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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 12 JUNE 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 39

Tuesday, 12th June, 2012.

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA: Mr. Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

MR. ZHUWAO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to thank the hon. members who have contributed to this debate. I would like to single out those that have provided positive value to this debate. These members include but are not limited to Hon. Chinomona, Hon. Khumalo, Hon. Nyaude, Hon. Chimbetete, Hon. Dzirutwe, Hon. Mandebvu, Hon. Mudarikwa, Hon. Sibanda and Hon. Bhasikiti. I would also like to thank some of those members who have contributed by making specific reference to some of their contributions. Allow me, if I may Mr. Speaker Sir, to thank Hon. Matamisa who brought three issues when she was contributing to this debate. I think one issue that she brought, which was supported by most if not all members that contributed to this debate, was to thank His Excellency the President for exhorting all Members of Parliament and exhorting the generality of Zimbabweans to be non violent. Hon. Matamisa also indicated that it was necessary and important that if there was any member of this House who was found to have been implicated in any form of violence then the law must take its course.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we have hon. members in this House who have been implicated in violence and I think one of the most disturbing cases is the case in 2008 when there was an attempted abduction of Hon Anastancia Ndhlovu, the youngest Member of Parliament by an hon. member from the MDC. This raises a lot of concern when we have hon. Members of Parliament attempting to abduct the only Member of Parliament we have in this House who was born after independence.

I also want to commend Hon. Kay for actually having the courage to eventually - four years later on, thank members of his constituency for electing him. Thank you for thanking your members but four years later on I also learnt in Hon. Kay's contribution to the Presidential debate that he is seized with the question of under development. He repeats several times that he has no clue how this country can be developed. Maybe I would like to refer Hon. Kay to the Hon. Minister of Finance who always talks about the developmental state without actually being clear what it is about.

I would also want to thank Hon. Munengami for his contribution as well. I would want to thank him in particular, for the contribution that he made towards making sure that we have got 50% representation in the House of Parliament. I hope Hon. Munengami will have the courage to pave way for a female candidate in his constituency.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also want to thank my fellow Eng. Hon. Mudzuri for his contribution. What was most insightful about his contribution was the fact that he acknowledged that violence can actually be perpetrated on a nation from an economic perspective. The violence that is currently perpetrated on the people of Zimbabwe is the violence of sanctions. It is the violence of sanctions which our leaders who signed the GPA agreed should be taken out. It is of concern to me Mr. Speaker Sir, when we have a board member of an institution of state of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, who then goes out and says that form of violence - the violence of sanctions must continue. Mr. Speaker Sir, if we talk about non violence, we should speak about non violence in all its forms. We cannot have Professor Hopkins talking about violence being instituted against the people and economy of Zimbabwe and yet he still remains on the board of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker Sir, when I stood before this House, I indicated that I stood before this House with a great sense of pride, humility and honour. At this moment I am concerned about that because this is the House that was meant to deliver a constitution to the people of Zimbabwe. How will history judge this particular Parliament? Records show that this particular session of Parliament is a session that has had the least Bills brought to it. This Parliament was meant to set the foundation for the development of our nation. That foundation was meant to have been achieved by us coming up with a new Constitution but alas, Mr. Speaker Sir, we seem not to be able to bring a Constitution to this House. We seem also not to be able, as the ghost Minister of Media is advising me, to be able to present Bills to this House. It is a shame Mr. Speaker Sir.

As the President indicated when he opened Parliament, we had a falling in the economy. As we stand right now Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe has again the highest GDP in SADC at 9%. Mr. Speaker Sir, that 9% is not a figment of my imagination as Hon. Khumalo would want to think. We now have unresolved issues in the GPA. The most critical of those unresolved issues is the issue of sanctions. Mr. Speaker Sir, the President talked about the economy and what we need to be able to do with the economy but unfortunately the ministers in our Government who are responsible for that are not clear on what we should do to a point where their fellow colleague MP from the MDC is also confused about what development is about.

Allow me to turn to the issue of agriculture. The issue of agriculture still remains a thorny issue. At the moment we have crises within our cotton farming industry -[HON. NDAMBAKUWA: Inaudible interjection]-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order hon. member stand up. I am referring to you. Can you move out and allow debate to proceed quietly

Hon. Ndambakuwa was accordingly escorted out of the House . -[HON. MEMBERS : Inaudible interjections]-

MR. ZHUWAO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Before, I was speaking on the issue of agriculture. This winter season, we are likely to have a fairly disastrous winter crop. Mainly because the new board at ZESA Holdings has not yet gotten to appreciate that farming brings returns once or twice in a season to the extent that, that board has cut off electricity from a significant number of winter wheat farmers. That is a shame because the minister responsible should have an appreciation and an understanding of how this agro based economy of ours operates.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker Sir, to conclude by moving to the issue of the Constitution. It is common cause that a draft Constitution was produced some time in January. It is also common cause that a second draft was produced. It is also common cause that, this second draft was also presented to the co-chairs of COPAC, who are members of this Parliament and COPAC, which is supposed to be a select committee of this particular Parliament. It is also common cause that, that draft has been referred to the political parties in Parliament. Mr. Speaker Sir, the public has reacted in anger to the January draft. The public has also reacted in anger to the draft that they understand that, the co-chairpersons have signed. These drafts do not reflect the views of the people in several instances. As the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe…

MR. GONESE: On a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

MR. GONESE: My point of order is that at this point in time, COPAC has not officially produced any draft and I think it is inappropriate for this hon. member to be making reference to matters which have not yet been officially produced.

MR. SPEAKER: Point of order sustained. Hon. member, we have not officially, as Parliament, received a draft constitutional report. I, as the Speaker of Parliament, have not been favoured with a draft of the Constitution and therefore hon. member, refrain from making reference to a document that has not been officially referred to this Parliament.

MR. ZHUWAO: Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir. I was referring to a document that I saw published in the press under an advertisement of COPAC. However, since you have ruled that I should not make reference to that draft, I will make reference to the views of the public with regards to their perceptions of what they have heard is going on. Of significant concern to the generality of our population and members of Zimbabwe who voted for us, is the issue whether we will be able to protect the views that they let out when the constitutional outreach was out there. One of the issues that the people spoke strongly against was the issue of homosexuality. I hope that when this draft eventually gets to you and us as Parliament, it will reflect the views of the people. It is important that the drafters that are drafting this constitution on our behalf as Parliament should … -[ HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: On a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. What is your point of order hon. Sibanda?

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: My point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir, is that the member should wind up and not introduce new issues. Thus point of order sustained. I think so - [HON. MEMBERS: Laughter]-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. member, I made a ruling earlier with regard to you venturing into that document. I think with all due respect, let us respect the COPAC committee that we have assigned to bring that report and then we will be able to debate thereafter once we are favoured with the contents of the draft constitution formally as a Parliament. May you continue but refrain from once again referring to that document.

MR. ZHUWAO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is unfortunate that you have ruled that I do not refer to the draft Constitution. Mr. Speaker Sir, as I was referring to this document, I was attempting to give a little bit of credence to…

MR. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Zhuwao, do you want to wind up the debate or do you want to sit down?

MR. ZHUWAO: The thesis of my motion is how history will judge this 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe. Where we stand, history will judge this 7th Parliament and in particular, this 4th session as the session that had the least Bills brought to it. This particular Parliament under your leadership Mr. Speaker Sir, history will judge this as the Parliament that listened to the views of the people, whether the people spoke from the street or they spoke during the outreach of the Constitution making process. I thank you. I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and negatived. - (MDC MPs: Divide the House.)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. - Can we divide the House? - (MDC MPs: Yes)

After consultations with the Chief Whips on the matter I had just ruled on, I am left with no choice but to reverse my ruling and also in the interest of creating order in the House, I will again, call for the Ayes and Nos, then I will make a ruling.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that Order of the Day, Number 6 be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MEDIA, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON THE STATE OF PUBLIC MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology on the state of Public Media in Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for the opportunity given me to add my voice to this important motion by Hon. Chikwinya and seconded by Hon. B. Matonga. Mr. Speaker Sir, before I move on with my discussion or debate, I need to elucidate this word known as propaganda. Propaganda, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature used to promote a political cause or point of view, and the dissemination of such information."

The other definition by an acclaimed dictionary Webster New English, 20th Century dictionary unbridged second edition, propaganda, "is a systematic wide spread, deliberate indoctrination or plan for such indoctrination now often used in derogatory sense, promoting deception or distortion of facts."

This to me is the culture of some of our political parties that have come to this House and try to mislead and misinform people. I was alarmed by the back stabbing of the mover of the motion by the seconder Hon. B. Matonga. To this effect I was alarmed by a seconder who could not sustain the mover in many respects. It would appear the mover of the motion was compromised so much so that his colleagues who had to second him had to stab him from the back. Why am I saying so, Mr. Speaker Sir, it is apparent that Joseph Gorbachev, the Chief Information Officer of Adolf Hitler during the World War 2, caused panic, despondence and pandemonium by his versatile propaganda machinery against the Britons? So to this effect, my colleague, Hon. Matonga, did disservice and acted as Joseph Goebbels to mislead this Hon. House against the Committee that went as far as South Africa.

MR. MATONGA: On a point of order!

MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

MR. MATONGA: When we bring motions to this House, normally motions of this nature, we would allow members of the Committee to debate. Whatever we debate, we expand on the issue of the report.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, What is your point of order hon. member?

MR. MATONGA: He is wasting time, what he is debating Mr. Speaker, is not what is contained in our reports.

MR. SPEAKER: Point of order overruled, Hon. Matonga.

MR.F.M. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I need to put to this House, a glaring contradiction between the mover and the seconder, paragraph 11.1.1, the mover said, "that Broadcasting and Media Laws should be reviewed in line with the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)", but the seconder, Hon. B. Matonga on page 3355 of the same Hansard says, "there is nothing wrong with Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)". Why naturally, Hon. Matonga was stabbing his Committee from the back because the committee put it very clearly that the laws of media in this country should resonate with GPA where Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), POSA, Broadcasting services Act and others should be repealed or amended. But the hon. member Hon. Matonga and the mover went asunder to stab the Committee in total, so this has to be put in record.

On page 3388 of the same Hansard of the 7th June, Hon. Matonga…

MR. SPEAKER: Order, hon. member, you have made adequate reference to him doing the things that you have been referring to as stabbing the committee. It is therefore not necessary to continue giving us more than to debate the motion.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: Thank you for that advice Mr. Speaker Sir. I am of the opinion that the Committee did a wonderful job by researching, giving some observation and also giving some recommendations. On the recommendations on 10,2, the Committee said, the Committee recommends that the editorial policy needs to be reviewed to remove the perceived propaganda bias, that the public were critical during the public hearing. I think they have to be very clear, people testified that there was propaganda machinery in ZBC, ZTV, Chronicle and Herald. So when the Committee now recommends saying the people perceived this propaganda, I think they are being compromised one way or the other. So they have to say the truth not to meander about, they have to be critical about that.

On page paragraph 10:24, they said Government should either exempt local media houses from paying duty, for ink and newsprints or the newspapers published outside the country should pay tax. I do not think this dichotomy means the other that if A does not do this, therefore B does not pay its dues. I think it is illogical thinking. The issue is that everybody who benefits directly or indirectly should pay some sort of taxes, pay what belongs to Caesar. But this comparison to say if A does not do this therefore B should not do that; to me I think it is wrong reasoning. So I am saying, we should always try to pay what is due to Caeser.

Paragraph 11.15, ZBC should be transferred from state to a public broadcaster in….

MR. MUDARIKWA: On a point of order?

MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

MR. MUDARIKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the hon. member has not prepared anything, he is reading the speech from the Hansard, and he must be referring to his notes.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Mudarikwa, there is no point of order.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: In shona vanoti munhu anokwenya ndopanorwadza. So, I am happy that the hon. member, Hon. Matonga is concerned is panicking because there is a lot of sense in what I am saying, in critiquing this report. I am of the opinion that Zimbabwe has to be magnanimous in news gathering. I need to emphasise historically that during the liberation struggle those who were grown up, they will remember very well Mr. Rugare Gumbo, Henry Hamadziripi, Mark Marongwe known as Grey Tichatonga and Charles Ndlovu known as Webester Shamu. These were the cadres that did an extensive work in mobilization, informing and educating people while they were operating from Mozambique under ZANLA.

We come to ZAPU, historically we had Japhet Masuku, Josphat Masuku, Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu who were based in Zambia. Their duty was to inform about the liberation struggle. Their duty was to educate people about the protracted war. Their duty was to educate people about progress of the war, because of them; the young people had to cross to Zambia and Mozambique without a whip behind them. Information is an arsenal but when you give it to a mad person it reacts like a gun given to an insane person.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have to understand that the value of the mass media information is very critical so Zimbabwe should now move from the liberation tactics where they were using those two liberation radios externally for mobilisation's sake and for propaganda's sake. Now we should use our media for reconciliation, for reconstruction, for rebuilding and for preaching peace. I am so annoyed by some of the people who think there is total emancipation in news gathering. We were informed in this august House that the principals of the GPA had directed a Minister by the name Hon. Shamu to reconstitute BAZ but to this report I am so baffled, there is nothing mentioned about that. So, my question is did the President, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister instruct Hon Shamu to reconstitute what, when BAZ was constituted above board. To this effect, we as an Hon. House, need the truth about BAZ establishment. We do not want half truth in this august House…

MR. MATONGA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, the hon. member did not read the report, what he is debating on, is not in our report. All those issues were answered, I think he is just wasting time, I think it is high time you ask him to sit down so that we debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Matonga, when there is a motion to do with anything related to media, you are allowed when debating to go beyond what even the Committee presented. What is important is the subject and the content that is related to the issues to do with media. So, I do not see anything wrong by making reference to even things that are outside your committee in terms of your deliberations. I therefore overrule your point of order and ask the member to continue debating.

MR.F.M. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, can you allow me, with due respect to make reference to what the hon. member is afraid of. He said the BAZ Board was done above board, interviews were carried out by the SRO where are principals, the Vice President, the Prime Minister and the MPs sat, so interviews were done and recommendations were done and forwarded to the Ministry. So, he is afraid that I am revealing what he did. Therefore, he is trying to confuse me. I am a seasoned politician. I am not going to be deterred - the fact that I will still augment that the mover was stabbed from the back by the seconder. This is not in the principle report but a seconder had to come nicodimously to mislead the Committee without due respect. So, that is why he is jittering. I want to go further Mr. Speaker, Sir, that during the presentation of the report by the Chairperson, I am so happy that the Committee went as far as South Africa, they left no stone unturned but the recommendations thereof, leaves much to be desired. I believe were compromised one way or the other as you see one of the members is really fighting a losing war in this House.

I need to refer again to the speech by the mover in paragraph 10(2) 2, the Chronicle should capitalise to buy new state-of-art equipment which is in compliance with the technology currently prevailing in the printing industry. Again people in Bulawayo are being short-changed by ZBC where all the arts performance, auditions are done in Harare. The Chronicle is now like a museum because it is lacking sophisticated machinery for the modern world as we see. In this respect, we feel geographical equalisation of media houses should be our priority so that those performing arts in Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland, should not come to Harare. Look at Mai Chisamba Show are all the Hararians participants, look at other festivals done on TV, they are all done by Hararians. What of people in Mount Darwin, in Rushinga, Mutare, in Rusape and so forth? We are so centralized, even applications, auditing cultural norms in Matabeleland, you find that people do not have an appreciation of other cultures, for example of Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland, hence you find there are limited presenters, arts presenters/performers in other outlaying regions.

Lastly, Madam Speaker Sir, I need to augment my speech by what I see in the Zimbabwe Television. A program entitled 'Zimbabwe Pride', the participants are doctors, Dr. Chivaura, Dr. Mahoso, Prof. Mupepereki. These gentlemen are so learned but they are misinforming our youngsters that speaking in English is taboo, dressing in suits is taboo, yet they are highly educated, educated at British and American universities. So, they are misinforming and deliberately destroying younger generation yet they are highly educated. This to me is highly misleading and propaganda of the highest order, which should not be allowed to continue in the public broadcaster. So, that is an abhorrent type of news making, it is very diabolic, it is satanic to make people not to learn. English is universal, English is the language of records - languages are equal but coming politically and internationally, let us be versatile so that ZBC should not be owned by a political party; Chronicle should not be owned by a political party.

We are calling for balanced reporting, we are calling for scientific research, scientific news gathering - When I open ZBC TV ndinonzwa "ndinokusetera team" in the morning and in the evening ndinonzwa "ndokusetera team". Therefore, the licenses that we are paying are unjustified. I would urge the whole country to desist from paying licenses for ZBC because it does not do any good thing to educate our people or to inform our people and to entertain our people. I thought the rudimental role of newspapers was to educate, motivate, inform, mobilise, entertain, direct or to control - these are positives. For clarity, let me repeat them, the positive roles of the mass media are to educate the masses, to inform the masses, to mobilise the masses, to entertain, to warn the masses on calamities like disasters, to control the people who are indiscipline - these are positive roles of media in a democracy.

The negatives are to subdue people to any government of not their choice, to oppress, to suppress, to intimidate, to misinform, to manipulate and to humiliate citizenry. So, if we are in this B Section, I think, we have a long way to go.

Madam Speaker, I need to emphasise that mass media houses, both electronic and print are an arsenal. If given a mad man - they will destroy the nationality, the citizenship, as what happened in Rwanda and Burundi. Editorial policies should be pragmatic and educationally biased. I thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you very much for allowing me to stand up. I am a member of the committee which prepared this report which is being discussed in Parliament.

As members of the Committee, we do not need to dwell on issues that have been raised already but it is critical that we continue to highlight to this august House the critical role that the media plays in our society. It is a process of educating hon. members, it is a process also of educating the public. Media plays a critical role in terms of control, bringing peace and stability in the country. The issue at stake in the media is, without media, there is no nationality, without media, there is no coercion in the society but the critical rule of the media is the freedom of expression as enshrined in our Constitution. Our critical situation at this juncture Madam Speaker, is in Zimbabwe, the media has sidelined certain minority languages, therefore there are certain minority languages that are not being accommodated, either in print or electronic media. Therefore, those minority languages are being marginalized and as time goes on, might disappear.

It is critical Madam Speaker, that we embrace all languages that are in Zimbabwe - all languages must be heard. In the event of a disaster, how then do we broadcast? In the event of a disaster, how then do we express to the people what is going to happen? Also as a Committee, we feel journalists must be well paid because the element of having an underpaid Journalist is like having someone who can be manipulated by anyone at any given time. Therefore, our journalists must be well paid and also be part of the indigenisation programme that is happening in Zimbabwe so that they will take ownership of their ball points, so that they will take ownership of what they are writing, so that they are part and parcel of the society.

The media is the mirror of the society but those who know, there are certain mirrors which actually make you more handsome; there are certain mirrors which actually make you very ugly. So, the media has the capacity to change anything. Therefore these people in the media must be respectable; these people in the media must actually be people who must continue to excel in their journalism - learning everyday so that we can build a peaceful nation. BAZ [Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe], when they license any media house, they must set a condition that these are the languages that you must print in your media - whether it is two lines; these are the languages that you must say on your radio - whether it is ten minutes so that everybody in Zimbabwe hears his mother language on the air. What many people do not understand is those frequencies that radios are being granted belong to the people of Zimbabwe, every Zimbabwean has a right, has a share in that particular frequency. Therefore, we must make sure that BAZ, in future, when they license radio, they must make an amendment that every language must be heard.

The element of broadcasting has also to do with technology. Our current situation where we have to wait for a day or two yet when there is anything happening anywhere in the world - it is broadcast live. We need to develop our media technologically. Those journalists seated here now, as they are writing it must be reflecting in their different media houses, but they have to wait then run, get a taxi to the office - that is outdated. We must, as a nation, never live in those ages, we must be above that.

The other time, I was talking to one journalist - Langa and I said, Langa can I e-mail you right now. Where is your i-Pad? She does not even have an iPad. So, really technologically our journalists are a hundred years behind and therefore the way how the information moves, is moving in a reversed cycle. We need to equip all our journalists with the current technology like what I am doing now, I am debating taking from my I-pad. I am compliant and I qualify to be in the media committee because I am technologically compliant. I understand what is happening. The other thing also, there is the element of control. Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe is a noble idea where journalists themselves advise each other that what we have done is wrong but also ZMC is critical because ZMC acts on an Act of Parliament. It represents the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.

Our situation is made very difficult that Mutare Board is no longer functioning. We have to import all the newsprint that comes into this country. The issue here is we must allow all the newsprint for newspaper to come into this country duty free because newspapers do not only tell the people the stories in the news. They also assist our students on how to write good English, Shona, Ndebele, Suthu, Shangani, whatever language. It is critical that there is more reading. We do not want to see people sitted in the combi sleeping. They must be reading something. If we remove duty, then those newspapers are cheaper, people can afford and they can be reading at anytime. People can actually be walking and reading. It is critical that people must read. Bibles must come into this country duty free so that people can be reading day and night and those who have problems with sleeping do not need to drink sleeping tablets. They must be reading, reading and reading. That is how a nation progresses.

The issue of xenophobia must be monitored critically on how these newspapers behave, like in Zimbabwe; they talk of Chinese, Nigerians. These are not baboons, they have got names. You must say so and so from Nigeria. So and so from China. China is sitting on billions of people, so we cannot have this generality. It created problems for Zimbabweans in South Africa and we must not allow this to happen in Zimbabwe. Many people might not be aware that for the Government of Zimbabwe to acquire what they have which is Zimbabwe Newspapers under the banner of PAN-Africanism, under the banner of Sisters of Africa, the Nigerian Government assisted the Government of Zimbabwe in purchasing the current Zimbabwe Newspapers. So it was done in the spirit of Pan-Africanism. Newspapers must promote the spirit of SADC and Pan-Africanism. When you say Nigerians, if you go to Chikurubi there are not many Nigerians there. They are people from different areas, but you cannot say because of five Nigerians, then en-mass you just say Nigerians. We feel our media must promote the co-existence of all the different people in Zimbabwe.

Another example is about those beautiful girls from Gweru, they just put in the media overnight and said rapists women have raped. It was not even said alleged rapists. They just said rapists. Where are they now those rapists? They are walking free. So really the media, when we write a new story, we must also be clear in our mind, what are we saying.

The other critical issue in whatever is happening in Zimbabwe, we have heard that they are those companies that have been licensed to broadcast. There is everything that is happening but there is a company known as Transmedia. For those who do not know, Transmedia is the signal carrier. It carries the signal to UMP. The current situation in Zimbabwe is more of the broadcasting people just talking in the studio but the signal carrier is down. So we need Transmedia. We need the privatisation of Transmedia so that we have more signal carriers to take the signal to the communal lands. I come from Uzumba Constituency. We do not get anything from ZBC, we rely on Mabasa Muchinyumbo from Tete. So really we have a situation where it is critical that as we do everything, the rural population must be accommodated. All this hulabaloo about this is just dealing with people in towns. Our people in communal lands are not benefitting. Private and independent producers must also be allowed to import equipment duty free so that they create a huge base of actors. In India, they have what they call Bollywood. In Nigeria acting on its own is a big business because if you are ugly, you are given a certain part where, because you are ugly, you must be representing the witchdoctor or whatever but it accommodates everybody. The situation we have is everybody is accommodated. When you are producing a film, those who talk too much like me, we are also given our parts where we are actually accommodated in the film industry.

We must realise that Zimbabwe has critical unemployment levels and those unemployment levels can only be addressed by mass creation of jobs. In Bulawayo we have got Amakhosi Theatre and they have created many jobs and also teaching people to dance. Dancing is a faster way of losing weight and a better way - you can see I lost 5 kgs because the whole of last week I was dancing. So really it is a process which is also very critical in creating these theatre groups.

Then we have this issue of power outages. We can broadcast something in Harare but those people out there, they have televisions but there is no electricity, they are switched off so they will not be hearing what we are saying. In the process, the chain of developing our media involves the availability of power. So they are power outages. You want to send a message to Chipinge …kuno kwaite ngozi … they will not get the message because there is a power outage in Chipinge. So power outages play a critical role.

Foreign newspapers are acceptable but they must also contribute something to the fiscus. They must be able, because they do not pay duty and their prices, the newspaper, everything they have an advantage. We are a nation that is suffering from unemployment. We must create mechanisms to protect our own industry like what we have protected our own people when we say for you to be an MP, you must produce a birth certificate that you were born in Zimbabwe. We do not open the door to say MPs can come from anywhere in the whole world. It happens everywhere. You cannot be a legislator in America when you were not born in America. So that is the process.

Madam Speaker, broadcasting must accommodate churches. Not only formal churches that are based in Harare. They must also accommodate Madzibaba eBethsaida. They must take that OB van up the mountain and transmit from there for the nation to benefit because those people who are praying bring peace, unity and also they assist. I had a sister who had gone for about twelve years without being married. When she joined a certain church, two weeks down the line she was married. So really it is setting up the family structures in our society. For any nation to develop, people must marry, have babies and then continue then we have future leaders of tomorrow.

Finally, education programmes must be given enough time during the week and weekends so that we allow our people to learn from the radio and television. Mutare board and Paper Mills must be resuscitated so that newsprint is available in Zimbabwe so that we can encourage many people to read and write whatever they want to write.

MR MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank youfor allowing me to stand up. I also want to thank all hon. members who were listening, even those who kept quiet when I was talking. Thank you.

MR. MUDIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology, Hon. Chikwinya for presenting the First Report of the Committee. Zimbabwe is expected, as a SADC member, to meet a target date of 2013 to have digitalised its media environment. I would like to underscore the importance of digitalization and how we should be prepared to meet the target date. Digitalisation has a potential to offer more possibilities of plurality and diversity in the broadcasting field as the spectrum allows more players than the current scenario of an analogue technology.

Madam Speaker, it will change how broadcasters conduct their business. It will enable both public and private owned broadcasters to shift their thinking on what to sell, how to sell it and to whom. It will revolutionalise broadcasting by giving viewers and listeners more choices. In fact, the new environment will place enormous challenges to both the regulator and the broadcaster to involve the civil society to come out with the news of seeing and listening.

We have also experienced satellite broadcasting within our country, which offers viewers and listeners, news and information from remote areas like Uzumba, where free-to-air signals do not reach. However, digitalisation on its own does not solve problems of lack of plurality and other problems due to lack of media freedom and political interference in the media field. To obtain the benefits of digitalisation, it is important that the minister of media and information establishes a planning process that includes all relevant sectors. He should start now, because the target date for digitalisation for this country is 2013, we urge the minister to start setting up a plan where every player in the media is called upon, to participate and plan for the switchover. The digital broadcasting environment and the process of digital switchover should have a legal framework that contains safeguards for the public interest, freedom of expression and access to information. We want to repeat it in this House that, though SADC is looking at 2013, there is no show of preparedness in this country to go towards digitalisation. That is the way forward because we are talking about opening new airways, limited airways and limited broadcasters. SADC on its own had moved that we should be able to open it up through digitalisation and Zimbabwe should now move towards that. Therefore, I am urging all players, Potraz, the Minister, Telecoms and ZBC to now start looking into the digitalisation programme. I urge authorities in the media fraternity to start setting the planning process, legal framework and financial resources to enable the country to benefit from digitalisation targeted for 2013. Thank you.

MR. MUCHAURAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to add my voice on the motion by the Portfolio Committee on Media. I will focus on the issues of coverage, diversity, the content and AIPPA. The challenge we have in this country regarding the public broadcasting we have, is that of poor coverage. It is designed to cover only people in urban areas, 70 kilometers out of Harare, there will be no signal. People in Mutoko, Muzarabani, Chiredzi and Mwenezi, struggle to get a signal. If you look at it, it is not by accident that people are not receiving a signal in these areas because, once you buy a television, you need to see news, you need to listen to news and watch whatever you want.

However, the State decided to unbundle the whole thing by giving certain sections to Transmedia, which is poorly funded, therefore there is no signal carrier which is vibrant in this country. There is lack of commitment by the State, they try to unbundle ZBC to make sure that it will not give fair coverage to the citizens of this country. I know for certain and for sure that, dictators thrive on people without information. If people are starved of information, proper and accurate information, there is always room to manipulate that kind of a community or society. Therefore, it is not by accident that people like our friends in Mutoko and Mwenezi do not receive radio or television signals.

There is this issue of diversity, there has been a lot of talk that we have liberalised, there is media plurality in Zimbabwe because we have got 4 stations owned by ZBC and we also have this Supa Mandiwanzira and the Mutasa thing that was licensed recently. I want to tell the nation here, that, that is not what we call diversity, it is recycling because ZBC, Zimpapers, Supa Mandiwanzira are all ZANU PF cousins and they churn out ZANU PF propaganda and we cannot celebrate on that. There was the issue of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe; some people would like to believe that it was properly established. However, when we went through the whole thing, there was a compromise that, we need to say it was properly constituted. It is wrong, because there was one interview, which was convened to interview people for ZMC and the drop-outs from ZMC were the people who were fielded in the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. (BAZ) That is why you see that we have people like Chris Mhike, who came top and Mahoso was 27 out of 27, he was the last person, but he is now heading BAZ, it is wrong. We must not mislead the nation by saying that, that thing was properly constituted when there were no interviews. These are the facts.

On the issue of content or coverage by the state media, the content is only one-sided. If you switch on to your radio today and happen to be within 70 kilometers of Harare or the City of Bulawayo, the first thing that you hear is moyo wangu - anything to do with land, ZANU PF and anything to do with the Commander in Chief of this Country. The only time they do not talk about President Mugabe is when he goes to toilet. Such critical information like his health or his wealth is concealed. I doubt if ever we can say this content is what the people of Zimbabwe need. People need fair coverage, accurate information and they also need to know the state of cholera in this country. People do not need some of these things like jingles being broadcast on a daily basis on our televisions and radios. We need to know what is happening in as far as DCC elections are concerned and that this person has won, whether there is a re-run in Mashonaland Central and Manicaland. There were demonstrations but these are not the bread and butter issues of this country about which we need to know. The President of this country has made several trips to Singapore to seek medical treatment. How much does it cost? Does it cost US$4 million? Why not spending that US$4 million in constructing a state of the art hospital in Zimbabwe then we save more money? But ZBC says no, this man is healthy, energetic and lucid. It is not important to the people of this nation. We appeal to the public media to concentrate on issues that build this nation, on issues that promote peace and prosperity and least to do with hatred and one party propaganda.

On the issue of license fees, a lot of Zimbabweans, courtesy of the revival of the economy by the Inclusive Government, a lot of households now own radios and televisions but they do not receive anything from ZBC but they pay huge license fees. That is extortion. I may own a radio but I may not listen to ZBC. Why am I being forced to pay $30 or $50 for owning a radio and I pay to ZBC and yet I do not listen to ZBC? Those laws must be repealed. I am happy that when we presented this to the Minister of Media - Webster Shamu, he indicated that it was not fair for ZBC to collect money from people who do not receive the services.

If you look at the welfare of workers, especially journalists who work for the public media in Zimbabwe - they are poorly remunerated. That is why they sometimes receive khaki envelopes to dwell on certain stories and not concentrate on real assigned issues. Some of them like Rueben Barwe have even resorted to being small scale farmers. Instead of spending time in the libraries concentrating on research on issues, they spend more time trying to do poultry, piggery, irrigation and so on. So, they are now part time journalists. It is because there is this lack of good remuneration on journalists.

As a recommendation, I think this House must recommend the abolishment of AIPPA because the journalists are deprived of their security. If he writes a certain story and it does not please the powers in Government, the next thing is you will be at Matapi Police station being charged under POSA saying it is criminal defamation this and that. In developed nations we have got what we call libel and slander where it is not criminalized to write a false story but they will take you through a civil process and if you have wronged someone then you pay for that. In this case it is criminalised if you get your facts wrong - maybe because some Government Ministers particularly those from ZANU PF do not disclose information about their ministries or what is happening in this country. So, AIPPA must be abolished. I also encourage the Government and all stakeholders to make sure that broadcasters like Studio 7 be given space and resources to broadcast 24 hours a day in this country.

Lastly, I would like to thank all hon. members of this House for listening to me when I was presenting.

MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will not dwell much on technical issues. I think the report was comprehensive enough and it covered a lot of issues. What I can talk about is the issues which organisations like BAZ have failed to do. The purpose of the existence of BAZ is for it to issue licenses to those people who have got the ability to broadcast. They have failed dismally in doing so. Because if we look at time when BAZ whether legal or illegal - when it was constituted and the time they took to issue the first license was too long. The reason was very simple, it was not the intention of BAZ to issue licenses and when it did so it was also under pressure which I cannot say it is entirely pressure because some of the people who are in BAZ are actually activists of a political party. So, they were not even under pressure as well. They were simply collaborating to make sure that we remain with the radio stations we have.

Madam Speaker, it is so surprising to say that we are one of the laughing stock in the region. Zimbabwe 32 years from independence and with the level of literacy which we boast of, we still have one broadcaster. We have only ZBC. We do not have a single community radio. We do not have any other alternative as the people of Zimbabwe. If we go to Zambia today, we find there are more than ten. You go to Ghana, South Africa and Botswana all these countries - and were they have less radio stations they are independent stations. At least their people are afforded an opportunity to listen to another voice.

Madam Speaker, the issue of community radios is one thing which really pains me. This is only the natural way of promoting local languages. Allow the people to communicate in their own local languages. Give them that license. The problem with the system that we have is that they will start thinking about how they are going to control that particular community radio.

The most unfortunate thing is that the Minister and the party he comes from are now very thin on people who are innovative and intelligent. So they rarely come up with such issues like a community radio and financing it. But, you also have to finance something which attracts people from whom you can even get contributions - they can pay for that particular community radio to function. This is not happening Madam Speaker. You have to inform people what happens around them and we cannot do that if we do not have community radios.

Madam Speaker, the real role of the media is also to inform. In Zimbabwe you are informed of one thing which is irrelevant to the well being of the people, which people have completely nothing to do with from six in the morning until 8 p.m. news. You can be told of a DCC meeting in Belvedere where if you try to attend - there will only be twenty people who will be simply chanting the slogan Pasi ne MDC. That is all but that is made news for the entire population of Zimbabwe. To tell you about a DCC meeting that is happening at Belvedere. I hear from one of the contributors, a member of the committee saying that the Chief Executive Happison Muchechetere informed the committee of how political parties can use the services of the ZBC. Madam Speaker, it is so surprising. It is the responsibility of ZBC to look for news. We have had several high profile MDC rallies and they do not report. When they come to attend these rallies, they simply look at what is perceived as negative, that which will have taken place and that makes news. If they do not get one, it will not be news and you will never see the message that was issued being broadcast.

Then, you go to the issue of education, because you have to inform people balanced information. Propaganda cannot be propaganda, propaganda, propaganda. You become irrelevant. As I am speaking, Madam Speaker, ZBC is irrelevant to the people of Zimbabwe. Whatever the propaganda that comes out, it actually turns more people against those who purport to be churning out the propaganda. You go and ask even a grandmother to say did you listen to the news? They will ask you which news? The news that they now know is what happens from 7:00 to 9:00 o'clock, where they are given an opportunity to debate on VOP and VOA Studio 7, where all parties are given an opportunity. I, sometimes wonder whether we have got people who are really normal. You even have ministers. They are given the opportunity and they interact. Political parties interact but the same minister who heads the Information Ministry in this country does not allow any other political party to have that opportunity. Madam Speaker, we must promote debate. What builds a nation is debate. What builds a nation is to inform people correctly. What comes out of radio, the news and even innocent programmes are so politicized to the extent that what you simply do is to make sure that you do not bother if you have got a satellite dish to tune into ZBC and even to know which channel is ZTV. I do not even know what channel on my television and I make sure that I subscribe every month so that I and my children have fair opportunity to get real information. You will never hear my child referring to a story carried on ZTV. No, I do not because I will be spoiling my child. I will be depriving my child of the real development which a normal human being should go through.

Madam Speaker, education. We used to have what used to be called radio lessons. You go out to any of our neighbouring countries, they still have got radio lessons where you find children around a radio learning. In Zimbabwe that has been abandoned. Why? The concentration is on propaganda. How are we going to package this information so that they think of nothing else other than one political party. I was driving one day from the Namibian border crossing Botswana and I was listening to this radio lesson and it reminded me of those days when things were still normal, when we would go through the process of learning and immediately you would know that every school in Zimbabwe was going through the same lesson. This could help children. I hear some hon. members saying saka. That has been the biggest downfall of quite a number of them because if you listen to your own voice and think that you are hearing something, then it actually disturbs the mind completely and that is exactly what I am seeing.

The issue of entertainment, Madam Speaker, how can ZBC expect to make money when you spend 12 hours churning out music which no one is listening to? The issue of galas. Who pays for that? The people of Zimbabwe must be given an opportunity to pay for what they want to listen to and watch. When they talk of the issue of analogue and digital - if you digitalise, technically you improve your systems. You can make sure that you also have pay per view. If I do not want to listen to ZBC, I simply do not pay, if I want to listen or to watch ZTV, I then pay and without technology, you still live in the olden ages where you force people to pay. You find them at the roadblocks paying, for what? It must be a public broadcaster and not a party broadcaster. This is not speculation or exaggeration, but it is the truth because that is the only news you hear. We have got Cabinet Ministers here from ZANU-PF, MDC - MDC-T and MDC-M, you rarely find a minister being covered by ZBC and it is a policy that you should not cover them. It is pathetic. If they quote anyone, they will quote the Permanent Secretary. They prefer to quote a Permanent Secretary and not the Minister. The responsible person as far as policy is concerned is the Minister. The Minister holds a function, it is not news but when a Permanent Secretary comments it becomes news. That is not undermining those Ministers. That is the only thing that my colleagues do not understand. You are not undermining any Minister because you are not exposing that Minister, so, people have got no yard stick at all. They cannot judge that particular individual even in the party. You know in the whole world those parties that have got an opposition tag are the strongest parties. In this modern world those who claim to be ruling parties are in trouble. So, it does not work when a whole broadcaster broadcasts and does not include opposition parties. Madam speaker, it is so pathetic when I hear an hon. member from a province, from a district which has just recently just murdered a person because it does not trust the people saying that he wants to go for an election. With the same system like this one, we cannot go for an election. With a system where a public broadcaster chooses to be an ambassador of a political party, we cannot go for an election. Anyone who has the support of the people will challenge and say yes, my hands are clean let us go for a clean fight and you win. You also need the endorsement of the world.

There is also an issue of peaceful election by the broadcaster. Madam Speaker, if Zimbabweans were like ordinary other people and had not been converted so much in terms of Christianity, we could have fought serious battles because of the media. It happened in Rwanda where people perished because of propaganda and also misguided statements. What we hear - you sometimes wonder whether this young man or woman who is giving this story on television with a straight face, exaggerating issues, implicating innocent people, you then wonder what is happening but Zimbabweans, thank God, are those people who have chosen not to be at the route of all these other countries. Even, some of the things which they allow to be aired on television, can give you an example, implicating innocent people, you then wonder what is happening. Thank God, Zimbabweans are peace loving people. Even some of the news that they allow to be aired on television, I will give an example. A Major-General made a statement in Mudzi and after four weeks, a man was murdered in Mudzi. Those are some of the things which are not newsworthy. You would rather avoid them completely because those statements cause bloodshed. A lot of people will be judged because of the statements that they make. In a normal society, some of the things that are said are punishable either you are relieved from your position or you are arrested. Thank God, there is always another time and that time will come for some people to look back and people will say, why were you saying this and what then happened because of those statements.

Madam Speaker, the issue of freedom of expression. Radio is a way and means of allowing people to debate. I am referring to the issue of Studio 7. Everyday from 8.30 p.m. there is a phone in session where they allow every Zimbabwean countrywide to come in and debate. I have heard people from all the political parties debating. The reason I listen to that radio is because if I tune in to Studio 7, driving from Harare to Masvingo, there is no interruption. Throughout the journey, it is clear but with ZBC, you can listen to it up to Beatrice, if you are lucky up to Featherstone. In Chiredzi, there is no signal. So I can not wait and wait forever, I will have to find an alternative, I will tune to Studio 7. From Harare to Pretoria, you can tune in to Studio 7 and it is very clear. This is what we have failed to do and this is deliberate because we do not want our people to be informed. The most unfortunate thing is that Studio 7 is now informing them. ZANU PF is also using it, even ZAPU also listens to it, represented here by its Deputy President.

On staffing issues Madam Speaker, it is not possible for ZBC to recruit competent people because of the conditions of service. For one to be employed by ZBC, they make sure that you are well indoctrinated, you sing those songs and you dance to those songs. There is also a high level of victimisation. The current CEO has been a victim of victimisation and he should be in a position to condemn victimisation. He suffered the same fate when Prof. Jonathan Moyo was the Minister of Media. He came out public talking about his victimisation but you find that he is now victimising those who are perceived not to be pro ZANU PF. This is not a secret, it is common knowledge and even the reporters talk about it.

Madam Speaker, I think it is unfair for us not to allow those young people to use their skills of journalism. They train in journalism so that they excel, you want to be professional and you want to perform. Let us allow these young people to perform. It does not help at all to decide to politicize almost everything in this country. As a result, we have killed innovation in our country, there is no innovation at all. The education we talk about is coming to nuts, it is not working. Zimbabwe at the level at which it is developing, the education is of no relevance at all. We should have been moving faster, we should have been coming up with our own products.

Madam Speaker, I now come to the issue of content, 75%, 25%, 60%, 40%. You can only prescribe when you have got the resources to do so. You have to have an environment that allows people to come in and produce. Right now, we have no independent producer. I was quite happy when someone referred to Amakhosi. All the programmes from Amakhosi are audited. What is produced at Amakhosi has to come to Harare before it goes to Montrose Studios. Those at Montrose can not approve any production, it has to come to Harare. So what is the purpose of having a station at Montrose?

Most of the challenges that ZBC faces are self inflicted, they simply have to be professional. They simply have to be a national broadcaster and they will have people subscribing to ZBC. I will never buy a ZBC licence, I do not need it because I do not listen to ZBC and I will not pay. - [AN HON. MEMBER: Unosungwa] - If the court says you have to pay for something that you do not want, that will be fine.

Finally Madam Speaker, there is this issue of a party paper which is supposed to be a public enterprise. It is sad, the fact that they have now been given a licence again, it is an indictment because you are simply reproducing the same information which does not benefit the people of Zimbabwe. Information should be made available to people and they must be informed. We also have public broadcasters, a public broadcaster is a public broadcaster. I do not know why we do not want to learn. This issue about sovereignty, I do not understand what people will be talking about because many nations developed because of experiences of other countries. Let us learn from other countries. The people in Victoria Falls watch Zambia television, they enjoy it because they rarely see President Sata and his party on television. They watch national programmes kwete kungoona vanhu vachingotambiswa kongonya pese pese - [MR MATSHALAGA: Wakazviona sei?] - Ndinonzwa panext door - [laughter] - Madam Speaker, I will not subject myself to this torture, I do not watch ZBC because it is all propaganda.

MS. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My understanding of the media - the media is there to inform and educate. The current challenge that we have as a country is that our people are always curious for knowledge. Knowledge will not acquire you, you must acquire it. Talking of what the media is churning out to the people of Zimbabwe, it is all about hate speech. There is nothing to build this country but the information that is coming out is about destruction, destroying ourselves, none other but ourselves. Sadly, recently ZBC has gone to the Ministry of Justice where they are requesting the Minister of Justice to help them arrest all Zimbabweans for non payment of radio licenses. They are in the process of doing that Mr. Speaker Sir, because their argument is that they are no longer getting any funding to run the Dead Broadcasting Cooperation. Unfortunately, I do not think there is any Zimbabwean who is prepared to pay US$50.00 for him/her or the family to be fed gamatox. Because all what we get from the media in this country, especially the Government media, is propaganda that is there to destroy the people of Zimbabwe and not to build them.

Sadly, we have been expecting this Government to open up the air-waves as per the Global Political Agreement and as we speak today, the only airwave that they have opened is to recycle the ZBC and claim that they have opened up the air-waves. In 2008, ZANU-PF was emptying Studio 7 and they were making sure that they were blocking it 24/7 and today, sadly, every single ZANU-PF member that has the opportunity of sharing their propaganda and gamatox at Studio 7, are running there. Surely if you are running to the Studio 7, to go and tell the people whatever they are telling them. Why are they not opening the process here in this country, where everybody has got an opportunity to go to ZBC and say whatever they would want to say pertaining to whatever they are talking about, but today they are running to Studio 7.

Sadly, ZBC has no rural coverage, none at all. The only coverage are the so called Members of Parliament that go down to the rural areas to feed our grandfathers and families with gamatox, telling them lies about what is happening in this country yet we seat in the same Parliament, going to the canteen and eating from the same plate and laughing with each other. But when they get down there, they distribute propaganda in terms of practicing war.

If you look at ZBC, well I call it the Dead Broadcasting Co-operation, there is operation Chimumumu. If you are any one from the opposition and you have been at an occasion and unfortunately DBC was there, what you will see is that you will see your picture where your mouth will be moving but you will not hear what you have been saying. But Reuben Barwe will be behind the scenes and say Hon. Khumalo today is addressing a meeting at Bulawayo East and is talking about the Constituency Development Fund but I have a mouth, I am not deaf and dump. Everybody who is not ZANU-PF, when ZBC come, they will be in operation chimumumu, they are not allowed the right to speak.

As we speak Mr. Speaker Sir, currently the workers at ZBC are not being paid their salaries on time and the allegation is that people are not paying the licenses. Who in his normal mind will go and pay a radio license for Dead Broadcasting Corporation, where you are told there is a Commander in Chief, Commander in State, what, Head of State, Head of Government, Head of Parliament, Head of Constituency, Head of whatever. We have no time to listen about people's positions and the hierarchy that they hold. Zimbabweans want to hear issues that are affecting them, the issues of Global Political Agreement, how far have we gone as a country in terms of implementing in letter and in spirit. We are talking of issues of HIV/AIDS; they are not talked about, the issue of Global Fund, how is this Government spending the money? There was a time when RBZ looted the money from the Global Fund; those are the issues we want to hear Mr. Speaker, from the State Media. Ministries are allocated funding in terms of their ministries and no one in Zimbabwe has an idea, how much was allocated in terms of votes in these ministries and this is the time where the Media plays a role to educate our people in terms of what was allocated and what is the expectation of using that money and how it has been used and where. That we are not getting from ZBC, besides us being told of Commander in Chief and Commanders of Constituencies and Commanders of whatever.

They are claiming that ZBC has no money; Muchechetere is driving a state of the art car while the workers at ZBC are not being paid their salaries on time and their salaries are being paid in drips and drabs. He forgets that those are human beings with kids and families at home, they pay schools fees, they pay rent, they need food, bus-fare, clothing, health but that is not considered. As long as those handfuls are living in comfort, everybody else does not matter and has the audacity to say they want to arrest the millions of Zimbabweans that do not have licenses so that we can then support his luxury style of dis-informing Zimbabweans so that he stays in power supporting his political party.

A public media is a public media and chunk public information. Talking about media passing information and educating, Mr. Speaker Sir, I have been to Rwanda, the role that the media played in terms of the genocide in Rwanda should not be accepted. Rwanda should be the first and last genocide in Africa where Mr. Speaker Sir, a human being goes to a doctor and he is being asked what his ailment is and claims it is Tutsis. Where the media writes that Tutsis women are ugly women, these 500 000 women were raped and infected with HIV/AIDS and the media propagated that. So Mr. Speaker, the time has come for Zimbabwe to know that the public media is public media.

Talking of Muchechetere driving a state of the art car, the technology at Dead Broadcasting Corporation is dead. I have had the opportunity to go to the studios Mr. Speaker Sir, what they are trying to record sooner than later something is going to break, and you will sit there for an hour before anything is done. They have flood lights that you will see at a sports stadium and there is technology, Mr. Speaker, things have changed. We need to introduce the proper technology at ZBC and stop abusing the listeners' money by spending it on luxury issues to support editors who are bogus.

Sadly Mr. Speaker, we are talking of our kids that are going to journalism schools, they have qualified and they go and join ZBC. These kids write brilliant stories but they are edited by the editor to suit what ZANU-PF wants. At the end of the day, they are killing these kids. As we speak in this country, ZBC has no professionals because all professional journalists have left because of the code of ethics because we are feeding people gamatox. I will give you a practical example Mr. Speaker Sir, I was in Bulawayo and there was a car accident along one of our roads in town and as a Good Samaritan, I tried to help the injured. I was on front page on the newspaper, MDC-T MP Tabitha Khumalo, Member of Parliament for Bulawayo East hits a pedestrian at a robot controlled intersection and dislocates his knee. When I was a good Samaritan Mr. Speaker Sir, so can you imagine the type of venom that is being chunked even if one does good. So, that needs to be dealt with and I think that is where the issue of AIPPA must come into place. Of late we are reading in the papers where it is said staff writer, there are no names of journalists anymore. Anything that is to do with mudslinging somebody, anything that has got to do with lampooning somebody, it is a staff writer. Each and every one of us here has got a name and a surname and the code of ethics for journalists is very clear, Mr. Speaker Sir, you need to give us your name so that whatever you have done to me which is not true, I can take action. But of late in this country, the public media is always 'staff writers'.

So, Mr. Speaker Sir, I second the speaker who said there is need for us to repeal AIPPA and the time has come that ZANU-PF, whether they want it or not, it is a world of technology, you can stick with Dead B.C. These days we are twitting, we are facebooking and we have you-tubes, so they can stick with the Dead Broadcasting Corporation and I will go with technology. I thank you.

MR. MATSHALAGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to congratulate the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology for producing a report which gives us an opportunity Mr. Speaker, Sir, to look at our media and to check out who is making this media more distorted. At least, for me, for the first time for even those who watch ZTV, listen to ZBC and read the Herald are the ones who are the most venomous critiques of the same media. I do not know how you can criticize the media without knowing what it propagates. Unless, you are a witch doctor and you can say you can probably say I know.

Maybe, you are living in the past. The ZBC that we have currently produces news bulletins of events that happened in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe. To say that it is all propaganda, I do not know what history will say to us about this country because that will be far from the truth. It is not all propaganda, it is about events. You might have certain biases which you may not like but it is not propaganda.

Even when we talk about Studio 7, we are saying Studio 7 has certain biases. Studio 7 was created as part of the sanctions against Zimbabwe in order to have what they would call an anti Zimbabwe established view. Listen to it, currently it has changed of course since GPA, it is becoming a little bit humane. That is the nature of public media. The nature of public media is to inform and when it gets its information, there is no way it can now say every information and that all the honourables, the Temporary Speaker, went to the toilet and so forth. No, it has to be selective on what information to give and the selectivity might of course not to be of your liking or your taste but it does not mean that it does not exist, it does exist.

Mr. Speaker Sir, what this report has done is to highlight the deficiencies, the deficiencies which we as Members of Parliament should now look at it and say, how do we address them. But, for us to advocate that we should at least all be reading foreign newspapers, viewing what we call DSTVs and listening to Studio 7, I think it is misleading the young generation of our people. They need our own national radio, our own national newspapers. The word propaganda does not mean that the information is bad, it simply says, this is being propagated. My learned lawyer, Hon. Mushonga knows that there is nothing sinister about what is called propaganda. It simply says the information you get is raw data, process the information and publish it. You call it what you want, you may say this is ZANU PF propaganda, this is MDC propaganda but it is basically information.

Mr. Speaker, why do I say that it is dangerous and reckless for us to suggest that we listen only to Studio 7, read only newspapers from outside? How are we going to develop our media industry if we are going to depend largely from foreigners? We complain about an industry that is being negatively affected by tenders that are awarded to foreign companies. It is the same principle; it is us who have preference for external things. It is us people who are not being proud of our own media and to own our own media. Let us talk about reforms, but for you to stand here and say I do not listen to ZTV and think that the international world will admire you - they will simply say this is very ridiculous, so these all nationals do not even listen to their own television, they do not even know what is happening in their country but the media is there. We do not only have the Herald in this country, we have a number of newspapers that are making news, there are alternative newspapers.

Mr. Speaker, but for people to say because this is only ZBC - now I want to dwell on some of the weaknesses referred to in the report which are genuine. I am sure one of the problems that we have Hon. T Khumalo is that the capacity of our journalism, the training of our journalists - probably we need in this report - should highlight that we need more training for our journalists. We need more journalists that reports about events. We need journalism that is less biased towards the reporter himself because one of the problems that we have is that the reporter speaks more about the events than those who make events. But why do they say this, maybe because the technology is so bad that when they come to you to say can you speak to it, maybe it does not come out.

Training, capacity building concerning national interests, it will be part of the healing process so that we produce journalists that are highly professional like my colleague Hon. Bright Matonga - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -is a former reputable journalist.

The other problem that has been highlighted by this report which I agree, is that the transmission leaves a lot to be desired but the Hon. Speaker says he sometimes tunes…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, the Chair does not have the opportunity to respond to your statement.

MR. MATSHALAGA: I take your point Hon. Speaker and withdraw the statement that makes reference to you as the Speaker. I take note that there are technical deficiencies. Our transmission technology, our broadcasting technology is a little bit behind and what we need and for this House is to support the media world to say how can we make sure that they move from this platform of technology to a more favourable platform where you can tune in to ZBC from here to Zvishavane, from here to Beitbridge, from here to Filabusi. This is what we should call for. As for me, given where I come from Zvishavane, we have problems Mr. Speaker, Sir because we do not get the transmission. We want to watch ZBC to know what is happening in other regions but the transmission which is there is very weak and sometimes non-existent for both radio and ZTV. We are concerned when they talk of an additional ZTV 2 when we, in remote areas, do not even access ZTV 1 - this is our concern.

We want to hear what the people are saying throughout the country; how the parties are performing in Zvomupani or whatever; who is feigning violence where and how we can re-engage in this Government so that there is peace and development. Yes, I also read that this group of Committee was privileged to visit other countries like South Africa, but it has nothing, it has no reference to any of the experiences that it had in South Africa. You talked about radio and television and what not - it is still there in South Africa, but I could not find it in this report.

The recommendations, I understand, may have been plugged but I do not doubt that, but the report could have improved and made positive contribution to the development of the media sector by at least trying to share experience of what happens in these other countries. Then as Members of Parliament we could have debated whether it is in the best interest. What you made reference to and what used to happen that we would have national broadcasting of lessons and at that particular moment, I do not know what has happened to transmission.

Transmission seems to have been shrinking and shrinking - it is not in the best interest of any of our citizens to get citizens who are uninformed. This is probably why our citizens sometimes resort to fighting because they are uninformed, if they are informed and they know that our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the President lunch every day; that we in Parliament sit with MDC hon. members; debate issues and listen to each other and have reasonable differences - I am sure it would help to the development of this country and also help to develop a consensus on issues. If we do not listen to our own broadcasting, if we do not read our own newspapers - how are we going to develop consensus on issues? By listening to Studio 7; by reading newspapers from Namibia? I doubt that, but I think what we need to do Hon. Speaker is for us to say media is about the quality of information. It cannot be better than the people who propagate it. So, we need training of journalism, we also need to provide them with equipment, we also need, of course, to change technology. You know I understand at small parties - young boys and girls can tune into one car in an MP3. Technology is much cheaper now and what we probably need is to see how we as a country can move towards cheaper technology.

Mr. Speaker, let me thank you very much for listening to me and I hope that in future, when we debate, we will say the truth about our media situation and make appropriate recommendations that will realise a better media environment for Zimbabwe.

MR. MUSHONGA: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

MS. KARENYI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th June, 2012.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MS. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, No. 8 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.

MR. MUSHONGA : I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT, URBAN AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ON THE ZIMBABWE UNITED PASSENGER COMPANY

MS. KARENYI: Mr. Speaker, I move that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Urban and Rural Development on the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company.

MR. BALOYI: I second.

MS. KARENYI:

Introduction

1.1 As part of its oversight on the activities of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and its departments your Committee examined submissions received from employees of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO). Allegations of irregularities which ranged from non-payment of workers, unfair labour practices and violation of ZUPCO Articles of Association resulting in conflict of interest and failure to account for company assets, among other things, were made.

1.2 Your Committee resolved to conduct a fact finding tour to the ZUPCO workshops in Belvedere where it gathered oral evidence from the workers and members of management in two separate meetings. The evidence received prompted your Committee to gather further evidence from the Board of Directors of ZUPCO. The Hon. Minister for Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Dr. Ignatius Morgan Chiminya Chombo was also invited by your Committee to clarify issues of policy on the operations of ZUPCO and its turn- around strategy.

2.0 Findings of the Committee

2.1 Your Committee received oral evidence from ZUPCO employees to the effect that the ZUPCO Board which is supposed to have its tenure renewed every three years had outlived its term. The Board had seen some members who had been serving continuously since 2002, notably Professor Chipo Dyanda, the Chairperson. The tenure of ZUPCO Board members had become discretional as the shareholders chose whether or not to renew such terms.

2.2 Amid such cases of irregularities your Committee resolved to invite the Minister for Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Hon. Minister Chombo come and clarify the position on the ZUPCO Board operations.74

2.3 In evidence before your Committee, Hon. Minister Chombo stated that he was happy with how the ZUPCO Board operated. In response to a question on the observation that the Minister had said the ZUPCO Board was performing very well despite the fact that ZUPCO employees were facing serious financial challenges, Hon. Minister Chombo said ZUPCO was performing well compared to other companies. He added that ZUPCO had bought two hundred new buses and that a further two hundred had been ordered for the coming year. He said that with the increasing fleet and the freedom to charge competitive fares, ZUPCO would be able to settle part of the NSSA contributions and the outstanding ZIMRA debt from the revenue raked in by the buses. He further stated that this meant that all the retrenched employees, at some point would be paid their salaries.

2.3 In his response on the term of Board Members at ZUPCO, the Hon. Minister said that their tenure had been renewed and that they were given a new mandate. He added that he was not aware that Prof. Dyanda had overstayed as the concern had not been brought to his attention. Your Committee found the Hon Minister's statement unconvincing as he ought to have known the period the Board Chairperson had served, as the Appointing Authority, without anyone having to bring it to his attention.

2.4 It was also alleged by the workers that the Articles of Association at ZUPCO had been abused so much that some Board Members were serving both as members of Management and the Board. This inevitably led to conflict of interest when it came to approval of projects that the members proposed and wanted funded as management. Invariably the same members approved, as Board Members, the same projects and programmes that they wanted to undertake. A case in point was that of buses procured from China where the Chairperson of the Board even traveled with an engineer to source the ZUPCO buses.

2.5 On the issue of members of management also serving as Board members, the Hon. Minister said that we was fully aware of the issue and supported that position. He said the decision was arrived at when there was nobody within ZUPCO who could fill that position. The then Chief Executive officer Mr. Sakabuya had fallen ill hence the appointment of Mr. Kangausaru, a Board member, to the position of Acting Chief Executive Officer.

2.6 There was also no due regard for the principles of good corporate governance. The same applied to purchases of goods and assets for the company where the same managers sat as Board Members despite the fact that they were serving as Directors in Companies where ZUPCO sourced its goods and services. Elite Car Hire was given as a typical example where a white ISUZU truck was bought for one of the members under circumstances shrouded in mystery. Councillor Ushewokunze was alleged to be one of the interested parties in this Company.75

2.7 In evidence before your Committee ZUPCO Board members confirmed that there were huge salary arrears for workers amounting to US$6,4 million. The Board Members vehemently denied that ZUPCO was in a state of insolvency despite the debilitating debt.

2.8 Allegations of unfair labour practices were cited where some discriminatory practices took place. Some employees in the same 76grades were pecked at different salary levels within ZUPCO. The explanation given was that there was a new and an old ZUPCO within the same company hence the discrepancies. What riled your Committee even then was that some ZUPCO employees were not beingremunerated for their services. At the end of each month they received payslips showing amounts that they were expected to get and the names of their respective Banking Institutions. However, nothing was ever paid into such Accounts. Various deductions were also reflected on the pay slips showing whatever contributions the workers were expected to be making. However, nothing was being paid out at all. ZUPCO was also not paying NSSA contribution yet on the workers pay slips it was reflected that contributions were being deducted. Your Committee found such practice extremely unethical and insensitive to the plight of the workers.

2.9 On the nonpayment of NSSA contributions, Hon. Minister Chombo said that ZUPCO had a defined pension fund for its employees and this was affected by the dollarization of the economy in 2009. He said that like in most schemes, the contributors were asked to pay shortfalls arising from the nonpayment due to the liquidity constraints at that time. The arrears amounted to US$1,7 million and were beyond ZUPCO's financial capability. However, he assured your Committee that the Board of Trustees which comprises employee representatives, executive management and Fidelity Life, were working on the issue so that payments could be made in stanzas.

2.10 The issue of unpaid salaries just like the crippling debt at ZUPCO posed major challenges for the company. ZUPCO employees informed your Committee that instead of the Board members being sympathetic to their plight in the face of such challenges, vocal workers were victimized and arbitrarily retrenched by members of management who also served in the Board. It was extremely difficult to separate management from the Board as these were the same people who made decisions on who should be retrenched. 77

2.11 During the interviews with workers your Committee observed widespread fears on the faces of some of them when there was mention of relatives of Senior Board members employed by ZUPCO who usually informed them of whatever gossip was said about them.

2.12 Fears engulfed the meeting when the name "Linda" was mentioned and whispers and inaudible murmurs could be heard in the background despite assurances from your Committee that they had Parliamentary protection for whatever they disclosed to the Committee. Ironically, the name 'Linda' was that of a relative to the Chairperson of the ZUPCO Board which she also duly confirmed. Some employees were alleged to have been arbitrarily dismissed resulting in some of them resorting to the courts for recourse e.g. the Madraya case. Such incidents of malicious dismissals were quite costly to the company as the law suits exceeded the wage bills. 77

2.12 Some of the assets that could not be accounted for included three bus engines which were said to have been sent to Dahmer for servicing. The three engines were expected to have been serviced at US$51 000 and these were never returned to ZUPCO.

2.13 On the closure of ZUPCO depots countrywide Hon. Minister Chombo said that the company had faced stiff competition from black entrepreneurship. He said they were taking away the state entity which was left in urban areas only. Initially ZUPCO had depots in all cities during the colonial era. However the situation had changed totally with the advent of commuter omnibuses. Such a situation affected ZUPCO to the extent that it had to close some of its depots. He was apprehensive that the situation would never be the same and that they were encouraging ZUPCO to sell some of their depots because of the stiff competition.

2.14 On the issue of mismanagement the Hon. Minister said that no one had written to him on such issues, except the letters that he received occasionally concerning money issues. He further stated that:

"We have engaged them on monetary issues to say there is no money and it is better to have a company to run than to have nothing"

2.15 On the ZUPCO turnaround strategy Hon. Minister Chombo said that the 3 year strategy that he had been presented to him had seen ZUPCO buying two batches of buses of a 100 each without any Government assistance. ZUPCO was no longer operating in urban routes which were oversubscribed. Instead they were doing long distance routes. He also said that there was need for ZUPCO to go to the rural areas so that people could benefit from cheap and reasonable fares. He urged ZUPCO to buy appropriate buses so that these could be deployed in all districts with the right capacity. 79

There was also need to repair the roads so that bus companies could go out more to the rural areas as they were currently reluctant.

2.16 On the allegations of rampant corruption by the Risk Management Control Department, the Hon. Minister said that as a department responsible for the arrests of people or conductors who are corrupt the department had to be strict for the survival of the company.

2.17 On the Madraya case, the Hon. Minister gave a different version from the one given by the Board of Members of ZUPCO prompting members of the Committee to make observations that the Hon. Minister did not have hands on experience on what was going on within ZUPCO. The Committee wanted to know why ZUPCO had lost huge sums of money to fight a case against Mr Madraya which was based on spurious allegations that he had taken his allocation of fuel without following the procedures of the company.

2.18 ZUPCO 's legal representatives failed to turn up at the court when they realized they were losing the case and subsequently withdrew their challenge after they realized that they were fighting a losing battle. However, the Hon Minister was still insisting that Mr Madraya had stolen the fuel even though he had won the case. The Hon Minister did not seem to have his facts right and he eventually conceded to your Committee by saying that,

 

" I will not say what I think but I will go and check simply to make assurances double assured but my principle is that if you stole you stole and in the case of Madraya we will go and check with a view to make amelioration or to get views from both sides."

Infact the Hon Minister did confirm that he only knew of the Madraya case on the day of the giving of evidence'. He said,

' I only heard of this Madraya today and I now have an interest in him and if it means we are going to appeal we will do that and Madraya might lose the case next time.''

2.19 Your Committee is of the opinion that such money could be better used to recapitalise ZUPCO instead of using it to fight court cases which may recotchet and strike ZUPCO a cruel blow.

4.0 OBSERVATIONS

4.1 Your Committee is extremely concerned at the observations that it made during its conduct of business. The concerns relate to the unbridled mismanagement at ZUPCO which had seen the company floundering in its operations.80

4.2 Among other observations nonpayment of NSSA contributions had led to grave suffering of the retrenched employees as they had nothing to fall back on once out of employment. Some workers had been victimised even after winning their court cases. It was quite shocking to hear the determination and resolve with which the Hon. Minister wanted to appeal against the Madraya Case even after ZUPCO had lost the Court Case. Your Committee does not see the logic of losing over a hundred thousand dollars to fight a case involving some twenty litres of fuel. The company should concentrate its efforts on improving its operational efficiency and management rather than waste its hard earned resources on such trivial matters.

4.3 Your Committee is also concerned at ZUPCO's failure to appoint a substantive Chief Executive Officer who would confidently and willingly make decisions that would lead to meaningful development within the company and improve the plight of the employees.

4.4 Your Committee also noted that the Hon. Minister did not have hands on experience on what was happening at ZUPCO in terms of supervision and control. The Hon. Minister was oblivious that the ZUPCO Board Chairperson had served the Board for more than three consecutive terms. Your Committee is concerned that such length of tenure compromises the principles of good corporate governance.

4.5 It was also disturbing to your Committee to note that ever since the Risk Management Department was established, theft of81 vehicle starters and other spares had been on the increase.

4.6 It was also noted by your Committee that ZUPCO had, within recent years, high staff turnover particularly at the administrative managers' level where personnel with requisite experience were lost. Some of them had fallen victim to dismissals under unclear circumstances or were sent on leave. These included the likes of Chikowore, Chigwa, Marazane and others.

5.0 Recommendations

5.1 Your Committee is seriously concerned that ZUPCO has failed in its operations and therefore strongly recommends the following:-

a) that the issue of the payment of the workers' salary arrears can no longer be procrastinated. ZUPCO simply has to prioritize the payment of workers before it can even think of settling its debts. 82

b) that there is urgent need for improved performance by ZUPCO as it is not performing well , contrary to the statements given by the Hon. Minister before the Committee that ZUPCO is performing well.

c) that the ZUPCO Management requires a complete overhaul and its replacement with competent personnel who can meet the aspirations of the entire workforce and also bring about a sound turnaround strategy for the Company.

d) that there is need for adherence to ZUPCO Articles of Association on the renewal of Board Members tenure.

 

e) that no members within ZUPCO should serve both as members of Management and the Board of Directors at the same time.

f) that ZUPCO should observe corporate governance ethics and principles.

f) that the issue of ZUPCO pay -slips be further investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission and External Auditors.

g) that there is need for the appointment of a Substantive Chief Executive Officer at ZUPCO as a matter of urgency. 83

h) that ZUPCO assets sent to Dahmer be returned to the company for purposes of accountability and transparency.

i) that a careful study needs to be conducted to ascertain whether the privatization of ZUPCO could not be a better option in the face of challenges confronting the Company.

6.0 Conclusion

6.1 It is Your Committee's considered view that the recommendations contained therein will go a long way towards addressing the challenges at ZUPCO and are worth adopting and implementing without delay. I thank you. I now move that this House takes note of the report and I also move for its adoption.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th June, 2012.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY, the House adjourned at One Minute past Five o'clock p.m.

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 38 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 12 JUNE 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 39