PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 19th October, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that the Pre-Budget Seminar on the 2022 National Budget will be held from 22nd to 26th October, 2021 at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls. Hon. Members who have not yet confirmed their attendance with the Public Relations Department must do so immediately. The information circular on the logistical arrangements for the Seminar will be shared by email to all Hon. Members.
Hon. Members from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo provinces will drive to Victoria Falls while those from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central Provinces will fly. A charter flight has been arranged for those that are flying and it departs from Harare on 22nd October, 2021 at 0900 hours and arrives in Victoria Falls at 1000 hours. The return charter flight leaves Victoria Falls on 26th October at 0900 hours and arrives in Harare at 1000 hours.
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE ZIMBABWE REVENUE AND ALLIED WORKERS TRADE UNION, MR. LOVEMORE NGWARATI AND WOMEN’S REFORM NETWORK
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that on Monday, 27th September, 2021, Parliament received a petition from the General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Revenue and Allied Workers Trade Union, Mr. Lovemore Ngwarati, beseeching Parliament to amend the provisions of the Revenue Authority Act, Chapter 23:11, to restore the provisions allowing for the retention of funds and a funding model for ZIMRA. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.
Furthermore, I wish to advise the House that on 29th September, 2021, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Women’s Reform Network. The petition was deemed inadmissible as the prayer did not specify what the petitioners wanted Parliament to do. The petitioners have since been notified accordingly.
*HON. NYABANI: I rise on a point of privilege. Mr Speaker Sir, I would like talk about the issue of schoolchildren. The examination dates are out. We came to this august House and lodged our request. This is not an opportune time because students are not being taught. My request is that we need a Ministerial Statement regarding lessons that are not being given to students. I went to the Permanent Secretary’s office and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to highlight this but it was in vain. Teachers are not teaching. This House plays an oversight role and because of that, the Portfolio Committee on Education should carry out investigations so that we are certain of the current position.
There is the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) initiative which is quite cumbersome and for the teachers mostly found in rural area schools, this is quite a challenge.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: I think you should ask this question tomorrow and we hear what the Minister will say before we proceed.
*HON. NYABANI: The Chief Whips should assist me on that one.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: I think they have heard it.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move the motion in my name that a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:
May it please you, Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, we Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe, desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise before this august House to move and debate a motion on the State of the Nation Address and the opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe delivered by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The address by His Excellency, extensively, referred to a number of pertinent issues obtaining in key sectors of the economy. In this presentation, I refer to only four areas which are important to the country’s stability and economic development.
No doubt, every nation requires peace and unity to aspire towards development. No nation in the world, irrespective of the amount of natural resources at its disposal, can progress as fast as possible if the people in that nation do not come together in peace and unity to promote its development. In his opening paragraph, His Excellency congratulated the people of Zimbabwe for their unity, fortitude and hard-working culture. Pursuant to these values, the nation has realised unprecedented milestones and successes against all forms adversity.
Increased production, productivity and innovation are indeed inspiring as we move towards the realisation of Vision 2030. The President specifically mentioned peace, unity, harmony, stability and growing national cohesion as critical in realising national goals, partly as stated in the five year National Development Strategy (NDS1) of 2021-2025. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon members of this august House to take heed of His Excellency’s clarion call for unity and togetherness. Individually and collectively, even as organisations, we have a duty to adhere to all Government development policies and respect State institutions.
Empowerment of women for national development has been recognised world-wide. Zimbabwe is not an exception in this regard. Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps in all sectors and in the world of work are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG) and upper middle class economy status.
His Excellency expressed Government commitment to the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Reference was made to, among other things, facilities under the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro-Finance Bank, Treasury and SMEDCO to capacitate women and create jobs across all sectors of the economy. NDS1 paragraph 750, identifies gender mainstreaming as a necessary requirement in enhancing women empowerment and inclusion in particular, access to financing opportunities.
As members of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) and gender committees representing womenfolk in the informal and SMEs sector, we are emboldened by this pronouncement of commitment by His Excellency. You are aware that few women in Zimbabwe own assets that can be used as collateral to secure loans. The Zimbabwe Women’s Bank and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development should do more to remove collateral barriers that women experience when attempting to access loans, particularly women in rural areas.
Indeed, advice and financial skills training help women not only get the funding and access to markets but also in running projects. Without deliberate and affirmative action to promote women to access funds, their empowerment and financial inclusion will remain a pipe dream and the mantra of leaving no one behind will remain unreachable.
Disasters impact households, communities and societies in particular women in such a manner that their lives and livelihoods are disrupted beyond their capacity to cope or withstand using their own resources. Women globally make up over 70 per cent of workers in health sector, including those working in care institutions. This also applies to Zimbabwe. Women are on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, they are facing a multi-layered burden of longer shifts at work, exposure to infections and additional unpaid care and domestic work at home. A number of our health workers, majority of whom are women have tested positive to COVID-19, forcing some hospital departments to shut down partially. Aware of the sacrifice and dedication, His Excellency commended all frontline workers for their selfless service towards COVID-19 infection, prevention, control and management. Notwithstanding resource constraints, the President expressed Government commitment to avail more vaccines in order to save lives and livelihoods. In the same vein, a call was made to citizens to heighten determination with regards to vaccinations in order to meet the desired national herd immunity target.
It is part of our constitutional duty to support the President in this regard. As parliamentarians, part of our COVID-19 response include advocating for solidarity and equity in vaccine allocation, developing and amending legislation or policy to strengthen public health system, finance provision and recovery. Yes, safe and effective vaccines offer hope and are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19. However, as legislators and in support of the President and Government COVID-19 response, we have to be alive to the fact that vaccines will not end the pandemic, at least not in the short term. In line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice, we have as legislators, a duty to encourage maintenance of public health and social measures, including testing and contact tracing, followed by isolation and quarantine as appropriate for the foreseeable future.
The impacts of COVID-19 are variedly interrelated. While lockdowns are necessary to contain the spread of the virus, they are also creating an economic crisis due to reduced business activity and temporary or permanent unemployment, which in turn is creating widespread hardship. Cognisant that COVID-19 related vulnerabilities require innovative interventions, part of the mandate as parliaments is upscaling budget and coverage of social protection and cash transfers to food insecure populations and SMEs operators.
Mr. Speaker Sir, road transport is one of the most important means of transport, indispensable to the development of commerce and industry. All the movement of goods begin and ultimately ends by making use of roads. Roads act as critical feeder to the other modes of transport such as railways and airways in our economy. His Excellency, in his address, reported that Government has prioritised capital spending, with 34% of total expenditure to date having been earmarked for infrastructure development. The ongoing Phase 2 of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme is indeed transformational across all provinces, districts, cities and towns. I would like to applaud the New Dispensation for this extraordinary achievement in a short space of time. Local resources are being put to good use while local contractors are empowered and the commuting and trading public is experiencing the added convenience. This august House will realise that His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa’s Government took over the rehabilitation of all roads nationwide as the Second Republic navigates towards the envisaged Vision 2030, guided by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which has a bias towards infrastructure development.
Mr. Speaker Sir, sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are unjustified and obsolete. They must go. Deprived of access to lines of credit, the country has been funding its projects alone, doing a remarkable job in infrastructural development, industrialisation and increasing capacity in the key mining, agriculture and tourism sectors. However, despite the continued existence of illegal economic sanctions which must be unconditionally removed, the country’s re-engagement efforts are paying dividends as the Second Republic which is committed to rebuilding the country’s image and engage the broader family of nations. The success of our diplomatic engagement in this direction is clearly demonstrated by the solidarity of fellow SADC and other African nations of major powers such as China, India, and the Russian Federation of the group of Non-Aligned countries, the ACP Group of Nations and many others who continue to intensify their call for those sanctions to be lifted. In addition, there has been constructive dialogue with Western nations including the United States, European Union and the United Kingdom, something that prior to the New Dispensation was virtually non-existent. His Excellency throughout his address, made reference to the devastating impact of sanctions on the economy, in particular the reconstruction and recovery programmes including response to COVID-19 pandemic. He took the opportunity to reiterate calls for their urgent and unconditional removal. In support of His Excellency the President, I call on the august House to join me calling for their removal now. Sanctions not only impact negatively on socio-economic progress in Zimbabwe, but also on the attainment of the SADC Vision 2050 at the sub-regional level, and the African Union Agenda 2063 at regional level and ultimately, the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at global level. I applaud the regional voice, the SADC full support in calling for the unconditional removal of the unjustified sanctions and the re-engagement dialogue with global partners. SADC countries have declared October 25 as solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and resolved to conduct various activities in their respective countries on that day, to resoundingly call for the immediate removal of the sanctions. Despite our diversity of opinions and political affiliation, I would like to urge this august House to call for the removal of these unjustified sanctions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my humble appeal to this august House to support this motion. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for recognising me. I wish to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Mutambisi on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo. Mnangagwa. Dr. Mnangagwa addressed the nation on 7th October, 2021. It was such a thought-provoking, insightful, comprehensive and highly informative speech that was made by His Excellency the President.
The major effects are as follows – the President paid tribute to Zimbabweans for their resilience in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Western sanctions among other adversaries. His famous and most important quotation is – “I sincerely congratulate the people of our great nation for their unity and fortitude as well as a hardworking culture which they continue to demonstrate. This has seen us realise unprecedented milestones and successes against all forms of adversity”.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the President spoke highly on the need to vaccinate the Zimbabwean populace. It is very important for people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is a pandemic; it needs to be harnessed. I want to thank His Excellency and his Government for providing vaccinations to people in Zimbabwe, the urbanites and the rural people. So far, the Government has purchased more than 10 million doses. If the Government continues to purchase more and more, we are going to achieve herd immunity. It is important to mitigate against the effects of COVID-19 and this has been supported by different arms of Government.
I will talk about the contributions that have happened in my constituency Gokwe-Chireya, where Yours Truly has ended up transporting nurses to the rural areas, those that are located far away from hospitals. Whilst I am constructing some clinics so that the people will have easy access to local clinics, I made several trips transporting nurses so that clinics will move to where people live, rather than the people transporting themselves or moving or finding bus fare to go to clinics or hospitals that are far away. I will give an example of an area called Murunguziva. Murunguziva is an area that is located about 30 km from Nembudziya Hospital and in-between, there are no clinics. So, we are constructing a clinic at Murunguziva, courtesy of the CDF that we received. We are also constructing another clinic at Masosonhi, which is found in Ward 9. So we are putting all these efforts to complement the efforts that are being made by His Excellency the President. To expect someone to board a bus from a distance of 50 km, he/she would require about $3 to $5 to go to the hospital to be vaccinated and another $3 to go back home. Very few will be able to do that. So to alleviate the plight of those people, the Hon. Member of the constituency, Hon. T. Moyo, Yours Truly, decided to conduct several trips; more than 10 trips so that the clinic will visit those people.
The President also spoke about economic growth trajectory. The Zimbabwean economy has been projected to grow by 7.8% because of the favourable climatic conditions that were witnessed in the 2021 season. We received normal to above normal rainfall and that has prompted high productivity in the agricultural sector. Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is expected to buy not less than 1.5 million metric tonnes of grain. That is very important, particularly for self sustenance, self sufficiency in terms of food production and productivity. The increased economic development is also a result of those programmes like Pfumvudza, whereby peasant farmers were provided with inputs, fertilisers, chemicals, herbicides, to ensure that agricultural production is boosted and that has witnessed a lot of food being brought on the table.
My appeal, while I commend what the Government is doing, I want to appeal to the Government, especially the Ministry of Finance to change the financing models in terms of purchasing of produce. The Government provided resources to procure grain within 72 hours up to a week but that has fueled inflation. So my clarion call, in the 2021/22 season, I am appealing to the Government to provide US$ for grain farmers and cotton farmers, that is a solution so that the rate will not increase. In the past, from 2019 up to 2020, the rates were pegged at 1 is to 120 according to the black market rate for more than 20 months. Now when farmers receive RTGs in their accounts and ecocash, that is when they will go to the black market to buy US$ and in the process, this has led to inflation. So that is a clarion call Mr. Speaker Sir. Also to expeditiously pay cotton farmers who are still owed. We appreciate that some of the farmers have been paid but we still have others who have not been paid. That is also very important.
I will turn to the issue of a stable financial sector. This is important for intro-substitution industrialisation. Small to Medium Enterprises as well as the large industries in Zimbabwe are accessing resources on the auction floor. That is important to procure raw materials that are needed for a fast growing industry. To be honest with you Mr. Speaker Sir, the shelves in our supermarkets have locally produced commodities. That is very important as a measure to substitute imports because if we continue to finance those industries, we are able to export our products to the region; to our neighbouring countries and that will boost our economy.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of climate change was another very important issue that was touched by His Excellency the President. Climate change is a reality and it manifests itself through various ways. It manifests through droughts, floods, cyclones and a case in point is Cyclone Idai. Now, the Government has tried to mitigate against the effects of climate change by embracing those tactics such as Pfumvudza, where people can produce on a very small piece of land; in cases of drought, people are able to irrigate on that land using canes to irrigate their crops and are able to feed their households. So that is important for a strategic way of raising grain in case of these disasters of climate change but we are lucky it has been projected that in the 2021/22 season, we are going to have a normal to above normal rainy season. Our farmers have started to receive inputs so that their livelihoods would also change.
The President also spoke about livestock diseases. The deadliest disease Mr. Speaker Sir, is called January disease. If you have been to Mhondoro – Ngezi and Chikomba, thousands of cattle have died because of January disease. The Government has decided to produce the vaccines that are going to be used to treat this disease. The Government also has partnered with the private Sector, for instance, Ngezi Platinum Mine has bought livestock as a way of restocking in light of this disease. Agriculture is a business and the Government is emphasising on farm mechanisation and agricultural modernisation.
In Gokwe North, COTTCO has provided more than 10 tractors that are tilling the land over and above what is being provided by DDF, to till land for the vulnerable people, the elderly, the disabled people and also the peasant farmers. Those are efforts in order to boost economic production. Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, I will talk about the welfare of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act was passed and in order to operationalise the Act, the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board was established which is going to consider the welfare of these veterans of the liberation struggle. It is important to thank the President for providing resources to veterans of the liberation struggle so that they can be given loans to start their businesses. They made a lot of sacrifices during the liberation struggle. So we should thank these people by providing them with resources. This should not be delayed; it has to be done expeditiously so as to improve the welfare of our liberation struggle veterans.
In conclusion Hon. Speaker Sir, I wish to thank His Excellency the President for giving direction to us Members of Parliament on what we are going to debate and also all the measures that are going to be embarked by the Government as a way of stimulating the economy in order to improve livelihoods of our people in line with the Agenda 2063, which seeks to improve the welfare of the ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APPOINTMENT AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
THE HON. SPEAKER: Before I call for further debate, I have got an announcement, which concerns the Seconder of the Motion. The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, the CSRO has appointed Hon. Torerayi Moyo to replace Ambassador Misihairabwi-Mushonga as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Congratulations Hon. Moyo.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, your last announcement certainly made my day. I have always wondered, especially on the other side, they have got so much human capital, teachers, headmasters who have excelled in their education. I have wondered why they were not making use of them, but finally my prayer has been answered. I am glad that one of them is now part of them. It always helps to have one who has been in the industry to also change. I also wish him all the best. Of course, you have got a real gap to fill. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was outstanding in her work, I must say so. Let me also say this: I wish her all the best, but what an outstanding Chairperson and Legislator, a few of many and I wish that women in this country can look up to her as a model, especially the girl child. I have no doubt that she will do well in whatever she does.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament is crucial in the aspect of review. I have always said that as a football coach or coach of any team, there is half time. Half time is the time when the coach assesses the performance of the players and the strategy of the team, have they been sticking to it or not. As such, substitutions are made to try and show that there is strategy. If the strategy is not working, it must be changed. Half time is critical in any strategy that you need because to review the economy, agriculture and even to review a marriage is important. Are we on the right path or not?
The pandemic itself has caused havoc and it would be folly for any structure in this world to think that they are on course in terms of what they want to do as a result of the COVID pandemic. A review is needed and while it is needed, we need to be absolutely honest with ourselves to say that with the COVID pandemic which has wreaked havoc, the 2030 Middle Income Economy Agenda, is it on course. I would say no, it is not on course and it can never be on course. How do we then get it to be on course, factoring that it would be delayed? From a lot of what was said, I did not see at any point or hear that we were slowed down and while we are on course, we need to add more time to achieve what we want. It has been a global pandemic, as you know.
Even as we speak today, Proplastics, which manufactures irrigation piping for the farmers, while people have paid, they do not have them. The raw materials from the outside world are not available. Obviously, as a farmer, I wanted to buy two centre pivots to increase my production. I cannot now, because of them not being able to supply because of the global shortage of raw materials. Definitely, we cannot be on track. Not only that, we need to look at issues which relate to us. Sanctions are external but before sanctions, let us deal with corruption. We cannot be putting water in a pot that leaks and say let us cook. By the time you come back, the Hon. Members, especially the ladies who are here agree with me “kuti poto inobvinza haigone kubika sadza.” So to me, corruption is the biggest leak. Sanctions will be removed and money will come in but if there is a leak, that money will not go anywhere. The good thing about the aspect of corruption is it is internal, we can deal with it. We do not have to look for anybody. We can deal with it here.
The President was not clear on our achievement in terms of corruption. His first target and he was very clear in the Third Session, about zero tolerance to corruption but corruption has reached unprecedented levels where the nation has no confidence anymore. It is like ‘catch and release’. Catch and release talks about many systems. The arresting authorities – are they diligent in their conduct? The Prosecutor General’s Office – is it diligent in its conduct and of course, the Judiciary dismisses the cases saying that there is no case.
We need to really be very clear about the institutions which we are mandated to investigate and prosecute. Are they on point and are they what we expect? No, because the results speak for themselves. There has not been any conviction with corruption being there. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must be given credit. It is trying to do as much as it can, but it does not prosecute. We need to look at ways of giving it powers to prosecute because the Prosecutor General’s Office certainly is overwhelmed with cases as a result of the justice delivery system that has serious implications on a nation because justice is the last resort.
The courts are the last resort if anything happens. So on corruption it is all over. You talk about the black cartels and by the way, cartels are more. The Indian cartels are more. There are private jets which land at the airport and smuggle gold – let us not talk about the gold we read. There are really big deals that we do not read about. Private jets come in and go. There are leakages at the borders in terms of all that – where are the people at the borders who are supposed to be stopping all this from happening? How much have we lost on resources in terms of gold and minerals of this country?
If we put those figures together, what will that do to this nation – what will that do to building hospitals and clinics? All that money put together would turn this country around because the ordinary person, the only thing that they want is good health care for their children, water and sanitation and money to be able to buy what they want.
Going to the economy, there are two currencies at hand. You cannot have two bulls in a kraal. There is the USD bull which has constantly destroyed our currency. RTGs have been destroyed by the USD, the Bond, Ecocash and Notro has also been destroyed. You cannot have two bulls in your kraal. When that happens as a farmer, to have two bulls fighting amongst each other, it is indicative that there will be no production.
Anybody who has cattle here can tell you that one must go. The Brahman bull that I like so much must be killed or sold. We need to make a decision and it is a painful decision because I bought that bull for a world price at the auction sales. It is a good breed but they are always fighting in their injuries. In so doing, what value is it to production? It has no value. It must go down and it must be shot.
If we look at the bull that is there and in this regard, I am talking about the USD. Let us monitor it. We are not talking about a long term relationship with the USD, but we are talking about short-term and see how it goes. Through your Parliament, we have been able to hear from good professors in economics; Professor Mugano was very clear. He showed us graphs which one day I will do this presentation showing everybody what they have to do because you do not have to reinvent the wheel of the economy.
When the economy was bad in 2008 going upwards, the only time it was stable was when we had the GNU. This is on record that the GNU was stable. In 2008, ZANU PF did not do well and it went for a GNU and this is for politicians to listen to. In 2013, ZANU PF got two thirds majority because the economy was stable. The economy is critical for politicians to remain in power. The only way you can do that is to face reality and say the currency that we have is not taking us anywhere. If we all were to search ourselves here and ask you to take out the money that you have in your pockets – 99% have got USD. Maybe 1% is, Mr. Speaker, who is a stickler to think of good governance? So we will totally leave him out. He has got his RTGs and his card to swipe but the rest have got that. Your own Members of Parliament have got to use USD to go and pay for fuel to get around.
We need to be very clear on this. There is no more debate on it and action is needed. On that again, we now have a situation which Hon. Moyo spoke about diligently, that as farmers we are the poorest. Government is happy that they have food security but I can tell you that the current crops of farmers are the poorest. I stopped doing tobacco because we were losing money. We go to growing maize which is so important and in growing maize we are paid less than what they used to import. This is the most painful aspect of our leaders.
They are prepared to reward a Zambian, Tanzanian or any other farmer more than their own farmers and that is painful. They pay more to import than to pay the farmer here and they are using USD not RTGs. Why are you not using that money to pay our farmers? Soya bean production is about 10 000 tonnes in the whole country. They spend more money in importing, which is the same but they are happy to spend more money importing. There can only be one that can coerce a man to be able to do something like that. It is corruption. The motive is corruption and nothing else because it is about building the country. Surely, you will be saving money for the country and you will be empowering the farmers. If you look at the Rhodesia era which was supposed to be having aeroplanes on our farms, was supposed to be having whatever we want on our farms, but we have not seen anything happening. There has not been any infrastructural development in the farms that we have and a farmer will always invest in the infrastructure because it helps him to produce more.
There has not been growth and in terms of tobacco, they announce that we did well getting USD2 billion yet the Government gets USD10 million. So why are we bragging about production when what is left in this country is USD10 million? The mansions have come, the gold and tobacco – they make the farmers poorer and they have got to pay debt and all that. Even the commercial white tobacco farmers have now gone embarked on command agriculture. Let me talk about command agriculture – who is it for? Why is command agriculture being given to those who already have? How will the other farmer grow? Now, we have got the white farmers in this country despite them not having land. What I am saying is that there must be a condition. They have banks which give them money and they will look after themselves, their kith and kin – I have no issues with that, but who is looking after us?
If you see the land which is being leased in this country – I have got friends of mine who were saying it was a mistake owning land. We do not need to own land but what we need is land to make money but those who are owning land today have no money yet the black farmer finds it difficult to go and get money or a contract for command agriculture. Our dear Zimbabweans who are white do not have to do anything. They wear their shorts and they do not have to wear a suit but they are given what they want. So, how does an economy grow when you are not empowering your own people? What happens – we are told we are not producing. Zimbabweans work hard and the whites made money through enslaving us blacks yet they were not working.
So how can you say we are lazy? It is because we are under-resourced. Inputs are not given on time and you talk about us being resourced – Ministers come here and talk about Agribank; does it have the money there for agriculture to show that they are not true, it is only functioning now. When you go there, there is still no money, too many things on paper. Academic economics does not work, we have got to be practical. AFC is supposed to be the bank which is supposed to show that all farmers get everything but what do we do, we end up going to private banks, interest is high, inflation is eating up just like Hon. Moyo said. So, how do you pay back? That time the maize was 32 000 a tonne, on exchange rate you could get US$ 240 which is a good price. Now, because of the delay in payments Mr. Speaker Sir, you have it on record that we have asked the Minister here that – when is the money coming out? Hon. Masuku will tell you that in three days, people will be paid. This Parliament is a Parliament of honesty and truths. Three days pass, people are not paid, they wait for two to two months. They were supposed to get US$240 but they are now getting US$100. How do you recover? Then you are going to say, we are going to repossess your farm because it is under-utilised. God hear me on this one. People work, let them be given the resources, God, that is all they want. Give them time; agriculture is about long term lending. It is not short term lending. You cannot achieve it in short term. Five to ten years, yes. During the Land Reform, some of the white farmers thanked the Land Reform because they could not pay back. They had so much debt, they said thank you very much, now we can leave and go. They were prepared to surrender their farms because they could not then pay their debt and so forth. But do we then grow an economy when our own farmers are not being paid well. It is something that really hurts me because I do farming and I know that it is the best way to make money, it is an honest way to make money.
In terms of corruption and inflation, it is systematic Mr. Speaker Sir. You do not have to go to the village and tell people about inflation, they feel it through the money that they have. When your money has no value, you suffer, you do not need any message from anybody, it speaks for itself. Corruption too, when you are taking things away from people and it does not get down, they suffer at the end of the day.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to also talk about the Ministry of Finance. I do not know if you are aware of this Hon. Members, just from research, the Ministry of Finance is sitting on nearly 500 million dollars.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you have three Minutes to go.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, on empowerment of the women, you cannot leave the empowerment of the youths and the disabled. It has to be together, it is inseparable, mai havangafambe vasina mwana, kana mwana chirema vanotofamba naye futi. So, I did not see that being addressed in terms of us dealing with the disabled people in terms of how they can be empowered. If us the able people cannot get what we want by fighting, what about that one who is disabled? What are we doing about it? I think for a very long time we have been behind in terms of that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of re-engagement, the Government must be serious about the reforms. The Americans who they really love to re-engage with have put the template on the table, human rights violations and you must uphold, you must be able to stop corruption, you must ensure that there are reforms which are there. It is simple, inclusivity is important. I like the President speech of us being united, peaceful and all that. To that end, I want to attribute this to the 17th November People’s March, where we were inclusive but in the Government, I do not see any inclusivity. When it is time for us to march together, to get others in power, we were inclusive. When they are in power, they forget that they march with others. May you not betray us in wanting the Zimbabwe we want.
If you talk about unity, inclusivity must be there, even the late President R. G. Mugabe who was a hardliner, had to accommodate an inclusive Government. In accommodating an inclusive Cabinet, he was seen as a leader wanting to move forward. At times work with your enemy to get better results. The Americans have got a simple system; keep your enemy close to you, we cannot be enemies forever. We need to find ourselves and be genuine as Zimbabweans and move forward. We cannot plant a culture of violence, hate and polarisation to generations coming through. They will tarnish us one day and it is my prayer that we find ourselves as Zimbabweans sincerely and honestly for the good of the country.
Lastly Mr. Speaker, transparency and accountability. In the Fourth Session, I appeal to you, may you allow us to do our job and hold these Ministers accountable. This SONA was a mere document by the President, fine, but the Third Session was critical in Ministers responding. How do you move forward when Ministers have not responded? The Chief Whip is here, you are mandated to go and speak to the Ministers to come and respond; that is your job, they did not come. The Leader of Government Business was also mandated, they did not come. It makes a mockery of the appointing authority and this Parliament. We need to have Ministers who are disciplined; Government Chief Whip, please or else we are wasting time here and everything.
The President is seen to be on his own and he cannot work on his own; he has to work with the team that gives him the right information. We are debating now, we need a response immediately. May you sit with them immediately and tell them that after we finish debating, may the responses come through, have a line-up for them. They spend too much time doing deals, inflating prices and in Cabinet they are doing Bills which do not come here.
Finally, may this Parliament exercise its role of oversight? I am disappointed with Committees which are sitting and not doing anything. Any money allocated to any Ministry which is under you, you must ask where the money is going. We have a problem with the Beitbridge Border Post, truckers are paying 200 dollars and you call it a triple P. How is that a triple P that costs 45 million dollars? The Government has got to pay earnest people, where was the Committee on Transport and Infrastructure to do that?
It is my prayer Mr. Speaker, remove those who are not working, we are being shouted out there. I sent you something Mr. Speaker Sir, people are saying Parliament, we are tired of you, what are you doing there? The Budget and Finance Committee which went around, Hon. Mpariwa is here, she can tell you, we are now finding it difficult to go and face people without answers, telling them lies. We need to also protect our lives. As for me, I have got 19 children, I would rather be home and not risk my life Mr. Speaker Sir. It is my prayer that we need to do our work. Committees need to be reshuffled immediately. They have done absolutely nothing. Oversight on Government by the Committees has got to be done. They have not done anything; it makes us look stupid. My prayer once again is, allow us to do our job. We are not blaming anybody; our role is of oversight and we must do it constitutionally. A nation which does not follow its Constitution is not a nation at all.
Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for listening to my passionate appeal on the Executive to be held accountable, they are letting down the President, the people and themselves. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Being a member of the ZANU PF Politburo, I hope you can also bring it there because that is the ruling party. Speak to members of the Politburo that these Ministers must come through the Politburo and must be monitored by the Politburo because the party remains supreme. Are they accounting to the party – no, that is for another day Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: I hope you will come back and join the Politburo sometime.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the President for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the Opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Reading what the President presented showed me clearly that our President is aware of the issues and is working together with his team to achieve results for the people of Zimbabwe. He has his hands on the wheel and I am sure if all Zimbabweans -those in Government, private sector, Parliament or any other sector of our economy would work together with the President, we would achieve the results the people of Zimbabwe want.
It is very critical that as a people, we realise that because of the challenges that we are facing, not only as Zimbabwe but globally, the COVID pandemic has destroyed economies, incomes and lives. If you look downstream, you will see that it affected production and employment – hence the President noted that we had these challenges. We had a growth trajectory that appeared very unstoppable but when COVID came, it hit us hard and we had these difficulties but the President thanked the people of Zimbabwe for their resilience and commitment to work hard for the development of their country. I also want to say to my fellow people of Zimbabwe, thank you; you are such a strong people who are geared to see beautiful Zimbabwe develop again.
The President noted the importance of peace, harmony and tranquillity. We cannot develop without a peaceful environment. We need a peaceful environment and we need to be freely doing our work for us to produce and be able to think outside the box and develop whatever skills that we have to ensure that Zimbabwe grows or develops. Without peace and our people engaging in employment peacefully, doing agriculture without any disturbances, development will then be challenged. I would like to say to the people of Zimbabwe and fellow Members of Parliament, it is critical that we preach peace and encourage our people to live in harmony wherever they are so that we see our country developing.
Last year, 2021 agricultural season we saw high productivity. Many crops did very well and we envisaged a situation of more production in 2021/22, given that there is a prediction that we are going to have high rainfall as we received last year. It is very critical that these inputs come and I would like to thank the President for raising that issue. I hope that all stakeholders will come to the party. The banks that give us the loans, the input suppliers, seed suppliers – all of them must provide these inputs, not only for their profits but also for the love of their country in order to ensure that Zimbabwe develops and produces enough to feed its people as well as enough to export and earn an income for our country.
There is an issue that was also raised by the President relating to the financial service sector. I am very concerned that for the past almost twelve months, our star was rising. We could tell that the economy was beginning to perform and there was stability on the financial service sector but all of a sudden, inflation started raising its ugly head. Surely, there should be something to deal with this and I do not know why that something is not found. If the economy does not perform and inflation goes up and we have people who are vulnerable to those environments; this is going to impact heavily on our pensioners. This is also going to hit hard on all people who earn fixed incomes. We have a disadvantage if inflation goes up.
We also have generally the low income people, the farmers who produce crops and they are told that the price is so much and is fixed; if inflation goes up, it means you have grown anticipating a good production and sell that will give you a profit for your effort, then prices go up before you receive your income. It means you will not be able to enjoy the fruits of your sweat. What is our financial system doing to protect the generality of our people? Are we saying we are failing to deal with forex barons? There should be a way.
If we go to the banks today, we have people with billions of dollars in their accounts that is chasing the little foreign currency that we have on the market. Is this money clean? If it is not clean money, why are we not dealing with that? If there is too much money chasing few goods, the little economics that I know tells me that the financial system should be able to deal with that. It has an intrinsic and inherent mechanism to deal with such situations. This money must be traced and all clean money must be brought back and forfeited to Government. All those who are dealing in black market activities must be dealt with. We expect the economy to be protected. It must be protected by those in those offices who have learnt and are expects in running financial issues. Those fat accounts must be dealt with as a matter of urgency in order to protect the people of Zimbabwe.
The Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) has been given power as the regulator of insurance and pensions industry to ensure that it puts limits and capital requirements and so forth. If the financial system does not protect the fall in value of the dollar, we will go back to the loss of value that was created by inflation. Whatever we are trying to do for our pensioners will be lost overnight. It is critical that we deal with these situations.
The issue of sanctions is very critical and it is one hurdle. Sanctions must go and they must go now. If they do not go, no economy throughout the world finances all its expenditures, including the richest economy that we hear. United States of America is one of the heaviest borrowers on the international market. It owes a lot of people but it then finances social activities in its country, its economies, balance of payments from those borrowings. If Zimbabwe is not allowed to then participate in these systems, it means we will have challenges in financing our development. Sanctions must go. Every Zimbabwean must realise that people can still like you without those sanctions.
There is no reason to be preachers who preach to the people of Zimbabwe, but at the end of the day poisoning those people. Sanctions are poison. They have disadvantaged this country for a long time and I think it is critical that all Zimbabweans, whatever our political persuasions, let them go. Corruption must go. It is critical that we go for it. We go for those people. I am happy that our Government has put together frameworks and institutions dealing with corruption. I hope every Zimbabwean realises how bad corruption is. If it is bad and if somebody takes advantage of you, think about what you are doing for the whole country. So, corruption must go. The best way to deal with corruption is the participation of all Zimbabweans in fighting corruption. It is not only the Government but every Zimbabwean. If we do not aide corruption, there will not be corruption. Because you want to speed to Bulawayo and a police officer stops you along the way, because you think you want to get to Bulawayo in two hours or in one hour, you do not want to deal with the mistake that you have done and you pay. So you have created corruption. Corruption is there in the society, in the private sector and in the public sector. Every sector must deal with corruption and must come to be part to fight corruption.
It is critical that as a country, we join hands and work together to defeat those impediments. Our Government has done a lot of work. Infrastructure development that we see happening in Zimbabwe is being finance and funded by our own resources. I think that is the best thing. While it would have speeded up that, we may end up having all our roads done with no debt. Today we may not enjoy because we are sacrificing money to capital development but our future generations would be the happiest people because they will not have debt burdens. Remember, we are still paying debts left by Smith. Some claim that Smith did well during his time but he was doing it for only 250 thousand white people who were in Zimbabwe. I do not know where black people got advantage during the Smith regime, because during my time we would only have bread and fat-cooks at Christmas. Everyone today has got something. We want to develop but sanctions stand in our way – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – I would like to say – I am debating, I listened to you debating.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Togarepi. What is your point of order Hon. Mliswa?
HON. T. MLISWA: The Chief Whip talks about something to eat over Christmas holidays, where is he getting those statistics? That is all I want to know because that is a blanket statement. Everyone has something to eat over the Christmas holiday. I think he needs to repeat on that and come up with other sentiments that will say maybe most of the people. It has to be a qualifying statement with empirical evidence and analysis from top researchers.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa but it is not a point of order – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – We can allow the Chief Whip to explain what he wanted to say.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I do not think the Hon. Member heard me, so I would not belabour myself to explain something that I did not say – [HON. T. MLISWA: So what did you say?] – Do not worry, just go to the Hansard. If you have something in your mind Hon. Mliswa, you got your chance to debate – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – The record will come from the Hansard. If I misrepresented, you will take me to task – [HON. T. MLISWA: You do not have to be emotive about English correction, it is a question of semantics.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, take your seat. Hon. Chief Whip may you proceed – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Mliswa, please.
HON. TOGAREPI: In conclusion Madam Speaker, we need everybody to come to the party. There should not be bystanders. We should not find people who say we want to see them performing because everyone has a duty to perform. Let us do our oversight as Parliament. Let Ministers and bankers perform. Those in the Small and Medium Enterprises should also perform but every Zimbabwean, looking at the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, we are all called to duty, to perform for our country and everything is showing one thing. We are moving forward as a country. Challenges and shocks will always come and go but Zimbabwe is moving forward. I am very convinced that our day is coming soon to see Zimbabwe being a prosperous country once more. I thank you.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to add my voice to the SONA that was presented by our President. I want to thank Hon. Mutambisi for coming up…
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. There are bond notes which were left here, they are not mine. I do not know what they are doing there and I cannot touch them. Maybe you can find the owner.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. The officers will take care of that. Thank you.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to start off by thanking our President for the efforts that he made together with relevant ministries towards fighting the scourge of COVID-19. The successes are very visible in terms of the vaccinations that we had as a country. I want to say we had a very successful programme, which actually came up due to the fact that we are committed as a community, we worked together to make sure that this was going to be a success.
I also want to highlight that the President talked about successes in agriculture. Indeed, season 2020/21 was blessed with very good rains and it was of course paramount that we were supposed to get good yields. I also feel we could have got better yields, if 2019/20 yields were paid for in good time. In my constituency, there were a lot of outcries about those late payments for cotton for the 2019/2020 season. This could have given us more morale among farmers and we could realise more yields. So, I call upon the Government to ensure that each time we have got our agricultural outputs, they need to be paid for in good time for the purpose of motivating our farmers.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, our country lost a lot of cattle due to diseases and as a result, we are having challenges in our communities where we have to make them use tractors but DDF, which is our main supplier of tractors needs to be capacitated. This will enable our farmers to do their ploughing and planting in good time. I also want to say the Pfumvudza issue has already gone deeper in our communities because I realised in my constituency that people started land preparations much earlier than they used to do and we are expecting a lot of people to participate in Pfumvudza this season. I want to applaud the President for providing seed, fertilisers timely because those distributions are already going on. This will motivate our farmers to make sure they produce better yields.
Madam Speaker, there is of course increased demand of electricity as reiterated by the President in our communities. In most areas, you still find schools and clinics without connectivity and they do not have electricity. In my constituency in particular, I have got three wards that do not have any form of electricity and that is quite a problem to the communities, business people, clinics, schools, et cetera, which will want to use this facility. Bikita South is a hot zone, I would propose that we get solar for such areas so that if we get solar power, the communities are also going to move with the times.
Madam Speaker, the issue of roads is something that is very visible. If we look at Beitbridge, Chirundu, Bulawayo and Mutare, the roads are just first class. A lot has been done along those roads. I also want to say we have got some State roads in our communities that need to be looked at so that our people can transport their goods, cattle which they rear and all other goods like that. In that manner, we are going to see the economic improving because people will be having better roads. In my constituency, I have a State road called Nandi-Matsvange. This road has been, on a number of occasions from the 1980s, put on the cards and written in books. If you go to the Ministry of Transport, it is even stated that it is tarred when it is not, yet that road is so important in our communities because it links the conservancies. It links our main growth point, Nyika in Bikita to Mkwasine. People would use this road as a shorter route and there are a lot of infrastructure along that same road. So, while we are improving so much along the main roads that we see, we also need the feeder roads to be improved for the benefit of our people and economy.
I also want to say the opening of schools, though we are still with the COVID-19 pandemic, was a good and important measure because a lot of our children were now going astray. There was nothing to occupy them, vandalism was actually rampant and abuse of drugs was also envisaged. So it was a very good move that the schools be opened. However, we are calling upon our listening President that the welfare of teachers in these schools continues to be a thorn in their flesh. We hope that the President is going to consider that as well so that learning and the quality of learning that we are going to have from those schools is going to improve.
Also, resources that are needed in schools need to be provided because if teachers have no resources, even if you pay them and there are no resources, there will be no learning taking places. Ultimately, the children are going to suffer and also their parents will pay fees for nothing if the resources are not there. We definitely know that our parents are paying the bulk of our education in this country but they also need to be assisted because they also have other challenges. The COVID-19 challenge we were talking about did not spare them as well.
I want to conclude by saying, the President and our country at large, has made a very good move towards considering the plight of veterans of the liberation struggle. I think right across the country, there are a lot of hopes now that things are going to happen. I know with our listening President, we are going to get assessed because we are now in the right path. I urge our listening President to ensure that this programme is fast-tracked and considered more as we go for our budgets. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this time to add my voice on this debate. I want to thank His Excellency the President, for his resounding SONA. I want to thank Hon. Mutambisi and Hon. Moyo for bringing about this debate and seconding it. It is my pleasure this afternoon. I want also to add my voice to what the President said to this nation. The President spoke about peace, peace in the country and everywhere. If you look at how Zimbabweans live, we are peace loving people. Some countries, if you watch on TV, there is a lot of helter-skelter, there are a lot of shootings, killings and so on. In Zimbabwe, we have resilient people, who even in hard times, like the times we have been living in, the era of sanctions, Zimbabweans have been very resilient. Sanctions must go without fail.
If sanctions are brought, one might think they are going to affect a certain group of people but they affect even you if you call for them. It is better for us to come up with one voice and sing the song that sanctions must go. As Zimbabweans, let us be united and come up with one voice. We will not stop to talk about sanctions until they are removed. It is going to be our song forever until the sanctions are removed. We do not need them. They are not for us but were created for us, so they must go.
I want to thank the President for thanking frontline workers. In his Speech, he thanked the frontline workers, who during the COVID era continued to work. If you look at people in the health fraternity, some teachers, MPs, Senators, soldiers and all those who were in the frontline workmanship, they tried thick and thin to make things move despite the pandemic. I want to thank the President for recognising that there were such people.
The President spoke also about road infrastructure. I am happy that it also touched part of my constituency, Makoni North where we have a few roads being done even now. To mention just a few, we have Nyamusosa Road being done, Muswe Road in Makoni North and in Ward 9, we have Chinhenga Road being done. This has all come from His Excellency the President of this country. I want to applaud him for that. Road infrastructure is being done throughout the country. If you watch in several groups, you will discover some machinery in several parts of the country trying to upgrade roads so that we can move easily.
In the health sector, at one time I thought, when the Hon. Vice President was made Minister of Health and Child Care, I did not sleep well. I thought he was not capable enough but I discovered that the health sector has significantly improved if we want to say the truth. He has been able to addressmost of the problems that were being faced in the health sector. In my constituency, some people might say there is no medication in the hospitals but not to the extent it was before. Medication is there and the COVID vaccines have come in every constituency through the same Minister and it is still coming. He has done pretty well. It is through the help of the Minister and His Excellency. I would like to ask the Minister of Health and Child Care to look at how PSMAS works. After they gobble a lot of money from the civil service, they also ask for core payments when you go to seek medication, which I think is not fair. The Minister would want to take note of that.
I would want to acknowledge the job that was done by the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in assisting with the vaccination of COVID-19. In some areas, ZNA is constructing hospitals and schools. I have also engaged them in my constituency where they would be soon coming to do a few hospitals, which is quite good.
In the mining sector, the President spoke about revamping the mining sector and also look at the artisanal miners and give them some certificates so that they can mine without being hindered. You would discover that what the President is trying to do is to make things move forward and not backwards.
In farming, we have several programmes. We have Command Agriculture, Pfumvudza and Lead farmers in some areas. I want to thank the President greatly. This Pfumvudza Programme has made many people in the rural areas to access some inputs so that they can make a living out of farming. I want to applaud the Government that this time around, they have already started issuing out fertilisers and seed before the onset of the rains, which is quite good.
The President spoke about women and youth empowerment but I want to pose a question here. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development on youth empowerment, when one looks at the interest on loans for youth empowerment, which is 44%, it is a bit high. If you look at the re-engagement exercise which the President has done, you will discover that quite a lot has improved – engagements outside and inside. That is the reason why we have engagements like POLAD. We never had a time in the past when a President would ask members from any opposition parties to come to the table and discuss. It has come from the new dispensation and we must applaud that. I want to thank the President for all he has said and all the moves that he is taking so that this country moves forward. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: First and foremost, I would like to thank you Madam Speaker, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion that was moved by Hon. Mutambisi. I am grateful for His Excellency the President’s State of the Nation Address. The President mentioned that the wealth of this country has grown by 17% and that is as a result of the bumper harvest in the agriculture, specifically looking at crops such as tobacco, cotton and maize as well as the uptake in the rise in prices of minerals such as gold and others world-over.
It shows that our country is now being developed because of those sectors. I am quite grateful about that. I also want to express my gratitude to His Excellency for his visionary leadership where he introduced Command Agriculture and the Pfumvudza programme. Agriculture is the backbone of this country. I would like to mention that a lot of these inputs that are used by the farmers – some people have to buy on their own but these inputs are sold in USD and there is a disparity in the price that they are offered by the GMB in the local currency and that means that at the end of the day the farmers will end up with nothing.
My view is that the Government is now doing a lot of work in that it is issuing out inputs to people and also buying and doing other things. It will be possible with crops such as cotton – there should be opening up of the sector so that farmers can be able to compete and as a result, the farmer will gain a better producer price and they will be able to get better profits. If farmers continue to be digruntled with the prices that they are being paid, the producer prices, the farmers are not going to continue farming with the zeal that they have because they are not reaping any rewards in that sector.
I would also want to continue and talk on the issue of sanctions. His Excellency mentioned about the sanctions so that they be removed because the sanctions were called for after the Land Resettlement Programme. The land had been taken out from the white farmers and these sanctions are hurting the country. I would want to urge the majority of the Zimbabwean populace that even if we are being oppressed through outside influence, we should as Zimbabweans not impose sanctions on our own. These sanctions that I am making reference to are corrupt activities. The President has on numerous occasions spoken against the corrupt tendencies that the Zimbabwean populace has engaged in.
I would want to talk about infrastructure. The President has mentioned that road infrastructure, rail and other construction of school buildings are being done so that we also become a modern country because without infrastructure, we will not be going anywhere. In terms of infrastructure development, we want to thank the Government for coming up with the construction of the road in Masvingo, the schools and clinics; these are things that are self evident.
I urge the various ministries that are responsible for construction of buildings to also look and observe that we do not have base stations that are used for internet or networks. If we were to look at the networks, we should also have base stations. There should be networks. We need an improvement on networks so that infrastructure for communication can be improved. The children in the communal lands should have access to Wi-Fi and the like, just like the children in the urban centres. Border areas or those remote areas should be a priority in redressing this anomaly.
The President also said that he was going to look into the issue of the law as it pertains to the workers. I was expecting in that regard that Government teachers also be scrutinised. If you reward your child just like when they go to buy something for you and you give them sweets, they should be rewarded. These civil servants should also be rewarded appropriately because from time to time, the local currency is losing its value. They also have expectations and need to do certain things in their life. Let us pay these workers so that they are encouraged.
I would also want to look at the issue of the police officers, that they should be given accommodation that is away from the community. The police officer cannot arrest me if I am their landlord. If the magistrate is also my lodger, how is he/she expected to try my case when he/she is living in my house? Police officers and magistrates should be given adequate accommodation so that they do not rely on rented accommodation.
In terms of media reforms, I am directing my mind to the issue of journalists. They should also be catered for so that they report factually and that should also come out of the manner in which they are living or their remuneration. They should not be paid to write stories that are not in the interest of the country. They say so because if they are paid, they will be in a position to report factually the truth as it is because they will be properly remunerated and as a result, they are not tempted to engage in corrupt tendencies as they disseminate information to the majority of the people.
We would also want to look at the issue of money. People are crying over the issue of money. If it were possible, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should closely scrutinise why there are these leakages on the pot that is on the fire. People are growing a lot of crops and a lot of minerals are being mined so as to ensure that our economy develops yet there is a rise on inflation on the other hand. They should also address the issue of inflation. They also need to look at the relationship between the American dollar and the local currency. Why are people suffering and being burdened because of that? People become disheartened instead of being happy to work for the country.
I would want to end by saying that our President saw it fit that the development of this country can only be achieved through the people’s wishes. As a listening President and the shepherd of the flock, he should ensure that his sheep are being properly looked after. We must have our country at heart as Zimbabweans. If we cannot do that, we will be only pleasing a magician, and a deceased village will only please the magician. Any person worth their salt should be able to look after their own village. I thank you.
(v)HON. E. MASUKU: Madam Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the debate raised by Hon. Mutambisi on behalf of my constituency in Umguza and like-minded progressive forces of our beautiful nation of Zimbabwe. I wish to commence by acknowledging and reiterating our appreciation for the political leadership of His Excellency, Hon. E.D. Mnangagwa. In only a short time of slightly less than three years, there is visible evidence of progress, infrastructural development and macro-economic stability in our country.
While there is still and will always be room for improvement, one cannot ignore the tangible successes of the Second Republic under his leadership. We can all see that roads are being built, some being rehabilitated, dams are being constructed, various irrigation projects that have been completed and some are at various stages of completion. There is an inexhaustive list of developmental initiatives across the country and it takes enormous effort to try and downplay such successes. We in ZANU PF stand in awe of such astute and effective leadership. All these milestones, as His Excellency the President noted in his SONA, have been achieved in the face of aggressive adversity from our detractors and enemies of our great nation of Zimbabwe.
While this platform is not for electioneering, we are saying unity is key. The whole world has been affected by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Our beautiful nation has not been spared. We mourn together with and convey our sincerest condolences to all our compatriots and fellow Zimbabweans who lost their loved ones to this deadly virus. It is a dark cloud that has covered our nation. We appreciate the Government’s pace-setting efforts on the continent, to tackle this unforgiving scourge of the pandemic under the leadership of His Excellency, President E.D. Mnangagwa. We also appreciate the resilience of our people for standing firm to fight this pandemic. Sisonke sibambene siyanqoba. To this effect, we condemn unapologetically all those who sow and encourage division amongst us and sithi kibo, asibambaneni, sibe muntu munye sakhe ilizwe lethu. This country is not ours alone but it belongs to our children and future generations. So, let us all answer positively to the clarion call and support vision 2030 as we build our nation for posterity. This has been the President’s rallying call and all of us progressive, peace-loving and patriotic Zimbabweans have to answer positively to this call. If we do not do this, no one will do it for us.
In his SONA, His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa admonished us all to be united and re-commit ourselves to serving our country. This, as he pronounced, will be to improve the quality of our life as Zimbabweans and spur lasting development for our country. Madam Speaker, it is not possible to imagine how anyone amongst us cannot support such a call. As I stated at the beginning of my submission, we are all behind His Excellency the President and support his consistent calls for unity and progressiveness including vision 2030. As I said earlier and I will reiterate, Zimbabwe is for us all.
Madam Speaker, in his SONA, the President mentioned that this year, projections are that the economy will grow by an estimated 7.8%. This comes at the backdrop of a good agricultural yield, firm mineral and commodity prices, stable inflation and exchange rate as well as our renowned containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is positive news which should spur us on as Zimbabweans.
It is an open secret that climate change has dramatically altered our established ways of life. To this effect, as the President admonished us in his SONA, we all need to be resilient and adapt to these changes. Our people, particularly farmers and those in the rural communities, need to be educated on these changes as they affect our way of life.
It is undebatable that a new lease of life has been injected into the agricultural sector. We have seen a frenzy of activity within the sector and we appreciate the support and input from Government to this effect. Grain, tobacco, cotton as well as various crops and types of farming have all seen a boom. While, as the president noted, there are some losses being experienced in animal farming due to livestock diseases, we appreciate all farmers and are grateful for all the support that the sector has received from the Government.
Not too long back, we all remember how our nation was plagued by frequent power cuts. We appreciate the Government’s efforts to arrest this problem. As the President mentioned in his SONA, the Government has increased its efforts to completely eradicate this problem and we look forward to the completion and commissioning of Units 7 and 8 at Hwange Power Station.
As I conclude my submission Madam Speaker, I want to thank His Excellency the President for his efforts. I thank you!
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Good afternoon to you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon Hon. Banda.
(V)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you for recognising me so that I also partake of this very important motion which has been moved because of the speech that was delivered by His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, this time around, Parliament is going to face about 41 Bills which is a record in itself. So we really have a lot of things to discuss. There will be no playtime this time around Madam Speaker Ma’am. Madam Speaker, for your own information, I am the Shadow Minister for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Since there is a proposal to the amendment of the State Universities Statutes Bill which seeks to amend the Act governing the 13 State universities so that they are aligned to the Constitution and enhance the performance of the Heritage Based Education 5.0 Policy, we really appreciate that. We also appreciate the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill which has to be finalised as soon as possible in this particular session. The Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill will be the centre of our focus as it dovetails into what we want to achieve as a country.
Madam Speaker, we have come up with an alternative policy on higher education. Our policy does not seek to fight the present policy but however, it tends to make it better. What we have noticed Madam Speaker Ma’am is that the Heritage Based Education 5.0 that is there seeks to improve STEM aligned subjects only ignoring other critical disciplines like Art and Commercial subjects.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Banda, we cannot hear you.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Can you hear me now Madam Speaker?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, we can. Please proceed.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you. I was saying that our alternative policy on higher education which is entitled, Technology and Pragmatic Grounded Higher Education to a First World Academia by 2035 seeks to support Education 5.0 by adding what may have been left out by Education 5.0 because it is mainly STEM associated. So this alternative policy will see Zimbabwe in the Fourth Session bringing back the emphasis on commercial subjects and creative art. In so doing Madam Speaker, people in the informal sector have developed prototypes of machines and equipment that can be used in urban and rural areas. Such prototypes include a new pedal type of borehole rams, bio digesters and heaters that can be used to produce new forms of energy. So we call upon the responsible Minister not to ignore those who are in the informal sector who have not attended Higher and Tertiary Education institutions to partake in the development of prototypes in innovation hubs…- [Technical Glitch.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Banda! Hon. Banda! I think we have lost him due to network challenges.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 20th October, 2021.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.