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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 06 JUNE 2017 VOL 43 NO 65

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 6th June, 2017

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

BIOMETRIC SYSTEM IN PARLIAMENT

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to advise the House that the biometric system is now operational at all points of entry and exit in Parliament building.  In terms of the operations, on pressing the button, one should wait for a signal and a green light above the door then proceed to open the door.  In the event that the system fails to respond one should press the emergency button for assistance.

PARLIAMENT OPEN DAY

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Parliament will be holding an Open Day from Wednesday, 7th June to Friday 9th June, 2017. There will be exhibitions in the car park.  Hon. Members with vehicles parked in the car park are kindly requested to remove them by end of day, Tuesday, 6th June 2017 to facilitate pitching up of tents and erection of exhibition booths.  Hon. Members are requested to park their vehicles at their respective hotels and to utilise shuttle buses being offered by the hotels.  Parking space will be available on the southern side of Nelson Mandela Avenue, between Sam Nunjoma Avenue and Third Street and along Third Street up to Simon Vengai Muzenda Street, formerly Fourth Street.

RAISING OF POINTS OF ORDER AND POINTS OF PRIVILEGE

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Chair has observed a disturbing trend whereby Hon. Members have developed a tendency of abusing Standing Orders pertaining to the raising of Points of Order and Points of Privilege in the House. The Chair wishes to clarify the procedure for raising Points of Order and Points of Privilege as follows:-

a)    a Point of Order may be raised by another Member without notice in terms of Standing Order Number 68 (d), to alert the Presiding Officer of a breach of the rules of the House by a Member on the floor or by any other Member in the Chamber.  Thus, Points of Orders should relate to possible violations or breaches of provisions of Standing Orders of the House or practice of the House or abuse of the rules of the House. Points of Order cannot be raised because a Member is not happy with another Member’s contribution. In fact, the majority of Points of Order in the Eighth Parliament have been in this category. A Member raising a Point of Order should simply direct the Presiding Officer to the point complained of by citing the Standing Order or practice being violated.

b)      A Point of Privilege is raised by a Member to raise a complaint of breach of privilege or contempt which requires the immediate attention of the House. The Point of Privilege should thus clearly state the breach that should be addressed by the House. Hon. Members should therefore be guided accordingly and not abuse the rules of the House.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LANDS, AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT ON THE UTILISATION OF THE BRAZILIAN MECHANISATION FACILITY AND LIVESTOCK SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE

HON. CHITINDI:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on the utilisation of the Brazilian Mechanisation Facility and Livestock Situation in Zimbabwe.

HON. GWANETSA:  I second.

HON. CHITINDI: Introduction

Farm machines have revolutionised the agriculture sector.  Agricultural Mechanisation is a central indispensable pillar for making farm operations efficient and productive. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), land productivity is among the lowest in the world, and Agricultural Mechanization has either stagnated or retrogressed in recent years. In SSA countries: over 60% of farm power is still provided by peoples muscles, mostly from women, the elderly and children;  only 25% of farm power is provided  by  drudge  animals;  and  less  than  20%  of  mechanization  services  are provided by engine power, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) (2013) Report. In an effort to increase efficiency of agricultural production and maintaining the integrity and quality of farm products, the Government of Zimbabwe, under More Food  For Africa  Loan  Irrigation  Rehabilitation,  entered  into  an  agreement  with Brazil, to the tune of US$98.6 million for the provision of mechanization equipment.

The  first  phase  of  the  loan,  amounting  US$38.6  million  worth  of  Brazilian equipment  has  been  received  and  installed  around  the  country.  In light of the persistent and frequent droughts, farm machines are an indispensable strategy in the fight against hunger and poverty as well in achieving food security. As part of its oversight role, the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development resolved to conduct an inquiry on the utilisation of the Brazilian Mechanization Facility. In addition, the Committee took advantage of the verification tour of the irrigation schemes to get an update on the livestock condition throughout the country.

2.0 Objectives

2.1 In its inquiry, the Committee was guided by the following objectives;

1.  To assess the functional status of irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe;

2.  To appreciate the Brazilian facility programme on the ground in changing the livelihoods of beneficiaries;

3.  To understand the repayment modalities of the loan agreement;

4.  To assess the technical skills and competencies by beneficiaries in the use of the equipment;

5.  To appreciate the impact of drought on livestock and the economic well- being of farmers.

3.0 Methodology

3.1 In its inquiry, the Committee employed the following methods

3.2 Oral evidence session

3.2.1 On the 16th of February 2016, the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development invited, Mr. J. Chitsiko, the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation  Development  for an oral evidence session to update the Committee on the utilisation of the Brazilian Mechanisation Facility, functional status of irrigation schemes and the 2015/2016 crop and Livestock Assessment.

3.3 Fact Finding Mission

3.3.1 Following the presentation from the Permanent Secretary, the Committee conducted a tour of irrigation schemes from the 20th - 27th of July 2016. The Committee  was  divided  into  two  groups  with  the  first  group  covering  Zvimba (Musasurwa Irrigation Scheme), Zvishavane (Bannockburn Irrigation scheme), Gwanda (Tuli Makwe Irrigation Scheme) and Lupane (Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme). The second group covered, Mt Darwin (Mutondwe Irrigation Scheme), Mutoko (Chitora Irrigation scheme), Buhera (Nyanyadzi Irrigation Scheme) and Chiredzi (Tshovani Irrigation Scheme). The tours also provided the Committee with an opportunity to meet the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development officials from the Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX) and veterinary services.

4.0  Committee  Findings:  The  Permanent  Secretary  for Agriculture,  Mr.  J. Chitsiko

4.1 Irrigation Development in Zimbabwe

4.1.1 In his presentation, the Permanent Secretary noted that Zimbabwe has a total of about 205 590 hectares (ha) equipped with irrigation infrastructure. Of this hectarage, 132 465 ha is under functional irrigation. The More Food for Africa Loan Irrigation

Rehabilitation is targeting to put an additional 4100 ha under irrigation.

4.2 Functional Status of Irrigation Schemes in Zimbabwe

4.2.1 Zimbabwe has an irrigation potential of 2.2 million ha. Currently, there are irrigation facilities covering about 200 000 ha. About a 120 000  hectarage  has functional  irrigation  infrastructure;  meaning  that  there  is  a  gap  which  needs rehabilitation.  Government has secured US$7 million for the identification and assessment of irrigation schemes that require immediate rehabilitation.

4.2.2 The Committee was informed that the repayment period for the Brazilian equipment is 15 years at an interest rate of 2% per annum. In addition, the Permanent Secretary noted that on the contention of whether the small holder farmers would be able to pay back the loan, the Ministry, adopted strategies that ensure farmers are able to repay.   The method that has been adopted is of an operational lease where the farmers only pay for the services that have been rendered by the use of equipment rather than paying for the loan itself.  The revenue that is raised is therefore, used to repay the loan as well as servicing of equipment.

4.2.2 The Permanent Secretary further highlighted that the Ministry has been able to raise money for the repayment of the loan on on-going process.

4.2.3 In terms of distribution, the Brazilian facility covers the communal areas, old resettlement and A1 of the new resettlement.  The Permanent Secretary also acknowledged  that  the  assessment  exercise  to  evaluate  suitability  of  irrigation schemes to receive the equipment was conducted 5 years ago, hence some of the equipment delivered to farmers may no longer be suitable.

4.2.4 It was also reported that the Ministry had attached its officers to the manufacturing  company  in  Brazil  as  well  as  appointment  of  a  local  servicing company to ensure adequate maintenance of the equipment in Zimbabwe.

 

4.3 A summary of the utilisation of the Brazil Mechanization Facility.

Equipment

Quantity

Ordered

Quantity delivered

Quantity Issued

Balance  before delivery

Tractor

476

368

301

67

Disc plough

218

218

209

9

Disk harrow

446

446

259

187

Planter

310

310

215

95

Fertilizer

Spreader

100

100

73

27

Knapsack

Sprayer

6650

6650

5805

845

Center pivots

50

37

-

-

Pumps

106

106

106

-

Traveling guns

96

96

96

-

4.4 The Permanent Secretary highlighted that in addition to the Brazilian Mechanization Facility, the Government and the Indian Government are finalising an irrigation equipment programme worth US$30 million. The Government was also in negotiations with the Belarus Government for another agricultural mechanization programme.

4.5 Fact Finding Mission

4.5.1 Chesa Mtondwe Irrigation Scheme in Mount Darwin District

4.5.1.1 There are 3 projects in Mt Darwin District that received equipment under the More Food for Africa. At Chesa Mtondwe, the Irrigation scheme started operating in 2015 and has two agricultural seasons. The scheme has 25 hectares of irrigable land with 50 households as beneficiaries. Each household owns 0,5 hectare plot under semi portable sprinkler irrigation scheme. These beneficiaries include the following: war veterans, the youth, one Chief, four schools, the elderly and there are only three households headed by women.  The beneficiaries also comprise of villagers that were relocated following the construction of the irrigation scheme and villagers from the vicinity of the irrigation programme. The farmers grow crops such as maize, sugar beans, round nuts, sweet potato and vegetables

4.5.1.2 Under the Brazilian Facility the scheme received two tractors, disc harrows, planters, Knapsack sprayers, fertilizer spreaders and other farming implements. Payment of the equipment under Brazilian facility include a fee of US$40 per hectare for using the pump, per season. A portion of the fee is sent to service the loan.   The farmers also pay US$100 for use of tractor per season.  The fee covers fuel, at

US$40 per ha.  Villagers were discouraged to bring their own fuel.  It is anticipated that the farmers should repay the equipment in seven years.  The loan repayments are being done through Agribank.

4.5.1.3 The farmers received a starter pack from Government, mainly of maize in their first season. They managed to get an average of six tonnes per hectare.  Benefits arising from the irrigation scheme include: employment creation, poverty reduction, nutritional benefits and improved well-being of the villagers.

4.5.1.4 Challenges faced at the Scheme include: Water losses due to dam leakages, siltation of the dam and lack of markets for their produce.

4.5.1.5 On livestock, the district is facing challenges of grazing and water shortages. The cattle need to be relocated especially in October and November, when water becomes scarce.    Currently, livestock go for 10kms in search of water. Farmers are also getting paltry amounts for their livestock on the market.

4.6 Chitora Irrigation Scheme in Mutoko District

4.6.1 Chitora Irrigation Scheme is under the Old Resettlement scheme.   Mutoko district has six irrigation schemes with a total of 72 hectares.  Chitora scheme has 36 hectares. The scheme receives water from a nearby dam with a 100 hectare capacity. However,  the  dams  capacity  has  been  reduced  to  80  hectares  due  to  siltation. Farmers grow crops such as maize, vegetables, sugar beans and sweet potatoes.

4.6.2 There are 3 schemes in Mutoko that benefited under the Brazilian facility including Chitora. One scheme at Murara received equipment in 2015 but has not yet made use of it because the dam dried; hence the equipment is just lying idle, yet beneficiaries have to service the loan.

4.6.3 Chitora has 72 households and 57 have paid fees, which enables them to fully benefit from the equipment. Under phase 1 and 2 of Chitora, there were no women beneficiaries because gender was not taken into consideration.  Under phase 3, the situation improved where 50% of the beneficiaries are women. The irrigation scheme has a dispute resolution mechanism and inheritance policy within the schemes Constitution.

4.6.4  Mutoko  district  plans  to  expand  the  irrigation  by  another  40  hectares considering that the dam has the capacity to supply new hectares.  However, there is resistance  from  some  villagers  who  will  be  affected  by  the  construction  of  the scheme.

4.6.5 Challenges: farmers complained of high electricity costs and for 9 hectares of irrigable land, U$19 000, accrued, making operations unviable and unsustainable. In the same vein, farmers complained of high input costs in production, particularly for fertilizer, chemicals, maintenance of infrastructure.  In addition, Veterinary and Agritex officers lack vehicles to enable them to offer services to farmers.  Agritex officers also lack resources to conduct demonstration plots for farmers.

4.6.6 Farmers complained that they were getting poor prices for their produce at Mbare Musika.   This was exacerbated by cheap imports from South Africa. Furthermore, farmers fail to get proper holding bays and decent accommodation at Mbare Musika before trading their produce.   Farmers are also being ripped off by middlemen at Mbare Musika.

4.6.7 On value addition, farmers requested for cold rooms to enable them to get more value for their products.

4.6.8 Farmers were skeptical of contract farming as they had been conned by some contractors.

4.6.9 On Livestock - the health of livestock has deteriorated in the area due to lack of pastures.  Furthermore, the district has one fridge for the storage of vaccines and this makes it difficult to manage livestock diseases in the area, because the vaccines require a regulated temperature to be effective.

4.7 Nyanyadzi Irrigation Scheme in Chimanimani.

4.7.1 Nyanyadzi irrigation scheme started operating in 1932 and is under the old resettlement scheme.  It covers a total of 432 hectares. The scheme receives water from Odzani and Osborne Dams. The scheme has 3 seasons per year and the farmers grow crops such as maize, vegetables, sugar beans, sweet potatoes, onions and wheat.

4.7.2 The scheme benefited two tractors, and 120 knapsacks under the Brazilian facility. Nyanyadzi has 721 plot-holders, thereby benefiting 2000 households.

4.7.3 Challenges: farmers complained of high water and electricity costs, making their operations expensive.

4.7.4 On Livestock - The health of livestock has deteriorated in the area due to lack of pastures.  Furthermore, the district has one fridge for the storage of vaccines and this makes it difficult to manage livestock diseases in the area because the vaccines require a regulated temperature to be effective.

4.7.5 Veterinary and Agritex officers lack vehicles to enable them to offer services to farmers.   Agritex officers also lack resources to conduct demonstration plots for farmers.

4.8 Tshovani Irrigation Scheme

4.8.1 The Irrigation scheme started operating in 1974 under ARDA. The scheme has 360 hectares of irrigable land with 120 households as beneficiaries. Each household owns a three hectare plot. The farmers grow crops such as cotton, chili, wheat, maize, sugarbeans, round nuts, sweet potatoes and vegetables.

4.8.2 Under the Brazilian Facility, the scheme received 3 tractors, 2 disc harrows, 2 planters, 23 knapsack sprayers, and 1 fertilizer spreader. Benefits arising from the irrigation scheme include:  employment creation, poverty reduction, nutritional benefits and improved well-being of the villagers.

4.8.3 Challenges faced at the Scheme include: Water losses due to dam leakages, siltation of the dam and lack of markets for their produce. On livestock, the district is facing challenges of grazing and water shortages. There is cattle that will need to be relocated especially in October and November, when water becomes scarce. Farmers are also getting paltry amounts for their livestock on the market. A training was conducted by the Ministry on the use of the equipment. On dispute resolution, the scheme has a constitution which guides all the beneficiaries.

4.9 Musarurwa Irrigation Scheme


4.9.1 Musarurwa Irrigation Scheme is one of the nine smallholder irrigation schemes in Zvimba District. The scheme became operational in September 1998. It draws its water from Hunyani River. It has a membership of 50 plot holders of which 20 are male and 30, female. The Irrigation Management Committee is responsible for day to day operations as guided by their Constitution.  Crops grown in the scheme comprise of the following; green mealies, sugar beans, groundnuts, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and leaf vegetables.

4.9.2  Since  its  inception,  the  scheme  has  managed  to  empower  the  community through employment creation, attainment of balanced diet, rural electrification, cattle raising and an improvement in the livelihoods of the community.

4.9.3 Under the Brazilian Facility, the scheme received 1 tractor, disc harrow, planter, and a Knapsack sprayer. The scheme is not spared from high ZESA and ZINWA bills. A  total  of  US$8000  and  US$11000  for  ZESA  and  ZINWA  bill  were  reported respectively. It was reported that farmers were failing to service the bills due to low yield. In addition, the scheme faces frequent breakdown of equipment. Most of the equipment at the scheme are old and constantly break.  Furthermore, farmers observed that they were failing to access loans due to lack of collateral security.

4.9.4 Agritex department reported that they were playing an instrumental role by providing technical and advisory services, farmers training and dissemination of agricultural technologies in order to improve the livelihoods of the farmers. However, the department noted that transport was a challenge, limiting their mobility to assist farmers. However, one of the Agritex Officers is stationed at the scheme.

4.9.5 On livestock, the Veterinary Services Department reported that the livestock situation was fairly good across the province. Grazing land was reported to be available in Zvimba District. However, in some parts of Makonde, Kariba, Ngezi and Sanyati were running out of grazing land. Daily farmers were also not spared as they are facing food shortages. The District has 66 Dip tanks that are all operational although 2 faced water challenges. Chemicals were reported to be available for dipping. Some of the challenges raised include, high cost of repair and maintenance of dip tanks and spread of rabbis. The Department recommended for drilling of more boreholes, administration of anti-rabies for free.

4.10 Bannockburn Irrigation Scheme.

4.10.1    The scheme has a total hectarage of 110 ha and only 23 ha are currently under flood irrigation with 88 beneficiaries allocated 0.25 ha each. The center pivot system is still under construction which covers 30 ha, with 89 beneficiaries affiliated. The scheme started with 36 beneficiaries in  September  2012.    The scheme is operating in two seasons, planting 3 crops namely maize, sugar beans and butternuts, with very low yield being obtained. The Departments of Agritex, Mechanization and Women Affairs play an important role in the development of the irrigation scheme.

4.10.2 The scheme benefited 2 tractors, and 120 knapsacks. The scheme's major challenges are lack of fencing materials, frequent pump breakdowns, high cost of tractor hiring, high cost of inputs, invasion by wild animals such as hippos and warthogs, high water and electricity bills, lack of transportation of products to the markets and theft of property.

4.10.3 Concerning the scheme, the Department of Mechanization reported that they had   completed   construction   of a pump-house,   900m   tank,   and   supply   canal 300mm*120m under the PSIP. The Department also completed construction of infield canals, borehole drilling for Extension workers, homestead refurbishment, land leveling, land tillage, fencing of infield roads. The Department was still in the process of installing center pivots, pipelines and electrification of homestead.  Financial challenges was pointed out as the major impediment to the ultimate completion of the project.

4.10.4 On livestock, it was reported that Zvishavane District faces perennial droughts, which have worsened the  livestock  situation  in  the  District.  Grazing land was reported to be poor across the district with worse in communal and A1 sectors which are overgrazed. Mining activities have disturbed grazing as some of the miners fail to reclaim the land after extracting minerals and the pits also become death traps for livestock. The District lost almost 900 cattle due to drought.

4.11 Tuli Makwe Irrigation Scheme

4.11.1 Tuli Makwe Irrigation Scheme was established in 1966. The scheme consists of four blocks of irrigable land covering 202 ha under surface irrigation scheme. Currently, 191.1 ha is arable. The water source is Tuli Makwe Dam. The scheme has 476 members, with plot sizes averaging 0.5  – 2 ha. Crops mainly grown at the scheme  include  maize,  wheat,  potatoes  and  beans.  Part of  the  scheme  was rehabilitated in 2006/7 with assistance from the French Government. In addition, 332 members, who are capable of paying water and electricity bills are authorised to irrigate. The scheme has an estimated electricity bill of US$101, 087.12 as of 18 May 2016, which is highly unsustainable for rural communities. Two out of four pumps are operational.

4.11.2 The state of infrastructure, 4 pumps which are 75kw electric motors each whilst 2 run at a time, 1 is fully functional and the other breaks constantly. Canals and pipelines are too old and farmers frequently replace some. The fence is too old (installed 1965) and worm out, total of 23 km require replacement.

4.11.3 The scheme needs to rehabilitate its infield canals, put up scheme fences, repair/replace  delivery  pipeline,  repair  electric  motors,  install  center  pivots  and alternatively installation of solar system for the scheme pumping station at an estimated cost of US$1,746,000.00

4.11.4 The scheme benefited the following from the Brazilian Mechanization Facility, 4 tractors, 1 disk harrow, 2 planters and 1 fertilizer sprayer. Farmers indicated that they were unaware of the total value of the equipment, although they were paying for services rendered. The scheme’s major challenges include, lack of spares, high water and electricity bills, dam siltation, pumps and canals frequently breaks down. In addition, farmers complained that the road network is poor thereby limiting access to markets. Farmers mourn that when they manage to sell their products in Bulawayo, they face stiff competition from cheap products from South Africa.

4.11.4 On livestock, the Department reported that the District has 4405 livestock excluding small stocks. The district also experience perennial droughts, thereby straining the animal health. In addition, the grazing land is limited. As a department, it encourages destocking, however most farmers are resisting, coupled by the market situation   where   buyers   are   offering   low   prices   for   cattle.   Dip   tanks   need rehabilitation. Farmers were failing to pay US$2.00 per head per year. On animal health,  farmers  are  failing  to  access  drugs  and  vaccines,  hence  are  not  able  to vaccinate their cattle. The black leg and tick-borne diseases are the major killer in the district.

4.12 Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme

4.12.1 The scheme was established in 1966 with 15 plot holders in which each farmer had 0.4 ha under irrigation. Currently, there are 63 plot holders each occupying 0.4 ha.  Crops grown   include  green   mealies,  summer   irrigated   maize,  tomatoes, vegetables, onions, butternuts, potatoes and sugar beans. The scheme has created employment and  aided  in  food  security.  The irrigation is  run  by  the  Irrigation Management Committee comprising of 7 members (2 male and 5 female) with subcommittees in  areas  such  as  water, marketing, discipline, health  and  security committees.

4.12.2 The scheme received the following under More Food for Africa Programme, tractor, 3 disk plough, planter, Disc harrow and knap sprayer. In an effort to cut transport costs to the market, the scheme managed to buy a trailer but was advised that the tractor should not leave the farm. The scheme won 3rd price for the well run irrigation scheme in the country in 1999, came best in 2000, hosted the National World Food day in 2013 among others. The Committee was astonished and witnessed that truly, they deserved to be the best, and this can also be attributed to the fact that most plot holders are females who are full time farmers.

4.12.3 The major challenges facing the scheme are water shortages  due to dam siltation, high inputs costs, poor road network and unavailability of loans. Farmers were selling their produce at the boarding schools in the district. Customers come from as far as Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria Falls and Lupane. Farmers mourn stiff competition from cheap  imports  from Zambia  in  Vic  Falls  and  South Africa  in Bulawayo.

4.12.4 In addition, the scheme recognised the need to install center pivots.

4.12.5 The Committee was further informed that the district was proposing two additional irrigation schemes namely, Bubi-Lupane Irrigation Scheme with a dam capacity of 40 000 000m3, capable of irrigating 150 ha with 400 plot holders. The Semizi Irrigation Scheme, with a dam capacity of 95000m3, capable of irrigating 20 ha with 60 plot holders, both under flood boarder strip.

4.12.6 On livestock, the cattle census indicates that Matebeleland North has 640 000 head of cattle. The grazing situation was considered dire and deteriorating due to the perennial droughts. Worse off, farmers were losing their cattle to wildlife. It was reported that 50% of boreholes were functional thereby straining livestock on access to water. Most of the disease outbreaks were under control.

5.0 Committee Observations

5.1 After deliberations on the presentation from the Permanent Secretary and tour of irrigation  schemes  that  benefited  under  the  More  Food  for Africa  programme,  the Committee made the following observations;

1.  There is no clear irrigation policy in Zimbabwe, mechanization facilities (fund) are a piecemeal solutions to the challenges faced by the irrigation schemes. A clear policy will not only attract investment in the irrigation sector, but lay down irrigation scheme management.

2. Although the Brazilian Mechanization Facility is meant to increase yield capacity, failure to give consideration to production costs such as electricity, water, tillage may result in farmers failing to realize meaningful profits and hampered the success of the programme.

3.  Farmers were not aware of the cost of the irrigation equipment they received, as well as the repayment period, although they appreciated that they were paying for the services rendered.

4.  There is no deliberate policy for the involvement of women and youths as well as vulnerable groups such as the disabled into irrigation schemes. Some are beneficiaries by coincidence.

5.  The successful story of Tshongokwe Irrigation Scheme can be attributed to the notion that the majority of plot holders are woman, who are committed. The Irrigation Policy should therefore seek to gender mainstream more women into irrigation schemes.

6.  Some irrigation schemes received more equipment than their hectare capacity

7.  Farmers are getting a raw deal in the marketing of their commodities on the domestic markets.  The local  markets  are  always  over  flooded  with  cheap agricultural products from the neighbouring countries.

8.  Dam siltation remains a threat to the success of the Irrigation programmes in the country. All the Irrigation schemes indicated that they were facing dam siltation challenges.

9.  Siltation of dams is a threat to the growth of irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe.

10.Most irrigation schemes concentrate on marketing their agricultural products in their raw form, there are no considerations for value addition at the farm place in line with the detects of the ZIM ASSET prescription.

11.Farmers are being forced to sell their cattle at sub-economic prices as they are forced to destock due to lack of pastures.

12.Irrigation development is the most progressive strategy to mitigate the impact of climate change.

13.These irrigation schemes have led to employment creation, nutritional benefits and poverty reduction.

14.Farmers are suffering losses, due to lack of technology and information on post harvesting methods and on value addition of some produce.

15.Reliable water sources are critical to enable farmers to make use of irrigation equipment and to enable them to service their loans on time.

16.There are some who are struggling to pay the cost for usage of the equipment, which will be a burden in servicing of the loan.

17.Farmers lack information on terms and conditions of contract farming.

18.Agritex and Veterinary officers are immobile due to lack of vehicles, hence hampering their capacity to advise and assist farmers.

19.The Department of Veterinary and Agritex play an important role in assisting irrigation schemes to produce maximum yields.

20. In the absence of a contract farming legislative/policy framework, farmers remain skeptical of contract farming.

6.0 Recommendations

6.1 The Committee recommends the following;

1.  The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development should finalise and launch a comprehensive Agricultural Policy as well as developing a clear Irrigation Policy that lays out the selection process of beneficiaries, which takes into account gender issues in line with the Constitution by end of year. In the absence of the said policy frameworks, it will remain difficulty to attract investment in the agriculture sector.

2.  Mechanization facilities should also include solar system, to enable irrigation schemes to substitute ZESA electricity with solar power system and minimize costs of electricity in-line with the use of renewal energy. New arrangements such as India and Belarus should therefore encompass solar power.

3.  Periodic  monitoring,  evaluations  and  audit  of  the  equipment  under  the Brazilian Facility is critical to ensure that the equipment is being fully utilised in line with PFM Act. The Committee recommends that a yearly regular audit be carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and produce reports for public consumption to that effect.

4. Irrigation schemes should be capacitated by providing value addition machines, to be able to add value to their produce, as a strategy to increase their profit margins in line with the detects of ZIMASSET.

5.  Statutory Instrument 64/2016 should be reviewed by end of March 2017, to include a wide range of agricultural products, and a full monitoring of point of entry should be implemented to ensure that local farmers are protected from cheap imports.

6.  Efforts should also be made towards attracting agricultural mechanization manufacturing companies to open their plants in Zimbabwe.

7.  Although the Irrigation Scheme is a noble idea to empower the locals, the Ministry should come up with Constitution framework by end of March 2017, to be used by the management committees.

8.  AMA should be decentralised in all the farming districts of the country to assist farmers in the marketing of their products as well as to disseminate information on the terms and conditions of contract farming among others.

9.  Water and electricity tariffs should be minimised to enable both the farmer and the utility providers to break-even.  A discussion of the cost-structure tariff  should  be  encouraged  between  the  Ministry  of  Agriculture  and Ministry of Energy as a matter of urgency.

10.Leadership in Mutoko District should expedite the process of expanding the irrigation scheme at Chitora, to reduce hunger and create employment in the district.  Chitora Irrigation scheme, exhibited huge  potential  for development.

11.Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development should finalise the contract farming framework by mid-year 2017, as a strategy to encourage investment in the irrigation schemes.

12.The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development should institute an equipment rationalisation process, by withdrawing equipment where it is unnecessary and give to those in need.

13.Distribution of the second phase should only be instituted, after carrying irrigation schemes assessment needs within six months.

14.The Ministry of Finance should provide for adequate resources in the 2017 Budget Vote on Agriculture to enable Agritex and Veterinary services to provide services to farmers in the various districts of the

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I would like to inform the august House that Hon. Majaya lost her husband last week.  Could we all rise and observe a minute of silence?

           All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

          *HON. GWANETSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand up to support the report which has been given by Hon. Chitindi. This is in regards to the Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Irrigation Development. Before I go further, may I please put a heap of praises on Hon. Made. I remember we gave a report on the bad state of ARDA and Cold Storage Commission. I am glad to announce in this House that Hon. Made made a follow up on the report and there is some improvement in these two bodies.

          My hope is that Hon. Made will follow up on the projects raised on the irrigation schemes and I have all the faith in him. In the report which was given, we were informed that all our irrigations amount to 2.2 million hectares. I am saying if all these irrigation schemes could be working in the proper state, we would not suffer from hunger or starvation, but we encountered some problems in the operations of these irrigation schemes. I am going to highlight a few of them raised by Hon. Chitindi and I am going to talk about five points.

          The first one is on equipment distribution, siltation of dams, electricity supply; the lack of co-operation between agricultural parastatals in regards to irrigation and the last point is on livestock. In the report raised by Hon. Chitindi,  donations of equipment receivedfrom Brazil such as was given to Mutondwe in Mt. Darwin. -there are twenty-five hectares and only two tractors. If we are working in a proper manner, it means one tractor can do the job in two days. This means that there is over supply. We think that we need to have a relook at the distribution of tractors and equipment. We were told that some of these things were done in five years. My advice is that the equipment should be equitably distributed.

          I will now turn to siltation. Most of our dams have silted because at times when you look at the dams and say they are 100% full, but because of siltation, they will be 25% full. The main causes of siltation is that people are following wrong land management proposals such as when they are farming, they follow channels which cause erosion. We are saying we need to be careful on that. We know that our country is an agro-based economy and we were relying on rain fed. I am saying if we can work on desiltation of our dams, we will be able to feed Zimbabwe and no one can starve.

          I am now turning to electricity supply (ZESA). There was a shortage of electricity in these irrigation schemes. When we talk about farming we say farming is a window period,  meaning that if you do not do all your planting and agriculture on time, you will definitely lose out. We realised that throughout all the irrigation schemes we visited, we had problems in ZESA, hence problems in the functioning of these irrigation schemes.

          My fourth item as I stated is the unity of purpose by parastatals in agriculture. Wherever we went around, there was nobody who represented GMB, Agribank or anybody who represented Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA), yet we are saying if only these parastatls had representatives in these irrigation schemes, the problems would be nipped in the bud before they cause destructions. When we talk of a parastatal like Agribank, they would know that farming is a business and people would receive loans for appropriate programmes because what we found out was that people were growing different crops in that place. 

          In all the provinces we went, we did not have representatives from AMA because this is an important arm of Government because they will be advising farmers on the crops which will be bringing in cash to the farmers. This is because they know crops which are on the market and which are needed by the market and they could be advising the farmers. We are saying if they could participate, irrigation schemes will bring up the economy of the country.

I will now close my topic by talking about livestock. Whenever we do any farming, there are stocks which remain behind and we got into those irrigation schemes. We saw what the agricultural irrigation schemes were doing that they had all they could do in agriculture, but they did not indulge in animal livestock and yet they could use some residue from the farms. In my constituency, we grow sugar-cane and there is a bi-product called molasses. When we put molasses on maize stocks, we will have added value to your livestock, that is why we talk of beneficiation and value addition. But, there was none of these livestock programmes in these irrigation projects. I will be very brief because if I make a very long speech, even the Minister of Agriculture would now know where I came from. So, let me be brief. I thank you.

HON. MATUKE: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th June, 2017.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

INVITATION TO A NEEDS ASSESSMENT DIALOGUE

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have an announcement. I have to inform all Chairpersons of Committees that they are invited to a meeting with Consultants for a Needs Assessment Dialogue tomorrow, Wednesday, 7th June, 2017 AT 10.00 a.m. in Committee Room No. 4. The purpose of the meeting is for the Consultants to hear from Members what they feel their capacity needs are and to fill in questionnaires which will assist the consultants to develop a capacity building plan.  The meeting is at 1000 hours in Committee Room No. 4.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MATUKE: I move that we revert back to Orders of the Day, Number 8, 2 and 3 on the Order Paper, in that order.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON MANDATORY SENTENCE FOR RAPE ON THE ORDER PAPER

           HON. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, I move that the motion on Mandatory stiff sentencing for rape and other gender based violence crimes, which was superseded by the end of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament, be restored on the Order Paper.

             HON. MATSUNGA: I second.

             Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

ESTATES ADMINISTRATORS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 8, 2016]

             Second Order read:  Second Reading:  Estates Administrators Amendment Bill [H.B.8, 2016].

             THE HON. VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker, Government’s role in relation to the creation of a conducive and viable business environment and the effective, efficient and fair administration of justice is beyond question.  The nation’s thrust towards economic growth through the ease of doing business initiative is firmly anchored on an efficient justice delivery system insofar as the resolution of commercial and business matters is concerned.  Government is, therefore, fully committed towards the creation of a sound and robust legal framework which is essential for the establishment of a conducive and productive business environment.  There is, therefore, no doubt that if our legislative framework equips the courts to handle business cases expeditiously, the country’s economic recovery and growth agenda will become achievable.  In the whole, our economic goals, as enunciated in the economic blueprint, ZIM ASSET, will be realised.

          Madam Speaker, there is consensus that the resolution of insolvency cases is one of the key factors crucial to the effective and efficient running of business enterprises.  Be that as it may, the current legislation governing the resolution of insolvency cases is fragmented and scattered in several pieces of legislation.  There is, also, duplication of duties between the Council of Estate Administrators and the Master of the High Court, thereby prolonging the process of resolving insolvency matters.  These shortcomings which adversely affect the ease of doing business in the country, have , therefore, necessitated the crafting of the Estate Administrators (Amendment Bill) 2016, which seeks to amend the Estate Administrators Act (Chapter 7:20).

       Madam Speaker, this now brings me to the contents of the Bill before Hon. Members.  Clauses 5 and 7 seek to amend the principal Act by broadening the scope of application of the Act to include the Insolvency Practitioner in relation to the register kept by the Council of Estate Administrators and prohibition of practicing without a practicing certificate, respectively.  In addition to the register of Estate Administrators, the Council shall establish and maintain a register of Insolvency Practitioners.  This is in keeping with the broad amendment to the Act which seeks to include Insolvency Practitioners under its ambit.  Similarly, as is the case with Estate Administrators, Insolvency Practitioners will be prohibited from performing insolvency work except with a valid practicing certificate.

            Madam Speaker, Clause 6 seeks to insert a new part to the principal Act, to provide for the registration and de-registration of insolvency practitioners.  The new part also seeks to provide new qualifications for insolvency practitioners.  In terms of the new provisions, the Council shall establish and maintain a register to be known as the Register of Insolvency Practitioners.  The register shall contain the details of Registered Insolvency Practitioners in the country.  This will enhance, transparency, accountability and efficiency since all Registered Insolvency Practitioners will appear in that register.

            Madam Speaker, in order to enhance transparency, efficiency and accountability, the Register of Insolvency shall be open to the public. Any interested persons can inspect the register and if they so desire, make copies thereof. Further, the Secretary of the Council shall provide the Master of the High Court with a copy of the Register of Insolvency Practitioners every year. This will improve the administration of justice and effective functioning of the courts given the role of the courts in insolvency matters.

          The new provisions seek to ensure that Insolvency Practitioners are people of high professional standard. Such professionals as registered legal practitioners, registered accountants and auditors and members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe are specified as eligible for provisional registration as Insolvency Practitioners. These requirements, together with the additional requirements for final registration as set out in the new provisions, will ensure the professionalism of insolvency practitioners resulting in greater efficiency in the resolution of insolvency cases.

          Clause 8 seeks to insert a new section to the principal Act to provide for the renewal procedures for the practicing certificate of the Insolvency Practitioner. This Clause also provides for the grounds upon which the application of the practicing certificate may be rejected. Like any other professional practicing certificate, the practicing certificate of an Insolvency Practitioner will be renewed annually, upon satisfaction of the specified requisite criteria. If the specified criteria is not met, the Secretary of the Council of Estate Administrations and Insolvency Practitioners will reject the application.

          The provisions on the renewal of the practicing certificate of the Insolvency Practitioner will help to ensure that only competent persons are granted practicing certificates and, as such, remain in the Register of Insolvency Practitioners. The annual renewal of the practicing certificate of the Insolvency Practitioner will provide checks and balances to the functions of the Insolvency Practitioner insofar as insolvency matters are concerned. That only insolvency practitioners who meet the prescribed requirements will have their practicing certificates renewed will ultimately improve the administration of justice through the professional and competent handling of insolvency matters.

          Clause 9 seeks to insert a new section to the principal Act that will provide for the application of provisions on the disciplinary powers of the Council to Insolvency Practitioners. The grounds specified in the principal Act as constituting misconduct and thus requiring disciplinary action by the council will also be extended to encapsulate insolvency practitioners. These provisions will ensure that insolvency practitioners observe highest standards of professional ethics in the conduct of their duties. This in turn, will guarantee the professional and competent handling of insolvency matters. This will ultimately not only improve the effective administration of justice in the country, but also contribute to the ease of doing business campaign.

          Clause 11 will add a new section to the principal Act to provide that if any court in Zimbabwe removes a registered Insolvency Practitioner from the register, such court should inform the Council. This will enhance the harmonisation of the functions of the court and the Council. This will help to ensure that the register of Insolvency Practitioners kept by the Council will remain up to date and only contains persons who are qualified to be such.

          Clause 12 will insert a new schedule to the principal Act. The schedule will provide for the code of ethics of an Insolvency Practitioner to enhance the professional and competent performance of his or her duties. The schedule will provide for such professional ethics as integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, professional behaviour, professional competence and due care. Honourable Members will agree with me that these are important principles which should be observed by every professional. The Insolvency Practitioner, being a person occupying  a position of such a high professional matter, is, of necessity, required to observe these professional ethics. There is no iota of doubt that the observance of this code of professional ethics will create highly competent and professional Insolvency Practitioners who will perform their functions in insolvency cases above board.

          Hon. Members will note that this amendment Bill has dealt extensively with the challenges inherent in the resolution of insolvency cases in this country. The amendment Bill will harmonise the fragmented legislation dealing with insolvency cases and thus ensure that these cases are resolved expeditiously. If enacted, the amendment Bill will make the Council of Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners the sole oversight agency for Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners. Further, the code of ethics provided for in the amendment Bill will ensure that Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners observe professional standards which will improve the handling of insolvency cases. There is, therefore, no doubt that the Estate Administrators Amendment Bill, 2016, once enacted into law, will go a long way in enhancing the speedy resolution of insolvency cases, thereby improving the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

          I therefore, commend the Estate Administrators Amendment Bill, 2016, to the House and move that the Bill be now read for the second time.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:

1.0    INTRODUCTION

The Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [H.B. 8, 2016] was gazetted on 9 December 2016. The Bill seeks to ensure that the Act be in tune with best practices internationally. It seeks to create requirements for registration of Insolvency Practitioners. The Bill provides for the qualifications, registration and de-registration procedures for Insolvency Practitioners.

2.0    METHODOLOGY

This report is a product of public consultations conducted from 20 to 25 March 2017 in Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Kadoma and Harare. The consultations were in compliance with Section 141(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which requires that Parliament ensures that interested parties are consulted about Bills being considered by Parliament. The Committee’s report was also informed by written submissions from interested stakeholders and an analysis of the Bill by the Committee.

3.0    SUBMISSIONS BY PARTICIPANTS

The Committee received the following submissions on the Estates Administrators Amendment Bill.

3.1 Clause 2: Amendment of section 1 of Cap. 27:20

No issues.

          3.2 Clause 3: Amendment of section 2 of Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.3 Clause 4: Amendment of section 4 of Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.4 Clause 5:  Amendment of section 19 of Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.5 Clause 6: New part inserted in Cap 27:20

i) 25A Register of Insolvency Practitioners

          No issues.

ii) 25B Register to be open for inspection.

Most Participants felt that by prescribing a fee to access the Register which is a public document impedes access, thereby hindering public accountability. They submitted that the Government should ensure that the department is adequately resourced to enable the public to have free access to the Register. A fee should be for making copies not accessing.

iii) 25C Qualifications for provisional and final registration.

Members of the public who included the technocrats in the field in question raised queries to the proposed section 25C (d) in that it is too broad and as such, is prone to manipulation and abuse. They submitted that qualifications must be clearly defined in the Act and not left to the discretion of the Council.

iv)  25D Application for registration.

          No issues were raised.

v) 25E Registration

Members of the public felt that Section 25E does not provide redress to those applicants aggrieved by the Council’s decision. The proposed amendment does not provide an appeal mechanism thus negating principles of administrative justice.

vi) 25F Cancellation or suspension of registration.

          No issues were raised.

vii) 25G Restoration of registration.

          No issues were raised.

viii) 25H Code of ethics for insolvency Practitioners.

          No issues arising.

3.6 Clause 7: Amendment of Section 26 of Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.7 Clause 8: New section inserted after   section 29 of Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.8 Clause 9: Insertion of new section to Part VII

No issues.

3.9 Clause 10: New section inserted in Cap 27:20

No issues.

3.10 Clause 11: Insertion of New Schedule to Cap 27:20

Members of the public stated that ‘professional misconduct and/or conduct’ should be included in Part A of the proposed amendment. It was also submitted that failure to observe the Code of Ethics should constitute professional misconduct and must thus be considered when assessing the conduct of an insolvency practitioner. It was agreed that declaration of assets must be included in the schedule and that sexual harassment must be included as professional misconduct.

4.0    COMMITTEE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

4.1    Regarding payment of a fee to access the register, it was the Committee’s finding that a reasonable fee be levied to access the register. Instead of shooting down the proposed amendment, regard should be had to the amount levied. In this instance, payment of a fee is in line with international best practice.

4.2    The Committee found that the proposed section 25C leaves room for manipulation and abuse as unqualified and unworthy individuals may end up being registered as insolvency practitioners. To cure this anomaly, the qualifications for registration must be clearly defined and stated and not left to the discretion of the Council.

4.3    It was the Committee’s finding that the Bill does not provide an appeal mechanism in the event that an application for registration is denied. It is suggested that a clear procedure for administrative justice to applicants be clearly outlined.

4.4    The Committee found that ‘professional misconduct and/or conduct’ should be included and defined in Part A of the proposed amendment. It was also observed that the proposed amendment does not provide censure or punishment against a practitioner who fails to observe the Code of Ethics because in terms of the amendment, failure to observe the Code is not considered professional misconduct when assessing the conduct of a practitioner. This goes against the essence of the Code and the Act.

4.5      Sexual harassment should be included in the code.

4.6   On 25C which talks about cancellation or suspension of registration, there is no mention of suspension unless on 25 (iii) (b) and 25F (iv).  These sections need redrafting so that they are clear in terms of suspension of a member.

4.7       Issues surrounding gender sensitivity must be included in the Bill.

4.8      Reference should be made of the Civil Service as we no longer have the Public service

 

5.0    CONCLUSION

Generally, the proposed amendments were accepted because the public felt that to a large extent, they are in line with international best practices. The public commended the spirited efforts by Government to improve the ease of doing business in the country by aligning Acts of Parliament to internationally accepted standards. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. CHASI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I rise to commend the work by the Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and his staff which provides evidence of Government’s effort on ensuring the alignment of our legislation towards international best practice and also evidence of Government’s sensitivity to what is happening in the economy.  Clearly, this legislation provides Government’s sensitivity to the economy.

          The condition of our economy creates a lot of fertile ground for insolvency which requires that people who are engaged in the business of dealing with insolvency companies need to be regulated in a very tight fashion.  The registration of those people conducting - [HON. P.

D. SIBANDA: Inaudible interjection.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda!

          HON. CHASI:  The registration of those people who are engaged in that type of business must be subjected to a very tight regime as is provided for in this Bill; so it is very timeous.  It is also commendable that this Bill provides a Code of Ethics against which the conduct of those practitioners can be measured.  I think that is a very innovative piece of measurement of their conduct.  It is not sufficient that one is an auditor or a lawyer and they automatically should be able to practice in this area of business. 

          So, I would like to commend and encourage Hon. Members to please support this Bill – that is my submission.  I thank you.

          HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker, I wish to lend my voice to the support of this very important Bill and I also rise to commend the leader of Government business in the House, our esteemed Vice President who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for very, I suppose as usual, diligently pursuing the legislative agenda of improving ease of doing business.  I wish if his work ethic could also be emulated by the other members of Cabinet that he leads so that we see Bills coming in order to improve, not only our economy but our lives.  So I do commend him seriously.

          Madam Speaker, I will proceed to support. I support the Bill because it will indeed go a long way in bringing Zimbabwe also to the forefront of, I suppose cutting edge practices and procedures in terms of the regulations of professionals who are involved in handling trust monies and trust accounts that are in administering estates.  I want to believe that also members of the public that the Committee heard, as the Hon. Chairperson indicated, were very much in support of this and welcomed the innovations that are brought by the Bill.  A lot were actually wondering why all along insolvency practitioners were  left to their own devices and dealing with very phenomenal amounts of money but not subjected to any professional conduct and the temptation clearly was great. 

          Madam Speaker, in my support of the Bill, I hope that the Hon. Vice President will also consider making some few changes that were mainly elaborated by the Chairperson.  In particular, I would also lend my voice to request that they seriously consider in the Bill where there appears to be an oversight, where it describes the procedure of disciplining an errant insolvency practitioner, on which the issue of suspension just arises out of the blue in the procedure when the heading talks about cancellation of registration.  It really does go diligently to spell out how  a deviant insolvency practitioner or a suspected one is going to have their registration cancelled but then it forgot to tell us how the suspension arises.  Does it arise because the deviance is not serious enough to merit cancellation or does it arise before the actual hearings to cancel or is it antecedent to the disciplinary procedure?  If that

is dealt with, that will prevent a lot of law suits and a lot of other avenues through which some deviant insolvency practitioners can try and hide.

          Madam Speaker, I would also hope that the Hon Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs can consider involving the Council of Estate Administrators in itself, in amending the code because I really commend that there will be a code of ethics in Clause 25 (h), where it provides that the Hon. Minister may, by Statutory Instrument, amend the code of ethics.  My concern is that the absence of the council that has been created by this in the formulation of the code of ethics will assist the Hon. Minister to come up with a code of ethics that really hits the nail on the head and deals with errand insolvency practitioners.

          Madam Speaker, allow me to speak somewhat on the issue of charging fees in order for people to access the Register.  I am of the view that we can achieve the very noble purposes of this Bill without burdening members of the public with the expense of paying money to look at a public record.  I agree with the members of the public that were saying; to get a photocopy of a record, one would need not to meet the cost and burden the State.  But to merely inspect the record, I believe it is something that is unduly onerous to our suffering public.  We already pay taxes and the money that we pay in taxes should be sufficient in order to pay those people who man those registries.  I hope that there can be a de-link between the inspection and the actual copying.  In any event, I do not believe that the Government can earn very much revenue by making people pay to inspect records.  I am sure revenue can be raised in other ways but in a way, that does not burden the public necessarily.  It undermines the right to freedom of information and also tends to shield State craft and public information from the public which would help if it was open.

          Madam Speaker, I also just want to commend the Hon. Vice President who is the Minister of Justice for introducing the framework approach to the practice of insolvency administration.  I want to believe that it will make Zimbabwe hold its head high in international best practice regarding insolvency practice. 

          I would like to conclude by also underpinning the recommendation that the issues of sexual harassment must also find their way into being mentioned in the framework approach in the code of conduct of insolvency practitioners because it is a rampant practice that happens, that is not mentioned but it would really enhance the ethics because all the other issues that are mentioned in the code of conduct are about a very high degree of personal probity and personal integrity and issues like that should also be dealt with.  With that Madam Speaker, I hope that this very encouraging Bill, receives the support of the House and that our esteemed Hon. Vice President will indeed consider  the suggestions and recommendations that are also made by Hon. Members in the spirit of indeed improving the ease of doing business.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): I thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee.  I would wish to say that we will take note of the report.  I see that in some areas, there are areas of merit which may require me as Minister of Justice to look at it and see whether they can come on board.  It is not a guarantee that they will come on board but I am considering the possibility of considering the possibility to bring them on board – [Laughter.]-

          Secondly, I thank the contributors, Hon. Chasi and Hon. Majome for their useful contributions.  They have also made very useful observations to the Bill and I will have to consider those recommendations and at the next sitting, I will be able to make my final decision as to what it is that I can take on board to improve the Bill because the intention is to do the best for our country.  I think everybody’s spirit and intention is that we must have a Bill that serves us and also taking on board the best practices of the world into our legislative framework.

          Madam Speaker, I am being guided that whatever amendments I am to bring about can come at the Committee Stage after taking into account the useful contributions from Hon. Members.

          With those remarks, I now move that the Estates Administrators Amendment Bill, [H.B.8, 2016] be now read a second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: Wednesday, 7th June, 2017.

SECOND READING:

CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT (NO. 1) BILL [H.B. 1, 2017]

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill, (H.B. 1, 2017).

Question again proposed.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: I rise to debate on the report by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

          INTRODUCTION

On 3rd January, 2017 under the General Notice 1/2017, Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.1) Bill [H.B 1, 2017] was published in terms of Section 328 (3) of the Constitution.

The Bill seeks to explicitly subordinate the Labour Court and the Administrative Court to the High Court. This will be achieved by amending Sections 172 (1) (a) and 173 (1) (a) of the Constitution, which currently provides that the Labour Court and the Administrative Court are headed by a ‘Judge President’.

The Bill seeks to amend, Section 174 of the Constitution by the addition of subsection (2) that explicitly subordinates the two courts to the High Court but maintains the equality of basic conditions of service between judges of the High Court and judges of the two subordinate courts.

The Bill also seeks to change the procedure outlined in Section 180 of the Constitution; providing for the appointment of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President, as well as that of appointing the heads of the Labour Court and Administrative Court (now to be designated as ‘senior judges’).

2.      METHODOLOGY

Pursuant to provisions of Section 328(4) of the Constitution, the committee invited members of the public to express their views on the proposed Bill in public meetings and through written submissions after convening meetings in Harare, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Gwanda, Gweru, Hwange, Lupane, Marondera, Masvingo, Mount Darwin, and Mutare. Other than the countrywide tours and written submissions, the Committee also piloted a radio public hearing that was hosted by Star FM. 

3.      ATTENDANCE BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Statistics of attendance to the public hearings by members of the public were as follows:

Venue

Date

Male

Female

Total Attendance

Harare

17 February 2017

62

91

153

Gweru

20 February 2017

79

45

124

Masvingo

20 February 2017

53

47

100

Gwanda

21 February 2017

39

39

78

Marondera

21 February 2017

141

117

258

Lupane

22 February 2017

31

23

54

Mount Darwin

22 February 2017

44

9

53

Bulawayo

23 February 2017

85

69

154

Chinhoyi

23 February 2017

67

236

303

Hwange

24 February 2017

60

33

93

Mutare

24 February 2017

51

26

77

 

Grand Total

 

 

712

 

735

 

1447

4.      SUBMISSIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

4.1    Short Title

The Short Title is not consistent with the title of the Constitution. Members suggested that the title of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Act 2013 should be amended to read Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013 so that this amendment becomes No. 1.

4.2    Interpretation

                    No issues.

4.3    Amendment of Section 172, 173 and 174 of the Constitution

          Members of the public expressed the need to prioritise alignment

of laws to the Constitution, rather than amending it in its infancy. 

Members of the public queried the motivation of the amendment.  In respect of the subordination of the Labour Court and the Administrative

Court to the High Court, many submitted that the clarification could

have been easily achieved by amending the Acts of Parliament providing

for the exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court, Labour Court and

Administrative Court, or issuing practice directions by the High Court

without amending the Constitution. Some members felt that this

amendment would increase legal costs to citizens litigating in the two

courts.  

However, there was another view that the amendment seeks to

clarify the current position which subordinates the Labour Court and the Administrative Court to the High Court. Nothing, save for the wording of the Constitution is being   changed. Some said the Constitution should not be amended. There was a view that opposed the amendment, thinking it is the ursuping the powers of the public.

          4.4    Amendment to Section 180 of the Constitution

4.4.1 The proposed amendment was viewed as taking away gains made by the Constitution regarding the appointment of judicial officers. The view was that much concentration of power in the President erodes judicial independence. While noting that there is provision for consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, this consultation was viewed as academic since the Commission’s position can be ignored without any adverse consequences to the President’s position. This was so because the amendment provides that where the President proceeds against the advice of the Commission, he or she shall inform the Senate, but the course of action that the Senate has to take is not defined, neither is the purpose of such a referral.

4.4.2 The amendment was also seen as contravening certain provisions of the Constitution, in particular Section 3 (2) (e) on observance of the principle of separation of powers, good governance, rule of law and Section 164(2) on the independence of the Judiciary and the attendant obligations on the State, through legislative and other measures that require the state to protect the courts to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness.

4.4.3 An alternative view saw this amendment as necessary in that the JSC in its present composition cannot sit and adjudicate over the appointment of its head as they are clearly conflicted. The Constitution in its current format creates a situation where the outgoing Chief Justice interviews his/her successor, thus indirectly influencing the judicial system even in his/her absence, a situation viewed as undesirable. The outgoing Chief Justice, having worked with almost all the prospective candidates has his/her own biases and preferences because of his/her inherent human nature. As such, his involvement in the interviews clearly creates an uneven ground.

4.4.4 In addition, the other view was that leaving the primary selection of the judicial system entirely in the hands of unelected people compromises democratic principles as the Constitution clearly states that judicial authority derives from the people. It was noted that Kenya and Zimbabwe are the only two countries in the world where public interviews are conducted for the appointment of the Chief Justice and those countries that developed the jurisprudence of judicial independence do not subscribe to the current method.

4.5    Amendment of section 181 and the 6th Schedule of the Constitution

          No issues.

5.      COMMITTEE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1    The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Act, 2013 implies that the 2013 Constitution is the twentieth amendment to the Lancaster House Constitution.  In the same vein, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Act, 2016 implies that there is another Act that is being amended which is different from the 2013 Constitution. There is a need to rename the 2013 Constitution to read as ‘Constitution of  Zimbabwe Act, 2013’.

5.2    Regarding the subordination of the Labour Court and the Administrative Court to the High Court, the submission that the supposed conflict may be erased by amending the Acts of Parliament providing for the exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court, or issuing practice directives by the High Court without amending the Constitution. The reason being that Acts of Parliament are subservient to the Constitution, hence their amendment does not cure a constitutional deficit. It should be the other way round. 

5.3    The amendments as they pertain to Section 172-174 of the

Constitution and paragraph 18(3) of the Sixth Schedule are largely administrative and seeking to bring about clarity to grey areas. The

Committee therefore is in agreement with the amendment since it simply seeks to clarify the current position, which subordinates the Labour Court and the Administrative Court to the High Court. There is need for clarity on the remuneration for judges that will come after the amendment.

5.4           The other issue that the public expressed was the need to urgently align laws to the Constitution rather than rush to amend the Constitution. The Committee noted that even though this didn’t apply to this Bill, it was worth noting and urges the Executive to prioritise the alignment of laws to the Constitution.

5.5        Regarding the erosion of judicial independence, the committee noted that judicial independence is a function of many elements and not entirely dependent on appointment procedures. Current practice is not settled on any gold standard for the appointment of judges and the legal practice in many countries, including those that developed the jurisprudence on judicial independence advocate some involvement of the elected representatives of the people in the judicial appointment process. The point to take out of this diversity is the acknowledgement that there is no best system to appoint judges, however novel a given jurisdiction`s system may appear to be. Accordingly, little if anything arises out of the process(es) used to appoint judges. The Committee noted that the responsibility of the judiciary to interpret the laws of the land must vest in individuals who are qualified, professionals, fit and proper.

To the extent that the proposed amendment does not seek to take away from these cardinal baseline requirements, the committee files no objections in this regard. Crucially, the Committee notes that constitutional and other legislative provisions that guarantee judicial independence after appointment greatly advance and secure the integrity of the Bench from all interference. Most importantly are provisions that insulate judges from arbitrary dismissal and also guarantee their remuneration from control and influence by the Executive. The committee notes that whilst the constitution makes reference to the independence of the judiciary, it should be noted that as an arm of state, the judiciary is an independent, yet interrelated and interdependent sphere of the state architecture. It cannot exist as an island or in a vacuum. The need for an interplay between these spheres of the State, to the extent it does not compromise the mandate and integrity of each other, is recommended. That aside, the system of representative democracy which subsists in Zimbabwe is being negated by the current procedure, which leaves the selection of such influential office bearers who define the direction and policy of the country to unelected individuals. It is settled that judicial authority derives from the people, hence the need to change the status quo.

As noted before, appointed members of the judiciary should be professionals, qualified, fit and proper. These provisions remain entrenched in the Constitution and the President in making any appointments, should be guided by them, and those appointed should live to the honour of the office to which they are appointed. In addition, appointed judicial officers bear loyalty and allegiance to the Constitution and to their oath of office, and not to processes through which they were appointed. However appointed, a judge should be a man or woman of integrity, and if they live short of standards expected of them, corrective measures as provided for in the Constitution should be activated.

5.6           The Committee further took note of the view that an outgoing Chief Justice cannot chair interviews for his or her successor for the simple reason that he or she is conflicted. Having worked with almost all the prospective candidates, this diminishes the transparency of the whole process in that certain prejudices and biases against some candidates will largely influence the final decision. As such, the outgoing Chief Justice’s involvement in the selection process vitiates the principles of transparency which the same bench seeks to enhance.

In the same vein having the JSC conduct these interviews for the Chief Justice, entails having juniors interviewing their future boss. While on the face of it, it may appear as a noble process, it can create potential conflicts and breed a system of patronage which will contaminate the bench. Simple governance dictates that an independent person or tribunal should adjudicate on the selection process as the bench is exposed to the risk of being indirectly influenced by the outgoing Chief Justice long after he is gone.

5.7           The Committee however, notes that the new Section 180(3) needs some clarification as to the function of the senate after being informed about the decision of the President being at variance with the JSC’s recommendation. In its present format, the notification, according to the committee is only academic. It is the Committee’s recommendation that instead of informing the Senate, the National Assembly must be informed.

6.0    CONCLUSION

It is the Committee’s general conclusion that the amendments as presented, together with our recommendations be adopted by parliament.  I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. It is with a heavy heart that I rise to debate this Bill.  It is really unfortunate and I want to say that it is a sad development that within a short space of time, the Hon. Vice President has seen it fit to bring a Bill which I will respectfully submit is retrogressive and is taking us backwards. We had come up with very progressive provisions, which I believe are within the spirit of the new Constitution, which enhance values of transparency, good governance and which promote the doctrine of the separation of powers. I believe that this particular Bill Madam Speaker, is the antithesis of those values and I will explain why I made those submissions.

          First and foremost, I also want to say that the current environment has been poisoned by a lot of falsehood, misrepresentations and one of these is that Section 180 is an MDC clause. That, with due respect, is nonsensical and I will explain why I say so. Madam Speaker, some of the members in this august House were part of the Constitution making process. They were in COPAC and I want to point out that we have had two processes where the people of Zimbabwe have been widely consulted and at this point in time, I would also want to make reference to the Constitutional Commission of 1999. When we embarked on this process Madam Speaker, that Commission went to all the provinces in Zimbabwe. I would like to outline what came out of those consultations.

          It was clear that the people of Zimbabwe were very clear on this aspect that they want to have a Judiciary which is selected by an independent Judicial Services Commission. This has come out not once, but twice, through the Review Commission of 1999 and also through the COPAC process.  The Constitution Commission asked several questions to the people of Zimbabwe and I would like to give the responses which are very clear.  In Bulawayo, on page 8 of the report, it was quite clear that the people of Bulawayo said they wanted an independent Judicial Services Commission.  It should be set up to appoint judges and magistrates with the approval of Parliament.

          In Harare, on page 11 again across the board, they expressed similar sentiments.  In Manicaland on page 19, similar sentiments were expressed and this was replicated in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and in the Midlands with the exception of one province which is Matabeleland South, the people were very clear that what they wanted was to have the Judicial Services Commission to select all judges.  This is what came out in 1999.

However, for reasons best known to themselves, the Constitutional Commission then came up with provisions which were going to retain the power to appoint judges in the hands of the President.  Fortunately, that draft was rejected by the people of Zimbabwe.  What had been put in that draft Constitution was contrary to the views which had been expressed by the people of Zimbabwe?

I would like to come to the COPAC exercise.  First and foremost, I would like to reiterate that this provision which relates to the appointment of judges was actually agreed by the majority of the people of Zimbabwe and it was quite clear that it was not a contentious issue.  There was broad consensus.  When it came to the question as to how judges should be appointed, it was actually a very important talking point where the people were widely consulted.  The overwhelming view was that we must have appointments which are based on merit.  This is what came out.

We have over 70 outreach teams and most of these teams were led by MPs in the last Parliament.  When they went out, they had rapporteurs and representatives of political parties and there was general agreement by all the three political parties which were represented in the Constitution making process and that this was to the effect that an Independent Judicial Services Commission should choose all the judges and this is what came out. 

When the actual process of writing the Constitution was embarked upon, there were several areas where there were some disputes and these were the parked issues.  If those who were in COPAC want to be honest, this issue relating to the appointment of judges was not one of the contentious issues.  It was not one of the parked issues and where there were gaps which were referred to the Committee of seven which my colleague here Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was a member and ZANU PF was represented by the then Minister of Justice, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa and Hon. Nicholas Goche.  The current speaker was a technical advisor to that Committee – this issue of the appointment of judges was not one of those where there was a gap or further negotiations to be carried out.

The point I just want to make is that let us not support our arguments by downright lies and say that this was a provision which was brought in by the opposition or the MDCs, it was not.  There was that consensus and that agreement.  As a matter of fact, I want to put to rest this nonsensical argument that this was a product of some compromise.  It was what the people of Zimbabwe said.  It is what the people want that we must have appointment to such positions to be based on merit and that is reflected in the actual provisions of our Constitution if you go to page 9.  It is very clear and for the benefit of all Hon. Members and just as a reminder to the Hon. Vice President, who is very familiar with that provision, I would like to read it out and it says:

“Appointments to offices in all tiers of Government including Government institutions, agencies, Government controlled entities and other public enterprises must be made primarily on the basis of merit”

I would like to say that the time has come for us to move towards meritocracy where you have the best candidates or the best qualified persons.  Even if you look at the provisions relating to the judiciary, it actually speaks to having judges to continue appointing themselves with developments in the field of the law which are taking place elsewhere and this is what will come out when we have got a public process where interviews are carried out, judges are interviewed by their peers to demonstrate that apart from the paper qualifications that they may have, the aspirants are the best persons, the most suitable persons for the job.

What this Bill is seeking to do is to replace this transparent and open system with something which is opaque or mucky where you have a scenario where this power to appoint is concentrated in the hands of one individual.  It is really unfortunate and this has led to sentiments that perhaps the mover of the current Bill is envisaging a situation where he would be in a position to make those appointments.  I want to remind everyone in this august House –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. MNANGAGWA):  Madam Speaker, I strongly object to the insinuation by  Hon. Gonese that I am amending the Bill with a view to be appointing persons in future.  That is not correct.

HON. GONESE:  That is not what I said.  I said that there are  some sentiments. Before you make your ruling, I just wanted to clarify that I did not say so.  I can reiterate what I said.  I said that there are people who have expressed sentiments to that effect.  It is not me.  I was simply pointing out what has come out in some quarters and not from me.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Gonese. I think you are saying one and the same thing because if there are some people who are saying that, you have put it across to this House and the Hon. Vice President was responding to that.  That is not correct.  I think he has corrected that and you can proceed.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I have left that aspect.  What I simply wanted to point out is that what I think is desirable and what is really best for our country is to have the provisions which are in the current Constitution whereby the President or Head of State plays a part and the Judicial Services Commission also plays its part. 

The second misrepresentation which has been made is that the current process sidelines the Head of State and President.  This again is a lie.  The current process, firstly, it gives the President a chance in terms of the provisions which allow members of the public and the President himself to make nominations.  So, the first opportunity for the President to select or to have his or her preferred candidate to participate is to nominate.  So the President is allowed to nominate whoever he feels is the best candidate for any of those vacancies – either the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice or the Judge President of the High Court. So that is the first opportunity.  Then when the nominations are done, Madam Speaker, all the candidates come for interviews and this is in the public domain. 

I am very happy that the last time it was actually on national television so that the people of Zimbabwe can see for themselves who is bright, who is brilliant, who understands the concepts of the judiciary and so on and so forth and then the people themselves, will be able to see those candidates who are entirely unsuitable because they are persons who may be qualified in terms of paper because the provision simply says that you have been qualified to practice as a legal practitioner for a period of 12 years.  Some people might have passed through law school, but they are not people who are able to execute the duties, who do not have the qualities required for this particular job and the people of Zimbabwe can see for themselves that this person is a dunderhead, that this person does not qualify so that when it comes to short listing, the persons who are conducting the interviews are able to sift through the names.  So, that is one of the reasons why I believe that the current system is correct in my view.

The other lie which has been propagated is that you are going to have a situation where juniors are going to be interviewing their seniors and that has been propagated by The Herald and some quarters.  This, with due respect, is really nonsensical.  If you look at the composition of the Judicial Services Commission, you have got the Chief Justice, his deputy, you have got the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission and you also have three legal practitioners who are nominated by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.  As we speak, when we look at some of the members who constituted that panel, they actually have got some senior legal practitioners who went to school with some of the judges who are sitting in the Constitutional Court and those cannot be, by any stretch of the imagination, called juniors, but even if that were true, Madam Speaker, it does not follow that your peers cannot interview you or even your juniors for that matter.

If you look at what happens in life, you look at boards of directors, they actually choose who is going to be their chairperson.  Actually, you have shareholders appointing their boards of directors.  Even if you come closer to politics, they actually have the citizens of Zimbabwe electing their President who happens to become their senior, so to speak, when that person is elected into that high office.  So, at the end of the day there is nothing wrong with it. 

So, what is wrong with having legal practitioners interviewing a person who is going to become the Chief Justice?  There is nothing wrong with that and I believe that what we are now proposing is to have this power concentrated in an individual and the Bill itself is very dangerous because it does not even say that the persons who are going to be selected must be selected from the current crop of judges.  So, you can actually have somebody from outside who has never practiced law but who has been qualified to practice law all of a sudden becoming the Chief Justice.  That, with due respect Mr. Speaker, is undesirable.

At least if you had a situation where you say, okay, the persons to be appointed must be selected from the current crop of judges, it might be better although it is not good, but at least it is preferable to having a situation where it is just open ended and you can have just somebody picked from the street who happens to have acquired a law degree 20 years ago and because of their political persuasion, that person is the person who is going to be selected to become a Chief Justice.  I believe, Mr. Speaker, that we should not support the Bill as it stands because at the end of the day, it is not going to take us forward, but it is really going to take us backwards.

Mr. Speaker, we would like to say that some other examples have been given.  If you look at the example of America, you will find that the people of Zimbabwe were very clear and the examples or justifications which had been made, for example, is that the President of America chooses his or her own bench.  It is not even true.

The Kenyans were the pioneers of this system where you have got public interviews and we would have wanted a situation where Zimbabwe is taken as an example, as we are actually one of those countries where other countries are going to emulate and say that Kenya and Zimbabwe, they have got a situation where public interviews are conducted.  But now what are we doing?  We are going backwards.  Even in America, when they select their judges, this is with the approval of the Senate.  At their very least, Mr. Speaker, I would submit that we should not have a scenario where we just inform the Senate which then has no power whatsoever.  Even the Judicial Services Commission would then be ignored.

[Time Limit]

HON. MUDZURI:  I propose that the Hon. Member’s time be extended.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I object because he is saying nonsense – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order please.  May the Hon. Member withdraw the word nonsense.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I will withdraw the word nonsense, but I object.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for the opportunity to also add my voice to this amendment.  I want to say, Hon. Speaker, I have no problems with the...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Sibanda.  After yourself, I had not seen that – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]- Order please.  I have not finished talking.  I had not recognised Hon. Mandipaka.  After yourself, then there will be Hon. Mandipaka.

HON. MUDZURI:  Members of the Committee will start debating and then we can have others.  That is the procedure – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order please.  Honourable,  you are the vice president of a party, please.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I had started saying that I have got no problems with the amendments to Sections 171 to 174.  In my view, I see these amendments as reasonable, however I have got problems with the substitution of Section 180 of the Constitution and my problems, Hon. Speaker, are basically premised on the following.

Firstly Hon. Speaker, the preamble to our Constitution actually summarises the aspirations and desires of Zimbabweans to entrench democracy, good governance, transparency, accountable governance and the rule of law in the country.  Also, Section 3 of the Constitution which lists the founding values and principles of the Constitution; especially on Section 3 (1), paragraphs (b),(c) and (h), which provides that our nation is founded upon principles of rule of law, respecting of fundamental human rights and freedoms and good governance.  Section 3 (2) explains what the concept of good governance is and in that explanation, what comes out very clearly is that the doctrine of separation of powers is an important aspect of good governance in this country.

          Now, when I look at this amendment, I am seeing about two things.  I am seeing the importation of the ZANU PF Constitution into the national Constitution, where we now want to adopt the concept of one centre of power in the national Constitution as it is in the ZANU PF Constitution – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – 

          It is my view Hon. Speaker, that when Zimbabweans say they aspire to have a Constitution that respects separation of powers; they are simply saying that they do not want State power to be concentrated in the hands of one man.  I appreciate that in  ZANU PF they want one man to have all the power to do as they wish because it is their own concept that they want one centre of power – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – 

          However, Zimbabweans have said that very clearly that they do not want a one centre of power in the manner that their country is governed – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – They aspire that there should be separation of powers.  The concept of separation of powers Hon. Speaker is to ensure that there is no abuse of State power by one person or by one group of people.  What we are seeing in this amendment – before I even go to the amendment, the current section as it stands is actually bad enough for the doctrine of separation of powers in that it gives so much leeway to the President to play as he wants in order to get a person appointed to the position of Judge. 

          If you look at Section 180 (2) (b), which was cited by Hon. Gonese, it gives the President an equal opportunity to nominate a person to be appointed to the position of Judge.  Obviously, once that nomination occurs; looking at the fact that most of the appointees or those that select the people that will go for interviews are members of the Judicial Services Commission, it is likely that a nominee of the President from the beginning will likely go to the interviews. After the interviews, the nominee of the President is also likely to be one of the three that will be recommended to be appointed by the President. 

          So, as it is, it is already bad enough for separation of powers.  Now, to try and remove entirely the role of the Judicial Services Commission in the appointment of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President, what it means is that the Executive will be entirely in control of the Judiciary sector of the State.  Also, what it means is that the independence of the judiciary will be serious assaulted by this amendment if it is approved by this august House.

          I therefore, submit that for respect of the desires and aspirations of Zimbabweans – I think there is no compelling reason.  I listened to the Chairperson of the Committee on Justice when he was talking about the compelling reasons for the amendment of Section 180.  Hon. Speaker, you cannot say that because you think that members of the Judicial Services Commission are conflicted in interviewing and nominating three people to the President for the appointment of one of them to become Judge, therefore they are seriously conflicted more than having one individual in the office of the President to do all the appointments and selection from the beginning up to the end? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I think if there is any conflict that is there, I think the conflict that is in the Judicial Services Commission is far much better and lighter compared to a scenario where one man or one woman who happens to occupy the office of the President is going literally to select all members of the Judicial Services Commission, especially these three critical offices.

          When we are talking about the Chief Justice, he is literally the Head of the Judiciary in Zimbabwe.  The Deputy Chief Justice is the Deputy Head and the Judge President is the Head of the High Court.  Therefore, when we are having these critical offices being appointed by one person, you are basically saying that these people should owe their allegiance to that one person who occupies the office of the President.  Therefore, the independence of the Judiciary will totally disappear in that kind of a set up Hon. Speaker.

          It is my view that this amendment is an affront to democracy and good governance.  Therefore, it is unnecessary at this point of development of our State that we should be seen to amend such an important section which is actually supposed to entrench good governance and democracy in a country, and then we begin to hammer it so that we can compromise the independence of the Judiciary.  What it means is that in any cases of dispute that might arise, be it cases of dispute in elections; we do not expect a Judiciary that has been appointed by a key player and interested party to then adjudicate fairly in a dispute that involves other parties.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – 

          It is my view that this amendment, honestly speaking is not desirable.  I know that the previous speaker cautioned Hon. Gonese when he indicated the sentiments that are there outside. Honestly speaking, those are the sentiments that are currently prevailing that the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is preparing his own carpet, so that when he comes in, those are sentiments that are outside.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Sibanda.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I take serious objection to the Hon. Member’s utterances that I am amending the Constitution for personal reasons.  That is not true; I object to such insinuation by the Hon. Member.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, this Chair also is not happy.  May you withdraw that part of your statement?

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, these are sentiments that are coming from the people unless Hon. Speaker, I thought that my constitutional duty is to represent people of Binga North.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Sibanda, when the Chair says withdraw, can you withdraw that?

          HON. P. D. DIBANDA:  Hon. Speaker, with all due respect, I think that before I withdraw, it is important for me to indicate that these are sentiments …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Sibanda, please can you withdraw that or else I will ask you to sit down.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Speaker, I think as a matter of principle, you would rather order me to sit down than to withdraw something that came from Binga because that is a sentiment that came from the people…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order please, you may sit down.  Take your seat.

          HON. MANDIPAKA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  Following the debate by Hon. Sibanda and Hon. Gonese, I thought that I should also add my voice.  I do not believe Hon. Speaker that the doctrine of separation of powers translates into usurpation of the powers that a President of any country should have.  If we interpret the doctrine of separation of powers in that respect, then I think we stand guided.  I do not believe that we should usurp what we expect of a President of a country to do.

          I am saying so because judges, commanders or whoever official do not operate in isolation.  Any country has one leader and I am surprised to hear one Member from the opposite side talking about the one centre of power – it does not make any relevance in this debate.  What we are basically saying Hon. Speaker Sir, is that this amendment is coming at the right hour, having practically seen what has taken place in this country.  So, laws are made by people and they are not cast in stones.  We can change our laws as and when we see it necessary and fit to do so.  So, I think that constitutionally like what we are doing in this august House, it is the right thing to do.  If we have seen that we have a problem practically on the ground, there is no reason why we should not amend our own laws because they are our own laws.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I heard Hon. Gonese saying, what is wrong about the JSC appointing or interviewing judges or the Chief Justice or whoever and I would want to ask a similar question - what wrong is there when we let our own President appoint our own Chief Justice.  There is nothing wrong about that.  I am saying there is nothing wrong because we have often heard the opposite side teaching us to follow the democracy in America, Britain and these other countries.  If the Americans are able to appoint their own Chief Justice, why can we not be able to appoint our own Chief Justice?

          Mr. Speaker Sir, when the Chairperson of the Committee Hon. Ziyambi presented the report, he said Kenya and Zimbabwe are the only exceptions in this world and why can we not join the other countries in the world that make it a fact or a point that the President of a country appoints a Chief Justice.  So, that is my submission Hon. Speaker.  I am saying; this is the most desirable amendment coming at the right hour because of the experience that we had in the past.  Thank you.

          HON. MUDEREDZWA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution.  First and foremost, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee for taking note of certain technical issues that he raised in terms of the amendment of the Constitution to say that we should not repeat ourselves like an amendment of an amendment.  Those are technical issues that I have also observed but I need to come to the issue that is contentious here.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no Constitution in this world that is perfect – nowhere in this world.  Constitutions are made and when developments do happen, there are certain observations that are made by the people because the society itself is dynamic and when certain things are noted by the public or the State, there is need for us to amend the Constitution.  This process that the Minister or Vice President is doing is in accordance with natural justices.  I go on to say that I want it to be very clear even to the opposition that this Constitution was a compromise –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-  It is.

          I want to say this because I have gone through the Constitution several times and there are areas where the Constitution contradicts itself.  We are saying that these areas need to be clarified and need to be amended with a review and amendments of certain Ministries taking note of what is it that people who crafted this Constitution wanted to say.  I would want to go further and say, the process of interviews is not the best method of selecting the best candidate.  I want to say this because it is a snap and one of the hurdles in the process of recruitment and selection; and the Constitution just pinned itself on that and said this is the best method - it is not. 

How about performance rating?  Even this panel - did it rate the judges to see who is performing better because these are issues in recruitment and selection?  You just do not say you come to a meeting for 20 minutes, you assess a person and you say that is the best candidate – no.  We still need to improve the Constitution and make sure that we have hurdles for judges and people in high offices so that we are in a position to say this is the right candidate.  For the present moment, we are doing this as a compromise so that we move forward but that is not the best method in my view.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the issues that Hon. Gonese was highlighting are things that were consumed by the Constitution but we are saying that this Constitution still needs to be improved.  So in summary Hon. Speaker Sir, I am saying we need to proceed by amending the Constitution – not only in this area, there are certain other areas that we are going to address as you will see with time.  I thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I had asked the Chief Whip to adjourn the debate.  I therefore move that the debate do now adjourn – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order please.  The Vice President is the owner of the motion, therefore accordingly, he is allowed within his powers to adjourn the debate.

HON. GONESE:  On a point of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is the point of order?

HON. GONESE:  My point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, is in terms of the Standing Orders.  Our Standing Orders allow, if he has moved for the adjournment of the debate, it is allowed – if you look at your notes Mr. Speaker, it asks, is there any debate to the motion - because that is a motion.  An adjournment motion is like any other motion and is subject to debate.  You can check for advice from the Clerks-at-the-Table.  That is in accordance with the Standing Orders.  If a motion is moved for adjournment, you ask for debate and we can make our representations. 

Mr. Speaker, I have stood up and I want to debate that motion – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is within my rights to debate the motion first before the adjournment

 THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order please.

HON. GONESE:  The rules Mr. Speaker, allow for debate first.  This a motion and a motion for adjournment is a motion Mr. Speaker.  It is a motion for adjournment.  Before we go to the numbers, I debate the motion.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Gonese.  Hon. Gonese, why do you always want to cause some noise – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order please.  You are the Chief Whip of the Opposition and I think it is always nice for you to probably liaise with the Chair if you have an objection of that nature – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order please. 

  HON. GONESE:  I will be very brief Mr. Speaker.  Thank you very much for the opportunity you have given me, I was going to request, in debating the motion for adjournment, that procedurally Mr. Speaker, when the mover of a motion wants to adjourn, the mover of the motion seeks adjournment of the debate.  However, Members have got their rights to debate that motion.  In debating the motion, my first point is, the Chair had recognised Hon. Muderedzwa and Hon. Majome in that order. 

My second point would be, this is a very important debate and we have anticipated to start it at the beginning of the Session.  However, we do appreciate that the Hon. Vice President might have other commitments.  I also believe that in the spirit of consultation, which we normally do, if the Hon. Vice President wanted to adjourn the debate, we have got two sides in this august House and it was appropriate Mr. Speaker for my colleague to indicate to me that this is the situation.  We were caught unawares and that is the reason why you then find us behaving in this way.  If we had done things in consultation, this might not have happened.  I want the other side to appreciate that fact. 

Lastly Mr. Speaker, I just respectfully ask that we allow the Hon. Member who had been nominated to be the last person to debate and after that we can have the adjournment without any problem and we can continue the debate tomorrow – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Gonese, when you came here, you asked me for an explanation that you have done and I accept that, but for you to go further and say that I allow the Hon. Majome to debate is something else.  Can I ask the debate to be adjourned please? 

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 7th June, 2017.

On the motion of HON. MATUKE, SECONDED BY HON. MUKWANGWARIWA, the House adjourned at Two Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 06 JUNE 2017 VOL 43 NO 65