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SENATE HANSARD 22_OCTOBER_2019_29-02

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

2019 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR

   THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the

Senate that the 2019 Pre-Budget Seminar will be held from 30th October to 4th November 2019, at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls.

Hon. Members must confirm their attendance with the Public Relations Officers who will be stationed at the Members Dining Room on 22nd and 23rd October, 2019.

Hon. Members from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces will drive to Victoria Falls, while those from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central Provinces will fly.  A charter flight has been arranged for those that are flying and it departs Harare on 30th

October, 2019 at 0900 hours and arrives in Victoria Falls at 1000 hours.  The return charter flight leaves Victoria Falls on 4th November at 0900 hours and arrives in Harare at 1000 hours.

MOTION

PRESIDENITAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move the motion standing in my name

that a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:-

May it please you, your Excellency the President:

We, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech, which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, let me begin by

thanking you for giving me the opportunity to respond to the Address by His Excellency, the President E. D. Mnangagwa on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Second Session of the Nineth Parliament.  Allow me also to commend His Excellency, President Mnangagwa for delivering an Address according to me, which confirmed an observation by a legendary French General Napoleon Bonaparte that “a leader is a dealer in hope.” Indeed, the Address by His Excellency President

Mnangagwa, revived hope in the developmental trajectory that the New

Dispensation has taken and affirmed the conviction that, in President Mnangagwa and his Government, Zimbabwe is in safe hands.

Zimbabwe is in safe hands because by the first half of the year 2019, we witnessed a surplus budget, which budget the Government has kept in distributing some of the money to the much needed areas like Cyclone

Idai.

Let me zero in on the befitting drive by the Government to revive the economy through supporting the productive sectors, in particular agriculture.  Indeed, as His Excellency President Mnangagwa rightly observed, “the sustained turnaround of our economy hinges on focused support for the productive sectors, especially agriculture”.  In this regard, the decision by Government to continue with Command Agriculture and rope in the private sector financing is both welcome and commendable.   It is a known fact that through Command Agriculture, under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa as Vice President, Zimbabwe harvested over 2.1 million tonnes of maize in 2016 /2017, the biggest harvest over a decade.  Command Agriculture therefore, not only guaranteed food security by also ensuring self-sustenance and a reduction in grain imports for the country.  The overall effect was to free up foreign currency to fund other vulnerable sectors.  It is my conviction, therefore, that Command Agriculture was a worthwhile investment which should continue.

Secondly, as I have alluded to earlier, I must applaud the Government for opening financing of Command Agriculture to the private sector though some skeptics continue to criticize what in my opinion is a prudent move.  To give perspective to my submission

Madam President, let me outline the numbers in the first session of Command Agriculture, $162 million was used by Government to fund

Command Agriculture before the funding was more than doubled to $400 million in 2017.  While the $2.1 million tonnes that the country reaped from Command Agriculture make this a prudent investment, it must be noted, however, that the high capital outlay put a substantial strain on the fiscus, particularly in the face of the prevailing economic challenges, including drought. The decision to rope in financial institutions to play the central role in lending for farm production on a commercial basis, thus frees up Government resources to support other vulnerable areas.

Madam President, I am pleased to note that private sector financing also strengthens sustainability and ensures that those  who access the loans are compelled to pay back or risk losing the collateral they would have put to access the loans because usually if stringent measures are not implemented, normally people would not pay back their loans.  This refined funding mechanism resonates with the response to the commitment espoused by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa, that “only those with a proven track record of delivering to GMB and repaying their loans will be supported under the Command Agriculture Programme”.

Madam President, I cannot emphasise the need for significant investment in agriculture in the face of current drought that has seen our agriculture sector registering a negative growth rate and reversing the gains of the Command Agriculture Programme.  What is also clear is that the revival of our economy should not be only Government’s problem but the private sector and also every stakeholder must now come on board and play their part to revive this great nation.  Also, we hope that universities, polytechnics and research institutions are going to come up and research on drought resistance food varieties that are affordable to the ordinary farmer.

Madam President, in the wake of climate change, we cannot afford to fiddle while Rome burns.  The devastation brought by Cyclone Idai, if not anything else, as well as the prevailing drought, should have awoken us to the stark reality that climate change is definitely here to stay.  His Excellency, President Mnangagwa has implored us to strengthen our resilience to climate change, particularly communal, A1 and A2 farmers by growing traditional grains which as you are aware of now are more nutritional than what we have been used to eat.

In addition, Government on its part has set aside a $60 million facility for the rehabilitation of irrigation equipment under the Command Agriculture Programme.  As Parliament, we also have a critical role to play in alleviating the effects of climate change on our people and reviving our agricultural sector.  In our differing constituencies we must alert communities on the National Climate Change Response Strategy so that we mitigate some of the effects.  We must play our part in ensuring that Government strengthens the climate and disaster rise reduction policies and practices.

Madam President, although I extensively dwelled on agriculture, the President was clear and touched on a number of issues like agriculture which I have dealt with in detail.  He also looked at manufacturing, mining, modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post, bilateral negotiations on establishment of one-stop border post in Victoria Falls and Beitbridge which are ongoing.  He also touched on the grant from India to the SMEs of 2.7 million which is very important because you are aware that in our country as of now the informal sector is very key and that this is comprised of very small medium enterprises.

He also talked about the issue of dam constructions.  The dam construction on Marovanyati which we were very pleased that the

President noted because as a Committee under Sustainable Development Goals, we had a chance to go and visit that Marovanyati Dam and we were very pleased that it is going to give irrigation to a number of people in Murambinda, Gwayi-Shangani and also the Causeway Dam were also some of the dams which the President highlighted.

We know tourism also brings a lot of revenue into our country.  As a country I think it is important to be looking at it so that we spruce it in order for more tourists to visit our beautiful Zimbabwe.

Madam President, I note that as Parliament, whilst we performed our duties very well, the President noted that we had also slept so to say “on our laurels” because we had six Bills which lapsed in the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.  Therefore, I hope that this time we will be more diligent and work very well.  With these words my Madam President, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  Thank you Madam President for

according me this opportunity to add few words on the Presidential Speech which was delivered by His Excellency, President E.D.

Mnangagwa to the nation.  Let me touch on a few things that His Excellency talked about.  Our father showed us that he is concerned about the plight of the people.  There are people who are selling money and he is aware of that and the rates that they are using so that it is difficult for the country.  He said that in a few days it was going to be rectified.

Madam President, let me go to the 2019 Supplementary Budget. Our father talked about the importance of the supplementary budget. All of us saw its importance.  There are certain things that just crop up like the Cyclone Idai.  We were faced with a disaster which was beyond us.

Most of the money which was on supplementary budget was channeled to help the victims of Cyclone Idai.  Not only that, the President of our country has good relations with all African nations.  Even in this country, he called out for help and we saw a lot of people even our locals coming together helping the Cyclone Idai victims.

Madam President, we have people who were affected by drought.  Because of the climate change which was not favourable to us, we did not get enough rain in some areas and that money also helped those areas.  Our father said what really touched our hearts, that is working very hard.  We have our civil servants.  We saw that things were hard.  The money that was put aside was channeled towards their welfare so that they would leave well, which only brings out the importance of supplementary budget.

Mr. President of the Senate, we have Command Agriculture.  We had a lot of challenges.  People would spend many weeks and months without any progress and he realised that.  So, he looked at things which can help us in growing our food.  Command Agriculture has been put into banks, CBZ and Agribank. So true farmers, those who used to take their grains to GMB from time to time have a chance to go to the banks and get whatever they want.  They are given there and then.  So, we see that our Government, from the words of our father is expecting the lives of people to be revamped.  Agriculture is our backbone from the rural areas even in the urban areas. So farming is very important and we should reverence it.

Mr. President Sir, we have the issue of inputs and equipment.  They should be there from time to time.  With the rising prices, our father said as Government he has arranged that we get fertilisers and agricultural equipment which will be brought into our country duty free.

It was welcomed by the citizens.  This will make us continue farming.

Mr. President, let me also touch on what others have said.  Due to climate change, there are a lot of changes in our methods of farming. He encouraged us that we should go back and grow small grains so that if there is drought, at least we will get to harvest something instead of maize.  People were very happy.  We want to thank the Government for coming up with such methods.

Mr. President, we saw our father encouraging people to farm. In Command Agriculture, he has put in more funds so that tractors will be maintained in the rural areas.  In Command Agriculture, you just go and ask for money so that you can maintain the equipment.  He did not end there.  We saw his friends from outside such as Belarus.  He is a true friend indeed. Now he has promised to bring tractors and combine harvesters, planters and all the equipment that is needed.  So, we thank the Government through the President. We should continue looking for friends who help us in times of need. Looking at health, we have friends from India who stood with us. We should applaud the President for doing that.

Moving on to our minerals, the President talked about minerals and said that this year, our exports from mining totaled $1,3 billion. This means this is our backbone as a nation and he was encouraging people to continue mining but there should be order so that people mining use proper methods.

Mr. President, there was a time when we had a challenge in veterinary drugs or injections for our animals. We saw our professional from higher and tertiary institutions coming up with medicines for foot and mouth disease. It is important that we manufacture our own drugs here which are important for both humans and animals. We can see progress in our country. We also had problems in dipping our animals because the drugs were not accessible but now the dipping chemicals are getting to the rural areas. Dipping our livestock is taking care of our wealth as a nation. That is why the President does not want cattle to die.

We want to go back to climate change. We have challenges because of electricity shortages. We do not have enough water, like in Mashonaland West, we have Kariba Dam which we relied on for the supply of electricity and also tourism because people where also going there for tourism. Last year, the President commissioned one of the hydraulic pump stations and production of electricity was revamped.

However, the problem is we did not receive enough rainfall in the Congo

Basin which feeds into Kariba. At my age, I have never witnessed Kariba having such low levels of water and not able to generate electricity. After seeing that, our President went to South Africa where he was able to get electricity. Because of that, we want to thank the

President and he implored us to have unity in our midst. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the issues raised by the

President. Most of the things that were said by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa are issues which include climate change that also resulted in a number of deaths in Manicaland due to Cyclone Idai. That sad occurrence should not be taken as a problem that affects Manicaland only but the nation as a whole. That is why the President said it affects everyone. We know Manicaland is a producer of a number of minerals which were lost during that national disaster.

However, like my fellow Senators said, this is our loss as a nation.

Our friends in the international community saw it fit to solve and alleviate that challenge. As a nation, we mourned together with the Manicaland community. The President prioritised people’s lives.

We want to thank the President who also touched on agriculture. As you know, our economy is agro-based and also relies on minerals and on the processing of cotton.  However, there are a lot of challenges which are a result of drought because of a lot of challenges. For example, when processing raw cotton to make fabrics, our machines require a lot of water but because of the low rainfall received, production went down affecting our economy as a nation.

The President also mentioned the point of food security particularly focusing on the A1 and A2 farmers, that they should concentrate more on small grains that are drought resistant such as soya beans and also cotton production should be encouraged. I am happy that Mt Darwin is one of those areas that produce cotton on a large scale but this year, cotton did not do well because of the low rainfall. We hope that if the rainfall improves cotton is one of the crops that will be produced especially in Mt. Darwin constituency. He encouraged us to take heed of all the information on climate change and the advice on small grains such as sorghum, millet, rapoko and so on that are drought resistant.

I am also happy to note that the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Air Marshall Perrance Shiri is out in the field talking about the production of small grains, taking into consideration that the rainfalls that we are receiving is not much.  Production of small grains remains an integral part of agricultural production.  However, the President has a great vision, a vision which is based on irrigation; the irrigation of different crops in Zimbabwe.

I would like to thank His Excellency for engaging different partners who are bringing tractors to Zimbabwe.  I would like to appreciate and thank the President for that because the availability of tractors enables our farmers to be able to produce.  This will benefit surrounding farmers and it will ensure food security.

I would also like to urge him to look at the DDF department which is critical in the agricultural sector.  If DDF has planters and different machinery, this will benefit the populace of Zimbabwe and it will determine the prices of cash crops.

The President looked at the road infrastructure, everywhere we go, we see and notice that there are a lot of road rehabilitations that are happening in the road network.  For example, the Mukumbura Road which was a dust road is being serviced.  This is a road which was not considered in the national budget and in Government programmes, however, because of the President’s initiative, this road is now being worked on.  This is a road which connects Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  As such, many people who travel to the border posts are rejoicing because of that development.  As a representative of that particular area,

I would like to appreciate the President’s initiative and I would like to say that the people who fall under the constituencies in that particular area are happy because of the road rehabilitation that is happening.

This, I believe will enable us to have a good relationship with

Mozambique.

Furthermore, I would like to say being united is a good thing as a nation.  Unit strengthens our relationships as a people and as a nation.   Imagine, considering the Cyclone Idai natural disaster, if we were not united, then we were not going to work and bring development in that particular area. As a united people and as United Nations, we share ideas, we work together from families, communities and throughout the nation.  If people are not united, then there is no development.  Even children might not be able to go to school and also the preparation of food might be a challenge when parents are not in a good relationship.

Mr. President, I would like to thank His Excellency, the President E.D Mnangagwa, for the State of the Nation Address that he brought to the august House.  His words are words that touch on the livelihoods of people.

I would like to urge the nation to work hard, particularly in the mining sector.  People should be united; they should work in peace and not in violence.  I would like to urge people to live in harmony and seek guidance from Government departments, particularly to seek for proper hope so that they will be able to mine in peace and harmony for the sake of development.

We have noticed that there are some people who are armed with machetes, these go around killing and attacking other people which is not right.   I would like to urge artisanal miners to find their own pieces of land where they will go prospecting and mining in peace.

The country will not experience peace if that issue is not addressed, particularly artisanal miners.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to also express my view points on the State of the Nation Address which was given by His, Excellency, the President.  This is a programme which we must adhere to; this is a 2019-2020 agenda which will guide us.  As Members of this august House, we must follow those guidelines.

The first thing that I would like to point out is the fact that the President spoke about agriculture, particularly command agriculture.  He said that Government will look at people who benefited from the previous disbursement of agricultural inputs and who managed to pay back.  However, there are some people who did not pay back.  The President mentioned that those who paid back and those who took their grains to the Grain Marketing Board and those who are faithful, who continue to pay back are going to benefit again.

The President said that it is important for the nation to also concentrate on small grains which are drought resistant because maize production needs a lot of water.  However, focusing on small grains will benefit the nation.  This is information which should be shared with our constituents.

His Excellency also said that Government will construct a number of dams which will enable farmers to engage in irrigation schemes which are critical in cash crop production. This comes as a result of global warming and climate change.   Engaging in irrigation will benefit different communities.  The President also mentioned that there are a number of farming implements like tractors, combine harvesters and planters which were sourced from Belarus.  These will be instrumental in the agricultural sector and they will benefit the nation because our cattle were affected by the previous drought.  The President also spoke about the importation of fertiliser which should be duty free so that farmers can access fertiliser at reasonable prices.

The President also mentioned the importance of vaccines which are used in dip tanks for the prevention of animal diseases.  Our domestic animals are being affected by different diseases like foot and mouth.  The President also suggested that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development should look at how the foot and mouth disease can be eradicated.

The President did speak about climate change. He mentioned that variations of seasons as a result of climate change have resulted in natural disasters like Cyclone Idai.  The President mentioned that the Government disbursed funds towards the rehabilitation of those who were affected by Cyclone Idai and a lot of people benefited from the interventions.  The President mentioned that the nation is facing power challenges as a result of a drought which was experienced during the last season which culminated in the reduction of energy generation from Kariba Dam.  The President urged the nation to be vigilant, particularly in the face of pilfering of ZESA cables.  He urged people to report theft of copper cables to the police.  The pilfering of copper cables is retrogressive because Government is forced to allocate funds to the procurement of new cables instead of channeling the funds to other developmental projects.

`Furthermore, the President mentioned the fact that Government is working on refurbishing the national road network, in Matabeleland

North, Matabeleland South and the Beitbridge-Chirundu road network.  Long distance haulage trucks are now detouring via Botswana instead of using our road network because our roads are not in a good state.  However, if these roads are refurbished, these vehicles will then utilise the local road infrastructure between Chirundu and Beitbridge and this will generate revenue for the nation.

The President then informed the nation that $2.5 billion was set aside for infrastructure like dams, irrigation schemes, the road network and various social services and amenities like schools which are critical in developing the nation.  For the nation to be viewed as developed, it must have a good infrastructure, for example the Robert Mugabe International Airport and the new Parliament building because at the moment, our Parliament cannot accommodate parliamentarians and the lower House is very congested.  For these initiatives, I would like to thank the Government for identifying these critical projects.

The next point regarding dams, the President spoke about the

Gwai-Shangani Dam which to us as representatives of Matabeleland North is critical because our region is a very dry region. The completion of this dam will benefit our communities in various irrigation programmes.

The next point, the President also spoke about the tourism sector.  He emphasised the need for the construction of more international hotels.  He mentioned that we do not have enough hotels to host big events.  As Zimbabwe, we do not have big convention centres with conference rooms and this has resulted in people being booked in separate hotels.  The lack of proper hotel infrastructure for big conferences has culminated in tourists booking in South African facilities which results in the loss of revenues for the nation.

Concerning Acts and Bills of Parliament, the President mentioned that these should be scruitnised, particularly the High Court Act, the Labour Act and the Magistrates Act which should be aligned to the Constitution.  If these Bills are not aligned to the Constitution, then magistrates and judges cannot fully discharge their duties.  The august House should understand the importance of aligning these Bills to the

Constitution, for example during the last session of Parliament, the

Mines and Minerals Bill came through the House and Members of Parliament debated the Bill and identified some issues.  However, next time the same Bill should pass because I have noticed that there are some Shurugwis who are terrorising people since there is no legislation which adequately addresses their issues, then some people end up complaining that justice is not taking its course.  He alleged that our courts are not doing much.

He also spoke about the Medical Aid Society Bill.  Medical Aid Societies own hospitals and you would notice that if you are a member of a different medical aid, you might not get assistance from a particular hospital.  However, this issue needs to be looked into because these societies own hospitals and this result in people being directed to those hospitals.  These are things that should be looked at in this august House.

The President also spoke about corruption which is a cancer affecting development in Zimbabwe.  It is important to eradicate corruption by reporting and by talking about these things.  If we have evidence that there is corruption, we must not just throw allegations of corruption but we must report corruption when there is evidence that there is corruption.  The President also said that there are a lot of Government structures that have been put in place so that investors can come in the country.  There are a lot of words that I can say Mr. President regarding the State of the Nation Address but for today, I would like to end here.  Thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 23rd October, 2019.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR

MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN.

MUNZVERENGWI), the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Five Minutes to

Four o’clock p.m. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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