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SENATE HANSARD 03 NOVEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 02

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020

The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APPOINTMENT AS CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Let me inform the Senate that Hon. Sen. Chief Ndhlovu has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development.

THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also have to inform the Senate that the MDC-T party has appointed the following Members to serve in Thematic Committees as follows:- Hon. Sen. P. Denga, HIV/AIDS and Peace and Security; Hon. Sen. G. Moyo, HIV/AIDS and Peace and Security; Hon. Sen. T. Chisorochengwe, HIV/AIDS and Peace and Security; Hon. K. Phugeni, Indigenisation and Empowerment and HIV/AIDS; Hon. Sen. C. Ndhlovu, Gender and Development and Indigenisation and Empowerment; Hon. Sen. T. Moyo, Human Rights and Indigenisation and Empowerment; Hon. Sen. D. Ndhlovu, Indigenisation, Empowerment and Human Rights; Hon. Sen. E. Kambizi, HIV/AIDS and Peace and Security; Hon. Sen. A. Khumalo, Peace and Security and Human Rights.

DECLARATION OF ASSEST BY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thirdly and lastly, I would like to advise the newly sworn in Senators that they must register their assets in terms of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Members of Parliament as read with Standing Order Number 49 of the Standing Rules and Orders of the Senate. Standing Order Number 49, states that it is a statutory requirement that every Member registers his or her proprietary interest within 60 days of opening of a new Parliament. Where a Member is appointed after the opening of Parliament, the disclosure is to be done within 60 days after his/her appointment as a Member.

I would also like to remind Hon. Senators who had previously declared their assets before and have since such declaration attained new properties, to register them in the declaration register, Hon. Members are advised to attend to their asset declaration as soon as possible at the Counsel to Parliament’s office which is office number 306 on the 3rd floor Parliament Building.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like to remind Hon. Senators on two issues. First your phones, you are reminded to put your phones on silent or better still, switch them off.

PROPER WEARING OF MASKS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Secondly, I would like to remind you to wear your masks properly and that means covering your noses as well. It is uncomfortable but necessary. You have heard about the possibility of a second COVID-19 wave hitting Zimbabwe and nobody would like that to happen. So, wear your masks properly at all times, both here and outside.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I move the motion standing in my name;

That a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows: –

May it please you, your Excellency the President:

We, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: With your permission Mr. President, I request to read my motion.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You may proceed.

HON. CHIRONGOMA: May if please you your Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, that we, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

Mr. President Sir, I am exhilarated this afternoon at this sole opportunity to lead the debate on the Presidential Speech enunciated to mark the opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa.

At the outset, I would like to thank His Excellency for his eloquent and pragmatic speech that ushers us into a new session of Parliament with much enthusiasm. Despite the initial COVID-19 setback, it is clear from the speech that Zimbabwe is on the right trajectory towards not only overcoming the scourge but realisation of its vision of becoming a Prosperous Upper Middle Income Nation by 2030.

Mr. President Sir, it was refreshing during this battering pandemic to hear that Zimbabwe managed to stabilise the runaway devaluation of the local currency since the onset of the foreign exchange auction system in June, 2020. As highlighted in the address, let me thank His Excellency, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa for his apt responses, demonstrated leadership and the resolve of the people of Zimbabwe, that the country did not suffer massive loss and recession as earlier anticipated. Through it all, we realised commodity prices stabilisation including that of fuel; an 18% appreciation of foreign currency receipts (as at August, 2020); more registration of locally produced goods; massive infrastructure restoration and expansion in the transport, energy and mining sectors. It is indeed no coincidence that while COVID-19 seems to be re-emerging elsewhere, that Zimbabwe has begun reopening her borders to tourists and investors; schools and the entire business sector at large, but the work of the grace of God and able leadership to a responsive and loyal people.

Mr. President Sir, before I give opportunity to other Hon. Senators, allow me to debate on some few issues raised in the Presidential Speech. If there is one area that our country has struggled with over the years, it is that of adequate and sustained financing to social protection schemes. As a developing country currently facing economic challenges, Zimbabwe has many vulnerable groups of people who would quickly succumb to any socio-economic shock on their livelihoods. It is now common knowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic brought significant shock to many households especially those engaged in low-wage informal employment.

Staying at home and social distancing measures curtailed economic activity especially in cities. It is the responsibility of a Government to provide social security and safety nets to its vulnerable societies. The availing of ZW$18 billion Stimulus Package for the productive sectors, vulnerable social groups and provision of public services especially health, water and sanitation is a commendable move in the right direction. Let us all ensure that these funds reach the intended beneficiaries promptly. I implore the Government to endeavour to resuscitate all social protection schemes like BEAM and medical assistance and ensure that the 2021 Budget addresses this worsening need.

          Mr. President Sir, the impending full reopening of schools is an encouraging development announced by Government and upheld by His Excellency in the State of the Nation Address. I would want to call upon all responsible authorities and parents to continue with the same care and alertness to arresting COVID-19 spread so that the mixing and mingling of children will not reverse what we gained this far. May the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development ensure adequate allocation of buses to ferry school children safely and augment all the measures that schools are employing.

Mr. President, I want to fully support His Excellency and also call upon this august House to unreservedly declare war on corruption and inefficiencies of the public sector and parastatals. We have a very exciting Vision 2030 blue-print to be backed up by two Five Year National Development Strategies (NDS1and 2): 2021to 2025 and 2026- 2030, which will build on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme. If we are to achieve, or at least make meaningful traction on the 5 strategic pillars, namely Governance, Macro-economic Stability and Financial Re-engagement; Inclusive Growth, Infrastructure and Utilities and Social Development - Corruption has to die. Corruption is the mole that has dealt the most severe blows to the development of this country and needs serious political will to solve it. In the words of the late Vice President Hon. John Landa Nkomo, ending corruption start with me, it starts with you and it starts with all of us….

Cellphone rang

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! I will ask you to leave the House if you continue disregarding what I have told you. Switch off your phones or put them on silent, I will not entertain any more of the interferences which we are getting. This is not a joke at all. This is serious, this is Parliament Business

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: My biggest apology Mr. President. Let me conclude by addressing the integral aspect of the Presidential Address, which defines the mandate of Parliament that is law making. On this aspect, we need great improvement. In the last Session as much as the Executive may delay drafting and gazetting Bills, we as Parliament are equally to blame for not enforcing those processes and also expeditiously dealing with the Bills before us. I am sure His Excellency, before he outlined about 30 pieces of law which are to come before the Legislature within the next 12 months, deliberately referred to the previous Session’s Bills statistics to give us an impetus to be more diligent in passing as many Bills as are defined on the legislative calendar. To buttress my point, we can look at the Marriages Bill: 2019’s progress, among other important Bills before this House, which carries matters that affect the entire population and therefore need to be passed into law without delay.

Mr. President, massive impending Bills have been highlighted to us in this Speech. These laws are critical for the success, development and protection of our country, ranging from governance, devolution and decentralisation; mining, agriculture, industry and production; media and child protection. I implore upon your high office and this august House to adequately prepare for ‘business unusual’ as we stretch efforts in representing our communities towards the realisation of their needs and aspirations. I thank you.

HON. SEN. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for moving this motion. Firstly, I would like to thank His Excellency, in particular for containing COVID – 19 pandemic in the country. The cooperation and stance displayed by Zimbabweans was because of the Government’s proper guidance and swift handling of the situation at hand.

Through the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines as encouraged by His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, we hope we will be able to trend over the pandemic. Our President spoke of re-opening of our skies for domestic and international flights. We welcome the decision by the President as this is of major importance to our economy. The President also mentioned the re-opening of schools. I believe this is of importance as it facilitates the completion of laid rules of learners. I also thank the President for his concern to improve teachers’ working conditions and other civil servants in general.

Mr. President, His Excellency also advised of the stabilisation that has been made in the energy sector. I strongly believe this will ensure productivity in our industries. The coal mining projects in Hwange have the potential to make Zimbabwe a net exporter of energy as this will have a positive, significant impact in our economy. Again, I would like to thank His Excellency for supporting the communities with the Presidential Input Support Scheme, which is called Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, which is already operational as the President has already referred in His SONA Address.

We hope that this programme will ensure stable food security in Zimbabwe. We thank His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa. Lastly, I would like to appreciate the President’s concern about the Children’s Bill as we are witnessing a high rate of abuse and violence against children. We note with disbelief the brutal, gruesome and heinous act done to children. Mr. President, for example, the ritual killing of Tapiwa Makore, (7 years) in Murehwa. As a nation we are very much concerned. We hope this Bill will be passed as soon as possible. We thank His Excellency for his State of the Nation Address. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. A. DUBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th November, 2020.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. MAVHUNGA), the Senate adjourned at One Minute past Three o’clock p.m.

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