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SENATE HANSARD 2 FEBRUARY 2023 VOL 32 NO 14

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 2nd February, 2023

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

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I have to inform the Senate of an inadvertent error by the printer on today’s Order Paper where Notice of Motion Number 2 by Hon. Sen. Muzenda was omitted during the processing of Votes and Proceedings for the Senate.

APPOINTMENT TO THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I would like to inform the Senate that the Hon. Senator I. Zizhou has been appointed to the following Thematic Committees;

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals and
  2. The HIV/AIDS Committee.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Today is Thursday in the Senate and as usual it is question time or private Members time.  I have a list of Ministers who have tendered apologies and they are as follows:

Hon. Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri- Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. F. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. A. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. K. Paradza, Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development; Hon. R. Machingura, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development; Hon. Dr. J. Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

In the Senate today, we have Hon. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. D. Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. C. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Maboyi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

We also have, I am being advised here, the Hon. Minister Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement who is attending this session virtually.  So we have a fairly good and comprehensive list of Ministers.  The floor is open.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

*HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona.  I would like to start by thanking the Hon. Minister.  I asked a question last year regarding a certain road which had taken a long time in the same state but I heard the Hon. Minister talking on radio that his Ministry had rectified that.  A certain company was given the contract to work on the road. 

We appreciate that God gave us rain. However, the state of our roads is bad, especially in the urban areas - particularly in Harare.  In both low and high density suburbs, people are suffering and the roads are damaging people’s cars.  So I wanted to know the plans of the Ministry regarding these roads.

Let me also urge the Ministry to engage different companies, especially in Harare because the state of the roads is deplorable.  There are potholes which are now as big as small dams.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Minister will respond but ordinarily the responsibility for urban infrastructure resides with local authorities.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for the question. Indeed, the state of urban roads is bad but this is the responsibility of local authorities. However, I want to appreciate the fact that we have a revered leader, President E. D. Mnangagwa, who is a listening President.  After noting that we were facing challenges with local authorities who have been collecting money for repairing these roads,  His Excellency, just last week decided that our Ministry should partake in the refurbishment and rehabilitation of roads.

          As I am speaking, we are working on several roads which we have engaged a number of people - of which we are looking at awarding tenders to people who qualify.  We have been advertising and in the next five days we are going to tender.  For Harare and other cities around the country, as a Ministry responsible for roads, our Ministry is going to – for example, look at roads from our main Post Office going to Bulawayo, Masvingo or Manicaland. We are going to work on the different roads.  We are not going back.  There are some places in the high density areas, major roads are going to be refurbished very soon.

          Those who watch television, we were working on a road which is problematic, the Alps Road which goes via Mount Pleasant, Vainona to Hatcliff and virtually Glen Forest from Harare, which means that we are continually developing our areas.  Indeed, the state of roads is deplorable because no-one was working on those roads.  Even when we resurface roads and when we cover potholes, you would notice that there is need for a total make-over.

          Our allocation from Parliament is not enough for us to work on all the roads in the country.  So it is my request that when we decide to review the money allocated to the Ministry, I want to urge Hon. Senators to support us.  I want to give the example we have been working on, looking at 18 km only you will find that you end up spending millions of USD.  I think it is prudent that when I come to this august House you should ask me what we have used our allocation for.  In that vein, I want to urge you to advocate for an allocation of a large amount of money to our Ministry to refurbish the roads.  I thank you.

          HON.  SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  On behalf of the people, I would like to know how far the Sovereign Welfare Fund has gone.  We know the Act is already in place but what has happened so far to it and how many beneficiaries have benefitted from the fund?  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you very much Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for the question.  This is a very important and fundamental question which is very critical for the development of this country, with regards to the extent to which we can safeguard our national resources, especially for the future generation. I would want to say the Sovereign Wealth Fund is already operational but it is at its infancy stage.  We have not done much on that.  We are still setting up but the legal structures are all there and we have said even where we were saying some of the resources that we are going to collect from the 7% royalties, they will also be part of that Sovereign Wealth Fund.   We are still at infancy, so we have not done much with regards to who has already benefitted since we are starting.  I submit.

          *HON. SEN. CHINAKE: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  Hon. Minister, our roads are no longer safe.  You would find that most motorists do not respect road regulations.  Some are using their phones, typing on phones whilst driving.  Even kombi drivers are parking haphazardly.  At Corner Chinhoyi and Nelson Mandela, you would find that some are loading there and police officers just pass by without taking any action.  I want to know what plans you have as a Ministry to restore order in our cities.  I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MABOYI): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for asking that pertinent question.  I would like to appreciate what the Hon. Senator said and indeed this is what is happening.  We are aware and our police force is working on that.  They are taking action against commuter omnibus drivers who break the law.  We work with police officers and they are reinforcing the police service also but I want to say that this is a challenge. However, as a Ministry, we are going to sit and deliberate on the issue so that we address it.  I concur with you Hon. Senator, we are seeing that delinquent behaviour - even pedestrians are not behaving in a way which is expected.  They try to be picked from anywhere and not at the designated bus stops, but we are going to address that.  I thank you.

           *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to address my question to the Minister of Transport.  The Beitbridge–Chirundu Road is in a bad state.  From Chinhoyi to Chirundu, there are a lot of potholes.  The Hon. Minister said he is going to highlight the roads that are being worked on.  However, I want to say that large vehicles are being affected by that road and even small vehicles.  Does the Ministry give employees key result areas so that they see how they are performing?  I thank you Mr. President.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Hon. President.  I would also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu for raising that question.  If this was an examination, then I would have passed.  When he stood up, I spoke to my colleague that he was going to talk about the Chirundu Road.  Hon. President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chundu for that important question which gives me the opportunity to explain to this august Senate about such an important road which links us with our neighbouring countries.  This road links South Africa and Zimbabwe from Beitbridge, through Harare and eventually going to Chirundu.  We have started working on the Harare–Beitbridge Road and at the moment, I would want to say that we have covered over 400 kilometres. 

          Instead of starting afresh, requesting for new contractors which will work on the Chirundu Road, we decided that the same people who are working on the Harare-Beitbridge Road are experts and they have demonstrated that they can do it.  We sat with them and discussed the modalities of how they are going to work on the Harare–Chirundu Road.  Last week those who use that same road, I believe you have seen that two of the companies are already on the road.  From tomorrow, there is a portion of the road from Chirundu to Karoi that will be patched.  At the moment, we are patching potholes because we want our motorists to use the roads in a better state.  After that we are going to resurface the road until we reach Chirundu and we are going to transform Chirundu Border Post so that it becomes a one-stop border post like the Beitbridge Border Post.

          Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu, this is your area.  You can communicate with your people that this is what is happening. Our teams right now are on the ground working on refurbishing and rehabilitating that road.  We will continue with that good job working with different Zimbabwean experts. This will allow us to do a good job.  I believe that resurfacing will be starting in the near future but for now we are patching the potholes.  I thank you. 

          +HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  My question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  What I want to know is, what is it that we use the money that is collected from tollgates because the money is supposed to be used on road rehabilitation.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order.  Hon. Senator, you are not connected.

          +HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I will start afresh.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport.  What is it that happens to the money that is collected from tollgates?  I understand all the drivers make payments on the tollgates. I will ask the Hon. Minister to tell us how they are making use of the money that is collected from tollgates.  The money is supposed to be used for road rehabilitation. 

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Hon. President.  May you please allow me to respond in Shona.  Thank you Hon. Sen. Khumalo for the question which is important on collection and use of tollgate monies.  The question is that toll fees should be taken to different tasks, for example rehabilitation of roads.  Let me inform this august Senate that there is ZINARA, which is responsible for toll fees.  In the past, ZINARA used to work on roads but that is not their mandate.  Their mandate is collecting fees on behalf of road authorities like councils, DDF, the Department of Roads which falls under the Ministry, which means ZINARA is responsible for the reception, collection and distribution of these monies.  The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and ZINARA have that responsibility of disbursing funds for road rehabilitation.  When we sit down to discuss the annual budget, these are the monies that are allocated to us, even from ZINARA.  This is the money that we use.  There are some roads which do not have tollgates.  Even roads that do not have tollgates still need to be rehabilitated.

 I believe that it is important that Hon. Senators highlight roads that need to be worked on.  ZINARA is doing a good job.  For instance, $93 billion has been allocated to roads, which means that ZINARA in every three months reviews monies that are given to road authorities and local authorities.  If you have a road that you believe is not in a good state, it is important to engage the Ministry.  My number is always open and it is 0777 281 601.  Please inform me about the roads that you want us to work on and I will send our engineers.  We do not wait for office work to be done but they will come to you.  They will say Hon. Senator, please take me to that road and show me the road.  We do not wait for the Minister to be asked during the question and answer segment.  When you come for sitting, what you would see on the Order Paper is something else, like what Hon. Sen. Hungwe said that we have already worked on a road that she mentioned.  I thank you. 

          +HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President. If that money is also given to City Councils, why is it that in urban centres most of our roads are dilapidated? It is very clear that the state of the roads in urban areas is very bad. Why is the Ministry not focusing on urban centres first because they are the ones that have bad roads? 

          * HON. MHONA: Money which is allocated to local authorities is supposed to be allocated for the refurbishment of roads. This is what I alluded to earlier on that the money which is allocated to councils sometimes was not accounted for and no-one knew what they were getting. Every three months there is an evaluation of the monies and what the monies were used for and determining how much was taken to the authorities and what was done using that money.

          For example, even the cutting of grass along main roads, you would find that you hear some people saying that there is not enough money. Do you need a lot of money to cut grass along main roads and even the cutting down of trees which obstruct traffic? So as the august House, we have an oversight role and I want to thank Hon. Sen. Khumalo. This is our responsibility and we have that mandate of taking authorities to task as a watchdog so that they explain to this august House how they used the money that is allocated to them by Government.

          You will not stop informing this august House the amounts that we disburse to the City of Bulawayo, City of Harare and other cities, whether the money is enough or not, it must be used and accounted for. You would find that some councils are given money and they share that money among the management whilst not attending to service delivery. This is the challenge because some people do not know that their local authorities will always blame the Government whilst it is the responsibility of local authorities. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. My supplementary question has been addressed that as a Ministry, is there anything that they are doing to make local authorities account for the money which has been allocated to them. I believe that question has already been addressed by the Hon. Minister.

          *HON. SEN. MANYAU: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. When working on different roads, there are pavements which are used for the disabled who use wheel chairs and crutches but...

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That is not a supplementary question. That is a question in its own right. I will give you the opportunity to ask that question. Before I ask the next Hon. Member to raise their question, we have the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. L. Matuke who has joined the Chamber.

          *HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me the opportunity to pose my question. My question goes to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Hon. Minister, end of last year, there was macro-economic stability in the country but at the beginning of this year we have seen inflation going up and our dollar being devalued to the extent that right now all the benefits which you had extended to civil servants are of no use. Also the use of the local currency, most of the entrepreneur businesses are refusing to take our local currency which is actually to the detriment of the rural populace where they cannot get this black market thing going on.

          My question is, what are you doing to arrest this inflation which has started to accelerate northwards and what strategies are you having to encourage the use of our local currency because we were told that were going to dedollarise later on but now it seems we are a completely dollarised economy. I thank you.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. President and I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for asking that question. There was stability last year. However, at the beginning of the year, there was indeed a change in the state of affairs. I concur with you that towards the end of last year, our contractors were charging exorbitant fees and because of that as Treasury we have an oversight role to look at how resources are being used. That is how we introduce the value for money and we decide that all contracts should be evaluated so that we know whether prices are indeed the right prices which were supposed to be charged. Because of value for money, we started getting a lot of payments and again, there were payments for contractors for grain, wheat and other goods and services.

          The money we paid in December is more than ZW$200 billion. Economics will tell you that allocating ZW$200 billion to the market, that money does something and what also brought about this challenge is that in December, some people went to the market to get USD and this affected our rate. I want to say that when you say that inflation is rising, I want to disagree because the inflation rate is going down on a monthly basis. It is at 0.7%. This month it went down from 1.3% to 0.6%.

          However, the challenge is the exchange rate - like I said that the challenge is that there was a lot of liquid money circulating in the economy and this resulted in those who have large amounts mopping up the entire USD which were circulating.

I want to assure you that when you look for RTGS, you will not get the RTGS.  We issued Treasury Bills last week and we took 45 billion from the market.  Right now there are no RTGs in the market.  There is enough RTGS for the development of the country.  We are doing liquidity management and the money which is supposed to be circulating should be commensurate with economic activities and this is what we are doing.  I want to say that the money that was injected into the market, we took a lot of money because of gold coins. 

          Those who have money and want to swap its value in gold coins can do so.  Gold coins are small coins and these are taking a lot of money from the market.  In the past two years, I believe that you heard that we were behind by three to six months but right now we believe that within two weeks we should have paid.  No-one is going to say that their money is delaying. In the next two weeks we will be able to offset all the outstanding amounts.  We are up-to-date with all the auctions.  We have paid everything that we were supposed to pay.  We also agreed that as we move forward we will keep working hard so that people do not speculate with money they withdraw from banks. 

          The inflation and interest rates should be parallel; this is what we are doing so that we contain the exchange rate.  When the Central Bank reads their Monetary Statement we believe that interest rates are going to be contained and are going to decrease because we are saying that the inflation rate is going down.  So, this is supposed to come down even in our Monetary Statement.  However, I want to say that whatever money we have we must use it the right way.  For us to have a strong currency we must make our industries viable, we must manufacture products and export so that we get foreign currency.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My question is on last week’s figures, the statistics that were publicized in Harare that 80% of our population is using US dollars and only 20% are using the local currency.  This means that in the near future we would reach the 100% US dollar currency mark.  My question is; what measures do you have in place so that we go back to the local currency?  I thank you.

          *HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you for the supplementary question that was raised by Hon. Sen. Komichi.  Indeed, the statistics that you mentioned are correct, even ZIMSTAT published such statistics. I believe that we need to reach a stage where the people are comfortable in using multi-currency.  We can only reach that stage when we reach a certain level of stability. When our exchange rate stabilizes, if our currency does not fluctuate against the US dollars, we have reached currency stability.  So, for us to reach a stable exchange rate, we need to produce. Production is important for it will give us exports and foreign currency.  It will give us local currency in abundance.

          Our market relates to the auction but in the long term, we need to allow demand and supply, the basics of economies of scale, to determine the economy.  When our exchange rate is determined by the market, there is no manipulation and there is no preference of which currency because the true value of the currency will be determined by the market.  The challenge that we face right now is that there is a parallel market which is being influenced by expectations of people. Our fundamentals are good because we have a surplus. Our Nostro balance is around US$2 billion. If we have US$2 billion Nostro balances then there is no reason for us to say that our currency is volatile. So we want to reach that stage where there is currency stability. When we reach such stability, people will be use whatever currency whether US or RTGs.  We need to focus on production.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  I appreciate that we were told about the roads that are being worked on but the challenge that I face is that we heard about different roads but the Mt. Selinda-Chipinge-Mbire Road, we have not seen any progress and we were told that a 5km stretch is going to be worked on but they have not reached the 2 km.  People would only come and work for a short period of time covering 1 km.  I do not know whether the law allows that we request that such big roads like Zimbabwe-Mozambique should be rehabilitated.  The people of Chipinge are not happy when their roads are neglected whilst other roads are being attended to.  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mabika for raising that question. I want to apologize for the machines which are not in good conditions and which do not perform the task.  At one point I was told about one of the machines which broke down. I want to appreciate the fact that when we urge people to work on these roads, especially Zimbabweans, this is empowerment which is being given to local people. You would find that when we enact laws we know that there are responsible authorities for regulating but we know that some contractors were not very honest in their dealings.  So you would find that when you allocate tenders to companies you would find that there is a lot of corruption that happens.  So we write down the different roads and the different contractors who are engaged.  This is one of the roads, the Mt. Selinda which had people who were not performing well but our teams are on the ground and I believe that in the near future I will come to Chipinge and give feedback to this august Senate. I know about that road indeed and this has been a challenge. 

          At one point we spoke about 5km - inform them that the Minister said has said he is going to come to Chipinge. We will cover 10 km and give you working equipment.

+HON. SEN. NKOMO:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Hon. Minister, thank you so much for updating us on the progress that you have made on road rehabilitation.  Some of the roads were really bad.

What I want to touch on is on roads that need your urgent attention for there are so many accidents that have happened along those roads, especially the road between Bulawayo and Ngezi.  There are so many accidents that have occurred on that road for that road is in a very bad state.

Another thing Hon. Minister, there is a road from Gwanda to Maphisa.  That road has been talked about for a very long time.  What I want to find out from you Hon. Minister is: what are your plans on rehabilitating these very strategic roads in that province?

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI):  Hon. Members, can we just go straight to the questions rather than debating because most of our time is consumed by debating.  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Nkomo for posing that important question and for thanking us for working on different roads.  You also mentioned two important roads in Matabeleland South.  Ngezi has a big history.  The Gwanda-Maphisa Road that you mentioned has a lot of potholes which are causing accidents and the other roads that I spoke about, every province was given the task of informing us and I can assure you that the Gwanda-Maphisa Road is one of the roads that we have been working on.  We have covered 5km in the Gwanda-Maphisa Road, even the Plumtree-Ngezi.  We want to add on the 5kms and you will discover that in Matabeleland South we are working on different roads. 

There is also the Beitbridge Road which is in Matabeleland South.  These roads are being worked on.  The Beitbridge-Bulawayo Road is in a bad state, so we are working on such roads.  We want to identify all those roads as we cover all potholes bit by bit, covering the whole of Zimbabwe.

Thank you Sen. Nkomo.  You mentioned important roads and we always talk about such roads.  We will be working on every road and we will be covering 5km per road and I believe that as the rainy season comes to an end, we are going to cover all the potholes and then we will start resurfacing them.  Thank you very much.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI:  Thank you Madam President for the opportunity.  Hon. Minister, I would like to find out whether you have any plans regarding our road which links us with Victoria Falls.  Are there any plans for rehabilitating that road?

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  How does Kwekwe and Maphisa link?  That is another question.  You will be given time to ask.

HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI:  Madam President, can the Hon. Minister answer my question.

*HON. SEN. MANYAU:  Thank you Madam President.  I want to direct my question to the Minister of Public Works and National Housing.  We have a lot of people who are disabled and who are on the waiting list.  I do not know the criteria that is used because for people who continually pay and contribute towards the waiting list for 10 years without getting houses, it is not right.  What is the plan Hon. Minister?

THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Madam President.  Let me thank the Hon. Senator for that pertinent question, the question which is very important to us as a responsible Ministry.  Indeed, we have a lot of civil servants who have been paying but who do not have houses yet.  We all know that since the inception of the new dispensation, His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa decided that there should be a Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities to address the housing challenges so that every Zimbabwean is not left behind, but that everyone should have access to owning houses.

Those who are on waiting lists are being given houses. We are clearing the list one by one, bit by bit, until everyone gets accommodation.  I thank you.

 

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. MOHADI): We have been joined by the Deputy Minister for Energy and Power Development, Hon. Mudyiwa.  You are welcome.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 67.

          HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I move that the time be extended by 25 minutes.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President for the opportunity to ask a question to the Minister of Women’s Affairs.  We know that a lot of SMEs are helping many women in Zimbabwe.  What is Government’s plan regarding women in SMEs to access external markets and attend exhibition and fairs outside the country where they can showcase their products?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Madam President for this opportunity.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for asking that pertinent question.  Indeed in SMEs, we have a lot of women who are doing a good job in small businesses, contributing towards employment and towards the GDP of the nation in providing products and services through SMEs.  So, we put 13 pillars in SMEs.  One of those pillars is the export pillar.  If we were to recall in the Dubai Expo 2020, we had a lot of women going to showcase their products.  We also had the opportunity to go to Kenya and Namibia.  We have Memoranda of Understanding with these countries and our women in business are given the opportunity to go and showcase and we urge women to participate in such exhibitions.

          Some women in Manicaland went to Mozambique and won a number of awards after showcasing their businesses.  We also have plans that as a Ministry, we go around with ZIMTRADE which promotes the export of goods and services explaining the importance of quality standards in business so that Zimbabwean women can access the external markets.  Then this should translate into significant revenue for SMEs and business in women.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  My question is, are there any future plans for the Kwekwe-Victoria Falls Road because the road is like a river now?  I believe that the people would be very happy if they get positive feedback from the Hon. Minister.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ntabeni for that question.  Such questions should be written down so that I come back with relevant responses.  Indeed, I know about the road.  It would go from Kwekwe, Lupane, Nkayi to Victoria Falls.  Right now, we are looking for PPPs because we know that it might take us years for us coming to this august House to request for funding.  The good thing about this road is that it is convenient because for those who want to go to Victoria Falls, it will be a short-cut for those from Harare for both business people and travellers.  They would just go via Kwekwe, Lupane and Victoria Falls without going via Bulawayo. 

          As a chief, I want to request you to inform your people that we are going to be working on that road just like the Harare-Beitbridge Road.  We will work on that road until we reach Lupane.  I thank you.

           HON. SEN. A. DUBE:  Thank you Madam President.  I will direct my question to the Minister of National Housing.  There are some pool houses in most districts which are being occupied by civil servants.  Others have been in for more than 25 years.  My question is; those who have stayed long, why are they not allowed to buy and stay?

          THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  Let me thank the Hon. Member for the question.  We have got various models in the housing sector.  There is rental accommodation, rent to buy accommodation and outright purchase accommodation.  I am not too sure whether the houses she is referring to fall under any of the categories that I mentioned; if the Hon. Senator could put the question in writing so that we investigate and respond adequately.  Thank you. 

          +HON. SEN. MKHWEBU:  Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development.  In Gwanda, in Matabeleland South Province, there are solar panels that were installed.  My question is; what are Government plans concerning the solar project in Gwanda? 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Madam President for the question.  I know it is about solar energy and I guess you are asking about the Gwanda Solar Project which has not moved even an inch to generate electricity for the country.  The Gwanda issue is in the courts. It went to court recently and there was a judgement that was passed in favour of the contractor being Intratek, with the Managing Director being Wicknell Chivayo.  There were issues that ZESA have not made a decision on what to do after this judgement that favoured the contractor.  We are yet to get what ZESA will do.  Either they would want to appeal or maybe they would want to go by the judgement.  After we know what will happen, then we can talk about it.  If ZESA is not going to appeal against the judgement, then we can see something happening at the Gwanda Solar Project but if ZESA decides to go the other way and appeal against the judgement, it will take some time before we get electricity from the Gwanda project.  The litigation might take long in the courts and we do not know how long it is going to take.  At the moment, we cannot say there is anything happening at the Gwanda Solar Project. 

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. MOHADI):  Order.  We have been joined by Hon. Dr. Mangwiro, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.  Thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. G. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. We have a lot of roads, some which were left in the same state in 2005 which were supposed to be tarred, for example in Headlands.  The road has only 25 kilometres of tar since 2005 and nothing is being done.  Our constituents always ask us what Government is doing regarding that road.  It has been a long time since 2005.  Is there a budget for that road or you have totally forgotten about it?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Madam President.  Like what I have said before, we have been receiving a lot of questions which would have been written down.  However, because I have been moving around the country, I am aware of the road.  Remember, we have a portion which was affected by the cyclone.  I thought the Hon. Senator is going to thank the Government for the bridge that we repaired then ask her question.  I want to say that when we completed that bridge but we have not forgotten the road which links Mutoko from Headlands which connects people from Manicaland and Mutoko.  This is one important road.  So there is no need for people to come via Harare.  Indeed, we are aware of the road.  After completing the bridge, we have engaged our engineers so that they are certain on what should be done.  We are going to take over from the distance that has been covered.  We would work on the road maybe covering five kilometres, 10 kilometres until we have covered the total distance.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  We have also been joined by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Soda. 

          HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minster of Energy and Power Development. By end of last year we were upbeat that we were going to be putting one of the generators on the grid and adding 300 megawatts on the grid but -to-date, we have not yet been able to get that promise. When are we expecting to get our new generator on the grid?

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you very much Madam President. It is true that by the end of last year we expected that one of our units that we are constructing through the Hwange Expansion Project would be coming on the grid and bringing in 300 megawatts which would be followed by another Unit 8 to give additional 300 megawatts. You recall by the end of last year in December, there was a resurgence of COVID in China and that was the time we expected some engineers to come and work on the protection system. That is the remaining part but all other systems have been tested and commissioned including the turbine which is supposed to achieve some given revolutions of rotation per minute which is precisely 3000 revolutions per minute. That was also achieved and that is a critical part of the commissioning of that unit.

          All we are remaining with is the final linking of the whole system to the grid which is supposed to be passed by ABB Engineers. Immediately, they could not be mobilised to come to the country which then later happened during the second week of December. Apparently, the engineers did not come from China because of the lockdown conditions that were obtaining in China. They had to be mobilised from elsewhere. They came and took their time to also understand the whole system and that was the major cause of the delay.

          They were supposed to come up with some configurations. There are some settings which they were supposed to come up with which they did not do on time. There was some reinforcement from some engineers from their sister company ABB which is in South Africa. They also came and gave support. As we speak, they are working on the final part of that unit. There have been some delays but some lessons have been learnt which I think with Unit 8, we will not experience or encounter similar delays in order to bring Unit 8.

          In order to ameliorate the situation of the depressed power supply situation, the Government increased on our imports and looking around from the region, we got 200 megawatts. We are importing a total of 500 megawatts. That is the reason the situation did not deteriorate that much even when we reduced production of electricity from Kariba because of the water issues. We are generating an average of 250 megawatts but there is going to be a meeting tomorrow between the two utilities and ZERA. We are the managers of the water resources in Kariba Dam; with the hope that water allocation is going to be increased and with additional water allocation, we will improve our generation.

          So, coming back to the question, yes we did not manage to achieve the synchronisation of Unit 7 as we had initially projected but we are still expecting that to be coming onto the grid anytime because people are working flat out to ensure that the unit is linked to the grid anytime. Thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President. I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 145TH ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION AND RELATED MEETINGS

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 145th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Related Meetings.

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:

INTRODUCTION

The Parliament of Rwanda, convened the 145th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings in Kigali from 11 to 15 October 2022 under the overarching theme “Gender Equality and Gender Sensitive Parliaments as Drivers of Change for a more Resilient and Peaceful World”. The 145th Assembly was attended by 1250 participants drawn from 120 countries, including 45 Speakers of Parliament. The theme of the Assembly was an acknowledgement of the achievement of the host Parliament which boasts of 61% women Parliamentarians.

Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament, led a Parliamentary delegation comprising of the following:

  •      Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate;
  •      Muzenda, Member of Parliament;
  •     Robson Mavenyengwa, Member of Parliament;
  •     Tongai Mafidi Mnangagwa, Member of Parliament;
  •     Spiwe Mukunyaidze, Member of Parliament;
  •     Vincent Tsvangirai, Member of Parliament; and
  •     Support staff.

The Hon. Speaker Mudenda attended the Executive Committee meetings which preceded the 145th Assembly and Related Meetings in Montevideo, Uruguay, in June 2022, virtually in September 2022 as well as in Kigali, Rwanda on 09 and 10 October 2022 in person.

KEY DECISIONS OF THE IPU EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

          IPU OBSERVER MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS:

The Executive Committee considered and accepted the requests for observer status for the following organisations: Collective Security Treaty Parliamentary Assembly Organisation (CSTO PA); and,

UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health.

Following some intense debate, the application for the observer status by the League of Parliamentarians for Al QUDS was deferred to allow for further consultations and due diligence by the Secretary General in light of the terrorists’ allegations levelled against the leader of that organisation.

The request by the Muslin World League was turned down on the basis that it is a non-governmental organisation with unknown interface with any Parliaments or Parliamentarians.

The Executive Committee noted that the Association of Secretaries General of Arab Parliaments already has a working relationship with the IPU through the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP). Accordingly, the application was turned down.

The decision on the request by the G7 was deferred pending the establishment of mutually beneficial cooperation with the IPU.   

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE IPU TASK FORCE ON RUSSIA/UKRAINE CONFLICT

The Task Force comprising eight members from all Geo-political Groups, undertook Missions to Kiev and Moscow, following invitations from both Parliaments of the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Executive Committee took note of the report and endorsed the Task Force’s recommendation to continue its diplomatic mission through individual consultations with Parliamentarians from both sides. It was hoped that Parliamentarians from both sides could be brought together for an interface soonest. The Executive Committee encouraged the Task Force to continue its collaboration with other key peace brokers who are desirous to end peace in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  

UPDATE ON THE IPU CREMER-PASSY PRIZE   

The Selection Committee nominated two winners for the award:-

  • Mrs Lopez Castro who is a young Parliamentarian from Mexico; and
  • Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine.

          The two nominees were in Kigali to receive their award.

FINANCIAL QUESTIONS

The Executive Committee endorsed the recommendation to increase the assessed contributions for Member Parliaments by 3%. Furthermore, it approved the proposed budget for 2023.

The Executive Committee commended the IPU Secretariat for the prudential management of the IPU finances which remain healthy.

Voluntary funding continues to increase with the continued support from SIDA, the Shura Council of Qatar, Canada, Irish Aid, China, Bangladesh, Benin, the United Arab Emirates and UN Agencies among other partners. The IPU strives to maintain a balance between assessed contributions and voluntary contributions at a healthy ratio of 75% to 25% respectively.

COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

The Executive Committee commended the progress made in the implementation of the Communications Strategy in the following areas:

  • Increased digital platforms that would have an anticipated target of half a million views by year-end.
  • Increased social media followers.
  • Production of digital content for and about Parliaments on IPU’s website and YouTube platform which highlight positive Parliamentary practices.
  • Intensified work on the database for Members of Parliament beyond the current 16 000 participants as shall be encouraged by all Member Parliaments who must submit their databases to the IPU urgently.
  • Promoting activities of the Presidency.
  • Preparing a climate change campaign.
  • Continuing to generate coverage in the traditional media.

REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE IPU

The Activity Report of the President was anchored on three (3) deliverables as follows:

Reinforcing Values and IPU Strategy: The President participated in conferences, including the Young Parliamentarians and Women Speakers’ Summit. He also undertook visits to some Parliaments, schools and tertiary institutions where he articulated the values of the IPU and its role in strengthening democracy and multilateralism.

Increasing the Visibility of the IPU through press conferences and posting on social media platforms relevant information that promotes the core values of the IPU.

Universal Membership: The President of the IPU remains committed to accelerating universal membership of the IPU, inclusive of the outstanding membership of United States of America Congress and other Parliaments that remain outside the fold. Accordingly, the President and the Secretary General attended the CPA Conference held in Halifax, Canada, in August 2022 and engaged the Caribbean and Pacific countries to join the IPU. The President has also stepped up his engagement with the United States Congress on the same.

Establishment of IPU Regional Offices

The Executive Committee agreed in principle to establish regional offices whose objectives would be to enhance member engagement, provide systematic outreach to Parliaments and providing support for the IPU Work plans, among others. Upon presentation to the Governing Council, it was resolved that consultations would continue with the Africa Geo-political Group on the question of the host country for the proposed pilot project in view of Egypt’s offer to house the regional office but under the Arab League Group and not the Africa Geo-Political Group. Uruguay made a similar issue. The Secretary General was instructed to do due diligence as to whether or not these two offers could be pilot projects.

FORUM OF YOUNG PARLIAMENTARIANS

The President of Young Parliamentarians, Hon. Ms Sahar Albazar, reported success of the Young Parliamentarians’ Conference which took place in Egypt in June 2022 where 200 young Parliamentarians from 70 countries attended. The Young Parliamentarians extended their appreciation to the IPU for promoting youth parliamentary engagements in its activities.

Data Protection Policy

The Executive Committee adopted the Data Protection Policy. The comprehensive Policy seeks to strike a balance between the need to maintain privacy and the provision of data information on Members of Parliament.

Policy to Prevent Harassment, Including Sexual Harassment at the IPU Assemblies and other IPU events

Recent studies by the IPU uncovered a scourge of violence against female Parliamentarians. In response, the Gender Partnership Group developed its anti-harassment framework for its Assemblies and other IPU Events anchored on the adopted UN Code of Conduct to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment at UN events.

The Interim Report of the Secretary General of the IPU,

The Executive Committee noted the Interim Report of the Secretary-General which outlined the activities of the IPU since January 2022. The Secretary General indicated that the activities under review were in response to the Strategic Objectives as articulated in the IPU Strategy which is now in its second year. In this context, the following activities were undertaken:

  • Thirty-six support activities in 16 countries to build capacity;
  • Participation in forty-five (45) regional and global events to leverage parliamentary action; and
  • Produced more than 10 publications and tools of trade of the IPU.
  • 11.1Additionally, the IPU also implemented activities around the Policy Goals on Peace and Security as well as Sustainable Development Goals for All.

Questions relating to situations of certain Parliaments: The Executive Committee endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary General and noted situations in certain Parliaments as follows:

Afghanistan

The Delegation from Afghanistan to remain non-voting observers.

          Burkina Faso

In light of the second coup d’état on 30 September 2022 and in spirit of engagement and dialogue, Burkina Faso will remain a member of the IPU until the expected 2024 elections.

 Guinea Bissau

There is continued infighting between the Government and the Parliament. The Parliament has been dissolved pending Parliamentary elections scheduled for December 2022. Accordingly, the Executive Committee noted the recent developments and will continue engaging authorities on the pending elections process.

Sudan

There is still no functional Parliament in Sudan. Elections are scheduled for July 2023. The Executive Committee noted with regret the delays in holding the elections.

Eswatini

The Executive noted the developments in Eswatini, with particular reference to crackdown on protesters by the authorities.

The Executive Committee also acknowledged the situations in Haiti, Libya, Palestine, South Sudan, Venezuela, Bosnia Herzegovina, Myanmar and Tunisia as counter to democratic tenets.

Future Meetings of the IPU

The March IPU Assembly will be held in Bahrain. The Parliament of Angola offered to host the IPU in October 2023. A decision on the Angolan offer was deferred pending a site visit to Angola by the IPU Secretariat.

Election of Vice Presidents of the IPU

Ms. A.D. Kanoute of Senegal was re-elected for a second term as Vice-President of the IPU representing the Africa Geo-political Group.

GOVERNING COUNCIL

In addition to endorsing the decisions of the Executive Committee as enunciated in Item 2 of this Report, the Governing Council took note of the following Reports: -

  •      Reports on Recent IPU Specialised Meetings; and,
  •       Activities of Committees and other bodies.

Hon. Chinomona presented the report of the Women Speakers Summit held in Uzbekistan in September 2022. The Summit culminated in the adoption of the Tashkent Declaration which calls on Parliaments to step up implementation of the IPU Plan of Action for Gender Sensitive Parliaments. Furthermore, the report called for immediate and robust action towards achieving gender parity in Parliaments, gender mainstreaming in both the public and private sectors as well as tackling gender based violence.

Of particular note is that the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians reported on two cases of Zimbabwean Members of Parliament, namely Hon. Joanna Mamombe and Hon. Job Sikhala. The report alleged human rights violations against Hon. Mamombe which  include abduction, torture, ill treatment and other acts of violence, threats, acts of intimidation, arbitrary arrest and detention, inhuman conditions of detention, lack of due process at the investigation stage, lack of fair proceedings, violation of freedom of opinion and expression, violation of freedom of assembly and association, violation of freedom of movement, other acts obstructing the exercise of parliamentary mandate, impunity and discrimination.

On the other hand, the alleged human rights violations against Hon. Sikhala include arbitrary arrest and detention, inhumane conditions of detention, lack of due process in proceedings, lack of due process at the investigation stage, lack of trial proceedings, excessive delays, violation of freedom of opinion and expression, violation of freedom of assembly and association, violation of freedom of movement and other acts obstructing the exercise of the parliamentary mandate.

The Committee renewed its interest to undertake a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe to examine the cases as well as to observe the trials of the concerned Members of Parliament.

In the spirit of transparency, the Hon. Speaker appeared before the  Human Rights Committee and articulated the status of the cases for both Hon. Mamombe and Hon. Sikhala as well as Hon. Sithole who is charged together with Hon. Sikhala and also highlighted that the three are still Members of Parliament enjoying full benefits of this status. The request for the mission to Zimbabwe will be considered by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as the relevant Ministry.

SADC GROUP AND AFRICA GEO-POLITICAL GROUP

     MEETINGS

As has become tradition, the SADC Group and the Africa Geo-political Group convened their meetings on 10 October 2022 to consider and reach a consensus on issues on the Agenda of the IPU 145th Assembly and Related Meetings. These included the Report of the Executive Committee and the Emergency Item/s on the Assembly Agenda. The Hon Speaker, Advocate Mudenda, presented a summary Report to both groups subsequently. 

Both Groups expressed reservations about the proposal submitted by the delegation of Pakistan as an Emergency Item entitled “Creation of the Global Fund or financing facility for climate change vulnerable countries to address loss and damage associated with climate change” as it did not meet the criteria for an Emergency Item in terms of Article 11 of the IPU Statutes. 

OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 145TH ASSEMBLY OF THE IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS

The IPU 145th Assembly and Related Meetings was officially opened by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, on 11 October 2022. His Excellency Kagame welcomed delegates after being called upon to address the Assembly by the host Speaker, Dr. Mukabalisa. The President lauded the Assembly’s theme which espoused gender equality in all spheres of human endevours, more-so when the women folk form 52% of the world’s population. It was, therefore, incumbent upon Parliaments to enact laws that effectively promote gender parity. However, the President cautioned that there was “no size fits all “in tackling gender equality deficiencies. To him, what was critical is the application of the political will to achieve the goal. The President wished the Assembly vibrant deliberations where outcomes should have positive resolutions.

In welcoming the delegates to the land of a thousand hills, Hon. Donatella Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Parliament of Rwanda, expressed Rwanda’s commitment to the participation of women in politics and inclusivity as enshrined Rwanda’s constitution. Accordingly, Rwandan women are active in participation in socio-economic and political development. She called on delegates to reflect and take stock of on gender equality and proffer solutions to address the related challenges.

In his address to delegates, Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, called for the acceleration of progress to achieve shared goals on gender equality and gender sensitive Parliaments with zero tolerance to gender violence and sexism. In addressing instability as experienced in some parts of Africa and the Russia/Ukraine conflict, among others, the Secretary General underscored the value of dialogue as articulated by the founding fathers of the IPU. He called upon Parliaments to strive for peace, equity and opportunities for all.

Hon. Duarte Pachecco, President of the IPU, commended the collective efforts across the globe in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He called for parliamentary cooperation in resolving global challenges, including climate change, political instability in Africa, Russia/Ukraine conflict and the situation in Palestine. Such cooperation would pave way for sustainable development as well as progress in the fight for gender equality.

EMERGENCY ITEM FOR INCLUSION ON THE AGENDA

In accordance with Assembly Rule 11.1 which states that any Member of the Union may request the inclusion of an Emergency Item in the Assembly Agenda, the following delegations subsequently submitted proposals: -

  • “Creation of the Global Fund or financing facility for climate change vulnerable countries to address loss and damage associated with climate change” submitted by the delegation from Pakistan;
  • “Condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of territories in defense of the territorial integrity of all States” submitted by the delegation of Chile with the support of the GRULAC Geopolitical Group.
  • “Preserving Iraq’s sovereignty, rejecting repeated attacks and not interfering in internal affairs submitted by the delegation from Iraq.

The delegation of Iraq withdrew its proposal before the vote. The submission by the delegation of Chile carried the day after a vote and was accordingly included on the Agenda of the Assembly as an Emergency Item.

DEBATE ON THE THEME OF THE ASSEMBLY

In their interventions on the theme of the Assembly entitled Gender Equality and Gender Sensitive Parliaments as Drivers of Change for a more Resilient and Peaceful World”, Parliamentarians took stock of the positive steps towards achieving gender equality. Speakers unanimously concurred that it had become an imperative to include women leadership in addressing global challenges such as conflicts, pandemics and climate change. Through their legislative and oversight functions, Parliaments can play a critical role in enacting strong legislation, including quotas for women in politics and ensuring gender responsive budgeting.

In his address to the Assembly, Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, shared some best practices from the Parliament of Zimbabwe, including the following:

  • Development of an Institutional Gender Policy whose principal framework lays the foundation for integrating gender perspectives within the Parliament.
  • 60 seats in the National Assembly are constitutionally guaranteed up to 2030 on the basis of proportional representation in addition to constituency representation.
  • Establishment of the vibrant Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) by our Parliament in 2001
  • Promulgation of a new Marriages Act (No. 1) of 2022 which unequivocally disallows early child marriages wherein it became legally impermissible to marry a girl below 18 years age of majority.
  • Constitutionally guaranteed one third of women councillors in every local authority.

FORUM OF WOMEN PARLIAMENTARIANS

The Forum of Women Parliamentarians contributed, from a gender perspective, to the draft Resolution before the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights “Parliamentary impetus to local and regional development of countries with high levels of international migration and to stopping all forms, including State-sponsored, of human trafficking and human rights abuses”. The forum recommended a human rights based and gender sensitive approach to migration, addressing the root causes of trafficking of women and girls, including for sexual exploitation and combating human trafficking with focus on the rights and needs of survivors.

In addition, the forum held a panel discussion on the theme Gender-sensitive Parliaments: Parliaments free from sexism, harassment and violence against women”. Accordingly, debate highlighted policies and mechanisms for the prevention of and response to sexism and gender based violence in Parliamentary space. In addition, the forum recommended policy measures to prevent sexism and harassment in Parliament, independent reporting and complaint mechanisms, confidential spaces where victims can get information and support. Collaborating with the media for dissemination of information on the participation of women in politics and the violence they may face was also recommended.

The Forum of Women Parliamentarians organized a parity debate on the theme” Rejuvenating Parliaments: Why younger and gender sensitive Parliaments are more effective and efficient institutions. The debate examined the needs, expectations and aspirations of a more diverse generation of men and women Parliamentarians as well as practical ways of reconciling Parliamentary activities and family responsibilities.

Hon. Chinomona articulated the steps taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to address cases of human trafficking which include domestication of some provisions of the International Protocol on Trafficking to include criminalization of offenders as well as enacting survivor centered provisions for victims of trafficking. In addition, she shared that Zimbabwean law allows for the compensation of victims of trafficking by the perpetrator.

FORUM OF YOUNG PARLIAMENTARIANS

The Forum Members recommended the creation of youth caucuses, youth wings of political parties, empowerment opportunities for young Parliamentarians.

The forum also exchanged views on the theme of the General Debate on “Gender equality and gender sensitive Parliaments as drivers of change for a more resilient and peaceful world”. The forum affirmed the need for Parliaments to be fully inclusive of young Parliamentarians. It called for innovative ways to address challenges of gender equality, including provision of feeding rooms for young mothers as well as policies that address sexism and gender based violence.

The young Parliamentarians also shared the progress in launching the “I Say Yes to Youth in Parliament” Campaign in their respective Parliaments. Of note is that Parliaments have been receiving assistance from the IPU in the implementation of this initiative.

THE OUTCOMES OF THE 145TH ASSEMBLY AND RELATED MEETINGS

Kigali Declaration on “Gender Equality and Gender Sensitive Parliaments as drivers of change for a more resilient and peaceful world”:  The Declaration represents a milestone in progress towards gender equality and gender-sensitive Parliaments. It encourages IPU Members to step up their efforts to promote gender equality in both the public and private sectors. The Kigali Declaration is attached as Annexure “A”.

The IPU Assembly also adopted a resolution on “Parliamentary impetus to local and regional development of countries with high levels of international migration and to stopping all forms, including State-sponsored, of human-trafficking and human rights abuses”

The resolution calls on the United Nations to make the topic of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, a specific focus for the next UN General Assembly.

It also urges governments and Parliaments to address the demand side of trafficking, including trafficking in women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Resolution is attached as Annexure “B”.

The IPU 145th Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution on Ukraine entitled “Condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of territories in defense of territorial integrity of all States” The resolution is attached as Annexure “C”.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Parliament should implement the 10 - Action Plan for gender sensitive parliaments, gender equality and gender mainstreaming. It is acknowledged that the Parliament of Zimbabwe has made positive strides in its quest for achieving gender parity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe. The country should continue on this trajectory.

Parliament should consider launching the “I say yes to Youth in Parliament Campaign”. This gesture would renew the commitment by Parliament towards youth inclusivity in Parliamentary processes. The Hon. Speaker and the President of the Senate are commended for signing up to the “I say Yes to Youth in Parliament Campaign”.

Parliament to actively engage in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals through the Expanded Sustainable Development Goals Committee which should establish a monitoring and evaluation matrix.

Parliament to endorse the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees as well as to use them as roadmaps for improving international cooperation and migration governance. CONCLUSION

In line with the IPU Statues and Rules as well as the IPU Strategy which places emphasis on implementation of resolutions of the IPU, Parliament of Zimbabwe will be called upon to report on action taken towards implementation of the adopted resolutions. Accordingly, Parliamentary Committees are encouraged to implement resolutions and provide feedback thereof timely.

The delegation wishes to express its profound appreciation to Parliament and the Government of Zimbabwe for affording it the opportunity to represent Parliament and the country at the IPU 145th Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to support the 145th Assembly Report of the IPU and its related issues.  Among other things that were discussed, Mr. President Sir, was the establishment of the IPU regional offices. 

The Executive Committee agreed in principle to establish regional offices whose objectives would be to enhance member engagement, provide systematic outreach to Parliaments and provide support for the IPU workplans, among other things. 

Upon presentation of the Government Council, it was resolved that consultations could continue on the question of the host country for the proposed pilot projects in view of Egypt’s offer to house the regional office but under the Arab league.

Mr. President, they also discussed the Forum for Young Parliamentarians.  The President of Young Parliamentarians, Hon. M. S. Sahar Abazar reported success on the Young Parliamentarians Conference which took place in Egypt in June 2022.  The Young Parliamentarians extended their appreciation to the IPU for promoting Youth Parliamentarian engagements in its activities.

On data presentation policy, the Executive Committee adopted the Data Protection Policy.  The comprehensive policy seeks to strike a balance between the need to maintain privacy and the provision of data information on Members of Parliament.

On policy to prevent harassment including sexual harassment at the IPU assemblies and other IPU events, recent studies by the IPU uncovered a scourge of violence against female parliamentarians.  In response, the gender partnership group developed its anti-harassment framework for its assemblies and other IPU events anchored on the adopted United Nation’s Code of Conduct to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment at United Nations events.

On the Interim Report on the Secretary General of the IPU, the Executive Committee noted the Interim Report of the Secretary General which outlined the activities of the IPU since January, 2022. The Secretary General indicated that the activities under review were in response to the strategic objectives as articulated in the IPU Strategy, which is now in the second year.

          There were also questions relating to situations of certain Parliaments.  The Executive Committee endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary General and noted situations in certain Parliaments as follows:

          On Afghanistan, the delegation from Afghanistan was to remain non-voting observer.  On Burkina Faso, in light of the second pool on 30th September, 2022 and in the spirit of engagement and dialogue, Burkina Faso will remain a member of IPU until the expected 2024 elections.  There is continued infighting between the Government and the Parliament.  The Parliament has been dissolved pending Parliamentary elections scheduled for December, 2023.  Accordingly, the Executive Committee noted the recent development and still continues engaging authorities on the pending elections process.

          On Sudan, there is still no functional Parliament in Sudan.  Elections are scheduled for July 2023.  The Executive Committee noted with regret the delay in holding elections in that country.  The Executive Committee noted the development of Eswatini, with particular reference to crackdown on parastatals by the authorities.   Future meetings of the IPU, the much IPU Assembly will be held in Boreign, Angola. The Parliament of Angola offered to host the IPU in October, 2023.  The decision on the Angolan offer was deferred pending a site visit to Angola by the IPU Secretariat.

          On the elections of the Vice President of the IPU, Mr. A. G. Kanoute of Senegal was re-elected for a second term as Vice President of IPU, representing the African Duo-Political Group.  With those few words, once again thank you for the opportunity to debate.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th February, 2023.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes past Four O’clock p. m. until Tuesday, 14th February, 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

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