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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 26 JUNE 2013 VOL. 39 NO. 29

Wednesday, 26th June, 2013

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

PRAYERS

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

MR. CROSS : Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to address my

question to the Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs.

Would he please outline to the House how he sees the whole process

leading up to the elections happening now? It is a mine field and quite

frankly, we do not know where we stand at this present time. There are

issues such as the Nomination Court on Friday and the extended period

of voter registration. We need to know exactly what he feels will happen

in the next three to four weeks.

THE MINISTER OF PARLIAMENTARY AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (ADV. MATINENGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would also like to thank the hon. member for that mine field question. I think he did concede in formulating his question that we are in a mine field in the sense that if anybody is going to be honest with himself or herself - no answer can unfortunately be provided to the question which is being posed.

Mr. Speaker Sir, you will recall and the hon. member will also recall that last week I did lay out what I considered to be the various constitutional stages which we have to meet in order to get to an election, which answers to the provisions of our Constitution. An election which is free and fair and which one hopes will not be contested.

What we have experienced in the past week or so, with respect points to an election which is going to be contested - an election which is not going to produce results which are not disputed. As I said last week, one starts with the Constitutional Court ruling that the President must announce an election date not later than the 31st of July.

As I said last week, I will start with the Constitutional Court ruling that the President must announce an election date not later than the 31st July, 2013. Thereafter Mr. Speaker Sir, there was an application by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs which was filed with the courts, seeking an extension of this particular date. That application was filed on Tuesday last week unbeknown to the other members of the Inclusive Government.

Hon. members will have read in the papers that on Wednesday, there was a grand meeting at State House where the three parties in the Inclusive Government met in order to agree on a common position with regards to this disputed election date. Aligned to this were also attempts to seek agreement on what should be done with regards to both Statutory Instruments 85 and 86 of 2013, and subsequent Statutory Instruments which were promulgated thereafter. The meeting on Wednesday did not come to an agreement.

Sadly at that meeting, the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa who was then speaking on behalf of ZANU PF or rather arguing on behalf of ZANU PF, indicated that he wanted until last week Friday to respond to the presentations which had been made by the two MDC formations. These presentations were made by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Biti and the Minister of Education, Senator Coltart. The time within which to respond was then granted, though a lot of us were of the view that the issue was an urgent one and that the Minister could have responded if he wanted to, but he did not. The long and short of it was that the meeting then adjourned on the basis that ZANU PF will respond on Friday. In the meantime and in the same meeting, it was agreed that, may be it is possible that a smaller committee could meet and agree particularly on the contents of an affidavit. The affidavit was going to seek for an extension of the July 31, date. The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Prof. Ncube and the Minister of Finance, Hon. Biti were left in that room to meet and seek to agree on an acceptable affidavit. Again, that was not to be. The three parties could not agree. So on Friday, the two MDC formations were at State House.

I was the first to be there at 10.00 a.m. When it was about 10.30 a.m., we were then told that the meeting could not proceed because His Excellency, the President was not available. We were then told to come back at 12.05 p.m. I also need to say that when we eventually got this message, there was no appearance by the representatives from ZANU PF. When it was 12.05 p.m., we again went back to the State House. I was again the first person to arrive. The MDC representatives arrived. Again, there was no attendance by anybody from ZANU PF. We waited until it was 1.00 p.m. On realising that nobody was going to attend on behalf of ZANU PF, we then went back to our respective offices.

Mr. Speaker, that is the last time I heard of any attempt to seek agreement on these various disputed issues. The long and short of it, is that, as our answer to this question today, there has been no further meeting between the three political parties in order for us to come to this agreement. What I am aware of is that the Constitutional Court started meeting today to look at various constitutional matters which had been placed before it. For hon. members who are aware of court processes, the Constitutional Court is in the process of looking at all these applications as a continuous roll. So they go through the entire processes one after the other.

I am unable to tell you what has been done this morning. From what I get, may be the real issues are going to be argued at 2.30 p.m. this afternoon. The actual matter involving the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs which was occasioned by the application that was made was apparently postponed sine die. Postponing sine die means the matter is being postponed indefinitely. So we really do not know where we are. I wish there would be somebody who is able to say when exactly we are going to have elections. Not just elections for the sake of it, but elections which are free and fair; elections which are not disputed and elections in respect of which every citizen of this country is able to vote and has been registered.

These are the various issues Mr. Speaker which we need to address because these are issues which are enshrined in our Constitution. It is the responsibility of us as Government, even though we are now near to our 'last supper'. It is our responsibility that we deliver to the people of Zimbabwe, a free and fair election. The indications, with respect Mr. Speaker are that, it is going to be a long shot. Unfortunately, I am unable to give the hon. member a date as to when these elections are going to be. We are all waiting now for the Constitutional Court to hear these applications and then to come up with a decision. At the end of the day, our hands are in a building which is just to the north of us. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

MR. GWIYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is once again directed to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. Can you clarify the constitutional position with regards to prescription of State secrets so that at a certain point they have to be historical and ordinary people should have access to them? Do we have such a thing within the framework of our Constitution or law?

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (ADV. MATINENGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. May I thank the hon. member for that question. I think hon. members will all concede that the question which has been posed is a technical one. The hon. member must await his turn as to when a proper technical response could be given to that question. I do not want to solicit business but as hon. members will be aware, my tenure as Minister and Parliamentarian comes to an end with this session. I would be quite happy, for an appropriate fee of course, to make the relevant research and make that relevant research available to the hon. member. Let me say that in terms of our general prescription law, a date becomes prescribed within three years. As I said, one would then have to look into the details of the particular aspects to which the hon. member is referring to in order to be able to advise properly. I think in so far as the current position is concerned, the hon. member has to be satisfied with the response that we just look at our general prescriptive period which is three years. It may well be that there are issues which may differ but as far as I am aware, I do not think we have in this country, legislation which touches upon our intelligent policies. It is necessary in terms of the new Constitution that we introduce that legislation so that we actualise what we were provided for in the Constitution regarding the manner in which this institution must and should operate. I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, I was going to ask you to put your question in writing but unfortunately, the House stands dissolved on Friday. So there will be no opportunity for you to put your question in writing. Let us hope that in future, as the Minister has already alluded to that point, your question will be looked into.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: Thank you and good afternoon to you Sir after a long time. I need to ask this question as a benedictory question after having given my maiden speech five years ago. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to ask the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs to confirm or not that Zimbabwe has reached a constitutional crisis because of the Constitutional Court decision. If so, how are we going to navigate Zimbabwe for further posterity? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (ADV. MATINENGA): Mr. Speaker Sir, may I thank the hon. member for that delicate question. It is a delicate question in the sense that whether there is a constitutional crisis or not, we depend upon the interpretation which is given to the circumstances which are prevailing. If one looks at the little we know, while the hon. member is saying there is a constitutional crisis but because the Constitutional Court is still sitting to determine whether it should endorse 31 st July, 2013 or it should extend that date, you cannot talk of a constitutional crisis in that respect.

The other side of the coin is that when you are looking at the various arms of Government, when you are looking at which arm should do this or that, obviously complementing the others, then there are certain things which are done by certain arms and there are certain things which are not done by all arms.

If one were to follow up this argument, one will simply go to the minority judgement of the Deputy Chief Justice. From my reading, it is a clear indication that what the majority was doing, was really tampering with waters which should not have been the case. Consequently, they are now unwittingly creating a constitutional crisis. The other view again is when you are looking at the situation in which Zimbabwe is faced, you have to take into account why we are here as Zimbabweans. You have to take into account why we have an Inclusive Government. You have to take into account the fact that we are here because SADC intervened in our circumstances. We are here because June, 2008 elections were not accepted by any right thinking individual in this world.

Mr. Speaker, if you have to accept that, because it is a fact, then you then say if we are going to have to go to an election which mirrors what happened in 2008, surely you are creating a constitutional crisis. By so doing, you are again inviting people to go back to 2008 and 2009, to say now that we cannot agree on the elections, we cannot agree on whether this election was free or fair - what do we do, something which we need not have done. These are the various options which one has to look at.

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: My question was on the way forward as you have explained both that this may be a constitutional crisis and you have confirmed that. What is the possible way forward to alleviate us from this untold constitutional crisis that you have confirmed Sir?

ADV. MATINENGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think let me make this clear. I did not only give a definitive position but I have three variables. We need to be very, very clear. If I may remind hon. members, you recall that sometime back the former President of South Africa was asked whether there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and his response was 'crisis', what crisis? So, you have a constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe, what constitutional crisis? That is the first scenario which must be articulated.

Mr. Speaker, what is the way forward? The way forward in my view is that there must be a political will from all the political parties, political will which addresses the bigger picture. The bigger Zimbabwe, we need to address personal aggrandizement issues. What we have seen in this country, with respect, is a manipulation of the situation in order to advance personal issues and that is not what we need as a country. What we need as a country is to address the bigger picture and say what legacy do we leave for the people of Zimbabwe? Some of us are getting old, but what legacy do we leave for our children? What legacy do we leave for our great grandchildren? I do not see that, and you find that we are heading for another disaster.

*MR. MLAMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. Do we face any crisis should Parliament be dissolved on the 29th June, 2013? Are we going to get the benefits which were due to us in the past five years?

*THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (ADV. MATINENGA): Thank you Mr. Speaker. Regardless of what is due to the Members of Parliament in terms of benefits and finances, in legal terms if there is somebody who owes you something that person owes you something and he or she has to pay back.

Should Parliament be closed on Friday, it means your monies should still be paid. Let us say Parliament is dissolved on the 29th June, 2013, if you have not been given all your monies, there is a period whereby you have to go and appeal for the compensation of what you lost. It is entirely up to you that you have to make up your minds and approach the legal way so that you get your remunerations. You have to go to the courts and tell them that you are a losing Member of Parliament but all the same, you have not been paid your benefits and payments and therefore, you need that money. You have to be paid.

If they do not make payments by the 29th June, 2013 when Parliament stands dissolved, it does not mean that what you are owed has been extinguished. What it means is that you are owed that allowance or whatever it is until that date is extinguished by prescription in three years. So, within the three years, if you have not been paid, please take Parliament to court and I will defend you.

MR. R. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Hospitality and Tourism. How far have we gone with the preparations for UNTWO?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY: (ENG. MZEMBI): I would like to thank the hon. member for the question. Just by way of update to Parliament as to where we are with the state of preparedness, may I inform the hon. member that two weeks ago, I came back from the Great Serbia where we were attending the 95th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Executive Council, the last session before the General Assembly. As per tradition, we do not assess our own state of preparedness. It is assessed by those who have bestowed the rights to host on us and they adjudged our state of preparedness to be satisfactory and our level of collaboration with the Zambians to be excellent. So, I will assume that we are on track but I also want to inform the House that as I give this response, the UNWTO Technical Inspection Team is actually in the destination of the Victoria Falls today until Sunday. It is going to be the last Technical Inspection visit before the commencement of the General Assembly.

It is a fine tuning visit just to make sure that we are up to track with all the software areas of this General Assembly. It is going to be a paperless General Assembly. They want to make sure that we are highly connected in that destination and also to make sure that all the issues that we have promised would be in place are actually in place in situ. As I give this response, the UNWTO Technical Committee that is responsible for all technical inspections is actually in the Victoria Falls. By way of information hon. member and for the benefit of Members of Parliament, let me say that we are on track.

MR. MAHLANGU: Minister, what is your Ministry doing to ensure that the people of Matabeleland especially at Victoria Falls benefit socially, economically and politically from this Assembly?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (ENG. MZEMBI): He is asking a question that I have been asked perennially by many people in the country as to the benefits of hosting a General Assembly or an event of that nature. Let me just put something into perspective about mega-eventing and I will use the South African example of their hosting of the World Cup in the year 2010.

It inspired in South Africa the rise to World Cup 2010, the upgrading of O.R. Tambo Airport. Today when you walk through O.R. Tambo Airport, it is a much bigger version of what it was before the World Cup games. In fact, let me share with you that between 1996 and 1998, Harare International Airport was actually busier than O.R. Tambo Airport but today O.R. Tambo is much bigger and it could pass for a capital of an African country and these are infrastructural benefits.

The highway system in South Africa was upgraded so was the hotel industry in addition to that, one stadium in each Province was planted and they use those assets as leverage to bid for Afcon which they held recently. By the same virtue, when we won the rights to the 28th Session, our vision was to upgrade the infrastructural set-up in the Victoria Falls. On the back of those rights, regrettably, we have not been able to get to that extent because of some other competing national interests. I am sure you will share with me that this General Assembly comes at a time when it is competing for fiscal space with other very urgent and competing national interests like COPAC, the Referendum, the General Elections and other recurrent issues in the country like food security, energy and water. So, within that crowded fiscal space, we had to compete for our own space to do what we can do with the limited resources but not infrastructural legacy projects.

Going forward, my vision of the Victoria Falls is that of the future Niagara Mr. Speaker and this is why we have lobbied Government to set aside 1 200 hectares of the Victoria Falls' most prime land. We are hoping that we can leverage with this General Assembly to attract investor interests whereupon we can begin to showcase other possibilities in terms of master planning.

I am happy to share with you Hon. Mahlangu that during the General Assembly, one of the sessions that we are going to have is actually a World Federation of Civil Engineers' Forum on Tourism Engineering which we are doing in collaboration with the Engineering Institute of Zimbabwe and Zambia and the Federation of Southern African Engineers in addition to the Engineering Council. We are running a competition on Tourism Master Planning which shall be unveiled on the 26th where we will pick the best civil design for the Victoria Falls Going Forward. My vision then, is that we must close the infrastructural gap between Niagara and Victoria Falls so that we can also be a US$30 billion economy just like the Niagara is. Today, Victoria Falls' gross is only US$1, 5 billion between us and Zambians and we are obviously not doing well comparatively but the dream is to do even better when we have closed this infrastructural gap.

Answering you directly on the micro benefits to the Victoria Falls community, I am sure those members who have been there most recently, you can see that, there has been a serious make over and upgrade of the Victoria Falls city in terms of the road infrastructure and the upgrading of the hospitality infrastructure. We have poured in about US$60 million in upgrading hospitality assets there.

A new clinic is coming up in addition, obviously to the happiness of the people. They are highly expectant and they are in a highly exuberant mood to receive visitors and I am sure you know and if you did not know, let me share with you that the tourism dollar is the only dollar in economics that makes an immediate impact on the lives of the poor. As you pass those tips, people are actually benefiting. As they ask for road directions, people are actually benefiting. I have no doubt in my mind hon. member that come the 23rd when we kick-off with the tourism night at the Victoria Falls High School or stadium depending on the venue that we shall finally decide, you shall see how locked-in the ordinary community of the Victoria Falls shall be with this event going forward for the next six days. Mr. Speaker, let me rest my case, I thank you.

MR. CHIBAYA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Hon. Mzembi, now that as a country we are faced with an election which is most likely to come before the UNWTO, how will Zimbabwe's failure to follow the rule of law and resort to violence affect the WTO?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Order, hon. member, your question is not clear because there is no relationship whatsoever between the preparations and violence unless if you presuppose that there will be violence. We may not have a question in anticipation but can you make a policy question relating to the issue that you are raising. Can you rephrase your question?

MR. CHIBAYA: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is that, if there is violence during the elections, how is it going to affect the UNWTO?

MR. SPEAKER: Minister, if you want to answer it, you can but it is not a policy question.

ENG. MZEMBI: I pray today just like any Zimbabwean that there will be no violence during the run-up to the elections, during the elections themselves and thereafter. I think we have set some very good examples of how we have found each other as Zimbabweans in the last five years. Five years of conversation, leading to the consummation of the new Constitution and 95% 'yes' vote on the Referendum which is unprecedented anywhere in the world. It can only speak to a people actually locating each other and finding each other.

Mr. Speaker, I want to share with Hon. Chibaya that one of the critical success factors for successful tourism economy is actually peace and stability and let me submit that, in the last five years, I am happy to have been presiding over a very peaceful and stable tourism destination. If you want to fully understand what I am talking about, I draw reference to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. They went through turbulence during the Arab Spring and North Africa rising and their tourism economies were discounted overnight because of the absence of peace and stability.

So, I am happy that all of you Members of Parliament, Government, the Executive and ordinary Zimbabweans have contributed to a very peaceful and stable environment that has actually contributed to that. Let me share with you that just recently in the last week, we captured a 49% increase in tourist arrivals. There is nobody who visits a country in turmoil; neither do you visit your neighbours when they are fighting. So, I want to think that the 49% increase in tourism receipts and arrivals in the last quarter is actually testimony to the peaceful and stable nature of our destination. I pray that we carry on with the same spirit, running into elections so that we can use it. Should we have these elections before the General Assembly, use this unique event as a branding opportunity for the country and the global endorsement of destination Zimbabwe. We must all collectively be inspired and be driven by that spirit. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

MRS. MATAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Tourism. Minister, would you please enlighten us on what mechanisms you have put in place to stop police manning roads from the airport to the town of Victoria Falls from frustrating drivers carrying the tourists?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (ENG. MZEMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the hon. member. It is a very incisive question to the extent that the presence of police officers, in fact, in their excessive numbers in itself, should be a source of security but it is the branding of their presence on our roads that is pertinent. This is why we have gone out of our way to collaborate with the police through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA). We have a collaboration agreement - the police, ZRP and ZTA in emerging with what we call tourism policing.

I want to share with you that even when you are in the Victoria Falls destination, you see them and they are uniquely branded for tourism. They are very friendly, very peaceful and very courteous but just recently, last week and I am happy that the Minister is here, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority again met with the hierarchy of the police to discuss how we can further improve the branded presence of the police on our roads, in tourism assets and everywhere else in the country.

Very soon, they will be doing a joint communiqué on what they agreed on, which is actually in the positive in terms of reduction of road blocks but we must balance security interests as we approach again the elections. You may not see an immediate reduction of their presence on the roads and in tourism assets because we have to balance other concerns as we also advance towards the general election.

I am happy that there is absolute cooperation from the police. They fully understand and comprehend why we want to see a re-branded Zimbabwe going forward in terms of police presence on our roads. It is a meeting of minds and nothing is amiss. I can only pray that we have as many police officers on the roads as possible to mitigate other issues outside even tourism that may happen on our highway systems.

So Madam, I am with you but we are also approaching a sensitive period where we must balance our own security interests with those of the ascetic industry which is tourism. I thank you.

MR. MUCHAURAYA: My question is directed to Hon. Makone, the co-Minister of Home Affairs. I want to know if it is Government policy to deploy uniformed ZRP officers to conduct ZANU PF primary elections; and who is funding that exercise on behalf of the Government?

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): It definitely is not Government policy to use policemen as party agents in any form or manner. If that has happened, it is regrettable, illegal and wrong. The police are expected to be present at party political functions as keepers of peace and only in that role and nothing else. We experienced it over the last few weeks during the primary election processes of the parties that have finished their exercise.

The police were present but only as keepers and defenders of the people. But, if policemen have been used to carry ballot boxes, count people or to verify anything on behalf of parties, it is an illegal activity and we cannot blame people when they think that it is state resources that have been misdirected. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

MR. CHIMHINI: My question is directed to the Minister of Tourism. Minister, you were quoted at some point stating that if the Minister of Finance gives you or does not give you money, you will get funds. Can you disclose to this House where you are getting the money which you are failing to get from Treasury?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (ENG. MZEMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. First and foremost, let me state that Cabinet received an update on the state of preparedness for hosting the General Assembly. One of the issues that Cabinet directed that to be done as a matter of urgency was the payment of the US$6.5 million hosting budget.

I am happy to share with you that there has been some movement in paying some of the costs of the General Assembly but notwithstanding that the UNWTO brand in tourism is the ultimate brand. We have used our ingenuity to leverage its presence in our midst until the 29th of August, 2013 by placing it alongside other brands in the country that wish to associate with it and there is a fee that you pay for doing so. The Minister has received excess privilege and permission from the UNWTO to authorise the use of the UNWTO brand during this limited period in return for corporate sponsorship.

I am happy to say that we have received a lot of support from a number of Zimbabwean companies, including Mbada Diamonds, Econet and Telecel who are funding some very key and critical elements of the hosting of this General Assembly. We are very grateful to their support which is outside the fiscus.

They are funding, for example, elements of the General Assembly that include the official opening ceremony itself which is no less than a $300 000 budget. They are funding some surprises that we will showcase to the nation on the day. One item, in particular, of an engineering feat which we shall showcase to the country is worth about R1,5 million and is being funded by corporates.

They have funded and they continue to fund our marketing budgets as we go out there to reach out to countries that we want to come and stay on the Zimbabwean side of this hosting arrangement. They continue to fund several advertising paraphernalia and our presence in the media, both public and private. I can only say that we wish we had many more of such goodwill corporate citizens funding these aspects so that we can at least produce a world class event. There is a lot of support from corporates.

MR. CHIMHINI: Minister, you quote one example, Mbada Diamonds. Is it proper that Mbada gives money straight to you rather than surrendering whatever they have through Treasury?

ENG. MZEMBI: Let me share with this Parliament that on the back of the dispensation, we have to raise funds from corporates and I want to remove the emphasis on Mbada because they are not the only people who have come to the party. We put together a Corporate Fund Raising Trust that is administered by citizens because there is no private entity that will raise money for Treasury or to put into Treasury coffers. We have an entity, a trust fund where the funds are deposited but in the majority of cases, the corporates actually prefer to fund the items of expenditure directly.

In this case, let us say I am travelling and have a delegation of ten, they can choose to pay the air tickets and fund our presence out there in terms of hotel accommodation. For me, it is a more preferred mode of support than receipting funds. They also have made choices of direct expenditure items that they want to fund. I do not want to disclose some of the surprises like I am saying because we are meant to surprise you on the day. Some of the items that they have picked, they are funding directly to the contractors who are providing services.

Let us say, for example, without letting the cat out of the bag, we have world class fireworks on the day of the official opening. They do not have to pay me or the fund account but pay directly to the service provider of the fireworks. Let us say on the day we want to share with you which I can do, we are anticipating to do a bridge light-up of the Victoria Falls; you cannot see the Victoria Falls bridge during the night. One of the projects is that we must light it up perennially for the next 15 - 30 years. You should then be able, when you are in Victoria Falls to see the bridge.

Outside the natural wonder itself, the bridge is the second wonder in the destination and you cannot see it during the night. We are building an airport that will admit wide-bodied aircraft that will fly in and out during the night. There are people who will want to see the falls during the night in the future. There are also people who would like to see the Victoria Falls bridge during the night in the future and we must give them that access. So, sharing with you in Parliament, we have a bridge-light up surprise which is no longer a surprise because you are pushing me to disclose some of the things.

The service provider in this instance is Phillips Electrical. So Mbada Diamonds will choose to say we want to light up the bridge and we say, pay directly to the service provider. We only receipt recurrent expenditure to facilitate mainly the marketing budget. Otherwise, the capital issues that will relate to, for example, vehicle purchases, light-up of the bridge or official dinners, they have to pay the service providers directly. We have no business actually receipting that money to Treasury because it will fund elections instead of funding the General Assembly.

MR. SULULU: My question to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Mai Mpariwa is, what is the current situation regarding the drought relief food distribution at the moment especially in the Midlands area?

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Let me start by thanking the hon. member for such a pertinent question. I know that at the beginning of this year, I did answer several questions pertaining to the issue on food mitigation. I responded as follows; we have two schemes that actually focus on food distribution in the country and we have a taskforce on drought relief in Cabinet chaired by my colleague, Hon. Made who is the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. I am one of the members.

However, let me begin by that which I actually administer in terms of drought relief. I do cater for more than 3,5 million vulnerable people. What do I mean by vulnerable - I mean those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, the orphans, women and female headed households. These are the categories that I cater for. In terms of the distribution, we do the household identification at community level where the villagers are, who will identify kuti kwaamai Ezra kune nzara and amai Ezra mukarega kuvaunzira chikafu kana muhurumende havakwanise kurarama. These are the traditional households that the Government actually caters for whether we do have drought or not. This is the category of people that are looked after by the Social Services Department which is part of my ministry.

Let me go back to the other scheme which is the grain loan scheme which is administered in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development where one borrows. If there is good harvest, they actually pay back or return the same amount of maize. This is a scheme that has been established since the beginning because we have realised that people did not harvest.

It is not the Midlands alone Mr. Speaker Sir, because all over we have seen as Government that people did not harvest enough and there is hunger all over. You talk of Matabeleland, I have been to all provinces. You talk of Mashonaland, Mashonaland provinces normally are the bread baskets of Zimbabwe but at the moment everybody in those communities, one way or the other, they do not have sufficient food. As Government, we are actually prepared to cater for the people.

I will not talk on behalf of Hon. Made in terms of the maize that is coming from Zambia because I am also a beneficiary who gets from the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to give to the targeted component of the vulnerable communities that I have talked of. Thank you.

MR. MUDAVANHU: I wanted the Co-Minister of Home Affairs to brief this House on how prepared they are since we are going towards elections. How are they going to protect other parties since we have seen the police officers being abused by a certain party?

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): I want to thank the hon. member for the question. He seems to be implying that if other parties abused the police by using them for their primaries, they are necessarily going to be violent. I am failing to find the connection between the two activities. If he can further elaborate because the two do not go together and they are not

mutually inclusive. The one just involves private activity by a party where it is carrying out its primaries but instead of using its civilian component of the party, it is abusing State resources and personnel.

The other one that is referring to talks of attacks on other parties by the police and he does not give me an example of how this has come about. I am at my wits to answer this question because I am finding it totally mis-understandable.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by MR. SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ENROLMENT OF ZRP GENERAL HANDS INTO THE POLICE FORCE

8. MR. CHEBUNDO asked the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to explain and justify why the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is enrolling/integrating its "General Hand Employees" as regular "Police Officers" issuing them with Police ID Cards with different ranks and enlisting them on the Salaries Service Bureau as police officers such as the cases of:

(a) Ellen Gosvore, ID 58-200625 Y 18, born on 01/04/82 and employed as a General Hand by Kwekwe Police on 16/10/06 and still performs General Hand duties, but not enlisted as an attested regular policewoman, EC Number 5906324R.

(b) Muvengiwa Mpofu, ID 58-090380R 26, born on 02/10/64 and employed as General Hand on 01/09/88 at Kwekwe District Police H/Q, EC Number 157393T now Constable.

(c.) German Magadzire, ID 58-147025 M 83, born on 28/11/74 and employed as a Camp Bar-General Hand on 10/03/99 at Kwekwe Police Camp (Cactus), EC Number 1092734, now Constable.

(d) Abina Mutare, ID 32-058695 B 32, born on 16/05/72 and employed as a General Hand at Kwekwe District Office on 16/10/06, EC Number 5906407G.

(e) One Makoni, a typist with the Redcliff Police Station, enrolled as an "Assistant Inspector".

(f) Four other General Hands with Redcliff Police Station: Palume; Nemagwe; Mauto; and Kwenda enrolled as Constables.

(g) The Secretary for Kwekwe DISPOL, one Mangena, now an Assistant Inspector, while one, Muzinda, a Typist, also with the Kwekwe District now a Sergeant.

(h) Mrs. Murisa, Typist for Officer-in-Charge Kwekwe Central now a Sergeant.

(i) General Hands Kapfuwa - Kwekwe Rural: Gono - Kwekwe CID; Nomphilo Sixolo and Mukondo - Kwekwe Central, all now Constables and

(j) asked the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to state the action taken against such activities, and give reasons why a "commission of inquiry" has not been set up to investigate such activities.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE ): May the hon. member be advised that this is not the first time that I have responded to an issue of this nature. The issue being referred to by the hon. member is a human resource policy matter adopted by the employer, the Police Service Commission in consultation with the Public Service Commission and the Secretary of Home Affairs and communicated to the Commissioner General of Police through pertinent official minute.

RESULTS OF INVESTIGATIONS (IF ANY) OF HONDE VALLEY TRUCK DISASTER

9. MR. CHIMHINI asked the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to inform the House on the following:

a) the results of the investigations, if any, of the Honde Valley truck disaster that claimed 18 lives on 24th December, 2012, near Makunike Business Centre;

b) whether 49 people were treated at Hauna Hospital, 19 people were transferred to Mutare General Hospital and 18 died, bringing the total to 86 people in one truck, if so, explain how this truck passed through all the road blocks from Mbare-Msika, Harare, to Honde Valley without being brought to book by the police, and;

c) what practical measures the Ministry is putting in place to curb future disasters particularly during public holidays where bus operators hike fares resulting in the travelling public seeking transport from overloaded lorries?

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE ): The results of the investigations of the Honde Valley truck disaster that claimed 18 lives on 24th December, 2012 near Makunike Business Centre, I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. member that the Zimbabwe Republic Police meticulously carried out investigations and as a result, the driver of the lorry was charged for 18 counts of culpable homicide. He was sentenced to two years in prison and banned from driving for the rest of his life.

The driver was also further charged for contravening Section 7 of the Road Motor Transportation Act for operating without a permit and was fined US$600.

I wish to advise the hon. member that the lorry had a total of 63 people on board and not 86. Forty six people were taken to Hauna hospital for treatment where one eventually died. The other 17 died on the spot. It cannot be proved that the people who were on board were all carried from Mbare-Msika as alleged.

So, to conclude that the lorry passed through several road blocks without being brought to book may/or is only a figment of the imagination of some people who may include the hon. member. May it also be brought to the attention of the hon. member that people with a propensity to commit crimes will always find ways and means to evade the police and this could have been the case as the accident occurred on a dirty road namely Selbourne-Aberfole which is way off the main road.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has always tried to ensure that there are adequate measures to curb crime particularly during festive periods such as holidays. It is unfortunate that when some of these disasters occur, people may want to view or attribute the disasters to incompetence by the police.

The issue of fares can best be dealt with by the Ministry of Transport.

REMITTANCE OF TRAFFIC AND OTHER FINES TO THE CONSOLIDATED REVENUE FUND

10. MR. S. MUSHONGA asked the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs:

a) what the Ministry's policy is regarding the remittance of traffic and other fines to the Consolidated Revenue Fund;

b) to submit to the House audited accounts of the fines collected by the Zimbabwe Republic Police between January 2012, to January 2013, and;

c) to state their (Co-Ministers) role in the appropriation of these fines.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): I wish to advise the hon. member that all fines collected by the Zimbabwe Republic Police are channeled to the Consolidated Revenue Fund through the courts in accordance with the law. The Zimbabwe Republic Police only retains spot fines. As far as this measure is concerned, the relative authority was granted by Government. Treasury is aware that authority to this effect is in place.

The hon. member also wanted to know if the Zimbabwe Republic Police is submitting audited accounts collected between the periods of January 2012 to January 2013. I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. member the fact that submission of audited accounts for government ministries and departments is done by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. The Comptroller and Auditor-General can do this, if the august House requests for it to be done. If the hon. member so feels that this should be done, he is free to initiate in this House, a process to direct the request to the Comptroller and Auditor-General who is mandated to do this work. The ministry cannot audit itself.

The hon. member also wanted to know the role of the Co-Ministers in appropriation of these funds. I want to thank the hon. member for asking this question. As I have alluded to above, all fines realised are channelled to Treasury through the courts, where this becomes the preserve of the Finance Ministry to appropriate the funds. They will, of course be taking into consideration, proposals and submissions by the various departments under the ministry.

MR. SULULU: Thank you Madam Speaker. To the Hon. Minister, why is it that cash spot fines are not channelled to Treasury as you stipulated?

MRS. MAKONESE: Madam Speaker, this dates back to the days of the hyperinflation. When you collected your billions in the morning, by the time the money went through the courts and then to Treasury, it would have depreciated by more than 100%. So, the police requested that the money be used for approved items of the police as quickly as possible in order not to lose value. However, after we dollarised, the ministry never revoked that authority and it is the one that is still being used by the ZRP today.

POLICY REGARDING THE DISPLAY OF THE ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE'S FORCE NUMBERS

11. MR. VARANDENI asked the Co-Minister of Home Affairs to inform the House on the ministry's policy regarding the display of Zimbabwe Republic Police's force numbers on their uniforms.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. member, I want to thank you first for your question but just to advise you, it is a requirement of all officers to put on a complete uniform. A complete uniform includes their force numbers. However, this has not been possible because of the lack of fiscal space in the Ministry of Finance which has made it impossible over the last few years for the ministry to avail adequate funding for police uniforms. This has resulted in the ZRP going out of its way to improvise force numbers sometimes by printing it on cloth material and just stitching it on which does not look very tidy. However, even the acquisition of this material requires financing. We hope that when the fiscal space improves, the Ministry of Finance will avail adequate funds to purchase adequate uniforms including metal force number badges. I thank you Madam Speaker.

REVENUE GENERATED FROM ROAD BLOCKS MANNED BY THE ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE

12. MR. VARANDENI asked the Co-Minister of Home Affairs to inform the House the amount of revenue that has been generated from road blocks manned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police nationwide and state the custodians of the revenue and how the funds are managed.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): As I have outlined in my response to Hon. Mushonga, it is the duty of the Comptroller and Auditor-General to submit audited accounts to this House and not to the ministry. However, I want to assure the hon. member that all the money that has been given to the Zimbabwe Republic Police by Treasury has been put to good use. This does not include the amounts that he is talking about which are spot fines and which I have already said are used for approved items by the police. The custodian for all the finances is the Ministry of Finance, if these are fines that are not spot fines. These can always be audited through the relevant authority which is that of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. I thank you Madam Speaker.

CONSFISCATION OF PERSONAL RADIOS BY THE ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE

13. MR. HOVE asked the Co-Minister of Home Affairs to inform the House:

(a) whether it is permissible for the Zimbabwe Republic Police to confiscate personal radios and where they derive those powers.

(b) to clarify why the radios are considered a security threat.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): Thank you Madam Speaker. Radios can only be confiscated if they have been brought into the country illegally. It is not illegal to own a receiving only radio. Only two way transmitter radios are illegal to possess as these pose a security threat to the country. I am not aware of any Act that actually says it is illegal to own a radio.

The second question by the hon. member is on seeking clarity on why the radios are considered a security threat. Whether or not, personal radios are legally or illegally brought into Zimbabwe, they can and are being used for peddling hate speech. As such, the radios themselves are not the threat but it is the broadcasters of hate speech and hate speech is not confined to illegally imported radios. Therefore, as far as the ministry is concerned, it is not the radios, especially receivers that are a threat to this country. The threat is found when broadcasters take it upon themselves to set citizens against each other. I thank you.

MR. MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. If the Minister can explain to this House what the ministry means by hate speech and give examples of what the Minister means by hate speech?

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE): I can be excused Madam Speaker. I find it difficult to pronounce hate speech. Hate speech is one, I would imagine as one that injures the dignity and reputation of another. We find quite a lot of this in our electronic and print media in Zimbabwe. The hon. member is not a visitor to this country. He knows what hate speech is. He hears it every day. So for me to start repeating all the things that are said in the electronic media in this country, in this House, I do not think it is necessary, suffice to say that hate speech is one that is derogatory.

It is one that impinges on the good name of another citizen and one that sets one citizen against another and makes a mockery of another. That is hate speech. That is not a preserve of any particular broadcasting station as we would be made to believe. It is there in this country and this is why it is covered extensively in the GPA. This is why a new Broadcasting Act was required to be in place in order to address hate speech which is prevalent in this country. We hope that we do not take with us, hate speech to the elections as it does not promote peace. When there is no peace, the security of the State is threatened. Thank you Madam Speaker.

MR. HOVE: Thank you Madam Speaker. In your response Hon. Minister, I heard you making reference to the issue that ZRP is empowered to confiscate personal short wave radios that would have gotten into the country illegally. I want to find out the role of ZIMRA in that instance?

MRS. MAKONE: Thank you Madam Speaker. ZIMRA does not have arresting powers. ZIMRA is required to report to the police where they think that contraband might exist. They do not have the powers to go and arrest anybody. They must have a case for them to point out where illegal material is. By the way hon. member, I never referred to short wave transmitter radios. I did not say that. I said illegally imported radios, whether they are short wave frequency modulation, medium wave or whatever and I am not being specific about the length of the wave here.

Any radios which are brought into this country illegally and is reported upon by ZIMRA should be confiscated. If the police go and choose to only concentrate on short wave radios, if you ask me about short wave radios, then I will talk about short wave radios. But the question was, is it illegal to possess personal radios? So I am talking about radios not radios of a particular wave length. Anticipating the question that follows from what I have just said, which is I am sure Madam Speaker, that the police have been confiscating short wave radios - I said it before and I will say it again.

It is an illegality to dispossess any Zimbabwean of their property which is acquired in a legal manner. If they can prove that the particular radio that they are confiscating has been brought into the country illegally, then that is a different issue altogether. A short wave radio is not an illegal radio in Zimbabwe. There is nowhere in our laws where it says that a Zimbabwean shall not own a short wave radio. I know that there are some people who do not want short wave radios in the countryside where medium waves cannot reach because particular broadcasters use short wave for their transmission.

These people are not licenced in Zimbabwe, they broadcast from outside but as long as they are broadcasting on short wave, they will reach Zimbabwe. So this is a form of censorship which is being practiced on civilians which is not legal on its own. Madam Speaker Sir, I want to be quoted correctly. Here, I am saying it is legal to own a short wave radio and the confiscation of radios should not be taken as a result of malicious intent. Thank you Madam Speaker.

On the motion of THE CO- MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MRS. MAKONE), the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes to Four o'clock p.m.

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 39 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 26 JUNE 2013 VOL. 39 NO. 29