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SENATE HANSARD 22 AUGUST 2023 VOL 32 NO 40
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 22nd August, 2023.
The Senate met at a Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order! Hon. Sen. Chinake, can you go and dress properly.
Hon. Sen. Chinake left the Senate Chamber.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
DISSOLUTION OF THE 9TH PARLIAMENT
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:
Hon. Members of Parliament;
Members of the Fourth Estate;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The 2023 harmonised general elections which take place tomorrow, have in tandem beckoned the dissolution of the 9th Parliament midnight today. It is in this context that we pay hearty and sincere tribute to all of you Hon. Members and staff of Parliament for having contributed to the efficient and effective functioning of the 9th Parliament.
Hon. Senators, Ladies and Gentlemen;
As we reflect on the 9th Parliament’s accomplishments and challenges, we must always acknowledge that our journey was a collaborative effort, one driven by the constitutional aspirations and expectations of the people of Zimbabwe, without whose steadfast trust and unwavering belief in our ability to effect positive change, our existence as the 9th Parliament would be without purpose or meaning. It is to the people that we owe our allegiance. It is from them that we drew our strength and determination to excel in the 21st century as the institution of Parliament, with a central role in the overall governance matrix of Zimbabwe, in making laws for peace, order and good governance. As we contemplate this reality, the profound observations of Professor S. Adejumobi, the Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), resolutely affirm that "…Parliament plays a crucial role in gauging, collating and presenting the views and needs of the people, articulating their expectations and aspirations in determining the National Development Agenda." As you will recall, the 9th Parliament was urged upon to contribute towards the realisation of the National Development Strategy by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa, who opined during the inaugural State of the Nation Address that: "United by our vision to be a Middle-Income Economy with a per capita income of USD3 500, increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030." Thus, the 9th Parliament was undergirded by this onerous responsibility to align Government development goals and the legislative landscape with National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025). That became the bedrock of achieving vision 2030 through Parliament’s fulfilment of its legislative, representation and oversight roles.
You will all agree that the 9th Parliament rose to the challenge of contributing towards achieving an empowered and prosperous upper-middle-income society as evidenced by the crafting of a robust Institutional Strategic Plan (ISP) (2018-2023) at its inception. The ISP (2018-23) was a bold statement of strategic intent towards making a quantum leap in the evolutionary reform process by enhancing parliamentary and participatory democracy whilst recognising the indispensable role of the institution in the national governance matrix and the national development agenda architecture. Drawing its strength from the national Constitution and the NDS, the ISP’s mission crystallised as: “To protect the Constitution, make laws for good governance, effectively represent the people and hold the Executive and public institutions to account”. This mission inspired our Parliament to work in unison, underpinned by our common vision of “a strong, independent, people-driven, world-class Parliament” for a better Zimbabwe within the world polity.
Despite the two-year disruptive challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the other negative exigencies, the 9th Parliament excelled in fulfilling its constitutional mandate. Consequently, the 9th Parliament recorded a remarkable increase of 38% in the number of Bills passed, that is from 50 in the 8th Parliament to 69 in the current Parliament. Of historic note was the Constitution Amendment Number 2 Bill which, among other things, reinforced the national commitment to mainstreaming gender equality and youth representation in the decision-making processes of the nation. This palpable milestone was achieved through the extension of the women’s quota in the National Assembly by an additional term to 2033, the allocation of 30% local authority seats to female councillors as well as the inclusion of a youth quota of 10 Members in Parliament in the National Assembly. Furthermore, a plethora of laws were enacted, including the Marriages Act, the amendment to the Health Services Act and the Education Amendment Act which, inter alia, promoted access to education for pregnant school children, in pursuit of leaving no place and no one behind as well as giving impetus to the heritage-based education philosophy. It is also noteworthy to acknowledge that this Parliament recorded a first when both Houses of Parliament passed the Institute of Chartered Loss Control and Private Security Management Bill, a private Member’s Bill piloted by Hon. Joshua Murire. This Bill now awaits Presidential assent and signature.
In the same context, the 9th Parliament recorded considerable improvement in the quality of debates in both Houses, thus contributing to the qualitative legislative agenda. The improved quality of debates assured the nation of the enactment of qualitative and robust laws which the citizens of Zimbabwe will always be proud of.
Turning to its oversight function, our 9th Parliament the 9th Parliament was indeed defined by its countless Committee enquiries, meticulously crafted oral evidence sessions and incisive questions posed both with and without notice in fulfilment of its oversight role. Consequently, Parliament observed an increase in compliance by the Executive in the submission of peremptory statutory returns to Parliament. The compliance rate rose to 78% up from a paltry 3% recorded at the beginning of the 9th Parliament. Furthermore, our impact in following up on the Auditor-General’s Reports resulted in the establishment of the Central Internal Audit Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which was tasked with the mandate to produce Treasury Minutes that are essential in providing an effective tracking and response mechanism on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations. I am also delighted to inform you that the 9th Parliament performed extremely well in pursuit of its succinct representative function as evidenced by the number of Committee recommendations adopted by the Executive. Additionally, mention should be made of the remarkable feat achieved in the employment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I commend the Members for their excellent project implementation that met the needs of the people. The CDF had an almost full utilisation with a commendable accountability rate that passed audit scrutiny. I trust that the 10th Parliament will maintain this momentum and ensure the sustainability of the CDF under a legal framework yet to be promulgated.
It is with great pride and satisfaction that I report on the stellar performance of the 9th Parliament in the realm of parliamentary diplomacy. The dynamic engagement with the international community yielded indelible outcomes that elevated the status and influence of Zimbabwe on the global political stage. Among these achievements are the following:
- The President of the Senate, Honourable Mabel M. Chinomona, assumed the Presidency of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) uncontested. The APU is a prestigious continental organisation that promotes parliamentary cooperation and integration in Africa.
- Chief Fortune Charumbira was elected to the iconic position of the Presidency of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), a deliberative body of the African Union that propagates the political aspirations and economic interests of the African people.
- Your Speaker had the distinct honour of being in the Executive Committee of both the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global organisation of 178 national parliaments that foster peace and democracy for all, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, a regional inter-parliamentary body that facilitates political cooperation and integrated economic development in Southern Africa.
- Your Speaker also stands as the sole nominee candidate from the Africa Geo-Political Group due to receive the prestigious IPU Cremer-Passy Award. The Cremer Passy Award is given to a Member who has excelled in advancing the mission and vision of the IPU. This is a testament to the Speaker’s unwavering commitment to Parliament processes internationally.
- Acknowledgement is pronounced towards the contribution of Members and Staff of Parliament who served diligently and with integrity in various Parliamentary bodies such as the IPU, SADC-PF, APU, Pan African Parliament (PAP), Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP-EU), Association of Senates, the Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECAA.
- Our staff has been recognised and occupy key roles in organisations such as the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA) where Doctor Munyoro is the current President and the Africa Colloquium of Legal Officers where Mrs Hove, the Deputy Counsel, is also the President of the organisation. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In international diplomacy, the 9th Parliament successfully hosted the 78th Session of the Executive Committee and the 44th Conference of Presidents of National Parliamentary Assemblies which was held in Victoria Falls from 5th to 11th November 2022. The hosting of these meetings received high commendations from the foreign delegates who expressed their admiration for our infectious hospitality.
In the same vein, the 9th Parliament recorded high levels of international diplomats who paid courtesy calls to the Parliament of Zimbabwe. This is in consonant with the engagement and the re-engagement mantra of the Head of State, His Excellency the President, Dr E.D. Mnangagwa. Some of the courtesy calls have resulted in the arrangement of bilateral exchange benchmarking visits with sister Parliaments.
At this juncture, I would like to take the opportunity to offer a special thanks to the leaders of all the political parties in the 9th Parliament, their Deputies, the Party Whips and their Deputies and Committee Chairpersons who also constitute the Liaison and Coordination Committee (LCC). These were the heartbeat of our Parliamentary processes as guided by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO). Furthermore, the 9th Parliament could not have functioned effectively without the tireless and dedicated service of the Administration of Parliament whose professionalism is a credit to the leadership of the Clerk of Parliament, Mr. Kennedy Mugove Chokuda. The performance of the 9th Parliament Administration underpinned by the adherence to Quality Management System (QMS) standard and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 9001:2015), was beyond reproach. To date, the Parliament of Zimbabwe prides itself as the only ISO 9001:2015 certified Parliament in the world. To be also noted, is the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) whose constitutional mandate is aptly provided in Section 151 of the Constitution, has diligently presided over welfare issues of both Members and Staff of Parliament as well as ensuring that vacant posts in all Constitutional Independent Commissions were timeously filled. Remarkably, the CSRO has already approved the establishment of the Parliament Training Academy (PTA) which is envisaged to play a critical role in the capacity development of Officers and Members of Parliament. Already prior to its full functioning, the PTA has developed modules that are integral to the effective performance of Members. Additionally, the Committee approved the integration of the Parliament Programmes Unit into the structures of Parliament in order to guarantee sustainability and the continued harnessing of resources for the optimal performance of the institution.
As I conclude, I know you are all anxious to leave and get ready to exercise your democratic right to vote tomorrow. I, therefore, have the honour and privilege to wish you well in your future endeavours in life, whether or not you will make it into the 10th Parliament. Zimbabwe needs each one of us in whatever station we may find ourselves.
I THANK YOU!! TATENDA!! TWALUMBA!! SIYABONGA!!!
I would like to call upon Hon. Sen. Hungwe for some validation remarks.
HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to give this to Hon. Sen. Kambizi from our party. It is not me.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Hungwe.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President. I rise this afternoon to say a few words of appreciation to the 9th Parliament, especially in this House. Mr. President, I would like to mention very clearly that Members of this House participated wholeheartedly in the past five years. Mr. President, debate in this House was lively, enjoyable and of high quality. All Members endeavoured to fulfil their mandate that is bestowed upon them in this House, that is of making laws, new ones inclusive.
Mr. President, it is true, besides the COVID-19 pandemic, this House remained hard working as witnessed by the number of Bills that were passed, 69 as compared to 50 of the Eighth Parliament. It is true again Mr. President, besides many challenges that befell the Parliament, Senators remained resolute and hardworking and a number of achievements were witnessed as you clearly highlighted in your speech. To mention just a few, the rise of our own Madam President, Hon. Sen. Chinomona and the rise of our own Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira, is worth mentioning in this House.
Mr. President, if I do not thank the Hon. President of this House and yourself as our Chair, I would not have done justice. You led us well to be our torch bearer, that is why I am standing in front of you right now. Mr. President, I would also not have done enough justice if I do not make mention of the Administration of Parliament. It is true things were tough but they also put 150% effort in all they did to ensure that we come to this day today. It was never easy. They endured travelling rough roads. They even had sleepless nights and some other times I would see them here as late as 9.00 p.m. So, it is worth mentioning and it is worth clapping hands for them.
Lastly, Mr. President, I would like to appreciate all the Members of the Senate, the leadership of the Senate and the Administration and I also want to wish them well tomorrow that they go back to their areas and demonstrate democracy as they cast their votes. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Kambizi.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to join my colleagues in paying tribute to the Ninth Parliament. The work of this Parliament was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but we fought this battle against this pandemic together. For the first time, programmes in this country, of an important nature, were completely depoliticised. The fight against COVID-19 was depoliticised and we fought that battle well. We hope that the success of the Tenth Parliament will carry on in this spirit. Parliament represents the hope of the people of Zimbabwe. We carry the political, social and economic responsibilities of our people. We must always be dedicated to the political, social and economic well-being of all Zimbabweans irrespective of their political persuasion.
Mr. President Sir, in this Senate in particular, there was exemplary engagement and co-operation during debates. We acted as brothers and sisters. We differed with respect, amity and camaraderie. This is an example for people to follow.
I would like, in this brief address Mr. President Sir, to pay tribute to my fellow Senators from the MDC. They acted like true men and women of integrity. The debate was of high value, constructive and it was people oriented. Of course, most of the MDC Senators you see today are unlikely to come back. This is because of the unfair disqualification of 87 of our Parliamentary candidates. That is a debate for another day but I just want to pay tribute to the MDC people. We changed the narrative of the opposition. The opposition is not just there simply to oppose everything for the sake of it. Where people do well, we must acknowledge it and where people do wrong, we must chastise them. That is why we preached the politics of rational disputation and I am proud that you lived up to it.
Mr. President Sir, it is my hope that the forthcoming Parliament will also have a shared common vision. This country must always have a shared common vision. It must not matter whether you are this party or that party. The vision for Zimbabwe must be the same. The difference of political parties must be how to get to fulfill the vision and never argument about the vision itself. Of course, everyone wants Zimbabwe to be a land of democracy, a land that is going to be the economic and commercial hub of the African continent, a land of opportunity and most importantly, a land of peace. It is possible Mr. President Sir, to achieve the greatness that Zimbabwe is destined to have. We are blessed with rich mineral resources, we are rich in flora and fauna, we have a very good climate and most importantly, we have a hard working, educated populace. Our hope for the Tenth Parliament is to make sure that they take over from where we left.
This country is in need of reform. We must make sure that there are political, social and economic reforms in this country. More importantly, as I close my remarks, I would like to suggest to the Tenth Parliament or whoever is going to come in tomorrow that Zimbabwe needs electoral reforms. Right in this election alone, we have seen an unprecedented number of lawsuits. In fact, after the delimitation, we saw 100 lawsuits before the election. That is an indication that our system needs to be improved. So, we need social, political and economic reforms. We need electoral reforms; we need the complete enfranchisement of all the people of Zimbabwe and there must never be a situation where some Zimbabweans are disenfranchised. Zimbabweans are all equal and they were endowed by their God with this country. It is our country together.
May I take this opportunity to wish those who are contesting in tomorrow’s elections, the best of luck and may I also wish that we have a peaceful election. It is my wish that we have a dispute free election. This is our land together.
Lastly, Mr. President Sir, allow me to pay tribute to a person who is not from my party but who has fought well for this country. As a young man, I was full of admiration for that person for the role that he played in the liberation struggle and the very humble way in which he carried his cross. It is my hope that one day I will be like him. Mr. President Sir, allow me to pay tribute to Senator Dr. Sydney Sekeramayi. He is exemplary to many people and I wish him very well in his future endeavours. Thank you, Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank You Mr. President Sir. I want to avoid repeating the very good sounding sweet statements about the Ninth Parliament. It is very clear that it was a successful Parliament and it reminds me of a statement that to succeed, you need good leadership. There is one Harvard Professor who was also my professor at Harvard, Manfred Kets de Vries who said ‘an organisation can have all the advantages in terms of finance, human, ICT and everything but if leadership is not there, that organisation will still collapse and go down like a car without brakes despite all those advantages’. So, I want to say thank you for the good leadership of this Parliament of the two Chambers, the Senate President and his Deputy as well as the staff who performed very well. That is why we all stand here today to give our complementary remarks.
There have been few issues and I remember in 2021, some even said - are we going to end the term after five years or they will extend by another two years because we lost time because of COVID-19? I am saying this to show that we also had some dark years in those five years. We could not perform until we had to be innovative and introduced virtual sittings across the whole world even at the Pan-African Parliament. It was not easy and even today, some are not in this Chamber but they are part of the proceedings. This means when times are difficult that is when we become more innovative and virtual sittings will remain forever.
As traditional leaders, as Chiefs in this Parliament, I think we had two critical issues. This is the Chamber where we have chiefs. In the other Chamber, we do not have chiefs. For a purpose, chiefs are only in the Upper House. I know some do not want to call it Upper but just to call it Senate. There was a reason why we have 18 chiefs sitting in this House. This House is meant to exhibit a lot of wisdom and I believe we passed that test in the last five years as mentioned by others. There is a difference because if there was no difference between this House and the National Assembly, there would be no justification for this Senate’s existence. We are different in the way we do things. If you go back to the Marriages Act, I think it reminds us of the need to have a Senate because there are certain issues which slip through and people do not see it properly in the other House. We amended the Marriage Act to fit and syncronise with the values of the people of Zimbabwe. Some things which did not speak to our values as a country had passed through the other House but as the Senate, we did justice to them and that justifies why we should have an Upper House and why the Bills should be reviewed at a higher level. The general discipline of this House is remarkable.
Then on the issue of alignment, Mr. President and the staff of Parliament are listening; His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, each time he officially opens a Parliament, during that ceremony, he gives a speech and he also gives a calendar of Bills to be expected. The Traditional Leaders Act, I remember if you go back and research, it was at three different sessions by the President where he said this session will see the alignment of the Traditional Leaders Act and that was in 2019, 2020 and 2021. For some reason, it did not come to Parliament during those years. I believe that when we convene, that Act should be one of the first to be considered. Why are we running away from aligning the Traditional Leaders Act? For some reason, others that came much later went through and then other Bills that need to be aligned with the Constitution are still outstanding.
Finally, I want to make a very different point which is coming from Pan-African Parliament where we sit; I am aware our Deputy Clerk here worked there and we deal with 54 countries which are different constituencies. I would like to make a proposal for the future. This culture of saying we have dissolved Parliament to such a date; I think this is for further debate. In other countries, the moment the President announces the date for elections, they dissolve. So, we could have dissolved in May and we have realised it means since May there would be no Parliament because it would have been dissolved. In our case, we dissolve on the eve before the elections but there are countries that say that until new Members are sworn in, that is when you dissolve Parliament. For instance, in the case of Namibia, they had elections in November and people won but they remain Parliamentarians until the following year in March planning for the new MPs to come. I see a lot of wisdom in that approach. We should not be in a hurry to dissolved Parliament but let us do what other countries are doing, that is, stay until the new MPs are sworn in. As Zimbabwe, we should think about it. But I am saying all these things when we are very excited that the Senate also lives to the same expectations. Generally, we will get there but we have lived to the expectations of our public. I thank our leadership and I thank the staff for all your effort. Thank you very much.
The Hon. President of the Senate adjourned the House at 1512 Hours.