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SENATE HANSARD 01 August 2017 26-75
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday 1st August, 2017
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE
INVITATION TO A CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform
the Hon. Senators that there will be a cleanup campaign for Harare
Central Business District in promotion of health and wellness on Thursday, 3rd August, 2017 from 1000hrs to 1300 hours. The campaign is being organised by the Health Advisor in the Office of the President and Cabinet. Hon. Members are urged to participate in this event by clearing the surroundings of Parliament. All interested Hon. Members are requested to register with the Public Relations officers who will be stationed at the Members Dining Area today from 1400 hours to 1430 hours.
Hon. Senators having been making noise.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, I know
we are excited to see each other again after a long break.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIR (HON. E. D.
MNANGAGWA): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of Day on the Order Paper are disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PRIVILEGES COMMITTEE ON DEATH
THREATS TO MEMBERS OF THE MDC-T PARTY
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move the motion
standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the
Privileges Committee on Death Threats to Members of the MDC-T
HON. ZIYAMBI: I second.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
SMS is an acronym for Short Message Service. It is a text messaging service component of most telephone, World Wide Web, and mobile telephony systems. It utilises standardised communication protocols to enable mobile phone devices to exchange short text messages.
SMSC is Short Message Service Centre. This is the core of the SMS platform. It is tasked with SMS operations such as routing, forwarding and storing of incoming text messages on their way to the desired endpoint. It creates a buffer. Wireless network operators connect
SMSCs through gateways.
Spoofing is a service that allows a caller to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipients caller ID display. The same also applies to messaging.
Smart phone is a mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded application (apps).
A basic phone (feature phone) describes mobile phones which are limited in capabilities, in contrast to a modern smartphone. These have the simple functions of calling and sending text messages.
A switch or a network switch (also called switching hub, bridging hub, officially MAC bridge) is a computer networking device that connects devices together on a computer network by using packet switching to receive, process, and forward data to the destination device
A common short code (CSC) is a short telephone number, usually consisting of five digits, that is used to address SMS and MMS messages from a cellular telephone. Each common short code is designed to be unique to each operator.
Cyber crime is defined as a crime in which a computer is the object of the crime (hacking, phishing, spamming) or is used as a tool to commit an offense (child pornography, hate crimes).
A server is a computer or device on a network that manages network resources. There are many different types of servers. For example: File server: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.
1.1 Following submissions by Hon Nelson Chamisa that he and several Members of Parliament from the MDC -T, had received death threat messages on their mobile phones on the eve of the Official Opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and that death threats and harassment of MDC-T Hon. Members had become the norm each time His Excellency the President was due to address Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly ruled, on Thursday, 6th October, 2016 that there existed a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament. As a result, he directed that the matter be referred to a Privileges Committee to be appointed by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to look into the alleged death threats received by some Members of the MDC-T
The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders subsequently appointed a six Member Committee chaired by Hon. Sen. Chief
Charumbira. The members of the Committee are:-
Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira (Chairperson)
Hon. Sen. Chimanikire
Hon. Mpariwa and
2.0 TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Committee’s terms of reference were given as follows;
- To determine whether the said messages directly, indirectly or by inference constitute contempt of Parliament;
- To investigate the source of the alleged threatening messages;
- To make appropriate recommendations and report to the House by
31 March 2017.
The Committee began its work on the 5th of December, 2016.
- The Committee began by making announcements in both Houses on 25thJanuary and 7thFebruary, 2017 in the National Assembly and the Senate respectively, calling for Hon. Members who had received death threat messages to give evidence to the Committee on the threats received. Two Members indicated willingness to give evidence to the
Committee, i.e. Hon. Chibaya and Hon. Matienga.
The Committee invited Hon. Khupe to give evidence in her capacity as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. Hon. Gonese was invited to give evidence as Chief Whip of MDC-T in the National Assembly and as the Committee subsequently discovered, he was also a recipient of death threat messages. Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa in her capacity as MDC-T chief Whip in the Senate, was invited to give evidence, but was unable to attend the meeting. Hon. Chamisa was also invited, but he too was unable to meet with the Committee. The Committee also called Mr. S. Madzore, who was a Member of Parliament but received similar SMSs after he was no longer in the service of Parliament. ZRP officials had indicated that he had reported receiving death threats as well.
- Assistance was sought from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) i.e. NetOne and Econet. The objective of hearing oral evidence from them was to understand as much as possible how the kind of technology involved operates and whether it was possible to trace and therefore identify the culprit who had sent death threats to Honourable
Members of Parliament. By the same token, the Committee invited POTRAZ to give oral evidence.
- Officials from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) were invited to confirm to the Committee whether there were in fact reports of death threats and what progress, if any, had been made in apprehending the culprits of such an odious deed.
- Flowing from oral evidence received from officials from
ZRP, who informed the Committee that complaints of death threat text messages were reported to the Police by some MPs as well as Mr. S. Madzore who was no longer an MP, the Committee decided to invite him to give oral evidence on the same.
- The Committee wrote to Econet, in terms of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, requesting that the offender(s) who sent death threat messages to Members of Parliament be traced. Econet had indicated during oral evidence that it had the capacity to do this, but that it could take about two months to accomplish.
- SUBMISSIONS BY THE COMPLAINANTS AND
The Hon. Chibaya and Hon. Matienga showed Members of the Committee the text messages they received on the 5th of October, 2016 and the import of the messages was the same. Hon. Matienga received three messages, Hon. Chibaya seven and Hon. Gonese five. The senders of the messages reflected as ‘Hitman’ and ‘Death’, and not the name of a person or a number. Hon Chibaya and Hon. Gonese had also received similar messages in 2015, prior to the Official opening of Parliament.
The messages read as follows:-
- “You may have a false immunity as a group but remember after that you will be alone again, you will be remembered for a few days after that you are history.
- Be reasonable as you think of what you intend to do in the august house. Your family is better off around you. Be severely warned.!!!!
- Don’t be used by those planning to demonstrate for their selfish ends, for they won’t be with you when the dark cloud of death engulfs you. We are trailing.
- I have killed many, if you want me to add your name on my death list, continue participating in tomorrow’s demo in Parliament.
- Am watching your steps 24/7, don’t try to be a hero. Be warned.
Your participation invites death at your doorstep.
- I have plenty of space to bury your corpse. Be warned, your involvement in tomorrow’s planned demo is a clear indication of joining your ancestors.
- Urikufa nemukadzi nevana Zimbabwendeyeropa (sic)”.
All the Hon. Members who received messages could not see the number of the sender. Where the number or name of the sender should have been, were the names ‘Hitman’ and ‘Death’. They could neither reply nor call the sender of the messages. Hon. Matienga and Hon. Chibaya still had the messages in their phones. Their cell phone lines were in basic phones. Those who received the messages on their smart phones could not retrieve them as they simply vanished from their cell phones after some time.
Hon. Khupe, the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly informed the Committee that she encouraged MPs who had received the threatening messages to report to the police. The Speaker of the National Assembly also encouraged those who had received the messages to make police reports.
As a result of these threats, Hon. Members interviewed by the Committee all reported that the messages affected their contributions to debate in the House and in Parliamentary Committees adversely. They all reported that they feared for their lives and those of their families.
Each one of the Members who presented oral evidence to the Committee testified that after the messages, they were afraid that they were being watched or followed. Some said they had to change their usual routes and routines as security precautions.
4.2 Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
The Committee also heard oral submissions from ZRP officials who told the Committee that they received complaints of death threats from the Hon. Chamisa, Hon. Chibaya, Hon. Majome and Hon. Gonese in 2015. In 2016 Hon. Majome and another member of the MDC-T party made reports to the police with similar complaints of text messages containing death threats. It was submitted by the ZRP officials that investigating crimes of this nature takes time.
The Committee was informed that Detectives involved Postal and Telecommunications Regulating Authority (POTRAZ) because the crimes were cybercrimes. They also requested help from all licensed mobile network operators. Through provision of the law, they made applications to find out whether the criminal element went through these operators. It was found that they did not go through the usual cell phone operators. Instead, they used a short code -33284, which reflected as
‘Death’ and ‘Hitman’ to those who received it. The ZRP officers explained that if the short code had been operational in Zimbabwe, it should have been and would have been registered to someone in the country, but it was not registered with any of the licensed operators. ZRP further explained that short codes are usually used for promotions only and are allocated by POTRAZ. The person(s) who used the short code stole from POTRAZ because they hacked into the POTRAZ system and did not pay the fees due to the regulator.
The messages may have been generated in or outside Zimbabwe, either roaming or otherwise, ZRP officials could not be certain. ZRP went on further to say that POTRAZ has the capacity to determine where the SMSs came from, but had failed to do so. Hackers can by-pass POTRAZ and can use the short code which is then untraceable on the mobile network. The Police have not been able to identify the user of the short code because they lack cutting edge technology.
The Committee was informed that experts were working with
POTRAZ to identify the perpetrators. The ZRP officials advised the Committee that cybercrime is a new method of operation by criminals, and technology in Zimbabwe needs to be upgraded so that police can track such crimes in good time. To assure the Committee of the capacity and willingness to fight such crime, the police officials told of two cases involving cybercrime which they had successfully solved.
ZRP Officials emphasized that there must be trust between ZRP and complainants in order to solve crimes in good time. Trust in the police is eroded when people report crimes but do not get results.
4.3 Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in
After meeting ZRP officials who indicated that POTRAZ had the capacity to track down the sender(s) of the death threats, the Committee felt it prudent to interview POTRAZ officials. POTRAZ officials informed the Committee that the messages in question had been sent via the SMS platform and PORTAZ had engaged mobile phone operators to assist in tracing the origins of the SMSs. The Committee heard that if the messages had been sent from a locally registered number, it would have been easy to identify the source. However, bulky SMSs which are computer generated are a challenge because these do not have a centre number.
It was further explained that POTRAZ does not have a direct role in tracing the messages as these were resident in the archives of the service providers. Telecommunication companies are compelled by law to maintain a data record. They keep archives of where the messages originated from. It was further explained that one of POTRAZ’s mandates is to manage the national numbering plan as a way of identifying users and network operators. POTRAZ also facilitates promotions for cell phone line operators who are issued with three to five digit short codes.
POTRAZ informed the Committee that Bulk SMS providers computer generate messages which may appear as if they are from a cell phone, when they are not. Such messages are given a centre name e.g.
‘Hitman’. POTRAZ officials said that is called ‘spoofing’, where internet users can send messages to chosen numbers using whatever name they choose as a centre name. Most of these services are foreign based. POTRAZ assists network providers with lawful communication interception, to ensure compliance with legal licensing requirements.
POTRAZ further informed the Committee that the short code 33284 used to broadcast the threatening messages was not allocated by the regulator as its database indicates that it was not allocated to anyone. The Committee was also informed that short codes are not assigned on a permanent basis and that it was very difficult to trace the origins of a message sent from a computer. It was explained that in certain cases, the messages pass through many layers, thus complicating the task of locating the actual source, particularly where the message originates in a foreign jurisdiction.
In giving evidence, NetOne officials indicated that as a general rule, they are not allowed to divulge subscriber / client information except in a case where the said subscriber / client uses their line for illegal activities. They informed the Committee that when an illegality has occurred, client details are only disclosed upon production of a court order by Police. However, the officials assured the Committee that if all the requirements were met, any messages received on their NetOne lines could be traced, as well as the location from which the messages were generated. They further explained that where an SMS originated from an international number, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the message.
The NetOne officials explained that even though it is possible to pinpoint the country of origin of the message when the message has been sent through a cell phone, the opposite is true for a message generated from a computer and sent via the internet. They also explained that it is possible that the person(s) who sent the death threat messages may have used a cloned number. A cloned number is an international number reflecting as a local one. Certain technology is used to mirror a local number in order to bypass the billing system. This way, the call is billed as a local number. A caller identity can be hidden for calls but not text messages.
NetOne informed the Committee that ordinarily it does not listen in on conversations, unless there is an inquiry by state security on a matter of national security. This, however, does not mean they cannot, the volumes of phone calls are too high. Every mobile network operator has a switch, which can be used to listen into conversations, but is only accessible bypass word to security personnel. The Telecommunications Act, does not allow them to intercept information between parties.
NetOne reported that it keeps a log of numbers of SMSs a mobile line sends out, but not the content. The SMS count helps to keep an account for billing purposes. The records are voluminous and take up a lot of space, this therefore means that there is a limited period of time that they can be kept.
Econet officials informed the Committee that it is possible to trace the source of messages sent to its network subscribers. Records that
Econet keeps can help track the second number and its country of origin.
The law requires that records be kept for up to eight years. Since Econet has many subscribers the records are in millions and it would take a long time to work through them to trace the messages in question. As previously explained by NetOne, Econet reiterated the fact that some SMSs are originated from computers, through the internet. The computer can access some device which can work like a cell phone or SMSC. It was explained that an SMSC is a machine which, before sending an SMS, analyses the address where the SMS is supposed to go, and then it delivers that SMS accordingly.
When an SMS is generated by a computer via the internet, the
SMS can circumvent the network service provider. In the case of a message being sent from a computer on the Internet or from a server, the message will be sent directly to the customer. Econet is able to recognise that a number on its network received an SMS and the country of origin, but will not be able to identify the number from which the message was sent.
Where the identity of the sender has a name such as ‘hitman’, this would indicate that the messages most likely originated from a computer. If a message comes with a name which is not in one’s phonebook, this means that the message originated from a computer or a server. In terms of the law, information concerning subscribers, can only be divulged to entities or institutions specified by law such as the police carrying out their investigations of criminal activities. The police have to produce a warrant of search and seizure in order to compel the mobile network operator before they can search through their network.
Econet only keeps a record which shows that a particular number sent a message to a certain number, but not the actual content of the message.
The information is easy to retrieve within 60 days, after that, it goes to the archives. The recovery of such a record after two months is a long and cumbersome process which could take up to a month or longer. The Committee wrote to Econet on the 20th of April 2017, requesting that the source of the death threats be traced and no response has yet been received.
5.0 The Committee’s Findings
5.1 POTRAZ’s control and monitoring systems are very weak, it emerged during their submissions that they do not have a direct role in tracing the messages as these are resident in the archives of service providers. It is the service providers who keep the archives of where the messages originated from. However, in this instance none of the service providers could trace the origins of the messages.
5.2 The Committee also found that Bulk SMS senders computer generate messages which may appear as if they are from a cell phone, when they are not, and messages sent via the computer are very difficult to trace. Most of such services are foreign based, which is the most likely scenario in this instance because the short code 33284 used to broadcast the threatening messages was not allocated by the regulator.
5.3 The Committee also noted that even though the messages were sent to Econet lines, Econet could not establish the origins because the messages were not sent directly from a mobile cell phone, but probably a computer, through the internet.
5.4 The committee found that despite the identity of the culprits not being known, the act of sending threats of any kind to a Member of Parliament is criminal and contemptuous of the August House. Even if the reason for threatening or inducing fear is not clearly stated, such will be attributed to the conduct of the Member in Parliament or its Committees.
5.5 All the above findings revealed that the country does not have the capacity, technologically and legally to combat such intrusions through the use of information communication technology systems. POTRAZ should be taking a proactive role in lobbying for technological evolution.
6.0 Discharge of Mandate
6.1 To investigate the source of the alleged threatening messages
The Committee made its investigations to find the source of the alleged threatening messages using all the possible avenues and could not determine the source of the death threat messages. The messages were sent to Econet lines, but Econet could not establish the origins because the messages were not sent directly from a mobile cell phone, but probably a computer, through the internet. The mandate of the Committee was to investigate the source of the alleged threatening messages and the Committee established that death threat messages were indeed sent, but could not establish who the sender was.
6.2 To determine whether the said messages directly, indirectly or by Inference constitute contempt of Parliament.
The Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act (Chapter
2:08) (PIPPA) paragraph 13 provides that, “Making any oral or written threat to a Member or challenging him to fight on account of his conduct in Parliament or a Committee” constitutes contempt of Parliament.
According to Erskine May “contempt of Parliament” is “any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results which may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent of the offence. The definition of Contempt of Parliament as provided for in the PIPPA was confirmed by the Court in the case of Roy Leslie Bennet vs
Emmerson Mnangagwa (in his capacity as Speaker of Parliament).
The act of sending death threat messages to a Member of Parliament constitutes contempt of Parliament and is an offence at law.The nature of the threats or intimidation must directly affect the member and negatively impact on his/ her duties as a Member of Parliament. The Oral evidence presented before the Committee clearly showed that the death threat messages were aimed at hindering Members in the discharge of their mandate in Parliament. The principle of
Parliamentary privilege includes the right of a Member to discharge his
/her responsibilities free from threats and intimidation from other
Members of the House or from any person.
7.1 There is need to improve technology in the telecommunications sector in order to effectively combat cybercrimes. Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and
Courier Services, in conjunction with Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should make budgetary provisions for technology development in the 2018 budget.
7.2 There is need to expedite the process of bringing into the operation of the Cybercrimes Bill, which should establish a Cyber Security Office, a Cyber-Crime Special Unit and a Ministerial Committee to deal with cyber-crimes. The Bill should be introduced in
Parliament by September, 2017.
7.3 The Postal and Telecommunications Act must also be amended to reflect the technological changes around the globe and render certain actions as unlawful, for example in the matter before the Committee, the culprit unlawfully accessed the system. A bill proposing amendments to the Postal and Telecommunications Act must be brought to Parliament before the end of 2017.
7.4 There is need for legislation or bi-lateral agreements which enable the ease of access of information beyond the Zimbabwean borders. This is essential for the facilitation of cooperation between the police and prosecuting authorities in different countries. Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services should facilitate this by December, 2017.
7.5 Parliament should by resolution of the whole House exhort the Commissioner General of Police to lead the investigation and finalisation of this matter. ZRP should report progress to Parliament by end of October 2017.
7.1 The Committee condemns any conduct whose aim is to undermine the lawful performance of Members of Parliament or citizens. Such conduct is an anachronism in a civilised society and undermines democracy.
7.2. The complaints in question revolved around information communication technology systems. The lack of proper technological and legislative mechanisms to combat such crimes was clearly apparent in this case. It is the Committee’s view that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that proper controls and legislative frameworks be put in place to curtail such incidents.
7.3. The Committee condemns any conduct whose objective is to undermine the lawful performance of Members of Parliament. Such conduct is an anachronism in a civilised society and it undermines democracy.
+HON. SEN. MASUKU: Thank you Madam President for
affording me this opportunity to second this report that was brought by
Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. Madam President, I am not a member of the committee. Looking at what the committee did, from what action the Speaker took after he had received complaints from those who had received these nasty messages, the Speaker saw it fit that a committee be set up to investigate this. To me, Madam President, that shows that Zimbabwe really wants such cases to be investigated and that it should not be done to anyone.
I would like to thank the Speaker for having accorded this the importance that it deserves. The Chairperson of the Committee has already spoken about the investigations they made. In other words, we might say that they did not leave any stone unturned, because they investigated thoroughly. They investigated NetOne, Econet and they went further, with POTRAZ. All that was done in a bid to find out the culprits who sent messages to the Hon. Members of Parliament.
Looking at this report Madam President, if these death messages were sent by cell phones, maybe we could have found out who those culprits were. However, since these messages were not sent via cell phones, it is not easy for them to carry out proper investigations. Since Zimbabwe is one of the countries within the global village, I do not know if it is possible that all the computers could be checked to established the ones that sent those messages. I know it is not an easy thing to do.
Madam President, for one to be a Member of Parliament, one is chosen by the people to work for people - but then if you are threatened, it is difficult for you to carry out your duties. I say so Madam President because this is very important that this matter should be investigated. This is because we never know who is going to receive such threats in future. This is something that is really criminal Madam President. It does not matter who has been threatened. There are other threats that have been made to other people in this way using modern technology but when it comes to the august Houses, it is extremely bad. When we look at the committee’s report again, it has been stated that Zimbabwe has not yet reached a stage whereby it can investigate thoroughly things like these, where messages are sent from other countries and the messages would appear as if it has come from within the country. This shows that it is important for Zimbabwe to enter or to investigate deeply such things because these are dangerous.
I have also noticed Madam President that this is very important and that Zimbabwe should not lag behind especially when it comes to issues of delivering messages. It is good that such things have come up in the open and that will make the Government to investigate such things very fast so that we do not lag behind. If the Committee wants a Bill to be passed in this House, it is important because this will teach the people to investigate such things that cause despondency within the country. I have stood up Madam President that such Bills should be brought to the House as soon as possible. Since the report also states that the police will proceed with the investigations, they will make investigations so that we do not leave any stone unturned.
This is because we do not want such mischievous acts to disturb the peace in the country because we have to know where all this is coming from. This report that was brought by Sen. Chief Charumbira is very clear and it has to be taken with the importance that it deserves so that such mischievous acts should not continue, and also that those behind these mischievous acts should be brought to book because this is really mischievous. I would like to thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Hon. Sen. Masuku. I would
like to thank Madam President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution. I would like to say thank you to Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for the Committee which he leads which made the fact finding mission. I recognise that as a Committee, they really worked hard to get all the facts which are needed in order to put corrective measures on these items. From my observation, I think there are a lot of technicalities involved in this motion. My feeling is that we need to source out for specialist services so that we can investigate where this information originated from.
As members of the SADC Region, we should be aware that if we are incapable of getting the necessary facts, we could have some experts in a country like South Africa who could unearth all these problems which are happening. I believe that when we are investigating such issues, let us not use partisan politics and say the victims are members of the opposition, but what we should be aware of is that when we come to Parliament, we are representatives of the people and whatever we are saying is what is originating from our constituencies.
Consequently, when I am saying something which may be viewed in the negative, this will be echoing what my constituents is saying and when I am intimidated, it shows that we have people who have the capability of intimidating anyone of us whenever we make these contributions. My sentiments are that these should be investigated and get the source of this information. Let us not give evidence that these people are unconquerable because when they have sent out these messages and they are not brought to book, they will simply think that they can do it to the next person.
We know technically that there are cases whereby the origin of these calls can be traced because it comes from a computer. We can trace that message and see where the message originated from. We can also be told where the computer was purchased from, who bought it and abused it. I am worried because the Ministers who are supposed to be protecting us from this technical harassment are smiling. We have people who have been threatened, ladies and Members of Parliament and members of their families were also threatened because they feel that if they intimidate the family, the Hon. Member will not be able to air their views.
What really surprises me is that we are being weakened and there is fear. I wonder whether we will be able to develop because if we are intimidated, we will not be able to say anything. What surprises me most is that as Members of Parliament, we attend organisations in other countries and we see how people are expressing themselves freely. When we are voted by the people, they echo their sentiments through the selected Members of Parliament and I feel if we do not get to the route cause of this, we are going to be people who are timid. We will not make free contributions and when we are in Parliament, we should be protected.
Personally, I feel that this is not the end of the issue because S. A. is so near and when we go there, within an hour you will be there. As a result, we have cars which are being bought for campaign and we are saying and I repeat, let us not apportion blame and say this is a partisan thing and only the opposition is being intimidated, but tomorrow it will be your turn and you will also be intimidated and you will really feel how it feels to live under fear. Ministers, please handle our case with the necessary care that it deserves. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: You will forgive me today because
I have a bout of flu. Madam President, this country has a Constitution although we learnt that this...
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order please!
HON. SEN. MARAVA: On a point of order Madam President. I
think everybody is just moving around in this Parliament, is that allowed? Garai pasi apa, nyararai.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order Hon.
+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President.
I want to thank the Committee that was chaired by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and also the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders which put this Committee in place and our Presiding Officers who agreed that this issue was a serious issue. Madam President, the issue of intimidation is not supposed to be allowed because we are going to the same occasion of the Opening of Parliament and we expect that maybe it is going to be worse if there is no solution to this issue.
Madam President, what I want to say to this House, especially to those who have never been threatened, is that some of us have been threatened in our lives so much that we feel we are dead already and we are just waiting for the coffin and to be buried. Members of Parliament are representing the people and we are using a Constitution in this country though last week in this same House, I learnt that this Constitution has some flaws and is a negotiated document, so many things were said of this Constitution.
However, at the same time, this Constitution on its founding provisions, states very well that ‘Zimbabwe is a unitary, democratic and sovereign Republic’ and also on the same Chapter, Subsection 3, it says that ‘Zimbabwe is a multiparty, democratic political system.’ It is a multiparty democratic political system. So, it means that everybody must know that it is not a crime to have Members of other parties other than those who are in the majority, representing people. We cannot think the same way in this country, we have to have people who oppose what we think is the best and we should have people who are not interested to be members of our party. That is why we have this provision in the Constitution and when we sit here as opposition, we are guided by that, we do not just come here. We come here because it is correct to be a member of the opposition and to represent people by doing that.
Madam President, for us to be treated by this hit man as if it is a crime, it is unfortunate that maybe this hit man does not even read the
Constitution and does not live in the real world. In the real world, even your own wife or husband can like different things from yours, so is it a crime? You live together peacefully and even bear children when you know that your wife is opposed to what you like. So, why are we not supposed to have our opinions and support what we have to support? Madam President, I also think that the Ministry of Home Affairs and that of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Ministries did not do enough work in terms of this threat.
The Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services was supposed to demonstrate that it has all the qualities and it is not only wasting the fiscus money by having a Minister and Deputy Minister when they are not qualified. If they were qualified, then they should know what is happening in other countries. I think…
[A mobile phone rings.]
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Could you
please switch off your cell phones.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President. I can
see whose cell phone it is but I do not want to say. I shall not speak. Madam President, it is disheartening that in a country where we seem to have technological advancement, a Ministry that has to look into these issues and demonstrate why the fiscus is investing money into ICT - there is no way that it can be said that some other bush scientists can now invade our country and sent messages that can never be traced. It can never happen because in other countries, we have seen the same messages being traced through people who are really qualified.
Madam President, we also hope that our Home Affairs and police should take it serious that Members of Parliament were threatened here. However, because they are very busy in the roads, in need of money, they do not want to look into this issue because there is no money in it. That is what I can say Madam President because if they wanted to make sure that the culprits or culprit was nailed, they should have done so and we were going to be proud that our police are doing a professional service to this country.
Madam President, it is not the first time that I hear of messages that are received and are never traced. Let me tell you, I will go back because I reported a case at Bulawayo Central some time back in my private life when I received a call. However, I was directed from one office to another by the police until I gave up on trying to trace who had called me. There is an attitude and body language when you go there and the questions asked are like, ‘are you a Member of Parliament?’
Yes, I am. ‘For which party?’ It shows exactly that the person is not prepared. I still have Reference Number for the case but it took years and years before anything was done until I gave up.
So, it seems that the law in this country is discriminatory. They want to attend only to certain people and the others are not being protected by the same law. So, Madam President, we wish that before this motion is closed, we have presentations from the ICT and Home Affairs Ministry so that at least we know that they have done a thorough work. Before we close this motion, we must know why they are failing to trace this number because we are facing the Official Opening again and we are going to be threatened again. So, it is really a problem that people are not allowed to represent those who voted for them.
Madam President, I think with the few words that I have said, I hope the Presiding Officers, because of the good work that they did of allowing the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to put in place a Committee, would make sure that these two ministries do us a favour by reporting back again in order for us to hear why…
Some Hon. Ministers having been talking at the top of their voices THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order please.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you. …to hear why Home
Affairs and ICT Ministries are failing to tell us who is sending messages to Hon. Members of Parliament who are supposed to be protected by the Constitution of this land. Madam President, I thank you.
HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Madam President. I
am very grateful for the Committee which was selected by Parliament to make an investigation. The Committee is led by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and they have given us a report back on their investigations. When they talked of the Cybercrime Bill, I feel that it should be expedited so that on its conclusion, it may prevent such crimes which are cybercrime related because at the moment, we have criminals who are taking advantage of the absence of such a law. If possible, may we please have this Bill introduced in both Houses in September as this is going to protect both private and public figures. All over the world, we have people who are being mishandled and punished by the lack of this Cybercrime Act and we are saying, the Attorney-General and the Committees should be talking about this cybercrime. Therefore, we are saying, the Commissioner General of the Police should really work on this Cybercrime Act because my feeling is that if only we had such an Act, investigations would be expedited.
My other request is that, I need to have information from the Chairperson of this Committee. I think that there should be some interaction with international Police organisations such as Interpol so that whenever we are carrying such investigations, we have the international charter of looking at this cybercrime. We need to get another way of solving this through the evidence which is presented when a crime is being investigated. When I make this debate, I am not only confining to this particular case but, I am talking of a legal frame which can be put in place which will lead to the arrest, conviction and incarceration of cyber-criminals. With those few words, I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Madam President, I move
that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.D.
MNANGAGWA): I move that we go back to Order of the Day, Number
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT (NO. 1) BILL
[H.B. 1A, 2017]
Third Order read: Third Reading: Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [H.B. 1A, 2017].
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.D.
MNANGAGWA): Madam President, I move that Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [H.B. 1A, 2017] be now read the third time.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Section 328, (5)
of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that a Constitutional Bill must be passed at its last reading in the National Assembly and the Senate by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the membership of each House. In order to comply with the provisions of Section 328 (5), it is necessary that the number of affirmative votes cast by Members be recorded. I therefore, direct that the bells be now rung after which the votes of the Hon. Members will be counted.
HON. SEN. CHABUKA: On a point of order Madam President. Madam President, may you please enquire from the Ministers why it is that today we have a full bench of Ministers, yet at the days when we expect them to come especially on Thursdays during Question Time, they do not come.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Member,
your point of order is out of order.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order! The
“Ayes” shall file to my right and the “Noes” shall file to my left. My tellers to the right will be Hon. Sen. Mohadi and Hon. Sen. Mumvuri.
My tellers to the “Noes” will be Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa and Hon. Sen.
AYES 53: Bhebhe M, Bhobho H, Buka F, Charumbira F. Chief, Chiduku R.M. Chief, Chimbudzi A, Chipanga T.S, Chisunga D. Chief,
Chizema C, Dandawa T. Chief, Gampu S, Chief, Goto R, Gwenzi D.
Chief, Hungwe J.D, Jadagu G.T, Machaya J.M.K, Machingaifa T,
Mahofa S.B, Makwarimba C, Maluleke O, Manyeruke J, Marozva M.P. Chief, Masendu S. Chief, Mashavakure N, Masuku A, Mathuthu T.A,
Matiirira A, Mavhunga M, Mawire J, Mkhwebu A, Mohadi T.B, Moyo,
S.K, Mtshane Chief, Mugabe T, Mumbengegwi S.S, Mupfumira P,
Murwira T, Musaka M.B, Musarurwa E.M. Chief, Muzenda T.V, Nebiri
Chief, Nembire C. Chief, Ngungubane M. Chief, Ntabeni M. Chief,
Nyambuya M.R, Nyamukoho S. Chief, Nyangazonke V. N. Chief,
Parirenyatwa P.D, Shiri A, Siansali N.S. Chief, Tawengwa C
Tellers: Hon. Sen. Mumvuri and Hon. Sen. Mohadi
NOES 19: Chimanikire A, Chimhini A, Khumalo D.T, Komichi
M, Mabhugu F.E, Makore J, Marava M, Moeketsi V, Muronzi M, Ncube
S, Ndhlovu J, Nyathi R, Shoko G, Sibanda A, Sibanda B, Sinampande
H.M, Timveos L,
Tellers: Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa and Hon. Sen. Marava Bill read the third time.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. D.
MNANGANGWA): Madam President, I rise to thank the Hon. Senators
for their contribution to this debate relating to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill. I thank both those whose contribution was against the Bill as well as those whose contribution was in support of the Bill. At the end of the day Madam President, in our Commonwealth Parliamentary Democracy, under our democratic process, we accept that we do not expect everybody to agree with the passage of Bills, but the majority always prevails and that is a democratic process which we have adopted as a country.
I would like to thank Hon. Members who have remained in the Chamber for their resilience, support, understanding and progressive application in particular, the understanding that the Constitution is not cast in stone when the people feel there is need to amend the
Constitution to accord it with the dictates of the requirements to run Government or to serve economic, social, or political interest, and we here in the Chamber, represent the nation. We are the people’s representatives. So, we should not feel that when we do these things, we are just doing it because there is need is to do it. It is because we are implementing the desires of our people.
I therefore, wish to thank Hon. Senators as I did in the Lower House where we voted. Yes of course, we had expected to exceed two thirds, but we have people outside the country who are not here who I know would have supported the Bill. For those Hon. Senators who have left the Chamber, they have a democratic right to be absent and that should not put any dent of negativity to the process that has happened because Members are allowed to make their decisions democratically, whether the move is wrong or right that is not important. Each individual has a right to exercise his/her feelings.
So, I am happy Madam President that this is the first time we have amended our newly adopted Constitution. It is a landmark in our history that we are able, when we feel that there is need, to adjust our
Constitution to comply with the needs of the nation that we can do it. We can do it bravely, openly, democratically and freely. This is what has happened and this is what we have achieved but, I realised that some Hon. Senators have also come back. It is also their right to go out and then come back. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - This is part of how democracy...
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Madam
President. I do not think the Minister is too ridiculous because coming back has nothing to do with the Bill. Thank you very much. – [HON.
SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is not a point of
order Hon. Senator.
HON. E. D. MNANGAGWA: I am very grateful that the going
out had no relation to the passing of the Bill, but I am also correct that some people went out and they have come back. So, it is a matter of fact. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- By that same token, I say thank you Hon. Senators. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-
MATTER OF PRIVILEGE RAISED ON THE QUESTION OF
SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): Thank you Madam President. I
seek your authority to make a personal explanation as provided for in
Standing Order No. 89 in respect of a Matter of Privilege on the proposed charges of contempt of Parliament on allegation of misrepresentation of fact in this hon. House on the 12th of July, 2017 by
Hon. Sen. Tholakele D. Khumalo. I note that motion and wish to state unreservedly that may be I was misunderstood during my response to the motion on the alignment of the Education Act to the Constitution
brought to this House on the 17th of May, 2017.
Madam President, my explanation before this House on the transfer of SDC funds to the SSF account on the 15th of June, 2017 was not actuated by any malice intended to demean this House, in particular Hon. Sen. Tholakele D. Khumalo. I say so because when I stated that I have no instrument to transfer the money to SSF account, my conscience was clear in that regard and never thought anything to the contrary may have been happening on the ground. There is no Secretary’s Circular shown to me and written to the effect that the SDC funds should be transferred to the SSF Account.
I am of the same mind with Hon. Sen. Tholakele D. Khumalo’s sentiments and to quote her from the Hansard of 17th May, 2017 when she said “Madam President, it is clear that there are inconsistencies inherent in the Education Act, 2006, Section 8(1to 5) regarding this issue…” This is why I also mentioned that I will bring the Bill before this House for debate. That some funds were indeed transferred to the SSF Account does not make it correct Madam President since my
Ministry is seized with the alignment of the Education Act to the Constitution and all Statutory Instruments including the ones on school governance which created SDCs and SDAs.
However, allow me to say, as Hon. Members are aware, Madam President, following recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training Report (CIET, 1999) and the consultations of 2014 with the entire nation, which peaked on 28
November, our entire citizenry was invited to the nearest of any of our 8 500 schools in the country to share their expectations of the proposed new curriculum. We also used community halls and other spaces. We now have in place the new Primary and Secondary Education Curriculum Framework, 2015 to 2022. The successful implementation of this Curriculum Framework requires a number of fundamentals to be in place, so that the objectives of achieving learning outcomes in the form of relevant skills, knowledge and values are attained by all learners.
Madam President, among those essentials, which are clearly articulated in the Curriculum Framework, is an enabling legal and regulatory framework. Others, as you may remember, include teacher capacity development, teacher professional standards and infrastructure development. It is accepted as fact that the current legal and regulatory framework was not intended for the ease of implementation of the current Curriculum Framework and even predates our current Constitution of the Republic. Therefore, aligning the Education Act to the Constitution is a necessary step.
The Primary and Secondary Education Sector Plan, 2016-2020 enunciates clearly the imperative of a sustainable funding strategy in order to realise the objectives of the curriculum. This august House may recall, Madam President, that the issue of effective funding strategies for schools is not new, and that in the late eighties (80’s) the nation had a situation where all parents of learners in Government schools deposited the tuition fees at the nearest Post Office destined for Treasury, which would disburse to schools upon fulfillment of particular application requirements. There was a similar situation in respect of Council schools, which collected fees from learners and deposited the entire fees into one account at Council.
To cut the long story short Madam President, the nation witnessed schools suffering significant infrastructural deterioration with no new buildings that could be constructed, despite the massive enrolment following our Education for All Policy at independence. In fact, the number of secondary schools increased by over 1000%. The new secondary schools, which had been ‘upper topped’ at primary schools, in order to rapidly meet the welcome tide of learners who were happily pouring out of the primary school, could not relocate to their own premises owing to lack of resources. The majority of these secondary schools had long outlived their welcome at the primary schools they were initially hosted at, since the structures they occupied were also needed by the primary schools themselves. The temporary arrangement of ‘Upper Tops’ was threatening to become permanent.
It is against this background and other realities that Government introduced reforms which included the retention of fees to be used at source both for Government and Council schools. In order to maximize on support from the communities, Government came up with Statutory Instruments for the creation of School Development Committees (SDCs) and School Development Associations (SDAs) with the intention of creating legal space for communities and parents to become vital participants in the development of their schools. I want to take this opportunity to salute the pioneer SDCs and SDAs and those who followed after them.
All ‘upper topped’ secondary schools have since constructed their own infrastructure and moved to their own premises. They have been supported by Government through building-grants-in-aid and per capita grants. However, among a few challenges, there has been a new phenomenon, perhaps not originally anticipated, of SDCs and SDAs that sometimes are deciding on priorities that may not respond to the most urgent education needs of the communities. An example I would like to give, Madam President, is the province which is the subject of this statement, Harare Metropolitan Province. There is currently not a single primary school in Harare Metropolitan Province, to the best of my knowledge, which is able to enroll all the ECD learners who desire to
Almost all primary schools have much fewer learners at ECD B Level, for example, than the enrolment at Grade One Level. One school which has ECD learners whose number is 50% of its Grade One enrolment, has recently purchased a bus for US$200 000. Part of this amount is a loan and the school and SDA will be meeting a loan repayment obligation for years to come. Many schools and SDCs and SDAs have defaulted on repayments and the Ministry has been engaged in numerous legal battles to protect school property that service providers will be seeking to attach.
A recent matter in Mutasa District relates to the wholesale removal of all furniture from a school on account of an employment dispute between the SDC and its clerk. This experience has brought one new reality not originally anticipated, the SDCs and SDAs are making financial commitments with service providers, yet when they default in meeting their financial obligations, it is the Minister of Primary and
Secondary Education that is cited in court papers as first respondent.
Some SDCs and SDAs now enjoy sizeable perks which include sitting allowance, fuel allowance, and cell phone allowances to mention some. The area of procurement has presented the greatest challenge, with one of the publicised cases being that of a school that overpaid for a bus by over US$60 000 and the goods provider was asked to refund the US$60 000 to the account of the SDA Chairperson. Meanwhile, all the parents of the school were made to believe that the bus had cost the amount included in the overpayment.
Madam President, as we seek to prepare our learners for life and work, we have obligation as a nation, to ensure that no stone is left unturned to achieve the best results possible. The frontier work is an Education Amendment Bill that speaks, among other things, to the funding of Primary and Secondary Education. Our hope and expectation is that Honourable Members of this august House will debate and help shape the Bill in the best interest of our learners who invest so much time in school, the generality of parents who sacrifice so much and he nation that deserves well-equipped school graduates who shall make their imprint in the socio-economic development of our nation.
I would like to confirm that the issue of SDA funds being deposited into the School Services Fund (SSF) Account is currently not provided for in current statutes. I would also like to confirm that many parties, including SDCs, were engaged as part of inclusive efforts to gather relevant data to contribute to the amendment process of the Education Act and its alignment to the Constitution.
The issue of requesting SDA funds to be deposited into the SSF Account is premature. I made my statement with the information that I had at the time. I stand guided, Madam President, but I believe the time for Hon. Members to input into what you want as the representatives of the people is when we bring the draft Bill in the next Session of
Parliament. It has since been brought to my attention that indeed, some schools did transfer the SDC funds into the SSF fund prematurely. The issue will be addressed.
Through you Madam President, I would like to apologise unreservedly to Hon. Sen. Tholakele D. Khumalo and to this august House if my response was construed to be demeaning of the Hon. Member and this august House. The truth is far from it; I am actually campaigning for a robust debate on the Amendment Bill when it arrives on the floor of this House. I thank you Madam President for the opportunity to speak.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Minister. Debate is not allowed on a personal explanation. However, I will allow Hon. Senators to ask questions for clarification if there are any.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President. May I
ask these questions to the Minister. I thank you Minister for to coming to clarify to the House with the statement that you have made. However, I would like to know which component of the fees that is paid by parents to schools which his Ministry was eying in his new reforms. This is because we want to know what is coming, in case he says there are schools which have already paid funds to Government Service Account. It is because maybe there was a Circular because schools cannot just boldly go and pay. What made them do that? Maybe Minister, you can clarify again because you have your Permanent Secretary at times announcing things like the closure of schools in Matabeleland but it was said it was bolted before it was supposed to. Maybe it is the same system. So, I want clarity to know what you discussed in your Ministry with your Permanent Secretary and your staff that, which component of the fees do you think you are eyeing to have?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): I thank the Hon. Senator for the question and I thank you for indulging me Madam President. I thought that the best guide for us into the future is to actually deal with the particular clauses when they come here; because quite clearly for me, I have not come here with the Draft Bill to say this particular clause will be up for discussion, which might again lead to other misconceptions. My best guide is to say, when we bring the Bill, we will go through it clause by clause. I want your best guide on this one because we know that we have to build schools – how shall we do it.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President. I need
clarity on the issue of saying I brought this from the media and it is not happening. That is why I felt very bad. It says, I brought this motion from the media. Can he explain – did I get it from the media or the schools are depositing their money into the account. Can he explain that because that is what is written in the Hansard.
HON. DR. DOKORA: I m trying to understand because I thought I put my unreserved apologies for any misunderstanding and I do not know what else I could say.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Point taken and he also understands
where I am coming from that the schools are already doing it. I was not taking it from the air but the schools are already depositing their money into the account.
HON. DR. DOKORA: Madam President, that is precisely why I
said that the issue will be addressed – that last point that the Hon. Senator has made. Thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Before we
adjourn, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister and appreciate the fact that he has taken time to come and explain because we had questions Hon. Minister, some of us were a bit upset and not so open to accepting the way you had explained then. So, it is appreciated that you have come to explain yourself to the Hon. Senator and to the House. Thank you.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Madam President, on a point of order.
I just want to ask him to clarify now because last time, it was said that this debate has been ….
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: No, no, order,
order. The reason that the Minister came to explain is because we were going to set up a Committee of Inquiry or something like that. So, he has explained and I think the mover has accepted. So, we are not setting up the Committee of Privileges; it is done and we cannot debate. Sorry Hon. Sen. Mumvuri, we are done with this topic.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Madam President, but the motion still
stands on the Order Paper, so we are going to debate on it. That is what I am simply saying.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is up to the
Hon. Member. I will discuss it with the Hon. Member, and it is up to her. She has to move to drop the motion if she wants because it is her motion.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: On the issue of funds, are the funds
now going to go back because that is the issue that they sent me to come and discuss. Are their funds now going back to their rightful accounts?
HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Madam President. I have a
whole army of civil servants who work in the system. So, when I gave the undertaking here to say that the matter will be addressed, I must now go to the technocrats to look at that scenario. I could not give any other kind of response here beyond what I can shape as policy. Thank you.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President.
Because I am expecting these people who sent me to say, should we put our money in the rightful place or not, when I leave here, I am going to tell them to say you can have your money back and put it in your correct account.
HON. DR. DOKORA: If I make the statement as I have just made to say the matter will be addressed, I want to stand by the meaning of every one of those words in that statement. Thank you.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA), the
Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.