- Download 6
- File Size 657 KB
- File Count 1
- Create Date August 18, 2019
- Last Updated November 18, 2021
SENATE HANSARD 14 August 2019 28-67
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 14th August, 2019
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
LEAVE TO MOVE SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS
NUMBER 50, 61, 62 and 128
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
President of Senate, I seek leave of the Senate to move that the provisions of Standing Orders No. 50, 61, 62 and 128 regarding the automatic adjournment of the Senate at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock
p.m. and at Twenty-Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m on a Friday, private Members’ motions taking precedence on Thursdays after Question Time and that Question Time shall be on Thursdays and Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended with effect from today and the next series of sitting in respect of the business relating to the following Bills: 1) Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 13, 2019];
2) Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill [H. B. 12, 2019]; and 3) Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [H. B. 3A, 2019].
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, are there
any reasons for that.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: Firstly, as is our custom, at the end of July-August every year, we finish our first sitting of the year and we resume in September after the President has given the State of the Nation Address. So consistent with our custom, we sit either end of this month or beginning of September when the President now sets out the legislative agenda for the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament. We want to dispose of these Bills before we commence the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Madam President, Finance Bills are also important in terms of ensuring that the relevant budget as budgeted for by the Minister of
Finance are appropriated to the respective ministries and departments.
Also, the Maintenance of Peace and Order is part of our legislative reform agenda Bills that have been outstanding for a long time. The Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) also requested extension of time so that they could consider it and we pray that you will grant us so that we will complete it also within this session and so that when we start the next session we would have completed these pieces of legislation, I so submit Madam President.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Motion put and agreed to.
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NUMBER 50, 61, 62 and
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
President of Senate, I move that the provisions of Standing Orders Number 50, 61, 62 and 128 regarding the automatic adjournment of the
Senate at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty-Five
Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, private Members’ motions taking precedence on Thursdays after Question Time, and that Question Time shall be on Thursdays and Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended with effect from today and for the next series of sittings in respect of the following:-
- Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 13, 2019];
- Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill [H. B. 12, 2019]; and 3) Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [H. B. 3A, 2019].
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND ORDER BILL 2019 [H. B. 3A,
Third Order read: Second Reading: Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill 2019 [H. B. 3A, 2019].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam President. Madam President and Hon. Senators, please indulge me Hon. Senators, to permit me to repeat only the opening paragraph of my Second Reading speech on this Bill to the National Assembly. I will then proceed to a summary of the main changes to the Bill that were agreed in the National Assembly. As for the rest of the Bill, the explanatory memorandum suffices to explain its provisions and I will not repeat them here.
Madam President, Section 117 of our Constitution exhorts the
Legislature, among other things, “to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe.” It is not by chance that these three things, “peace”, “order” and “good governance” keep company with each other in the same sentence. I will go further and say that peace and order are the preconditions for enjoying all the other blessings we desire for ourselves – family, prosperity, community, the pursuit of knowledge and happiness, freedom, liberty of worship, self-determination and the security of property. No matter what our differences may be, peace and order afford us the time to think and argue among ourselves how we may improve if we have gone wrong. As Aristotle once said; “The use of rational speech is more distinctive of human beings than the use of their limbs.”
Hon. Senators, after very prolonged and frank but useful debate in the House below, the following are the principle improvements to the Bill that we managed to agree upon:
At the beginning of the Bill, after the Long Title, a Preamble has been inserted in the Bill rehearsing the relevant provisions of Section 86 of the Constitution, concerning the “Limitation of Rights and
In Clause 4, the reference to “traditional weapons” as a special category of “dangerous weapons” was removed as this only caused confusion. A dangerous weapon is dangerous regardless of whether it is
“traditional” or not, so why single out “traditional weapons?” A Regulatory Authority may ban the carrying of any weapon or item deemed to be a “dangerous weapon” in the appropriate banning notice.
Furthermore, the ban on the carrying of such weapons within any Police District is limited to the three months within any period of 12 months unless the Regulatory Authority seeks leave from a Magistrate to renew or extend the ban.
Madam President, on Clause 7 of the Bill, the penalty clause sub clause (5) was replaced. Please note however, that the level of the fine in the last line of that sub clause is level 10, which by error was omitted from the consolidated Bill before you.
On Clause 8, the pre-gathering consultations between the Regulatory Authority and the convener of the gathering (be it a public demonstration or procession of a public meeting) are fast-tracked if the convener gives appropriate verbal reassurances to the satisfaction of the Regulatory Authority that the gathering will be peaceful (see the second proviso to sub clause (3) of clause 8)
On Clause 10, I ask Hon. Senators to note the inadvertent omission of the words “and leave thereof” in line 24 of sub clause (2) of this clause, otherwise the clause will not make sense grammatically. This is a textual correction required to make sense of this clause, which was much debated in the House below. It was agreed there that “permission” was too strong a word to use in case where, for instance, a group of petitioners intention to present a petition to the Speaker; however, notice of that intention must still be given to the Speaker in order that appropriate security arrangements may be put in place.
Significant changes were agreed to Clause 12. In sub clause (2), the joint liability of conveners where there are two or more conveners of the same gathering has been limited. Where any of the joint conveners can show to a court that he or she was not personally a party to any breach of the terms for an authorised gathering, that convener will not be held jointly liable with the other convener or conveners. In sub clause (3), paragraph (c) was removed which renders the convener civilly liable for inciting violence at an authorised gathering. It was not felt necessary to keep this paragraph since the prohibition against incitement to violence is a standard condition in the conditions ordinarily attached to permitted gatherings.
In Clause 13, sub-clauses (4) and (6) have been rephrased to make it clear what “degree of force” is appropriate when the Police must use force to disperse an unruly gathering.
As regards Clause 14, (Persons to carry identity documents”) of the Bill, we have conceded that no police officer ought to demand the production of an identity document from anyone except upon reasonable suspicion that the person has committed some offence. Very often, the mere production of such an ID will dissolve suspicions of criminality and hence make an arrest unnecessary.
Madam President, in Clause 15 concerning cordon and search, we agreed in the House below that the establishment of a cordon ought not to be restricted narrowly to the investigation or prevention of public order offences. To that end, we have employed the list of derogations or limitations to freedoms listed in Section 86 of the Constitution as possible justifications for the establishment of a cordon by the Police: such justifications include public health, where cordons may be needed to enforce a quarantine.
In Clause 16, the establishment of a checkpoint is permitted only where three or more police officers are present instead of simply one.
The explicit reference to “firearms” in sub clause (5) has been removed, because the use of such lethal means as a last resort is implicit in the phrase “to take any steps necessary” to prevent or stop violence on the part of participants at a gathering.
I also wish to draw the attention of Hon Senators to Clause 18 which specifies the circumstances under which the Defence Forces may be summoned to assist the police. This provision is included in compliance with Government’s obligations under Section 213 of the Constitution.
In conclusion, the Government objects strongly to the characterisation of the Bill as “undemocratic” without specifying in what specific respects the Bill is undemocratic or how it violates the charter of rights and freedoms in any way not contemplated in a democratic society. The rights and freedoms of demonstrators are not the only rights and freedoms to be considered when a gathering has the potential to become disorderly; other human beings have rights and freedoms too, in particular those who may be victimised in their persons and property by unruly demonstrators. To quote in part from Section 87 of our Constitution:
“(2) The fundamental rights and freedoms set out in (the Declaration of Rights and Freedoms), this Chapter may be limited only in terms of a law of general application and to the extent that the limitation is fair, reasonable, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors including – (b) the purpose of the limitation, in particular whether it is necessary in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, regional or town planning or the general public interest; and (d) the need to ensure that the enjoyment of rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others”.
The same provision of the Constitution urges lawmakers to consider “whether there are any less restrictive means of achieving the purpose of the limitation”. This we have striven to do in the amendments to the Bill that are embodied in the Order Paper.
I therefore urge Hon. Members on all sides of this House to support this very necessary measure to secure peace and order in our beloved country.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I just want clarity from the Minister on
Section 18 of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill where the Defence Forces may assist police because the army has never been trained to work with the civilians. It has been trained to fight with a gun. Give the police their mandate as security officers to disperse demonstrators if need be. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. I
would like to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill. I stood up to agree with the Minister that we need this Bill because we want peace in this country. Demonstrations have not been prevented but they should be carried out in peace and in an orderly fashion without any destruction of any property or houses. Demonstrations should be done in an orderly way. There is no country in this world where there are no rules and laws. We want peace in this country. The peace that is being spoken about in this Bill is what I am concurring with, which is what is in our Constitution that there should be peace in this country. I concur totally with what is in the Bill.
I also second this Bill in the sense that if we think of embarking on a demonstration or if violence erupts and people die, I do agree that the President of the country should deploy the army to quell the demonstrations. A lot of police officers have died during demonstrations and yet people were aware that these were police officers who were on duty. These are police officers who are killed in the line of duty. I agree with the import of the Bill because it is there to keep the sanctity of life. This is one of the best Bills in this country because it shows that we are protected and we can carry out our businesses freely.
At times people work very hard for them to raise money for their children but more often these demonstrations destroy people’s property. The demonstrators destroy vegetables being sold by vendors or clothing merchandise in shops. This is a very good Bill because it is going to prevent all this. If an ordinary person does not want to be part and parcel of the demonstrations, they should be allowed to move freely because they also have rights. Everyone has rights. If someone builds a house, he has a right that the house should not be destroyed by demonstrators – it is their right. Even our buildings, for example the Parliament, people are allowed 20 metres away from the august House. So this august House must be protected as well.
I remember sometime in South Africa, people were not allowed to smoke even in Government buildings – that is a rule. So we also must look after our own buildings because these are things that will be inherited by our children for years to come. Yes, I realise that this Bill allows people to demonstrate and also allows the police to follow what the convener says, like the route that the convener would have said they follow. If they divert from their route, the police should prevent them from doing so.
The President should also deploy the army whenever violence erupts during demonstrations. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the army, so he has the powers and it is enshrined in our Constitution that he should protect people from dying. I think that it is a law because we all want to live. Whose child is supposed to die on that day? We want our children to grow up knowing that we have to look after our country and not destroy it. We have to look after our country and our children should learn from us as their leaders. They should know that it is good to live in a peaceful country. Let us live together amicably as children of Zimbabwe, not to go and destroy other people’s properties if we do not agree on something.
I agree with the fact that the convener should be held responsible if property is destroyed. Like if my car is destroyed – I think that is correct because it will protect people. We do not want people to do as they please. I agree with you Hon. Minister that this is a very good Bill. We want peace in this country and we want to live in peace. There is no development when there is destruction of property and burning of other people’s properties but there is development when people are staying together in peace and harmony and sharing ideas. With these few words, I thank you.
HON. SEN. PARIRENYATWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I
stand to …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order it is
Madam President of the Senate.
HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA: Madam President, thank
you. I stand to buttress what has been said by the Hon. Minister and I am also standing representing the Thematic Committee of Peace and Security in the Senate. This is so because we, as a Committee, just to make sure that there is enough consultations on this particular Bill went around together with the Committee on Defence and Home Affairs. We went from 3rd June to 7th June in two groups and visited Mashonaland Central, Bindura and Mvurwi; Mashonaland East, Murewa and Marondera; Manicaland, we went to Mutare and Chipinge; Masvingo, we went to Nemamwe business centre and Gutu and we also went to Harare City Sports Centre and Chitungwiza Aquatic stadium.
Another group went to Midlands, Gokwe business centre, Gweru;
Matabeleland South, we went to Filabusi and Esigodini; in Bulawayo, Imnyela Hall and the Lupane Town Council in Matabeleland North together with Chinotimba Hall in Victoria Falls and we also went to Kadoma in Mashonaland West.
I must say that these consultations and I think that my colleagues in the Committee will agree with me, were very extensive as people discussed very extensively in these Committees. I must say that the public hearings were attended by various groups; i.e. youths, war veterans, pensioners, business persons, Government officials, farmers, lawyers, residents associations, representatives of disabled persons, civic society organisations and members of the public in general. There were quite extensive and frank discussions and I am glad that the Hon.
Minister then submitted our report to the Parliamentary Legal
Committee who looked at it and subsequently submitted it to the Hon. Minister. I think that appropriate recommendations that came partly from our Committee and mostly from the National Assembly last week, really represented what this Bill and eventually this Act should be.
I think that the amendments and concessions that have been made by the Hon. Minister are quite significant to make us appreciate that we have moved away from the Law and Maintenance Act of Lardner Burke to POSA and now to MOPA and there are significant differences in these particular Bills, and in particular this Bill that will become an Act.
Hon. Minister, you have done well because I noticed that you addressed various issues and to me, you picked on some of those issues in our recommendations. I am glad that you have really addressed them extensively and with sensitivity. This is what it should be in the country. We should be able to respond to what people are saying and you seem to have appropriately done that.
You have looked at the issue of dangerous weapons and cultural traditional weapons and amalgamated that and made no exception. I think that is sensitivity and we like that. I think that a lot of people will appreciate that – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - You also looked at the issue of verbal assuarances. It will not really need to write just verbal assurances to us for the conveners will be sufficient. I think that is a lot of goodwill from a Government and we should really applaud that and be able to say, ‘well, this is how it should be’. You have also looked at some of the grammatical errors to make it make sense, where you say, ‘convener in the line thereof’. I think that is important just to pick that up and be able to say to us, ‘yes, these are important things for us’. You have also looked at the issue of joint conveners – we like that. The joint conveners - if one is not liable then they should be left alone and that is sensitivity that I think we need to look at.
Madam President, I want to support this Bill and say really even the issue of just reasonable suspicion, I think that makes that sensitivity to us very transparent. So I want to support this Bill and hope that members of our Committee will also be able to say, ‘yes, we discussed these issues. There were differences here and there but I think what has now happened is to be able to amalgamate some of our concerns and put them properly into a perspective which then makes the country go forward together in unity’. So as Peace and Security Thematic Committee, we believe that this will bring peace and security into the country. I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Madam President, thank you very much
for giving me this opportunity to discuss and debate on this Bill called the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO).
Madam President, when I look at this document here, I realise that for those who were born during my time when we were fighting Ian
Smith, we had what was called ‘LOMA’, - Law and Order Maintenance Act and from there, we then came to POSA I think if I am not wrong. LOMA was used to persecute our people and everyone who was black by the regime. When we came to POSA, certainly I was one of the people that were affected by it. I was charged three times for trying to overthrow a democratically elected Government but unfortunately, I did not even have a stone to throw, to manage to overthrow a democratically elected Government - that was under POSA.
Now comes MOPA or MOPO and MOPO as I see it, it is just a photocopy of the law that was passed in South Africa by the apartheid regime. If you look at this thing you find that the one that was passed in South Africa is even better than this one that we are now passing here in our country for ourselves. Ordinarily, it means we are not producing our own laws but laws that were produced by the apartheid regime. As for the POSA that we are referring to, we have simply duplicated it. If you look at this Bill you will find that there are only three sections that have been brought in from POSA but the whole document comes from a South African law that was passed I think in 1993 (205).
Madam President, it brings misery to us, to our society, to the country and to everyone who is in this country to see us standing up and saying the Minister has done a wonderful job by drafting this law. It is unfortunate that some of us might not have researched where the contents of this Bill is coming from. Certainly, it is coming from apartheid South Africa. It is not even there today in the South Africa that is independent but you are getting it to this country and we are seeing some Senators standing up clapping and saying this is a wonderful law.
Madam President, before I sit down, I will want the Minister to explain Section 12 of the Bill. I also want to understand the fact that you have a convener here who is going to be liable and charged as well as being asked to take responsibility. In most cases, if you look at the schedule there, there are organisations that are exempted. However, when you look at the convener, it is mostly political parties or organisations that deal with the issues that are political. My understanding is that a convener is like someone who is working for a company and if anything goes wrong it is not the person who is driving the car but the company that is liable and not the convener.
In this Bill, I see the person is being charged in his individual capacity and I think the Minister needs to explain so that we understand. Some of us are not very educated in the law aspect, so we need an understanding of what the certain sections mean, for example it will not be the convener who is going to be responsible but the organisation because when you convene anything you are doing it on behalf of the organisation and not for yourself. That to us is very important and you can get it in any society, political party, trade union or even a Christian organisation. The convener is doing it on behalf of a particular organisation. So, if I can get an explanation on that, it will be quite good for me. I believe most of the debate will be in the Committee stage. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU: I would like to differ slightly with what is being said here on issues of the army being deployed on the streets. Soldiers by nature are not trained to carry guns and go where there are people but they are deployed to go and fight during a war. A soldier is allowed to carry a gun to go and fight a war but now they are being deployed to the streets, so they are frightening us. At war, guns are kept in the armoury, so why are you saying guns should be carried on the streets? What are we expected to do? Can you answer that Minister?
+HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I also rise to second this Bill.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon.
Senators, everyone is going to get a chance to debate. Please, we are all Hon. Members and if you do not agree you will get your chance to stand and put across your facts. So kuridza tsamwa and so forth is not honourable behaviour. It is not done by Hon. Members.
+HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I stood up to second this Bill. This Bill speaks mostly on peace for the country. We want well behaved people in the country and no one should go and destroy someone’s shop or someone’s wares. We do not want someone demonstrating and destroying property in the country. We know that everyone is allowed to demonstrate but they should do so peacefully and not destroy anything. If you destroy my things I will not be able to recover, buy or rebuild those things. Minister, we accept this Bill and we receive it with both hands. The President should have powers to request the soldiers to go and assist the police in the country for peace to be maintained in the country depending on the way demonstrations will be carried out. People are saying that there should be peace in the country and that people should not be armed. Hon. Sen. Parirenyatwa as the Chairperson of the Committee has spoken on that.
We went around the country and people were supporting the Bill explicitly. Their sentiments were that a person should not move around without any form of I.D. If hit by a motor car or if involved in any kind of accident. one can quickly be identified and will not stay for long in the mortuary. A lot has been said by the Chairperson of Peace and Security. With these few words, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Madam President
for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion.
This is one of the best Bills in this country and I support it. It is the best
Bill because forewarned is forearmed and experience is the best teacher. As I stand here, I am one of the people who have experience with these demonstrations. My house was destroyed through violence and my husband was nearly killed because by that time he was sick in bed. When I talk, I do so from experience, that is why I say once beaten twice shy.
Let me talk about recent occurrences. I visited Bulawayo and I felt very sad when I looked at a privately owned shop which had been destroyed by demonstrators. This individual had made a lot of sacrifices through savings so that he could fend for his family but then we have other individuals who are lazy, who go to such places to smash buildings and grab goods such as groceries and ploughs. This country should be a law abiding country.
I would like to say to the Minister, thank you for this Bill. As stated by the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Sen. Dr. Parirenyatwa said that they had public hearings on this law on demonstrations and people are supporting the Bill. Therefore, mechanisms should be put in place to protect members of the public whilst having the rights to demonstrate. We know we have these experiences where we have a police officer in Bulawayo; when he was going to buy his lunch and simply because he was a police officer in uniform, he was smashed and crushed to death. Sometimes you wonder as to where the spirit of humanism comes in when you see an individual getting weapons such as stones and knobkerries to smash somebody? That is why we are saying it is the responsibility of the President of this country and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces to commandeer the armed forces to go and create peace and order in such situations.
This country of Zimbabwe came through the war of liberation and we are all related to these people who fought in the struggle for liberation. At times they would not be blood relatives but they are relatives. These people died to liberate this country. Who is going to commandeer these people to say go and murder these people? We know that when you have killed somebody, the avenging spirit will come and traumatise the murderer’s family. Who is going to pacify this avenging spirit and whosoever murders is definitely going to be affected by the avenging spirits. We are saying as leaders of these demonstrations, send your own children to go and demonstrate and fight people in the streets.
Hon. Sen. Parirenyatwa, we thank you for coming up with this
Bill. We thank you for moving around gathering people’s views. What we know about the people of Zimbabwe is – as we say Zimbabwe is open for business, people go about selling because they want to sustain their families but these people are now forced to go and demonstrate.
I am one of those people who came under cross fire when I was close to Joina City and I was not aware of what was going on. I found myself into the crowd that was demonstrating and I had to advise my driver to speed the car through these demonstrators because I was afraid that they could attack me. I know because of my status in society they would have noticed me and they could kill me. I am happy we managed to come out of danger without even causing an accident.
So I am saying this Bill is one of the best Bills ever to be produced in this country. Therefore, the President in his capacity as the Commander–in-Chief should be given the powers to order the intervention of the military, should need arise.
*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion, which is my right as a Member of Parliament. Madam President, as I stand here representing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Nelson Chamisa, I am saying this is the worst Bill. I am also representing members of my party who are being tortured and traumatized. I am saying this is an oppressive Bill, oppressing the people of Zimbabwe. If I want to hold a meeting with members of my party so that we discuss issues regarding problems in our country, I should start by seeking permission from the police and if anything goes wrong during that meeting, the convener of that gathering will be persecuted. Madam President, as Members of Parliament and everybody in Zimbabwe, we need to read our Constitution which is the supreme law of the country. In the Constitution, it reads ‘citizens of Zimbabwe are free to do whatever it is they want’. I know we might debate this Bill but to tell you the truth, no matter how you look at the Bill it will not talk about bread and butter issues nor will it bring down the prices or bring fuel to our filling stations.
As MDC, we have a lot of demonstrations which were very successful. The only problem is that we have some infiltrators who come and disturb our processions. I remember we had a demonstration in the City of Harare which was peaceful. We demonstrate because Zimbabwe is burning. People are suffering from hunger and there are no jobs. As a political party which has people at heart, we are saying this Bill is saying an individual should be stopped and searched to see whether they have an I.D on them. The problem we are facing as a country is that at the moment people have no access to I.Ds or passports. We have people who were murdered during the Gukurahundi period and their dependents who survived cannot access documents because their parents died.
This Bill is aimed at a particular party such as the MDC which is looking forward to holding a peaceful demonstration. The people of Zimbabwe are tired of sleeping on queues for fuel. The people of Zimbabwe are suffering because there is no ready cash. When we talk about sanctions we cannot conclude this case because we are talking of a high ranking official of ZANU PF who is now in remand prison because of corruption. Corruption is not the root cause of all these problems but the problem we are faced with is that of mismanagement of the available resources. On Friday, MDC-A will hold peaceful demonstrations and we request those infiltrators not to come. We just want to inform the President of Zimbabwe that the people of Zimbabwe have suffered and are saying enough is enough.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this Bill. This Bill is aimed at correcting the wrongs which are in the country so that we live peaceful lives in a peaceful Zimbabwe. Please, let us not forget that this country was turned into Zimbabwe because of the liberation struggle where the sons and daughters died and some were maimed. The war of liberation was aimed at bringing full independence in this country. As a result, just because we are independent people are now moving freely and holding their heads high.
Now that we lost so many freedom fighters and people, why should we continue going on the path which leads to more deaths through violence? In this case, we now have a new dispensation which has corrected some of the wrongs which have been happening in the past and that is why most of us are enjoying this freedom because the new dispensation has relaxed rules that were oppressing the people of Zimbabwe. The only problem we have in Zimbabwe is that we have these demonstrations which happen in this free country and the people who plan these demonstrations do not partake in them but instead send our children to go and demonstrate so that when violence erupts our children die. The conveners or organisers themselves do not take part.
Why should people die in a free Zimbabwe?
This Bill is a peaceful Bill which says whosoever wants to demonstrate is allowed to do so on condition that they inform the police so that they can maintain peace and order during that demonstration. It will also be known who organised that demonstration because at the moment because of their shallow minds, the youngsters are put in the frontline and they are the people who suffer. We are saying the people of Zimbabwe are now mature and knowledgeable. They know the procedure of airing our grievances and that is why we have the National Assembly and Senate. The people in these Houses were elected by the people to represent them. They were elected so that they protect these youngsters and make sure they do not take part in unnecessary demonstrations where they may die.
We are representing people who elected us into Parliament. We also need to solve their problems. We do not want to spill more blood because many people died for the freedom of our country. I participated in the liberation struggle and I know that blood is precious. Why should we spill innocent blood? Let us protect the people of Zimbabwe. I am very grateful for what was done by the Committee led by Hon. Dr.
Parirenyatwa seeking people’s views on this motion. The Constitution was not constructed by a few individuals but it was a body or the people of Zimbabwe who crafted this Constitution. Everybody was involved and as a result, this is a people’s Constitution because the people in the grassroots had an input. In the same manner, with regards to this Bill, you again went around asking people about what they want regarding this law on demonstrations.
My motto is - let us carry forward the people’s views, likes and progress because when you do that it shows we are mature. If you just say I am Hon. Sen. Tongogara of ZANU PF and somebody says I belong to MDC, let us leave partisan politics when talking about the development of Zimbabwe. If we do not involve ourselves in partisan politics there is going to be progress and we will protect people’s lives. There is going to be development for the people of Zimbabwe and there is going to be peace and tranquility.
+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: I want to thank the Minister for bringing the Bill into this House. The Chairperson of the Committee went round the country concerning the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This Bill is not a ZANU PF or MDC Bill but it is a Bill for the country that has its independence. This is a Bill that encompasses every citizen of Zimbabwe. As citizens of Bulawayo, we witness a very painful demonstration, so people should not talk as if they do not know. So many people lost the lives of their children and their property was destroyed. It is a deserted area and we do not have stores.
If the convener of the demonstration knows that the demostration that is being requested is proper, I doubt if there is anything wrong with that. Why is the convener not comfortable with revealing his or her name? If you see someone doing that, it means there is nothing good behind the demonstration. We will not agree that people do as they wish in this country. We lost so many lives in Zambezi and Chimoio and those are the same people who fought for us to get the freedom that we have.
As Members, we still want to behave the way we want. The Government has a President in each Government and he is the leader and he has the right whether you like it or not. He has the right to deploy soldiers whenever there is anarchy. He cannot just deploy soldiers when everything is fine. He cannot just send soldiers when nothing would have gone wrong in the country but if you destroy people’s houses and their businesses, you will get what you deserve.
You reap what you sow.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you very much Madam
President. May I begin by thanking the Minister for his opening statement which is that this Parliament must ensure peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe. That is what is in the Constitution. The Constitution does not say that the Parliament must ensure the repression of the Zimbabwean people. It says we must ensure peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe.
Madam President, there is no question that the colonial Law and Order Maintenance Act was a draconian piece of legislation. It oppressed our people, it oppressed our general people and the freedom fighters and it is a law that we want to forget. There is no question that the Public Order and Security Act is one of the most hated pieces of legislation in Zimbabwe’s history. That is why the Minister in his wisdom has sought to repeal it. If it was a good law, my friend the Minister would not have repealed it because it will be good law. It limited the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Zimbabwean people including the freedoms of association and assembly. When the “new” dispensation, when it came in November promised three among other things. 1) to democratise Zimbabwe; 2) to align the laws of Zimbabwe to the Constitution of Zimbabwe; and 3) to repeal unjust and obnoxious laws including POSA and AIPPA. I am sure that I speak of everyone in this House, that in the treatment of our people we must never go below how Smith treated them. We must never go below how Verfoort in South Africa, Vorword, Voster Hoffman and Botha in South Africa treated the South African people.
Madam President, the fact that a few criminals committed despicable acts does not justify the removal of democratic rights of our own people. Why do we punish the majority for the despicable act of the minority – it is unfair and unjust. I think I speak the truth when I say, when those people who if I was old enough, I was going to join them went to fight. Among other things, they fought for the land, they fought for justice and they fought for democracy – let us never forget that. They fought for the right of the Zimbabwean person to stand up and tell his Government in a peaceful manner that he does not approve what the Government is doing. That is the essence of the demonstration.
I come to whether this MOPO Bill answers to what I have said above. The POSA that it seeks to repeal had 23 sections and this MOPO Bill has 23 sections. I know that my friend Minister Ziyambi will say 24 but Section 24 simply says we repeal POSA, so we do not count that. So, it has 23 sections in POSA, 23 sections in MOPO and of the 23 sections from POSA, 20 are duplicated word for word in MOPO. So, it is not true that this is a new law; it is not true that it repeals POSA because 20 out of 23 of this Bill is POSA. Hon. Shoko has made a very important point that he may not have made well and this important point is that very fundamental parts of this Bill borrow heavily from South African legislation and the South African legislation in question is called the Regulation of Public Gatherings Act. 205 of 1993 and I want this House to remember that South Africa got its independence in 1994. So this piece of legislation is an apartheid piece of legislation. We duplicated it word for word for example; Section 2 of the apartheid regulation is Section 5 of MOPO. Section 4 is Section 8, Section 6 is Section 11, Section 7 is Section 10, and Section 9 is Section 13. The sections were then scattered around so that per chance, we may not identify but through research, we have identified.
Madam President, let me go quickly to the issue of the ban of the weapons. I am sure that the Hon. Minister would appreciate that some of the so called weapons are in fact tools of trade and being tools of trade, what this law says is that the mere possession of those weapons after the ban is a criminal offence. It does not say without just cause and it is unfair because we are affecting the livelihood of our people but this is not my main problem. My main problem becomes then how to communicate this ban – first through the newspapers, through the police but importantly, a new innovation is through traditional leaders. I want you to understand that this ban is being done by a regulatory authority which is a police officer at district level – a district where the chief is the leader there. He is being sent to communicate the decision of the police. He is being converted into the messenger of the police. This is debasing on our traditional leaders who oversee everybody and those people who are unhappy must go there and complain. What if we wanted the traditional leaders to have a say here, we would have said anybody aggrieved by anything would go to the traditional leaders. How do I go to a messenger of a person who is in charge of a district which is smaller than his chiefdom – that is debasing our traditional leaders?
Madam President, on the conveners, what this law says is that once you are the convener, the convener is the person who writes the letter to the police. Once you are the convener, you are criminally and civilly liable. I want to take an example of ZANU PF as a party; they want to plan a demonstration about sanctions or whatever they do not like. They will sit in their politburo. In that politburo, they will never make their
President, the head of that party to be a convener – [HON. SENATORS:
Hear, hear.] – They will look for a junior officer, either a Secretary
General or P.C and so on to go and communicate the party’s decision. What this bad law is saying is that, that junior officer is personally liable. Why are we sacrificing the weak and the less powerful? What this law is saying is that ZANU PF is innocent and it will not be visited with criminal or civil liability but the convener will be visited.
What that effectively does is that nobody wants to be a convener but because in the political parties we want to retain our positions, we are too weak and so on, then we will write the letters anyway. What this law says is that we will be punished on behalf of the organisation and that is unjust. It completely indemnifies the organisation and yet our law says; an organisation can be prosecuted. It also says an organisation can be ordered to pay damages but here we are persecuting the weak.
The police is given the power – I am rounding up Madam
President – The police is given the power to interfere with a lawful demonstration. A person has notified about their intended demonstration, the police are satisfied that it will be peaceful, but what this law says is that during the course of the demonstration, the police can interfere with the demonstration. It can change the route of the demonstration and can hold the demonstration altogether and that is unfair. That is giving the police too much power.
Demonstration within the vicinity of Parliament and the courts; our people must express displeasure on any institution, including Parliament – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – if they are unhappy with
Parliament. What this law is saying is that within a certain distance you cannot reach there, you cannot demonstrate in Parliament; let us say a hundred metres, you cannot demonstrate. What if the Parliament itself is the subject matter of the displeasure? What if the courts are the subject matter of the displeasure? Hon. Minister, I would suggest that what this law would have said is; “no demonstration within Parliament or within the court but outside Parliament or the courts, that is the essence of demonstrations.” I have heard Madam President, a lot of my colleagues in the Senate here saying that the army must be allowed to intervene – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am sorry Madam
President, I was distracted and I was trying to catch your attention to the offenders.
Thank you Madam President. I have heard about the argument of the deployment of the army; there are three arguments against that. Even the law that we are copying, the apartheid law did not deploy the army, as bad as Botha and Hoffmeyer and Vorster were, they did not deploy the army to deal with demonstrations, it was the exclusive preserve of the police. After all, we have relevant police units.
The second argument is that the army is not trained in law enforcement; it is trained in something else. So, we are asking people who are not trained in that issue to deal with it, which is wrong. Thirdly, it is the history of our army in dealing with demonstrations. First
August, the army dealt with demonstrations, we had six bodies; 14 to 16 January, the army dealt with demonstrations and we had 22 bodies that were accounted for. We have 28 bodies in two demonstrations. In South Africa, between 2001 and 2004, only four people died in demonstrations but in Zimbabwe, 28 people died in two demonstrations
Madam President, I want to deal with the sad incidents that Hon. Sen. Hungwe and others were talking about. I regret the ordeal that those people went through, but it is on record that of the past demonstrations, two demonstrations were violent, but it is 2 out of what? It is 2 out of 18 demonstrations that were violent. Why are we forgetting the 16 peaceful demonstrations?
Report by the President, which is my last point Madam President - the law says that after deploying the army, the President must report.
Unfortunately, it does not say in what format the President must use to report. Can he just write a letter or does he speak through his Minister or whatever? It does not tell us the format of the reporting. Is he going to come here and stand there and engage us in some form of question time? The law does not say and I doubt whether it is going to do that. Importantly, what are the consequences to the President if Parliament is not satisfied with his explanation. The law must say that; if Parliament finds that the President unlawfully, unfairly and inappropriately deploys the army, he must be impeached. So the law is inadequate, undemocratic and unfortunately, a carbon copy of POSA and borrows slavishly from the apartheid legislation. We ought to be ashamed of this law. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Madam President. I
would like to contribute a little to this Bill brought into this august House. What touched me is Section 18 concerning soldiers. It is painful that soldiers are deployed because there is a demonstration. There are deaths that took place towards elections but we did not see soldiers deployed to villages to look for those involved. For example,
Mashonaland East, many people died and some were thrown into
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Sen.
Chifamba. I want to remind all Hon. Members to desist from repeating the same issues in our debates. We should debate on other facts and leave out those which have been debated because they are already noted and the Hon. Minister will respond to that. We want to caution and stop that habit because if that continues we will end up asking some to sit down because they do not have new facts. I just wanted to remind everybody in this august House.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Madam President, I speak
about it because it is so touching. So, to set it off, I have to talk about it because if I suppress it…
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We are in Parliament
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Yes, Madam President, I hear you. However, the issue of killings during demonstrations touches me. This law is coming but it is good for others whilst bad to others. This law can be likened to distributing food where someone chooses chicken whilst someone refuses. There are provisions in the law which are bad and infringes on the Zimbabwean citizen. All Zimbabweans are supposed to be free. I remember that there was a law on passports which then touched on children. Remember, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander as well, but we should be very careful because when the soldiers are now firing they do not choose. When you find that your child will be among those who have been killed, then you will know that this is painful. The soldiers should be in the bush there. When there is war in other countries, in Zimbabwe that is when we should see soldiers. Soldiers are not good friends. If you see them passing by you will know that you are not used to them, but a policeman can be a friend because their training is different. They were trained to kill, so are we saying that soldiers should come and kill the children of Zimbabwe who are demonstrating peacefully?
We should look at why people want to demonstrate. There is something wrong. There is something that has caused these children to go out and demonstrate in the streets. Prices are going up each and every day, salaries are not going up and now children do not know the taste of bread. They are saying to their father, this is how the things are in the country but then the father now brings soldiers to quell the children. This is likened to a polygamous marriage. It is good for someone who is coming into a polygamous marriage. You forget that tomorrow it will be you who will be in that position as well.
We should come up with laws that make everyone free in Zimbabwe. Today we are ruling but tomorrow you will be in the opposition. This is not new. When you will now be the opposition you will feel the pinch because this law will be in for a long time and opposition will be in power, then you will feel the pinch.
We should come up with laws for the future generations so that people are free to say whatever they want. If you cannot say it in your own country, what more if you are outside your own country? You cannot say anything negative. How can my voice be heard when I speak? If I do not speak no one will know what I want. So, we are saying what we want and you are telling us to keep quite. When a child cries the father does not respond by beating the child but you find out why the child is crying.
Why are soldiers in the streets when the father is there who should speak to the children? Whom should we talk to? For some it is very good, but for others it is very bad. Thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to debate on this Bill which is very welcome and has been brought by the Minister. This Bill Madam President, is very good. If we look at it properly, it does not select a certain party but it is for everyone. There is one speaker who said that tomorrow the ruling party will thus become opposition. Let us look for things which can protect our people.
Let me say that forewarned is foretold. Some demonstrations which have been talked about here were very proper but now they turned into violence and we declared war. Like what happened on that demonstration, a lot of shops were destroyed – [HON. SENATORS:
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can we have order
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: We are saying the Bill you brought here Minister, is very good. We were accusing opposition members that they were the people who were destroying property but they refused. This Bill has protected them when they are doing their demonstrations.
Those who misbehave can be handled by this law, like they said there were bad people who came into the demonstration. Let me remind you that this country has the President who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. This President must be recognised as he is the President of Zimbabwe. There are some people who do not want to recognise the President but you go in front of him and swear an oath before him to become a Member of Parliament. We are part of Government. Even some people who see us on television talking and fighting over this Bill do not understand what you want.
Minister, you prepared a very nice Bill that even people are agreeable to it. Hon. Mwonzora must not forget that he was part of COPAC when we were crafting the laws of the country. This is the law we were creating. It is just a small amendment. This is the law of the country which we must follow. The President is not supposed to ask
Parliament when things are bad. He has no obligation to ask Parliament. Let us say we are on holiday, the President has the power to call the soldiers to deal with any situation so that the soldiers bring peace in the country.
We support this Bill Madam President. This makes our country to be in a good position. We do not want people to loot other people’s wares when they are selling. convener who would have written a letter, let it be known that you are the one who wrote the letter. When things get bad you have to be accountable. Madam President, we support this Bill and we are going to support the Bill that it be enacted into law.
With these few words, I thank you Madam President – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you very much Madam President
for giving me this opportunity to just add my voice. I want to thank the
Minister for bringing this Bill which actually breaks the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe is the supreme law of the land.
This Constitution came from the people of Zimbabwe. A lot of our Hon.
Members have already debated and they have spoken about this Constitution. It is the supreme law and any other law that is not aligning to this Constitution is null and void.
Madam President, going through this Bill already, it actually breaks about five clauses of the Constitution meaning to say you might be many, you might pass this Bill but this Bill is going to court even if you force its passage because it is not aligned to the Constitution.
Mr. President, I heard Senators debating here and some of them were screaming ZIDERA. When I was researching, ZIDERA says that you must follow the Constitution of the land. You made the Constitution yourself, so follow that Constitution because it is from the people. Here right now, you can scream and say other people are bringing sanctions, this Bill is bringing sanctions to Zimbabwe. It is breaking the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution. Mr. President, I am in the Peace and Security Committee. I heard my Chairman saying that we went around the country and this Bill was agreeable - it is really unfortunate because this Bill was not agreed to. I was in the southern region and I was amazed by one Hon. Member who comes from Matabeleland actually saying Matabeleland agreed to this Bill. There is no way I can allow this I swear here in Parliament that I am going to abide by the Constitution and I am always going to be on the side of the people.
In Matabeleland, we do not have national identity documents. First give us identity documents then you can bring your law. Has the Government made arrangements to actually go to Matabeleland and give our people identity documents? No, but you are bringing this law which is going to arrest somebody who does not have an identity document when you know that in Matabeleland our people do not have identity documents until now.
Mr. President, when we were going around the country, our people refused to the fact that soldiers or police shoot anyone at will. In fact our people actually suggested that when the situation arises - other countries actually use rubber bullets, so why do you want to kill people? Why must we lose our people, black against black and we want to kill each other - ask yourselves why. Mr. President Sir, the anarchy – [AN. HON. SENATOR: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Senator, I do not want to answer, I want to address.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Address the
Chair, ignore them.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Mr. President, please protect me. The
anarchy that is happening in this country is corruption. Corruption is the anarchy in this country; the stealing, the thieving of just one person, I will give an example. Just one Minister has a house in United Kingdom, a house in America, a house in South Africa, a house in Borrowdale
Brooke. Can you imagine if we had to actually search each and every Minister, then our country will be a happy country? This is what causes anarchy. Mr. President Sir, why do Zimbabweans – [HON. SEN.
CHIMBUDZI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. Hon.
Senators, you are honourable, so behave honorably.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President Sir, there is a
Shona saying that says, ‘mwana asingacheme anofira mumbereko’, Mr. President Sir, ever since we became independent in this country, how many people have been arrested for corruption? All we see are lists and lists of people that are corrupt but they are never arrested - maybe one or two only and nothing else. Who do we cry to? The people of
Zimbabwe are crying out - no jobs. We were recently debating a motion on pensioners, they are not getting anything but you can see how much money was stolen, who do we cry to? The only way we can cry to the Government is through demonstrations – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – When we talk about demonstrations Hon. Senators, we are not talking about killing people, we are not talking about breaking homes, we are not talking about anything, we are talking about having our time to demonstrate, talking about issues that worry us.
There is no flour, bread, et cetera. Bakeries cannot even make bread and then you make little bakeries and say now women are baking bread, is that fair? Mr. President, there are a lot of issues that Zimbabwean people have to highlight. There are lot of issues that we have to highlight. Our Zimbabwean people are crying out for jobs, our Zimbabwean people are crying out for our livelihoods and we have to be given an opportunity to demonstrate. This Bill is making it impossible even for somebody to actually apply to demonstrate. You actually train people to actually come and infiltrate people who are demonstrating peacefully and they destroy homes and then it is assumed that it is those people demonstrating. When we cry we want the Government to answer, we do not want it to answer with bullets Mr. President.
This Bill is unconstitutional Hon. Senators. Clause 5 deals with appointment of conveners like I said. Surely, submitting of lists of organs and structures of the political party - I want to have a meeting with my district which has 50 people; I must write all the names and give to the police for what, why? So that they can be intimidated! We have cases from the time the MDC gave notice, we already have people that have been beaten because the police know their addresses. Are our people meant to feel comfortable when they give the addresses to the police?
Mr. President, the Constitution empowers citizens. Section 58 of the Constitution empowers citizens to freely gather. So if I then write out a list, are you really giving or you are taking away that right? You are taking that right. Section 60 of the Constitution which provides among other things the right to express one’s thought and section 61 which provides for freedom of expression which includes the right to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information, a process of public meeting often involves such communication ideas. Shockingly, even the apartheid like what Hon. Sen. Mwonzora was saying did not have such bad laws and these were white people. So, we are having all these bad laws. It is black against black right now and you know like the Hon. Senators said, it is good because you are the ruling party at this moment in time and you can make sure that the opposition is stifled but it is one day cross, Mugabe never knew. He thought he was going to die akagara pa seat but where is he today?
Mr. President Sir, some of the issues have been covered but there are issues that really touchéd me the most is that I am a Ndebele from Midlands. I come from Zhombe. When I went around, what really pains me is that our people do not have identity cards (IDs). Our people are not educated. They never had an opportunity to go to school. Government should look at this and remove this thing. It really has to be removed. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like
to remind Hon. Senators to avoid as much as possible to repeat issues which have already been raised – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] - Are you chairing this House now? I am chairing this House and I am advising you to avoid repeating. The Minister is taking down the issues you are raising and he is going to respond. We will do ourselves a dis-service if we continue repeating the same thing over and over again.
*HON. SEN. MBOWA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to debate. I would like to thank the Minister for bringing in this Bill and I strongly support it.
The issue at stake here is that as children of Zimbabwe, we should look at this law on a non-partisan basis but as Zimbabweans, any political party can come up with demonstrations as long as they think that their rights are being oppressed. I heard one of the Hon. Sen. saying that we have engaged into 16 demonstrations. That is what we want and that is why we are supporting this Bill. We want to look at the demonstrations and fish out the bad ones so that when we are doing our demonstrations, we vet each other.
For example if the as Methodist Church wants to demonstrate against our pastor, we plan and put rules and regulations in place. We will also look for people who will oversee how our demonstration is going on. As long as we are looking at peace building, there is nothing bad but if we are looking at bad demonstrations, it is wrong. If demonstrations come out as they are intended to then there is no problem.
This is a good Bill and it protects everyone even the opposition. Even the infiltration that they are talking about, it means that not everyone will go in. The bad apples will not find a chance. They will vet each other. If they have a vision, there is no point in coming up with bad demonstrations. So I am supporting peaceful demonstrations as said by the Minister.
We are the ones who invite the army. If demonstrations go well, no army will be involved. There is no room for the army to come in. Our police are trained to use minimum force. If it becomes too much for them and they are overwhelmed and things go out of hand, that is when the President comes in because he would like to bring in peace and order. If he does not stop that, it means a lot of people will die and a lot of property will be destroyed. It is unfortunate that live ammunition will be used but I think the President has looked into that so that we do not reach that level.
On the issue of IDs – I come from the rural areas. The chiefs and headmen have a good plan. If we have orphans, the village heads and councillors will write letters so that all orphans get IDs. I think as legislators, we should strengthen this kind of structure so that all the children will have identification.
I came across a circulation which was written by Trump. It said that if you kill a policeman, you should also be killed. Here is a leader who is trying to say if you violate Government machinery, you should also get the same treatment. Each and every country has its own laws to protect people so that they do not go out of hand. Even the Lord in heaven is the Lord of war – a war of love and peace. He brings war so that we get peace and not bringing war so that people will be at logger heads. When law is coming to bring peace, it will look like it is bad law but as we go on, the truth will be in the open.
When we were going to school, we were beaten and we thought our parents were infringing our rights but now I can see that if I had not been beaten, I would not be where I am today. Our parents would spank you so that you will be in line.
This law aims for peace in our society and to both sides of the House. We do not want demonstrations that will end up in violence – even on this side of the House, we all want peace. Those who want peace should not keep on clamouring for violence. They should just do their demonstrations in peace. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAI: Thank you Mr. President. I would also want to add my voice to the Bill which has been brought by the Minister. To me, it is a Friday Bill. It is targeting the Friday demonstration. We should be able to craft laws looking into the future and not looking at a person or an event.
I usually tell the truth; to me this Bill is very bad. Because we are the children of Zimbabwe, you have brought it so that we debate it and give our opinion. This Bill is very bad Minister. I do not usually speak in English when I am debating because I represent a constituency which wants to understand what I will be talking about. It does not mean that I cannot speak in English. Not speaking in English does not mean that I cannot speak English. English is just a language and it can not be used to measure intelligence. I would like the Minister to look into the Bill after our debates - the truth which will concern you about this Bill and the other things which you will throw away. What I wanted to say has already been said by others before that it is a plagiary from apartheid. These were whites who were oppressing black people but you, of which colour are you? You are whites in black man’s skin.
Mr. President, it is so sad that in this country we want to talk about a lot of things when looking at issues like this Bill, we start to hear about the liberation struggle and the people who died. It is true that the war was fought, everyone liked this war and we supported the liberation struggle because we liked it. We do not want you to confuse our minds by talking about dead people because the people who died came from all tribes. Everyone was affected by the liberation war struggle, now it is being discussed by people because we want to craft a law. Let us say what is good about this law and what is bad about it. When I grew up, my father was a policeman. If bread was finished we would tell our mother that there is no flour to bake bread for us to eat before we go to school. Our mother would go and tell our father and I never saw my mother being beaten for that. In fact, the father would come to us the children that we do not fight our mother. He would say he was aware of the situation and that when he goes back to Harare he would send the food stuff through Chawasarira coaches.
What we are doing shows a disorganised house; it shows oppression of highest order which is not expected in this day and age. Are there no other better things to do? The country has people who are hungry, jobless people, poverty, so how is this Bill going to solve all these problems? Will the Bill help us as a nation that there is no hunger?
These are the issues we were supposed to be discussing as the Senate and the President calling us to discuss on way forward as a nation in terms of solving these problems.
Mr. President, I would like to focus on the issue of the convener. No one refused that the name of the convener should be known but for one to write down the names of 800 people, it is impossible. How can I know of everyone who would have come to the streets? – How am I supposed to know all those people and their addresses?
Mr. President, let us not be possessed by the spirit of Smith because we have never known peace during the Smith regime. Our mothers and fathers were always on the run. If we look at what you have brought, we end up seeing Smith as a better person when in fact we do not want to think that way. It is very bad for me to talk about my former oppressor. If you look closely in the rural areas most of the men move around with their tools like the axes, mbezo, etcetera for their relish. Now, if it is an offence to move around with an axe which I use to get my relish and I am not also allowed to explain why I am carrying
that axe then it is a big challenge to our communities. Are you going make people in the rural areas to be aware of these bad laws that you are crafting? This law is a very bad one and it is not even good for you.
The law must make everyone happy.
When we crafted the Constitution, we did not know that you were going to ambush us with this Hendricks kind of law. We wrote a Constitution which was very good, which we know is our livelihood and the backbone of the lives of our people. However, if you are now bringing black patches on white cloths, if this patch was even nice it was going to be better but it has holes. We know that you may pretend to like this Bill very much but deep down you know what is good and what
This is the truth which you can refuse here but when you go home with that child you do not agree with about his life and about what I am doing when I am in Parliament. Even the Hon. Minister agrees with me that his own children at times do not agree with him that some of them go to Methodist church whilst he goes to Zaoga – that is a right. Have you ever beaten that child for disagreeing with you, he will refer you to the Constitution and shows you Section 60 which states that he has freedom of assembly and to share ideas with whomever he wants. Because you do not like Zaoga, you will lock Zaoga and banish him from home; this is exactly what you are doing to us as a nation. This is what you doing to the children of Zimbabwe. You might think that you are doing this against the opposition but this matter concerns the whole nation. Where are you? Children of Zimbabwe who do not want this law are many. It is the children of Zimbabwe and let us stop saying, opposition. This is Friday Bill targeting the children of Zimbabwe who have grievances that they want to give to their President. Before he brings soldiers, let the President address us about the issues to do with the sky rocketing prices and about fuel that is not available. You will not see anyone coming out of his home if the service station is open 24 hours. No one comes out of his home if there is bread, if he is able to buy relish for children to eat sadza. Mr. President, this is very painful and we ask, who is breaking other people’s homes?
Let me go to the issue of people who break people’s homes. There are people who destroy homes in the afternoon. Those are better because we see them. What about those who follow people at night, breaking people’s homes? What are we doing with them? Is there night demonstration? What will you be looking for in people’s homes during the night? We expect the Government if the people of Zimbabwe are demonstrating to put drones in the streets to capture people who will be destroying property and beating others, not to come here to just tell us that you want this law to pass. I want it to be put on record today; I do not support the Bill. For sure, I do not support something draconian.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you
Hon. Sen. Wunganayi. I just want to remind you again all senators and I will read the relevant Standing Order here, “that the Chair may direct Section 104. The Chair may direct a senator to discontinue his or her speech and resume his or her seat after having called to order such a senator: a) for persisting in irrelevant or tedious repetition of his or her own arguments of those used by other senators in debate.”
^^HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President. I have a request. To be able to express myself from the bottom of my heart, I want to speak in my language Mr. President. I thank you Mr. President and I thank the Minister who brought this Bill that there be peace in the country of Zimbabwe. For us who are far away in the rural areas, we are at the border. We thank you very much for bringing this Bill Minister. Mr. President, we want to support this Bill on that there is peace and that we walk freely. We want to live peacefully. We do not want a situation where if you want to go to a certain place, your heart beats. We are thankful and supporting our President that if there is something wrong we have peace in this country.
The President has to deploy soldiers to bring peace. The President has not refused people the right to demonstrate. If we are in this House, we represent everyone; the rich, the poor and all different kinds of people. We represent the people of Zimbabwe. If we say we are adopting something from South Africa, let us not involve other people.
Let us come out with our own law and stay peaceful as the people of
Zimbabwe. We do not want useless things. We are grown up people. We want to dispute here and we want peace in this country. Let peace be with us. Even God himself says he is the God of war. If you do well nothing bad will happen to you. Be good children so that the country which you have been given by your forefathers will be peaceful. This is something we support. You did very well Minister. We thank you very much. This Bill must pass today.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me an opportunity to air my views on this particular Bill that has been brought to the House by the Minister. The fact that I might touch on a point that has already been mentioned is not necessarily a repetition. It could be another angle but of the same point. It is important that I put my point in the way I want it understood, not necessarily as Hon. Sen. Timveos or Hon. Sen. Shoko has put it. I want to put it in my own words...
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order,
order. I have the final discretion to make a ruling on what is happening.
You may continue.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Mr. President, I want to take us back to the 17th of November 2017. On that day, the people of Zimbabwe came out en mass to demonstrate. There was no application made to any police. There was no notice, agenda or names and addresses given to anyone; it was spontaneous. This will never and can never be the last time that spontaneity happens in Zimbabwe. If it does happen and it seems to suit the agenda of a certain political party, are we going to get arrests? It is not addressed by this Bill. That is my first point.
The second point, when everything is okay in the country it is practically impossible to get masses of people coming out to demonstrate because they will not be motivate to come out. There is nothing that urges them to do that. They will only do it if they feel it from within their hearts that there is a cause that they associate with. If a large number of people associate with that point, there is no way a convenor can be able to identify or be responsible for every person who is going to identify with that cause, neither can a convener be responsible for people that are going to infiltrate in order to frustrate that particular demonstration. I would have very much respected this Bill if it insisted that as much as possible the convener must make sure there are enough marshals to see to it that there is peace and order and to work very closely with the police in the event that there is disorder, then I would have seen it as a neutral Bill which is meant to be for the good of the people of Zimbabwe. This Bill is targeting some people and this is what is makes is unacceptable.
I want to be frank with you Mr. President, that I am one of the very few people who were very disappointed with the 17 November - while others were on the streets celebrating, I stayed at home. The reason I stayed at home is because I thought that this New Dispensation was going to address all the things that were wrong with this country which would make my party irrelevant. That was my real fear. I am so glad that my fears were unfounded. The things that are happening today are not better than what was happening before. In fact, this Bill is tighter than POSA in every sense of the word.
I was so afraid that the President would go round the world and would promise all those things that we say we will do if we get into power and when he comes back all those things will actually happen and then my party becomes irrelevant. But Mr. President, I am so glad to see that this Bill ensures that ZIDERA stays in place. It is going to make sure that nothing changes. So, who is really bringing sanctions to Zimbabwe? Who is bringing hardships to the people of Zimbabwe? It is the people who refuse to change. People who refuse to work within the Constitution.
At the beginning of this year fuel was selling at RTGS$1.50, today it is RTGS$9.47. Our salaries, and I am not talking about just civil servants but even in the private sector have not changed. If there is no way of addressing Government that something is wrong without fear of imprisonment and criminal liability, how are we going to do this? We have a right to bring the Government to account. If we are complicit by keeping quiet, by pretending that everything is okay, we are equally guilty. In fact, we are worse because we tell the people when we go out there that, ‘no, it is not us, it is just the Government - it is not true’. The only way that people will know that we as Senate are correct across the aisle are Senators is by actually saying what is good when it is good and bad when it is bad.
I can understand why people would like to protect themselves with laws like this but I can assure you Mr. President, nothing will defeat an idea whose time has come. We can carry on debating and we can say how good this is but at the end of the day we all know that this Bill is primed by fear – fear of one’s own subjects. The easiest thing Mr. President, is to find out who the criminals are. The criminals can be identified in a way that will make sure demonstrations can happen peacefully in this country with the conveners and the police working together, making sure that all the roadblocks have been put so that no one can commit a crime. Threatening people with live bullets from a Government that calls itself a democratic Government is a shame Mr. President.
We can keep on talking and I think we are going to go clause by clause and when we get to that stage we will actually point out what is undemocratic about this particular Bill. If we find that because of our numbers we are defeated and the Bill goes through, that Bill will be challenged in the courts and we shall challenge it. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Can I remind
Hon. Senators again for us to stick to the issue of MOPO and avoid drifting to other subjects. We are discussing MOPO. We have to maintain order in the House.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion. In my own view, I think this is a very good Bill. I think it is God’s intervention because we are faced with Sodom and Gomorrah. People who prayed for peace in
Zimbabwe, is really a prayer answered. Thank you Hon Minister.
From my understanding, demonstrations are allowed but the Bill seeks that all the demonstrations should be done in a peaceful way. We realise that in most of the rural areas people are looking up to us to hear what is it that we are going to say when we are contributing towards this Bill. We cannot be focusing on killing innocent lives and also destroying their property. This Bill is just coming to bring peace into the nation. There is no nation without laws. I think when the Minister was crafting this Bill they asked for wisdom like Solomon in the Bible.
We are not coming here to represent our parties but we are representing our constituencies. As Members representing our parties, we are not as many as people in our constituencies. We have noticed that policemen are killed in the line of duty which is a very bad practice. This Bill is coming to stop such heinous acts. For example in Bulawayo, the city is now a deserted area. When people hear that there is a demonstration that is upcoming they try by all means to hide their families somewhere else. There is nothing that we should be afraid of if we know that what we are going to be doing is going to be okay. Why should the convener have fear if the Bill says he or she should be responsible for whatever that is going to happen.
A party or church cannot instruct people to cause violence but it is only one person who can do that. From where we are coming from especially in Matabeleland, people were hurt so much especially from these demonstrations for example in Bulawayo. You will realise that we do not even have protection because policemen are also killed.
We have to acknowledge that the soldiers bring peace in the nation. It is not an amazing thing for soldiers to be deployed. The Bill does not state that soldiers should kill people but they should maintain peace. It is fine for the Bill to state that the President can deploy soldiers should need arise. We need to demonstrate in peace.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: On a point of order Mr. President
Sir, you have made a ruling and referred us succinctly, to the relevant rule against repetition. What the Hon. Member is doing is exactly what you prohibited.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order
you may take your seat. Unfortunately, I am impaired and have not been following on what she was saying … - [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – But what you are saying is very relevant. Hon. Senator, do not engage in tedious repetition.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I did not repeat anything Mr. President. It is important that we view this Bill positively. We support it in every turn of the way so that the international world will also realize that we want peace and harmony to prevail in our country with just laws. We should not be seen to be emulating laws from other countries lest our country becomes Sodom and Gomorah because then God will not intervene. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order,
order, is there anything that you want to say that has not been said? –
[HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Because …
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President Sir, maybe to guide the members as there maybe others with new things.
I think that the Hon. Members, when I respectfully read the Second Reading speech, missed out on some of the issues and some of the debate on national identification cards, fuel and so forth – it is not in the Bill, even about conveners.
We are going on a tangent debating on things that are totally outside the Bill. So with the indulgence of Hon. Members because we are also going to go clause by clause – we will still be able to raise those issues at the Committee Stage. If I can be indulged to respond now and then as we go clause by clause because I notice that we are labouring under the impression that there are certain issues that are in the Bill which are not in the Bill. So if the Hon. Members can indulge me because we will still be able to engage in the same debate going clause by clause. I so submit Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Please take
your seats. I think that the Hon. Minister has made a very progressive proposal so that he gives his response and then when you are in Committee you can go clause by clause and raise the issues that you are talking about. Do you agree? Are there any objections? There is no objection; I call upon the Hon. Minister.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President, I want to thank the Hon. Members for the indulgence and want to thank everyone who debated – some repeating, others bringing in new ideas; we acknowledge everything and respect the views that were raised.
I want to start Hon. President by indicating that Hon. Members have referred in the Bill on issues to do with the defence forces. Hon.
Sen. Ncube asked, “why should the defence forces assist the police?” Hon. Sen. Mwonzora weighed in as well as other Hon. Senators. Mr.
President Sir, this is a constitutional alignment provision. I want to draw the Hon. Senators here present and some of them were in COPAC. They came up with Section 213 of the Constitution which clearly stipulated under which circumstances the President is allowed to deploy armed forces. I am surprised, that Hon. Senators argue in favour of alignment of laws as one of the objectives of the Second Republic. On the same vein, they say do not align the laws. So I did not understand what they were saying. Please read the provisions that were put in the Bill, it clearly indicates that once the defence forces have been called upon to assist the police, they will be under the command of the police – that is what the Bill says. It does not say that when they come out of the barracks, they should bring live ammunition. The Bill does not say so.
It says, ‘Once the Commissioner General requests for the assistance of the police by the defence forces, the following is what must happen’, which can happen - we may have demonstrations where the police officers are outnumbered and you may need to call in the other members of the security sector to assist. It clearly states that, ‘when the
Commissioner writes to the relevant Minister’ which is the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage who then consults the President. The President agrees and the defence forces will be deployed but they will operate as if they were police officers under the command of the police – that is what the Bill says. This is in fulfillment of the constitutional requirement which states that defence forces may be deployed to defend public order. So if we talk about constitutional alignment – this is one of the provisions that we have to deal with in the Bill.
Mr. President, I also took note of the history lessons that we learnt - distorted as they may be. I listened attentively about the history of LOMA, POSA and the Bill that we have. I heard that the Bill that we have was plagiarised from an apartheid era law. Mr. President, I just want to make a correction.
In 1993, there was no apartheid in South Africa – it was in a transitional stage. In 1993, they had an interim Constitution and were gravitating towards full independence of South Africa. So when this Act was enacted in 1993, it was during the interim transition period and it is not very correct what the Hon. Senators said. I want them to go and check the history books and read very well. Be that as it may, not all laws that were used during the colonial era have been repealed – if you have a good law then why repeal it? So that is neither here nor there.
I also want to say Mr. President, this Constitution which is a product of some of the people who are here and were chairing – has been hailed as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation. There is a lot of plagiarism in the Constitution, Mr. President, and if you read the South African 1996 Constitution you will see what I mean. A lot of it was borrowed from there by the very Hon. Senators who are clapping hands and saying that there was plagiarism. My point is, the need for maintenance of peace and order across the globe is the same. Where you can borrow lessons learnt on how to legislate. You do not shy away because you will be labeled to have borrowed from your neighbour – [HON. SENETORS: Hear, hear.] - We will not shy away to get progressive pieces of legislation and incorporate in ours. Just as those that are hailing this Constitution, it is plagiarised more than this Bill that they are talking about. I submit that is not something that we should belabour ourselves with but should look at the actual issues.
I want to thank Hon. Sen. Parirenyatwa for the support. Indeed, I read the report and most of the issues that were raised by the Committee on Defence and Security and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, we incorporated them. I must also say that when we debated this Bill in the Lower House, at no stage did we divide the House. I remember around 2am or so, we were now approving clauses by consensus and we accepted a lot of proposals that came from the members of the opposition. At the end of the session, the Hansard will confirm this. The esteemed Vice President of the opposition party thanked Hon. Dias, myself and everyone else for the spirit that we exhibited that particular night in debating and conceding in certain areas. So, I would not want to say that this Bill came to the Senate and we had at any time been called upon to divide the House. No, not at all. We were engaging each other clause by clause as we looked at it. That is what happened.
Again Hon. Shoko spoke about duplication and I have responded to that. He wanted to speak about the history lessons but again those that know appreciate that when we talk about our law, we say its origin is Roman Dutch law. So, this idea of thinking that we cannot have lessons learnt from somewhere when even the origins of our law is Roman Dutch law, we are not Romans neither are we Dutch but we are using it. I submit that we should not labour ourselves with those issues and trying to dramatise issues and nothing else.
I want to come to the issue of conveners Mr. President. It has been clearly misunderstood. A convener who notifies the police, engages them and is given clearance is not subjected to any civil liability. That is what the Bill is saying and I am actually surprised that Members have not had time to study the Bill so that they can appreciate what it is saying. If you go on to the clause that they were labouring under, it says; - “if a convener does not give notice or disregards” - it actually qualifies a convener who is liable. So the others are insulated and if you decide to have your demonstration and you do not want to inform the police, we will hold you liable for whatever happens or you disregard what you will have agreed to with the regulator, you will be held liable. So, this is what it says. It does not say any convener is liable and I submit that Hon. Members should actually take time to read the provisions of the Bill so that they appreciate how good it is. Again, I saw Hon. Members labouring over the issue of soldiers. That has been taken care of. I have responded. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mkhwebu for supporting the Bill.
I just want to say something again on identity documents. The Bill does not criminalise you for not carrying an I.D. In my Second Reading opening speech, I alluded to that but I believe Hon. Members were not listening and so they decided to go to town about issues of I.Ds and gukurahundi . The Bills says, if the regulator has reasonable suspicion that you have committed an offence, which is already there in our laws, if they suspect that you have committed an offence whether you have an I.D or not they can arrest you. So, that is already there in our laws and I think the issue of I.Ds has been dealt with. I am surprised that Hon.
Members continued to discuss that issue.
Hon. Sen. Hungwe clearly explained the issue of maintenance of peace and order. While we all have rights to demonstrate and do whatever we want to do, I want to thank her. Others also have their rights. So, the whole purpose of having this Bill is to ensure that while we enjoy our rights to demonstrate or to hold meetings, others who want to go about their business are allowed to do so. Not that I want to come to work but there are barricades in Samora Machel and tyres are being burnt, that is what we want to control. That is the reason why we need those who want to have demonstrations to go and inform the regulator in case there is another counter demonstration on that particular day that you want to hold yours. The regulator can say, ‘no, you wanted to go through Samora Machel, it is not possible because the Red Cross Society are also demonstrating through Samora Machel, can you change your direction’ and that should be allowed.
I also want to submit that from what I got it is alleged demonstrations are done against Government only. That is not correct. Demonstrations can be done against any employer and they can be violent. So, the right to demonstrate is not a right to demonstrate only against your Government. So, it is not correct to say that Government wants to protect itself. This is about maintenance of peace and order to ensure whoever wants to express their rights must have regards for the rights of others. This is not a right that is non derogatory. You have to have regard for rights of others when you are demonstrating. I think if you go to Section 86 of the Constitution, you can clearly find those rights that you cannot derogate against.
I also was pleasantly amused to hear that we duplicated 20 sections and in the same vein, it is alleged that it is the same POSA. I got lost because I did not know which one we duplicated, so I cannot comment
On the carrying of traditional weapons, if there is a real danger that the public safety will be compromised in any district, the police officer of that district should be empowered to ban weapons that can cause harm to innocent civilians. But we also put a rider to say that once you get that three months ban you cannot then extend it within that particular year unless you go to the Magistrates Court. Mr. President Sir, we have this provision of banning of dangerous weapons in the Criminal Code. So it is not something that is new that is coming into play. I also want Members to take note that we have people within certain areas who are killing each other using machetes and this provision is not targeted at politicians. You also need to appreciate that we have amakorokoza there; they use machetes on each other. So this is a necessary provision for the maintenance of peace and order in those communities – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
Again, I listened to my learned friend trying to appeal that we are using our chiefs to convene messages. That is not the correct reading, it says the traditional leaders and traditional leaders can mean village heads. The Hon. Member will also know that it is one of the means of communication that we use in rural areas. Also, this was a negotiated clause, it was not originally there. I submit that we agreed with Members from the other side that perhaps newspapers in rural areas, we also need to widen the channels of communication that certain weapons have been banned. We use masabhuku to communicate and I am actually surprised that we should not use masabhuku edu kucomunicater kuti aa! Kwaita makorokoza variku tema vanhu nemabhemba, saka mapurisa vabanner munharaunda ino, ukavonekwa wakatakura bhemba unozonzi urikuda kutema munhu, saka chimbomirai kubuda nemabhebha.
That is the essence of what the sabhuku would be saying and I submit that I do not see how offensive it is to the authority of the traditional leader. In any event, our police officers in rural areas work also very closely with masabhuku edu. This has been standard practice, so when we negotiated we accepted it. We thought it was a very progressive addition. I do not want to compare our country with another country. If you look at what the Hon. Members were saying – I believe it was just posturing and playing to the gallery; the apartheid regime and paramilitary forces that killed a lot of people. So to submit that they were not using the military, they were using the police when the end game was the same. I think it does not deserve a dignified answer – for lack of a better word Mr. President, the apartheid regime had done a lot of atrocities. I submit that they did more atrocities than even Ian Smith. So, I would not want to compare what they did with what we are trying to do.
Hon. Sen. Chifamba was merely repeating what her colleagues said. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma. I was at pains when I listened to Hon. Sen. Timveos; when she held the Constitution saying that this Bill is unconstitutional. She never even mentioned a single clause in the Bill that is unconstitutional. She submitted the carrying of identity cards and she was totally lost because that is totally not in the
Bill. I submit that the ID clause we removed it and it is not there –
[HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I am holding the Bill and it is there.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Do not
address the Minister, address the Chair. Minister, carry on.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: He is talking about me, so what must I do?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order,
Hon. Sen. Timveos, the Minister is responding to the issues which you all raised. He referred to Hon. Sen. Chirongoma and many other people but they did not stand up to say ndini ndiri kutaurwa. Minister, carry on.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President. When they were talking, I was even quiet when I noticed that some of the issues were not in the Bill – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order!
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much. I submit that I did not see anything that pertained to that which is unconstitutional and she never indicated anything that is in the Bill. I submit Mr. President, that the issue of soldiers, I have already clarified that it is an alignment issue. So, I do not know how unconstitutional the issue of deployment of soldiers become unconstitutional when the Constitution says the President is allowed. There is nowhere in the Bill where it says soldiers are deployed to kill people – [HON. SENATORS: They kill] – So I think we should be able to speak to the Bill not to our imaginations or emotions. I submit that what the Bill simply says is – [HON.
SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order!
Will you please behave orderly? I do not want to go a level higher than this. Minister, carry on.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President. I submit that I agree that we need to upgrade our anti-riot equipment and I submit that it is difficult for us in Government at the moment to procure that riot equipment because of sanctions. – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Under the circumstances….
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order!
Minister, you may proceed.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I submit that once the sanctions are removed
and we are able to trade freely with anyone, that issue can be – I will not shy away from saying the truth – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order!
Hon. Sen. Timveos; Hon. Sen. Mwonzora, sit down! You may stand up at the appropriate time. The Minister is….
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: No! Mr. President Sir, he is not answering to what we said. He is actually imposing himself on us by lying to us when he is under oath. He even lied to say I said A, B, C, D when I did not say that. I actually had a paper where I quoted Clause
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.
Timveos, I am giving you the final warning. It is the final warning, I would not call you again. Minister, can you proceed?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President. I indicated that we will go clause by clause. I do not want her to be very emotional when we get to the clauses she can as well show me what is unconstitutional about it and I submit that I did not lie. I submit that everything that I have said is correct.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: On a point of order. The Hon. Minister
there is saying exactly what you said we must not do and she has said it in a language that we understand. I would like you to reprimand her for the sake of fairness. Thank you Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Which
Minister? I did not hear what she said. What did she say?
HON. SEN. SHOKO: She said we are not going to accept any nonsense.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon.
Senators, I have already said you must behave very honourable in this House and if the Minister said it, I ask the Minister not to say such words.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My point of order is that we seek fairness and justice in this House. You seem to be very heavy handed towards this side of the team and very light on the other side. If the Minister has said she does not accept nonsense, she must stand up and publicly withdraw. Do not withdraw on her behalf.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.
Komichi, I said I did not hear it – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] – I did not hear it.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. President, I submit that when I listened to the descending voices about the Bill, what I picked is that they have not read Section 86 of the Constitution. I submit that in the interest of democracy which they are very much passionate about talking about, democracy means that we have to have respect for the rights of all our citizens. The reason why in any country you find a Bill to ensure that there is maintenance of peace and order in whatever name they give, it is to ensure that competing rights are upheld. I submit that any
Government will not shy away from its responsibility of regulating and ensuring that there is peace and order in the country.
I listened attentively to Hon. Sen. Makone speaking about the spontaneous demonstrations of 17 November, 2017. I submit that there is no ban of spontaneous demonstrations in the Bill. It is not there, but what the Bill simply says is, ‘should that happen those that convened it should ensure that it is peaceful’. I also listened attentively and there was reference to Clause 5 on appointment of conveners and authorised officers in the case of processions and public demonstrations. There was reference to listing everyone who is demonstrating to say that, why should I list everyone. It is not there in the Bill. The Bill does not say you should go to the regulating authority with a list of everyone who will demonstrate. I submit that the Hon. Members should go to the Bill and check it again.
I believe that most of the issues that were being raised are issues that we discussed, negotiated, amended and we removed. They are not there, including the use of firearms. You will not find in this Bill where it says anything about the use of firearms. It is not there. I submit that Mr. President, most of the issues that were of concern to the Hon. Members are adequately addressed as what they were labouring under are issues that are not in the current Bill before Senate. I move that the Bill be read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave; forthwith.
MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND ORDER BILL [H.B. 3A, 2019]
House in Committee.
Preamble put and agreed to.
Clauses 1 to 3 put and agreed to.
On Clause 4;
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: The clause empowers the regulating officer to ban the carrying of certain weapons for three months. This section is too broad and does not provide exceptions or exemptions. There is nothing which can stop the regulatory authority from further extending this period ad infinitum. This section imposes strict liability and it is all encompassing and does not allow someone a defence. For example, there are dangerous lions which have just escaped a game park and so, this section needs to be fixed.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: On Clause 4 (4), which says any
person who fails to comply with a prohibition order under Section 1
shall be guilty of offence. What it does is, it creates strict liability. I suggest that the section must read, ‘any person who without just cause’. For example, if you are not allowed to carry an axe. You are going to use the axe, but a necessity to use the axe arises or you are ignorant of the prohibition order. As it stand it is unjust because here it creates strict liability and it is unduly harsh. There may be circumstances where it is necessary for that person to carry what is considered a weapon.
Secondly, Mr. President, what does not seem to feature in the copy of the Bill, but I saw it on line from amendments in the Lower House and the Minister confirmed it is the use of traditional leaders to disseminate a prohibition notice. A traditional leader is not only a village head or a headman and so on. A traditional leader under the
Traditional Leaders’ Act includes some of the esteemed Senators who are here. My point is, these traditional leaders also act to preside over issues such that any person can approach them. If they are messengers of the Executive, then there is a problem. So, I suggest that it be removed or if I am wrong in that submission, it has to be specified who they are. If I may take the indulgence of mentioning him, for me to imagine Chief Makumbe going from village to village giving a message that came from the police in one of his jurisdictions, I do not think that is proper. I just picked a chief from Manicaland because that is where I come from. So, those are my two submissions.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, you seem to be
suggesting that something has to be removed. Can you point at what has to be removed and where it is?
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: What we notice from the copy of
the Bill what we have is that it is not there but in the Lower House and the Minister has confirmed it, they agreed that on dissemination, I think Clause 2. My suggestion is that, that be removed. I am referring to (d) – communication through traditional leadership.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon.
Chair. Regarding what Hon. Sen. Timveos said, I think she did not quite get what the Bill says. It does not allow the regulator to issue a prohibition order indefinitely. It says you issue and if you issue for three months and you want to extend it, then you cannot. You then need now to show cause to a magistrate on why it should be issued. So, it is not a blank cheque but it is necessary that at times you need certain weapons to be banned in certain areas. We cannot take that away, like I gave you the example of makorokoza and for the police to control the killings or the rowdy behaviour to say, in this particular district for this period we are not allowing anyone to carry these weapons, and they ban for the purposes of ensuring that they contain the situation. This provision actually protects members of the public against individuals who will be perpetrating violence. So, I submit that it is not as she indicated.
I then want to come to Hon. Sen. Mwonzora – he raised two issues about traditional leadership and he speaks about the chief having to go door to door disseminating information. Chiefs do not work like that but they have messengers and there is no chief who does not have a messenger. The way our chiefs preside over the offences is different from the way it is done at the magistrates’ courts. So, the chief has several roles. He does not just preside over offences but he is also your elder in the area. He is both the executive and the judiciary. So, it is different. Let us look at them as to what role they are playing at that time. The chief sends his messengers to disseminate the information and not himself. So, this clause in fact, to enlighten the Hon. Senator, it was not there and the Parliamentary Legal Committee which is constituted by Members from both sides said perhaps this will be unconstitutional if we leave it like this because the mode of transmission of information in rural areas is through traditional leadership, so why not include it.
We agreed because when traditional leaders meet, the headman will tell people that there is a meeting, let us say for Agritex officers at such a place and that kind of thing. So, perhaps in their wisdom they then advise us that, why not do that for the purposes of ensuring that it happens. That was the reason why it was included but not necessarily to say in the strictest sense, the chief will be going door to door, no. It should not be viewed like that. I have already said that the regulator must seek leave of the magistrate’s court, Hon. Sen. Timveos, if they are to renew it. So, it is not the way you put it.
Again coming to Hon. Sen. Mwonzora, there is no strict liability in there. I think mens rea is part of every offence unless a law expressly states otherwise. So, whenever you interrogate, that has to be taken in mind that our law mens rea is part of every offence. So, the way it is, it is still very correct unless if this was expressly excluded, then it become strict liability. So I submit the way it is, is very correct and it satisfies what we are trying to achieve and nobody will be indiscriminately jailed if they did not have mens rea. If you say I was ignorant about the law and it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that a person just strayed into a prohibited area, then that person is not guilty unless if the mens rea element had been expressly excluded in this clause, then I would agree with Hon. Mwonzora that it would have a problem. I submit Hon.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Chair. I think Clause 4
(3); ‘any person who is aggrieved by the prohibition issued under this subsection should appeal to the Minister…
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (Hon.
Ziyambi) approached the Chairperson for clarifications.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, we are getting back to
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. My question
is very simple. That particular section, article subsection 3 is going to be very difficult to put into operation. For someone who wants to appeal against the prohibition order based in Gokwe-Chireya, Malipati or somewhere in Gwanda down there in Madlambudzi, it will be very impractical and impossible for that person to come and appeal to the Minister against the prohibition order. How practical is it for an old man or old woman, young boy or young girl to come all the way from such a far distant area…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Senator. I think
people behind me are distracting proceedings.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: So this particular section, Hon. Minister, is very impossible to implement. My suggestion is very clear. If a person has got an appeal against an order he should appeal to the local magistrate.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Doctor you have a question
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. Chair. It is on this same clause. On this same clause, when a prohibition order is declared, I just wanted to find out what time span is given before someone commits an offence because we are talking here of a rural area where there may be very difficult communication issues. So if say the regulating authority says with immediate effect but then you come across someone who was going on with his own business carrying those weapons, he is already criminalised in terms of this section.
So, how do we ensure that because they have not known the law not that it has just been declared, but we are talking of rural people and I think we should be sensitive to those weaknesses we have as a Government of propagating information. So, I would have thought probably we would give a time span to say probably a week from that prohibition date if you are found in possession of the banned weapons.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, the Minister is not
listening. He needs to consult something. You can continue.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. Chair, I was just asking on this clause to say when a prohibition order has been declared by the regulating authority, is there any time span to allow that information to reach to the populace because we all are cognisant of the communication issues in the remote parts of our country? It would be very unfair if I was probably protecting myself, I am going through the valley of death and then I come across the police. Already, I am criminalised for carrying such weapons when I had not been told. I do not know how the law can try to accommodate such scenarios because this law has to be user friendly for the people.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Minister, before you come in, can you agree that on Clause 4 once the Minister responds we proceed to
Clause 5? It is only fair that those that want to submit anything on Clause 4 they do so before the Minister responds.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: Mr. President, I want to submit something on clause 4.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Proceed.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Mr. President. I wanted to tell you that if you look at this Clause 4 (1) which talks about knobkerries, where I come from in Bulawayo there is a place where people carry knobkerries as a tradition. These are the Xhosa people. They are always with their knobkerries. This needs to be well specified. We specify traditional knobkerries because if we take them away from them…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order. There is a bit of noise and disruption. Okay, proceed.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: I was thinking that we are supposed to specify on the knobkerries which are supposed to be taken away. For example, as Shoko I can be given a knobkerrie for traditional rituals. So if I am found with that knobkerrie in a prohibited area, it will be taken away from me because it is classified as a dangerous weapon. This must be specified that it is a traditional knobkerrie, it should not be taken away because if you do not know tradition, if we take the knobkerrie of forefathers away the whole clan is affected.
HON. SEN. ? MPOFU: I just wanted clarification on 4.3, in particular, do we still retain the Minister as the person who this aggrieved person goes to or it will retain what was agreed in the Lower House which is the Magistrates Court? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Minister before you come in I
see the last one.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Is it on the same issue.
HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: Yes, it is the same issue.
HON. ZIYAMBI: If it is the same issue I will not respond.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Minister, you will respond. It
is Clause 4
HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I come
from rural areas especially remote rural areas in Binga and other parts of the country whereby we use logs when we want to build something. So that person will be carrying an axe going to cut logs in the bush. What if the police meet that person, is he going to be arrested for carrying an axe which he wanted to use?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. On the question by
Hon. Komichi, that is why you saw me having to check with the
Parliament administration. I agree in the Lower House we substituted Minister with magistrate courts. I think it is a typo that happened. We sat until early hours of Friday and the Parliament administration had to consolidate all the amendments that were made. So I agree with him that this is a typo, it is there in the Hansard. When you saw me conversing, I was trying to figure out why it was not captured the way we had agreed. In that regard we agreed to substitute with the
Magistrate’s Court. That is the same spirit that we had when we sat with the PLC. So with your indulgence, this was a typo. If you can allow that we delete in this sub clause and we clean it up and substitute with Magistrate’s Court where it says Minister.
I then want to go on to what other Hon. Members were saying. Hon. Chair, if you look at Clause 4 it says, temporary prohibition of possession of certain weapons within particular police districts. If you read it, it says without derogation from section 28, ‘ possession of dangerous weapons of the criminal law code if a regulating authority believes that the carrying in public, whether openly or by concealment in a public place or public thoroughfare or public display of any of the following weapons’ and they are listed, ‘the regulator within that area can issue a prohibition order not exceeding three months.’
The mischief here, we are not talking about demonstrations or meetings. There is a real danger that may occur in a certain police district and the police officer in that particular district realises that if we allow the carrying of these weapons members of the public may be injured. So to protect those who are carrying them and to identify the culprits you then issue a prohibition order to ban the use of certain weapons. I admit that certain weapons are also traditional weapons but this is temporary to cure something that has arisen. So, this clause is very necessary for the maintenance of peace and order, like the example that I gave you of the korokozas vanotemana nemamachetes. The Officer in Charge of police will see that the crime of hurting each other with machetes is on the rise then he calls for a meeting with the people and announces that for the next 3 months no one is allowed to move around with machetes. It is a temporary measure. So to answer what Hon. Sen. Mavetera said, in any of our laws, mens rea is part of the component kuti wanga une intention yei unless if the law removes it, it is now strict liability. So, we cannot prescribe because even if you say you are giving them 7 days notice, some people will move with their axes unknowingly. So that can be interrogated. We believe it is okay as it is. Even if it is a traditional weapon for the ancestral spirits but it is capable of harming people, you must avoid moving around with it for that particular period. If people are hurting each other with axes you cannot then say mine is for the ancestral spirits, so police cannot question me. It becomes very difficult. So this clause is very good to ensure that people are protected.
You must be mindful that there are people out there that are capable of causing death of people. This clause with this correction is good. I thank you Hon. Senators because you have read, I want to applaud you. Hon. Senators said I was very harsh on them but I also want to congratulate those that were vigilant to kick things that we agreed in the Senate. I thank you.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: On a point of order.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: What is your point of order?
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: My point of order is that the corrections that we do in this august Senate are not taken into consideration and when we ask the Minister, he will say that is what was agreed in the
Lower House. So, we plead with the Minister that when we do these things it must be clear which areas were corrected from the Lower House so that we do not repeat them here, it will help us.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I think it is a good point.
Clause 4 put an agreed to.
On Clause 5:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Thank you I wanted to find out a little bit about 5 (1) (b), which actually introduces a deputy to the convener. However, if you go down on 5 (iii), it talks about the organisation choosing someone else and then also on 5.7. On the third or so sentence talks about a convener or someone from the organisation still not the deputy. The only time I see a deputy being mentioned, I think is section 7 (2) (a) where the address of the deputy is required. My question is, with all this in perspective, why do we need a deputy if the organisation and convener can send a proxy? Can the Minister explain?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I do not know if the Minister
got it correct. I do not see any 7 (ii) (a).
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: When you go to Clause 7 under (V),
sorry it is not under 5, I was just mentioning that the only other place where I see the deputy being mentioned is when the address is required which is in section 7 (ii) (a). My question was that the issue of the deputy, may be it has to be explicit especially on section 5 (iii) and 5 (vii) that if the convener is not, there then the deputy is answerable. If the organisation has got to choose then I am still trying to understand why then we need the deputy in the context of what is presented here by law.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Hon. Chair. Clause 5 (viii)
requires the regulating authority to request a political party or other organisations from time to time submit list of members of the organs of the structures of the political party who are entitled to attend a meeting of the structures of the party. This clause is unconstitutional as it infringes on the right of every citizen to assemble as enshrined in Section 58 of the Constitution. It is susceptible to serious abuse by the police or State agency if they want to hunt down political activists since they will have a data base. The prohibition will be effective only if published in newspapers circulating in the area by announcement of a police officer, broadcast or made orally or by notices. There is need to expand the method of communication of such notices as most areas are excommunicado due to various factors ranging from remoteness to cyclone. I think this is where the chiefs come in. So, it looks like we did vice versa on point (iv), this is where it comes up now.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you very much. I want to go back
to sub paragraph (viii) of 5. Minister, you may not be aware but on this side of the aisle, it is common cause that homes are knocked in the middle of the night and party structures are collected by so-called Government officials or police or whoever. They end up either disappearing or appearing in court after several days or weeks and it is only because someone is holding our data base. I was really thinking that this particular information here is very much subject to abuse. Not every police officer is political neutral and I personally would not expect anybody to be like that but then there are those who are not neutral that they could actually take itupon themselves to harass members of political parties. The collection of political party members and their addresses, I think is a big problem for us.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: After the appointment of the
convener and the deputy convener there does not seem to be protection afforded by the law to those people. My suggestion would be a clause to deal with their safety and security - the convener and the deputy convener once they have been supplied to the police because the police want their addresses and so on as the Hon. Senators were saying – what protection do they have? They are now special people and they are entitled to a special protection.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank
the Hon. Senators for their contributions. The first one being the issue of the names of the conveners; you said the issue of a deputy is mentioned once and then the other side. I do not see any problems with that – what it simply says is, you need to submit if the main convener is no longer there but if you are collectively responsible, if you have a deputy and the other convener, I am not seeing any problems with that. The mischief that we want to cure is to be able to have people who can be contacted for the purposes of negotiating with the regulating authority to ensure that there is public safety and security. That is the whole basis of having this convener. If you go through this Bill, you will notice that the conveners also have meetings with the regulator where they discuss.
We have indicated in this Bill that those meetings must – unless there is something that precluded them from allowing them to go forward within three days, the meetings must go on. If that is not possible, they call the parties before the date of the demonstration to negotiate. If you specify one person and if he is sick, you will not be able to contact anyone. You can then contact the deputy to say you are listed here, what do we do and the deputy will be able to advise accordingly. I am not seeing anything untoward by having this clause.
The other issue is about the names of the political leadership.
Firstly, I want to say all our names are in the public domain. The only issue that is there is, within a particular police district, if you want to have your regular meetings like I do when I do my PCCs – they know all our names and addresses. We inform them in advance about the meetings that we do – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order!
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I am stating the law as it is, that we inform them. The reason why this is required is also for the protection of the very particular leadership that they are known that they hold meetings. Should anyone try to interfere, they are also insulated because they are known that they hold these meetings and should anyone want to hold meetings outside what is known by the regulator, police or local leadership in that particular areas then you can simply go and say you know our names. We told you we are having these meetings and these are not ours.
The list of names for leadership is known and I submit that this clause is necessary for the protection of the very political leadership from the mischievous elements that may try to abuse the leadership. I would not want to labour myself by talking about things that are outside the law. If like she said, people are visited at night – it is unlawful. If you have not committed any crime, why should people go about visiting people who have not committed a crime? In this Bill, it is not legislating in favour of that. I submit that we should accept it as it is and pass it Hon. Chair.
HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: We would like to know of the protection you give to the conveners even if they are known. Do you guarantee us that you will be giving them a second protection that they should not be visited at night?
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Hon. Minister, I think you should understand where we are coming from. I think now it is four men who were visited during the night and they were beaten thoroughly and left for dead by armed people. If you see them, you would cry. It is all because these people know our structures and they know their addresses. The question was, what are you demonstrating about? You have to understand where we are coming from. Even the Constitution does not say that. I have a right to be MDC. You have a right to be ZANU PF. Let us live happily ever after as Zimbabweans. Why must somebody visit me at night? The moment I provide my address, I am finished. I know someone will visit me at night. Why?
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Mr. President, I have got no problem at all with supplying the full details of the convener and his deputy because they are responsible for getting the meeting together but the details of all the other party organs and the structures is a very big problem for us Minister.
I am sure the Minister can hold his meetings very peacefully and non of his members has ever been beaten up or collected from their beds at night. We are talking of a situation which is foreign to him which we want him to understand why we have a reservation on this. The ordinary party structures of wards and polling stations – those people are not known because they are not that important but obviously people like us sitting in here are known by everyone and where we are. This is why probably we are safe but those people are so small that no one actually knows who they are unless we then go and expose them.
For instance, with this demonstration that is taking place on Friday, members have already started receiving guests at night and they are already being beaten. I could have sent you pictures of people who have already been emasculated if I had your number. They have been emasculated in anticipation of Friday. Those are leaders at their levels but right down there. These are the people that need protection from our State agents. We have this situation and it is current. We would say for the top leaders there is no need for protection, we are protected by our b names because we are known already. If anything happens to me, Minister, you can be sure that you will not have peace unless you say where I am and where I am to be found. Those people are so small that no one even knows them, if you say Mashanga is lost, they would say,
“Mashanga who”? nobody knows them. So those are the people who need to be protected and these are the people that I wanted to be protected in this particular section. Thank you.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank Mr. Chair. I just want to understand if the other part is also going to do the same because we do not know, they are the ones who have all these institutions where this other party is supposed to report or other organisations. Are they going to submit the names of everyone? I thank you.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: I want us to look at from another
angle, Hon. Minister and it is the right to privacy. For the convener, it is no problem but what this Clause means is that each and every member of the structures must consent to have their names submitted and it is their right not to want their names disclosed. So, there, you may have a problem of the constitutionality of this Clause. The fears are real, in 2008, 300 MDC youths were abducted, I was visited myself, it maybe the old dispensation but maybe one day there shall come a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. So, we need to make sure that; it looks to me totally unnecessary.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I would like to persuade the Minister in
the spirit of the reform agenda and also in the spirit of having our law being regarded as good by every Zimbabwean. We as Senators from this particular side of the House, are afraid to have our names taken to the police because of the experience which my other counterpart have already mentioned, that our people have been murdered, raped and so forth. So, I want to appeal to the Minister, today for the first time is to consent with us to remove that particular Clause because it is not good for the reform agenda that we are trying to advance in this country. So, this particular section is actually going to be draconian in our view. It will not even help the State or the Minister himself because the convener would already give his name or her name so the police will be able to contact the convener for any reqquired processes of that meeting. We are afraid to be recorded by the police, please do not record us.
HON. SEN. HUNGWE: Thank you Hon. Chair. I would like to say a few words with regards to what Hon. Komichi said in terms of those people who make phone calls threatening others – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I think for the Hon. Minister to debate with corrects information, we have got four people that were abducted yesterday and they are in a state of dying now. They were abducted by armed people who are from the State. So for his debate to have content, I just wanted to make that clarity.
HON. SEN. HUNGWE: I know that. We have same experiences
in cases like these. The issue across all parties is factions within the party, yes it happens – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: On a point of order! The man who is debating is an old man, whom by virtue of age, we should respect. I think it is quite provocative to start arguing issues of factions within political parties; we do not have guns at MDC.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! Take your seat Hon. Sen. Komichi. In this august House there is no maximum age limit. We only have minimum age limit not maximum. Nobody can be described as old in this House, maybe one who is below 40 years, is the one who can be barred from this House.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): We had much
debate about political meetings in the lower House whether we should be notifying the regulating authority every time as an example if I want to have a feedback to my constituency. There is a mischief that we intend to cure by having this. I alluded to the fact that our names as public figures are already in the public domain.
Secondly, let us not conflate the mischief that we want to cure with lawlessness. If somebody visits someone in the middle of the night, beats them up, leaves them for dead, I heard Hon. Komichi saying that he knows the people who did that, that is illegal. If you knew those people, you are committing an offence by keeping quiet, go and report. This Government does not support and is not for beating up people, so whoever is doing it has not been sent by this Government. However we cannot regulate for things that are being done by illegal people, where in the world would you find somebody regulating to say I want to regulate because somebody is going to visit somebody at night. The mischief
that we are trying to cure is that you do not have to hold your meetings to go to the police to advise them about your meeting every time.
So, what this Clause is simply is that for the purposes of helping a regulating authority to ascertain that a meeting is not a public meeting as defined in Section two but it is a political meeting. You can give them that in my ward, I do hold meetings every Tuesdays with these people and that is it. The protection that is there is that if somebody then decides to have a meeting and hides in that I am from this organ, the police already know and those individuals are protected. That is the mischief that needs to be protected. But I cannot seat hear and try to regulate about people who visit other people at night and beat them up. That is not practical. They should simply say, we notified that we have our meetings on Mondays and our list is there with the officer in charge at Glen View Police Station. He knows that we do this but there are certain individuals who can now abuse this if you did not have that. We are protecting these people. Secondly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order please.
HON. ZIYAMBI: In essence Mr. Chairman, I am saying, this clause is for the protection of that particular organ and we do it. I am surprised that people are answering for me, I do it if I have my executive meetings and my executive is known. We give them a schedule. We do not have to go everyday to say this, we simply say, the first Saturday of every month, we have our provincial executive meeting. We do not have to go to the police everyday and they know who sit in that particular executive. Should somebody claim that he was in that meeting when violence occurs, they know that no, you do not belong to this group. Why are you claiming to be part of them? So these would have been afforded protection. Therefore, I submit that we leave it as it is. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I
think we need to be very sensitive and know our roles that we need to make sure that our country moves in the direction that we are being told it is moving. Submitting names of all activists, I think we may have heard unfortunate things that happened and we need to take cognisance of that but to profess ignorance, I think that would be very unfortunate. Just to remind Hon. Senators that why are we relooking at this Bill is because it is one of the Bills that have made our country a pariah state. We need to know that and we cannot continue for the next ten years when we approve this, our country in this same status. We are doing it for the good of our country. I think giving the names of the leadership is good enough because members of the party changes depending on our recruitment drive. For us, they will increase and for some of you, they will go down. I think we cannot every day go and say now I have a new member. I think it is not practically possible but also it induces a sense of fear. You are now trying to make it unconstitutional in the sense that the right to privacy is being violated through this Bill. I do not think that is the intention of this august House to let this go.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I need to clarify so that they do not repeat the same thing. This clause is not saying you submit names of everyone. It speaks of organs. That is why I kept referring to my organ that I chair – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – This is the leadership of the party, not...
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I have recognised you Sen. Ncube and you will have the opportunity to also contribute. Why disrupting the Minister when you know you will stand up. Can we proceed Minister?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. The
clause is not saying, you submit a list of all activists as he is alluding to. It does not speak about activists at all, it only mentions office bearers of a party organ. If you have an executive of a district, the party office bearers and if they have meetings with the other members, for as long as they have submitted the names, they do not have to go to the regulating authority and inform them every time that they are having meetings. This clause is not saying, every member of the party including a card carrying member must be revealed tp the regulator. That is not what it is referring to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order. This is Senate and it is a glorious and dignified Chamber. It should have some elements and characteristics that are different from the National Assembly. Otherwise, we are a duplication of the other House and we will add no value. There should be something distinct and of value about the Senate and even the way we do business. There is no need of making noise. You have a Chairperson who is allowing you all the time you want to speak. Why do you want to make noise instead of just standing up and we listen to good points. I would like to say, whoever is holding the floor, let us listen to them.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. I have my rights. Mr. Chairman, you have to protect me. People cannot say aah, when you have given me the floor. Mr. Chairman, you have given us the opportunity to ask the Minister. The Minister should just write down what we are asking him and answer at once, instead of him answering one by one. I think it will be faster that way. I thank you Mr.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that learned
contribution, only that the Minister thought the other four senators could ask similar questions. So, he thought by responding, he would pre-empt but we will still proceed maybe one would say, mine was responded to. If it has not been touched, there is still chance. Thank you very much.
HON. SEN. S. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I think we do not have what the Minister is reading in the Bill that is before us. The issue of structures is nowhere in the Bill. Minister, we are not protected. You said our names are already known, yes we know they are already known. We are living in fear. In this Parliament, I remember for the first time ever, Members were attacked. They were beaten in the National Assembly there. That is why we are very much concerned about the issue of protecting the convenors because that is the leadership of the party. The other Hon. Senator said those people are small. Yes, they are but the issue is about protection for everyone. Itai Dzamara was taken in broad day light. No one knows about his whereabouts...
HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I think let us stick to the issues at hand. Issues of criminality, which do not pertain to public meetings and public gatherings should not be debated here. The person who abducted Itai Dzamara, it is not even on record that he was taken from a public meeting. Let us not try to dramatise and bring in things that are not within the Bill. I submit that, let us give examples that are relevant to issues that are contained in the Bill. I so submit.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: I propose that this clause be removed.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: I want to take the Minister back to
the protection of these people or protection of everyone who is involved in these matters that are under consideration. Let me inform the Minister that the people out there have no protection. In 2008, we lost over 500 polling agents who died during and after elections. What we are saying here is not a joke and should not be treated as fiction. Some of the
Members here lost their relatives due to these things.
We are appealing for the protection of the people. Are you aware that from the list of names that is submitted to ZEC, after elections are conducted these people are followed up and they are beaten? It is true and everyone knows it.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, let us give others a
chance to contribute. If you have a better word to say, please write it down and when it is your turn then you can bring it up.
*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: We are appealing for the protection of people whose names would have been forwarded to authorities. I have a relative who was beaten up last night and he is admitted at Avenues Clinic. He is nursing a broken arm and leg. He was beaten up by armed people for a demonstration which has not yet happened. I am saying the truth. Let us go to the Avenues Clinic today, right now and see people who were beaten up by armed people. We are asking the Minister to give us assurance that if the names are submitted to him, those people will not be killed.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: The issue which is being said is an issue which we are supposed to consider all of us. These laws we are crafting are not only ours but they are for the investors outside the country who also look at these laws. When they look at these laws that is when they start pointing at the wrongs that you are doing. I do not see anything wrong for the Minister that we agree as a family and fix it. How do we want it fixed? Some had already said that let it be removed. Why are you refusing to remove it? What we are saying here are the things that are going to happen because you are adamant that this clause has to remain. What is it that you are going to gain from this clause? We have given you examples of four people who were beaten up yesterday by armed people. Are we saying that these people with guns are terrorists as it was once said by Hon. Matemadanda that these people had stolen some guns.
Is it an MDC faction which has guns like what one Hon. Member said?
Let us not fix people by crafting bad laws. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. When former President Mugabe was putting laws he did not know that a coup on 17 November was going to come. It
came and he was removed with his laws. Remember, one day these laws can be used against you. The laws affect everyone including those who come from outside to invest. We sometimes accuse each other of blocking investors yet this is caused by bad laws. Let us accept these proposals of fixing our laws. We need to come up with a good law which is good for our country.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I would like the Minister to understand where I am coming from. He wants the names and addresses of people in a structure. For example, a structure in a district has 200 people and a branch structure has 500 people. Hon Minister, are you saying you want to know the addresses of all these people. If you have known all these addresses…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, let us have order in the
House. That goes for Senators sitting directly in front of me including Senator Mohadi.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. Chairman for protecting me. I remember when we were in a caucus of women parliamentarians, we agreed that we have to respect each other as women. I respect you very much and let us respect each other as women.
I am saying - do you want the names and addresses of 200 people in a structure that you know are activists of the party, whether it is ZANU PF or whatever party? There are many parties these days and you want to know the names and addresses of 700 people that have meetings every Tuesday. I really want you to explain and I am going to appeal to you to remove this clause because it is unconstitutional. I have a right to privacy. I have a right to belong to any party of my choice. I have a right to gather. The convener has already given you his addresses and that is all, unless you want to recruit within us?
C.C st700-710 14th August, 2019
*HON. SEN. ZIVIRA: Thank your Mr. Chairman. I think the
Hon. Minister is aware of what is being said. It happened in the
National Assembly, the issue of people’s names is problematic. There is a Security and Defence Committee where Hon. Mamombe was part of. She was followed and arrested and what Hon. Senators are saying is
very true. We realised that it is very easy for one to be traced through those structures. We are saying a lot of things here including the issue of soldiers. Those soldiers will one day turn against you.
Former President Mugabe never thought that the soldiers would turn against him. Remember, that those soldiers you are using will turn against you tomorrow. Let us craft our Bills looking at the bad and good of it – this will be bad for you.
*HON. SEN. GWESHE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am very
pained by this issue. Maybe the Hon. Minister is not aware of what transpires in the rural areas. As you see us, our names are in the Law and Order section and we are going to be followed after this demonstration by people in suits.
They will come and say, ‘May I see Senator Gweshe?’ I was taken several times to the Law and Order section. I do not know what this Law and Order section is all about but it is a police department and that is where we are taken through these names that are being written. They have these names and after this demonstration, the Member of Parliament, Senator and councillor will be taken away and you will hear that we were taken away. Why do they not arrest people at the scene and not follow people to their homes?
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I do not know but when the Hon. Minister comes here we are supposed to talk to each other about what he wants and also what we want. It is very important that we meet in-between. Why is the Hon. Minister afraid of removing what has been discussed all this time? What we are discussing is happening in our country. – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.]
MDC is a registered party and the leaders are known but these 200 names – we do not want to instill fear in our people so that they run away from the party because their names have been submitted. These names are written and even those people who sign the nomination papers are picked up. We know that our identities are not protected and this is instilling fear in Zimbabweans. Hon. Minister, may you please remove this section as it will not resolve anything in this country. It will just make sure that Zimbabweans are safe. We request the Hon. Minister not to argue unless there are some other people behind sending him not to move away from that position.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I was of
the opinion that since some people are busy making noise, I thought that you were going to issue an order for me to be heard in peace.
I heard the Hon. Minister talking about organs but even the organs are not supposed to be included in this Bill. I realise that the Hon. Minister sat down and planned because when they take the organ, they know that everyone’s name is there in the open. It is clear that the Hon. Minister wants the MDC database in order to know where the 2.6 million came from – that is what I am seeing here. The Hon. Minister wants the database and the identities of the people who voted for Mr. Chamisa. They will have proof of where the 2.6 million came from, had it not been the case, this section was just going to be removed. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My
issue with the Hon. Minister was when he said that everyone who would have committed a crime when Hon. Sen. Komichi mentioned that some people were beaten up yesterday by some unknown assailants. It is a lie to say that these people are going to be arrested.
My home was destroyed in 2002 by people who I know but they were not arrested. Some of them are now councillors and others are holding top posts in the party and nothing was done to them. We are lying to each other in this House that these people will be arrested.
When I destroyed Landau’s home, what happened to me?
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order, maybe we need
to assist each other. Those debating, please make sure that your contributions align to the dictates of the Bill. You may proceed.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. President, I am
only buttressing the fact that we are not in support of this Bill. It does not help us in any way because it is favourable to one side. I thank you. ++HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you for giving me this
opportunity to debate on this Bill. I also want to contribute that we do not want this Bill as Senate.
I am saying this because I was born in 1960 and have never fought with anyone or done anything wrong. Are you telling me that Hon. Minister, if there is a demonstration, am I not supposed to visit someone who is sick or visit a relative? I was arrested but have never been arrested since birth but now I was arrested simply because I was a convener and because I had business to undertake on that day. I was accused of writing some papers yet I had not written all those papers but since I was listed as having written them – they were following me on that day. They followed me to the bus termini as I was going to the Roman Catholic Church just near the termini. I was just standing by the church when the police approached me and the people gathered there,
‘All of you go away and leave this place’. I then enquired as to what had happened so much that we were being asked to leave the place.
They responded that nothing had happened. I then queried as to what the problem was.
I stood up and went to church. I was then taken whilst I was in the church premises and they informed me that I was under arrest. They spent the whole day going around with me saying I was under arrest. When I arrived at the Police Station, I went to the DISPOL who asked what my crime was. I told them that I was going around doing my business. I am talking about things that are happening in Zimbabwe. Then the Dispo said leave her and she told me to go back home. She told me that if anyone approaches you or does anything wrong against you report to me. Then I went to Zambia for the third time and the fourth time I went to Zambia to buy basic commodities that are no longer available here in Zimbabwe because things are tough. As soon as I came to the border my children called and told me that there were CIOs who were looking for me. Then I went to the police and that issue did not proceed. Then I stayed in Vice Falls because I knew that if I went home they would abduct me and lock me up. Then on a Monday I went to court with my lawyer. They told me to pay bail but my lawyer refused. I used to go everyday.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:: There are some here who said
they feel emotional when they speak on this issue. However, that can be aired out during the second reading because that is where you can tell us all the general issues. I have observed that some of us are still generalising as if we are in the second reading. That is where we can hear examples and life experiences. But in the Committee of the Whole House you have to be specific in terms of certain sections or clauses.
HON. SEN. NYATHI: Mr President Sir, I said we do not want that clause because it is giving us trouble. We are not staying well because of that clause.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:: You see now you have now
hit the nail on the head by just saying you do not want that clause.
*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Minister, I am not going to take long but I would want you to closely examine this as an educated person.
Why are people crying, why are Members of the Senate saying they do not want the Bill. I was the third person to say we do not want this clause which is one sided, favours the Government party and is against the opposition. The clause seeks to look at who is in our structures and who is in the civil service and then discharge them from service. This is not a good clause. My son is a lawyer and he a public prosecutor and was in the MDC structures. He was fired from his job and he became a loafer. Later on he then joined a law firm. If all the people are to die who are you going to lead and rule? Remove that clause. People are unhappy about this oppressive clause which kills people. It is not fair.
*HON. SEN. MURONZI: I rise to also support the removal of the clause. I am also going to reiterate what the previous speaker has said. Soldiers that are being used are not happy. Tomorrow they are going to turn against you. When a demonstration took place...
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order simply means
resume your seat and listen to the one who is on the floor.
HON. ZIYAMBI: The President of the Senate read the rules out.
The Hon Member is saying she wants to repeat what others have said. I have heard that. So, I want to indulge Members to point out things that have not been said by others. That is what the rules say unless otherwise we just want to debate for the sake of debating. The rules are very clear so I submit Hon. Chair.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I hope you have understood
please do not repeat.
*HON. SEN. MURONZI:I would want to say that when we had a demonstration
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I said we need to be specific
in this stage of the Bill. It is not about the history or generalisation.
*HON. SEN. MURONZI: All I want to do is speak. The demonstration in December – give me a chance. I had my own relatives that came they were not in uniform. There were people who came to take down names.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Sen Muronzi, the point I
am making is you should address a specific clause and that you also propose a certain amendment, the end result that you want to see. Or what should we do about the law in terms of the people that were targeted. If we were to give everyone a chance about their life experiences during the election I do not know how we will end. We are now dealing with clause by clause. Confine yourself to a specific clause and do not misdirect your energy and yourselves in dealing in a futile exercise. The last Hon. Member said it was not good and that was specific. Please go ahead.
*HON. SEN. MURONZI: Chairperson I said the clause requires to infiltrate the structures of the MDC and we do not want it. That should be removed because when we conduct our demonstrations, our own sons and daughters who are soldiers come in civilian clothes. I had to chase away a certain member who was in civilian clothes. That should be removed.
*HON. SEN RAMBANEPASI: I did not clearly understand. I had to go outside to attend certain issues. There was talk of clause 4 but it is now similar.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: We are now on clause 5 we
have already done away with all the other clauses. When you went out we dealt with Clause 4. Which clause are you addressing?
*HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I wanted to talk on Clause 5 (8)
in relation to the respect of chiefs. Chiefs should be respected.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order. Sen.
Rambanepasi, we have dealt with that clause when you were outside; now it is time for the Minister to respond.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon.
Chair. I submit that the issues that were being discussed here are not speaking to Clause 5 (8). Clause 5 (8) does not say submit addresses.
So, I think we should not worry about that because it is not there. Secondly, I think what has been happening is people who were expressing their displeasure concerning a certain illegality that cannot be cured by this clause; they spoke about abductions yesterday. This clause was not there.
So, I do not see a relationship between 2008; whatever demonstrations that took place, I do not know even the date or even what happened yesterday with this clause. Even if we remove it without removing the culture of illegality, we will not achieve what they have been debating. I submit Hon. Chair that what we need is to stick to constitutionalism and the rule of law. This clause has nothing to do with what they were indicating. If somebody was abducted last night, it has nothing to do with this clause. Even if I am to expunge it now, without returning to rule of law, we will still have abductions.
So, I submit that the mischief that needs to be cured by this clause is simply to say, if you read it carefully, “for the purposes of helping a regulatory authority to ascertain that a meeting is not a public meeting as defined in Section 2,” If you go to Section 2 of the definitions’ section which we agreed to, public meeting is defined as “a meeting of more than 15 persons in a public place or meeting with the public or any section of the public that is permitted to attend whether on payment or otherwise but does not include a meeting of any organ or structure of a political party or other organ held in a private place” and it explains the others.
What this section is simply saying is, “for the purposes of helping the regulatory authority ascertain that a meeting is not a public meeting as defined in Section 2 prove to it that it is a meeting of a political organ of office bearers, the regulatory authority ‘may’… it does not say “must” – in other words, what this clause is trying to cure is, we know that political parties hold meetings and I do not know an organ unless it is a national executive of some sort, but district organs and branch organs ordinarily do not constitute 500 people, that is the generality of the people. These are the organs; the structure; the leadership of that particular organ. These are the lists of names not addresses.
In any event, I submit Hon. Chair, that the names are already in the public domain. The moment you become a public figure like what Hon. Sen. Gweshe said, anyone who wants to partake in an illegality she/he knows where she/he stays whether this particular clause is there or not. So what I am submitting that what we are striving towards is to ensure that we have constitutionalism and the rule of law and nobody stood up to say that we should be in the culture of abducting people. That is why
I submitted Hon. Chair, that should you know - because I heard Hon.
Members saying that they know who did it last night – [HON.
SENATORS: Inaudible interjection.] - They should be reported because it was sanctioned by the administration. So I submit that this clause as it is – it does not speak to what they were talking about and I move that we proceed to adopt it as it is.
Clauses 5 put and agreed to.
Clause 6 put and agreed to.
On Clause 7:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Thank you Hon. Chair. Hon. Chair, I
suggest that in Clause 7 (1) (a), that we reduce the 7 days to 4 days because I feel that the 7 seven days is quite a long time to give notice, especially that in some cases – especially if I look at Clause 7 (1) (b) where it says, 5 days notice for public meetings; some meetings might actually be urgent and so forth, I suggest the reduction of number of days on each clause - 4 for the first part and 3 for the second part. I hope the Minister will agree.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Mine is on
sub-clause 5 of Clause 7. I agree with Hon. Sen. Mpofu on the reduction of days from 7days to 4d days and from 5 days to 3 days but sub-clause 5, the very last clause, any person who knowingly fails to give notice of a gathering in terms of sub-section 1 or the postponement or delay and then it says liable to a fine or imprisonment. I am aware of the
Minister’s opinion regarding the use of just cause. So, it should read that, “any person who knowingly and without just cause fails to give the notice of a postponement, et cetera.’
I have reflected on what the Minister said previously relating to the same issue that the addition of just cause deals only with issues of mens rea which are there anyway, actually incorrect. When a person knowingly does it, he may knowingly not give the notice either because it is impractical for him to do that on account of impossibility etc. So, we must add without ‘just cause’. So, the intention of not giving notice
is there but he has a reason or just cause. I suggest we add ‘and without just cause’.
Then that offence is not such a big offence Hon. Minister if you look at it and you see the fine is level 10 or one year imprisonment. It is unduly harsh, no question about it and this is for a first offence. So, my suggestion is that it must be confined to a fine of level five and that other one to a fine of level three. Hon. Minister, I will give an example - you are in Glen View and you are the convener and you have decided to postpone the meeting because the regulating authority is in Harare Central. It is January 14 and it is impossible for you to travel safely, and you are unable to communicate and you make a conscious decision to stay away. So, the term ‘just cause’ must be added. The other advantage of adding ‘just cause’ Hon. Minister is to shift the onus. The onus always has to go to the State. So, I suggest ‘just cause’ and the reduction, removal of that sentence. One year for failing to give a notice is unduly harsh.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank
the Hon. Members regarding this Clause. I want to start with Hon. Sen. Mpofu who said can we reduce the seven days notice period. I think the seven days is a reasonable time in order to allow the regulatory authority not to make hasty decisions to prohibit meetings. Hon. Chair, issues concerning public order is a matter that affects other people’s rights. So, we should be very cautious when we say let us have a very short period where either you infringe by making hasty decisions on the rights of those that want to demonstrate or the reverse by granting when you have not made sufficient due diligence to ensure that the public safety and security is guaranteed. So, I believe it is reasonable.
In any event, if you go and look at the powers of the police it is not every demonstration or procession that occurs that will be banned. Sometimes they can actually use their discretion to say okay, you did not give notice but you can proceed and this is allowed in this Bill. I believe that in this Bill the mischief that we want to deal with is we want to ensure that the safety and rights of both sides is guaranteed. I think it is in order as it is.
Pertaining to Hon. Sen. Mwonzora’s concern, I submit Hon. Chair that a person is entitled to his defence including mens rea here and other defences such as just cause and impossibility, all those defences are available and our criminal courts allow all those. I submit that this is not a strict liability offence as it is. In any event, I listened attentively to Hon. Mwonzora who says it maybe too dangerous. You see, again the mischief that we want to cure is we want to deal with would-be conveners of demonstrations that may infringe on the rights of others and result in destruction of property and loss of life. This is the whole reason why we have this law.
So, when Hon. Sen. Mwonzora says it may be too dangerous, I believe that if you are conducting a demonstration or public meeting that has no mischief, you should be able to come in the open because you do not have anything to hide. My submission is we should make laws that are deterrent enough to ensure that people who want to break the law are deterred from doing that by mere thought of the sentence that can be imposed.
So, reduction in sentence is out of the question because we need deterrent measures particularly when it comes to public violence issues. The law must be very clear that public violence is not tolerated. In any event he who pleads that the law must be lenient may hide some mischief behind hoping to get away with a lesser sentence. We want a deterrent sentence so that nobody will go and break the law and violate the rights of others. I believe and submit that it is okay and move that we adopt it as it is. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: The law as enunciated by the
Minister is incorrect. A deterrent sentence is not only a custodial sentence. In periods of economic hardship a heavy fine is equally deterrent. So, why sentence our people to one year imprisonment for failing to give a simple notice where they have just cause of failing to do that? It is not true and we can divide the House on this. It is not true that if we do not add those words the defence still exists. Somebody is
unable to deliver the notice because the situation is too dangerous. They have knowingly not delivered but they have a just reason or cause. What do we lose by adding those words? I suggest Mr. Chair that if we are not in agreement we divide the House.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. Indeed what he is saying is correct. The fine is also deterrent and it is included. The courts will make the necessary adjudication. What he is saying is very correct.
If you read it says a ‘fine or imprisonment’. So, the fine will be deterrent and the level is given and or a year in prison or both depending on the severity because that is where the deterrence is. Why should we reduce it? There is something hidden. Some people are planning some mischief so they want a lesser fine. If like what the Bible says, you are a born again Christian, the law does not apply to you because you do not break it and are not living in sin. If you are living in sin the law will apply. I am submitting Hon. Chair that this is very necessary for the deterrence, exactly what he said save that he just wanted to say I did not put it correctly but exactly his words, that is exactly what I wanted to say. I submit Hon. Chair.
Also to add that the sentence is a maximum and it is at the the discretion of the courts and the fine is also there which the courts can give. So, it is at discretion and I submit that we keep it as it is. And, the maximum fine in this case, currently it is RTGS$10 000.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Mr. Chairman. When I
listened to the Minister, he seemed not to have taken into consideration the issue that the other Hon. Member said. He said can we add the words “with just cause” and it looks like the Minister has not addressed that. Can he address that?
HON. ZIYAMBI: I addressed it Hon. Chair when I said that the defences that are available to anyone, a person is entitled to his defence in court and I indicted that including mens rea, just cause and impossibility – all those in your defence. So, this will be just a cosmetic issue. They are already there. So, I am submitting that what he is suggesting is already taken care of within our system. I addressed that.
Thank you Hon. Chair.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Much of it is simply repetition
of previous questions. You are not going to repeat.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: It might be a repeat but I think it
is important. It may not be a repeat but it is interpreted as a repeat.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: The Minister has not addressed the last
part. If you look at the sentence at the end of Section 7.5 it just says a fine not exceeding level and it did not specify the level and we suggested level three and he did not come back to us on that one. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:: Maybe Hon. Mpofu just
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: The last sentence of Clause 7, it says be liable to a fine not exceeding level and it says full stop. We had suggested that level 3 be inserted there and the Minister did not come back to us.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Like I said before, they worked over the
holiday and over night – I think it is level 10 because I cannot put level 3 here. If you read it; that is why I said you can read the whole Clause. It would not make sense to say level 3 at the end when we have already indicated that it is level 10. If you read inside, there is level 10.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Minister, I think we need to
know the purpose of this not just to be draconian but this is actually very draconian for such a supposedly crime. With all due respect, if we are to move forward and be progressive as a nation, we need to show seriousness. I think that we are being trigger happy to say, because I have two heavy bullets, I can continue shooting. This is actually the situation which we are experiencing and this is too much for just failing to cancel, you are imprisoned for one year.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:: I think Hon. Sen. Mwonzora
made that point graphically. So, you are simply repeating and repeating.
I said new only – Clause 7 and not to repeat what has been said.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Following the Minister’s response, there is something new which the Minister does not appear to have noticed. If you look at Clause 5, it talks of two offences. The first offence is contravening subsection 1, it then carries level 10 and one year imprisonment. It then says in the case of contravention of Sections 3 and 4; it then talks of a fine only. Now, it cannot be the same if these are two offences. So, that is why Hon. Sen. Mpofu is suggesting that the level of the fine there, those offences are not the same. One is contravening subsection 1 and the other one is contravening of other subsections. The sentence cannot possibly be the same.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: The three that we are suggesting is not even captured in the Hansard or any vote in the Lower House. So, it is not something that has been carried over from that end. It is something that was forgotten for some reason and therefore, my suggestion is new and not being taking from anywhere else. Thank you.
Business was suspended for Fifteen Minutes and was resumed at
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order. I think the
break was necessary to re-energise. The Minister is back. Minister, can we proceed?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon.
Chair. After carefully considering submissions by Hon. Sen. Mwonzora, I agree with him and I propose that we make the following amendments to Clause 7 (5) to read as follows:- ‘Any person who knowingly fails to give notice of a gathering in terms of Subsection (1) or of the postponement or delay of a gathering in terms of Subsection (3) shall be liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both”. I submit.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: It would be the wrong thing to do
because two offences which are different in gravity have the same punishment. Slapping somebody and stabbing them, this law is giving th same sentence. Here, contravention of Clause 1 is ignoring giving the original notice; 3 and 4 is failure to communicate a cancellation of the meeting.
HON. ZIYAMBI: 4 is no longer there.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Alright, but 3 and 1 cannot be the
same. The first one is that the person has ignored the law and has not given a notice at all. You are considering it a serious offence – he has cancelled his meeting or has postponed his meeting but has failed to communicate the cancellation and the postponement. In other words, he has simply caused inconvenience to the police. His meeting is lawful, he had complied with the law and we are saying we punish him the same. It is unfair and unjust. One of our functions is to make sure that we make just laws. This will be unjust and undefendable. Simple postponement of a lawful meeting – I apply for a meeting and I am given permission. I comply with everything but for some reason, I postpone the meeting then forget to inform – then I am given one year imprisonment. No, no, no Hon. Members; it would be unjust.
HON. ZIYAMBI: What Hon. Sen. Mwonzora did not say or
deliberately, I think it is not deliberate is that this is the maximum. So, potentially, Hon. Mwonzora, the one who contravenes subsection 3 is a very dangerous person. I will explain why. You give notice, you decide to postpone, then you wake up, you convene a meeting on a day that was not the original date without even having regard to comply with provisions of Section 8.
So, what we are saying is that if you fail to communicate, the maximum is what you are referring to but the magistrate can give his discretionary up to a year or level 10. We have removed the cancelled one because I think if the police believe that their time have been wasted, they have other remedies that they can seek – we have removed that. But these ones there is a potential danger if we play around with them. I have conceded to what you said initially and I think this is now a much improved. I actually want to thank you because the way it was; it was even penalising the one who has just cancelled and your initial argument made a lot of sense but I believe that those that postponed and they may then go on to do it on a wrong date, I think it is potentially dangerous but the level of fine, it says a maximum of level 10 or a maximum of 1 year. So, I think the maximum fine will be very much relevant to those that do not give a notice at all but those that gave a notice and postponed, surely, the way it is now, it is much better, you can indulge me and accept the way it is. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: One can postpone their meeting and
still go on to comply with the law or one can postpone the meeting, hold it. Now, what the Minister is saying is that we are punishing those people the same. That is the wording here, the wording does not say what the Minister is saying. There are two scenarios, I postpone my meeting to another date, I am no longer holding my demonstration on the 16th, I am holding it on the 21st and I inform the police or I simply say, I am not holding it on the 16th, I am holding it on the 21st and do not inform anyone. What this section is doing is that it is punishing those people the same and it will be unjust. That is the point I am making, you may need to rephrase that.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Why I seek the indulgence of Hon. Mwonzora, surely a reasonable judicial officer will not penalise a person who innocently delayed a gathering and like I said before, remember you are entitled to your defence. So, I think the mischief that this section is trying to cure is there are those that will go through the motions of the necessary notification and deliberately decide to postpone to another date and hide under the banner that they had given notice. So, I think, unless if we are saying our courts would unnecessarily punish somebody and do not even look at innocent conveners who did not do anything. The way it is, I think to me, I submit that this group is actually more dangerous than the one who disregards the law at all and I submit that the way it is couched, the level of fine is giving the maximum. I submit Hon. Chair, that we proceed and with the amendments, like I said, I want to thank him for highlighting that there was something wrong with it which I think now is correct.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: I want to thank the Minister for
cancelling subsection four. However, subsection 5 includes the penalties for subsection 4 which is now cancelled and it would give us comfort if it was to be reworded so that when we leave here, we know exactly what it will look like. If we leave it like this it will continue to look as if number 4 is still part and parcel of it. While I agree that you have taken it out, you have not given us a substitute for 5 which excludes the penalties for 4.
HON. ZIYAMBI: When we make amendments in Committee
Stage, we do not immediately print and give a copy, it is captured by Hansard and then they will make the necessary amendments. So, when I rose initially when I thanked Hon. Mwonzora, I read out how it is going to read. It excludes 4, so I conceded that it would not be necessary to punish anyone who has cancelled. I went further to say to Hon. Mwonzora that I think the police will have other remedies if they feel that their time had been wasted but we cannot then criminalise it here.
Amendment to Clause 7 put and agreed to.
Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 8:
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Clauses 8 (3) and 9 which prescribes that a regulatory authority may receive information under oath that a demonstration would cause serious vehicle or pedestrian disruption and this is very broad and unnecessary by its nature. A demonstration has such results, the whole concept of notifying the police should not be construed as an application which they can decline or consent to. The provision in Clause 8 (3) which empowers the police to cancel the demonstration unconstitutional as they violate Section 58 of the Constitution, right to assemble. Taken in the full context, the right to demonstrate is guaranteed by the Constitution, anyone who seeks to limit or bar that right should be the one to approach the court in the instant case. If there is a disagreement between the regular and convener, the onus is on the regulator to approach the court to restrict the right. More importantly, the police officer cannot be the arbiter and the regulator at the same time. A third party should be the arbiter, in this case the court. Clause 8 (10) makes it criminal offence to go against a prohibition order suffice to say it is unconstitutional to criminalise a right to assemble as staged here in before. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. What Hon. Sen.
Timveos has just said is not provided for in this Section. What it simply states is, if you receive information under oath which the other party also is entitled to that I am also entitled to alert the police that this type of demonstration, I heard so and so planning to use a petrol bomb. What it is saying is the regulating authority will invite the convenor to make them aware of that and discussions will go on. What you were reading, if you go through it slowly, you will realise that the person came and gave a statement under oath to say, officer-in-charge, when I was passing through that road, I saw four gentlemen discussing that when that demonstration is ongoing, they plan to throw a petrol bomb. It will be irresponsible for any regulating authority or law enforcer to ignore such information hence the need to invite the convenor for a consultative meeting at a time and venue specified by the regulatory authority in order to explore options to prevent the threat. It is not that the regulator will wake up and say I have received information under oath and I am banning this. They will invite you to explore that and ‘shall’ afford an opportunity to the convenor to make representations verbally or in writing to the regulating authority before that meeting on whether the perceived threat is real or on the suitability of the time or venue of the meeting. This clause is very necessary. Let us not lose sight of the reason why we are having a law on maintenance of peace and order.
Mr. Chairman, while I appreciate what she was saying that, no the convenor is the one who must go to court, if your rights are infringed, you go to court to enforce your rights. The one who has infringed your right is not the one who goes to court. That is what the Constitution says in Section 85. If my rights are infringed, I go to court to get a court order so that my right is enforced. It is not the regulator’s job to ensure that your rights are enforced. It is the court, where an infringement has occurred. I believe the way it is couched, it gives all of us comfort. We cannot say, any information that is received, we take it seriously, especially with the proviso that we put that under oath. I submit Mr.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: On Clause 8 (3) line 30 where it is written, provided that the time for the meeting shall be specified for a date no longer than seven days in case of the procession or public demonstration or five days in a case of a public meeting. I think the seven days period is too long for people who would want to express their issues to the Government.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, if you notice this issue
is a repetition because it is there on 7 (a) and (b), even 1 (a) and (b) it has seven and five days and it was debated thoroughly. They are simply reminding you of what we agreed earlier.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. SEN. ZIYAMBI): It simply
says, we have given notice of seven days, within those seven days, rather than the convenor to say I have received information about a bomb. We can hold a meeting after the day you wanted to demonstrate. It is emphasising that the meeting must be held within the notice period, just that. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Clause 8 put and agreed to.
On Clause 9:
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Mr. Chairman, somebody referred
to, we need to cover spontaneous demonstrations and I suggest that there be a clause there which says that, it shall be a defence that the demonstration was spontaneous, it was unplanned. It was a reaction to popular anger. If you look at the Labour Relations Act, if there is threat to safety, they can go to strike without notice but there may arise a situation where it is irresponsible for citizens to keep quiet and we need to cover that.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. SEN. ZIYAMBI): Thank
you Mr. Chairman. I understand and I hear Hon. Sen. Mwonzora very well. It is very difficult to legislate for spontaneity to say that we are now going to put it there. It is very dangerous also to say we are excluding spontaneous demonstrations for the simple reason that the day we do that, every demonstration will be spontaneous. If you go to the powers of the police, sometimes when you have not given notice, the police may, in case of a regulating authority not receiving a notice in terms of Section 7 (1), of more than 48 hours before the gathering restrict, tell you okay, you are demonstrating. We notice you are peaceful but do not use this route because there are people there who are doing something. Then they guide for the maintenance of peace. I think spontaneous demonstrations have not been banned but for us to put on the schedule that a spontaneous demonstration is excluded from this, we cannot do that. Every demonstration becomes spontaneous. I submit Mr. Chairman.
Clause 9 put and agreed to.
On Clause 10:
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Clause 10 prohibits gatherings near
Parliament, courts or other protected areas for example, ZBC and Heroes Acre. This clause finds its routes in a number of Acts that were passed by South Africa during Apartheid to suppress black uprisings. It was obviously directed to quell protest during political trials and against treatment of people under security legislation for example, we have the like of Evan Mawarire, Job Sikhala and many others. It is critical to
note that even the regulations of Public Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 even repealed these laws as archaic and undemocratic yet they still find their way in this Bill and we are in the year 2019 now. Therefore, Clause 10 needs to be removed. I so submit.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: In addition to what my colleague said, I am not repeating what she said. On Clause 10 (1), the issue of radius, I contest that issue. Why do we need to have a radius of as far as 100
metres away from vicinities of certain buildings?
Basically, I think that it affects people’s ability to demonstrate whenever they want to demonstrate in other places. Take for instance here across Parliament, we have the Africa Unity Square where people demonstrate and 20 metres from Parliament, you say it cannot be. I was therefore going to propose that we remove the issue of radius and only deal with the buildings where these protected areas are instead. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I want to
buttress the purpose of demonstration which is to be heard by the person whom you are demonstrating against or you are supposed to irritate the person who you are trying to communicate with so that they pay attention to you.
The proposed distances will only promote being ignored by the person because when you are 100 metres away from the courts or 100 metres from whatever chosen building – the demonstration will be in vain. There will be no purpose because you will not be able to irritate the intended person. Supposing we are demonstrating against the Hon. Speaker, we must irritate him so much that he hears our noise from his office. When we are demonstrating against the Supreme Court or High Court against Chief Justice Malaba, he should hear the noise from outside so that he pays attention to us.
If the demonstration has been applied for and cleared by the police, the distances should be reduced to 10 metres because we need whoever the authority is there to pay attention. The demonstration will be futile if we are far away because there is nothing to fear from people who have sought police clearance and are demonstrating near a building. In most cases police details will be present, so the Hon. Speaker and his building will be safe and the High Court judges will be safe but we want them to engage them on issues that we will be demonstrating on.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon.
Chairman then I want to thank the Hon. Members. I want to start with Hon. Timveos, she quote the South African Act.
Again Hon. Chairman, I alluded to the fact that we are also a sovereign nation and we pass our own laws. So if the South Africans in their wisdom saw it fit that they want people to gather within the premises of their Parliaments and courts, so be it – they will do that but it is good for them. My submission Hon. Chairman, is that we will relook at it very soon. A case in point is what happened in Hong Kong when the very same Parliament that they are talking about was stormed by protestors and it is good for them if they believe that they do not need
Coming to Hon. Komichi, I think that getting to within 10 or even a meter to Parliament is not prohibited but you have to inform the Hon. Speaker or the Chief Justice so that the necessary security arrangements are made. I do not see any reason why if people notify and they conduct their gathering in peace a reasonable Speaker will refuse. If you have not notified the Speaker – one Hon. Senator alluded to Africa Unity Square, I believe this is around 20 metres or so and it is very far where people gather. So this provision is very progressive.
We have noticed that terrorists now target these places and Parliament can be targeted. So the provision does not prohibit you from getting closer to Parliament but simply says, seek the permission of the Speaker or the Chief Justice or the Judge President. I submit Hon.
Chairman, that we adopt it as it is. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
Clause 10 put and agreed to.
Clause 11 put and agreed to.
On Clause 12:
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: On the civil liabilities, Mr.
Chairman, most of these things happen as a result of resolutions of political parties. To punish an individual is unfair – it is not serving any purpose. So liability must not go to a single individual. Liability must go to the organisation that the person is representing. For example, an organisation calls for a demonstration and people within that demonstration cause violence. We are punishing the convener and not the organisation itself. An organisation can even make a resolution not to give notice and order the convener to write that. What this law is doing is, it is leaving the organisation and punishing the individual. So liability must go to the organisation and not to the individual because it is a collective thing.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. Chairman, in addition to what Hon. Sen. Mwonzora said, this section promotes misdemeanors because a person who seeks police clearance before a demonstration is an honest person. Meaning, I have good intentions and have no spirit to disrupt peace because I know that I can be arrested for disrupting the peace. So if there are disturbances of any form, I will not be at liable. If I am held liable for the disturbances Hon. Minister, then I will be afraid to apply and go into hiding and you will not have a convener.
Demonstrations can be conducted in the absence of a convener and no one will be accountable for it. The demonstration will still go on without a convener because I am afraid of this civil liability. At least you should not be soiled. So this law should give the police power or the convener should be given more police in order for the demonstration to be more peaceful You are a Minister, please relay this information to the Minister of Home Affairs. For example on Friday, we need about 2000 police officers and we will give them 5000 of our youths who will be ushers who can walk with them so that if there is anybody who comes to disturb the demonstration they can be easily apprehended this Friday. I can tell by the end of the demonstration, we will have taken into custody all the thieves that want to damage property, disturb peace and the people because as a party we do not want a demonstration that involves loss of lives, destruction and looting of shops. No, we do not want that.
So we want this law to give praise to the convener. In the law, there should be a section which mentions the availability of the police to assist the demonstration process in order for it to be peaceful. This Friday we need 2000 police officers and there will be no violence that will take place.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Senators
Mwonzora and Komichi, this clause actually speaks about a convener who has failed to give notice in terms of Section 7 (1) or refuses to comply with any direction after negotiations. This clause is not speaking about an innocent convener. That innocent convener who has complied with everything is insulated from civil liabilities. So, the one that you are describing has no civil liability but that one who has just convened without going to the police and there is commotion and destruction of property is the one we are saying should be held liable by the law and pay for the destruction. If you go to the definition section –
I heard you saying you cannot be held liable as an individual while representing the organisation. It actually states that if you are an appointed agent you go to the regulatory authorities and tell them you have been appointed convener by such and such who want to demonstrate. So it will be very clear that you are representing someone who can be held liable and not you unless proven beyond reasonable doubt that you did things in your own capacity. You were told to go and notify the regulatory authorities and you decided on your own not to do so and they were not involved but this clause is insulating those that have followed the law. They will not face any civil liability. That is what the clause is saying. It is actually a very progressive clause, so I submit Hon Chair.
Clause 12 put and agreed to.
On Clause 13:
HON. SEN. SHOKO: I am looking at Clause 13 (1) (a) and I am seeing that we now have police service. Is that new? I just want clarification.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): In our
Constitution, it is now written Police Service and not Police Force and the regulatory authority is the police. So subsection 13 is restating the powers that the police have.
Clause 13 put and agreed to.
On Clause 14:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Just to highlight on Clause 14 (4) that says, any person who fails to produce his/her identity document within 7 days mentioned in subsection 4 – I guess that was supposed to be subsection 3. I thank you.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I would also want to seek clarity on the issue of I.Ds. What if you do not have? We saw such people when we were going around.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Let me explain as follows. Whether you have an I.D or not, the police has the right on reasonable suspicion that you have committed an offence to arrest you. We cleaned this up and I think it is very reasonable now because any police officer acting in good faith in the course of investigation or preventing an arrestable offence or at the scene or vicinity of commission of an arrestable offence or where there is a police cordon or roadblock, maybe they are looking for a thief and they suspect you are the thief. Some people may say I do not have an I.D even though they have it. This is very reasonable, I submit.
Clause 14 put and agreed to.
Clauses 15 and 16 put and agreed to.
On Clause 17:
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Sorry to take you back, I wanted to
debate Clause 16. You are going too fast.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Usually when something has
been agreed to, we cannot go back. You cannot say I am going fast, you are involving me in the debate. I am just the chairman and I am not debating. I am asking peoplewhether there is any objection.
Clause 17 put and agreed to.
On Clause 18:
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. Chair. This clause is
the worst of all clauses because it creates a military State where there is a slight problem and the President deploys the military. During his time in office, we have seen soldiers getting into the streets confronting people who will be demonstrating twice. What is in the minds of the people of Zimbabwe is whenever demonstrations are being done, the soldiers are involved. We are seeing a transformation from the old dispensation to the new dispensation where we come from a police State into a military State. It gives our country a rogue State element that Zimbabwe is, being policed law and order by the soldiers.
It should be very difficult to deploy soldiers because a soldier is armed with a gun and we have witnessed the use of guns for wrong reasons are plenty, where we have 28 bodies within few months. It does not give us good standing for the President to deploy soldiers. That is why there is a request that soldiers before being deployed, the police should be the ones dealing with those issues. There are certain levels of police like the Support Unit; these can control demonstrations -the Gondo Harishayi cannot fail to control demonstrators. If all these fail, it means there will exchange of gun fire among people and the army can come in. Even before that, the President can call Parliament – like we have done now; it did not take us long to convene after we have been recalled by the President to do so. If the demonstration leads to people maiming each other – our police is very effective, so there is no need for the President to be called even when he is at home to deploy the army to be controlling demonstrations.
If there is need to deploy soldiers, there is need to debate in this Parliament that soldiers are to be deployed. We can put this vote, if we are beaten but we would have added our voices. We are upgrading the President to be a military State President. We want him to be a soldier yet we know him as a civilian. It now looks like President Mnangagwa is a soldier and it affects the investment in the country. It takes away the freedom of the people in the country.
We are foreseeing on Friday, 16th August, 2019 soldiers being deployed all over the country with guns and helicopters flying around. It is not good for the purposes of democracy. It is not good for investment environment but it will not stop the revolutionary spirit. I want to take you back to the 1970s, no matter how tough Ian Douglas Smith was, revolution took its toll. No forms of oppression will stop people from doing what they want. Let us do things which are good for the country. The President should not resort to deploying soldiers, the Support Unit is capable of containing demonstrations. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Hon. Chair. This section
is good. If a demonstration is done peacefully and demonstrators have followed the law, soldiers will not be deployed. Soldiers are deployed through the Commissioner General of the Police who will ask the soldiers to come when he realised that there is violence and that the police are over powered. The soldiers are called to restore peace and order only after the police have failed. Our soldiers are professional they do not just come. They are known world-over that they are professionals. That is why you see that in this country we are at peace, we do not have any war. Our soldiers are doing development works. In my constituency, they have built a primary school because there is no war. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon.
Chair. As a way of progressing, I want to read the provisions of the Constitution and allow the Hon. Members to tell me how they want it to be couched so that it satisfies the provisions of the Constitution. Section 213 (1) of the Constitution says Deployment of Defence Forces - subject to this Constitution, “only the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces has power to authorise the deployment of defence forces or have power to determine the operational use of the defence forces” With the authority of the President, the defence forces may be deployed in Zimbabwe in defence of Zimbabwe and in support of the police service in the maintenance of public order or in support of the police service and other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster.
I want to go to sub-section 4, that is the clause that speaks about
Parliament’s authority when deployment has occurred outside
Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, the section is saying you cause Parliament to be informed but outside Zimbabwe when you have done that by a twothirds majority, Parliament has to vote to approve or rescind. So, I want Hon. Members to give me a wording that will satisfy this requirement. I thank you.
Clauses 17 to 21 put and agreed to.
On Clause 22;
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: This clause usurps the powers of
Parliament to amend the schedule in the Act without approaching Parliament. The clause contravenes Section 134 (a) of the Constitution insofar as this seeks to delegate the legislative powers to the Minister. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): If there is a
clause that this Parliament has passed that is extremely good is this one. The Constitution gives Ministers powers to enact subsidiary legislation for as long as the legislation is consistent with the enabling Act. It is there is in the Constitution and you can check the Constitution. If you find that Ministers are not empowered to do that then I will scrape this but further to that if you read it carefully it says ‘subject to subsection 2, the Minister may by notice in a Statutory Instrument at any time add to, amend or replace the schedule’. Then subsection 2 says ‘where the Minister seeks to amend the schedule by reducing the classes of public gatherings described in the schedule, the Minister shall’, preemptory you do not have a choice. You cannot turn right or left ‘within the next 14 days on which Parliament sits after he or she makes a Statutory
Instrument in terms of subsection 1 lay before Parliament. The Statutory
Instrument shall not come into force unless approved by a resolution of
Parliament’. Let me explain the process as it currently obtains with other instruments. The moment I pass it becomes law and the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) will sit while it is in force. When PLC sits on behalf of Parliament and says it is unconstitutional that is when it may be withdrawn. It will only come to the House when PLC says it is unconstitutional then they will say we have received an Adverse Report on this Statutory Instrument. This one we are not even subtracting. The Minister is allowed to give you more freedom. Where he wants to take the freedoms away you do not even need to refer to PLC but has to come to the House for you to pass a resolution. I submit that it is one of the best clauses in this Bill. I thank you Hon. Chair.
Clause 22 to 23 put and agreed to.
On Clause 24;
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: On page 1, that new clause was not
inserted in the list of sections.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you.
Point taken. It is an omission.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I want to thank you Hon. Sen. I think you have really applied your mind and managed to see everything between lines. The Minister actually complimented you on
Clause 24 put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Before you
report Hon. Chair, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone. When I came in here I was hoping that by four we would be done with this Bill. I enjoyed the robust debate from both sides of the House and some contributions that were very good with Hon. Sen. Mwonzora coming up with some very good observations and Hon. Sen. Mpofu. Thank you very much Hon. Members for your dedication and time that you spent on this Bill. Thank you Hon. Chair.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 13, 2019]
First Order read: Second reading: Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 13, 2019].
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President Sir, the
Bill seeks to give effect to the fiscal measures that I announced through the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement delivered on the 1st of August, 2019 and in particular, avail relief to taxpayers through adjustment of tax rates as well as enhance revenue generation capacity taking into account the recent economic developments.
The Finance Bill basically seeks to project the Supplementary Budget and the Statement accompanying it in a way that shows that we are sensitive to the economic plight of our citizens. First of all, it recognises that we do face inflationary pressures and it also recognises the fact that we need to increase social spending. It recognises that we need to increase allocation to agriculture because it all overlaps with the whole notion of social protection. The Statement and the Bill also seek to recognise that we need to support the productive sectors of our economy such as the mining sector for example, where we have made sure that the royalties are tax deductible. It seeks to give further tax breaks and to maintain the tax breaks and rebates around the manufacturing sector and we are able to account and let the Members of the House know which companies have benefitted from those rebates.
The Statement and the Finance Bill also seek to make sure that those who are earning $700 and below do not pay any income tax. We have raised the threshold from $350 to $700. What we have also done is to make sure that we expand the definition of a financial institution under the intermediated money transfer tax because we have noticed that there are certain players in the market who have decided to play in the parallel market. Once they are licenced by mobile money operators, they are able to play in that parallel market without oversight and regulation. So, we have made sure that at least they pay their dues in terms of the 2% intermediated money transfer tax but also they need to be regulated
We have also expanded the definition of a mineral beyond what we already know to include the uncut and cut dimensional stones, basically granite at quarry mining. Then also, we have sought to bring into line with price increases and certain fees that are payable including toll fees, including other fees to Government. Those of you who are in the gold sector, have sought to kind of regularise things to eliminate any arbitrage between small to large gold miners but at the same time, made sure that the royalties also are linked to the gold price. So, if the gold price is below US$1200 per ounce, the royalty is 3% and above that global price threshold it is 5%.
Mr. President, we have also decided to obviously through this to amend the Reserve Bank Act to deal with the issue of introduction of the RTGS dollar and then the Zimbabwe dollar which combines the RTGS dollar, the bond note and then the bond coins as well to regularise issues around our sole transaction currency locally as you will realise that we are trying to make sure that we are in line with Statutory Instrument 142 which declares the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender within our borders and therefore abolish the multi-currency regime. In short, this is the Finance Bill and we want to make sure that it is people oriented; it is pro-poor and also make sure that we keep developing our financial sector and move with the times in terms of restoring monetary policy and not just fiscal policy which we have been walking on for over a decade.
Mr. President, I now move that the Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 13,
2019] be read a second time. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forth with.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 13, 2019].
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 12 put and agreed to.
On Clause 13:
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Can the Hon. Minister clearly state which funds are going to devolution here because it is not very clear to some of us who are not fundis in finance.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The budget for
devolution was increased from $310 million to $703 million – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – it is in the Appropriation Bill.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, this is not an
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Hon. Chairman, I wanted to understand and to be educated so that when I talk to anybody, I will understand what I will be talking about. I believed that those figures must be shown in this Bill because it shows the expenditure. Some of us would want to know when that Appropriation Bill will be coming.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I think you could be reading a
different copy of the Bill. Is that the Finance No. 2 Bill or it is the Appropriation Bill with figures?
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Yes, Appropriation.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: It is coming after this; this is called Finance No. 2 Bill. Thank you for that and look for the correct document.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: I just wanted to find out, where was this Bill inserted because I did not find it in my pigeon hole neither did any of my colleagues? – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Please give him the
opportunity to express himself, he said he had not seen the Appropriation Bill; some have it whilst some do not have.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: The one that you are going through, I do not have and even my colleagues seem not to have received anything in their pigeon holes.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Some have it whilst others do
not have, that is for the Administration of Parliament. We are being told that it was distributed in the pigeon holes – [HON. SENATORS: It was not there] – it is not there? – [HON. SENATORS: Yes.] – Alright] – those who have the Bill, where did they got it from? I am being advised that the copies were distributed at the time the Supplementary Budget was presented to the National Assembly, which is about two weeks before now. There is an assumption that some of you carried the documents and carried them somewhere.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I hear a lot of mention about the National Assembly. We are the Senate and we must get all these documents – [AN HON. MEMBER: I got the document.] – Madam that document that you are saying you got it is wrong, I see you.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: You are not chairpersons, do
not just interject. I am the only Chair here do not answer, I will answer. Hon. Sen. Timveos, thank you for reminding us that we are the Senate and the National Assembly is different from us. They are not here today and we are here is that not it? However, the point was not that the National Assembly gave us the documents, we are saying, the same time that the Budget was presented at the National Assembly is when the document was distributed to all of us.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: Point of order Mr. Chairman. My understanding is that the documents would not have been distributed to us before the National Assembly concluded their business. The National Assembly finished with the documents and they are now being distributed to us.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: The Administration might
help me on that one but that is not the procedure. When the Bills are published, they do not hold them from Senate until the National
Assembly had finished with them, they are distributed to everyone. We are all given the documents – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order. If there is an amendment, that is then brought to us as an extra copy where one receives the original and an extra copy of amendments. So, it is not true that they finish with the documents first, we are all given at the same time.
Anyway, let us make progress. This Bill intends to iron out financial issues which we are also interested in so that we also get something in terms of supplementary budget and all the other things that we are aggrieved of. So, it is not a very bad document, it is harmless because it is a supplementary budget and ensures that some of our problems that require financing are ironed out. If we can pass this Bill so that we all proceed, it is good for us.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I do not think it is proper for us to just go through without following what it is that is in the Supplementary Budget. My understanding is that I do not think the Hon. Members have it. The only thing that is in the pigeon hole is the
Appropriation Bill. Last week, the Senate adjourned on Wednesday when the National Assembly was debating the Budget. We never went to our pigeon holes – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order. She is talking sense, give here some time.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: We never went to our pigeon holes to collect anything, we went today but there is nothing.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: In English they say do not
throw away the baby with the bath water; that there is the issue of procedure and we did not see the document, let us not throw the baby away because the baby symbolises the benefits we will get if this Bill sails through. I am humbly requesting you, though some things were done in my absence, I am in the Chair and have to ensure progress is made. The purpose of the Finance Bill is to ensure that financial figures that are provided for in the Appropriation Bill are released. So, it is a confirmation of the figures in the Appropriation Bill and we request that we sail it through the Senate, it is harmless and provides us with finances.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I went to the Papers Office and signed for the document.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I think she is right, she went
to the Papers Office, that is where the Bill is found.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mine was in the pigeon hole.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Mr. Chairman, thank you very
much. I think to be honest, when we adjourned last week, I actually stayed around because I knew were going to debate these Bills. However, they were not delivered into our pigeon holes. It is an omission or an error, whatever it is but the reality is for us to proceed, they have to accept that mistake they made, then we can move forward. For them to keep on saying it was there when it was not there – I was coming every day, it does not work.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Doctor, you are a true doctor
because what you said is good and progressive. I apologise on their behalf. As the Chair, I will remonstrate with them. I will take them to task as they have disgraced me on an issue that has no bearing on me.
Clauses 13 to 14 put and agreed to.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Let me be honest, these
clauses have to do with the Finance Bill that was there before and so now we are doing the Supplementary Budget. We have no option. If we do not go through with this now, it means we will have to come back some time in September while funds remain not released for the country to use. So let us just pass the Supplementary Budget.
Clause 15 put and agreed to.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Mr. Chairman, with all due
respect, I think we are reducing this House to a circus. We cannot continue with something which we have not seen. They should give us that copy. We can come tomorrow and discuss – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- It does not make sense; if you ask us to come and debate on something we have not seen. It is not procedural. We cannot follow that. We cannot allow that to happen. Do not reduce us to children.
This is an august House where we are passing things which affect the whole populace, so you cannot just drag us. You are playing kindergarten stuff in this august House and we cannot allow that. Give us the papers, we will come tomorrow and read if it is important. We do not vote for something which is procedurally wrong. Why do you vote for something which you do not have? We cannot allow it. You cannot drag us like children who do not know what we are doing. We are wasting people’s money here playing. We cannot allow that to happen. Give us, we will come tomorrow and debate it otherwise you are reducing us to useless people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
This is exactly what you are doing unless you do not know what you are and I will stand here and say that I will never allow it, we have not seen it. I have got a right to be given that document and study it. I represent a lot of people. I have got a constituency where I have to be answerable. If they see that this is what I am doing, do you think they will like it? We cannot do that. So Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, we want the document. Give us time, we will read it. We cannot operate a country with errors.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I thank Hon. Sen. Dr.
Mavetera for what he is saying, but doctor if you have a patient that is ill and needs an operation, you give that patient morphine before the operation but if you do not have the morphine you go ahead with the operation without the morphine so that your patient’s life is saved. I am now speaking in medical terms – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
Give them copies of the Bill so that we have progress. Hon. Sen.
Dr. Mavetera, order! Not that we are undermining you, Sen. Dr. Mavetera. What you have said is brilliant and accepted but the circumstances that we find ourselves in are such that it may work against us if we raise these technicalities and the spirit is that we are adjourning as you know to some unknown date in September and we would not want then to frustrate efforts to try and mobilise resources so that the people of Zimbabwe, including parliamentarians can gain out of that sooner than later. We are pleading with you that we make progress. We agree that a mistake was made and next time they should not repeat this. We have given Sen. Timveos a copy of the Bill so that she can refer to
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: I think as long as it is put on record that all these agreements are not real agreements because we have not seen the document, I think I will be okay with it – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- because I cannot agree to a document that I have not seen.
*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, let us proceed.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Hon. Members, these are numbers. We cannot control numbers. Can we move forward?
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Now that the Chief Whip has spoken,
Mr. President, I think we can proceed now.
Clauses 13 to 25 put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 13, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOMENT (PROF. M. NCUBE) Mr. President, I now move that
the Bill be read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Third reading: With leave forthwith.
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 13, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) Mr. Chairperson, I now
move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
APPROPRIATION (SUPPLEMENTARY) BILL [H. B. 12, 2019]
Second order read: Second Reading: Appropriation
(Supplementary) Bill [H. B. 12, 2019].
THE MINISTEROF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President Sir, on the 1st of August, 2019, I presented to the National Assembly the 2019 Supplementary Estimates amounting to RTGS10,23 billion broken down as Consolidated Revenue Fund of RTGS10.07 billion and the retention funds of RTGs 0.16 billion. The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the Supplementary 2019 expenditures that were presented to the
National Assembly. I seek approval to the supplementary budget of
RTGS10.23 billion broken down as Consolidated Revenue Fund of RTGS10.07 billion and Retention Fund as RTGS 0.16 billion to cater for additional provisions and reforms mainly related to the following areas;
- The stimulation of production targeting agriculture, industry and other productive sectors.
- Food security issues including grain procurement to mitigate the effects of drought conditions and the funding of the 2019/2020 summer cropping programmes.
- The welfare of civil servants, pensioners, Members of Parliament and Senators.
- To cover social services and delivery and social production of our vulnerable members of society.
- To cover vital infrastructure development and utilities and support but also we want to be able to cover through the supplementary budget constitutional requirements including the transfer to provinces in terms of the devolution budget.
- We want to cover certain structural and governmental reforms by supporting the statutory bodies that deal with these reforms.
- To support general Government operations but also to make sure that we deal with the tax threshold adjustments in terms of the tax that impacts our citizens.
The supplementary expenditures being proposed are however designed in a way that they are in line with increased revenues and will be implemented without compromising fiscal discipline and accepting set fiscal targets. To accommodate the additional requirements, I have revised the 2019 budget of RTGS6.89 billion taking into account additional expenditures of RTGS 10.23 billion to bring the total budget to RTGS 17.13 billion and this is excluding the retentions. The total appropriation amount exclude constitutional statutory appropriation such as pension, interest and inter-governmental fiscal transfers which when included would result in overall expenditures of RTGs 18.62 billion. I am therefore, presenting the supplementary estimates for 2019 and the accompanying Appropriation (Supplementary) 2019 Bill [H.B. 12, 2019] for consideration of approval by Hon. Senators.
Mr. President, I move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave forthwith.
APPROPRIATION (SUPPLEMENTARY) BILL [H. B. 12, 2019] House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 3 put and agreed to.
On Clause 4:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: The Minister of Finance is on record saying that we have a surplus. Why do we need to increase these numbers on this day especially the Retention Fund? Could we not take it from surplus?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): We have done our
projections. We know that in terms of the previous budget, we are going to run down the surplus beyond what we are trying to do here. This is to accommodate that expected expenditure. That is why for a start we are having a supplementary and then we will exhaust the surplus. Our projection is that by year end, we will be in deficit but we will make sure that we will stay within our target of 4% of GDP and not go beyond that. If we do that, we will have messed up our financial management. We have no intention of doing that. I thank you.
Clause 4 put agreed to.
Clause 5 put and agreed to.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: I am looking at Vote 13. Sometime ago, I stood up to ask a question concerning devolution and also if there is anything that has got to do with devolution. There was a budget that was done before – in November 2018 and it was implemented from January. Devolution has not taken route in all the provinces. The people that were elected as officials for the provincial councils have not been sworn in. Where is that money that we allocated in the 2018 Budget? We are now in August. Have you allocated any money here? If you have allocated money, what happened to the money that we allocated because of the reasons that I stated?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The distribution of
the devolution resources is as follows; 25% is allocated to a provincial level, 75% is allocated at district level. At district level because we have the enabling structures and so forth, we have moved quite fast. Right now, we have something like $250 million in terms of what has been disbursed and the projects have already been identified and they are being executed. We know we will run out of money but the 25% at provincial level – that is the issue you are raising. That issue requires further legislation. The Minister of Justice can explain. That has not been properly disbursed. It will be disbursed once the legislation and the swearing in of officials is put in place. It is coming and I think I can seek support from the Minister of Justice in terms of timing but we do not think it is an impediment for us in Finance because we have allocated resources.
Let me come to the Supplementary Budget in terms of additional resources. If you recall in the first Budget, we allocated $310 million. It says in the Constitution that we should allocate 5% of whatever Budget. Given our new budget, that 5% now translates to $703 million. That is what we have allocated through the supplementary and we want to disburse that as fast as possible to get the projects on the ground going. With your indulgence, may be the Minister of Justice could add on the legislation at provincial level. At district level, we are alright and I am happy to come back to this august House and tell you district by district what has been allocated and the expenditure part. We have the information.
At the back of the Blue Book, there is a First Schedule entitled
‘Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfers’. It has got all the allocations
district by district and province by province.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): The Hon.
Minister of Finance has indeed clearly stated the position as it is. The Constitution obliges us to come up with a law to give effect to the devolution process but we have also noticed that there are inconsistencies even within the Constitution. We are in the process of coming up with a Constitutional Amendment Bill to cater for a lot of things. I could have brought it but I was mindful that a Constitution is not a document that you make piece-meal amendments. We have a process that also entail that we also look at some provisions of the
Constitution in terms of the political and electoral reforms that we are undertaking. So I delayed a little bit in tabling that amendment so that we have a holistic approach in dealing with it.
I can cite one example that we felt we might need to amend in the Constitution. If we look into the Constitution, it speaks about delimitation occurring after a census. Our census is scheduled to take place in 2022. If we are to comply with that provision, it means we will wait for the census in 2022 to be undertaken and completed. Once it is completed, then we have to do the delimitation. If you look at the timelines, it would mean the delimitation process will suffer because we will be very close to 2023. We need to delink the two. That is one example that I have given.
For us to bring an amendment to cater for devolution alone, we agonised and we said let us complete the whole process of what we are doing and bring just one omnibus amendment to the Constitution so that we do not have piece-meal amendments. I thank you Hon. Chair.
*HON. SEN. PHUTHI: I have heard the Minister say that the people who earn $350-$700 are not going to be taxed. I would like to know which tax he was referring to. I would also like to know if he is going to come back to the House again requesting that civil servants be given increments again because civil servants are affected by the tax regime. I have noticed that most of the workers have been removed from the taxpaying bracket and the bulk of these are civil servants fall in the non-tax paying bracket. Are we not going to be recalled earlier than expected to come and craft a Bill, increasing salaries to taxable levels
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I must say it was in
the previous Bill that we have passed but perhaps it would be a good idea to respond. Yes, the threshold has now been increased from $350 to $700, the Hon. Senator has asked if we will not come back to ask for more but why not? There is nothing wrong and the $700 by the way, we did some research, we consulted all the important National Employment Councils, this $700 figure came from them to say look, we think that it is a fair figure. However, if in four months when we come back to present the Budget end of November, if we need to raise it we will raise it and again we will produce the scientific evidence as to why it should be raised. You asked about which tax it is – it is the income tax, the P.A.Y.E.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I just want to add my voice to Vote 17 which talks about women affairs, community, and small and medium enterprises development. Today it is Stembiso Nyoni; tomorrow it is someone else whomwe do not know. This Ministry always has got a very low budget; I do not know whether it is by design or by what. Taking into consideration that we want to empower women and youths, this budget is always very low. Can you clarify?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the
comment and question. Actually, what you see here is quite an improvement from what we had initially and we had a robust debate in the National Assembly and we moved things up. I want to be specific, we targeted the women’s micro-finance bank and we put in an additional $14 million on its capitalization so we could increase the loans for businesses initiated by female members of our society. We also increase the capitalisation of the Youth Empowerment Bank to $15 million as well. So, doubling the capitalisation of these two banks, that is the action that we took again after consultations with the Ministry and other individuals who are keen on this sector. I must say what is not in the Budget is some of the robust discussions we are having when it comes to the whole issue of SME’s because the Ministry is willing and the SME’s in general how these can be supported. Last week, I went with Hon. Nyoni, in fact she dragged me along, I think she grabbed my earlobe literally and said we must go and visit the SME’s who are in Cameroon street. I was actually amazed, about 1000 people operating from there, it is mainly women, they are sewing quality dresses and other textile products which are being exported to Mozambique and Angola – I am just extending my answer but, I just want to show that the issue around the SME’s we are continuously debating this.
If you come to how we are supporting industrialisation, we have launched a $40 million dollar national venture fund. I mentioned it in this House before that we are going to do it. We have finally done it in this Supplementary Budget and a portion of that will be allocated towards SME’s which really support a constituency within this Ministry. So, we will continue to buttress our resources to boost whatever this Ministry is all about and it is about very important things around women and SME’s and so forth.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: On Vote 4, Defence and War
Veterans. I just want to thank the Minister of Finance that in his
Supplementary Budget he injected $12.3 million to war veterans. However, we hope that when the economy of country has recovered, you are going to do something better because these people have suffered a lot. We want our war veterans who brought freedom to our country to have a good welfare. I thank you.
HON. PROF M NCUBE: I thank the Hon. Senator for those
compliments, I agree with her that this is an important constituency within our community, within our population and we are grateful for their sacrifice, we would not all be here if it were not for them. Last week, we had a robust debate in the Lower House and I agreed to top up with an additional $15 million to the War Veterans Administration Fund to cater for health, school fees and other welfare issues. An issue was raised around other benefits such as making sure that the war veterans can import vehicles duty free. We undertook that we will look into this matter and see how we can progress it, it is on the table. One thing that I was asked to investigate is how many war veterans are able in terms of their RTGS or ZWL resources import cars in the first place and then we work out if it is within our budgetary envelope in terms of the duties we will fore-go. So, we are amenable to receiving almost case by case application representations on this issue but we will continue to look at other ways to support our war veterans and find solutions. I thank you.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
APPROPRIATION (SUPPLEMENTARY) BILL [H. B. 12, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President, I
move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the House adjourned at Twenty-
Seven Minutes to Eleven o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 27th August, 2019.