we were able to contribute to this important step in the history of our country and I will illustrate a little bit further, when I go into the history of our country, why today is such an important step. To be here Mr. Speaker, and for some of us who have been involved in the negotiations, it is actually a miracle and it is a desire and a push of God that we are actually here.
Mr. Speaker, we recall that on the 29th of September, 2007, SADC met in an extraordinary meeting in Maputo and directed through President Mbeki, that the Zimbabweans should dialogue and dialogue on those issues that will bring a legitimate, credible, sustainable Zimbabwe. It was identified even at that meeting that the Constitution will be at the epicenter of this debate around establishing a credible, legitimate and sustainable Zimbabwe.
We started negotiations on the 14th of April, 2007 in Pretoria, South Africa. Those negotiations were not easy. Those debates were acrimonious. The only thing that did not happen in those meetings was actually physical confrontation or altercation. But, anything that can happen where there is attrition, including banging of doors, throwing of water bottles at each other, it actually happened. Particularly the first meeting that set the agenda which was held at Sandton on the 18th of June, 2007.
So, to be able to come here to celebrate this process Mr. Speaker, it is actually a miracle and the grace of God that we are here. Even when we eventually were tasked to meet on the actual Constitution after months and years, it was not easy. Many of us here Mr. Speaker will remember the First All Stakeholders Conference which was held in Harare on the 13th of July, 2009. The meeting was chaotic. It was clear that there were certain sector offers, certain shareholders of the past who did not want to see the actualisation of this Constitution. Water was thrown in that meeting and even bottled urine was thrown in that meeting Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, it had to take the intervention of the three Principals who organised a meeting and a Press Conference on Monday the 13th of July. It had to take the intervention of the three Principals who had to do a Press Conference at 7.00 p.m. on Monday, 13th July, 2009 to force that the All Stakeholders Conference will actually occur.
Those who were at COPAC will also testify to the serious fights that would take place, particularly at the beginning when trust and acceptance had not been laid. I think it is indeed very right Mr. Speaker, to thank the leadership of the co-Chairs of Honn Douglas Mwonzora, Mr. Mulyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Mr."Edward Mkhosi because there was abrimony a those meetings. I also want to remember the two weeks se srent in the bush hidden somewhere at a little cottage,!somewhere in the middle ov mn}ntains in Nyanga trying to resolve some of these issues.
I know that books will be written but I think it is importand tjat it is chro.icled$that those meetings were not easy. Therd were 4imes Mr. Speaker. that one or two of the parties would grab and pack their bags to say I am leaving; I do not want to see you. And, then quietly you would put your tail in the leg and come back. There were times that, on the negotiatinf table, you would not believe that you would actually reach consensus on a particudar thing. So, you would!run away and switch off ymur phone in the fear that Hon. Chinamasa will phone and say come bag+, i have reco~sidered. That used to happen.
So, it was not easy. Even as late Mr. Speaker, as Wednesday, 17th of January, 2013, there were still wars. Mr. Speaker, you will remember that we met with the Principals on Thursday, the 18th of January, 2013. Even on the Wednesday evening that we met at COPAC House in Milton Park, we had such a fight Mr. Speaker, that our elasticity was so stretched that we said look, if this thing is going to die, let it die. We all walked away from that meeting. And to believe that the following day, in a meeting involving our Principals, a thirty-minute meeting, all the issues that were then outstanding at that time – the issue of devolution, was resolved. I think it was a miracle.
So, I want to state that the Constitution and the fact that we are here is a reflection of the maturity of the people of Zimbabwe. I want to remember on the 13th of August, 2012, we were in Maputo at the ThirtyThird Ordinary Summit of SADC. There, our colleagues in ZANU PF brought a document. Remember, each political party took the document to its own Executive or National Council or to its own Central Committee of Politburo. I know that our comrades in ZANU PF had many sleepless nights in those days – 15 hours of debate and they were debating the 18th of July Draft.
The net outcome of that was a thorough revision of the 18th July Draft. So, we were in Maputo when we received from the ZANU PF delegation, a summary of their own revision to the 18th July Draft. Some of us were shocked to the point of a heart attack because what was in that document was a complete negation and revision of the original documents. Fortunately Mr. Speaker, if you compare the document we are debating and the document of the 18th of July, 2012, there is hardly any difference.
So, this is a process that no one could have stopped. I want to say Mr. Speaker, as a Christian, that which God has pre-determined, no one, the opinion columnist, the chaos faction in some political parties; no one can stop this process. So, having outlined the experience Mr. Speaker, I want to define what this Constitution means for Zimbabwe. The first thing that this Constitution does is to establish a new social contract in Zimbabwe. If you will look at the preamble of the GPA, it records a society that is conflicted, a society that is torn by violence, torn by conflict, a society that is torn by the disbursement of the rule of law, society that is torn by the disbursement of dis-cohesion and lack of national unity.
It was the vision of the Global Political Agreement that it sort to bring about a society with shared commitment to re-orient our attitude towards respect for the Constitution and all national laws; to respect the rights of all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation to benefit from and participate in all national programs; to recognise, accept and acknowledge the values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination and respect of all persons without regard to race, class, gender or ethnicity; to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality.
Now, these things were being talked about because the social contract in Zimbabwe had broken down. What this Constitution seeks to do at first instance is to restore the social contract in Zimbabwe and to restore trust on those that govern and those that will be governed. To me, if you read the preamble, if you read the founding principles of this document, they are in fact consolidating and codifying the restoration of the social contract in Zimbabwe. We have been an afflicted society suffering from violence, abuse and fear of power. This Constitution seeks to address that.
The second thing which this Constitution does which is very important is to fulfill the unfinished business of the liberation struggle – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -. Mr. Speaker, it is not enough to have a flag of your own. It is not enough to have a national anthem of your own. It is not enough to have a black President or black Prime Minister when you do not have a Constitution that you can say has been made by us and for us. Zimbabwe has never had a Constitution of its own and by its own until now.
The first Constitution of this country, of modern Zimbabwe, I am talking of modern history, was the Southern Rhodesia Order and Council of 1889. The background of the Southern Rhodesia Order and Council of 1889 was that following the Berlin Conference of 1884, the British Government did not have the money of conquest. They out-sourced conquest to their private capital, in this case the British South African
Company (BSAP) led by that notorious rogue called Cecil John Rhodes. He came into this country, negotiated with King Lobengula and others and the Southern Rhodesia Order and Council of 1889 was enacted.
If you read this Order of 1889, it was an order codifying plunder passing the sovereignty of land that lay in black people to the company, the British South African Company. All that was there was minerals and land. First, they thought that Mashonaland would be the new grant-rant.
Then they were disappointed and they went back to Matabeleland.
The people of Zimbabwe then revolted against the looting that was taking place. In fact, the colonialists where looting so much that amongst themselves, they decided to form a committee that was called the loot committee chaired by one, Thomas Meikles whose capital is still in Zimbabwe. Now, I do not know who is chairing it. When the looting took place, there was war in this country. Black people in this country arose, particularly in the southern parts of the country and a war took place.
However, black people were subjugated and in 1894, a new order and council was created which was the Matabeleland Order and Council. One could say that the Matabeleland Order and Council is the second Constitution of this country. There was a conflict between the crown king, the company, the settlers and the black people. The king or the crown was saying this is our land, you cannot petition it. The company was saying no, no, we are the ones that have colonised this land, this is our land. Of course, the black people were saying, this is our land.
The matter was eventually referred to the Privy Council and the Privy Council was the highest court of appeal in the British Empire. The matter was decided in an infamous case called Inre-Southern Rhodesia: 1919; AC 211. In that court, the Privy Council held that black people had no rights over anything; that the company could not dish out land but that the crown could dish out land. As a result of this judgment, we then had the third Constitution of Zimbabwe which was the Southern Rhodesia Order and Council of 1923.
You can see again that we have never had a Constitution for ourselves. Soon after this, we had the Morris Carter Commission that looked on the issues of land and said they had a matrix of apartheid. There had to be segregation of land and of course, as all of us know, that led to the Land Apportionment Act of 1931. Thereafter, the next
Constitution which we had, which was of significance, was the 1965
UDI Constitution. After the 1965 UDI Constitution, we had the 1978 Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Constitution. After the 1978 Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Constitution, we had the Lancaster House Constitution.
Now, the Lancaster House Constitution was not made or passed in this Parliament. The Lancaster House Constitution was not even an Act of the British Parliament. It was actually a Statutory Instrument. Can you imagine a Statutory Instrument? It is delegated legislation. It is something that the Minister makes without consulting. So, this
Constitution which we call the Zimbabwean Constitution which we have pretended to call the Zimbabwean Constitution, is not and has never been our Constitution despite the abuses we have made on it, the nineteen (19) patches, ill patches that we have made in thirty three (33) years of our independence. For the first time, we now have a document that we can say was written by Zimbabweans and for Zimbabweans.
Amen and Alleluya – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -.
Mr. Speaker, there are two canons of Constitution making and if a Constitution is not made in that way, it does not pass the test of making a Constitution. The first one is what constitutional jurists call the legitimation component. Has this Constitution been made by the people? This is why if you look at Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement, the issue of public consultation is there in black and white. Who was to do the public consultation? It was the group of persons or individuals that could claim that we have some legitimacy from the people of Zimbabwe. That group of people is only Members of Parliament because they have been chosen by the people.
I say so because there has been a debate and a feeling in some individuals, that if I have got my own NGO, I am people driven. You might be wife driven or whatever but you are not people driven- [Laughter]. I am wife driven, so I speak from experience. I do not apologize for that. Parliament is the only organization in this country that can claim legitimacy and proximation with the people of Zimbabwe.
Therefore, it was important this process be people driven and the only group of people in this country who can claim to have resemblance and accountability are the Members of Parliament. Anyone who says it was not people driven, he is seeking to redefine the concept of peoplehood, the concept of legitimation, the concept of ownership. The process which we did from August 2009 to 2011 of public consultations, where over three million people gave references, - where the public consultations if you collate the books of material was important because a valid Constitution has to be made by the concept of legitimation. Can the people claim ownership to that?
If a document is not proximate to the people, it is problematic. This is why when we were negotiating in Nyanga, COPAC Head Office and some hotels we were going back to what the people said. That is important. The second aspect of constitution making is the negotiating aspect because the Constitution is a power document and the
Constitution is a balance sheet of the power forces that are existing in that particular country. If you consider the UDI Constitution, it shows the power of the minority. If you consider the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Constitution, it shows the power of the minority but the blacks through the war were beginning to have some say.
If you consider the Lancaster House Constitution, the black man and woman now has more power than he had in 1978. I have been reading opening remarks of people like Lord Carrington and the late Joshua Nkomo at Lancaster House, their opening speeches, it was a power game. If you look at CODESA 1992, Kempton Park they had these two concepts. The one of legitimation and the South Africans defined a concept that would cover the concept of legitimation. The doctrine of sufficient consensus which meant the ANC and its allies agreed because ANC was indisputably the representative of the black people.
Here in Zimbabwe the issue of negotiation and power contestation was resolved by the intra party negotiation that took place. It is not enough to have the legitimation. There has to be the contestation and the negotiation. Whatever Constitution you are talking about be it American Constitution and Declaration of Independence of 1774, there were class and power interests, slave owners, non-slave owners, states that said we want to be independent and others that said we have to have a strong Federal State. It is the issue of contestation.
We have these two Cs in our Constitution. I believe with great respect that we have passed the test of constitution making. The third component which you need in making a Constitution is, do you have certain constitutional principles that bind you because you are not rewriting the Constitution? The principles of separation of power, oversight, accountability and independence - there were 35 principles that were developed by COPAC because you do not just write a Constitution in the bush. I am pleased to say they were there which is why we have this document.
I have spoken about three things, the first one is that this document is restoring the social contract, so it is dealing with our past. The second one is fulfilling the unfinished business of the liberation struggle. The third one is establishing a new paradigm shift for Zimbabwe. All constitutions are dealing with a certain mischief and they seek a departure from the past. The Constitution of South Africa of 1994 was a departure from an oppressive and repressive Apartheid past. It was a new paradigm from an ugly past of repression. The 1979 Constitution of Zimbabwe was a new paradigm from the past of repression and oppression into an era past of democracy, one-man one-vote, onewoman one-vote. The 1965 UDI Constitution was also a departure from a hazy situation where the Crown had some control to a situation where Ian Smith was now saying, “I am a self governing colony and I am not accountable to the United Kingdom”. All Constitutions are a departure from the past.
I am pleased to say that this Constitution is fundamentally a departure from our ugly past. I have already referred to that past. It is the past of violence, monopolization of power, privatization of power and the state, aggrandizement, patronage and neo patrimonialism, subjectivism, that what matters is the colour of your political card. Even that is not enough, which region do you come from. That is the past that we are seeking to run away from in this Constitution. This Constitution seeks to establish a new legal and constitutional order. I want to touch on four things that define that this is a new and irreversible order that is being created in this Constitution.
The first one relates to the provisions that I would call the value system. That values of this Constitution are found in the Preamble,
National Objectives and Founding Principles – [AN HON MEMBER:
You are now campaigning] – I am not campaigning. I am talking about what this Constitution means. I suggest you take notes on what I am saying. Those three chapters are underscoring, underpinning, codifying a new value system. If you look at the Preamble, it has one thing that has never existed in our body politic which is the concept of putting God in front. It is a new paradigm from the past which has been lacerated and arrested with lack of love, deficit of love and kwashiorkor of love. If you look at the Preamble Hon. Speaker, it speaks of recognising the need to entrench democracy, good transparent and accountable governance and the rule of law. That is a value system. If you go again to the Preamble, we resolve by the tenet of this Constitution to commit ourselves to build a united, just and prosperous nation founded on values of transparency, equality, freedom, fairness, honesty and the dignity of hard work.
I love the phrase the “dignity of hard work”, because a lot of us here think that money can be obtained without hard work and without surplus. A lot of us here think that money can be rigged because of deals, corruption and so forth. If this Constitution says the dignity of hard work, it is making a departure, a paradigm from the current chaos of corruption, self aggrandisement and self enrichment.
- SPEAKER: Order, the member is left with five minutes.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I am
talking about values here. I have said there are three issues that define the values of this Constitution. If you look at the Founding Principles, they are about eight. supremacy of the Constitution; we have lived in a country for 33 years that has not known the Supremacy of the Constitution but the Supremacy of an individual. – [HON. MEMBERS: inaudible interjections] - So this Constitution, those that came before us from 1965 – 1979 knew the Supremacy of an individual called Ian Douglas Smith. So, this is a country that has been dominated by the supremacy of an individual and not the supremacy of the Constitution.
Another value Mr. Speaker is the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedom, and the nation’s diverse culture. I want to come to this; as the Founding Principle and there is no Constitution in the world which has this provision. It is a defining provision. I want to read it with your permission. “The principles of good governance which binds the state and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level include a multi-party democratic system, an electoral system based on the following: universal adult suffrage, free, fair and regular elections and adequate representation of the electorate.” Listen to this Hon. Speaker,
“the orderly transfer of power following elections”, - [HON. MEMEBRS: inaudible interjections] – So, as I said, you will not find this in any other Constitution. This is true and this is a departure from our murky, our ugly, our contested, our viral, our quagmiring past and this is key.
I want to come to another second thing which this Constitution does which is a paradigm and this is to have a permanent, clear, unambiguous, unequivocal definition of a Zimbabwean. The issue of citizenship, over the years Mr. Speaker, we have had the concept of citizenship and the definition of Zimbabwean citizenship being played along like pin ball or table tennis. One time you are a Zimbabwean, another time you are not a Zimbabwean.
An hon. member having passed between the Speaker and the member speaking.
- SPEAKER: Order. May I remind the hon. member that his time is up and may I also remind the hon. member who passed here that you bow down as you pass through the Speaker and get into the House.
- CHIBAYA: Mr. Speaker, I move that the hon. member’s
time be extended.
- KARENYI: I second.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr. Speaker Sir, a country
needs to have a constant metrics of who is a citizen and that concept of citizenship must be defined in the most superior document of that land which is the Constitution. If you have a situation like we have codified in Section 5 or our current Constitution, that Parliament and anyone else can pass a law to define who has a Zimbabwean citizenship, you have got a disaster because you then have a continuously moving, a continuously evolving concept of citizenship and that is not proper.
Now, for the first time in the history of this country, we have got a permanent definition of citizenship. The first one is that you are a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth. If at the time you are born in Zimbabwe and one of your parents is a Zimbabwean or alternatively you are born out of Zimbabwe but one of your parents was on national duty, it is clear, it is unambiguous and it is unequivocal.
The second concept of Zimbabwean citizenship is that you are a Zimbabwean citizenship by descent, if your grand parent, your great grand parent was a Zimbabwean. So, even if you have got one molecule of blood of Zimbabwean blood in you and you are born out of Zimbabwe, you are a Zimbabwean citizen. If you are born out of Zimbabwe, you are a Zimbabwean citizen.
The third category is Zimbabwean by registration, whether you marry or you get married to a Zimbabwean and you stay here for ten years, you are a Zimbabwean. Most importantly, is that Zimbabwean citizen as it pertains to the so called aliens. If you are born here, whether your parents came from SADC countries and so forth, you are a Zimbabwean and a Zimbabwean by birth. If you are a Zimbabwean citizenship by birth, no law can take away your Zimbabwean citizenship by birth. You can have multiple citizenship of China, Timbuktu, Gibraltar, no law can take away your Zimbabwean citizenship and this is clear. If you are a citizen by descent or registration, a law may take away that citizenship but I want to see which Parliament will have the audacity of creating discrimination between citizenship by birth, citizenship by descent and citizenship by registration. You would have to be a fool to try and create this discrimination.
The fourth thing Hon. Speaker, I have mentioned two things so far, the definition of citizenship. Now I am talking about the Bill of Rights
Hon. Speaker. The Bill of Rights Hon. Speaker …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Order, Hon. Bhasikiti-
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: I want to restate Hon. Madam
Speaker. I want to restate out of an abundance of caution, the point I am making. The point I am making is that this Constitution is creating a new paradigm from our past. So I have pointed out the issue of our values, the citizenship and now I am pointing on the third issue which is a paradigm.
A Bill of Rights Madam Speaker, is the most important Chapter in a Constitution, for only in the Bill of Rights do you actually find the people. The modern Bill of Rights trace their history as way back as
1215AD where some Barons and Knights met a certain British King in a Forest called Run mate and said Mr. King we are tired of your power, we need to be protected against you. Some of the practices that were put in the Magna Carter were practices against taxation; practices against practices such as, if you marry your wife the king has the right of entrance on the first night. All those things were addressed at the Magna Carter. So this Bill of Rights Madam Speaker, for the last 33 years and I have practiced law under this most frustrating situation; a situation where you go to Court and you win a case – a Constitutional case and the minute you win the Constitutional case, the ZANU PF Parliament then moves a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the gains of the Constitution.
So we have had a Constitution Hon. Speaker; we have had a Bill of Rights that took with the left what it gave with the right. In other words, there were too much derogation from that. We have also had a Bill of Rights that has not been protected. It has been amended here by a 2/3 majority and also we have had a Bill of Rights that was very narrow. This is a very extensive Bill of Rights from social rights to individual rights and from primary rights to secondary rights. Most importantly Madam Speaker, this Bill of Rights, no one can willy-nilly amend it. To amend Chapter 16 you have to have 2/3 approval of Parliament and you have to go for a referendum. So I submit that the Bill of Rights is the third thing that reflects a paradigm shift from our past.
The fourth thing Hon. Speaker is the Executive. Mr. Speaker, I am a Constitutional lawyer myself. If you were to ask me to write one provision in an African Constitution that is more important than any other, it is the provision that limits the term of office of the Chief Executive Officer of the country. To have a situation that as has been the case across Africa, that some of our leaders behave as if they are hammered on to the Chair is not on, Hon. Speaker. So the most important thing that this Constitution has done is to ensure renewal of the State by ensuring that you go for an election. If people like you, they give you your five years.
THE TEMPORARY: Order, Order, Order, the Member’s time
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE: Madam Speaker, I rise to add my voice to colleagues who have spoken before me and in particular to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs who has captured the entire process and roadmap which we walked both as political parties and as Government, as a country and as a nation to reach this day. The Minister ably articulated that process and I will be redundant if I repeated that process.
Secondly Hon. Speaker, we are sitting here as the legitimate legislative House of this country to make the laws of this country for the purpose of governing this country. Madam Speaker, the journey was not easy and I feel that we should congratulate ourselves. Not only on both sides of the House but also to the people of this country who have various backgrounds but at the end of the day, realising that after a bitter armed struggle, where sons and daughters of this country perished and were maimed, to liberate this country. Time came in 1979 when there was choice to continue to prosecute the war or avail ourselves to discuss the possibility of shading blood in order to come to the table and find a platform to produce a process that would give us independence.
At that particular juncture in history, we chose the possibility of achieving the goal of independence by going to Lancaster but of course it is on record that Lancaster gave us a window of opportunity to achieve two things: one, the cessation of the armed struggle and the ushering in of independence. The major grievance of that war which we fought and many of our people perished was the issue of land. So we made sure in 1979 that that issue be attended to.
I am glad to say on the issue of land, all political parties represented in this House as well as those outside are agreed that the land belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. I am also happy Madam Speaker that the Constitution that we are granting unto ourselves as people also takes cognisance of the fact that, land shall never again part from the people nor the people part from their land. So today Madam Speaker, I am so delighted that all of us are speaking with one language and one vision on the Constitution we are granting unto ourselves. The speed by which we should execute to do this job shows the commitment as to how we love the Constitution. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS,
GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Madam Speaker,
I am thankful for this opportunity that I have been afforded to add my voice to this historic debate, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
No. 20 Bill that will bring in a totally new dispensation into Zimbabwe.
I feel the weight of history and the great responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders, this 7th Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This is because, as has been said by speakers before me which I associate with, this day in the history of Zimbabwe is a day that will forever remain in the annals of Zimbabwean history. We are privileged to be members of this august House today and also even participating not only in this august House but also across the hills and valleys of Zimbabwe because indeed, the people of Zimbabwe themselves did have a say in the making of this charter.
Madam Speaker, allow me to quote from a speaker who once said,
“If you like sausages, you should never watch either being made “.
That was Otto von Bismarck, a Prussian Prince of the 19th century. Indeed, the process of making this Constitution, which is a law making process, might have been uglier because it was indeed the making of the supreme law of the land. Happily, it is most heartening to note that this process might have been ugly and indeed painful and took longer than it should have taken but it resulted in the prize. Maybe possibly more so, apart from the very wonderful provisions that it has, the very process might be the greatest process and the greatest thing that Zimbabweans have done after the 2008 elections, that is to conduct national healing. This process, even if it were meant not to yield this very good product, it did cause us Zimbabweans across the political divide to sit down, to work a way through, to set the rules of this process and indeed to go about together in the countryside sitting in teams, side by side and speaking to the people of Zimbabwe who saw for themselves that Zimbabweans are able to sit together and put their differences aside. I am really glad as a Zimbabwean that we achieved this process.
Madam Speaker, as a member of this 7th Parliament, I feel extremely privileged and extremely blessed to be part of this, also for the reason that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 does indeed usher in freedom to Zimbabwe. In 1980, our country attained its independence but, what is independence without freedom? One might say that it is more or less like a body without a soul. In 1980, the country and the nation did attain independence. In the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill, the people of Zimbabwe are finally attaining freedom for themselves as people which together with the independence that we have, we can rise to stella heights as a great nation not only in Southern Africa but also of the world. I insist in saying that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill is ushering freedom because as has been said, it confirms a Declaration of Rights that is not only the envy of many a country in Africa but the world over. It is the broadest, deepest and the widest and the most expansive declaration of the rights and freedoms of Zimbabwe and beyond.
Madam Speaker, speaking as a woman, I am extremely heartened and feel the moment of history because in 1984 when the Legal Age of Majority was passed by this august House, I was thirteen years of age. The Legal Age of Majority Act was able to be passed because of the war of liberation that brought in independence. That was of particular significance to the women of Zimbabwe. Before this august House passed the Legal Age of Majority Act in 1984, black women like me were condemned to a life of perpetual minors. They could not open bank accounts; they could not vote alongside a men, they could not buy property. They were literally children in the eyes of the law but indeed, the independence that was ushered in 1980 allowed that process of truly liberating the African women to full freedom because the Legal Age of Majority Act was passed. Alas, that was not enough because as black women, we continued to live under a constitutional dispensation that denied us full equality of the person. Thanks to the liberation war and thanks to the Legal Age of Majority Act, we could now be adults in the eyes of the law but could still not live as full and equal citizens, it is a shame, 33 years after independence. I am glad that that shame is going to end very soon with the adoption of this draft Constitution. We do not have an equality clause in the Constitution that Zimbabwean women have been labouring under for the last 33 years. That same Constitution gives licence to discriminate against women including black women who are no longer minors.
Madam Speaker, it is most exhilarating and most note worthy that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill has an equality clause. The Women of Zimbabwe will be treated as full and equal citizens when this Bill passes. They will no longer be discriminated against in the name of custom, also in matters of personal law, that is marriage, divorce and inheritance, issues of children and also matters of the application of customary law. Domestic violence is unlawful as of now because this august House passed the Domestic Violence Act. It will be now also unconstitutional because this Declaration of Rights guarantees the right to the security of a person and protection from violence even from public and public sources. That is something that is worth celebrating. There are also economic, social and cultural rights that will allow the men and the women, but the women of Zimbabwe in particular to lead lives of a high standard particularly as we happen to be in a country with some of the highest rates of maternal mortality.
Madam Speaker, we sit in this august House today deliberating upon the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill, by the time we finish the day today, 10 women of Zimbabwe will have died today giving birth.
I am heartened and encouraged to note that this draft will indeed guarantee Zimbabwean women the right to reproductive health and the right to heaìthcare in general and also even ushering in a gender sensitive national budgeting process. I am sure the women of Zimbabwe will qlso be heartened to know that Clause!298 requires that one of the principles of the management and public financing requires that public disbursement of funds shall be for the duvelopment of Zimbabwe. Not only that, that in additiof and I quote, “Special provision must be made for marginalized groups and areas.” Marginalised groups Madam Speaker, are iîdeed women and t`is is indeed lost exciting ás we bring changes betwe%n!the present Draft and the mne we have had before. It is most encouraging and uplifténg fos women and others that viïlence and political violence itself will be uncolsti|qtional. `This is mowt
Madam Speiker, I wish to aló/ proceed to emphAsise and allow also my voice to go in celebration of the freedoms that have been ushered by this Draft Constitution. Because indeed, it is said that “good years lead to the making of better ones, but bad ones bring worse laws.” I am most encouraged that once you pass Constitution Amendment No. 20, this august House will now be liberated from the shackles of having to pass unfree, unfair and unjust laws. Freedoms of expression and freedoms of association will flow like mighty rivers in Zimbabwe because this Parliament would never again be able to pass such heinous laws such as the restrictive measures in AIPPA, and the Public Order and Security Act. Those will be unconstitutional.
Madam Speaker, it is indeed true that as one famous writer once said, “woman throughout the ages has been mistress to the law as men ahas been its master. This was an educator called Freda Adler. Madam Speaker, Constitution Bill No. 20, will indeed totally put an end to this very sad chapter in the lives of the women and the men of Zimbabwe.
Freedoms have been opened to all of us. More so, it is extremely exciting and rewarding that these freedoms are guaranteed throughout the Draft Constitution which brings checks and balances. Indeed there is freedom for one to express themselves, and freedoms from sexual harassment and freedom of expression in dress and in fashion and in whatever sense, this is guaranteed to the women of Zimbabwe. I am encouraged by that.
Madam Speaker, it should be celebrated loud and with clarions and with trumpets that indeed we have departed from the present
Constitution where we have Section 27 that says that the President shall take precedence over all other persons to move to a dispensation where in Clause 89 the President is actually, instead, the person who has the key and chief responsibility to uphold, defend and obey, (and I underline the word “obey”) and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the nation. This Madam Speaker, will indeed guarantee that the people of Zimbabwe, the men and the women, do enjoy checks and balances to the powers that may be.
Madam Speaker, allow me to end on a note that hopefully will encourage honourable members as well as all Zimbabweans that took part in this very auspicious process to remind ourselves that it is said that that, “the law will never make men and women free. It is men and women who have got to make the law free, this was by another famous philosopher called Henry David Thoreau. As we pass this historic Draft Bill, we must remember Madam Speaker that the work is only just beginning. This Draft, no matter how beautiful it may be, will never mean anything to Zimbabweans, will never mean anything in our lives as long as not only us legislators who are privileged to be here today, but also Zimbabweans across the country-side take ownership of it and demand that the promises that we have made to ourselves as
Zimbabweans in this Bill are fulfilled. It will only be our fault if we fail to utilise this to the yield.
I want to end by saying that if the people of Zimbabwe voted a thundering and resounding 93% in favour of the Draft, who would we be the humble servants Members of Parliament to refuse? I want to thank you for this opportunity.
THE MINISTER OF REGIONAL INTERGRATION AND
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: Thank you Madam Speaker. I
also stand up to speak on this historic day. I will not take too much time because I think my colleagues that were both in the Management Committee and in the Select Committee must have done a good job. I think it is important that one also adds their voice to this process.
Madam Speaker, I just want to perhaps emphasise two issues. As we celebrate this day, I think it is important that we look at two issues. The first issue is the process itself that got us where we are. The second one is the content. I think Madam Speaker, there is so much that has been said about the process. I think one thing that is lost to many Zimbabweans is that for the first time, this process allowed
Zimbabweans to sit under trees, in the bush and begin to speak and to map out what they wanted as a future for themselves. A child born today will have a completely different life from the life that any of us have had before. This is not as a result of anyone writing it for us, this is not as a result of someone from outside coming in and speaking to us, this is as a result of the Zimbabweans themselves sitting down and defining what is it they want for themselves. I think there are many countries that have not been given this opportunity.
Madam Speaker, this process comes out of a time where we had to negotiate as different political parties. Many countries haveng been so unfortunate that they have ended up in war, but Zimbabweans have refused to go to war and say it is possible for us to sit down and dialogue and come up with something that we are proud of. So, today this process brings to me, not only a Constitution, but it brings to me something that says I can proudly stand up as an African, I can proudly stand up as a Zimbabwean but most importantly, I can proudly stand up as a woman.
Madam Speaker, I think my colleagues did speak about the difficulties in the process, but today I want to celebrate the people that I do not usually celebrate, which are men. I sat as perhaps one woman in the Management Committee and many times I am asked how difficult it was to sit around the table with men because the assumption and what we have known of men normally is that they are a difficult species. Let me speak about these men that I sat around the table with. Much as they were difficult sometimes, much as they were led by ego but I think finally, even after you have had a hard day of fighting, whether it were the women in their lives that spoke to them or whether it was God that spoke to them, but it was always surprising that after a big fight, the very next day, you will find that they still want to sit down and make sure that they find a solution to the problems that we have had. That is the number one celebration.
The second celebration to these men is that when you look at all these provisions that we celebrate that are around women; it would have not been possible to get them. This is because whether we were in the Select Committee or in the Management Committee, the women were always in the minority; but we had these men sitting with us and agreeing. In some instances they were the ones who would have in fact proposed some of the most progressive clauses that we do have in the Constitution. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear].
Like I said, this may be the last time I will speak well about them but I think it is important that the people of Zimbabwe get to know that this was not just a fight that women brought to the table. This was a fight that brought both genders onto the table because people understood that the women’s issues were not just women’s issues but they were issues of justice.
Having spoken around the issue of process, Madam Speaker, let me speak around the issue of content. Like I said, just a very few things are in there. Again, so many people do speak around the issue of this Constitution and I do not think will have an appreciation of how good this Constitution is. Many times, some of us, because we have to go and debate and also have to go and defend, we have had to literally go and google, look around and try to do a comparison of Constitutions; not just in Africa, Madam Speaker, but in the world. I can proudly and confidently stand here and say the Constitution of Zimbabwe is one of the best Constitutions in the world.
Let me explain why this Constitution is one of the best
Constitutions and why it is different from most of the Constitutions. Let us look at one issue which is the cornerstone of any Constitution. The one issue which you find in this Constitution is the one around the issues of Bill of Rights. When you look at most Constitutions in the world, the Bill of Rights are very limited. They are limited to issues of human rights but in this Constitution, the Bill of Rights comprised of the human rights issues, the socio issues and the economic issues. So I think we need to celebrate the fact that we probably are one country that has the best Constitution in terms of the issues around the Bill of Rights.
The second issue that is in our Constitution which needs to be celebrated is the whole issue of devolution. Madam Speaker, not all
Constitutions in the world are very clear around issues of devolution. Not only do we have devolution in the Constitution, but it is very clear what kind of devolution that we need. Not only is it just a principle that is found in that Constitution, but we proceeded and continued to define how that devolution would be implemented. I want to challenge a number of people to go back to try and look at the Constitutions that we have and see whether they have a Constitution that has such clarity around the issue of devolution.
The reason why devolution is revolutionary is that one of the biggest problems that we have had all over the world about how people exercise power is that power is usually centralised. Power is usually over people and not with people. The devolution that we defined in this Constitution is a devolution that gives power to people. It is a devolution that says for a woman who is in Chiendambuya, Tsholotsho or in Binga today, she is the one who decides where the borehole is going to be sunk. This is because she is the person who knows what is needed in that particular area and I think that is a celebration that we need to give.
The third one and which you can find in most Constitutions, but we celebrate it because we never had it before, is the whole issue around term limits. For the first time, we are going to have a situation where anybody who gets into power makes sure that at the end of the day, during the time that you are in power, you are in power and you will go away. We should never have a situation where anyone believes that they will be in power in perpetuity. So, I think we need to celebrate that particular aspect.
Madam Speaker, my colleague who has just left right now, Hon. Jessie Majome did spend a lot of time speaking around women; but I think as a feminist it would be wrong for me to leave this place without speaking also around issues that are for women. On the revolutionary part, you can look at all the Constitutions and find things that talk about equal rights for women. You can find issues that put women around issues in the Bill of rights but you rarely can find a Constitution that went as further as we did around issues of representation. Madam Speaker, we do have a Constitution today that forces political parties to make sure that when they are nominating or putting people on the list, they have to consider that the first person on that list is a woman. This is amazing and revolutionary.
In fact, that clause is one clause that would have gotten me to take off my shirt and dance on top of this table because it is an unbelievable clause – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I know vatete kufara ehe-e. I am not going to do it, I know. This is so amazing and unbelievable and I think that particular clause, we need to celebrate it. I know that we gave ourselves a particular period of time but I am sure that during that particular time we should have been able to empower women to then go in and run. Madam President, I know that some of the men that are screaming right now are part of those men who are making it difficult for women to run in some of these elections. Primary elections, right now are the worst for women. They are struggling and they are fighting to be able to survive. That is an indication of how it is problematic for women to be able to access some of these positions. So,
I think we need to celebrate those particular areas – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections] – Mukarega kurova amai ava, vanonzi ani vamakarova vaye vaye. Madam Speaker, I think it is critical and it is important that we celebrate this particular Constitution.
Finally, Madam Speaker, again to just follow through the words that my colleague has said, a Constitution is like a piece of paper. A
Constitution is just like a marriage certificate. You stand up and say, “I do, till death do us part”. We will be together in sickness and in health but many are left in that sickness and health when people have declared. I am saying even as we have this piece of paper, it will take the political commitment and the political will to be able to make sure that we are able to implement the ideals and values that we have set for our people in this Constitution. It does not take any other person but it takes those people that are sitting in this very House to be able to make it a reality for the people of Zimbabwe.
Like I said, let us celebrate, let us pray and just say God has been good to us because today, we are able to put something out there for people and a legacy that will follow us throughout our lives. I thank you
- MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am also
privileged to be in this House today where the people of Zimbabwe are looking back at what they have done for themselves and be able to say a few things.
Madam Speaker, a Constitution is a very important piece of document that every country should have and celebrate on. Like what other speakers who have spoken before me have said, it is to do with how people will respect their Constitution that makes it a good Constitution. Madam Speaker, we really need serious commitment to this document. We really need to understand what a Constitution means to us and we need political will to make sure that this Constitution is observed.
I have got a few issues that I would want to raise Madam Speaker. Of particular concern to me is Chapter 12 that has to deal with the independent commissions. Madam Speaker, on Chapter 12 we have a list of independent commissions and on Chapter13, we have the provision that creates the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Madam Speaker, I am baffled because a number of sections in
Chapter 12 apply to Chapter 13 that enables the establishment of the
Anti-Corruption Commission. But, you find Madam Speaker, that the Anti-Corruption Commission has not been listed as an independent commission. That commission is one of the most important commissions that can ensure that we preserve good governance. Madam Speaker, all the other sections that have to do with the appointment, the establishment, also to do with the issue of recruitment of the commissioners, the retirement of commissioners or how they are removed from office, are the same as other commissions.
So, my question is why did we not make an independent commission? That Commission is one of the most important because the biggest threat we now have here in Africa which impedes our development is corruption. Therefore, I strongly feel that, that commission should have been made an independent commission.
I also want to speak on Chapter 15 which is to do with the traditional leaders. Madam Speaker, this Constitution has done us well because as Zimbabweans, we were running into a danger where we were slowly starting to politicise the system of our traditional leadership to an extent where it was becoming very difficult for any Zimbabwean to have a safe place to live. So, it is important that the Constitution now$deals specifically wIth the functions of our traditional leaders. !It is going to preserve our chieftainship status and also ald the other stfuctures that follo7 below the chief. It is impoztant and I thank the people of Zimbabwe who contributed towards the making of t`at párticular Constitution.
LAstly Madam Spe!ker, I want to deal w`th the Cill of Rights. If as Zimbabweans, we are going to abide by this Constitution, what we have0as our Bill of Rights is one of the best. We look at how the people’s rxghts were being trample` upon, how our people were being arrested and being tortur%d.0 I think because of this Co.stitution, the p%ople of Zimbabwe are going to be treated wath dignity.
The`institutions that are there to protEct the rights of the peop|e will take a good leaf from the Constitution and make sure that the people of Zimbabwe are well protected. I thank you.
- T. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would also
want to add my voice to the previous speakers on this child that we have given birth to.
One thing that we all know is that when one gives birth to a child, that child does not know anything. They do not know how to fight; they do not know what is called a fight. They do not know how to swear at people or how to steal. Those kids are then trained by the adults to commit whatever good or bad that they are meant to. Madam Speaker, when we went to the liberation struggle, one of our mottos was, we are our own liberators.
When we all went to war, that is what we were told – we are our own liberators. We liberated ourselves but we forgot to free ourselves. We are talking of establishing a new paradigm shift. Old habits die very hard and I sincerely hope that as a country, this Constitution, this child that we have given birth to, we will implement it in letter and spirit.
Sadly Madam Speaker, what we need to look at now is, what are we to depart from in order for us to implement this Constitution in letter and spirit? In the same Constitution, we are talking of the promotion of the public awareness of this Constitution to every Zimbabwean. I think the time is neigh that each and everybody in this country takes it upon himself or herself to make sure that every Zimbabwean knows this Constitution from the first page to the last page. It will then be very easy for us to be challenged for the violation of this Constitution. As long as people are not aware of what the contents of this document are, it might be very difficult because we have learnt to lie to people in order for them to follow us.
Madam Speaker, talking of citizens, we have national objectives in this Constitution where we are talking of peace and stability. Sadly Madam Speaker, here in this august House yesterday, I want to believe that at Cabinet they met and agreed on what was supposed to have been done yesterday. But, sadly when we watched ZBC last night, we were already squabbling where one Minister is saying something else, the
next Minister is saying something else but they were all in the same Cabinet. That alone then confirms to say we are lacking the political maturity that is needed for us to implement this document in letter and spirit. But, I pray because God is now in our Constitution. So, those that go to masowe, vanhu vamwari handei kumasowe because we need a miracle for us to respect our own laws.
The same Constitution speaks about the work and the labour relations. In this country every worker has been turned into a flea market or a flea. Unemployment rate, the figures differ every time depending on what paper you read. Some are claiming the unemployment rate is sitting at 90%, others are claiming it is sitting at 70% but the Constitution is now, telling everybody that is unemployed that as soon as we adopt this Constitution, the issue of unemployment will be a thing of the past.
We need to look also at the living wage. As we speak Mr. Speaker Sir, the money that everybody is earning at this point in time is not taking them home but it is taking them to their graves.
Again, we want to commend this Constitution because now there is a right for people to demonstrate and handover petitions. As we speak, we are being haunted by laws which I totally believe are ultra vires to the supreme document. The POSAs of Zimbabwe and the AIPPAs of Zimbabwe, the Criminal Codifications of Zimbabwe, and I think the time has come that these laws respect the supreme document.
On education, there are some of us that are in this august House who are beneficiaries of the funding that came from this, our own kids are failing to achieve that because as parents we are unable to pay the school fees. I am glad and I feel humbled that this Constitution is now guaranteeing that education from primary right up to tertiary.
On legal aid, these are the things that I looked at Mr. Speaker, from the beginning that what is it that we need to depart from in order to implement this Constitution. In this country, we are all guilty and we are proven innocent when we appear in court and incarcerated at remand prison. And, this Constitution is now guaranteeing legal aid. There are some people who have been rotting in jail for years just because that individual could not afford a lawyer. It meant to say those that are poor and cannot afford lawyers, they will rot in jail for the rest of their lives and that is going to come to an end. We have women that have been married, whether customary or 5.11, who have lost properties and they are unable to claim them because they did not have the money to engage lawyers but this time that is guaranteed in the Constitution.
Preservation of Traditional Knowledge; I want to remember our grandfathers were able to treat epilepsy using herbs. Today, doctors have failed to treat epilepsy but they control it. That information, I want to believe, went with our grandparents. If at all they shared with us, some of us have forgotten because we thought it was not a style to be seen to be a herbalist because we are now professors and engineers but that, they managed to treat and the Constitution is now guaranting that. I hope those of us that were humbled enough to listen to our grandparents will be able to share that.
The Right to Shelter; Operation Murambatsvina de-stabilised
Zimbabweans to untold suffering. We were all promised Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, to this date no one has benefitted but the Constitution is now guaranteeing that and I sincerely hope that there will be no Zimbabwean that is not accommodated.
Talking of Citizenship; we have called aliens names that undignified them, mabwidi but these same people, today we are boasting as Zimbabwe, of a beautiful railway line that was built by those people. Those people were in our farms feeding Zimbabweans but these people today are called mabwidi and are denied the right to go and vote. I am happy that the Constitution is now guaranteeing that they are now Zimbabweans. It is so unfair today that as Zimbabwe we are throwing them away because they are now old and useless and uneducated as we claim them to have been. They have given birth to Zimbabwean kids who are, as I speak now, some of them are stateless because they were given birth to amabwidi.
I sincerely hope that this idea that an alien must go to a mobile voting station, produce a long birth certificate that states that either of his/her parents was a Zimbabwean so that they must be upgraded to be a Zimbabwean, to me I think it is adding salt to injury. To me, that is xenophobia that is taking place in South Africa. I expected that the mere fact that that alien has got an I.D that states that they are alien, all what we need to do is change from Nokia to Samsung. Take the alien, give them the Zimbabwean I.D and let him go on as far as I am concerned.
The Declaration of Rights; the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms; in this country you are proven guilty before you have been taken to court. The Constitution is now guaranteeing that people will not be detained without trial. We have comrades that are rotting at Remand Prison for the past two years. The courts are failing to find them guilty or innocent. Comrades, those of you that are going to visit them, tell them that the moment we adopt this Constitution, their days of incarceration are over.
Right of the Arrested and Detained; you know you get arrested and you get to law and order, you are asked to take off your shoes and blah, blah. The next thing you are told you have no rights anymore. A lawyer comes looking for you and that lawyer is told, aa-a no, no, the people that you are looking for are not here when she knows that you are there and they do not even know where you are detained.
Sadly, the lawyer knowing that Tabitha is there, demands to see me and the lawyer is detained. Those are the things that we need to change if we want to implement this Constitution. You are forced to admit to be guilty when you are not. How do they force you? Pane imwe inonzi pasi petsoka, baya kukharabha ngesiNdebele. They will beat the hell out of you that by the time they are through with you, you will accept that crime even if you did not commit it. That will come to an end because this Constitution is saying no to that.
Human Dignity; in this country in 2000, we were denied our dignity as women of Zimbabwe – [AN HON MEMBER: Usuqalisile] – . Aiwa, that must be said because we are saying what are we departing from. You know, issues of women when they are spoken in public, in Parliament and in decision making offices, men will always say, ah izinto zabafazi. Ah, usucwalisile. Handisati ndatanga. Mr. Speaker, I will be a woman and I cannot change to be a man. There are some issues of dignity that as a country we need to respect because you dignify a woman, you dignify a country. You dignify a woman, you dignify the world. I am glad to know that as women we are now covered.
We also have the Criminal Codification Act, Section 8.11 that states that the police have a right to arrest any woman that walks the streets at night because it is perceived they are soliciting for prostitution purposes. Surely, are we now saying every woman in this country is doing that? I now believe that the Constitution will throw that away.
Freedom from Torture; I saw a picture of one woman that went to look for her clients and she was beaten up until she was blue-black. The Constitution is now denying that. Let us remember and let us depart from the issue of beating up people that we perceive do not agree with what we do and punish them because the new Constitution is saying no
Freedom of Assembly and Association; some people are being forced to attend pungwes because they are in a constituency that belongs to a party that they do not belong to. The Constitution is saying no, everybody has got a right to associate and attend a meeting of their choice and a party of their choice. Let us depart from the issue of forcing people to attend meetings that they do not want.
Demonstration in this country meant to say you will be faced by two things, a prison or a hospital. That is going to be a thing of the past because now we can demonstrate and handover petitions as per the Constitution that we are going to adopt.
Coming to the issue of Access to Information, I have been sitting here and I saw the camera guys sticking to one side. You will see the camera zooming Makhosini Hlongwane, zooming Didymus Mutasa and
when it comes to this side, it just speeds and I think you switch it off. We are saying that must stop. I want to bet every Member of Parliament that is in this august House, go and watch the 8 o’clock news tonight and see the disaster that will come out of this Parliament. We are saying the new Constitution says I have the right to information. It is not an obligation, it is a right.
Stop airing things where some of us, surely we cannot all be farmers and surely we cannot all be aligned to one party. Let people hear every party so that each and every one of us can make a decision on where to go and where not to go. We are being bombarded by propaganda day-in and day-out and the same people that are giving us that propaganda are coming back to our homes and demanding licences.
What licence when you are feeding me poison. That must stop.
Security Services; security personnel, let me reiterate what my other colleagues said, they are not supposed to act in a partisan manner. They are working for Zimbabwean people. They are paid by the taxes that are paid by each and every Zimbabwean in this country. Their employers are the people of Zimbabwe. They should not act in a partisan manner. Furthermore, they should not support a certain political party and when another political party comes, all hell breaks loose. They must remember and underline that their salaries are coming from our taxes. Each and every Zimbabwean that pays VAT is paying the security forces, be it the army, prisons, CIO, you name it. It is my salary and I will set the pace on how they are supposed to work, not them setting the pace because they are earning my money. Lastly, Mr. Speaker they must not violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person in this country. They must respect each and every Zimbabwean because that Zimbabwean is their employer and I think as Zimbabweans one thing that we need to change is what we call the “chef” syndrome. Mr. Speaker, I have googled and googled, the word chef means somebody that cooks muhotera. There is no one called a chef, because we are here because we were voted for by the people and the owners of this House are the people and we must deliver to them.
I want to end up by talking about devolution. We are glad to know that the Constitution now says my cousin in Zaligwa there in Nkayi, if she gives birth to a child in a clinic, she will walk out of there with a birth certificate. Gone are the days when we were supposed to travel from Zaligwa to Lupane, from Lupane to Bulawayo, from Bulawayo to Harare just because we did not have a birth certificate. Those are going to be things of the past but what is important is that we need to change maitiro edu kuitira kuti bumbiro rifambe. Nxa singa guqulanga izenzo zethu ilesisikelelesi sizaba iphepha elilotshiweyo.
Mr. Speaker go global, in every decision making organization there is a Zimbabwean, be it a scientist, UN, RMS, ABSA Bank or the Global Stock Exchange, there is a Zimbabwean there. We are the most educated people but for some unknown reason we are very good at writing papers, beautiful papers. We wrote a Global Political Agreement; a masterpiece, but one of our weakest links is the implementation of the documents that we write, where we assent our own signatures because we preach peace and practice war. Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you.
- S. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, firstly I would like to thank the Minister of Constitution and Parliamentary Affairs for bringing this Amendment No. 20. I would like to thank the three co chairpersons, Hon. Mangwana, Hon. Mwonzora and Hon. Mkhosi for giving us the guidance on how to come up with this Constitution. I will only talk about the languages but before I go to the languages I would like to challenge people who think that when we were campaigning for a yes vote, we were opposed to this.
If you want to oppose what the majority want, like the three parties who are in this Global Political Agreement, they agreed that it is time up, let us come up with our Constitution, then there are people who think that they were born to come up with the Constitution. They must have MPs in this august House so that their plans will sail through but if they do not have the members of Parliament then they do not have the mandate from the people. We have the mandate from the people because we were elected and that is why we are driving this Constitution.
I would like to say to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the three co chairpersons, that what we have done here, a lot of countries will be phoning you for some advice on how you went about this and how you did this and in the next, maybe one or two years, you end up leaving the Parliament building to work as a consultant for other countries because of what you have done. It is not easy for three political parties to come together. Of course there are quarrels here and there, even if your opponent comes up with a good idea, you are supposed to oppose it because your political party will say why did you support him. It was difficult although, hon. Minister, you ended up introducing the management, which in this House we did not agree to. It was straight from the Minister of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs and co chairpersons and then straight to the Principals but you ended up adding another structure, which I will not dwell much upon.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is the issue of languages with this new Constitution. It allows someone in Binga to speak in their language. I think it gives us the opportunity that when you go to Binga and you go to a hospital, you expect to see a nurse who speaks Tonga. When you go to Beitbridge we need to see people there who speak Venda, so that we know that we are in their area. With the issue of this controversial council, it gives us that advantage and for someone to oppose; of course, we cannot come up with a 100% document but we have tried our best under these difficult conditions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, with this Constitution, especially the women in Zimbabwe, I think they must support it 100% because it favours women but we were believing in 50/50 but now I think it is 40/60. We will give them that, I think, for the next ten years, so that we see that the women are equal to men but they must not also take advantage of that and then start abusing men. There are other countries here in Africa where there was war and now there are more female MPs than male MPs, for example Rwanda. Here in Zimbabwe we did not want to go to war, it was there in the 70s and it was over.
Mr. Speaker Sir, now everyone is free with this Constitution to speak Shona, Ndebele, Kalanga, all those languages, and not say I do not understand your language. When I am in Harare I must understand the language in Harare, when I am in Mutare I must understand their language and when I am in Chipinge I must understand their language.
That is what the Constitution says, not to say they are a minority because they are Ndau people. No, they are a majority because they are in their area. I think with this new Constitution, it allows them to be the majority there. Why do you want to dominate other people? We had the struggle because the whites were dominating us. We do not want to see under this Constitution another tribe trying to dominate other people, whether we call it regionalism or whatever, we do not expect it in this Constitution.
Coming to the issue of term limits, members of Parliament are a bit clever because we had Hon. Mangwana and our Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs; they managed to jump the term limit of Members of Parliament, they only limited to the judges and the President. I think, for a change, Mr. Speaker Sir, there was supposed to be a limit. We believe in democracy but nevertheless we have agreed that we will just leave it open so that the people will judge us. The concept is that people cannot judge a Member of Parliament because a Member of Parliament is not an executive, they do not have a budget.
He cannot do anything besides to come to Parliament here and make
laws and do the oversight role. That is the other thing which we need to explain to the people. We must not go around and promise people that we will build dams and so on as Members of Parliament. Our job is different; we need to tell them the truth. We have the new Constitution which states the duties of the Members of Parliament. I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity.
- HLONGWANE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me
the opportunity to contribute to this very historical debate on the new Constitution. I just want to start by making reference as other speakers before me have done. I will begin with the path that we have walked in order to arrive to this day, the drama that became part of the
Constitution-making-process. During the First All-Stakeholders- Meeting, I was chairing the Media Committee and I remember that colleagues in the MDC-T changed their Chairperson three times. That was before we finally got into the deliberations and discussions that were meant for that day in order to put together the basic framework that was going to be used for the discussions or the deliberations during the COPAC outreach programme. We also famously recall that during the
First All-Stakeholders’ Conference, Comrade Chinotimba lost his phone. It is worth noting that, that kind of drama was part of the Constitutionmaking-process and is something that we are not going to forget. [AN HON. MEMBER:Asi noise ndiyo yawakanganwa] – I am addressing the Speaker hon. member.
It is also important Mr. Speaker, to recall that some amongst us wanted to depart from the collated views by the people during the COPAC outreach programme. What the people said was very clear, but some among us wanted to depart from what the people had said. I recall, as you might do, that there was quite some sustained national debate and conversation around that. That as it may, today is a very historical moment for us as Zimbabweans. As Members of Parliament, we were cheered and buoyed by what has happened as a result of the effort of every Zimbabwean to bring together their thoughts in what has to become the supreme law of the land. We are happy because today we are discussing a Constitution that is made by Zimbabweans and for Zimbabweans. We are happy because of the diversities in our various languages, cultures and political differences. We have been able to come together to bring about this important document that we call the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Today, in a symbolic sense, the second Union Jack is coming down in the continuation of the liberation struggle of our country. For a long time, for 32 years, we have been hamstrung by a Constitution that was made in Britain, which was basically a compromise document arrived at in order to stop the war, seize the fire and conciliate the various contradicting political opinions of that time. Today, we are liberating ourselves completely and disconnecting ourselves from the intravenous connections that were brought upon us by the Lancaster House Constitution. We are beginning a journey in which we are going to walk by ourselves, governing ourselves fully in terms of the legal regime and legal apparatus that binds us within our jurisdiction.
Let me walk through a few important points that I just want to highlight within the Constitution. The first is the Preamble, which states the acknowledgement of Zimbabwe’s ability to resist colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression. The idea of liberating oneself or liberating a country like Zimbabwe is clearly a continuous process. It started way back at the beginning of the last century when our ancestors took up arms to fight the British South African Company in resistance to the annexation of their land by Cecil Rhodes and his cronies.
The Second Chimurenga war was a war led by the current veterans of the struggle who decided to take up arms to liberate themselves from the yoke of colonialism. That is what then resulted in the Lancaster House Constitution that we now have. However, liberation is a continuous process and we have to liberate a lot of various facets of our life and society, one of which is land. As you may know, since 2000, Zimbabwe has been engaged in a very important historical activity of reclaiming its land, which was the reason why our ancestors in the late 1800 fought hard against colonialism and domination by the Settler
Regime in order to reclaim the sovereignty of their land. We have realised that, by the continued liberation ethos that was demonstrated by Zimbabweans in 2000, in this mark of the century in order to reclaim our land – the dividend that comes out of that is for everyone to see that the Land Reform Programme was a worthwhile activity. We are happy that the Constitution does endorse the Land Reform Programme in Chapter 16 which I am going to make reference to later on as I continue.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important in this Preamble that Zimbabweans agree and have consensus to the fact that, we have to continue to resist domination by anybody. We are a sovereign nation and we have to continue to resist any form of oppression and subjugation by anybody and it is important that it is highlighted within the Preamble. The other point is the commitment to safeguard and defend fundamental human rights and freedoms. During the war, there are laws that have to be obeyed and you know very well that during the liberation struggle, a lot of Zimbabwean sons and daughters who participated were bombed in Chimoio, Nyadzonia, Zambia, Tembwe, Tanzania and various stations where they were deployed. A lot of them died enmasse and there are mass graves in those places and other places in Southern Africa. That was a serious violation of human rights. You also know that during the Apartheid fight of Ian Smith, we were unable to exercise certain rights as human beings. What this Constitution does in the Preamble is to entrench that commitment to continued freedom and fundamental human rights. It is very important that Zimbabweans are able to agree on this very important thing.
The Preamble also speaks of acknowledging the supremacy of Almighty God. This is very important because as Zimbabweans, we are able to agree on the importance of the supremacy of Almighty God. We are able to pray for our country, seek wisdom and guidance from Almighty God in everything that we do. This is a very important factor in our Constitution. The issue of languages within the founding provisions is also very important. I will not belabour the point because every speaker has spoken about this but it is a very important point that we are now able to bring all the languages to the same level to become national languages, regardless of the size of population of the people that do speak that particular language. These languages are now recognised, which means that they are now going to be able to be learnt in schools. We are also going to be able to debate in this House, in courts and every other public place using the various languages that people are able to understand.
It is also important Mr. Speaker, going on with the Constitution, on the national objectives that we recognise the role played by veterans of the liberation struggle. It is very important; especially the fact that we now broaden the definition of what a war veteran is to include wana chimbwido, wana mujiba and others that did participate in the struggle to liberate our country. This is important because for a long time we have not really paid enough attention to the role played by these cadres except for the pay outs that those that actually participated by way of firing the guns receive. We left out a whole broader definition of who a liberator could be and I am glad that in this new Constitution this is taken care of. The role played by the veterans of the liberation struggle and the fact
that we include other people that had been left out of the bracket of liberation veterans.
I want to finish by looking at Chapter 16, which is very important for this country. Mr. Speaker, we all know that all the wars that have been fought in Zimbabwe have been around the issue of Chapter 16, the issue of land. These wars were around how do we liberate our land, how do we reclaim the sovereignty of our land, how do we give freedom to our land? This was at the centre of the second liberation war and this was at the centre of the first liberation war of the late 1800.
I want to make reference to Section 289 which says land reform is necessary to redress the unjust and unfair pattern of land ownership that resulted from colonialism. This is very important that as Zimbabweans we can agree on this fundamental fact that colonialism did not only mean subjugation. From a political point of view, colonialism also meant disempowerment in the sense that Zimbabweans were removed from their fertile land. They were taken away from vast tracts of fertile land and this was parceled and shared amongst the settler regime.
What Chapter 16 does is to restore that ownership by
Zimbabweans to their land and this is very important. Not only that; it is also important in the sense that Chapter 16 is one of the Chapters like the Bill of rights in Chapter 4. One would need two-thirds majority and a referendum inorder to change what is contained in Chapter 16. I want to speak on the last issue as far as land is concerned and this is a warning.
Section 291 states that the rights of people using or occupying agricultural land are not affected by the new Constitution. The general fear among all patriotic Zimbabweans has been that the new Constitution will affect negatively the dividends of the land reform programme. There was a projection in the negative sense that whatever will happen during the land reform programme, the parceling out of land back to its rightful owners was going to be reversed by the new Constitution. What this section does is to protect the gains of the land reform programme. In other words, we cannot change the status quo in any way.
Section 294 is a warning. An owner who occupies agricultural land has the right to transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of his or her right in agricultural land subject to any condition imposed by law. We risk Mr. Speaker to reverse the land reform programme if we come up with a land tenure system which will result in a disempowerment process or in a disempowerment of those that have been empowered by way of gaining from the land reform programme. We need to enact a law that introduces a land tenure system that further protects the gains of the liberation struggle, not a land tenure system that will disempower the people of Zimbabwe. Otherwise this is a good document, it is important that we must all celebrate its coming to being. I thank you.
- E. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I really want to congratulate all Zimbabweans, congratulate the COPAC Committees, the Parliament and everybody who contributed to end up with this document. However, from what I have listened, everything has been touched on which praises the law. The law can only be good if all nationals who come to leadership follow the law and please the community they serve. A nationalist is one who defends his people through the law that is provided and I hope we will not have personalities who defy the same law we have created today.
I want to touch on the area where I think the legislature must work hard before we even move far. This is the area of local government. The law has changed; there is now creation of councils, that is, provincial councils where MPs are going to be part of the provincial councils headed by a chairperson other than a Governor. There is need to have definitive laws that guide this decentralised venture. We need to study what is happening elsewhere to ensure that we are not going to get lost and give people power who are not going to work properly.
Also, we must ensure that no one takes away the devolution process which has been created through the introduction of these provincial councils. Everything has been defined that the law will be provided through this august House. I am not sure whether we have enough time Mr. Speaker to introduce the relevant laws that will touch on the devolution aspect. Otherwise we can talk about all the other things that have been said. I want to congratulate all the speakers for praising this Constitution. We must work on it. It only takes virtuous people to applaud their own country and raise their flag high when they are respected in their own country. When we do that, we shall be proud of this Constitution and move together as Zimbabweans. I thank you.
- HOVE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Firstly I would like to appreciate and acknowledge the efforts of all Zimbabweans who contributed towards the crafting of this very important document, the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It was not an easy task, nevertheless, when you look at the final product; it is a reflection of the quality and resilience and capacity of Zimbabweans to deliver themselves from every negative situation they find themselves in. Indeed, as Zimbabweans, we have put our detractors to shame. The process was very long and arduous.
I recall I was assigned in Mashonaland West Province. We did traverse Mashonaland West Province right from Harare to the shores of Kariba. The process accorded Zimbabweans an opportunity which I want history to take note. It was the first national healing programme. It afforded Zimbabweans, irrespective of political persuasions or beliefs, an opportunity to interact reflecting the different opinions over the same subject. It did afford us the opportunity of speaking to Zimbabweans from our various political backgrounds, that in itself history has to take note. It gave us an opportunity which we need to build upon as we move forward. The process as well required Zimbabweans to gather at places unseemingly for a national discourse. I know one earlier speaker said it allowed Zimbabweans to sit under trees, on farm fields just to lay the framework on how this country is to be governed. When I look at the numbers of people who attended those meetings, it shows a reflection of how important this Constitution making process was viewed. We need to appreciate and acknowledge Zimbabweans in their generality over the positive contributions that they made by attending such meetings, notwithstanding the positive contributions. I also recall the negative contributions some sections of Zimbabwe made. I remember there were incidences whereby people would want to stop people they were claiming not to know from speaking their views because they thought they had no right to speak or to have their voices heard.
Nevertheless, we soldiered on and we captured every statement that was coming from every Zimbabwean whether we knew them or do not know them. I also appreciate the ones who gave their resources even if they were getting financial rewards. Some gave their cars and equipment to facilitate in the gathering of views. We need to thank our hoteliers though at times they were locking us out for providing us with accommodation during those difficult times. We need to acknowledge the ones who fed us, some of the areas that we went to, some of us never set foot in those areas. I want to thank all those Zimbabweans who contributed extensively and diligently to this cause.
I will now come to the content. It showed the richness of the diversity of Zimbabweans which we need to celebrate. I recall in instances where we were dealing with a chapter on citizenship. There were indeed people who wanted to show their “patriotism” who thought the exercise sought to disenfranchise certain people of certain beliefs, people they perceived as threats to what they believed, such as denying people dual citizenship. I recall some heated arguments, some saying that they do not want dual citizenship, as if the provision will force every Zimbabwean to have a dual citizenship. I want to appreciate the drafters who threw away such statements, people who were being denied dual citizenship.
Dual citizenship is of importance to Zimbabweans who are in diaspora, they want the benefits or to have better benefits in the foreign lands they are working in. Surely we would not want to deny Zimbabweans the best opportunities there. I want to acknowledge the issue of dual citizenship in Chapter 3.
The other important milestone in terms of context that I want to touch on is the Declaration of Rights Chapter 4. It is very important because for the first time in the history of this country, we have in the supreme law, a chapter that gives importance, respect, honour and some integrity to a common man. Every law that is going to come, if it touches on any of those rights, that law is declared to be void. It is not justiceable. It needs to be amended or repealed altogether. It opens a plethora of opportunities for Zimbabweans to excel in their social endeavors, such as the freedom of association and assembly. If the freedom of association and assembly produced this document we are having before us today, what more can you expect from future gatherings that this Constitution will permit.
I look forward to living in an era whereby I no longer have to ask any authority to gather or associate. I look forward to era an whereby I have access to information that I want to hear. I remember during the outreach programme whereby someone would say I want Studio 7 to be banned, as if by mere switching on of your personal radio, Studio 7 turns itself on. For one to access Studio 7, you ought to have left other stations that are being broadcasted on your radio station. For someone to desire the banning of Studio 7, is like saying we do not want the technological advancement that has taken place up until now. There are many radio stations. You are not forced to listen to Studio 7. Why are you zeroing in on Studio 7? Access to Information is commendable.
The other important point I want to bring at this juncture is the issue of devolution, I know there are certain interests that wanted to misconstrue what devolution stood for. Devolution did not stand for the breaking up or partitioning of Zimbabwe as a unitary State. It came quite clear despite the coaching that some political persuasions wanted to coach people to say, but when we later on heard people speak from their hearts especially the issue to do with natural resources, you would hear quite clear, voices irrespective of which part of Zimbabwe you were in. People would say we want a portion of our natural resources to be used in developing our own areas rather than have it all go to one area. Such a clamoring should be applauded in that people want also to receive benefits from their natural resources to develop their own areas as well. So I find this Constitution quite progressive in as far as granting devolution its constitutional status, notwithstanding the choice of leaders who will be superintending issues of development in the area they have been elected to represent. The coming in of provincial and local authorities, will again bring to the fore the issue that some of us have sought to delay, the issue of the amendment of the Urban Councils Act, like what Hon. Mudzuri who spoke before me stated.
The other points in terms of content I want to bring to the fore are issues to do with qualifications of voters in the Forth schedule. It is important to have such section included in the Constitution to ensure that if someone dream of introducing a law that seeks to disfranchise Zimbabweans from enjoying his/her suffrage right. I can take that person or authority or that Act to court and have it declared null and void. Lastly, I want to say the passing of this Constitution of Zimbabwe Bill sets us some future business which I will term the way forward.
The passing of this new Constitution demands that those legal reforms that were supposed to have been enacted during the life of the Government of National Unity, that we had deliberately omitted, now have to be done as a matter of urgency. We need those legal reforms. I would have preferred those legal reforms to be carried out before 29th June 2013 so that we are delivering a complete composite set of laws that would propel this country to join other respectable nations. We need those electoral reforms, media reforms, security sector reforms to ensure that they come into line with the new Constitution and to ensure that we do not clog our court system with legal challenges.
I foresee disaster if we continue with the current laws without bringing in other amendments or repealing those Acts. I want to ask the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs to bring in as a matter of urgency, legal reforms in most areas so that we bring in those Acts in line with this new Constitution in order to enjoy the benefits of this new law otherwise it will remain a pipe dream because it will always be in confrontation with certain laws that are currently in existence.
With these few remarks I want to thank you for the opportunity to add my voice in the making of history of a new Zimbabwe.
MS MANGAMI: I also want to add my voice in congratulating Zimbabweans for the product which is before us. We went through a rigorous process and everybody participated. When we started, one would think that we were not going to come to an end because there was a lot of noise in the beginning and later on, people converged to actually agree on a process to continue and for a product to be realized. Now, we are having a Constitution in front of us.
With all the stakeholders meetings which we had, the first and the second one, of course we were improving stage by stage, when we held the Secondt All Stakeholders Conference, we had actually improved compared to First All Stakeholders Conference, thereby leading us to this day which we are having to celebrate on the successful product.
So many things have been said and I will look at a few things that I feel I have to look at, that is the Agricultural Land Rights, whereby every man and woman are expected to register their names if they have the same plot. There are also rights to food and water in the Constitution. I am happy to see that they have included not only clean water but also portable water. I was thinking of the portable water and I said to myself is it the mineral water or it is something else? I am not sure but I am happy that we have all those rights which are in front of us.
There are economic rights as well and we hope that all these rights are going to be exercised on. I also want to look at the inclusion of the disabled persons in the Senate. It is a very much positive idea for us to have everybody included – the seats for men, women and chiefs. You can see that all people are included. The profile for every person has been included.
Now that this document is there like the previous speaker has said, let us have it passed since everybody has voted for a “YES VOTE”. I think ours here is to augment on what the rest of the people have said.
- F. M. SIBANDA: Thank you for giving me this privilege to speak. I thought I was not going to speak on this historical event. Since you went to recess, I have been standing throughout and I thank you very much to have honoured me to speak.
If I heard well, Hon Matinenga said that the process of
Constitution making process started in 1999 under the banner of
National Constitutional Assembly. This might be partially correct but constitutionalism of Zimbabwe has been as long as 1890 when our forefathers were subdued by Rhodes BSAP in Mbembesi in 1896.
The historians say the first Chimurenga started in 1896 which is very wrong. It started in 1893 when our forefathers fought with spears while the whites had sigwagwas. The constitutional dispensation and process started long as I would say. Honestly, Hononourable Matinenga was correct that in 1999 civil society, students, churches and trade unions, particularly the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and many others found it fit that modern constitutional process should start.
I am happy to mention that the Prime Minister was the first Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, Thoko Matshe was the second and then the last was Dr Lovemore Madhuku. I am happy to say that I served under their leadership when the Prime Minister resigned and became the political leader. I became the Vice Chairman of NCA for two terms where I worked very well in publicizing the constitutional issues of this country.
I am happy to say that some of the members that we had at NCA taskforce are hon. members of this current Parliament and these are Hon.
Biti, Hon. Mwonzora who was the spokesperson then, Hon. Majome,
Hon. Reggie Moyo, Hon. Prof. Ncube, Hon. Thabita Khumalo and Hon. Chimhini. If I have left some, it is not deliberate. I want to emphasize that this Constitution making process was not an individual issue but a collective issue. More importantly, I want to say those that are still clamouring that NCA says “NO” to this Constitution, they are individuals, two or three people but the rest of the Members are now representing this Parliament. Notwithstanding that Dr. Madhuku wants to form his own party but there is a time that he worked so hard with the people I have mentioned in this House. So we should applaud him for that and Thoko Matshe and Hon. Prime Minister because this was the genesis of the constitution making process. I need now to dwell on very few issues. On thePreamble, I only commend and acknowledge the Supremacy of God. That is a mark on its own. On the Bill of Rights, I am agreeable to it but I want to also quote the Bill of Rights on a very vulnerable people starting from the application …
- SPEAKER: Order hon. member. At this stage you may not directly refer or quote any provisions of the Constitution because this is a general debate. You will do so when we get to Committee Stage tomorrow where you are at liberty to talk direct on a specific clause or provision of the Constitution that you are deliberating on. So you may just speak generally on the principles.
- SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I need to commend the expanded human rights. These are justifiable at law particularly the protection of the vulnerable, the rights of women, rights of children and rights of the elderly. I need to emphasise that everybody grows. It would appear the youths and women have been highlighted very much in other documents but this Constitution captures also the elderly people. I do not know where the elderly starts but I think those who are fifty years and above or sixty and above. So hon. members, this Constitution has captured very well that even the elderly people should be guarded as vulnerable people.
The rights of the disabled was also highlighted and also the war veterans as war liberators, the detainees, the combatants, freedom fighters and the assistants. So this Constitution to me is second to none when you analyse the Bill of Rights that is very expanded to include social, economic, cultural, environmental, civic and political rights. This Constitution needs to pass without any doubt. I need to talk about Security matters.
It is quite clear in Chapter 11 that security officers should be none partisan, should be apolitical hence this is now a new paradigm shift where we have had commanders of the army taking political stance. It is taboo as soon as we hear anybody after this one, they will be charged under treason. It should be treasonous because up to now some certain commanders in the police, army, boast that they are above law.
So henceforth after we adopt this, any statement that is treasonous, they will be judged according to what they have done. So I applaud that Section. Section 12 talks about Independent Commissions to facilitate democracy. I cannot go to those Commissions but we are seeing a new paradigm shift in this Constitution where democracy has to be enhanced by institutions that are constitutional. We come to Chapter 13. I am not going to read it but understand that it is against corruption where people have been making ill gotten riches. This Chapter will deal with those people and it is going to enhance anti-corruption tendencies.
Lastly but not the least, we have to talk about Devolution where many people in Zimbabwe particularly Midlands, Zvishavane and Gweru and Gokwe where I went, 90% of people endorsed devolution but I was alarmed to see that this constitution making process nearly failed because of differences politically. My colleagues that have spoken earlier put it clearly that devolution is power transfer to regions, to people so that they exercise their power politically and in decision making. So this is a progression and progress from the old Lancaster Constitution. I would love to implore this House that we have to deal with constitutionalism.
Constitution and constitutionalism are two different concepts.
Constitutionalism means we have to live by the implementation and do things according to the book. We have to accept the rule of law as it should be. This to me is second to none and it is very critical that this Constitution is second to none in Africa because I have analysed a lot of constitution making processes.
I need to thank the negotiators, the principals, Management Committee, the co-chairs, the MPs in their entirety for the outreach programmes, the rapporteurs, COPAC staff, the Speaker of Parliament and the staff of Parliament and the people of Zimbabwe to have made this possible. I do not forget Magwegwe Constituency. They voted overwhelmingly for the draft and I am here to represent them and congratulate Zimbabweans to have voted wisely because after voting, we are going to have a new dispensation.
I worked in all phases of team leader, as rapporteur and as a draft person. I enjoyed all that. I was in Masvingo. I know what happens. So I am very lucky that I participated in the all levels of the constitution making process. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
- MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am standing up adding my voice on the amended Constitution No. 20. I think we have made history as the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe. Being one of the members of that Parliament, I stand here to speak on behalf of Nkulumani the constituency that I represent. I also want to thank the people that took part in this process. Unfortunately I was not part of the Outreach Programmes for the MPs because by the time when the MPs were going out, that is the time when I lost my mother and I could not be part of the Outreach Programmes.
I just want to thank you Mr. Speaker, the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Clerk of Parliament, the staff of Parliament and also the members of Parliament here and the Minister Mr. Eric Matinenga for driving this process in his ministry. People are not mentioning those things but I think this was a Parliament driven process where we must allude and thank the job that was done by your Parliament under your leadership Mr. Speaker. We thank you so much. No one will thank you except us. I think things have been mentioned here. You have made history in this country for the first time and this history means that Zimbabwe will never be the same again. Things that used to happen yesterday, it is actually a paradigm shift. It was mentioned by Minister of Finance that there is a paradigm shift in this country.
Things are never going to be the same again but what we need to do is respect and observe the culture of constitutionalism whereby we do not have to just have the document alone. We need to observe and respect that document. What we need also as a country is to make sure that our children also know about this document. I think in this country there is a tendency whereby when there is a Constitution, we think that the Constitution is for adults only. I think in our schools we need to introduce a subject on the Constitution so that as our children grow up, they should know what is in the Constitution
so that tomorrow these are future leaders, they will know what it means to follow the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to thank the people of Nkulumane who I represent for voting overwhelmingly. I think in terms of the ‘yes vote we had about 12 000 votes from the people of Nkulumane and also the people of Matabeleland as a whole. They voted in their numbers to give a ‘yes vote’ to this Constitution. It shows that the people of Matabeleland were happy to see the issue of devolution of power coming to them as you know Mr. Speaker Sir, Matabeleland was one of the marginalised provinces, but through devolution, I think things are going to change and the people of Matabeleland are now going to be given the power and authority to be able to decide their own destiny.
Mr. Speaker Sir, without much ado, I just want to thank everyone. I want to thank the COPAC especially Mwonzora, Mangwana and Mr. Mkhosi the Co-Chairpersons and the Select Committee of COPAC as a whole. I can see Jessy Majome here as one of the Select Committee Members here in this Parliament. Also, Mr. Navaya, aah Navaya you have not been in the Committee you are lying. Mr. Gonese, I have mentioned you and I also want to thank the Management Committee of the COPAC, Mangwana, Tendai Biti and also is it Mzila or Priscila Misihairambwi from the Ncube faction. Also, the Minister, I have mentioned you. I want to thank the Principals themselves. The Principals are the President of the Government of Zimbabwe, Mugabe; the PrimeMinister of the Government of Zimbabwe, Mutambara and Welshman Ncube for the job well done and for ensuring that this document comes before Parliament today.
What I always wish is that tomorrow or any other time from now, this Constitution becomes the law of Zimbabwe which will decide the future of this country.
*MR. MACHACHA: I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for the time that you have given me. I might be the last person to speak. The time that you have given me to congratulate those who were involved in the process is a time of happiness. We used to hear that in South Africa they had made their Constitution and in Kenya they also embarked on a constitution making process.
Today it is our time in Zimbabwe and we are hoping that we have been able to follow this process to its end. The people in Kariba where I come from, are happy that they contributed to this Constitution. Zimbabwe is also happy that we have come up with our own Constitution and Africa we are happy here in Zimbabwe because we have succeeded in coming up with our own Constitution.
With this Constitution, I think this has given us respect and value and has made us to be recognised as a country that can come up with its own law and how our country should be governed. I feel happy for the short time that you have given me Mr. Speaker and I want to say congratulations to Zimbabwe. We now have our own Constitution that entrenches our values and traditions. I am also happy that Africa as a whole is one of the continents that have shown that we are able to come up with our own laws that we are comfortable and happy to work with and that that we have crafted on our own.
I want to say that this Constitution Mr. Speaker was crafted through a united nation. It was not done by another organisation. I also want to thank the President of this nation, given that we had been in a difficult economic era, for example, we were chased out from hotel rooms and actually travelled on difficult roads especially in Kariba where the road network is bad.
I want to say that we were able to access all those areas using roads. There are some places which needed helicopters but we managed to get there. I want to end up by saying this Constitution Mr. Speaker, will never be forgotten by me because I lost my vehicle during the Constitution Making Process. I know that my grandchildren will remember me one of these days that one of our grandfathers who crafted this Constitution lost a vehicle in the process. I want to thank you Mr.
*MR. HURUBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to express my gratitude. I was looking at the way the debates have progressed. When we went out through the Constitution Making Process, we went as a united front. We indeed had the same mind but what I am happy about is that we consulted and people told us what they wanted. After they told us what they wanted, that is what we captured and we are doing what they want.
I think we should not have wasted time talking because we are repeating what the people have said. We are expressing gratitude that was expressed by the people.
I want to thank the freedom fighters and when I say freedom fighters, I mean the war veterans like me and you including the
Mujibhas, and the Chimbwidos and those who died in the prisons and went to the prisons such as Jaison Moyo, Joshua Nkomo and all those who made us to be where we are today.
I think when the Constitution Making Process was embarked on, it was their hope that we would have freedom in Zimbabwe and now as we proceed, I believe there will not be any violence and conflict. We are now a people who will go and campaign and win in all fairness because of what was done by the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Mr. Speaker Sir, this has been a long
afternoon, going well into the night but this is what it should be because we are gathered today witnessing this historic event.
I am humbled Mr. Speaker Sir, by the comments made by hon. members who have contributed to this debate. Not a single member has sought to attack any provision of this Bill and this just goes to show how coming of age we have become as Zimbabweans. How we have come to appreciate that there are certain things that do not need money but we can achieve as a country as long as we are all being inclusive.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is not necessary for me to go through the very kind words which were made by each and every contributor to this debate.
I just however, want to say one thing and this does not arise out of the debate but Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was so excited about the provision of devolution in this draft and she did say in her contribution that if ever she had wanted to remove a shirt and dance on the table here because of the devolution provision. I heard members in the background mostly male saying, “Misihairabwi, Misihairabwi”, they obviously wanted to do more, not only to take off the shirt but everything else as well. – (laughter) - Thanks to the presence of Minister Muchena who was on the front bench who disapproved of anything which she wanted to do.
Mr. Speaker, yes, there are certain persons who may feel that they have not been thanked enough in the address that I gave. I know that I had left out the very long suffering service providers who did a lot of work during COPAC, the majority of whom are still to be paid for the services that they provided. I wish to thank them. I also wish maybe to add that in my initial thanking conclusion, I had left out Professor Makhurane and Prof. Hope Sadza. I want to thank them for the diligent work that they did in chairing the 1st and the 2nd Stakeholders Conference.
I just want to address the issue raised by Hon. Mahlangu about the need to educate our children on the values and the content of this Constitution. I want to thank the hon. member for bringing out that contribution but I want to lay his mind to rest. Section 7 of this draft clearly answers the concerns which the hon. member raised. Section 7 of the Constitution places an obligation on the State to promote the awareness of this Constitution by translating it into officially recognized languages and disseminating it widely.
Secondly, it requires that the Constitution be taught in schools as part of the curricula for the training of members of the Security Services, the Civil Service and members and employees of public institutions. It also encourages all persons and organizations including civic organizations to disseminate awareness and knowledge of this Constitution throughout society. So Hon. Mahlangu, the concern that you raised is fully recognized by this Constitution and it is fully addressed. On that note, may I thank all members who contributed to this debate. I thank you.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill, be read for the second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Thursday, 9th May, 2013
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the House adjourned at Twenty
Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.