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SENATE HANSARD 30 June 2016 25-61
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 30th June, 2016
The Senate met at half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE
MEETING OF THE SENATE
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform
the House that pursuant to Section 110 (2) (c) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde. R.G. Mugabe has summoned the Senate to meet on 30th June, 2016, to conduct special business.
LEAVE TO MOVE SUSPENSION OF PROVISION OF
STANDING ORDERS NUMBER 50 AND 129
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Madam President, with the leave of the House, I move that provisions of
Standing Orders Number 50 regarding the automatic adjournment of the
House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty-Five
Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday and Standing Order Number
129 regarding the stages of Bills be suspended in respect of the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill [H.B. 1A, 2016].
HON. SEN. D.T. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President for
allowing me to say a few words on the Bill. I was looking at the Bill and I thought that the Bill contravened what the Constitution says because according to this Constitution, the members of the Tribunal are the ones who are supposed …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order Hon.
Member. We are not discussing the Bill.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you very much Madam President.
This is a very important Bill that we are supposed to debate in this House. Can you imagine that we have just got this Bill from our pigeon holes, an hour or less? We got it from pour pigeon holes now, and with the importance that this Bill entails, I think that it is supposed to be thoroughly considered, thoroughly studied and looked into so that we can have a healthy debate. Why and where has it been hiding and it just surfaced in the pigeon holes some few minutes ago. Madam President, we cannot debate this Bill until we have studied it.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Minister. We were given this Bill a long time ago and we have had it for some time. So we need to debate it because we have already interrogated the Bill and read it. We had the Bill before.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order. This Bill is not the same as the one that we were given. So this is the new one. It has new clauses.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Senator, if I
may help. This Bill was gazetted on the 9th of May, 2016. Now it may have some additions or subtractions but this numbered Bill was gazetted on the 9th May – So, you have had it for a while.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order. Those new additions; we should have had time to go through them because we got the Bill now. We live very far and the notice was put on radio/television on Tuesday and where we come from, for me to be here and get the Bill and go through it, I will need that time.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I just want to add my voice on this Bill. This Bill has been gazetted and the outreaches have been done. So, I do not understand why people are saying that they do not have the information on this Bill because all the necessary things that were supposed to be done were fully done. So I just support this Bill to proceed.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Madam President. This kind
of Bill, to us, is of utmost importance and that as a point. We also think that it is quite noble that the report of findings from public hearings should be availed to us, so that we discuss this Bill with the knowledge of the recommendations from the Committee – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] –
Secondly, Madam President, we do not seem to see the urgency of this Bill on the basis that the Minister had ample time before....
HON. SEN. MOHADI: On a point of order. My point of order is that if you say you do not want this Bill to be debated, just say so but do not put lame excuses because this Bill was here. Everybody saw it ....
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Point of order Madam President.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: I am still on the floor Madam President
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: You do not have
a point of order, he is still debating.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: While accepting that this Bill was publicised, the steps that were supposed to be taken, according to the procedure, were not followed properly. We are saying that we have to have the reports available. No one is saying the Bill should not be debated but we wish to state it quite categorically that we have to follow procedures as it is supposed to be taking place. Thank you very much.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me the opportunity to air my views concerning this Bill before this House. Madam President, this Bill was given to us about two months ago. Furthermore, in this House, there was a plea that the alignment of laws was taking too long and this is what the Minister is doing and he has brought it. He has brought this Bill for alignment and I do not see the reason why we should have disagreements on why the Bill cannot proceed.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I want to highlight a few issues. I think Hon. Mohadi mentioned that the outreach meetings have already been done but if the outreach meetings were done, how come we do not have reports from the meeting. I do not know if she has, but I do not have. I have been through my pigeon holes and there is nothing of the report from the outreach meetings.
Secondly, Madam President, the Bill that we got in May is different. I have seen this Bill, went through it very early and it is totally different from the Bill that we had. So we did not have enough time to go through and see what this Bill means – [AN HON. MEMBER: You
are lying.] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We do not call each
other liars in this House please. Let us be civil about it. I just want to help Hon. Timveos that the outreach for this particular Bill was done because the Committee is in the Lower House. They did and they reported it in the Lower House.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President. I think this House agrees that when we make laws, we want to come up with good laws for the country. It is not a question of rushing so that we have the alignment of laws. We have to come up with good laws. The fact that in the Lower House took so much time to debate, is a clear sign that people are not in agreement. So if we want to come up with a law, that law must be a good law. The resistance people are putting on this law simply means it is a bad law. So, let us study this law, come up with an agreement so that we govern this country properly – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We are coming up with a law at a time, when personally, I may view this law as a law targeting an individual. This is the time we are simply saying can we revisit this Bill before it is passed into law. What is the urgency? Why is the Minister rushing? It simply means that the Minister may have something up his sleeve. We want a good law and let us debate that law that can stand the test of time.
I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. SEN. MOHADI: On a point of order Madam President. I think in this august House we are grown ups and we should do our business maturely – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order in the
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Madam President, I propose that we proceed with the Bill.
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to air my views concerning the Bill. I want to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill timely because the motion that we had in this House was concerning the issue of expediting the alignment of laws. We requested that laws should come for alignment and the Minister has brought this law. So, we should make sure that we align it to the new Constitution.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Madam President, I rise on a simple point where people seem to indicate that this Bill has been with us. The fact that this Bill has been numbered as H. B. 1A, indicates that its tabling is a subsequent tabling. It is therefore inaccurate, incorrect and deceiving that this Bill has been with us. I made that point succinctly.
+HON. SEN. MASUKU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate the motion that is before this House. We were given the Bill 3 to 4 weeks back, if there is a difference on the weeks I mentioned, it might be just by afew days. I would also like to mention that, that is the reason why we have moved for automatic adjournment; even if it means adjourning tomorrow so that we can fully debate this issue and have a common understanding at the end of the day.
Madam President, there is a proposal that was brought by Hon Senator Mohadi where she was suggesting that we continue debating this Bill. Madam President, in my view, I think we have to agree that we debate this issue. If it means getting until late or tomorrow, we have to debate it up until we agree as a House for it is an important motion that needs to be dealt with in the House. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I propose that we divide the House
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: No, I am calling
for debate, not for proposals.
*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Madam President
for giving me this opportunity to debate the issue before this House. I want to thank the Minister who came into this House. As we always talk about the issue of aligning our laws in this country, I stood up to give an example of the fact that a man or a woman whom you have divorced and has remarried, seeing her or him, you cannot correct mistakes in her or his new life, someone is in charge. There is a challenge for you to be able to live amicably because you will have divorced. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam President. I want to thank all the Hon. Senators for their contributions with regards to this Bill. Certainly and quite clearly, this Bill is long overdue. This Bill must bring about order and good governance in our country and especially our local authorities. Secondly, whatever we are doing is in terms of the law. We have followed the law and we have made necessary notices. We are seeking for the extension of our sitting time so that we can accomplish the task at hand which means, if there are any concerns that the Hon. Senators have, this again provides them an opportunity to enrich our Bill in terms of their contributions.
I have listened very carefully to all the contributions by the
Senators to your left Madam President, and I do not want a repeat of what we saw in the Lower House. I think we must put our people first. We must have the interests of the majority of our people first, not the interests of individuals. We are not coming up with this law to fix an individual. We are only aligning the laws of our country. – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -
If there are any individuals who feel aggrieved, we are sorry. We gazette the Bill on the 9th May, 2016 and this was way before some of the exigencies you are raising had even happened. Even if it were to be so, we are responding to what Justice Bere said to us, that the Minister and the Ministry must align the law. We have a Constitution that was approved by the people of Zimbabwe. What this Minister is simply doing is to simply say can we align our present Acts to the Supreme Law of the land. I do not think I am wrong. If I delayed doing what we are supposed to be doing here, we are actually doing a disservice to our nation. So I want to urge our Hon. Senators that we have got to move forward with the business of the day. I thank you Madam President. –
[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Point of order Madam President. Let us
divide the House.
– [HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Madam President, according to
Section 281 of the Constitution, traditional leaders must not be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics.] – – [ *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Madam President, we will not agree to that.
You are intimidating and abusing the Chiefs; that is not their choice.
The law is very clear that they should be non partisan. Madam President, you can go ahead with the deliberations on your own and we can leave the House, moita moga. The Chiefs were not voted on ZANU PF card. The Chiefs should not be allowed to vote.] – – [HON. SEN. MAKONE: Madam President, the Constitution is very clear. Kana mati Madzimambo ovhotera ku ZANU PF ngaachivhotera kwatiri zvekare.] – – [*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: The Chiefs were not voted on ZANU PF card. The Chiefs should not be allowed to vote. This vote is a nullity.] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: The results of the
division are as follows:
AYES 42 and the NOES 21
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Madam President. Whoever was removing the names, he or she even removed the names of Hon. Sen. Khumalo and Hon. Sen. J. Ndhlovu, so you are now rigging.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Why did you
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: It is not me who was removing the names. It was Dingani who was removing.
AYES 42: Bhebhe M, Bhobho H, Charumbira Chief, Chidarikire
F, Chiduku Chief, Chimbudzi A, Chimutengwende C.C, Chipanga T.S,
Chisunga C, Chitanga Chief, Dandawa Chief, Hon. Gampu Chief, Goto
R, Gwenzi Chief, Hungwe J.D, Jadagu G.T, Machaya J.M.K,
Machingaifa T, Makwarimba C, Maluleke O, Manyeruke J, Marozva Chief, Mashavakure N, Masuku A, Mathuthu T.A, Matiirira A,
Mavhunga M, Mawire J, Murwira T, Musaka M.B, Musarurwa Chief, Mutsvangwa M, Nembire Chief, Ngungubane Chief, Ntabeni Chief,
Nyambuya M.R, Nyamukoho Chief, Nyangazonke Chief, Sekeramayi
T.S, Tawengwa C
Tellers: Hon. Sen. T.B. Mohadi and Hon. Sen. D. Mumvuri.
NOES 23: Carter M.N, Chabuka K, Chifamba J, Chimanikire A,
Chimhini A, , Juba A, Khumalo D.T, Komichi M, Mabugu F.E, Makone
T, Makore J, Mapungwana V, Moeketsi V, Ncube S, Ndhlovu J, Nyathi
R, Sibanda A, Sibanda B, Sinampande H.M, Timveos L
Tellers: Hon. Sen. S. Mlotshwa and Hon. Sen. M. Marava.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that ends well. According to the Tellers, the ayes is 42 and the noes is 23. Therefore, the question is accordingly affirmed.
HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: On a point of order Madam
President. I do not know; perhaps this could be food for your eyes and ears. We want to make note that chiefs are neutral. They are supposed to be non-partisan as regards Section 281 of the Constitution. Hence, here they voted for a political party – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Minister
and Hon. Members on my left. There is no debate; it is not time for debate.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.1A,
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Madam President, the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill has been necessitated by the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment Act [20:2013] in particular Section 278 Subsection (2) and
(3) which provides as follows: “An Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment of an independent tribunal to exercise the function of removing from office mayors, chairpersons and councillors but any such removal must be on the grounds of
- Inability to perform the functions of that office due to mental or physical incapacity;
- Gross incompetency;
- Gross misconduct;
- Conviction of an offence involving dishonesty, corruption or abuse of office
- Willful violation of the law, including a local authority by-law.
Madam President, a mayor, chairperson or councillor of a local authority does not vacate his or her seat except in accordance with this section.
Pending the finalisation of the new Local Government Act which is currently with the Attorney General’s office, there is need to align the
Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29: 15] and the Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13] (hereinafter referred to as Acts) to the provisions of the new Constitution. This matter is urgent in light of the increasing number of cases of corruption, mismanagement, insubordination and other ills that are being exposed in various local authorities particularly urban. We are also complying with the Justice Bere judgment whereby he directed that the tribunal be established.
The current Acts, as read with the Constitution, allows for the 45 day suspension of errant councillors but are out of line with the spirit of the new Constitution when it comes to the conclusion of the disciplinary action. This has in essence created a free-for all in local authorities.
As we speak, a number of shocking cases of maladministration and corruption have been uncovered by the Ministries following reports from concerned and desperate members of the public and residents associations:-
- A councillor in connivance with council plumbers, has bypassed his water metre and those of his cronies, thereby prejudicing his own council of revenue for a service rendered;
- A councillor has used funds meant for a council medical aid society to pay for personal university tuition;
- A councillor has awarded himself more than 20 stands in a single term, and still in office;
- A councillor has sold council land and pocketed the proceeds;
- A councillor, who was unlawfully driving a council vehicle and had an accident, framed a driver for the offence;
- Several local authorities are still operating without approved
2016 Budgets in violation of the Public Finance Management Act and more are up to four years behind in the audit cycle.
Such acts defy the basic values and principles of public administration as espoused in the Constitution and cannot be left unchecked. The Constitution provides for Cabinet to prepare, initiate and implement national legislation. As Ministers responsible for the Urban Councils and Rural District Councils Acts, it is imperative that, in order to effect the entire Acts, provision is made to sanction those who willfully violate parts thereof. There is need to clarify that the establishment of local authorities does not in any way impinge on the Constitutional powers of Central Government to enforce compliance to national legislation.
This proposed legislation has put in place measures to ensure the independence of the tribunal by having reputable bodies nominate the members thereof. I must also bring to your attention the fact that where a councillor is aggrieved by a perceived lack of independence of members of the tribunal, she or he has the right to raise this in an appeal. May I point out that this legislation will cover all one thousand, nine hundred and fifty eight councillors in the ninety two Rural District and Urban Councils. Currently, councillors across the political divide, including several from my own party, have cases pending hearing from this tribunal.
To this end, there is an urgent need to amend the respective Acts to restore order, protect the public from abuse and misuse of council property and funds and to restore public confidence in their local authorities.
The memorandum of Principles for the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill was approved by Cabinet on the 26th of April, 2016.
My Ministry has finalised the drafting of the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill incorporating the new Constitutional requirements in relation to the discipline of mayors, chairpersons and councillors.
Madam President, it is in view of the above that I hereby submit the Local Government Laws amendment Bill for consideration. I therefore move that the Bill read for a Second time.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you Madam President and like I
mentioned originally, this Bill is very important. So we have to give it all the weight that it deserves. Madam President, from the start, we understand that the rural councils are now under a different Ministry with a different Minister and we thought that Minister would bring this Bill representing the rural councils. Now, we are seeing one Minister running away with both councils. We do not know whether it is very important but we believe it is very important that when a Minister is appointed, there is need that would have been found. But, here we are finding a certain Minister who has nothing to do with that area, running around with the Bill including his own Bill of urban councils.
If you look at the Memorandum of this Bill Madam President, straight away, although we just got this Bill today, let us look at it.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, right now
we are not actually using that Bill for debate.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Sorry Madam President. The point is, you will find that on memorandum, this thing from page 1 to the end – there are so many defects and if those defects are not dealt with here and now, we will be completely wasting our time sitting here. I know we that we will reach the Committee Stage but it is better to talk about the body than to talk about the finger. So, I am talking about the body here.
Madam President, on the memorandum page, the Minister, from that page and again on page 2 it is the Minister and all angles it is the Minister and nobody else even if we are talking of the tribunal, you will find that it says the Minister. From that high office, he will leave the tribunal and go and fire the mayor. We can call them mayors but probably he is aiming at a mayor. He can go and fire a mayor. One particular person has caused this whole House and the Lower House to sit. I think if we are going to set up a tribunal…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Honestly, you
are a seasoned Senator and you know that when there is a Bill, both Houses have to go through it, that Bill has to go through in both Houses.
It is not peculiar to this particular Bill.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Madam President, starting from the memorandum, you will find out that we just copied and pasted the
Constitution on to this Bill. The job of this Bill should be to simplify the Constitutional Clause - for example, in this case, we are talking of a clause that has to do with Local Government from our Constitution. We are not copying and pasting on to the Bill. It is like a Memorandum and
Articles of Association, the Article cannot be greater than the
Memorandum. This Bill serves no purpose whatsoever as to define or to explain to the ordinary person what they are trying to achieve, what alignment we are trying to reach; because we are trying to align a section in the Constitution.
Madam President, we are trying to align this Bill to Section 278 of our new Constitution. You will find that we have rushed to Section 157 but we have left Sections 8, 9, 10, 21, 30, 42 and we rushed only to this one because – and this Bill goes ahead to say the Minister may align some of the Sections, just as he feels. He can align some and leave some, probably. Madam President, the Tribunal that is being set up here is supposed to look after or hire, fire whatever, the Mayors and the council chairpersons. Why are we talking about the Tribunal here if their job has already been assumed by the Minister? The Minister has taken it all. He is doing it alone, it is a one man game. Why waste tax payer’s money in sitting. This House, I understand is very expensive for us to come and sit, why should we come and sit to empower the Minister to do the job which he will not be supervised by anybody?
Madam President, If you look at Section 2 (2) of the proposed new
Section 157 which we are supposed to adopt, you will see it, it is totally unconstitutional, because the Minister cannot suspend. He cannot suspend, this is the job of the Tribunal. If you read the Bill, you will laugh Madam President, because it goes on to empower the Minister that even if he suspects, he can take action against you. If he suspects – no proof, no nothing. You are empowering the Hon. Minister to deal with suspects – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam President, it is not fair. It is not fair for the country, it is not fair for anybody, it is not fair for our history, it is not fair for the future generations, it is not. We will be scorned we will be laughed at by the grandchildren. We will be definitely. Madam President, what should happen is, the Hon. Minister, I know he is young and energetic and he can do a lot of other things, but the very honourable thing that he should do on this Bill is to recuse himself and make sure that the
Tribunal that is set up here is doing its job and it is independent.
The moment we talk of the Minister, we are removing the independence of the Tribunal and it will not work. If we remove the independence of the Tribunal, there is no the reason why we should set it up. I know that you will say since it is an ad hoc thing, and what not – but even if it is an ad hoc thing, when there is need to fire a mayor, council chairperson, it should be set up.
Madam President, again - why should the Minister appoint, why should he do that? We have neutral people who are not partisan. We have Churches in this country, we have the Parliament and we have the courts, they are not partisan. If I ask you Madam President, which party Judge Dumbuchena comes from, which party has seconded the judge, you will not tell because they are neutral but if I ask Madam President - which Party seconded to Parliament Hon. Kasukuwere, you will know straightaway that it is ZANU PF. If I asked further and said who appointed Hon. Kasukuwere, you will know straightaway that it is His Excellency, the President of this country, President Mugabe. If I asked you where the centre of power of ZANU PF lies, you will know it is President Mugabe. Therefore, the whole issue is partisan.
This also applies to Section 3 (5) of the proposed new Section 114, which we are supposed to adopt here. It is so painful to adopt a wrong thing. As you always tell us to behave in this House because we are mature, we should do so. We are not a group of numbers here, we are a group of mature people who are led an able President of the Senate. This issue affects also Section 2 (2) of 157 (a), who will be nominated by the Minister? Who will be nominated by the Minister, which lucky blue-eyed boy will be nominated by the Minister – definitely, it is clear, ZANU PF person. So Madam President, this...
HON. SEN. MOHADI: On a point of order.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Oooh you again.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Yes – [Laughter.] – Thank you Madam President, with all due respect, we are not debating ZANU PF here. Can we just stick to the Bill and discuss Government issues. We cannot continue talking about ZANU PF in this House. Thank you.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you very much Madam President.
These areas I am mentioning must be reversed. They must be. If the
Minister is serious, definitely he must engage in his reverse gear on
these Sections that I am talking about. A lot more, he also wants this Bill to be successful.
Madam President, I was asking who will be appointed by the Minister. Definitely, we have had the definition of the Minister here. If you looked closely, the definition of a Minister in our Constitution has completely nothing to do with the things that we are talking about. He has a big job in his office which has nothing do with this, minus all this. If you looked at Section 3 (2) (b) of the Urban Councils Act, it talks about the proposed new Section 114 (a), Madam President, if this House does not reverse this thing, we are in for a high jump. We are in for big trouble, because other countries are looking and it is already appearing on WhatsApp in other countries.
Section 2, (10) of this Bill talks about the intended new Section 157(a). It allows the Minister to remove members of the tribunal at any time. He can interfere with all the work of the tribunal from A to Z, and we feel definitely that if we are a live country, we cannot allow this to happen.
Madam President, my last point is on Section 3(10) of the Urban Councils Act which talks about 114(a) again. It is dangerous if we continue because the repercussions on this House will hound us. We have to change and make sure that we have engaged in our reverse gear or you have corrected this Bill, so that we can present it to the nation as a good gift. May be 2016 might present Zimbabweans with something they will appreciate. The Minister must do everything in this Bill and not choose sections of it. Let us deal with it all. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for
affording me this opportunity to speak on this Bill. I am very disappointed with this Bill because the Constitution is clear that the tribunal has to be independent. I want the Minister to explain because when you are reading this Bill, it comes out to say the Minister can do anything. The moment this Bill passes Hon. Minister, how many councillors do we have as the opposition? I think the Constitution is clear because it protects everyone. It looks like the Minister is free to hire, fire and do everything.
So, the way I am looking at this Bill is that the moment it passes, the Minister can just issue a statement and fire all the MDC councils. –[HON SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- This is how I am looking at this Bill. Madam President, to those that do not read, please read this Bill and understand it. It is clear that the Minister has all the powers to do anything. This Bill is to sort out the opposition so that it disappears from
Zimbabwe. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- you do not want in Zimbabwe to have an opposing voice and if we do not have the opposition, will this country grow?
Will this country grow without an opposing voice? This is what is going on with this Bill as I am looking at it. Even though I did not get enough time to go through it, but what I have seen in this Bill is disastrous to the nation. It violates the Constitution drastically and I want that to be understood. The other thing that I am seeing is that as I went through the Bill, I was just flipping through the pages, there is nothing said about provincial councils, devolution and nothing about anything.
Meanwhile, the Minister is doing everything but the Constitution is clear on devolution that we are going to have provincial councils that are going to oversee all provinces to ensure things are being done properly. The Minister has taken everything and it is silent and nothing is being said. I remember clearly when we were writing the Constitution; Bulawayo, Manicaland and all the other provinces were clear on the devolution but Minister, you have taken everything. Surely....
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Madam
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: What do you
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: The Hon. Member is not being
protected because as she is speaking, some people are speaking as if they have anything to say to this.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I think the Minister in his opening remarks when he was speaking on this Bill, he highlighted a lot of issues about the Constitution. He said he is aligning this Bill to the Constitution. This Bill is not aligned to the Constitution. It is giving him so many powers. Have we forgotten what the people said? I just want to implore and really talk to the Minister. I am lucky that I am in this House and I can see him face to face. Please Minister, can you rethink on this Bill. You do not need to treat the opposition as your enemies. We are all Zimbabweans and we are here for a reason. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
We are not your enemies. The councillors that are in the opposition can be your friends and they can teach you something that can make Zimbabwe grow. Do not treat us badly like this. I might sound like I am emotional. I am being told kuti ndiri sascum, but as far as I am concerned, I am not talking for myself, I am talking about Zimbabwe handiti?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I think I called for
respect earlier on in this House. Unfortunately I did not hear anybody calling you those names, but please let us desist from calling each other names in this Chamber. Tojoina vana here vakomana ah!
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for
protecting me. All I was saying...
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Let us not call
each other names. It is one thing interjecting but in a respectful way and it is another calling out bad names or calling names, it is not nice. We should not do that. Let us refrain from that. You may continue.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: When I stand up Madam President, I am not speaking for myself. So when I talk do not look at Senator Lillian Timveos. Look at the people that I represent. When I talk, I am talking on what the people said about this Bill. This Bill is not good and the councillors were chosen by the people. So, one person cannot just decide to say this councillor is bad and he must go when they were chosen by thousands of people. The Constitution is clear on that.
I am appealing to the Minister to rethink and look at this Bill. Do not look at the opposition as your enemy. Look at them as Zimbabweans and we will build Zimbabwe together, instead of presenting a Bill that is going to get rid of the opposition. I think this Bill is unfair Madam President. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Madam President for
affording me this opportunity to debate on the Bill that is before this House on Local Government. I think the way it was crafted and that it is being amended, it means that they are amending sections that are contentious. This is not the first Bill or the last one, I do not think it is the last one to be amended. I remember when this Session of Parliament was opened by the President, the President urged us to carry out our deliberations with wisdom. He urged us to deliberate on Bills that will come to this House like this Bill that has been brought by the Minister.
We should all work together and ensure that amendments are done and alignment is done. Our term of office may come to an end before we are done with the alignment if Bills delay in coming. The Bible in Proverbs says, “Do not tell me what to do”. We cannot tell the Minister what to do because the Minister was chosen and appointed by the President. The President knew that the Minister had the capacity to run the Ministry. We were chosen by the people to become Senators and we will carry out our mandate as Senators in our constituencies. I do not think there is any need for conflict concerning this Bill.
Madam President, I urge all of us to speak with one voice and become united in order for our nation to develop because once we start telling the Minister what amendments to make then we have a challenge. What he has brought is what is before us and as Senators, we should not be partisan but let us amend what has been brought before us. Even the laws, the chiefs did not vote for any party but voted for the Bill that is before the Senate.
So we need to understand each other as the Upper House and if we speak in English, Shona or SiNdebele, we need to understand that the Bill that has been brought by the Minister should be passed. I think we need to pass this Bill and I thank the Minister for bringing this Bill. We were already on recess but were recalled for this Bill because of its importance. My request is that as Senate we need to unite and pass this Bill that has been brought by the Minister. I thank you for the time that you have given me and also the Minister for bringing this Bill. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Hon. Madam President.
I have a few points that I just want to add and also add my voice to the
Bill that was brought by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
First of all, Madam President, it is not a problem to look at the Constitution Chapter 146, the provision that gave the President to recall us from recess. When I look at this provision, it shows very well that the Executive does not take Parliament seriously because when they want to fast track whatever they want, they know they can recall us at any minute and we come and rubber stamp Bills like this one.
Madam President, I want to implore the Minister to avoid things that divide Zimbabwe. Things like this one divide Zimbabwe because when you go to the Bill of Rights, you will understand that if people speak about issues, if they are not happy about issues it means that the one that is appointed like the Minister should listen to what people are saying because there can never be stability in a country when people are opposed to what one individual wants to do.
We very well know that these clauses that are being put to amendment today by the Minister are clearly “the Manyenyeni must be fired lauses”. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – These are the Clauses. There is nothing else and the fast track is only because Manyenyeni must go according to the Minister. So it is a violation of our Constitution to have the Minister manipulating the laws and fast tracking sections in a Bill and amendments so as to carry forward on issue about one man in one town.
Madam President, it is very clear ngeSiNdebele kuthiwa, uxatsha ngomunwe meaning you are hiding using something that will not cover the whole body. Maybe you are only covering the eyes but people can easily identify the other parts of the body that it is you, so ukuxatsha ngomunwe that is what it means. We know very well that the Minister here according to how he is pronouncing the benefits of the amendments, that he is now on the gear being the Political Commissar for the forthcoming 2018 elections because – [HON. SENATORS:
Hear, hear.] – it is very clear that the …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order I
would like to appeal to Hon. Senators, could we actually address the Bill please.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President, it is
very difficult to accept one person to have powers to detect whereas Zimbabwe has millions of people around who can do the job equally as well. If you look at the sections, it shows very well that all the other people are being ignored. I do not know when the other people are supposed to participate in the processes of the country.
Madam President, in other countries people are busy talking about improving participatory governance. We must improve that, show the democracy and evolve power so that other people sit and talk about the issues that affect them. If now the Bill is not talking about the Preamble, Chapter 14 where there is devolution and involvement of other people, then it only talks about the Minister suspending, the Minister appointing a Tribunal, the Minister doing this and that, when are other people going to participate?
Really, I think that the Executive and Ministers are taking us as Members of Parliament too much for granted in that you see it because you can see that the other side is not even debating. Maybe they belong to the same party as the Ministers, so they do not want to debate. But I think if we are people, we should listen to each other, debate, differ and come up with something…
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Madam President, on a point of order. I just want to remind the Hon. Senator that we are not talking about the Senators on the other side. We have to stick to the Bill because we are not the other side of the Bill. I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS:
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order!
Thank you Hon. Senator, are you done?
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Yes, I am done Madam President.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: You may
continue Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: It is not amiss Madam President, when we debate that you look at the reactions or contributions of other people who have a different thinking from yours. When I am saying the other people, I know I am referring to the other people who have different policies and thinking from my side of the people. I do not think it is like I am insulting anybody because if you make me stand here and Hon. Sen. Mohadi stands there, we have different policies, thinking and even different dreams.
Madam President, the sections that Hon. Sen. Marava spoke to can be reversed especially the issue of the appointment of the Tribunal because it will be one man’s band. Even in a band you will need other people to play the other instrument. So I implore the Minister that yes, you can be having intellectual capacity to do all the other things but when we look at Zimbabwe, where we started and where are we now, as
it is, we are in a messy. We are even going to get our salaries on the 15th of the June, because the Ministers cannot produce what can take us forward. So we are in a quagmire because of these Ministers. So, they are not supposed to force us to fast track a Bill because they have decided that this will assist Zimbabwe in any way - it will not. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President, for
giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this Bill. In my debate, I am going to look at the local authorities. They are there to provide service delivery to the citizens. They should be providing adequate shelter, water provision and everything else. This is what our Constitution requires.
Madam President, this Bill that has been brought to this House intends to correct the mischief where councillors or the mayors that are misbehaving are removed from office and a tribunal is put in place to carry out such investigations. Should we stand up here as Hon. Members of the Senate to support that corrupt members of councils should not be uprooted? If we are taking that line of argument, the ordinary public out there will then stand to wonder what has become of us as Senators. We must pass laws which serve the interests of the people, not to serve the interests of a few individuals.
I urge Hon. Senators not to look at the current composition of the councils but after elections, others may come in. Let us not pass laws whilst we have individuals in mind but pass laws that are for the prosperity of this country and for posterity of the people. Hon. Senators, we should not spend the whole night here, this is a very easy matter to ensure that we carry out our alignment function that we have been clamouring for. With those words, I urge that we proceed and have this law passed. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam
President, for affording me the opportunity to add a few words to this
Bill that has been brought by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon. Kasukuwere. The Bill is intended to ensure that a country has laws and that there is order. If a country has disorder, like what is prevailing here, that will be the case.
Let me proceed and say Madam President, that when we grew up, we used to play football and were involved in other sporting activities. However, we no longer have playing fields; people have been settled in those playing grounds. Even on wet lands, you find that there are now houses. One fails to understand what is going on.
Hon. Minister, we support you when you bring such a Bill because we know that local authorities are the ones who allocate residential stands in various locations where people are located. They are led by councilors and mayors. We tend to believe that it is these councils that are resettling people in wetlands. As whether who has caused the eviction of such people, that is neither here nor there; what we want is to ensure that the law is preserved. The law should be applied to any individual who breaks it.
So Minister, we support this Bill as a matter of urgency. You have performed like a Munhumutapa; do not backtrack - forward forever, backwards never so that this country can be ruled properly. When a dog barks at an elephant, the elephant should continue walking. Let us keep walking and ensure that we straighten up Zimbabwe.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order! The Hon. Chief has insulted us. We are not barking here, we are putting forward our points. We are here because we have to air our views. If he does not have anything to say to us, he should sit down and keep quiet.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Chief, the
proverb that you have used has been misread, may you withdraw that? It is a good proverb but it has been misunderstood; it makes us understand what you are saying. Unfortunately, it is ambiguous under the circumstances.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: As Chiefs, we use proverbs – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Please, do not do
that. Hon. Senator Komichi, you are an elder, I expect you to guide others. The chief did not insult anyone, ah!
HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam
President. I was just putting across the point that we should proceed with deliberations because this Bill is constructive to the country – [HON.
MLOTSHWA: Withdraw your statement!]-
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order!
Hon. Chief, what did you say, I was talking to Hon. Komichi?
However, I have ordered you not to use such proverbs.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam
President. I am sorry if I have conveyed what has hurt others. I withdraw, thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: You may
continue with your debate.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam
President. I was saying Hon. Minister, go ahead with the Bill, whether people are going to be dismissed, it is irrelevant as to who will dismiss them. Put this law in to place so that we eradicate corruption. I foresee your Bill ensuring those wetlands and other places erected going to be preserved because of this law.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President for giving
me this opportunity to say a few words. I was just wondering why the Minister is giving us an amendment of the Bill instead of covering the whole Bill in relation to Rural and Urban Councils Act. We are saying this country has no money but this is really a waste of money. The Minister is coming up with an amendment, and Parliament went out carrying out public hearings. Mr. President, when the Minister wants to look at the overhall Bill as it is supposed to be, Members of Parliament will have to go out again to carrying out public hearings; consulting people. This is very worrying in a country where we are saying we have no money but we are wasting money. We need to think about that as well.
Madam President, it has often been said that we should speak with one voice, how can we speak with one voice when our Constitution states that the tribunal has the responsibility of dismissing the mayors and councillors. Now, on this Bill, we are told that the Minister is going to do the function of the tribunal. What is now going to be the function of the tribunal; to be told what to do by the Minister? I hope the Minister will go back and read Section 278 of the Constitution which stipulates the functions of the tribunal which are now the functions of the Minister. I hope the Minister will also consider this.
Madam President, now that the Minister is responsible for firing people, he is going to recommend at the end who should be taking over from the mayor because we are not going to have the election, it is like thinking amongst yourselves who is going to be the next mayor. In this manner, this will lead to corruption, the Minister choosing either relatives or party members – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – can it be left to the tribunal and the community to do the selection and appointing of the mayors or councillors so that we avoid corruption. Somebody was saying the land is now being taken by so and so, these councillors from the other parties are new, the councillors who have been there all along are from one party, so they are the ones who have been grabbing land and doing whatever they want – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – People were just looking at what was happening without taking any action but we are now afraid that the new ones are going to be rich as well – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Let us do our things properly, let us put the tribunal and let it be independent, no one should do the job of the tribunal including the Minister as well. The Minister should observe how the tribunal is doing the job and not doing it on behalf of the tribunal. Even the temporary removal of people is supposed to be done by the tribunal and not by the Minister. I hope the Minister is going to look at that and do the supervision outside the ring not inside the ring; doing the taking in and taking out. That is my main worry.
Now, what does outsiders say about Zimbabweans; when our Constitution states clearly what is supposed to be done and this Bill is saying the Minister is to do this and that, contrary to our Constitution, where we wasted so much time consulting people on what they wanted to see in their Constitution. I beg the Minister and the House; let us follow the wishes of the people. Madam President, independent, means the Minister does not get involved, he observes and follows what the tribunal has done. Thank you Madam President – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]
HON. SEN. CARTER: Thank you Madam President. The Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Council Act need to be amended in line with the Constitution. We agree with the Minister on that, however, the Constitution is very clear that these amendments should take place within the context of devolution as we have said before.
The devolution of power to provinces will mean that the power of the Minister is decreased as councils are empowered to take control and responsibility for service delivery. This is provided for in Section 264 of the Constitution, yet the Minister is doing nothing to implement devolution. So, this is where we fundamentally disagree with his approach. The Bill in its current form does not represent the spirit of the Constitution – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - Instead of reducing the power of the Minister, this Bill seeks to increase his power to suspend and remove from office mayors and councillors. It is disingenuous of the Minister to claim he is doing this for the sake of the people of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – the
Government, through this Bill, is actually showing contempt for the will of the people of Zimbabwe as the Minister picks and chooses which elements of the Constitution he wishes to implement.
Madam President, without devolution, this Bill is abusive of the
Constitution and therefore of the people of Zimbabwe – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I have heard many Senators in this House speak of the Constitution as our political bible representing the voice of the people, the supreme law, the will of the people and even someone says the voice of God. This Bill is a big step backwards for constitutionalism and democracy and runs against the entire of history but the will of people will eventually prevail.
Hon. Senators who have decided to vote for this Bill; you are not walking your talk. Your view that the Constitution is your political Bible, you are not walking that. Your vote will be recorded today for ever in history as violating the will of the people. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Madam President. I rise to make a few observations regarding the Bill in question. Hon. Madam President, the Constitution cites two angles; the first angle is political and that is covered in Section 129(k) of the Constitution. That to us is very clear. The second part of it is on Section 278(2). To me it is administrative. By virtue of fact, the tribunal is intended to administer councils. I want to agree with the Minister.
On the violations and corruption that do exist in the councils in terms of day to day mistakes that are committed, corruption has ever been there in these particular councils. However, there is expected order that has to abide with the Constitution where the arm of administration must be truly independent; not with any due influence from the Minister.
Everybody who spoke before me was emphasising on the independence of the tribunal. To me this is a true protection of the Minister from the intervention of the day to day running of the council.
The point in question Madam President is that this Bill is not temporary. It will be there for time immemorial but if you build it focusing on individuals and petty issues that do crop up within councils, it then becomes much more biased. This is the view of this particular House that the Bill must be exceptionally neutral. The Minister must see from a distance rather than to allow him to appoint in terms of this particular section, which is 114(a). In itself it means people will not really be sure whether the Minister is neutral in terms of his appointments of people because definitely we are all seconded from different parties. He could be biased and such was mentioned before. To us, it is so partial and it ceases to be impartial.
All we are calling from this House is that we want to protect this particular Constitution, which is written with good intentions and call for the Minister on the basis of his professionalism as a Minister to be hesitant to indulge into other issues that will rise tomorrow as misconceptions by the generality of the people of Zimbabwe. I want to echo my view independently and with a lot of respect. We are calling for this thing to have a second thought in terms of its appointment of people to this secondment of people who are supposed to be in these tribunals.
Secondly, the powers that are too much on the Minister must be revisited to make it purely independent. We will be happy with that. I want to thank you very much for this opportunity.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President for giving
me this opportunity to debate on this Bill. First and foremost, I would want to thank the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for bringing in this Bill. You have observed that there are certain steps that you need to take before you move forward with this law. Minister, you could have easily done what you wanted with this law but you have respected us – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] - Madam President, a while ago, some of our erstwhile speakers were asking for protection but they are now speaking and I ask for the same protection.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Please do not attack
her. You are protected.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President. I thank the Hon. Senators for accepting that they have been remonstrated with and for the respect that they have accorded me. I was saying the Minister should be thanked for realising that before coming up with the law, he had to come via certain steps and has given the Houses of Parliament respect. As the Upper House, we should think deeply and we should not be partisan. There is nothing partisan about this Bill. We should not bring pre-conceived ideas because the Bill is being sponsored by a particular Minister. People want to be protected by us as Senators and the House of Assembly.
Time and again, emotions are raised in this House about corruption and we are now bringing a Bill to curb corruption. As observed, our mayors and councillors are the most corrupt people and you should not deny this. Double allocation of stands and houses is being done by Rural District Councils and urban councils. Theft of funds from the people is being done by local authorities. We should not protect such thieves in this august House. We are directing our attention to councilors and mayors. Is that the only thing that we should be talking about? We should not protect people who are looting.
Someone wanted to talk about Mutare and let me talk about the city because that is my constituency. Some of the claims that you were making is because you are not aware of what is happening in Mutare. People are even constructing structures at the railway station and people’s money is being misused. Time and again, the Minister has been in Mutare. Let us not just cast aspersions and make wild accusations when you have no solid evidence. We should not rely more on hearsay.
Secondly, you talked about us wasting time on coming here as an august House because it is costing money to the Government. It is true that this costs money. You have observed that the Government has no money. We should not play and waste time when we come to this august House; we should get to the point and get our business and ensure that we remedy the situation. As elderly people, we should put our heads together and where there is need to correct, we should do corrections. Let us change our mindset. Let there be a paradigm shift and let us not have pre-conceived ideas. We should not be throwing stones at the Minister because he has afforded us the opportunity to come here. The Minister could have done as he pleases and he could not have even come through this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - We may make noise but this is the point.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Members.
*HON. SEN. MARAVA: On a point of order Madam President,
it is incorrect to say that the Minister can do as he pleases. The Hon.
Member should withdraw. The Constitution does not say that. The Minister is not a dictator.
HON. SEN. MAWIRE: I believe I have the right to say whatever
I say like anybody else. Thank you Madam President for the opportunity that you have given me and as elders we must not behave like children, we must take matters seriously. I thank you.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. I have
about three or four points I want to make. The first one is directed to the Minister. Minister, I think you are consolidating power at a time when the nation wants to devolve power and when the international community and the global village is devolving power. I think you are moving in the wrong direction. This is what this Bill does - specifically in Section 114(a), I think you need to revisit that and see if I am not making a valid point.
If you insist Minister on keeping the Bill as it is, I would rather you call it the un-independent Tribunal as against the independent
HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: On a point of order Madam
MADAM PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: What is your point
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: The Hon. Senator is insulting the
Minister by saying that he is moving in the wrong direction – [HON.
SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –
MADAM PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Let her speak her
mind. Thank you Sen. Manyeruke.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: The second point I want to make is
that the Minister, under the section where he talks about security of tenure. When you hold people ransom by being responsible for their employment and their dismissal, what you are saying is you are seeking excessive compliance with your own position and I think that is use of resource power in order to seek compliance. Once again, I feel that the direction in which the Minister is going - in modern political, systematic, social and economic, he is in the wrong direction in my opinion.
I think the Minister should be very pre-occupied with aligning the entire legislation relating to local governance – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – That is what we as Zimbabweans need. I do not know what they as the Executive need. The third thing I want to talk about is once again the tribunal is serviced by a secretariat from the Ministry of Local Government. Effectively, what we are saying is the Ministry of
Local Government is directly in charge of the supposed independent
Tribunal. The command structure in any ministry starts with the Minister, goes to the permanent secretary goes to the underlining levels right down to what may be the secretariat at that time. Therefore, where do we find the independence of this Tribunal?
That last point I want to make is the Minister correctly says that we wants to deal with corruption in Local Government. If there is corruption, yes, let us deal with it. I think the Cabinet has missed it here, the Auditor General’s report indicates bigger and huge corruption in Government – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – and this is factual, it is not manufactured, and we are dealing with people in Government - what we see in papers today is frightful. People in Government departments are taking millions US$3m at CMED, I cannot even what US$3m is like, it must be a huge amount of money.
Now, we are dealing with local government and leaving the big theft, I am saying this to Cabinet; I am not specifically saying this to the Minister. Also, Minister, as a last consideration that fish rots from the head, if you cut the lower stem of rotten fish is, that fish still rot. Let us address the entire system. I am sorry to say this to you but the Government must address the entire system in order to make sure that what I will classify today as legislation that is subsidiary to big legislation has effect.
Madam President, I think I have made my full points.
Unfortunately, I think the Minister may not be in a position to change his Bill, but I wish him a re-think and I can see he is smiling, he is rethinking. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. I
would want to thank the Minister for such a good Bill in which he has clarified a lot of issues, including what is written in the Memorandum of the Bill. We are all aware that in Zimbabwe our urban or rural councils are not operating properly. This is the mischief that the Minister intends to cure by bringing this Bill. We know that the councils were paying themselves huge salaries and perks. People did not have good service delivery such as water, a lot of councils were now prone to typhoid and this is what the Bill seeks to correct. There is a single Minister for every Ministry. We may make reference to the Bill of Rights, what about sanctions that were imposed on us? Are they not infringing on the rights of Zimbabweans? We cannot have a democracy in Zimbabwe while
sanctions are there.
We are putting a law for our country called Zimbabwe so that our councils can assist people so that there will be development emanating from our councils because the majority of our councils are not working properly. Stands are being dished out left, right and center among councilors so, it is the duty of the Local Government Ministry to put these wrongs right. It is there to curb the misuse of council vehicles and the stopping of huge salaries, this is corruption. We should support this Bill, it is very clear; there should not be a problem with this Bill. We are misleading the intentions of this Bill. When we talk of democracy in this country, we talk of elections and the majority forms the Government of the day and there is a Minister who is in charge of Local Government, we should know that. The Minister brought this Bill and if we push the
Minister away from the councils, what will he be superintending over?
His duty is to supervise and superintend over councils. Local Government is what makes Zimbabwe that it is. It is a good Bill and I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President. To the Minister I say I have a problem with the timing of our Bill. Yes, we have all been talking about corruption and we are very clear that no-one supports corruption, both sides in this Senate do not support corruption but the timing, Minister is highly questionable. We hear quite a lot that you are planning to offer stands to almost 500 000 youths and the question whether this is not a ploy where you are going to dismiss elected councillors and replace them by either commissioners or anybody that you may appoint then you can achieve …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, may I
please ask the Hon. Senator to address the Chair and not your counterparts.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: I will repeat – I want to believe that it is not a ploy. I do believe Minister that as you move with the implementation of the law that you have brought to this House, you will not be accused that you came up with a specific Bill so that you can achieve what you intended to do. Hon. Minister, nobody really supports corruption but the question is, is it now that you have discovered that there has been corruption in terms of land allocation? How many officials in Government do own more than one stand and where have they got these stands from? How were they allocated these stands by the same councillors that you may now want to dismiss?
I question whether you are really doing it in an honest manner. I also question your sincerity in terms of the public hearing. Are you really saying that people in Zimbabwe supported your Bill? Can this really be ascertained or you decided to say that this is what people have said? Maybe we are talking about Harare or one or two centres. What did the majority of people say in Zimbabwe? So we really want to know what the people said, because this is the purpose of going out on public hearings.
I also want to say that Minister, when you come up with a Bill or a law in this country, do not look at who is running a particular institution at a particular time, because things will change at some point. I really want to believe that we are coming up with a law that is sustainable, good for the country and nobody is supporting corruption. I want to repeat that we are simply saying why do you not fight a mechanism where you really go back to the people, check what the people are saying about your Bill and at least listen to the people? We went out during the time of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission – people spoke and the relevant Minister withdrew the Bill. Why can you not do the same because people have spoken and we know what people have said? The urgency that you are taking to make sure that this Bill passes makes us question whether you are really serious about doing the right thing. Or, it is simply to please certain people, to punish certain people and people will say you have come up with a Bill which is known as the ‘Kasukuwere Bill or Law’. This is not what we want. We want you as a Minister to listen to the people of Zimbabwe and we know very well that it is possible. I thank you Madam President.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Chimhini,
Are you actually inferring that every Bill that is in Zimbabwe is a Madzongwe Bill, Chimhini Bill and so on or it is just a Bill? I think let us not try to sensationalise while we debate. Thank you for your contributions.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you Madam President. I think
that most of the things that I was going to say have already been said.
There is only one or two things that I would like to emphasise on. Hon. Minister, we are not against action being taken on corrupt people – be they in Central Government or Local Government. In our pigeon holes, we have these two bigvolumes written by Madam Chiri, the Auditor General of the Government of Zimbabwe. They do not talk about town councils or rural councils. They are talking about parastatals and Central Government. In almost all of them, she is talking about corruption on a huge scale – scales to dream about.
So, it is not something new and it is not acceptable. We are saying, let us follow the Constitution and let us be true to the
Constitution. Let us follow the spirit and letter of the Constitution. Chapter 14 of the Constitution is very clear on what should happen to the urban and rural councils. The concept of devolution of power is paramount in Zimbabwe. It is not something that should be debated because 3 million Zimbabweans endorsed it and the spirit and letter of your Bill should reflect that. If it does reflect that, we would not be in this debate. We would have passed this Bill and gone home a long time ago but your Bill is ultra vires the Constitution. It is.
The whole idea of Chapter 14 is to unite the people of Zimbabwe and not to cause any more disunity amongst the people of Zimbabwe.
Therefore, the Bill should be seeking to do exactly that. If you are genuine, as I would like to believe you are as the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, it would be highly acceptable and respectable if you were to withdraw this Bill and bring one Bill which encompasses the whole of Chapter 14 so that we can vote for you with our feet and our hands. But, the way you have done it is selective and it would look like you are targeting certain offices and individuals in urban councils, especially Harare, where again and again the cases that have gone to court have not been won by the Minister.
It is not just you as the Minister – there was another Minister before you and the trend is the same that you continue to lose in court.
So, why do we not do those things that bind us together in line with the Constitution and let a truly independent tribunal be the one to fire people. An independent tribunal cannot be chosen by the Judicial Service Commission of this country because that has also been chosen by a political party or by the Minister who has been chosen by a leader of a political party. There are ways of getting a neutral person and you Minister are a lawyer and I know that you know how to go about it. You know how to avoid somebody who can be called a neutral person. So please, I think that we do not want to belabour the point that this Bill, if you allow it to go through, be rest assured that it will be fought at every turn - even if it means going back to the Constitutional Court or to the Supreme Court, it will be fought. Thank you Madam President.
+HON. MASUKU: Thank you Madam President. I would like to support this Bill that was brought in this House. I am supporting it, taking into consideration the two important points. Madam President, we realise that when they are highlighting on the powers that the Minister will have on this Bill, we have to take into consideration that it is not only him with all the powers but there are some sections where the Bill is giving the Minister the powers, not all the sections. If the Minister is suspecting the mayor or the councillor basing on what is written in this Bill that the mayor or the councillor will be dismissed, the person who is dismissed is also given an opportunity to argue his or her case and respond. Therefore, the Minister is doing what is written according to the Constitution. If the Minister is doing what he wants, you will realise the Bill would have stated that his word is final.
The second thing I would like to highlight is that Zimbabwe is a nation with values and laws and no one is above the law, even the Minister himself. I know if the Minister would, for example, do something that is above the law, we know the law would take its course. Madam President on the issue of the independent tribunal, when I am going through the Bill, you realise that the members who will form the tribunal will be chosen by the Law Society of Zimbabwe. That is what I understood when I was going through the Bill. The other members will be selected by the Civil Society and the Minister will be given an opportunity, for example, if the members are not enough, to add but most of the members will be chosen by the Zimbabwe Law Society.
Madam President, I would like to say that since the Minister has brought this Bill, we need to realise that it is the correct thing that he has done for his Ministry is the one that is responsible for local government. It is the Ministry that is responsible for the rural development and you realise that he did not touch on that but he is only dealing with issues to do with the local government. My wish is that, if only we can take into consideration that all of us are leaders who are representing the people of Zimbabwe, but we take note that it is not all the people who have the same views on something that is being discussed.
If by seconding this Bill, it appears as if we are no longer representing the people of Zimbabwe, I am sorry about that. What I know is, we are all representing the people of Zimbabwe as leaders. We are all Hon. Members, we should not think it is Party - based regional, but we should take into consideration that as legislators, we are making laws for the people who are Zimbabweans.
For now, what was brought by the Minister, I would like to say to him, we second you on the Bill that you have brought into this House. We are seconding the Bill hoping that you will do according to what is stated in the Bill, not doing according to what you want for you are also not above the law. We hope you will be able to supervise even those who will be appointed. If they do not do it according to the law, this Bill is giving you the powers to dismiss those who will fail to do their work. With these few words, Madam President, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Please allow me to make my contribution in Shona and if I miss a word, please bear with me. Hon. Minister, please understand us, we are not rejecting this Bill but the way it has been introduced into this House is that it is only a piecemeal and not that we would have expected it to be. I would have thought that as a Minister who is still young and energetic, you would have taken the Bill and presented it, taking up all the façade of this Bill. Why are you making a piecemeal of this?
*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: On a point of order Madam President. You told us that as Hon. Members, we should not direct this to the Minister but to direct to the Chair. The contributor has just pointed a finger at the Minister.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Machingaifa. This is besides the point. If she is referring to the Minister, that is not a problem because he is the owner of the Bill, he is the one who is introducing the Bill. Please, do not applaud because I am not yet through. You can only have a problem if the member is speaking directly to the Minister and not addressing the Chair.
*HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. I will
now address this issue looking at the Chair. Madam President, I am pleading with the Minister that he should rephrase this Bill because honestly speaking, we all support this Bill. What is happening is that this is a piecemeal and that is our only objection. We hope that if you have a way of advising him, he is our son and is growing up. As adults, he needs advice from us.
He is an educated young man. He is a lawyer and knows what he is talking about, but we wonder why out of the whole Bill, he has just taken part of it. When he brings the Bill to the House, you will see that we are going to accept it. It shows that the Minister is already angry because there are a lot of corrupt activities which are happening among mayors and councillors. The Minister is eager and has the zeal to fight this corruption and win it. Therefore, my wish Madam President, is that if he could take the whole Bill and see if we can reject it because we would have no problem with that. We will pass it without any doubt.
Madam President, may you please ask the Minister as to why he wasted the scarce resources in holding public hearings. This is wastage of the scarce resources in his Ministry. After holding those public hearings, he introduced this Bill before the programme was through. It only shows that he has a vendetta and has a score to settle. I will repeat that our Minister is a young man who has a bright future; he needs our protection. I foresee in him holding the seat of the Presidency in future because he is still young.
Therefore, he needs advice from us because if this is going to be his approach, we have been told that there is corruption which is being carried out by councillors, lawyers and chairpersons of councils. I stay in Bulawayo and this Minister is not a political Minister, but he is a national Minister and my Minister as well. The Minister arrived in
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order Hon.
Senator, let us talk about the Bill.
*HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Madam President, let me address the Bill but he is the one who said there is corruption in councils. I would have wanted to say more about this corruption. Please, I am pleading with you Madam President. I am pleading with the Minister to take up the whole Bill because as we speak, there are stands which are being distributed but I was not called and yet I stay in Bulawayo. He could have given me a stand because I have my children who could have benefitted on these stands which are being distributed in Bulawayo.
The Minister knows me and he knows that I stay near the place where he is allocating stands. Minister, next time when you come, please invite me. Therefore, I am pleading with you. You were chosen by the Lord above because leaders are appointed by the Lord. You took an oath of allegiance to Zimbabwe holding a Bible and the Almighty God is watching everything that you are doing. God is still watching us.
As Zimbabweans, we do not want people to laugh at us especially when we have Ministers who are supposed to be the last port of appeal. People should apply to him not for him to have all the powers of the Bill while God is watching. He took the oath of allegiance to Zimbabwe in a good way. So we are not rejecting this Bill because the Minister said this. He is our Minister but through you Madam President, let us listen to the voice of the people out there.
People have their requests and he knows what people want. He should represent them and give them what they want. The Minister is not doing this as an individual, but he is doing it for everybody in the country regardless of the political affiliation ZANU PF, MDC or whatever. What happens is that regardless of your party affiliation, if you want anything, you will go to him and he will support you. It is unfortunate that he left me out in the allocation of stands.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Sibanda. I am sure the Minister will correct his mistake of leaving you out on the allocation of stands. Unfortunately, Sen. Chief, we are now going to have our last contributor in as far as this section is concerned. We will go into Committee Stage and that will also give us a lot of leeway to contribute to this Bill.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. I am also
grateful to the Minister who introduced this Bill in the House. In the year 2014 in Harare, I met my friend and this friend is a supporter of the party opposite me. He told me that they had made a plan and that they were going to fire local authorities in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Harare so that come 2018, they would be in charge. I asked him how they would fire when we have Section 278 which does not allow them to do that. This friend of mine leaked the information that something was going to be done and true to his word, evidence has been brought into this House.
The reason why we constituted a new Constitution of Zimbabwe was simply because we felt there was more power which was with the leadership.
One speaker said, “Constitutions were not made for the angels because the devil never sets up openly”. When we crafted our Constitution, we tried to avoid giving too much power to the leadership because they would oppress the weak. We also empowered Local
Authorities with the aim to avoid the unnecessary dismissal of Local Authorities. The people of Zimbabwe elected their own Government at an election and selected one of the contesting parties the right to rule the country and also select the President. The people of Zimbabwe also elected that the big cities be run by MDC-T Councillors and the Constitution also gave us the opportunity to protect those Councillors from victimization. From what we are seeing, the Minister has brought a Bill which will enable him to fight the Councillors.
Allow me Hon. Madam President to call this Bill a Manyenyeni or
Mushore Bill. In our Constitution, we also spoke of Anticorruption Units which were supposed to deal with the corruption which is happening in all parts of Zimbabwe so that whenever there is a problem, whosoever is in power will not fight with Councillors of opposing parties because there will be arbitrators with no sides. If you commit any crime, you will be arrested and incarcerated and that will remove the reason for saying Councillors have been victimized and that is why the people of Zimbabwe voted for Anticorruption Commissions. As
Zimbabweans, we have to establish these Commissions to lead us.
Now that we are approaching the year 2018, there is an amendment that has been introduced and we plead with the Lord to have mercy on us because our party was running the Local Authorities …
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order, I
thought we said we were not going to use unparliamentary language. I think that refers to everybody.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I withdraw. When you scrutinize this
Bill, the people who were asked about this Bill rejected it and we were informed that there were about three places where there were fights at the Public Hearings. We have honourables like Hon. Chidhakwa who were assaulted at these Public Hearings.
You then start wondering why people are being violent when they are being asked about the running of their country. This is a worry to us and we continue to ask ourselves what the problem is? We are the law makers yet most of the people of Zimbabwe rejected this Bill, yet we are supposed to be working with them and as a result, as Members of Parliament of this party we are rejecting this Bill.
- [Hon. MDC Senators broke into song, ‘Lizosala entabeni’ and marched out of the Senate.] –
- [AN HON. SENATOR: Mufambe zvakanaka! Kamba kahle
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Thank you Madam President, I am sure it is self-evident why our colleagues are running away. They realised that this Bill has caught up with their shenanigans and corruption in running our Local Authorities –
[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
I am also certain that this will vindicate our party and Government that we stand for a clean Government and will not tolerate corruption in Local Authorities. This Bill is not only affecting one side of the party but we are all affected and I think it is commendable but our Members of Parliament and Senators have stood with the people and the majority of our country in shunning corruption in our society.
Madam President, in quickly answering some of the issues, let me just in brief say that what was missing in the Act is the setting up of an independent Tribunal. Everything else is in place. What the Minister did not have was the way of setting up a Tribunal. What therefore this Bill provides is for us to have a mechanism of setting up a Tribunal in case the residents and citizens come to us and level allegations against a sitting Councillor, a Mayor or Chairperson. We needed to have a mechanism that will allow us to have or hear from both sides, this is part of our law, you must be able to listen from both sides.
Going further, we then sought to have an independent Tribunal in keeping with the Constitution of our country. I do not see, Madam President, the problem with setting up a Tribunal. It is not the Minister’s
Tribunal but an independent Tribunal meant to look at these matters. –
[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam President, a lot has been said by the opposition. They spoke of devolution. I want just to allay our fears as colleagues and say that in terms of Section 264…
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: May you please
read it out.
HON. KASUKUWERE: In terms of Section 264, Devolution of
Government powers and responsibilities. It says, “Whenever appropriate…”, it is not mandatory, it says, “Whenever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively.” And in this case, how do you devolve power to corrupt councils and authorities?
Madam President, I am cognisant of the need for us to windup our debate but I am sure if we leave everything unanswered, it might end up with the Hansard capturing only one side of the story but I will be very brief. I have no doubt that they are not going to come back; this is how they behaved yesterday. They are already on their way to their homes, they did exactly this yesterday in the Lower House and they did not come back. However, it will be in our interest Madam President, for the Hansard to capture our answers, otherwise when the interpretation is done, our side of the story will not be understood.
Allow me also to say that some of the Sections that they have quoted; Section 157 as explained by Hon. Senator Marava; the list of the members of the tribunal are going to be drawn from the Law Society of Zimbabwe and from the Civil Service Commission. This is fair; they are not coming from the Minister at a personal level. They have talked about WhatsApp, this really is of no consequence to this House. The removal of the members of tribunal; yes indeed Madam President, if somebody fails in their responsibilities, there must be a mechanism that will ensure that, that person is removed.
Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Manyeruke for her very solid and strong contribution in support of this Bill. We are making laws to stop individuals and those who are elected from pilfering and stealing from the majority of our people. What they want us to do here is to support the continued abuse of resources by a few. Senator Mlotshwa raised issues to do with why His Excellency, the President, recalled this sitting; it is again provided for in our laws. The President can summon Parliament if there is urgent business and this is what the President has done. So, everything that he has done is within the laws of our country.
Mr. President, I would like to thank Hon. Senator Mavhunga for her answer and contribution in terms of service delivery. I think as a Government, we must ensure that service delivery is afforded to our people, fair and efficient. Our people cannot afford to continue the shoddy work and services that they had been given to this day and as a result of the corrupt activities of the City fathers.
I want to thank Chief Musarurwa for his contribution as well. I think the invasion of our space and the destruction of some of our key recreational facilities is a cause for concern. Senator D.T. Khumalo spoke about the law and the entire amendments. We have a combined Bill which will speak to all the issues that they have talked about. This one is as a result of what Justice Bere told us as a Ministry, that “go immediately and ensure that you have an independent tribunal so that you can proceed to deal with some of the cases of malfunctions that have emerged”.
They expected both Ministers to come here; we are not going to be coming here to sing; both Ministers myself and Hon. A. Ncube, share responsibility in terms of local governance. One in charge of rural areas and the other in charge of urban areas; meaning that each and every one of us has a duty still, to protect the majority of our people who are governed under this very same Act.
Mr. President, Senator Carter was in support of the Bill but again brought the issues to do with devolution and these I have answered to, that we are working on the Bill, subject to us also being able to afford what is required. Senator Makore; I would like to thank you for your contribution but again it is all about devolution. Senator Mawire, I would like to thank you very much; City of Harare and also Mutare which you mentioned have started billing people privately. There is one bill coming from the City Authority and the other one coming from the individual operator. The other amount of money is coming to their pockets individually and the other is coming to the local authority. This type of corruption is unacceptable and we must have a mechanism of dealing with this level again of malfunctions.
Senator B. Sibanda spoke about consolidation of power, far from it. We are actually respecting what is said in our Constitution. Senator Chimbudzi, I would like to thank you very much for your contribution, very solid in terms of the salaries, the service delivery issues, typhoid and so forth. We cannot sit back and watch people having a picnic over public funds. Senator Chimhini spoke of the timing of the Bill and he spoke about the planning to offer 500 000 stands.
Mr. President, our business as the Government of the day, is to deliver on the promises we would have made to our people and what we are doing here is delivery. We will not stop from ensuring that all authorities make land available in an orderly manner to our young people, to our citizens, the old and so forth because this is what our part promised when it was voted for by the people of Zimbabwe. So, if any Mayor or any Town Council wants to stand in our way, certainly we will not accept that.
Mr. President, Senator Makone, it appears she has not read. A very well educated lady who refuses to read very simple things. There is a saying which goes, if you want to hide the truths from some people, put it in black and white. I hope she does not fall into that category. This book; everything to do with all the local authorities up to Zvimba, it is contained. What each council has been doing, the corruption, it is all here but Senator Makone decides to be economical with the truth. I am sure it is also as a result of the truth that has been highlighted by Mai Chivi which shows serious corruption in the cities that are governed by the MDC.
Hon. Masuku, I would like to thank you Mama for your very strong support for this Bill. I am sure this is the way we should go, if allegations are made, we must prove them and it must be fair. Hon. Sibanda, again he spoke about why we are approaching this in a piecemeal fashion. We had to attend to this exigency because the judge wrote to us, in his judgment said, “Attend to this” but as a Ministry we felt we cannot leave this legal lacuna open. We had to close this void. Senator Komichi, all I remember, Mr. President is that he came here to sing, he did not make any contribution.
I move that this Bill be read a second time. Thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.1A,
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 4 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AMENDMENT BILL, [H.B. 1A,
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):
Madam President, I move that the Bill be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Congratulations
Hon. Minister. I also wish to thank all the Hon. Senators for showing up even though the other Hon. Senators walked out, but they did show up so that we debate this Bill. We gave you a very short notice, so the fact that you did turn up in your numbers is appreciated. I thank you.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON.
SEKERAMAYI), the Senate adjourned at Eight Minutes to Six o’clock
p.m. until Tuesday, 19th July, 2016.