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SENATE HANSARD 10 MAY 2022 VOL 31 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday 10th May, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 7 has been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

MOTION

POLICIES THAT ADDRESS AND PLUG LOOPHOLES RELATED TO TAX EVASION

HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I move the motion standing in my name that this House;

NOTING that Zimbabwe is endowed with various mineral wealth such as gold, diamond, granite, lithium, which are critical for attainment of an upper middle class economy in line with the 2030 vision;

FURTHER NOTING that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has a target to achieve a US12 billion mining sector by 2023.

CONCERNED that the mining sector is experiencing serious challenges on issues like tax evasion, illicit financial flows and corruption, which are detrimental to economic development;

NOW, THEREFORE, this House calls upon Government to craft policies that address and plug loopholes related to tax evasion, illicit financial flows and corruption in the sector, thereby promoting transparency and accountability of revenue generated.

                   HON. SEN. DENGA: I second.

                    HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I rise to speak on this motion which has a big bearing on the economic transformation.  As we may all be aware, the mining sector has become the mainstay of our economy.  In the National Development Strategy 1, 2021 to 2025, the mining sector accounted for 60% of the country’s export earnings and has overtaken the sectors of the economy such as agriculture manufacturing in terms of its contribution to the fiscus.

                   As we may all know, Zimbabwe is endowed with over 40 different types of minerals which include gold, platinum, chrome, coal and others. We have the Great Dyke which is 330 miles long and very rich in minerals which are on world demand right now - including gold, platinum groups of metals and chrome.

          Currently, Zimbabwe is in the top 3 in terms of the world’s platinum reserves, with South Africa on top and Russia second.  On lithium, Zimbabwe is in the top 10 of the world’s reserves. All these minerals are on global demand, especially when you talk of issues pertaining to climate change where lithium batteries are featuring a lot in terms of reducing carbon emissions. 

                   As the world moves towards production of electric cars which are less harmful to the environment, I am sure you are aware that Zimbabwe has a huge lithium deposit located in various parts of the country, which include Bikita and Goromonzi. These minerals are going to have a huge impact on the future.

                    Madam President, in 2018, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development announced its intention to grow the mining sector into a USD12 billion economy by 2023. This would be achieved in a number of ways that include, attracting foreign direct investment, re-opening of closed mines, opening up of new mines.  As you can all see, 2023 is just a few months away and the key issue is whether, as a country, we will be able to achieve the 12 billion target in light of the challenges facing the mining sector such as tax evasion, illicit financial flows and corruption.

                   In the 2020 Annual Report by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, it is estimated that in 2019, Zimbabwe lost USD684 million through illicit financial flows.  Another study by the African Development Bank and Global Financial Integrity estimates that in the past 3 decades ending 2010, Zimbabwe lost USD12 billion through illicit financial flows.   This challenge affects most resource rich nations in Africa and is most prevalent in the extractive sector particularly mining, oil and gas.

                    Madam President, I just want to share with you the nature of corruptive activities that are happening in the mining sector.  Firstly, let me start by defining illicit financial flows which are money that is illegally earned, transferred and utilised. This is made possible by a global shadow financial system comprising of tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing and money laundering techniques.

                    Illicit financial flows are greatly linked to corruption and criminal activities.  You will find that those who are involved in the illicit financial flows would have paid bribes to public officials so that they can trade their minerals outside the country.  This is further worsened where there are weak regulatory policies such as poor governance.  The most commonly used methods to facilitate illicit financial flows are transfers, mispricing and trade mis-invoicing.

 Both account for 60% of all illicit financial flows out of the developing countries.  For example, a buyer and a seller may collude in a scheme in which the buyer only pays the standard market price for imported goods that is billed for goods at a higher price.  The seller then deposits the difference in a bank account in a secret jurisdiction on behalf of the buyer, thus siphoning the funds abroad and prevent national authorities from collecting the much needed taxes.  Another example is where a subsidiary of a company avoids paying tax in a higher taxation country by selling its product at a loss to a subsidiary in a low tax country which then sells the product at a final customer at market price and yields the profit, in essence making a loss year after year and staying in business may be an indication of transfer pricing.

                   Madam President, I am sure most Hon. Members have heard through the media that as a country, we are losing a lot of gold through smuggling. We have a lot of gold being smuggled from ten black markets and it is finding its way either to South Africa or Dubai. As a country, we are busy promoting and developing the economies of other countries instead of our own. In 2020, during an interface with legislators, the President of Zimbabwe, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa highlighted that USD60 million worth of gold annually finds its way to Dubai. This is a lot of money that should be used to develop our country.

          If, as a country, we do not take appropriate action, our economy will continue to struggle. As policy makers, we have to deal decisively with these challenges of corruption and illicit financial flows. The former Secretary General of the United Nations, Koffi Anan once said, “Corruption hurts the poor disproportionally by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment. Corruption is a key element in economic under-performance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.”

          As a country, it is important that we put in place policies and laws that address and plug loopholes related to tax evasion, illicit flows and corruption. We also need to strengthen our institutions that deal with such issues that include ZIMRA who are the tax authorities, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and ZACC. The laws might be there, but the resources may be limited for these institutions to effectively carry out their work. So as Parliament, we should ensure there is adequate budgetary support to these institutions. At the same time, it is important that anyone found committing such offences receives a heavy sentence. You will find in other countries such as China, they are very strict on corruption offences. You may even receive a death sentence for corruption. As a result, corruption offences are very low in China.

As a country, we really need to take strong measures so that we do not continue to lose revenues from our country. All these monies generated from the mining sector should be used to build our economy, which in turn will create more jobs and wealth for our country.

          In conclusion, I would also like to encourage our country to join the Global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), which promotes transparency and accountability in the revenues generated from the extractive sector. Several of our neighbours such as Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi have joined this initiative as a strategy to limit illicit financial flows from their resources. With these words, I thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chinake for the motion he brought into this august House. This motion is very important to the economy of this country with regards to the current situation. The mining sector is the one that is giving so much expectation to uplift the economy of this country and the welfare of the citizens of this country. So, this country is endowed with a lot of minerals that are more than 40 different types of minerals but, for lack of the economy comparing to what the President expects, according to NDS1, it shows that things are not moving well in line with mining expectations.

          If we look at gold and looking at the status of our country and the gold deposits in our country, it shows that one third of this country has gold deposits but if you look at what is happening in all the areas where there is gold mining, it shows that indeed gold is there because you will realise that there are a lot of goods that have been established, gangs that have been established that go and attack areas where gold is said to have been discovered such as Al-Shabaab, such as another group called Mashurugwi that terrorize and kill people because of gold.  Mr. President, as we grew up we knew that the Reserve Bank kept a lot of gold which backed the currency of this country.  Right now, if you go to the Reserve Bank you will not see anything that shows what backs our currency.  Putting a police officer or a soldier at the Reserve Bank is a waste of resources because Guard Alert Security Company can securely guard the place because there are no threats at all. 

          Hon. President, I do not know what we can do to ensure that our gold can be preserved and ensure that wherever mining takes place there can be transparency to account for it because what is happening in our economy leaves a lot to be desired.  Some people are trying to smuggle gold - be it at airports or at our borders, trying to smuggle it to South Africa, you do not hear anything pursuant to those issues, what happened to those people.  They are not prosecuted, so what I am trying to say is, anyone who is found trying to smuggle wealth of this country should be prosecuted in line with the laws of this country.  Hon. President, if you look at the diamond sector, De Beers Company did exploration of diamonds for more than five years at Chiadzwa and it never gave out results but during that time it smuggled gold to South Africa and United Kingdom purporting to be testing. Government only woke up after realising the invasion of the citizens in Chiadzwa who went to do illegal mining of gold.  That is when they realised that there is a lot of gold.  So those people who actually went for diamond panning in Chiadzwa, their livelihoods were transformed.

          Hon. President, the diamond mining companies that replaced those formal miners gave dubious statements of how much diamonds they were mining, be it per week or per month but right now they are silent.  We do not know whether there is still diamond or nothing is coming out of that place.  Our economy cannot grow if those minerals that are supposed to have earned us a lot of foreign currency and also back our currency are not properly managed but when those resources are mismanaged, the economy cannot grow very well.  If you look at some areas like Murowa Diamonds, last year a very big plant was commissioned but right now we do not know how much those companies are earning from diamonds proceeds.  There is no transparency as to how much Government is also getting.

          Hon. President, in Mutoko, there is a lot of mining of black granite.  If you go there the roads are in a very bad shape and they are not doing anything at all to repair the roads.  If you look at China, you find that they are constructing a lot of buildings and offices from these stones that are mined in Zimbabwe.  Here in Zimbabwe you only see them at the National Heroes Acre or sometimes on tombstones but there is nothing else to show the value of the black granite that we have in this country.  Maybe the African Museum will also show us the black granite in use which can be used for the construction of the African Museum. 

          Hon. President, as I conclude, I want to say the Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should scrutinise how the minerals are being used.  If you go to ZIMRA you will find a lot of tax invasions especially by small companies that were established trying to empower our youth as well as women whom we empowered so that they can also venture into mining.  They are submitting tax clearances that do not have enough documentation so at the end they pay corrupt fees for them to get clearance, maybe the Ministry of Finance can look into this.   They change from one company to another; after seeing that they have messed up, they move to another.  We should also be in a position to scrutinise why someone moves from one company to another, maybe that can assist us and if we can also support the President’s vision of upper middle income economy by 2030 through the mining sector and there must be proper accountability.  I thank you. 

          +HON. SEN. NKOMO: Firstly, I would like to thank His Excellency, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa for allowing me to be a Member of this House. I would like to thank Mr. President as well and Senators who are in this House for accepting and welcoming me to be part of them as a Senator in this Chamber.

          I would like to thank fellow Senators for welcoming me to be part of them and work with them. Mr. President, I first started working here following the death of Hon. Sen. S. K. Moyo and I am prepared to learn from those who are in this House who came before me. I am requesting them to help me through so that I can also help in the development of this country.

          Looking at the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Chinake which is about the economy of the country with reference to minerals in this country; when we liberated this country,   we wanted everything in it including land which was in the hands of the colonisers. If you look at the land and the minerals, it is necessary therefore that we use our resources wisely as is encouraged by our President. Most of our people here are owners of land which they use for farming. If we look at minerals being the backbone of our economy, I think there are a few Members here who have claims – now if you do not own those claims, who then will own them? Are these claims being used properly? We are all hurt that our country has no money but we have resources under the ground as stated in the motion moved here.  We should use such resources with wisdom because we depend on them and there are no other resources that we can depend on.  We fought for these resources so that we can use them properly to develop our country. Vision 2030 will not be a difficult thing to achieve if we are in charge of our minerals.

          Hon. Sen. Chinake talked about the various minerals that are found in this country such as gold which is uplifting the lives of many of our people. There is need to put measures in place to ensure that it benefits our people. Where are those people who used to go after people who were into illegal gold mining? We do not see them anymore. I think they were from the RBZ who used look into illegal mining activities. We need to make sure that we double the gold output so that our nation can benefit. With those few words, I thought I should add my voice to the motion moved by hon. Sen. Chinake.  I thank you.

          *HON SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion before this House. The President of our country always says a country is built by its own people - brick by brick. So if we are saying that someone is building on this side and on the other side, someone is destroying but if we manage our minerals properly, there is no need to go to Dubai because our country will be like Dubai.  We have so many minerals in our country which can provide for us as the children of Zimbabwe, without any debt.  Our people are being tortured in South Africa by South Africans who want us to stay in Zimbabwe so that we build our country.  We should build our country because we have our minerals.

          There is no outsider who is going to build our Zimbabwe but as Zimbabweans, we should build our country.  I think when the President said brick by brick, I visualised him putting brick on top of another brick, then the building will be completed.  Now, if someone removes the bricks, there is nothing that you will be doing.  What is destroying our country is corruption.  I see corruption everywhere.  I think as Zimbabweans, we should put stiffer penalties like where the miners are mining.  In South Africa, you do not move around with gold because you will die in jail since you will be destroying the wealth of the country. 

          There are other minerals that can be mined by small scale miners but a law should be put in place that the buyers would not buy directly from the illegal miners so that all those illegal miners will channel their gold through the proper channel.  There are some who are capitalising on those illegal miners.  No matter how small it is, that is the brick by brick because even if they buy with small amounts of money but if we put those small amounts of money together, that is the brick by brick.

          Right now the granite from Mutoko, if you look at our buildings, you do not see any building that has been built by that granite, probably Karigamombe Building.  If you go to other countries, you will find that they built huge buildings using that granite.  We watch it as it goes out of the country yet we have not realised anything from that granite.  As Zimbabweans, I think we should have laws in place that will give us direction because if we leave it like that – [Technical glitches] – This will lead to those who are witty to survive because there are people who are living on unorthodox means.  If it was possible, I think we should manage our minerals properly because we would not be having any problems, even to wish to go out of this country.  Now, because our wealth is not being distributed well, the wealth that we have been blessed with by the Lord – there are other countries that do not have minerals but they are rich.  We have everything in Zimbabwe but we are poor.  With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.

^^HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chinake seconded by Hon. Sen. Denga.  This motion, if you follow it closely, is emotional.  This country just like what other Hon. Senators alluded to earlier, is endowed with a lot of wealth.  There is nothing that we do not have. The surprising thing is that since 1980 up to now, we are only talking; we could be at a better stage with our economy but we are going backwards.

It is painful because we fought for this country to liberate it from the colonisers; our intention was to be progressive.  The wealth that we fought for is still here in this country, they did not take it.  What surprises me is the fact that gold and other minerals that we have are not of any benefit in the prosperity of this country. 

Where I come from in Victoria Falls, the Hwange Mine, the roads are dilapidated and we now have dust roads all over, including in residential areas.  The hospitals are no longer functional, our thinking was that after 1980, we were supposed to build from the institutions that we had such as hospitals but now it is worse, we no longer have good infrastructure for hospitals and I am referring to where I come from, that is Hwange.  We do not have good infrastructure for schools as well and there is nothing to show for our wealth in this country, yet other countries are progressing very well.

Mr. President, where exactly are we failing, why are we failing to deal with all those people who are causing this failure? We have not heard of any prosecution, we only hear about the stories and nothing is being done, yet people continue to suffer.  Where will this take us and when are we going to continue talking and just talking?  Old people like us have been talking for 40 years yet there is nothing to show for it.  We hear of people being arrested trying to smuggle gold but after that nothing happens. 

They will continue looting and running their businesses, so what sort of a country is this?  It is the same people who continue doing that and some of the people in this country have never touched gold or know what it looks like, yet some people play around with it. Everyone is supposed to benefit from the minerals of this country because we all went to war.  As you travel from Victoria, the road is in a very bad state, you will see patches here and there.  There are a lot of resources that are supposed to contribute to the economic development of this country yet we are not seeing anything.  We are supposed to benefit from gold yet only a few are benefiting from it.  The majority are just suffering.  Right now children are not learning because of teachers’ strikes and the failure of parents to pay school fees. Parents do not have jobs yet some people are playing around with loads and loads of money yet we are one country.

Let us be truthful and let us tell each other the truth as adults.  If someone comes lying to you each and every day, you can tell.  Here we are, everyday we continue talking about the same thing that is not yielding any results at all.   Let us come up with tangible measures to ensure that the country and everyone benefits from the wealth of this country.  No one should be special and get the benefits of the wealth of this country whilst others suffer. 

How are people expected to live, some of the people who were born in 1980 have never been employed.  They do not know what a pay slip looks like yet here we are talking and talking  to no avail.  Right now we are old enough and we will die one day without correcting anything, the future generations will blame us.  I respect this Senate; we are supposed to come up with strong resolutions or legislation that is supposed to lead to action.  This country is endowed with a lot of wealth yet here we are unable to harvest that honey as a country whilst a few people who are doing illicit deals are the ones that are benefitting.  His Excellency the President talks and people around him are not doing anything tangible,so we need to progress. With those few words, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my words to this debate.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chinake for moving this motion.  When I look at Zimbabwe, we should be thankful to God because the Lord gave us a lot of minerals that we should live on.   We have a lot of minerals, to the extent that we should be living well in Zimbabwe.  What is troubling us is the issue of corruption which is causing our minerals to find their way out of the country. 

In Zimbabwe each province is blessed with their own minerals, so those minerals should help in the development of those areas.  That is not happening because of corruption; you find our gold and all  our minerals are being smuggled outside the country. These mineral smugglers sell these precious minerals and the foreign currency does not benefit the country in any way.  A law should therefore be enacted to say all those who mine in Zimbabwe should account for all the minerals that they mine here in Zimbabwe.

I want to repeat what His Excellency normally says that ‘nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’.  This should be clear to each and every one of us.  As a country, we should put our heads together so that we come up with ways of seeing how our minerals are building our country rather than developing other countries through our minerals whilst we are wallowing in poverty here.  We should sit down as a nation and find out ways and strategies on how we should be handling our minerals.

People who are able to sell their minerals abroad are the ones who are sitting pretty. These USD are only found in the possession of those corrupt people who sell our gold outside the country. 

Mr. President, in a nutshell, I am saying we should come up with stiffer penalties and enact laws to protect our precious minerals.  If you go to Shurugwi where I come from, there is a place called Boterekwa. That place is now dangerous but you find people are still mining there.  The roads there are now under threat of collapsing yet people are mining minerals there without developing the community.

  If you look at this issue on minerals, you find that we have a lot of children who are dying in the mines. There are a lot of things that are happening in these mines and no one is looking at that. So as Zimbabweans, we need to put our heads together and map the way forward in safeguarding our minerals.  All those who are mining should be investigated on where the minerals are going. . We should be benefiting from our minerals but our minerals are benefiting people who do not stay in the mined areas.

Mr. President, I want to thank Hon. Chinake for his motion which is very pertinent.  We should put our heads together and come up with ways on how to safeguard our minerals so that they benefit the nation as a whole. 

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to raise my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Chinake, seconded by Hon. Sen. Denga. 

Mr. President, first of all, I would like to ask if His Excellency is aware of these motions that are raised in this august House.  It appears as if we are just playing in this House because nothing changes. I think it is important that when we are debating pertinent issues of this nature, the President should be aware so that he knows that there are elders who are debating on matters of importance which concern the wealthy of the country.

On the issue of minerals which are being wasted away, truly speaking we should not be having economic challenges at all. Right now the parallel market is very high and we do not know what will become of our RTGS by June because of these unscrupulous dealers.  The USD has become highly important when it is actually destroying our country. I feel that this motion should get to the President.

Investors coming into our country should be investigated because our money is going out and we are wallowing in poverty.  People were using mishikashika for transport purposes but they were stopped yesterday in order to use the ZUPCO buses, so school children going to school were disrupted.

In our country, there is so much money that there should be industries where our children will be working and enjoying the wealth our country.  Our wealth is being swept away.  People are saying come 2023, we want to go for elections when we are dying of hunger. Investors are taking our money; there are only 10 people who are enjoying in this country.

When motions like these are raised, I think they should be heard by His Excellency.  People are suffering in the rural areas yet the foreigners are the ones living pretty.  When they go back to their countries, they surely say there are fools in Zimbabwe because they are taking our minerals away without much restriction.

Let us put our heads together and His Excellency should take this seriously because this issue is of major concern.  We have children who are sitting home right now and not going to school right now. What has caused that is because of corruption which is happening in our mines. The Lord would have had mercy on us because we have all the minerals in this country. Even the crops, we have everything that the Lord gave us. He blessed us with everything but us as the owners, there are only ten people who are enjoying and in actual fact, investors have come and they are making their countries rich.

          We have so many Chinese; they are running away from their country coming to Zimbabwe where they get it for free. We see them as investors and those people who are working for them are getting nothing, they get something like USD1 or USD2 as wages. Some are being beaten and abused by those Chinese. It is very painful Mr. President. It looks as if we are doing the right thing but I once asked as to who issues out the mining permits and how are they issued because they are the ones who are making our children die. The President has said go and mine and they are letting our children engage in dangerous mining.

          We know those who are doing it rightfully and they are doing it properly. When a mine has been closed because of safety issues, they will go behind and they open those mines. Mr. President, we should help each other.

I want to thank those who raised the motion and in conclusion, I am saying let it reach the ears of the President so that he should enforce some measures of control. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this very important motion which was brought by Hon. Sen. Chinake, seconded by Hon. Sen. Denga. Most of the things have been alluded to. This is a very important motion to us as the citizens of this country. It is true that the country is endowed with a lot of mineral resources, the same minerals that are protected by the Constitution of this country, the minerals that we expect to contribute to the development of this country.

          Hon. Sen. Chinake talked about corruption – indeed as Zimbabweans, let us protect our country. If we do not protect our county through our behaviour, we are not patriotic and we destroy each and every policy that is put in place by Government. There are a lot of rich countries in Africa that are not endowed with such mineral wealth but their citizens live very well and their people earn good money because people respect their governments and they respect Government policies. 

          Corruption in this country does not contribute to development and this corruption is not perpetrated by ordinary citizens in rural areas. It is being done by those highly educated people who want to get rich overnight. Previously, I talked of a river in Mt. Darwin which is called Mupfure. That river has a lot of gold and men and women as well as children were busy panning gold in that river and they used to earn their livelihoods without any problems. What happened is that we saw them being evicted and their shelters being burnt, but that was not the solution.

          We expect that Government should talk to people nicely and give them all the necessary paperwork and steps that may lead to them operating legally not that harsh way. We should stop that. We expect the Government to address the issue of Mukaradzi properly so that people may work while abiding by the law. They will not refuse and they will work obediently. The corruption net has seen the arrest of people from ZIMRA as well as the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

          We have the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. It is a very important Commission but it can function properly if we assist them. They need to be given all the necessary resources because if they do not have the necessary and requisite resources to carry out their duties, they will also fall into corruption. The same applies to ZIMRA as well as the Zimbabwe Republic Police. They need to be properly equipped. If we look at the border where the alleged smuggling takes place, it is not even fenced just like the other side on South Africa.

          We travelled with the Parliamentary Committee of Peace and Security. They patrol for 50 kilometers on foot, so how can they successfully carryout their duties? My appeal is that these people be given adequate resources such as transport so that they patrol properly and get all the necessary security apparatus and equipment that is necessary. That way, corruption may not take place because people will not look for so called ‘cuts’ to earn a livelihood.

          As parliamentarians, let us closely debate on this motion. Let us scrutinise it properly so that we look at the existing laws and what can be done. May the Minister of Mines and Mining Development come to the Senate from time to time and give us an update on the minerals as to what is happening and what is taking place with regards to that Ministry so that we move step by step with all the developments that are taking place in that industry.        

          Zimbabweans are hard working people but if they do not have adequate resources to work with whilst they suffer in abject poverty, they face challenges in paying their school fees as well as starving, they will end up involved in corruption.  I hope Government will address this so that we live peacefully in this country.  If we look at Parliament, we are the lowest paid Parliament in this world.  We hear the other Parliamentarians are earning huge amounts as compared to us, yet we are a country endowed with a lot of minerals.  Let us emulate what the President is saying, we build our country brick by brick.  We may look down upon that statement but it is very essential.  Even gold smuggling, it takes place in cahoots with foreigners who enrich their countries whilst our country remains in abject poverty. 

          Mr. President, I hope the country will enact very stringent laws that may prevent smuggling of our mineral resources.  For this law to be effective, all those who are convicted should be published so that citizens will get to know the people who have been convicted and put behind bars so that they will be deterred from committing the same offences.  This is a very important motion.  I call upon the House to debate it and come up with very strong resolutions. 

          +HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU: I want to thank the mover of this motion.   It is very painful for one to own cattle and having your children not eat the milk, the cream being eaten elsewhere not at your home.  Your neighbour’s children are fat yet yours are suffering from kwashiorkor.  This is so difficult.  What makes me say this is that we went out as a Committee and got to a place called Chiadzwa.  It was the first time for me to be there and I thought I was going to see carpeted roads but when we got to the entrance, I was looking forward to a positive change.  I only saw us being stopped by law enforcement agents who are soldiers and police officers, the roads are not tarred, the houses in the area are so dilapidated and you realise that people suffered to get those structures to where they are. 

          Looking at this situation, I thought since there are laws in our country, why is it that Chinese are coming into our country to take our minerals to their countries.  We are not even seeing any development that is being brought into the country by these people in the area just to say thank you to the work they are doing in that area.  The roads are not tarred, there are just potholes from the place to the main road. You need to stop and check your car if it is still in good condition, yet it is a place that is bringing out thousands of dollars and the money is being taken out of the country.

 Chiadzwa is supposed to be an area that is so attractive but that is not happening.  As has been indicated by other Hon. Members talking about corruption, it is destroying this country.  You need to see to it that since other Hon. Members have indicated, those involved in corruption need to be punished.  No wonder why it is said name them and shame them but if people are not even shameful of such acts of corruption, you do not see anything bad in taking part in it. 

          Mr. President, it is very painful for all Zimbabweans because this corruption is not being done by those people who are juniors but it is done by people that are taking position in the institution.  If you go to law enforcements agents with a corrupt activity that is happening, you realise that when you get there, nothing is being done because the agent would have been given something corruptly to remain quiet on the issue. This makes it difficult for us as a country to fight corruption because of such acts of getting the law enforcements agents getting something to remain quiet on these issues. 

          Corruption in our country is not different from cancer, it is in the same WhatsApp group with cancer because cancer does not end, it can only end by getting someone dead.  I do not know if we can refer to corruption like a weed that affects our plants which we call in Ndebele sona, no matter how deep you dig it out, you cannot get rid of it. Right now, we need laws that are powerful that will get those people that are involved in corruption being brought to book. We cannot have people that occupy big offices like senators taking part in corruption shamelessly because they know that due to their position, nothing is going to be done to them. What I know is that their positions should make them be responsible and know that they have a position to protect.

          At one point when I was working in Mberengwa, there was a beer called itototo which was brewed in that area. They would brew this beer checking for law enforcement agents and at times they would brew it from the bushes because they knew that if they were to be caught brewing, they would get into trouble. Nowadays the law enforcement agents are ignorant of such things because they only look for people that will give them money to keep quiet on such activities.

          What we are asking for is to empower the law enforcement agents but we do not know who is going to do this because the law enforcement agents are the ones that are spearheading corruption. Even at home where children are being brought up with good values, they remain good at what they do but those that would have been brought up in an area where there is so much lawlessness cannot change. They will remain the same and they will continue to perpetrate lawlessness in our country.

          What else can we do without enforcing our laws so that even if foreigners come to work into our country, they seriously follow our laws? They need to follow our laws so that they leave something for the Zimbabweans and take up the good from what they will be engaged in. Right now these foreigners are the ones that are taking the greater part of our wealth and leaving nothing for us. What we are asking for from our Government is that they need to make sure that they put stringent laws that will protect the wealth of our citizens. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. M. R. DUBE: Firstly, what I want to say is that since 2018 at the onset of this Parliament, we have had motions that do not end and which do not have answers. Every day we bring in motions which have different wording but they remain the same. What causes that is that the Ministers do not come in on Thursdays when we ask questions.  We can spend the whole week debating but on Thursdays they do not come and they do know what would have been debated on like this issue in this House. My view is that the messengers that we are sending are not getting to the authorities. When we ask questions during Question Time, it is like they are dodging and they do not respond to the questions. I think we should come together and find out whom we should send because these Ministers have failed us. We should send someone to the President to put across our issues because things are not moving in our country.

          In the last session, we debated on the issue of illegal miners and it looks like the President is not aware and the issues are not reaching his ears. Some ministers are afraid of being labeled incompetent. We should plead with the President to come and then we put across our issues. These mining activities have really destroyed our country. Nothing is coming out of those mines. The gold is not being channeled to Fidelity. I feel that the President is not being told the truth about what is taking place because of the people around him who are involved in the illegal mining. We should tell the President what is happening. Our President is a very good leader but there are some people who are sabotaging him. It is not all the people but some of them. The country is not moving well because of people who are lazy.      There are some people who entered politics with nothing but became rich overnight and now they are staying outside the country.  I will repeat my statement that the President should come and we should talk to him so that he knows what is happening in Zimbabwe.

          Right now when you go out of the country and tell people that you are getting US$180 as a salary, they say are you mad, there is nothing like that.  We tell them that our salaries are coming from proceeds of mining activities in Chiadzwa. The ministers who come here on Thursdays are not taking our issues seriously to the President so that he may understand our situation.  The President should flex his muscles because from 2018, all these motions have been debated in this House but there are no results. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 11th May, 2022.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 50TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PLENARY FORUM HOSTED VIRTUALLY BY THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 50th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Plenary Forum hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Lesotho from 10th to 12th December 2021.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President.  First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to say as SADC, we are united.  People are working together to see the progress of this region.  The main objective is to see us moving forward successfully.  It was their wish that as SADC, we have democracy, transparency as well as accountability to have things moving forward with ease. The report also mentioned motions that were put forward to say it was their wish as SADC to continue to have a one-stop-centre.  What this meant for SADC is that for those who were travelling across countries as well as reference to goods, it will be easy for everyone.  There would not be queues that we see at our borders, all those delays that people experience at borders will be a thing of the past.

If it is a one-stop-centre, it is also an advantage to all those investors who want to invest in our country.  It will now be easy for those who intend to initiate business in this country because everything will be done in one place and there will be ease of establishment instead of the trouble some people face when they want to start a business or start an investment in one of the regional countries.  This actually reflects order amongst countries if we are to implement such an infrastructure; such an initiative. 

Also in the report, it was also suggested that we start water harvesting as water is life.  As a result of water harvesting, it is a sustainable solution to humanity where in this life people are experiencing climate change.  We have countries where people experience unexpected weather conditions.  We have had experiences of natural disasters such as cyclones.  There could also be droughts where people lose all their livestock and people also lose their lives.

It is also their wish that all the secretariat; all the things they put on paper - may we see to it that those things are implemented without fail because we are not involved in sabotaging the processes.  A good example is what was mentioned in this House that we have minerals in this country but people are suffering.  Let us see to it that these things which are deliberated upon are implemented.  It is my wish that I see the SADC Secretariat doing their task, implementing their resolutions. 

Mr. President, SADC is involved in a very good initiative.  As we speak, SADC has a standby force which monitors to see if one of the regional countries is involved in war and they are in need of assistance, with Mozambique being a very good example, where SADC sent their forces for stability and restoration of order in that particular country.  Unity is brought about to bring unity of purpose. We also have the intervention brigade which was in support of the United Nations’ programme, which was rendering assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This assists us very well to say every country that will experience problems within its own country, SADC will have forces and brigade to intervene and assist another regional country.  We are proud of that and we are happy for such an initiative.  If we continue to work together, eventually we will see a United States of Africa.  Things will move very well.

In that report, the other pertinent issue which was discussed was the COVID-19 pandemic.  Schools were affected greatly because they closed down, 1.6 billion school children failed to return to school because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are one of the countries that was affected by the lockdowns experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result of not attending school, we had a lot of teenage pregnancies.  The other issue was that of immigration and visas, the difficulties that people face when traveling. It was suggested that SADC countries come up with ways to ease travelling within the SADC region.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi who brought this report to this Senate.  SADC encouraged us to hold virtual meetings. No delegation would attend a meeting physically; virtual meetings have made it easy to convene meetings as countries save money for travelling.  In Lesotho where we had a meeting, we could have sent a delegation to that country but we managed to save money by doing it virtually.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mahodi for that report because it taught us a lot of things on what is happening within SADC region. If we follow some of the recommendations, we will see ourselves having a sustainable likelihood as a country. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Date to resume: Wednesday, 11th May, 2022.

MOTION

MEASURES TO RESUSCITATE THE ECONOMY

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to come up with measures to resuscitate the economy.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Date to resume: Wednesday, 11th May, 2022.

MOTION

EFFORTS TO CURB CORRUPTION

Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to introduce deterrent sentences for those engaging in corrupt activities.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Date to resume: Wednesday, 11th May, 2022.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS ON HIV AND AIDS SERVICE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN ZIMBABWE

Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions on HIV and AIDS service delivery system.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Date to resume: Wednesday, 11th May, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, the Senate adjourned at Half past Four o’clock p.m.

 

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