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SENATE HANSARD 16 MARCH 2021 VOL 30 NO 24

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 16th March, 2021

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

LOGGING IN ON VIRTUAL PLATFORM

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to remind all Hon. Senators that they are required to log in using their full names for identification purposes or indicate their names on the chat platform. This will assist officers in capturing their names on the attendance registers. Hon. Senators are also reminded to keep their gadgets on mute and only un-mute when called upon to speak by the Chair.

INVITATION TO A ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also wish to inform the Senate that there will be a Roman Catholic Church Service tomorrow, Wednesday, 17th March, 2021 at 1230 hours in the Senate Chamber. All Catholic and non-Catholic members are invited.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDERS NOS. 43 AND 105 RELATING TO REMOVAL OF MOTIONS FROM THE ORDER PAPER

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move the motion standing in my name that the provisions of Standing Orders No. 43 and 105 that relate to the removal of motions from the Order Paper after 21 days be suspended in relation to the Address in reply to the Presidential speech.

HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I second.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: We are requesting for the suspension of Standing Order Number 43 to give an opportunity to Hon. Members who still want to debate and for Ministers to respond to issues raised during the debate. I therefore move that the Standing Order be suspended. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

MAINTENANCE OF THE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY

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

COGNISANT that the road network is an indispensable component of economic and social development of the country;

DISTURBED that our country`s roads have badly deteriorated owing to very heavy downpours experienced in most parts of the country, a situation that has left most roads resembling death traps for motorists;

CONCERNED that roads all over the country are characterised by numerous potholes, damaged bridges, completely washed away surfaces, thick shrubs and tall grass along the sides thereby affecting visibility of motorists;

FURTHER CONCERNED that the challenges faced along the country`s roads have not only affected service delivery and human transportation in general, but have culminated in loss of human and livestock lives including colossal damages to property;

NOW, THEREFORE, RESOLVES that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development

  1. a)       embarks on a massive road rehabilitation programme countrywide by 30 September, 2021;
  2. b)      Prioritises strategic roads that play a crucial role in the promotion of tourism and investment, the conveyance of goods, essential services including resources which play an integral part in the country`s economic growth;
  3. c)      properly maintains the road infrastructure throughout the year if economic benefits are to be realised and communication with other countries in the region is to remain open and viable; and
  4. d)     clears shrubs and tall grasses along the country`s highways all the time so that the prevalence of accidents due to poor visibility is reduced.

HON. SEN. TONGAGARA:     I second.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:

Zimbabwe’s Road Infrastructure

Madam President, road transport is indispensable to economic and social development in any country, be it a developed or developing country like Zimbabwe. Therefore, it is important that we maintain our roads to good standards in order to reap the benefits. To date we witness a very poor road network in our country, characterised by shrubs and grass, potholes, patching here in there, unfinished tarmac, gravels and many other ills. Such challenges have resulted in loss of human life and damage to property.

Madam President, there are 88,100 km of classified roads in

Zimbabwe, 17 400 km of which are paved. About 5 percent of the network is classified as primary roads and has some of the most trafficked arterials that link Zimbabwe with its neighbours. A portion of the Pan-Africa Highway passes through this country. This part of the road network plays a major role in the movement of the country’s imports and exports as well as transit freight.

Fourteen percent of the network is classified as secondary roads that link the main economic centres within the country, enabling internal movement of people and goods. The primary and secondary roads are collectively referred to as the trunk road system; they carry over 70 percent of the vehicular traffic and they are managed by the Department of Roads (DoR). A little more than 70 percent of the network is made up of tertiary feeder and access roads that link rural areas to the secondary road network. These are managed by the District Development Fund (DDF) and by the District Councils (DC).

The road density in Zimbabwe is about 0.23 km per square km. This is high compared with many developing countries; it is comparable to that of the high income, and lower middle-income countries. However, the quality of the road infrastructure has vastly deteriorated.

The share of the total road network of almost 90 000 km in fair

to good condition declined from 73 percent in 1995 to about 60 percent for much of the past decade. The additional 12 800 km of road network that was reclassified to poor condition requires complete rehabilitation.

Major carriage links such as the Beitbridge-Chirundu road and roads such as the Masvingo-Mutare highway exhibit negligence with shrubs and tall grass within 1 metres of the road in some areas.

Importance of Roads

Madam President, road transport is the dominant means of

transport in Zimbabwe with 80% of traffic and trade by volume utilising this resource. This has a significant implication on development and the economy of our nation, thus the maintenance of roads to an acceptable standard is a prerequisite.

Impacts of Roads on Trade

Madam President, coming to the impact of roads on trade: roads

also play a crucial role in determining the competitiveness of exports and imports on international and regional markets. In Zimbabwe, mining and agricultural exports are a major source of foreign currency and a driving force for economic growth. In 2019, mineral export earnings reached $1,97 billion, of the total $3.01 billion between February and October. These exports are largely exported by road. However, high transport costs due to the poor state of roads are a barrier to regional and international trade, and have a negative effect on exports.

Zimbabwe provides the shortest distance on the link to the northern

front from the Ports in South Africa through Beitbridge Boarder Post, and this has been the main route for freight transport to Zambia and DRC. At Beitbridge Boarder post ZINARA collects an average of USD$550 000.00 from freight traffic per month while processing on average 1000 heavy vehicles per day. However, this revenue is under threat as the Kasane Bridge between Zambia and Botswana provides an alternative safer route with good roads when completed. Inspite of this development Zimbabwe has a significant advantage as a shorter route if we can upgrade our roads.

Inadequate infrastructure and poor transport network makes it difficult for local manufacturers to participate in global supply chains because they cannot guarantee timely delivery of goods or ensure reliability or flexibility in the supply of the goods. Some of the delays are due to poor infrastructure in both transit countries and in national economies.

Impacts of Roads on Tourism Growth and Investment

Madam President, Zimbabwe has the potential to improve its

economic performance through the contribution of tourism and Hospitality to the national fiscus. Between 2016 and 2017 tourism contributed 8% to the GDP.

In 2016/17, 87% of visitors arrivals in to the country was by road;

visitor arrivals by air in contrast only contributed 13% of arrivals into Zimbabwe. A total of 1 318 908 visitor came to Zimbabwe on holiday in 2018. If roads are not well-maintained, retaining these tourists will be difficult, as the majority of drive-in tourists have indicated that the poor state of roads such as the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highways make travelling very difficult.

Madam President, failure to develop transport infrastructure could

cost Zimbabwe millions of dollars in potential revenue due to the emergence of alternative routes bypassing the country.

The growth of tourism in Mauritius in the eighties and nineties was aided by the internal development of transport infrastructure in the country. Meanwhile, the growth of Sun City resort in South Africa received great impetus from the provision of adequate transport infrastructure by the South African government. This testifies to the need to make deliberate development of road infrastructure to aid growth of Tourism in Zimbabwe. Tourism has potential to surpass Agriculture as a GDP contributor.

One of the key competitive factors in tourism has been found to be accessibility of the destination through both road and air transport systems (WEF 2016). Therefore, in order for a destination to thrive it is important to ensure that both external and internal transport system are adequately developed.

While Zimbabwe boasts as one of the most extensive road networks in the region, its condition has deteriorated rapidly. The roads are in poor condition, riddled with potholes and shrubs on road sides, hindering competitiveness in regional tourism.

Road Carnage

Madam President, according to the Traffic Safety Council of

Zimbabwe (TSCZ), over US$ 460 million is spent annually on road traffic accidents, with an average of 40 000 accidents being recorded annually. At least 15 000 people are injured and almost 2 000 killed every year in road traffic accidents.

In Zimbabwe it is estimated that around 1-2% of GDP (gross domestic product) is spent on road traffic injuries annually. Visible potholes and a high fatality rate along the trunk roads provide adequate justification and urgency for improving road infrastructure.

Madam President, between November and December 2019

there was a total of 1178 road traffic accidents, with 95 fatalities and 311 injuries incurred along the major highways. While in January 2020 a total of 3440 accidents occurred, with 166 deaths and 803 injuries recorded. The state of the roads has contributed significantly to the fatalities and number of accidents reported.

The average age of the regional trunk road network is 40 years and many roads have outlived their design life and are in need of urgent rehabilitation. Road accidents occurring on these trunk roads are largely attributed to the poor state of the road network. Many lives are being lost as drivers lose control of their vehicles in attempts to negotiate and avoid potholes.

Travel and Vehicle Operating Costs

Madam President, driving in potholed roads increases consumer costs because it accelerates vehicle deterioration and depreciation. This increases the frequency of the much-needed maintenance and additional fuel consumption.

Freight transport operators have reported an average loss of over

US$7 000 a month on vehicle maintenance due to bad road conditions. A survey done on the cost of maintenance of a luxury vehicle established that on average vehicle suspension maintenance can cost a minimum of US$300.00 for every six months and tyres can cost an average of US$90.00 each. When considering that much of the spare parts and tyres are being imported from South Africa and China, therefore the country is losing millions of dollars in foreign currency due to the poor state of roads.

The negative side to this is the fact that motorists are driving unroadworthy vehicles since the maintenance cost of vehicles is high and prohibitive. Thus, there is further increase of carnage on the roads. It is imperative for responsible authorities to ensure that the state of our roads improves in order to reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance.

Madam President, let us remember that problems of access to

quality transport and logistical services manifest themselves in the form of delays, reduced profit margins and reduced competitiveness. Consequently, high transport costs for moving goods from points of production to final destinations can price a country out of regional and international export markets.

Government Effort to Date.

Madam President, I am aware of government efforts in upgrading

the major trunk roads such as the Plumtree - Mutare highway, the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway as well as the Tanganda - Ngundu Highway.

I hope that this move by the government will likely offset the ill

effects of poor road maintenance and re-establish the country as a major transit route in Southern Africa, while increasing revenues from trade and transit fees.

However, this process needs to be expedited to ensure that we reap the benefits of good road network sooner rather than later, and consolidate our position on regional trade in the sub-region.

Now therefore: calls upon Government

  • To keep our major roads up to the required standards.
  • Make sure shrubs and grasses along our main high ways are monitored and cleared all the time.
  • Maintain regional linkages with other countries in the region through upgrading our regional trunk roads.

I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th March 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD VIRTUALLY IN NAMIBIA

Sixth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum held virtually on 9th October 2020 in Windhoek, Namibia.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th March, 2021.

MOTION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE)

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th March, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Question again proposed.

HON. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to debate the IPU report, a motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Muzenda and her seconder. I also want to thank fellow Hon. Senators who debated before, however I want to add more flesh to it. I would like to start by talking about the purpose of the meeting that was held from the 1st to the 3rd November, 2020. The first purpose was to discuss and take decisions on pressing issues relating to the functions of the organisation which is the IPU. The other purpose was to adopt IPU budget and programme of work for 2021. The third reason of the meeting was to elect the IPU President. Mr. President, the Zimbabwe delegation comprised the Governing Council Members, the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly who was apparently the head of the delegation for the Zimbabwean delegation. We also had Hon. Muzenda from this House and Honourable Vincent Tsvangirayi.

The meeting was chaired by the Acting President Mr. G. Cheng of China. However, Hon. Advocate J. Mudenda also chaired on the recommendation of the IPU Secretariat in instances of technical faults being faced by the Acting President G. Cheng on his connectivity from China. However there were some Presidential elections that were to take place and there were four aspiring candidates Mr. Duarte Pacheco from Portugal, Muhammad Sanjrani from Pakistan, Akmal Saidov from Uzbekistan and Salma Ataullahjan from Canada. Of the four candidates Mr. President, Zimbabwe was rallying behind the candidature of Mr. Duarte Pacheco of Portugal. The reason was that Mr. Pacheco had extensive experience in the operations and functions of the IPU. It is important to note Mr. President that our own Honourable and Advocate Mudenda moved the motion which was adopted unanimously by the 47th Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF held on the 9th and 11th November, 2020. Voting was done online and the voter turnout was 97%. Mr. Pacheco of Portugal was unanimously elected President of the IPU for a three year term.

On that note Mr. President, allow me to wish Mr. Pacheco the President for IPU a successful term of office. Mr. President, allow me to talk about the outgoing President of the IPU Gabriela Barron who gave a report pronouncing all the activities that had taken place during her tenure. It is important to note that her thrust was to engage in Parliamentary diplomacy and building strong synergies for the IPU. It is also important to note that during her tenure, the IPU strongly build its relations with the United Nations. It has also implemented a robust plan and introduced positive initiatives for example Leadership Training for Young Parliamentarians was conducted during her term. In her report Mr. President, Hon. Gabriela Barron urged the IPU to ensure that the voice of Parliamentarians is heard in collective solutions for global challenges. Hon. Barron also ensured that the IPU continue to handle its duties despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. President, the Governing Council approved 2019 accounts which were in compliance with an International Sector Accounting Standards and that IPU’s financial status was sound. The 2021 Budget was also approved but Mr. President, I will not talk about the budget because I feel it was thoroughly debated by the Hon. Senators who debated before me.

Mr. President, I stand before you now very proud to mention that the brief report on the outcome of the virtual segment of the 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments and the 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament was given by our own Hon. Adv. J. Mudenda who happens to be a key member of the preparatory process of the virtual segment of the 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.

He briefed the governing council on the deliberations and the positive outcomes of the conference which was attended by 115 delegates. His presentation highlighted the following:

  • Multilateralism,
  • Robust parliamentary diplomacy,
  • Climate change,
  • Sustainable development ,
  • Health,
  • Youth and Gender,
  • Democracy,
  • Human mobility,
  • Countering terrorism and lastly
  • Science and technology

The conference affirmed the need to generate strong message of parliamentary leadership and solidarity so that we learn from the lessons of the day and join hands to tackle the daunting challenges facing our world in terms of global health, environment and economic problems, predicated on unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Hon. Adv. J. Mudenda also stressed in his presentation that the conference was a seminal platform for deepening price with United Nations and IPU’s partisans and friends.

He also highlighted that participants pledged to reinforce the role of parliamentarians in global governance, underpinned by enhanced multilateralism and international solidarity anchored on the quality of sovereign nations. A report on the Committee on human rights of parliamentarians was adopted. Of particular importance were the issues that related to Zimbabwe and Hon. J. Mamombe. The following allegations against Zimbabwe were tabled:

  • Abduction,
  • Torture,
  • Ill treatment and other acts of violence,
  • Arbitrary arrest and detention,
  • Violation of freedom of opinion and expression,
  • Violation of freedom of assembly and association.

All these allegations were leveled against Zimbabwe. Allow me Mr. President to take this moment to proudly explain that our educated Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Adv. J. Mudenda explained in crystal clear terms that the principle of subjudice limits Parliament’s possibilities of engaging for the resolution of the case. The Hon. Speaker responded to issues raised in the Report emphasising that in line with this country’s Constitution which enshrines the doctrine of separation of powers, this prohibited Parliament and Parliament could not interfere with the due process.

He however promised that Zimbabwean Parliament will be on the look-out for any further violations of any Members’ rights and he further explained that Parliament would continue to engage the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians on the status of the court case. He also briefed the governing council on the status of the court case involving Hon. J. Mamombe and explained that Hon. J. Mamombe was out on bail and receiving proper treatment after being certified unfit to stand trial. The Report acknowledged Parliament of Zimbabwe’s response through Hon. Adv. J. Mudenda.

Mr. President, allow me to go onto the Governing Council’s recommendations particularly those that relate to Zimbabwe. The first recommendation was that Parliament of Zimbabwe continues to engage the Committee on Human Rights of parliamentarians through the provision of updates on the status of the case of Hon. J. Mamombe. The second recommendation was that Parliament of Zimbabwe was to continue to engage Treasury to ensure that subscriptions to IPU were paid timeously or else Zimbabwe would be looked at in bad faith.

The last recommendation was that Parliament of Zimbabwe should continue to participate in virtual statutory and ad-hoc meetings of the IPU. All the three recommendations that I talked about above are worth taking note of and even implement them. In the case of Hon. J. Mamombe, it is a matter of engaging the Committee on Human Rights and what Parliament of Zimbabwe can only do is to get updates from the Committee. As I have earlier on said, Parliament did not have powers to intervene into some other sectors that do not involve them.

The second recommendation where Parliament of Zimbabwe was advised to continue paying subscriptions – that is noble and we need to be paying our subscriptions timeously so that we are also looked at in good light as opposed to bad light and that would also stop Zimbabwe from accruing credits. The third recommendation is that it is important that as Zimbabwe and because we are part of the regional bloc, we continuously attend the meetings that are called for by the IPU. Thank you Mr. President and thank you Hon. Senators.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th March, 2021.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate in reply to The Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th March, 2021.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I want to remind Hon. Senators that we just moved a motion that this debate be extended and nobody is debating. It baffles the mind as to why we should extend when nobody is debating. May I also remind you that this motion is going to be wound up on Thursday, according to the Standing Orders of Parliament.

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

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