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SENATE HANSARD 11 JUNE 2024 VOL 33 NO 56

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 11th June, 2024

The Senate met at Half-past Two o`clock p.m.

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

DEATH OF HON. SEN. MURISI ZWIZWAI

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the Senate of the death of Hon. Senator Murisi Zwizwai, Senator for Harare Province on Saturday 1st June, 2024.  I therefore invite Hon. Senators to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Senator.

All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

Motion put an agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Judicial Service Commission for the year 2023 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

          Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2023 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): Thank you Mr. President.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

          Fifth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year 2023 presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. PHULU: Thank you Mr. President.  I rise today to present a comprehensive analysis of the Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year 2023.  This report is a crucial tool that provides us with a snapshot of the human rights situation in our country. It is imperative that from time to time, we be reminded about the human rights situation in the country and that from time to time, we be forced to reflect on what is happening in our country with regards to the issue of human rights.

The issue of human rights is like the speedometer on your car.  I know some of us have new cars.  The speedometer is a crucial gadget on which you must keep your eye on a measure to see how you are travelling.  To measure that particular factor that we call human rights, we need to ensure that we keep it at an optimum level. We also need to ensure that we make improvements where improvements are meant to be made. In addition, to ensure that we make concessions where human rights have been violated and also that as we go forward towards another day, the issue of human rights does not remain a very topical issue in our nation.

Issues of development should overtake issues of human rights violations at the centre stage. I urge us therefore, to recognise the importance of human rights in our society and to take concrete steps to promote and protect these fundamental frames.  The report highlights several challenges facing our country including allegations of torture, arbitrary arrests and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. These violations are a stark reminder of the need for continuous vigilance and actions to ensure that human rights are protected and promoted in our country.

One of the most disturbing findings in our report is the wide spread use of torture by law enforcements agents.  Torture is a violation of human rights that is unacceptable in any society.  It is a form of cruelty that is designed to break the spirit of individuals and it is a practice that must be stopped.  The report states that between 2019 and 2023, there were 237 cases of alleged torture reported to the Human Rights Commission.  This is a staggering number and highlights the need for urgent action to address this issue.

Mr. President, the report also highlights the problem of arbitrary arrests and detentions.  These practices are a violation to the right to liberty and security of the person.  They are threat to the rule of law in our country.  The report states that between 2010 and 2013, there were 456 cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions reported in Human Rights Commission.  This is a significant number and highlights the need for urgent action to address this issue. 

The report also highlights actions on freedom of expression and assembly.  These restrictions are a violation of fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution.  It states that between 2019 and 2023, there were 123 cases of restrictions and freedom of expression and assembly that were reported to the Human Rights Commission. Again, I submit that this is a disturbing number and highlights the need to urgently address this issue. 

In conclusion, I urge us to take concrete steps to promote human rights in our country.  We must recognise their importance in our society to ensure that they are really and effectively protected and promoted.  We must work together with civic society organisations to achieve this. I wish Mr. President, to analyse the impact of these human rights violations.  The report highlights several challenges facing our country including torture, restrictions of freedom of expression and these violations have a significant impact on the individual and society as a whole. 

It states that between 2019 and 2023, there were over 800 cases of human rights violations reported at the Commission. The report highlights several outcomes that have resulted from the implementation of programmes and this is a good thing about having these reports.  The report will then tell you what programmes have been carried out and what has been the outcome of those programmes.  We know that during that period, there were 300 cases of alleged violations that were reported.

It also states that the programmes aimed at promoting the human rights in the country were run by the Commission. The report states that there is need to do more in terms of ensuring that the Commission has the capacity to deal with these cases. Obviously, over the next few years, as we track these reports, because these reports will become useful over the years when we are able to compare and produce graphs to determine whether these cases are actually going down or they are going up, I am sure that in two or three years’ time, as we receive these reports on an annual basis, we will be able to tell whether this Government is putting in place programmes that are ensuring that there is a reduction in the violation of human rights. Certainly, I also want to end by making a submission that this is Human Rights Commission is a Commission which needs our support.  Ever since its formation, if memory serves me right, it is one of the Commissions which has received the least support in terms of resources to do their work.

 I remember when Commissioners, out of all the Commissions, did not have vehicles to work with. They were working with their personal vehicles and I believe that under the Second Republic, we should see an improvement in how this Commission is treated and how it is funded. This Commission is key in arguing the pains for Zimbabwe on various international platforms where Zimbabwe goes to make presentations on the human rights situation in the country.

Human rights situation is an important indicator whenever we go for conferences, particularly United Nations related organisations or platforms on the African continent where our Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is required to present a report on the human rights situation in the country. Civic Society Organisations provide a shadow report and that shadow report would draw immensely from a report by an organisation or an organ such as the Human Rights Commission.

If we support it with finances, they will be able to produce more and more detailed reports and they will be able to make more effective interventions so that Zimbabwe’s human rights record is correctly captured, correctly reflected and begins to show that we are able to contain the human rights situation in our country.

In closing, I would like to say that as we contain this indicator and as we paint as an emerge that we are sensitive to human rights situation, perhaps one day we will see our message on Zimbabwe as a destination for investment and as a peer sitting on the international and regional tables with others becoming a very respected nation.

I would like to thank Human Rights Commission for presenting the report in terms of their constitutional mandate and for presenting a report which is detailed and gives us a good indication of what the human rights situation is like in our country. I move that we take note of the report and note it positively and that Mr. President, you send a nod to the Commission for a job well-done. Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): Thank you Mr. President.  I move that Oder of the Day Number 6 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day are disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to

MOTION

BUSINES OF THE HOUSE

 

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I do hereby move that we stand over the motion by Hon. Senator Zvidzai until all the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. PHULU:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 148th ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) HELD IN GENEVA

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I move the motion in my name, that this House takes note of the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Related Meetings held on 23rd to 27th March, 2024, in Geneva, Switzerland.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF KHUMALO:  I second.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  This report covers the Assembly which was held in Geneva Switzerland.

  • INTRODUCTION
    • The 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and
    • Related Meetings was convened in the city of peace, Geneva, Switzerland from 23rd to 27th March 2024 under the overarching theme “Parliamentary Diplomacy: Building Bridges for Peace and Understanding”. The spring edition of the IPU Assembly was attended by one thousand six hundred (1 600) delegates, including fifty-five (55) Speakers and fifty-five Deputy Speakers from one hundred and forty-eight (148) IPU Member Parliaments. Furthermore, thirty-six percent (36%) of delegates were women, while twenty-seven percent (27%) were young Parliamentarians.
    • The Parliament of Zimbabwe was ably represented by Hon.

Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament and Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate. They were accompanied by the following Members of Parliament:

  • Chief Mtshane Lucas Khumalo;
  • Tsitsi Muzenda;
  • Tawanda Karikoga;
  • Naledi Madzara;
  • Jona Nyevera;
  • Prosper Mutseyami; and
  • Judith Tobaiwa.

1.4      The above theme of the IPU 148th Assembly was opportune.

According to the 2023 statistics obtained by the Stockholm International

Peace Research Institute, fifty-six (56) countries across the globe were

experiencing armed conflict. Consequently, some of these conflicts have

negative global impact on world economies such as inaccessible grain

and fertiliser supplies, curtailed movement of goods and services

resulting in devastating consequences of humanitarian crisis. In this

context, the IPU is applauded for providing a much-needed platform for

Parliamentarians to exercise Parliamentary diplomacy through dialogue

in order to complement the peace and security efforts by the United

Nations and other multilateral humanitarian organisations.

  • SADC GROUP AND AFRICA GEOPOLITICAL

GROUP MEETINGS

2.1    As per established practice at IPU Assembly meetings, the SADC Group and Africa Geopolitical Group convened on 22nd March 2024 to discuss and reach consensus on issues affecting the region and the

continent respectively. The meetings provide a focused approach in

tackling issues under consideration by the global Parliamentary body.

2.2    Of special note, is that Speaker Mudenda continued to receive commendations for his sterling contribution to the work of the IPU among the SADC Parliaments and in the IPU Executive Committee

during his four-year tenure as he represented SADC Parliaments and the

Africa Geopolitical Group. Subsequently, Hon. Speaker Mudenda was

presented with a certificate of distinction by Hon. Roger Mancienne,

Speaker of the Parliament of Seychelles and President of the SADC

Parliamentary Forum in recognition of his “Outstanding commitment

and excellence in serving the African Geopolitical Group and the

SADC Region as a Member of the IPU Executive Committee.”

2.3    In keeping with the spirit of the theme of the Assembly, both the SADC and Africa Geopolitical Group resolved to support the

submission of an Emergency Item submitted by South Africa entitled,

Raising awareness of the International Court of Justice provisional

measures for Israel in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, and of the

need for urgent action on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza”, for

inclusion on the IPU Agenda. This emergency item will be married with

Algeria’s proposal in terms of Rule 11(2) of the IPU Statutes and Rules

which allows for such composite approach. In the same spirit, the 12 Plus Geopolitical Group agreed to combine its submission with that of South Africa only to be aborted later. The vote on the Emergency Item resulted

in a stalemate and for the second consecutive time, the IPU failed to

have an Emergency Item.

2.4      Hon. Tulia Ackson, President of the IPU and Speaker of the

Parliament of Tanzania addressed both the SADC and Africa

Geopolitical Groups in her maiden appearance since election to the

position of President of the IPU in October 2023. President Ackson

expressed gratitude to Africa for the election support and pledged to

deliver on her campaign promises as well as to ensure that the

continent’s challenges receive due attention at the international fora.

         3.0     GOVERNING COUNCIL

3.1    ACTIVITIES REPORT BY THE PRESIDENT: The

Governing Council took note of the IPU President’s report on the activities undertaken since she was elected as President in October 2023 anchored on three deliverables, namely,

  • Reinforcing peace and security through dialogue – The IPU President undertook visits to the Middle East (Israel and Palestine) in November 2023 wherein she engaged the Prime Minister of Palestine, His Excellency, Mohammad Shtayeh as well as the Speaker the Parliament of Israel, Hon. Amir Ohana. Through her interactions during the visits, the IPU President gained a deeper appreciation of the conflict. She opined that both parties were willing to resolve the conflict through dialogue.
  • Reinforcing the IPUs visibility – Key meetings attended by the IPU President include a webinar preventing and responding to violence against women in Parliaments; 9th MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation on Strengthening Multilateralism; Addressing Intergenerational Challenges held in Bali, Indonesia; Antalya Diplomacy Forum held in Turkey and the Women’s Speakers’ Forum held in France.

Supporting the implementation of the IPU Strategy – In support of the IPU Strategy, the IPU President attended the High-Level segment on COP 28 held in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additionally, the IPU President attended the 2024 Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations as well as the Annual IPU – UN Women Parliamentary meeting at the 68th session of the Commission for women held in New York, USA.

3.2    IMPACT REPORT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON THE ACTIVITIES BY THE OF THE IPU IN 2023

3.2.1 The Governing Council took note of Impact Report presented

by Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, which articulated activities undertaken since the last Governing Council Meeting held in Luanda, Angola in October 2023. The report was anchored on the five strategic objectives of the IPU as encapsulated in the IPU Strategy Plan (2022-2026). Some of the major highlights for the period under review included the following:

  • An increase in Membership to 180 Member Parliaments and 15 Associate Members
  • 762 human rights cases examined by the IPU
  • Over 150,000 views on climate videos
  • 3% of Women MPs at IPU Assemblies (IPU supported Sierra Leone with the quota system which saw more women elected in that Parliament.
  • 6% of Young MPs at IPU Assemblies

3.3       IPU FINANCIAL REPORT

3.3.1The Governing Council noted the financial statement of the

Organisation together with the Audited Financial Report conducted by the Auditor General of the Government of Indonesia in Accordance with Rule 13 of the IPU Financial Regulations. The IPU Executive Committee noted that the financial position remains stable with a high degree of solvency.

        3.3.2 The mobilisation of voluntary funding had also increased,

including the One (1) million United States dollars donation by the

United Arab Emirates. Other key funding agreements includes the

following:

  • Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA);
  • Shura Council of Qatar;
  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DFATD);
  • The Irish Aid; and
  • The World Health Organisation.

          3.3.3 The Governing Council also noted that external funding for

the organization constituted only 27% while the rest was internally

generated mainly from Member Parliaments subscriptions.

3.4    REPORT ON IPU MEMBERS AND SITUATION ON

OTHER PARLIAMENTS

3.4.1 The Governing Council approved the request by the

Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL) as an IPU observer.

3.5    IPU REGIONAL OFFICES

3.5.1 The Governing Council took note of the progress on

operationalization of the two IPU pilot Regional Offices in Uruguay and Egypt. It was noted that a two-year agreement between Uruguay and the IPU had been signed. The Host countries are expected to meet all costs relating to the running of the offices while the IPU would only render logistical support.

Ultimately, Member Parliaments through their Geopolitical

Groups, may open Regional Offices to foster parliamentary engagements outside the Assembly meetings as well as increase visibility in line with the IPU Communications Strategy.

3.6    IPU TASK FORCE ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE/

MIDDLE EAST QUESTIONS

3.6.1 Regarding the IPU Task Force on the Ukraine-Russia

conflict, the Governing Council noted the progress registered by the Task Force in dealing with the war in Ukraine. Accordingly, the Governing Council resolved to maintain the Task Force.

3.6.2 The Governing Council further resolved that the IPU should

also entrench its presence on other related conflict resolution initiatives by other bodies such as the Geneva Peace Summit being organised to resolve the war in Ukraine.

3.6.3 Similarly, the Governing Council noted and acknowledged

the efforts made by the IPU President following her meetings with authorities from both Palestine and Israel over the conflict in Gaza. To that an extent, the Governing Council resolved to await the detailed report which will be presented by the substantive Committee to the Assembly.

3.7    With regards to the proposed amendments of the IPU Statutes

and Rules, the Governing Council endorsed the establishment of a Sub Committee to scrutinize the various submissions by Member Parliaments and respective Geopolitical Groups. Hon. Nelly Mutii, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia will represent the Africa Geopolitical Group on the Sub Committee. The following are highlights of the proposed amendments:

  • Gender rotation of the IPU Presidency
  • Reduction of the IPU Youth Parliamentarian age from 45 years to 40 years
  • Introduction of Portuguese as a working official language of the IPU.

3.8       The Governing Council approved the hosting of the 150th

IPU Assembly and Related Meetings by Uzbekistan from 5th to 9th April 2025. No Member Parliament has expressed interest to Host the 149th Assembly and Related meetings. Accordingly, the Governing Council approved the recommendation by the Executive Committee for this Assembly to be convened in Geneva, the Headquarters of the IPU, ceteris paribus (everything remaining constant).

3.9 The Governing Council resolved that annual meetings of

Women Parliamentarians, similar to the Annual Young Parliamentarians Meetings should be embraced. Additionally, the Governing Council approved the hosting of the Sixth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament scheduled for 2025 in Geneva, Switzerland. Accordingly, the Preparatory Committee for this Conference has since been constituted and will be chaired by the IPU President.

3.10 As is the entrenched practice now, the 2024 Cremer – Passy

Prize will be awarded during the 149th Assembly and related meetings in October 2024. Accordingly, the Governing Council noted that the nomination process is now open. The 2024 prize is open to sitting parliamentarians who are making an outstanding contribution to the defense and promotion of the IPU objectives as well as those who are contributing to a more united, peaceful, sustainable and equitable world. The nominations can be submitted through the Geopolitical Groups and must have two nominees, the substantive and an alternate. The deadline for submissions of nominees is the 30th April 2024.

3.11  The Governing Council took note of the reports of the IPU

Specialised Committees and other bodies including the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. The Committee examined several cases of alleged human rights violations against Members of Parliaments in fourteen countries including Zimbabwe.

3.11.1The cases before the Committee on Human Rights of

Parliamentarians involve 41 opposition Members of Parliament (22 men and 19 women), 18 of them new and concern Citizens for Coalition of Change Members who were recalled on 14th November 2023. Accordingly, in expressing Zimbabwe’s reservations to the decisions of the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Hon. Advocate Mudenda made reference to the detailed response he had submitted to the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians in February 2024. Furthermore, he emphatically stated that the Speaker and the President of the Senate are guided by the legal regime governing the recall of Members of Parliament as pronounced under Section 129 (1)(k) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe which stipulates that “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker or President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it.”

In this context, therefore, Speaker Mudenda explained that it is the

political party which is the instigator of the recalls. The Presiding Officers of Parliament are not mandated to investigate internal political party affairs, neither do they interfere in internal issues of political parties.

With regards to the intervention of riot police to bring order to the

House, Hon. Advocate Mudenda clearly articulated the background of the situation, highlighting that he had exercised extreme patience while Members of the opposition continued disrupting the business of the House unabated for two hours fifteen minutes. Accordingly, the police were indeed called in to remove the said Members and bring order to the House. Speaker Mudenda indicated that there were no reports of injuries and no medical reports were tendered to the said Committee to validate the veracity of its report.

Hon. Speaker Mudenda welcomed the proposed Mission to

Zimbabwe provided the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians clearly articulates its terms of reference for consideration by the relevant authorities. Notwithstanding the reservations raised by Speaker Mudenda, the Governing Council endorsed the decisions as presented by the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

  • EMERGENCY ITEM FOR INCLUSION ON THE

AGENDA OF THE IPU ASSEMBLY

4.1     In line with Assembly Rule 11 of the IPU Statutes which

states that “A request for the inclusion of an emergency item must relate to a recent major situation of international concern on which urgent action by the international community is required and on which it is appropriate for the IPU to express its opinion and mobilise a Parliamentary response”, the Assembly considered three (3) requests for inclusion as an Emergency Item on the Agenda of the IPU 148th Assembly as follows:

  • Raising awareness of the International Court of Justice provisional measures for Israel in relation to Palestinians in Gaza and the need for urgent action on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza submitted by South Africa with the support of the Arab Geopolitical Group, Africa Geopolitical Group, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Call for urgent action regarding the conflict in the Middle East submitted by Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
  • Free, fair and transparent elections without prohibitions: Towards an orderly and peaceful democratic transition in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela submitted by Argentina on behalf of delegations from Argentina, Guyana, Peru and Uruguay.

4.2     Unfortunately, none of the three requests garnered the

statutory two thirds majority vote. Consequently, there was no Emergency Item for debate.

5.0    OFFICIAL OPENING SESSION

5.1    At the request of Rt Hon. Tulia Ackson, President of the IPU,

participants observed a moment of silence in honour of those who had passed on, with particular reference to the iconic statesman, His Excellency Hage Geingob, the late President of the Republic of Namibia, Members of Parliament, victims of global conflicts, victims of gender based violence and those facing violent challenges in their different forms.

5.2    In her remarks to the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ackson expressed

concern over the alarming rise in global conflicts which threaten peace and stability. In this context, she welcomed the theme of the Assembly which aptly speaks to the founding principles of the IPU as enshrined in Article 1 of the IPU Statutes and Rules. Additionally, the theme of the Assembly provided an opportunity for Member Parliaments to rejuvenate the work of IPU and making it central to global peace building initiatives through dialogue, negotiation and Parliamentary diplomacy.

5.3    Speaking at the same occasion, Mr. Martin Chungong,

Secretary General of the IPU welcomed the return of the IPU Assembly to Geneva, known as the “City of Peace.” Accordingly, he opined that this was particularly relevant as it sent a strong message that the IPU stands for global peace and democracy as strongly expressed in the IPU slogan, “For democracy, for everyone.” He drew Assembly’s attention to the critical role of Parliaments in achieving democracy through creating the appropriate environment as well as engaging in Parliamentary diplomacy. Accordingly, the IPU is, therefore, strategically placed to contribute to ongoing global efforts to restore peace through dialogue and reconciliation processes across geographical, religious, political and racial divide.

5.4    In keeping with its commitment to the inclusion of the youth,

Hon. D. Carden, the IPU President of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians also addressed the Assembly. He noted that in areas of conflict, it is the youth who are recruited to fight but unfortunately the same youths are excluded in times peace. In this regard, he strongly urged decision makers to include young people in peacemaking processes. Furthermore, he advocated for improvements to the diplomatic processes taking into account the geopolitics as well as the operating environment. In concluding his remarks, he opined that peace is the only battle worth waging.

5.5    In the spirit of promoting gender equality, the President of

the Forum of Women Parliamentarians addressed the Assembly. She opined that women should be at the centre of conflict resolution, peace processes and peace keeping missions. She called for the support of women organisations that deal with gender equality, humanitarian needs among other critical organisations.

6.0    THE GENERAL DEBATE

6.1    Following the special opening segment, Presiding Officers

and Parliamentarians reflected on the current global conflicts which have caused great turbulence and instability, threatening peace and international security. Speakers condemned the rising conflicts particularly in the Middle East, Ukraine/Russia conflict, conflicts in Mozambique and the DRC as well as coups in some parts of Africa. It was noted that these conflicts have a global impact and accordingly there is need for concerted and collective response to achieve peace and sustainable development. In line with the founding principles of the IPU, Speakers’ called for dialogue, negotiations and parliamentary diplomacy to resolve the current challenges.

6.2    In his address to the Assembly, Hon. Speaker Mudenda

welcomed the Assembly’s theme, “PARLIAMENTARY DIPLOMACY: BUILDING BRIDGES FOR PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING” which is in tandem with the United Nations Charter’s trajectory for peace and security among its sovereign states as provided for in Article 2 of the Charter and well as Article 1 (2) of the IPU Statutes and Rules which underscore peaceful resolution of global conflicts.

6.2.1 In the spirit of peaceful resolution of conflict, Hon. Advocate

Mudenda shared how the SADC Parliamentary Forum had exercised parliamentary diplomacy by calling for the intervention of the SADC Summit to curtail the insurgent conflict in Northern Mozambique and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Accordingly, the SADC Summit had reacted positively in the spirit of collective self-defense.

6.2.3 In welcoming the establishment of the IPU Taskforce on the

Ukraine-Russia conflict, Speaker Mudenda underscored the need for sustained efforts in resolving the conflict which has resulted in internationally imported inflation and disrupted supply chains of goods and services in Africa as well as Europe.

6.2.3 In the same vein, Hon. Advocate Mudenda called for urgent

action in the resolution of the Middle East conflict, more so now as the world is witnessing the calamitous annihilation of Palestinian lives and colossal infrastructure destruction.

6.2.4 Hon. Speaker Mudenda, accordingly, called on the IPU to

foster the spirit of parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue and rise to the occasion in resolving global conflicts. He concluded by affirming that no war ends war as was the case in the First and Second World Wars.

6.3    At the conclusion of the General Debate, the Assembly

 adopted the Geneva Declaration which called for peace and security in all the areas of conflict by exercising diplomacy, negotiations and dialogue.

7.0    FORUM OF WOMEN PARLIAMENTARIANS

7.1    In order to contribute to the work of the Assembly, women

Parliamentarians examined, from a gender perspective, the draft resolution of the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security entitled, “Addressing the social and humanitarian impact of autonomous weapon systems and artificial intelligence (AI).” The discussions focused on the need for national laws, policies and international instruments to regulate military AI systems and autonomous weapons, including from a gender perspective.

7.2    Additionally, the Forum of Women Parliamentarians held a

panel discussion on “Women peacebuilders advancing sustainable peace.” Participants discussed how Parliamentarians can improve the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and work with women peacebuilders to promote inclusive and gender sensitive processes that are more likely to lead to sustainable peace. The discussions underpinned the criticality of inclusion of women on an equal footing, in peace processes, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and security efforts.

8.0    FORUM OF YOUNG PARLIAMENTARIANS

8.1    The President of the IPU, Hon. Tulia Ackson delivered the

opening remarks and stated that the voices of the youth are the bridge between governments and the people.

8.2    She further expressed her desire to advance inclusivity and

embracing youth participation for sustainable development. Hon. Ackson also reiterated that youth should be involved in advocating for the protection of women and children during warfare.

8.3    She concluded her remarks by expressing her readiness for a

strategic partnership with the youth in enhancing their participation in global parliamentary processes.

8.4    As Member Parliaments shared their parliamentary best

practices on youth participation, Hon. N. Madzara, provided Zimbabwe’s progress in youth participation highlighting the following key issues:

  • The implementation of the youth quota in Parliament with effect from August 2023 where 10 seats in Parliament were allocated to the youth under 35 years;
  • An increased number of young Members of Parliament at 40%. Additionally, there has also been an increase in number of young Zimbabwean Ministers from 4 to 11;
  • Parliament of Zimbabwe established a Youth Caucus which advocates for the need to address the concerns of the youths; and
  • The Government continues to support the youth through various initiatives including creation of youth desks in various Ministries. This has undoubtedly contributed to increased political awareness by encouraging youth to have an active interest in Zimbabwe’s democratic processes.

9.0    STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEMOCRACY AND

HUMAN RIGHTS

9.1    The UNESCO Representative, Mr. Prateek Sibal, highlighted

that while (Al) presents potential benefits to humanity, recent major advances in AI and its rapid application across political, economic and social spheres also presents immediate threats to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Parliaments have a critical role to play in ensuring that appropriate legislation is enacted to regulate AI systems.

9.2    He further highlighted the following AI Regulatory

Approaches:

  • Should be Principles Based in accordance with international guidelines;
  • The regulatory framework should be Standards Based by allowing private organisations to self-regulate based on industry standards;
  • Should have Agile Frameworks;
  • Must be risk-based by preventing problems and controlling risks associated with AI which infringe on human rights and freedoms;
  • Must Command and Control through Mandatory standards of conduct backed by criminal sanctions

9.3    Mr. Sibal also provided the following AI best practices and

recommendations:

  • Identify specific challenges and diagnose them;
  • Understand the lifecycle of the regulated technologies;
  • Consider diverse regulatory tools ranging from persuasion to coercion;
  • Participatory planning process that effectively include diverse voices and perspectives; and
  • Monitoring the results and impacts of regulations.

9.4    The preparatory debate provided an opportunity for all

Member Parliaments to express their opinion on the issues to be included in the draft resolution which will be examined and finalised at the 149th Assembly of the IPU in October 2024.

10.0  PANEL DISCUSSION ON INTERFAITH DIALOGUE:

BUILDING BRIDGES THROUGH INTERFAITH DIALOGUE FOR MORE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES.

10.1  In his opening remarks, the Senior Advisor to the IPU

Secretary General, Ambassador Mokhtar Omar, bemoaned continued religious violence which undermine the current conversations around interfaith dialogue.

10.2  Furthermore, he emphasized that Parliamentarians should

enact legislation that enhances peaceful co-existence.

10.3  In the same vein, a Professor Masturah bint Obaid Al-Shamri

from the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia, underscored the need for a lasting solution to peaceful coexistence guided by appropriate legal framework. Furthermore, she commended the work of King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful coexistence in Bahrain, which provides a model framework for peaceful co-existence.

10.4  Hon. Karikoga, shared the Zimbabwe’s experiences

highlighting that Zimbabwe does not have an official religion, rather the country is tolerant of all religions which are equally protected by the law. He further cited Chapter Four (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, on Bill of Rights, whose section 56 (3) provides that, “every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic or social origin, language, class, religious belief, ….” their religious belief, among others.”

10.5  Hon. Karikoga concluded his contribution by concurring on

the need for a strong legal framework that protects all religions which encourage peaceful coexistence.

11.0  OUTCOMES OF THE 148TH ASSEMBLY OF THE IPU

AND RELATED MEETINGS

11.1  GENEVA DECLARATION ON PARLIAMENTARY

DIPLOMACY: BUILDING BRIDGES FOR PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING:

11.1.1 At its closing sitting, the 148th Assembly adopted the

GENEVA DECLARATION ON PARLIAMENTARY DIPLOMACY: BUILDING BRIDGES FOR PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING. The Declaration acknowledged the rising global conflicts with the increasing threat of a new global arms race and the need for shared global commitment to building a resilient foundation for lasting peace rooted in upholding human rights and democratic principles. Accordingly, the IPU reaffirmed its commitment to parliamentary diplomacy to address the growing challenges to peace and international security.

11.1.2 In this context, the Geneva Declaration condemned all

human rights violations arising during conflict as well as all breaches of basic rules, principles and core tenets of international law. Parties to armed conflicts should strictly adhere to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols without exceptions.

11.1.3 Furthermore, the Geneva Declaration acknowledges the link

between peace and development. Accordingly, conflicts affect the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Governments and Parliaments should, therefore, tackle the underlying causes of conflicts rooted in economic inequality and discrimination against some groups.

11.1.4 In view of the forthcoming UN Summit of the Future

scheduled for September 2024, the Geneva Declaration called on Member Parliaments to help advance UN reform and to further strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the work of the UN.

11.2  Resolution entitled “ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL AND

HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF AUTONOMOUS WEAPON SYSTEMS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.”

11.2.1The 148th Assembly of the IPU also adopted the resolution

entitled “ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL AND HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF AUTONOMOUS WEAPON SYSTEMS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.” The resolution stressed the need to study an international regulatory framework for AI so as to regulate the harmful use of this technology. Additionally, the Resolution acknowledged the significant role of Parliaments in raising awareness on the social, humanitarian, legal and ethical implications in the use of Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS) and in supporting Governments with input to draft the text for an instrument to regulate such systems.

11.2.2 In this context, Parliaments were called upon to develop

comprehensive legislation to establish regulatory frameworks in governing the development, deployment and use of AWS once there is an internationally agreed definition of AWS.

11.2.3 Parliaments were further called upon to play a crucial role in holding governments accountable regarding AWS by ensuring quality in their governance, notably regarding the imperative of retaining human control over the use of force and transparency in their design, development, operation, regulation as well as oversight so as to trigger concrete action by governments and society at large.

11.3  Resolution entitled “PARTNERSHIPS FOR CLIMATE

ACTION: PROMOTING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE GREEN ENERGY, AND ENSURING INNOVATION, RESPONSIBILITY AND EQUITY.”

The 148th Assembly of the IPU also adopted the Resolution

entitled “PARTNERSHIPS FOR CLIMATE ACTION: PROMOTING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE GREEN       ENERGY, AND ENSURING INNOVATION, RESPONSIBILITY AND EQUITY.” The Resolution, therefore, called on Parliaments to:

          11.3.1 Take stronger climate action by implementing the IPU climate change tools such as the 10 actions for greener parliaments, to align their work with greening initiatives, to take greater part in NDC processes and to call for more ambitious climate action plans and goals that focus on people-centered and community-led adaptation as well as just and equitable energy transition at all levels;

  • Cooperate with the public and private sectors to create a

conducive environment for investing in clean energy technologies and infrastructure, capacity-building and technology transfer and development as well as to promote greater public-private partnership at the regional and international level, and to deliver a more people-centered energy transition and climate-resilient development for all;

  • Urge their governments to work towards facilitating

access to low-cost financing for developing countries, for existing as well as new and emerging clean and sustainable energy technologies in order to support just and sustainable energy transitions;

  • Encourage the inclusion of the vulnerable groups,

particularly the youth and women in all climate change negotiation and processes.

  • Motion on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council

11.4.1 In the context of diminishing trust in the UN multilateral

system, the Committee expressed deep concern over the current stalemate at the UN, where reform of the Security Council has been on the agenda for decades without any traction.

11.4.2 Accordingly, the Committee called upon each IPU Member

Parliaments to:

  1. Engage its Government leadership and its Permanent Representatives to the United Nations to advocate for that reform;
  2. To obtain regular updates from the respective Foreign Affairs Ministries regarding proposals for reforming the Security Council as well as progress made in this regard;
  • Demand that the reform process is undertaken democratically, inclusively and transparently, and with an eye to the Summit of the Future in September 2024 as a decisive turning point;
  1. Prepare for the ratification of UN Security Council reform, pursuant to any final General Assembly approval and in accordance with national procedures; and
  2. Engage in parliamentary processes, such as debates, committee hearings and resolutions, to influence the intergovernmental process leading up to the Summit of the Future in order to ensure that the voices of parliamentarians are reflected in its outcome document, the Pact for the Future.

11.5  IPU Leadership Statement on the Situation in Gaza.

11.5.1In view of the worsening situation in Gaza, the IPU

leadership issued a Leadership Statement which called for urgent action to alleviate the suffering of the people in the region, including women, children and the elderly, who have been caught up in the conflict. Accordingly, the Statement called for: -

  • An immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
  • The immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
  • The relevant authorities on all sides to expand the flow of essential humanitarian aid to reach those in need in Gaza.

11.5.2 Furthermore, the Statement condemned all forms of violence against civilians and stressed the need to respect international humanitarian law by the belligerents.

11.5.3   Recognising the critical role of the IPU in pronouncing itself in international events, Hon. Speaker Mudenda disabused the IPU Leadership Statement as he opined that any statement on the situation in Gaza should have the authority of the Assembly. Accordingly, the statement should have reflected this key aspect.

12.0  CLOSING CEREMONY

12.1   The Chairpersons of the six (6) Geopolitical Groups of the

IPU addressed the Assembly during the closing ceremony. Of note is the shared concern in the rising global conflicts which have a devastating impact on civilians, particularly the most vulnerable being women and children. They expressed commitment towards advancement of conflict resolution anchored on dialogue, negotiations and parliamentary diplomacy.

12.2  Addressing the same occasion, Mr. Martin Chungong, the

IPU Secretary General, applauded Member Parliaments for the constructive engagements which resulted in the adoption of a wealth of outcomes and recommendations. He reiterated the IPU’s commitment to the climate change agenda. To that an extent, all Assembly documents were readily accessible on digital platforms. In view of the forthcoming 135th Anniversary of the IPU, Mr. Chungong encouraged Member Parliaments to enhance the founding values of the IPU through embarking on peace initiatives in their regions.

12.4   Finally, Rt. Hon. Ackson congratulated all delegates for the

successful Assembly which sent a strong message on the need for global peace and security to the international community, including the United Nations and its agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations and multilateral stakeholders, of the IPU’s reinvigorated resolve to placing the IPU at the centre of global peace building initiatives through dialogue, negotiation, and parliamentary diplomacy.

13.0  RECOMMENDATIONS

13.1  The delegation once again calls on the Youth Caucus to

spearhead the launch of “I SAY YES TO YOUTH IN PARLIAMENT CAMPAIGN.” This movement has gained traction among IPU Member Parliaments where it has been successfully launched.

13.2  The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and

International Trade to spearhead engagements with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the required action on UN reforms. Additionally, the same Committee to initiate discussions and debate in the House on the UN reforms.

13.3  Parliament of Zimbabwe should be incorporated into the

National delegation attending the Summit of the Future slated for September 2024 in New York, United States of America.

13.4   The SDG 16, more than any other SDG, relates to parliament

as the key institution of governance in every country. In this regard, Parliament is urged to enhance public engagement and inclusion in parliamentary processes through activities such as public hearings, responding to petitions and information dissemination, among others.

The setting up of Parliamentary Constituency Information Centers is a welcome development which should be expedited to enhance Parliament’s visibility at Constituency level to enhance Public participation in Parliamentary processes, especially by employing digital technologies.

13.6  Issues of climate change remain relevant and requiring urgent

action. In this regard parliament is urged to take stronger climate action by implementing the IPU climate change tools, such as the 10 actions for greener parliaments, to align their work with greening initiatives and to call for more ambitious climate action plans and goals that focus on people-centered and community-led adaptation as well as advancing just and equitable energy transition at all levels through the relevant portfolio and thematic committees.

14.0  CONCLUSION

14.1  The delegation once again encourages relevant Committees

to implement, to the extent possible, the resolutions of the 148th Assembly. Implementation of resolutions gives credence to Parliament of Zimbabwe’s participation in the IPU Assemblies and its related meetings.

14.2  The Delegation tenders its profound gratitude to the

Government of Zimbabwe and to Parliament for affording it the opportunity to represent Zimbabwe at such high-profile statutory meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE KHUMALO:  Thank you for giving me this opportunity in support of the report of the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union that was raised by Hon. Senator Muzenda.

          Mr. President Sir, following the spirit of the special opening segment, Presiding Officers and Parliamentarians reflected on the current global conflict which has caused great turbulence and instability, threatening peace and international security.  Speakers condemned the rising conflicts particularly in the Middle East, Russia/Ukraine and conflicts in DRC and Mozambique.  In line with the founding principles of IPU, Speakers called for dialogue, negotiations and parliamentary diplomacy to resolve the current challenges.

          In his address to the Assembly, Hon. Speaker Adv. Mudenda welcomed the Assembly’s theme which was ‘Parliamentary diplomacy, building bridges and peace and understanding’ which is in tandem with the United Nations Charter trajectory for peace and security among its sovereign States as provided for in Article 2 of the Charter as well as Articles 1 and 2 of the IPU statutes.

          In the spirit of resolutions of conflict, Hon. Adv. Mudenda shared how SADC Parliamentary Forum had exercised parliamentary diplomacy by calling for its interventions on the SADC Summit to curtail the insurgence conflict in Northern Mozambique and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. 

          In welcoming the establishment of IPU taskforce which was established at that conference on the Ukraine/Russia conflict, the Speaker underscored the need for sustained efforts to resolving the conflict which has resulted in internationally imported inflation and disputed supply chains of goods and services in Africa as well as in Europe.

          In the same vein, Mr. President Sir, Hon. Mudenda called for urgent action in the resolution of the Middle East conflict.  Also, now as the world is witnessing the calamitous annihilation of Palestine lives and colossal infrastructure destruction.

          Only Forum for Women Parliamentarians were among others present at that forum.  In order to contribute to the work of the Assembly, women representatives examined, from a gender perspective, a draft resolution on the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security entitled ‘Addressing the social and humanitarian impact on atomic weapon system and artificial intelligence’. The discussions focused on the need for national laws, policies and international instruments to regulate military systems and atomic weapons, including from the gender perspective.

          There was also, Mr. President, a forum for young parliamentarians.  The President of the IPU, Hon. Tulia Ackson, delivered the opening remarks and stated that the voices of the youth are a bridge between Government and the people.  She further expressed the desire to advance inclusive and embracing remarks and stated that the voices of the youth are the bridge between Government and the people.  If further expressed, it is desired to advance inclusive and embracing remarks and stated that the voices of the youth are the bridge between Government and the people, an embarrassing youth participation for sustainable development. It also stated that youths should be involved in advocating for protection of women and children during welfare. 

On the increase of young Members of Parliament, it was stated that at least they are at 40% now.  Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of youth Ministers in Zimbabwe. It has increased from four to eleven. It was further highlighted that at regular approaches, there should be principles based in accordance with international guidelines.  The regular framework should be standard, based on allowing private organisations to self-regulate on industry standards.  There should be ideal frameworks.  

There must also be provision for the best practice and recommendations to identify specific challenges and diagnose them to understand the lifestyle of the regulated technologies, to consider diverse regulatory tools ranging from privatisation to cohesion, participation planning processes and effectively include diverse voices, perspective and monitoring of results and impact of regulations.  In his opening remarks, the Senior Advisor to IPU Secretary General Ambassador, Mokhtar Omar bemoaned the continued religious violence which undermines the current conversations around interface realm. 

Furthermore, he emphasised that parliamentarians should enact legislation that enhances peaceful coexistence. Hon. Karikoga shared the Zimbabwean experience highlighting that Zimbabwe does not have an official religion. Rather, the country is tolerant of all religions which are equally protected by the law.

He further cited Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe on Bills of rights whose Section 56 (3) provides that every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethics and social origin, language, class and religious beliefs among others.  Hon. Karikoga concluded his contribution by concurring on the need for strong legal framework that protect all religions which encourage peaceful co-existence.  With those few words Mr. President, thank you so much.

*HON. SEN.  MAVENYENGWA: Thank you President of the Senate for this time that you have given to me to add my voice on the report that was presented By Hon. Senator Muzenda, seconded by Hon. Senator Chief Mtshane-Khumalo when they went to Geneva in Switzerland. First of all, I would want to express my happiness on the issue that was mentioned in this House that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. J. F. Mudenda when he got to the IPU, he was recognised that he is someone who was exercising his duties diligently and he was rewarded with a medal for that. We congratulate our Speaker of the National Assembly for representing Zimbabwe effectively at the IPU.

I would also want to congratulate the Speaker of the Parliament of Tanzania, Madam Tulia Ackson who was nominated as Speaker of the National Assembly. Tanzania is a country which also works hand in hand with us in SADC. She was selected to be the President of the IPU. She is a woman who was recognised and nominated. This shows that worldwide, women are also being recognised and that they have the potential to be in charge.

There are two issues that I want to mention today. The first issue is the emergency item which was mentioned by Hon. Senator Muzenda. This issue was raised by a South African MP. This has to deal with the conflict between Israel and Pakistan. I was disappointed because this issue was not debated since they failed to make the required quorum. This shows us that people that encourage conflict and wars between States, I suspect that in this issue they might have intervened and made sure that in the IPU Conference, there will not be a quorum so that the issues might not be debated.

As Zimbabwe, with our President, His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa, he mentioned that when people have conflicts in Zimbabwe, people should sit down and resolve their differences and live in peace. If we look at issues that happen in Gaza, people are perishing day in and day out. Children are dying, women are dying, the old people are perishing.  Children are dying, women are dying and the aged are dying.  This shows on its own that this was supposed to be discussed and debated in the IPU conference.  This could have been made possible that it will be transferred to the United Nations (UN) and even other nations that are in conflict could have the chance to hear and to take heed to the instructions and make sure that this war ends and we preserve the sanity of human life.

          The fact that this issue was not debated, the vision of the IPU is no longer recognised.  We encourage that if it was possible, this war was supposed to end because it is causing a lot of destruction of property which affects development and people are dying.  Others are becoming crippled, children are being orphaned and others are losing their children.  Children are failing to attend schools as it is right now.  Every proper channel of life would have been staggered and issues that we read in newspapers and on the television, say even those that provide food aid and first aid are now facing challenges in delivering food because the war is continuously pressing and they are failing to support the people in the affected regions.

          I am saying that the war in the Gaza region should be stopped so that people can discuss and resolve this issue.  We expedite this issue and people sit down to resolve the conflict.  If those super power countries which have the power to cause this conflict to end, I have decided to mention this issue because it is something that really touched me and they failed to discuss this issue at the IPU conference and we are really hurt about the perishing of people in this region.

          Mr. President, there is a second issue that I want to talk about, that the IPU is really doing amicably is promoting gender equality.  We first saw that the President of the IPU is a woman. This shows that since it is an International Board, it is leading by example that gender equality is supposed to be applauded and promoted.  Looking at this, I saw that in our country Zimbabwe, we are also leading in promoting this equality and especially, even looking in this very same House, the Senate, we are being led by a woman, Madam President, Hon. M. M. Chinomona.  This shows that our country Zimbabwe recognises the importance of equality between women and men in proving equal opportunities between both genders. 

Even looking at the National Assembly, we also noticed that our Government has made it possible that we have female Members of Parliament, women’s quota MPs who are more than sixty who just come to the Senate for being voted for. This shows that they just want to promote women so that we can promote the number of women to be equal to those of men in the National Assembly. I want to applaud the President and his Government for such a positive movement.

Looking at the women’s quota, it has exhausted its two terms that it was first given but considering that women had not reached a certain position where they can stand against men, especially in these campaigning and politicking gimmicks, there are a lot of issues which I can refer to as dirty games which happen. Most of the times, women are not able to survive in such an environment. They have another responsibility to make sure that the children have been fed and the husband well-catered for whilst men can stay out till midnight because they have no issues that have to do with home chores.  The President recognised that there is an issue and extended the women’s quota term and hence, it continued up to this time.

Here in Zimbabwe, we are promoting equal opportunities between men and women. Even in ministries, we witnessed that there are female ministers who exercise the same roles as men. Here, we have our Minister of State, Hon. Senator Munzverengwi who is the Provincial Minister of Mashonaland East. This is the same as other women who are provincial ministers showing that our Government is gender sensitive on issues that pertain to providing equal opportunities between the gender divide.

The other issue that I want to comment on, that was mentioned by another Member and which is not pleasing is that if we have our challenges as a country, or other things that we do not agree on, we encourage that those issues be resolved internally. We have our internal issues being discussed at IPU, Europe, America and Asia, but when these are carried to international fora, they change and blame the Speaker and Government whilst these issues are within political parties. If there are issues like people recalling each other, they should resolve them within their political settings not to tarnish the image of the Speaker because his task is to read what has been presented before him. If he was given and failed to read, the Constitution of Zimbabwe would condemn him for incompetency because he would have failed to perform his task.

I feel that these issues were not supposed to be carried to international parliaments and bodies, but be resolved within as they are issues within a political party not an international issue. Each and every political party has its own problems. Even here, we have different parties; we have ZANU PF which does not interfere with what happens in other political parties, but you hear people saying people in ZANU PF are interfering in our political affairs while you are doing your own issues. It is something that is really disappointing that people can carry such trivial issues within their parties to international fora.

We also witnessed this in the Ninth Parliament when we were in the IPU and a party wanted to introduce an issue which had happened in their home town. They were given statutes which documented what was supposed to be discussed within the parliament. Our standing rules allow the Speaker to deal within his powers. I see that as parliamentarians, we are supposed to know that if we have issues that are challenging within our political parties, we have to address these issues within and not publicly blame each other. We are not supposed to blame people that are not at fault. I felt that I cannot sit down before mentioning this issue because this will continue and people end up saying we are not a free country and there is no order, whilst our country is free and we are exercising democracy to the maximum.

We allow people to do whatever they want within their political parties and organisations. We are not tasked to interfere within political parties. With these few words, I thank the team that went to the IPU and we will take a lot from this report and carry it on, including the recommendations that as Zimbabwe, we should take this and also improve our country encouraging development within our country. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 11th June, 2024.

MOTION

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES TO HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA ON ASSUMPTION OF THE PRESIDENCY OF PAP

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that a congratulatory message be convey to Hon. Sen Chief Charumbira on his ascendance to the President of the Pan African Parliament.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. CHAPFUDZA:  Thank Mr. President for giving me the opportunity that I also give a congratulatory message to Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for his ascendance to the position of being the leader of the Pan African Parliament (PAP).  His ascendance to that position is an achievement of Zimbabwe.  It is our achievement and we are proud and happy that we have got one of our own who is leading a board in this continent.  We would like to congratulate him with that regard – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  

          We understand that when Parliaments sit, they make laws for good governance as we do in Zimbabwe that everything we are doing here is for the good of our people.  As to the PAP, it is has the helm of the leadership of Chief Charumbira.  We expect the good to come out of that Parliament that will make Africa happy.  We are expecting a lot of changes and solutions to be delivered to the continent of Africa.  For we know that occupying such a great position does not just come but it comes with responsibilities.  So we know that our chief being the head of the PAP, there are a lot of things, redoes and mysteries which need to be unpacked for the good of the African continent. Africa is at an attack as we are right now.  Culturally, the culture of Africa, that is the values  and the norms are under attack.  The Western culture is overlapping or covering up the African culture.  We are seeing it now dominating.  I think the ascendence of Chief Charumbira coming from a Christian country like Zimbabwe, is helping the restoration of our culture so that we live in an Africa that we are proud of.  We want to be proud Africans.  As PAP, whatever it does should show some Africanness in it.  Mr. President, if we look at the European culture, it is like it is now allowing men to marry another men and women other women of which those values in Zimbabwe, we are not agreed to that.  The ascendency of Chief Charumbira if you go and stand firm and proclaim that Africans have got the background and understanding of Christian values, we do not subscribe to men marring another men and women marring another woman in our continent.  We know that from the beginning, God made the man and woman for a purpose and because we are Christian country, we cannot divert form those values.  We know that some of these Western countries they sponsor such activities to happen in our midst.  We cannot stand that law and become that so that we can follow whatever they believe.  We believe in God and we believe in God’s values.  It needs a leader who can stand firm because they will be a lot of money given to some of your leaders to have an uprising against our leader but we are just encouraging our Chief to be bold and stand his ground.  This position has got a lot of temptations but from where we are coming from Zimbabwe, we do not believe in such cultures that I was talking about. 

          As a leader Chief Charumbira we are congratulating him that the way you are going, go and outline clearly the African agenda.  What is the African agenda? The African agenda we are looking at an Africa which is peaceful, an Africa where we do not hear guns.  So with that position, go and advocate for the silencing of guns in DRC, Sudan and Nigeria.  We need a peaceful Africa which can propel economic growth.  We would like our Chief in that position to lead Africa to know that of course, disputes arise but the way we solve them is that we should use dialogue, tolerance and forgiveness.   Let us not allow infiltrators to destabilise Africa.  A united Africa is good for economic growth.  The African agenda is to see Africa processing its own resources.  In this Parliament we are expecting our Chief to lead this Parliament to discuss issues of value addition to our resources.  We can be a world class economy in Africa if we do value addition to our resources.  Let us stop just giving these western countries our resources then we are left with pits.  I was imagining this Pan Africanism – I took it so simple to a pan that we use in our homes; are we eating from the pan on fire or we are the ones that are inside the pan being fried?  Let us think about that.

          Africa has got a vast track of land but Africa is starving.  We want our Hon. Chief who has been appointed to that position to discuss issues that we grow our own food; provide for our nation; we process our own food and we eat our own food.  We cannot claim to be an Africa that is not independence whilst we are begging for food - there is no independence like that. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          There are also issues of drug abuse.  Drugs are being shipped to Africa and the youths of Africa who are the future of Africa are being weakened.  So, issues like that should also be discussed extensively in that Parliament so that Africa can tackle drug abuse.  Africa is in need of leadership and not just seat occupiers, it needs leadership that can stand boldly and say, awake to Africa, awake Africa because Africa is still sleeping.  So, the Pan African body is a body that when led by a competent leader, it can take us somewhere.  We do not want to be counted amongst poor continents.  We are the owners of these resources that we have in Africa, let us exploit them and use them for the growth of Africa.

          Other leaders occupy leadership positions for enrichment but we are saying to our Hon. Sen. Chief, go there and show a difference.  Let the history of Africa be not be completed without including the name Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira in it – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -  Let it be recorded in the history of Africa that it came to pass that at a certain time, there was a Chief Charumbira who was the leader of the Pan African Parliament who did this and that.  So, we are encouraging our chief to go and do greater things and put our country on the map. 

          In Africa, we have got the power to define our own destiny.  Let us stand and protect our values.  We are aware that to stand and protect your values and stand for the truth is not easy, some of your colleagues will betray you.  Mr. President, I urge Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira to understand that there will be betrayal in that seat but let him be bold – some people were killed because of advocating for the truth.  Europe still has interests in Africa, but let us not look at their interest and look at our own interest as Africans.  What is it that is good for us?

          I am also very disheartened by the issue that most international conventions are not held in Africa.  People still have to travel to Switzerland, Europe and other international places to attend those conventions.  You see, sometimes our leaders are looked down upon – you will at times, see our President addressing empty chairs.  I do not think that if those conventions are held in Africa that would happen – it will not happen like that.  So, I think that we should now originate some of the treaties that we signed to.  We should not be called to come to sit at the dining table and be asked to sign but we should also tell them if you want resources, we have these conditions, of which you do not toe the line because you are not going to get them.  So, I think that it is high time Africa defines its own destination and be its own destiny.  We should not just be cheer leaders in the world cake but should be amongst others sharing equally.

          I think there is need of a strong currency in Africa.  So, Chief Charumbira with the position that he now holds, we need a strong African currency in an African banking institution so that we will not be relying on these western institutions that at the end of the day will be manipulating us.

          Mr. President, we need a united Africa.  When Ghana attained its independence, Kwame Nkrumah was the leader in 1957.  He said that the independence of Ghana meant nothing when the whole of Africa was being colonised.  He was talking of a united Africa that would bring desired change and results to the African continent.  I would, therefore, urge our chief that when you are in that position, let us not be separated by ethnicity, colour and creed, let us not be divided by religion.  Let us cherish those diversities, those differences.

          Mr. President, I would also like to say that in that position, Africa is lagging behind in terms of infrastructure.  What is now happening in Zimbabwe is, we are seeing a great change; a move towards developing our roads and industries.  I also think that in that position, Chief Charumbira should champion the issue of infrastructure development because we cannot talk of the economic growth without infrastructure.  The economy grows where there is infrastructure.  He should champion that in the Pan Africa Parliament.

          Mr. President, we have diamonds, oil and other resources that should benefit us in Africa but instead of these resources benefiting us, they are the cause of turmoil, wars and instability.  Instead of our resources being a blessing to us, they are now causing wars.  So, I will revert to the point of infiltration; Europe’s eyes are still on Africa. Let us jealously guard our Africa. 

So, I say thank you and congratulations Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira for assuming that position.  You have a lot of work to do.  I would also like to thank the Hon. Senators who are listening to me.  Thank you also Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.

          THE TEMPORY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI):  Thank you very much Hon. Senator Chapfudza for the various pieces of advice to our own Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira.  At the same time, let me thank you as well for your congratulatory messages.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

ESTABLISHMENT OF PUBLIC HEMODIALYSIS FACILITIES IN DISTRICTS

          Tenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the treatment of chronic kidney disease in Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO ZUPCO AND PRIVATE TRANSPORT OPERATORS

          Eleventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the inadequacy of public transport in the country.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT SERVICES FOR TEENAGE MOTHERS

          Twelfth Order read:  Adjourned debate on the motion on the effects of teenage pregnancy.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 80TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND THE 45TH CONFERENCE OF APU HELD IN COTE D’IVOIRE

          Thirteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation to the 80th Session of the Executive Committee and 45th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU).

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  Mr. President I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION ON THE ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO RUSSIA

          Fourteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation on the Election Observation Mission to Russia on Russian Presidential Elections.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

MOBILE BIRTH REGISTRATION EXERCISE

          Fifteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the challenges faced by people living in the border areas on issuance of birth certificates.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Sixteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 12th June, 2024.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI), Senate adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

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