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SENATE HANSARD 3 MAY 2022 VOL 31 NO 36

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022

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

PHYSICAL ATTENDANCE OF HON. SENATORS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Afternoon Hon. Members.  I am appealing to all Hon. Senators to attend physically tomorrow as we are expecting a delegation from the Malawi Parliament.  I think it is not the first time to complain about the attendance of Senators.  Hon. Senators are not attending the House, but since we are going to have visitors tomorrow, we are expecting Senators to attend. You can see right now that the House is almost empty.  With visitors in the gallery, what are they going to say?  We should learn to respect ourselves.  Thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Madam President I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU:  I second Madam President.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President I move that Order of the Day, Number 6 be stood over until the rest of the orders on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

MEASURES TO RESUSCITATE THE ECONOMY

Seventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the need to come up with measures to resuscitate the economy.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. KHUPE:  Thank you Hon. President for this important motion.  I want to start by expressing my gratitude to the mover of this important motion, Hon. Sen. A. Dube.  As long as the economy is not working properly, everything goes so bad.  The economy is the determinant of good health; the economy is the determinant of employment creation.  A good economy, a functioning economy determines how we perform, how we interact in our social gatherings.  Even in our religious groupings, if the economy is not in order, if the economy is not functioning properly, everything becomes very difficult.  So the call for resuscitating or coming up with concrete measures, measurable measures which we can say this year we did this or this month we did this, we need to have a road map as to how long and how we can move to resuscitate our economy.  If those measures are queer and not clear, we will not go anywhere.  So that is why it is very important that since our economy has not been performing well for the past few years, the motion by Hon. Dube came at the right time.

Having said that, each of us in Zimbabwe is aware of how the New Dispensation, how His Excellency has been committing himself and determined to make sure that the economy is put in good order and we really want to pray that the energy and determination brings about the desired results. 

However, as all African proverbs including Shona, Ndebele or Kalanga provides, for example in Shona they say, chara chimwe hachitswanyi inda.  In other words, we should not do like the offspring of a dove. In Kalanga, we say the Mjindala where they only wait for the mother to bring everything.  We should support His Excellency, come up with ideas and make sure that our support is measurable.  This blame game which is now becoming a song cannot lead us anywhere.  Therefore, let us unite, put our heads together and come up with ideas.  Even the smallest idea you might feel, ‘can I really bring this to the table?’  You will be surprised that it can also contribute to the concrete sustainable measures.  So in this contribution, I want to say let us ask ourselves wherever we are going and have less complaints and say, ‘in all these negative things taking place, do I contribute, what percentage is my contribution?’  If there is also success in whatever we are doing and the economy is growing, we should also bow our heads in shame and say, ‘His Excellency today is actually launching this project, today he was in Matebeleland for a water project, Midlands, next week in Binga for the fish.’  You can see it every day, it is not a secret.  We should also ask ourselves to say, in all this, are we sabotaging or supporting? If the answer is that we are supporting, then I can tell you that in a few years, Zimbabwe will really reach the middle income economy by 2030.  Hon. President, I want to thank you and thank those who contributed to this debate.

*HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I would like to thank you so much Madam President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Dube and the seconder.  I do not know how we take it as Hon. Senators concerning our Zimbabwean currency in comparison with the United States Dollar currency because rates are fluctuating day by day.  If you take a look in the SADC Region, we are the only ones who think that our currency does not have value.  With my little knowledge, I know that if you want your currency to have value as a country, you must have gold bullions which look like bars.  Forgive me, I do not know what to call it in Shona.  These gold backed dollars must be checked by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.  We have a lot of gold in Zimbabwe.  Yesterday I bought bread at a cost of ZW$400 where some are charging ZW$350 but if you are lucky, you can buy bread at ZW$300. 

If you live alone, you can manage the cost but if you have a family, how many loaves of bread do you buy when the cost is that high?  I personally think that it is good for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and also us as Hon. Senators to take a close look at…

An Hon. Senator’s gadget having been producing high feedback.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Please, can you reduce the volume of your gadget; we want to hear from the Hon. Senator contributing and not from your gadget.

*HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I was saying if you agree, the financial experts and non-experts, it will help us a lot.  We cannot be the only ones in the SADC region with a troubled currency because we have resources that can help us as compared to other countries like Malawi.  I hope this will help us as a country and it will help our currency to be stabilised.  Thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion tabled by Hon. Sen. Dube.  This motion is very pertinent on how best, as a country, we can work towards the revival of our economy.

          Mr. President, as the Upper House, I wish that we treat this motion with the utmost respect that it deserves.  We must look at the cause of why our economy is going down as currently prevailing.  Everyone knows what is happening, things are difficult for everyone in Zimbabwe – many people have lost hope.  Two weeks ago, we heard the Minister of Finance and Economic Development saying that  the revival of the economy requires all the resources that are within the country.  In other countries, when they have resources like what we have, you will find that their economies are stable, and the standard of living of citizens is uplifted but the situation is different from Zimbabwe. 

          When the Minister of Finance and Economic Development raised this issue, many people did not take their time to discuss or try to understand what he was trying to say.  Three days ago, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, said that resources and money for the resuscitation of the economy is available.  Other international organisations like IMF when they come to visit the country, they also highlight the fact that resources are there.  These organisations also seem not to understand why the country has the prevailing economy.  Let us take our time as Zimbabweans to think about this issue so that we come up with a solution Mr. President.  In the chiShona culture we would be asking ourselves if this has something to do with avenging spirits, if it involves avenging spirits then we should appease them.

          Mr. President, we know that in a family set up where children fight each other every day, nothing good comes out of that family – this is the problem that we have in our country.  Even if we avoid looking or pointing at the trouble causer, it will not help us as a country.  The trouble causer of the prevailing economy is us Zimbabweans.  We do not fight for a common cause; we do not have national pride, and patriotism.  Right now, many people say Government must retain the United States Dollar; no country survives on currencies of other countries.

          I was recently listening to captains of industries but they always have negative comments about the economy.  They are the ones on the forefront to refuse the local currency and one cannot help but wonder if these businesses are for Zimbabweans.  How are we going to have business confidence whilst owners of the local currency are refusing and negating it?  There is no other country that I know of, the world over, that has built its economy using foreign currencies.  Why do we feel the need to use the United States Dollars whilst we have our own currency?  We want to use United States Dollars as Zimbabweans, we do not fight for a common cause as a country, we are not proud of our country - we are the instigators of the problems that we are facing today. 

          The other day I was thinking about the people who want to rule Zimbabwe and felt pity for them.  As an individual, I want to rule Zimbabwe when the current citizenry has changed, as long  as the current mindset prevails in us, before we are proud of our country and do not fight for a common cause – we are not going anywhere.  Even if as a country we have the best Ministers with the best economy, if we take that Minister and put him in this country, nothing good will come out because of the existing mindset. 

          Mr. President, as Zimbabweans, we must start doing simple things such as not politicizing everything and give due credit where it deserves.  The prevailing economic situation does not affect individuals from a particular party but affects everyone irrespective of their political affiliation, i.e. ZANU PF, MDC or CCC.  Hence we must sit down as Zimbabweans and find solutions to the problem. 

          I saw a post, during the independence celebrations in Barbour Fields, the post was written, ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.’  This phrase explains everything, as Zimbabweans, we are wasting our time inviting organisations like the IMF.  We end up putting our country forward as a security risk; we end up being dependent and not independent or fail to think on our own.  We will end up taking wrong advice.  We have already taken the wrong advice and that is why many people want the United States Dollars to be used in the country instead of our own currency. The remedy for our economic situation is in this country.  We must know where politics starts and ends so that our country functions well.  Politics is leading to the decline of our Zimbabwean currency.

I do not want to go deep into other stories that are going on but during the weekend, I met someone who said 2023 is around the corner and those problems are now coming. I asked her what problems she was talking about. She said about elections. You will see that a lot of us as citizens of Zimbabwe will fight each other and our economy will decline. You as politicians will start quarrelling amongst yourselves saying the elections were not fair. This will give enemies an opportunity to destroy our economy. I looked at her and she said this is what you voted for in the Constitution. She said so you want to remain with the Constitution but you do not know what it stipulates and what it demands.

          I would like you to think deeply. There is no one who will change our Constitution apart from us who are inside this House. If you make laws that will destroy us as citizens, why can we not just, if there are spirits that are surrounding us, pay the spirits so that we move as a country. This is a very important motion raised by Sen. Alice Dube which will help us as a country. The citizens out there do not want to know who the President is but they want to know how the economy is being treated. Out there, they are saying the economy but others are saying they want to be the President. If you say to me, we are going to make you the President for a week. I will not agree because if I am to lead Zimbabweans, I do not want to sound blasphemous to the citizens but if you bring even the Son of God, He would nod his head and say where these people come from, the citizens of Zimbabwe are not proud of their country and cannot even identify their problems.

          Mr. President, we must look at the origins of this problem so that we move together as a country. As Senators in this Parliament, who are responsible for advising the Government, let us advise it so that we build our country well. With this Mr. President, I would like to thank you as I cry for the citizens of Zimbabwe who are not well. We are the witches of our own country dear Zimbabwean citizens. I would like to urge us to pray so that we do not fall on our way. As Zimbabweans, we build our own country. Our minerals are being looted out but it is not their problem because we are the ones who opened our doors to them to steal from us.

I would like to urge Zimbabweans to open their eyes and think wisely. If I had powers Mr. President, you would cry and cry but I would remove the USD because it is not a panacea for our economic survival. Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MBOHWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Alice Dube.  The motion is a tear-jerking one because if you think deeply about it, you end up saying – ndomene haichemedze.  If we take a close look at the riches of Zimbabwe, we have a very big leak on our economic status which we are not able to mend.  As long as those leaks are not closed, we will continuously cry as Zimbabwean citizens. 

Someone indicated earlier that we have a lot of riches but we cannot exactly point where our riches are.  I was in Djibouti Mr. President – even if I go in the furthest place in Binga, I have never seen ugly cars like the ones I saw there.  They manage their economic survival and their resources are manageable.  I remember that in Zimbabwe, you cannot cross in Harare because of classy cars. We have money in Zimbabwe but we do not know who is keeping the finances. 

As we move away from the classy cars, people are building double storey houses.  Youths buy food at Chicken Inn day in day out.  This means that we have riches as Zimbabweans but we do not know where those finances are kept.  We need to collect those finances so that they benefit our country. I am talking about the riches that we have but we are not able to utilise.  Hon. Sen. Mavetera indicated that in Zimbabwe, there is no one who can conquer the economic challenges because our minds are already thinking about corruption each and every time we have a situation at hand.  This will make our country to remain poor. 

Who has the machine that talks about rate fluctuations in Zimbabwe? What changed in Zimbabwe? A black person is now an enemy of a black person because all they think about is profit in whatever they do.  We used to survive with a profit of 2% in the 1980s.  I was still young but sugar was written 2%.  Five per cent was also on foods we used to buy but nowadays, a black person charges a profit of 120% or more. Both the young ones and the old now only think of corruption.  Vendors in the streets are also charging a lot of profit. As long as we have those thoughts as a country, we are not going to move forward.  Police officers on the road are now known for their corruption.  Nurses are now taking medication from surgeries.  Teachers are no longer teaching at school but at home doing extra lessons.  It is corruption everywhere.  Everyone is corrupt.

If we do not remove the spirit of corruption, no one will be able to raise Zimbabwe to its former glory.  I would like to thank His Excellency the President, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa.  He is a man who will never be shaken. I still remember that in 2008, if you got into a shop, you would smell only maputi but our President managed to stabilise prices of goods in the country. He did not put price control teams so that people will not have goods in the shops but citizens are suffering because of corrupt people in the country.  Everyone is corrupt. In ZANU PF, MDC and CCC they are corrupt.

Let us change the mindset of our children because they are also corrupt.  As elders, we are the ones influencing the children to be corrupt.  Fuel prices are increasing.  One of my children was crying saying that it is 24 hours’ service so that one can have food on the table.  Some are saying there are no sanctions but I am saying sanctions are there but the President is trying his level best.  As legislators, let us help him to curb corruption.  I do not know what Hon. Sen. Dube had thought about when she raised the motion because when you are debating this motion, you must be able to point what one is thinking about. 

I suggest that we arrange workshops and campaigns so that we teach our children to have positive minds in order to build their country.  As His Excellency the President says, nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.  If we argue as Zimbabwean citizens, we allow people from foreign countries to do whatever they want in the country.  We must help each other to stabilise the economy.  As I second the motion raised by the Hon. Senator, I want to say, if I was the President, I would make laws so that the US$ would disappear tomorrow.  The problem is, we are comparing price hikes in US$ and not in RTGs.  The US$ must be removed so that we do not have challenges in Zimbabwe. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to support the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Dube which is a crucial motion. A lot of issues have been raised. The motion is painful as indicated earlier on by other Senators. Mr. President Sir, this motion shows us as citizens of Zimbabwe how we look at our country. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for his contribution.  Mr. President, the motion by Hon. Sen. Dube touched on the drought. I would not want to repeat points that have been made by other senators but we all know that drought will just come whether we are aware or not. Government will be prepared to help people with fertilizers, seed and other implements. If drought comes, all the efforts will be in vain.  If Government is responsible for all that, it will eventually stop and start looking on ways to provide for the people who will be experiencing drought. Government will be doing that so that citizens survive. Drought affects industrial processes.

Hon. Sen. Dube also touched on COVID-19. We all know that we experienced this disease in Zimbabwe but we would like to thank the Government of His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa. The Government of Zimbabwe managed to stabilise the cases and rates how COVID-19 was prevailing at. We would like to thank the Government because nowadays the disease is no longer spreading at a faster rate like it used to. COVID-19 also contributed to the economic challenges we are facing. Some of the economic gurus also died due to COVID-19 which is tear-jerking.

We would like to thank His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for bringing us this programme. Hon. Sen. Mavetera clearly said that if he was the President, he would ban US dollar currency in this country. He calls the mindset of Zimbabwean citizens. Nowadays, as citizens we act like we represent countries worldwide because if there are challenges they are facing, we act like we are the ones responsible for bringing solutions to them.

Last week as I was walking in Mt. Darwin town, I met a young boy acting like he was drunk. I do not know if it is mutoriro or what. He said to me ‘we do not want the ZUPCO buses you are bringing to us’. I asked him who he was talking to and he said he was talking to me. I realised that it is now in the youngsters to tarnish the Government’s image and they are now used to the Wish vehicles for mushikashika. They no longer care about the ZUPCO buses. Instead of thanking the Government for bringing the ZUPCO buses, they are criticizing Government for that. If we all perish and we leave our children with that barbaric behaviour, Zimbabwe will be destroyed. We are Zimbabweans but we do not accept that.

You talked about rate Hon. As I was in my room, I got into another group which was talking about rate. I asked them what is their main purpose or aim for raising the rate to $420. They said mother you are mixing your thoughts. I asked him to just reply me. You end up discovering that we have a lot of work to do so that our country will function well. People are now greedy and people are suffering in the country. Hon. Sen. Dube also indicated that Government must have a task to find out where we are going wrong in terms of our economy so that the economy functions well. Even on the issue of natural resources.

In Mt. Darwin, we have a Mupfure River which is very rich in gold and if you look at the state of roads in Mt. Darwin, they have potholes. We do not have good schools but we have gold in our town. All those things must be given a closer look. People in the rural areas must be considered in whatever they do. If we leave those things the way they are, they will remain like that because we must first love our country.  The people we are supporting have their own countries, and Zimbabweans are running away from their own country.  We are not leaving this to the Government but as Hon. Members, we must submit our reports to Government to enable it to take action. Hon. Members from other countries are given allowances.  MPs from countries like Kenya are given US$15000 and that shows they are protecting their economy.  So we should also protect our economy in order for us to also get adequate salaries.  We need to work hard to ensure Government policies on natural resources and our economy are adhered to so we adjust accordingly.  If we keep quiet as Hon. Members, we will always suffer as citizens of Zimbabwe.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Dube for raising such a pertinent motion.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI:  I want to thank you Hon. President for affording me the opportunity to contribute to this important motion.  I was very happy when this motion was raised.  I am a chief and it is very important to support the motion.  I stay in a place where gold panning is taking place and gold is always available.  We also have good soils.  I think our economy is suffering because we do not know where our resources end up in.  Government gave everyone a piece of land to produce their own food, which is good.  However, when it comes to gold, you find there are only three people who own those gold mines.  If you go to the Ministry of Mines offices, you find that the offices are not well furnished and there are torn chairs.  So we need to first find out where this gold is going. 

In terms of food, we are stable because of the introduction of Pfumvudza and command agriculture programmes.  If you go to areas that produce gold that is where price increases are rife and that is causing inflation.  It is very difficult for people to survive in an inflationary environment but it can be stabilised if we look for solutions. 

The other problem we have is love for the US$.  In Zambia, inflation went to the extent where they carried wheel barrow full of notes to buy bread but they recovered and they do not accept the US$ but use their own currency.  You cannot go to Zambia and use the US$ to buy but you have to change it into their currency first in order for you to buy whatever you want.  So if laws are put in place, our currency will work and our economy will improve.  However, in Zimbabwe, there is too much corruption.  Money is being sold on the black market.  A person will be having a bag of new ZW$ notes but the limit is $1000.  So the problem is starting from the RBZ.  You did mention police officers but you must get used to how the police officers are operating nowadays.  Even if we recruit new police officers today and deploy them on our roads, all they now know is corruption.  They no longer care about their laws and how they operate.  You find there will be a lot of cars lining up on the roads causing traffic jams due to various problems like unlicenced drivers but at their offices, there is nothing in their records for the crimes committed on roads. 

I think those responsible for putting in place legislation for the country must also take chiefs into consideration because they have been ruling the country since long ago.  We must put our thoughts together so that we look at where the problems we are facing are coming from.  Children who are getting drunk are coming from us.  They now have bad behaviour.  We are no longer able to control them because some laws are coming from the Government.  We are no longer allowed to beat our children because of Government laws.  People get upset when a teacher beats their children.  The Government must put laws to remind people of the problems that will develop if we do not put laws against bad behaviour.  They must be reminded of such laws like if you kill a person, you will be arrested and this might also lead to avenging spirits haunting you. 

So I think cases like economic cases need all members and parties to meet together and find a solution or a way forward.  We must be like soccer players.  They support each other in good or bad times.  We must support our country like the soccer stars.  The Dynamos Stars support Dynamos Stars, the Caps Stars support CAPS Stars.  We must be responsible for the problems we are facing as a country.  The Government, the Hon. Members, the church members and everyone must have a say in how the economic challenges we are facing can be rectified.

Long back, all opposition members were not allowed to stand up in support of motions raised by another party but nowadays it is no longer like that.  We have something in common.  If you give birth to your children and raise them eating porridge with no sugar, the day they will eat the one with sugar there will be problems.  They will not accept that. 

We are comparing our currency with the United States dollars.  You have to seek for guidance and stop comparing our Zimbabwean dollars with United States dollars because we will be going nowhere since it is not our currency. I am kindly asking all the parties and everyone so that we come up together and make solutions for the economic challenges in our country.  You must love your own country as the soccer stars love themselves in their teams.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. J. HUNGWE: President of the Senate as well as the Senators here in the Senate, I stand up to add one or two words concerning the matter that is before the House, moved by the mover, Hon. Sen. Dube.

Mr. President, in the Bible there is a statement that says there were 700 left-handed men, meaning that most people were people with disability, left-handed men and we are looking at the number of 700 which is a big number of people with disability.  So that statement applies to us today. 

I heard at first Senators debating with passion on the issue of the United States dollar and how its use is not good for us but people did not say the Senate has taken a stand that we do not want United States dollars.  I did not hear that commitment.  The first person is the one who said do not forget us, we no longer want United States dollars.  We want our currency to be used and we want to leave this place and those people with the statement that we do not want the United States dollars.  The Senate is the Upper House.  Once an issue is taken to the Senate, it is an issue that is brought to finality and it has become very important.  That is not what is happening in this House.

You are here in this House.  I gave you a statement that there were 700 left-handed men, meaning people with disability.  People just talk and they go home.  Our Chamber must not only be a debating chamber because it loses value.  It is better for us to return home.  We should come up with resolutions that should be in the media such as The Daily News saying that the Senators have said no to the United States dollar.  Is that not what is supposed to happen?

Traditional leaders, I am also talking to you, but you are saying that it is a statement but that should be a commitment coming from the Senate Chamber.  It is the United States dollar that has destroyed our economy, not just to debate on the issue raised by Hon. Sen. Dube.

The Senator who debated what I really agreed to was Hon. Sen. Mavetera. He strongly made his point through, he is not left-handed but is right-handed.  Most of us have disabilities.  We want to hear that the Senate has said this or that.  We should not be like people who have come for a food bail out, but we should commit ourselves on what we would have agreed on. 

As Senate, we are saying we do not want the use of the US dollar.  You see Mr. President, there are no people opposing the US dollar because they have it at home and in their pockets.  I am the only one without US dollar, that is why I am saying this because it is difficult to get it. We must say no to the use of the US dollar.  Avail us the ZW$, the local currency as we want to promote the use of our currency.  When you walk into shops, we should be able to use the local currency.  That is what we are saying as Senate and that should be addressed.

Mr. President, as you go and see the high officers, you must advise them that the Hon. Senators have rejected the US$, we do not want it.  Applaud me if you are in agreement – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I told you that in the Bible, where we read God’s word, there is a statement that says, ‘there were 700 left-handed men,’ and these were people with disabilities.  Hon. Senator Chiefs, do you understand what I am talking about?  Imagine eating using your left hand, you cannot quench your hunger, try it and you will see what I mean.  Let us agree to abandon the use of US$.  This is not what Hon. Sen. Hungwe said but the Senate as a whole.  We should not promote the currency that is not ours because our currency has become irrelevant when we continue promoting foreign currency.  We do not want to be back-tracking but we want to move forward. 

Those who are selling in shops and engaging in business should make use of the Zimbabwean dollar.  You can clap because you are allowed.  Mr. President, there were 700 left-handed men, meaning that people with disabilities were many.  In Parliament, we do not want people with disability because people vote for you from the constituencies that you come from and they will say, Hon. Sen. Shumba, yes you said this and we agree with you, Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema, yes we agree with you. 

It is known that when you go to the people you are going to talk about important issues.  There is a book that was written by one of the late cadres, Chitepo which was titled, ‘Shoko risina musoro.’ You should go and read that book and find out what he meant when he said that it was a word without sense.  So it is something that you need to learn so that we understand where it is coming from and find out what it is that does not make sense.  The chiefs who preside over issues in courts will tell those who have no sense to go and slaughter goats. 

What pains me the most as I speak in this House is that – this is the Upper House and what should go out there and in the media is what the Senate has said, that we do not want the use of the US$.  We do not want it to gain prominence over our local currency.  Our currency should be prominent and the US$ should follow.  That is what we are saying in this Upper House where there are Hon. Senators supported by chiefs or traditional leaders.  Mr. President, in this House we can beat on top of our tables if we agree with the issues that have been said that make sense – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I thank you my colleagues for supporting me. 

Furthermore, before I take my seat, I know there are others who want to debate more sensible issues than mine but I am saying as we debate, let us look into the issue that we will agree on.  We should support these important issues, for example – it is Hon. Sen. Dube who brought this motion, is that not so?  The motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Dube is the one we are standing with that we need to ensure that our currency gains prominence more than the foreign currency.  When you engage those at a high level, advise them that Senate has said no with the support of the traditional chiefs.  Once the chiefs have spoken, who can say no? 

Mr. President, the issue that we have brought in should be taken forward.  We cannot let foreign currency take precedence, ours should gain prominence and the foreign currency follows.  It is also difficult for us to access the US$.  Are you able to get it Hon. Sen. Sekeramayi? So why do you want us to use it?  Our chiefs, are you able to get the foreign currency?  No, Mr. President, we cannot access the United States Dollar – it is difficult to get it, and that is why corruption has increased.  People are hungry, and for that reason the use of foreign currency has increased corruption. 

          Mr. President, corruption, as educated as you are, started in heaven.  Even the Lord battled with corruption.  What is needed in addressing corruption is to continue denouncing it but the truth is, we can never eradicate it, but continue denouncing it.  The moment we keep quiet, it will become worse.  So this august House should also denounce corruption, and ensure that those who engage in corrupt activities are brought to book.  You know the people who are engaging in corruption.  Why are you not naming and shaming them?  In the newspapers it should be there, we should read about this in the media.  Mr. President, please assist us.

          You do not want to mention them by name – why? Because you are afraid of being arrested but corruption should be denounced because it is not something that should be valued.  At family level, at national level and at global level, we should denounce corruption.  We will speak and denounce corruption on your behalf Mr. President because we do not want it.  Those engaging in corruption must be arrested, and once arrested; this should be publicised so that the nation knows who has been arrested on issues of corruption.

          In Chivi, we are famous for the murder of a policeman called Ruka.  The Chivi people burnt that policeman.  Once someone does something that the community does not want, we make sure that we deal with them as Chivi because we will be assisting the Government.  If you are found engaging in corruption in Chivi, you will be brought to book…

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA):  Hon. Sen. Hungwe, your time for debate is up.

          *HON. SEN. J. HUNGWE:  Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MWONZORA:  Thank you very much Mr. President for this opportunity.  I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. who tabled this very important motion.  This motion is to the effect of asking this House to interrogate ways in which we can improve our economy as Zimbabweans.

          The first and foremost important thing Mr. President for any country to meaningfully develop is for it to develop a common shared vision.  A country must have a vision.  People can differ on how to fulfill that vision that is the purpose of election campaigns but the vision must be the same, and it must be shared.  I propose that the vision that we must have of Zimbabwe is that of a peaceful, democratic, prosperous, united, and inclusive nation that should leave no one behind.  In other words, the first important thing in the vision is that Zimbabwe must be a country of peace.

          The second thing Mr. President is that this country must take concrete steps towards poverty reduction and then eradication.  You cannot have a developed economy where there are high levels of poverty.  So we must eradicate poverty first.  Then I agree with Hon. Sen. Hungwe when he says that we must deal with corruption.  Mr. President, if you go to other countries that have developed especially the Asian tigers.  You will see a common way in which they have dealt with corruption.  If you go to Singapore for example, their famous Prime Minister was very strict on corruption, and harshly punished people for corruption.  The Chinese and the Japanese are doing the same.  The cost of corruption is so high that nobody wants to engage in it.

          Similarly, in this country, we must be seen to punish corruption.  The treatment of corruption must be in such a way that there is equality before the law.  In other words, it must not matter who you are, whose son/daughter you are or whose father you are – as long as you are corrupt, you must be punished just like any other common criminal.  There must be no holy cows in dealing with corruption.  We must increase the punishment for corruption – number one, and make it a classless issue.  We must also depoliticise it.

          I remember Mr. President under the late President Mugabe, there were I think, five ministers who were fingered in corruption.  When the Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) got there, they were met with AK rifles – in this country.  An institution that is supposed to deal with corruption goes to a Cabinet Minister and is met with arms of war – we must punish that kind of behaviour.

          Then Mr. President, there must be equal access to resources in this country.  There are instances, in this country Mr. President, where people are given access to land, mines, and credit on the basis of their political affiliation.  The ability to carry business, and have entrepreneurial skills transcends political divisions.  Therefore, people must have equal access irrespective of their political persuasion, and in this regard Mr. President, there must be equal access to resources in this country. There are instances in this country where people are given access to land, mines and credit on the basis of their political affiliation.  The ability to carry business and have entrepreneurial skills transcends political divisions. Therefore, people must have equal access irrespective of their political persuasion. In this regard, people from all political parties must have access to land, credit and mineral wealth.

Mr. President, there cannot be development of the economy without relevant education and therefore, one of the most important things is that there must be equal access to education. It has now been proven and there are educationists here that the type of education that the colonialists emphasised on was sometimes education not relevant to economic development. Most of us here were taught about the prairies of Canada in Geography and the history of Europe. We were even taught about locus, thorax, abdomen and something else. Up to now, we do not know why we were learning that but there was little emphasis on how to be an entrepreneur and how to create wealth.

So we had a lot of educated people academically that is and very uneducated when it came to finance. That is one of the reasons why relatively there are uneducated whites in this country than very educated black people. Not only because of the historical imbalances but because of the sheer training or instruction that people get. Therefore, there is need for a change in our education system. Of course, for there to be economic development, there must be equal access to health. Our workforce must have access to health.

Mr. President, the people of Zimbabwe in various locations in this country must have a say in the development priorities of their region and this brings us to the issue of devolution. If you go to Masvingo Province for example, and ask them what their number one priority is, you may actually discover that it might be different from what priorities may be in Manicaland. If you go to Nyanga and ask their priorities, it may be different from people in Matebeleland South. For example, in Nyanga, access to water is not an issue. There is water everywhere but if you go to Matabeleland South, you may find water being an issue. Therefore, the local people must have a say in the development priorities of their areas.

Of course Mr. President, you can never have economic development without democracy. It has been said by others that dictatorship is very expensive to maintain. A dictatorial system requires a lot of resources to use. You have to have enough ammunition, train police in brutality and invest so much in intelligence. Therefore, dictatorship is expensive. There must be democracy. If there is political democracy, there will be economic democracy and it permeates through all facets of our society. That means therefore that there must be good governance in our country. If there is good governance and respect for institutions, then we will have a developed system.

One of the reasons why some countries like Sweden say they do not invest in Zimbabwe Mr. President, is because in Zimbabwe, they say there is no adequate punishment for corruption. I was with the Speaker and other Members of Parliament when we visited Sweden sometime ago on a re-engagement mission. I posed a question to their Minister of Foreign Affairs on why they were investing in Rwanda and not in Zimbabwe yet on the Democracy Index, I think the Rwandans at that point in time were actually below us. We were better than them or at most we were at par.

The Minister said one of the things that distinguishes Rwanda from you is how you punish corruption. So we must be seen not only to be talking about corruption but doing something about it. High profile people who engage in corruption must be punished without fear or favour. The institutions that deal with corruption must be capacitated and they must be respected and protected by this country, the Executive and this Parliament. We must be seen to be protecting ZEC, Anti-Corruption Commission and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission against abuse by those who have power.

Historically, our women did not have equal access to resources and education. We cannot develop our country without empowering our women or raising the woman to the level sufficient to make her productive. If you look at the mathematics that goes into the ordering and selling of tomatoes Mr. President and if you look at the person doing the mathematics; I have to travel to Mutoko, board a kombi, get a bucket or two buckets of tomatoes, come and sell at this price and make a profit. That is a lot of mathematics that goes there. The person possessing that brain can actually run a supermarket because they are doing that maths without computers, calculators and so on. So our women, through hardship, have been made even more proficient and they have demonstrated that they can do it. Therefore, we need to give them more resources now. We need our women in positions of authority and decision making.

Similarly, it is an old thinking or archaic thinking, not old thinking because my friend Senator Hungwe will be on my throat. I am not talking about age but about the type of thinking that it is archaic thinking to say the youths are leaders of tomorrow. If you go to politics, business,  et cetera, the youths are said to be leaders of tomorrow. We need to jettison that thinking. The youths are not leaders of tomorrow but of today. Therefore, there must be empowerment of youths irrespective of their political affiliation. Youths must be given access to credit on merit.

Similarly, Mr. President, people who are living with disabilities, we know that disability is not inability. They have proficiency sometimes in their areas of expertise. One of the best lecturers in law at the University of Zimbabwe was Pearson Nherera and he came from somewhere in Bikita. He was visually impaired and could not see at all but he was probably the best law lecturer who ever lived. I had a personal experience with him when I tried to cheat him in a tutorial. I had not prepared for that tutorial, so I went with a textbook.

He asked me a question and I just flipped on the page that had the answer and he embarrassed me by saying ‘Mr. Mwonzora, you are reading page 15 paragraph two (2) of Professor Christy’s book, Contract Law in Zimbabwe’ and this was a visually impaired person saying this to me. This shows you how gifted he was. Therefore, people living with disabilities should have resources to develop themselves so that they can contribute to the development of our economy. Of course, we must have a functioning judicial system as well as a well-developed infrastructure.

Now Mr. President, if you look at the road network of Zimbabwe, it is probably one of the best networks. Therefore, we must improve our infrastructure in Zimbabwe. Mr. President, with these words, I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Dube who raised this hon. motion in this House. I thank you.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Hon President for giving me the time to debate the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Dube on the motion that people have migrated from using our local currency to using foreign currency.  Our President, His Excellency said that nyika inovakwa nevene vayo.  This also implies that the home is developed by its owners. These are very important words. If as Zimbabweans we are not united and fight corruption, no one will come and fix our country for us.  It is painful and disheartening that we are failing to manage our country because of a small issue which has now risen to the level of cancer – corruption.  Once cancer has started, it is possible to cure.  Corruption has destroyed our state.  No-one is working for this country.  Everyone is working for his pocket such that they fullfill their needs.  As for us from the border areas, United States dollars are brought in 50kg bags and they will be exchanged. You ask yourself where these people are getting this kind of cash because even the banks in Zimbabwe do not have such amounts of money but the black market has such amount of money.

If we look at our border, we use rands.  There is no one who is transacting using the Zimbabwean dollars.  Most of our children have left their jobs in this country and went to South Africa to look for rands.  They are struggling and being abused in the foreign land.  Some of them are being burnt alive in pursuit of greener pastures. What can we do so that our currency has value? 

Corruption has destroyed our nation.  If you leave this place and want to leave this country for South Africa, either you have a passport or not – you can go and come back with a truck full of goods.  If you want either to bring it through the border or illegal porous points, these trucks can pass and come to this country through the effects of corruption.   You just pay the person at the post so that your truck can pass through the border and reach its destination.

I travel a lot and use public transport most of the time. Things that are happening on these roads are not complimented.  From one point to another, you will pay a certain amount; to get to the other point you also pay another amount and proceed until a 30 tonne truck load reaches its destination without even paying its duty.  The whole amount that would have been paid will get into someone’s pockets and not to the State coffers.  We can say a lot but where we are going, things are not well.   

A home without a woman is not a home.  A wife is the pillar of the home.  If the woman is not empowered, there is no progress.  Let us empower women because they are the ones that are supporting our families and they are not corrupt. When children or big men cry, they say ‘mum’ and not dad.  Let us respect women.

This motion has been debated for two or three weeks.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Dube for this motion that he has brought in this House on what we are saying on corruption. Lastly, I would request that if these debates are being wound up, the Ministers responsible are supposed to respond and are supposed to give conclusion on the motion, are supposed to come here so that we have a way forward. We can debate and debate but as long as they do not come to the House and give us direction of where we are going and where we are coming from, to say the truth we will be going nowhere. I have spent some time here, I have never seen Ministers that come and respond to motions that would have been raised in this august House. I was kindly requesting that the Ministers come and support us and make sure that our motions and debates that we are having here have a way forward, not just to debate here and spend three months and the motion dies a natural death without going anywhere. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President. Have a good day.   

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th May, 2022.

MOTION

EFFORTS TO CURB CORRUPTION

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to introduce deterrent services for those engaging in corrupt activities.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th May, 2022.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN MATHUTHU, the House adjourned at Twenty-Six minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

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