You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>Vol. 36>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 3 November 2009 VOL. 36 NO. 5

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 3 November 2009 VOL. 36 NO. 5

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

 Tuesday 3rd November,2009

The House of Assembly met at a

Quarter-past Two O' clock p.m

PRAYERS

(MR SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS ON THE STATE OF THE COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE

 

MR. MASHAKADA: I move the motion standing in my name that;

This House takes note of the first report of the Public Accounts Committee on the state of the Comptroller and Auditor-General's office.

MRS. CHIKAVA: I second.

MR. MASHAKADA: As part of its orientation, the Committee resolved to look into the state of the Comptroller and Auditor General's Office to acquaint itself with the Office's operations, the state of audits and challenges faced in the discharge of its mandate. The Committee considered a submission by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (C&A G) on the status, mandate, regulatory frame work, staffing levels, progress on the submission of the reports for consideration by the Committee and ; the challenges that confront the Office. The Committee then proceeded to consider certain aspects of the contents of the Annual Report of the Comptroller and Audit- General for the year ended December 31, 2006 in order to obtain an insight into the general state of the Public Accounts. The contents of the C &AG's submissions were further corraborated by similar submissions by the Office of the Accountant- General of the Ministry of Finance. It was the unanimous decision of the Committee to begin its mission through this route in view of the fact that most of its work emanates from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General Again, by tradition, the Comptroller and Auditor-General is the chief advisor of the Committee. The major issues upon which this report is centered are detailed below.

2 Objectives

In deciding on this inquiry, the Committee was motivated by the following objectives:

l To have an appreciation of the work of the C and A G's Office;

l to familiarize with the regulatory frame work guiding the operations of the C and A G's Office;

l To asses the conditions of service; and

l To recommend to government appropriate action aimed at strengthening the C and A G's Office to enable it to effectively and efficiently execute its mandate.

3. Methodology

For it to realize the above objectives, the Committee implemented its execution plan as follows:

l The committee had an oral briefing on the operations of the C and A G and the status of Audit Reports. This helped a lot in getting the Committee to understand the work of the C and A G's office, the enabling regulatory frame work, conditions of service and challenges faced in the execution of its mandate. It also assisted the committee in understanding the working relationship between the Committee and the C and A G's Office in analysis of Audit Reports.

l It had another oral briefing from the Accountant General's office on its operations. This assisted the Committee in getting an insight into the working relationship between the Treasury, line Ministers and C and A G's office in coming up with the Audit Reports tabled in Parliament and consideration of such reports by the Public Accounts Committee.

l Consideration of the 2006 Comptroller and Auditor General's Annual Report enabled the Committee to appreciate the kind and depth of legal and organizational challenges that the Comptroller and Attorney General's office wrestles with in the execution of its mandate.

l The Committee benefited from research on good practices of the operations of similar supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the SADC region.

The methodology assisted the Committee in arriving at carefully thought out recommendations, which if implemented by government will go a long way in strengthening the Comptroller and Auditor General's office and in turn the oversight role of Parliament through Public Accounts Committee on public expenditure as well as improving transparency and accountability of public monies and state property and adherence to financial efficiency by accounting officers.

1. Summary of Submissions made by the Comptroller and Auditor General's Office on its operations.

During an oral hearing session on the operations of the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, Ms Chiri, the Comptroller and Auditor General briefed the committee on the operations of her office. Below was the summary of her submission to the committee.

4.1.1. Establishment of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and its mandate.

The Committee was informed that the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was a constitutional creation established by section 105 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In terms of this section, the office is a public office but does not form part of the public service. The Comptroller and Auditor General is appointed by the President in consultation with the Public Service Commission. In other jurisdictions, the appointment is made in consultation with Parliament. The incumbent is not a civil servant and holds office on terms and conditions fixed by the President. However, section 5 (1) of the Audit and Exchequer Act [Chapter 22:03] stipulates that all other officers working under his or her authority are appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission and this effectively implies that they are civil servants.

The mandate of the Comptroller and Auditor General is provided for in section 106 of the Constitution and expressly stated in the Audit and Exchequer Act [Chapter 22:03]. Specific duties include the following:

l Examine, inquire into and audit the accounts of all accounting officers;

l safeguard public monies and state property;

l audit all or at his or her discretion, contract out the audit of the designated bodies or parastatals;

l carry out value for money audits both in the central government and in the designated corporate bodies;

l grant credit on the Exchequer Account (comptrolling function). This was viewed as an administrative issue and need to be hived to the Minister of Finance especially during the Constitution making process currently under way;

l prepare memorandum for the Committee on Public Accounts;

l prepare and submit audit reports to Parliament through the Ministry of Finance.

4.1.2 Powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General

In the execution of his or her duties, the C and A G enjoys the following powers as conferred upon the incumbent by the Audit and Exchequer Act:

2. Free access at all reasonable times to any records, books, vouchers, documents, public moneys or state property in the possession of any officer;

3. Authorize any person to conduct on his behalf any examination, inquiry, inspection, or audit of books or accounts;

4. Cause search to be made and extracts taken from any book, document or record in custody or possession of any officer;

5. Examine upon oath any person regarding the receipt or expenditure of public moneys, receipt or issue of any state property, or any other matters necessary for the exercise of his or her duties;

6. Lay before the Attorney General a written case as to any question regarding which legal opinion is required: and

7. Raise a surcharge against state employees or former state employees. There was a proposal to dispense this function on the basis that it had raised legal matters before. However the Committee felt that the C and A G should instead have a legal department

4.1.3 Types of Audits conducted by the C and A G

The C and A G mainly conduct three types of audit namely financial audits, value for money audits and specialized audits. The financial audits focus on the state of affairs of the financial statements and this relates to accounts of both government and parastatals. The value of money audits deal with matters of efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources in the government departments or parastatal and the specialized audits take the form of investigations.

4.1.4 The Regulatory Framework

There are two main legal instruments that govern the operations of the C and A G office namely the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Audit and Exchequer Act. Chapter X1 of the Constitution deals with matters of finance. Section 111 provide for the the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) into which all fees, taxes and other revenues of t he Republic shall be paid while section 102 specify conditions under which moneys can be withdrawn from the CRF. Section 103 deals with authorisation of expenditure from the Fund and Section 104 addresses matters of debt. These Sections form the basis upon which public accountability; rules, regulations, standards and expectations are formulated. Section 105 establishes the office of the C and A G, his or her appointment, qualification for appointment, tenure and conditions of service and provisions of her removal from office. Section 106 provides for its functional obligation to render annual and other reports. The Audit and Exchequer Act (chapter 22:03) provides in more detail for the management and control of public moneys and state property. It confers upon the treasury the duty to manage and control public moneys and state property and as such is vested with certain powers with regards to rights-offs, issue of advances, establishment of funds and procedures to be followed in relation to appropriation and year end accounts. The Act further provides comprehensively for the salary, powers and the duties of C and A G and his or her staff, reports, penalties for obstructing or hindering audit officers in the execution of their duties.

4.1.5 Reporting by the C and A G

The C and A G is required by the Audit and Exchequer Act to examine accounts after they are transmitted to him or her, sign a certificate which records the results of his or her examination, prepare and submit a report of his or her examination and audit of the accounts to the Minister not later than 30 September of each year. The responsible Minister of finance is required to table the report within 7 days when Parliament is in session and if the Minister fails to table the report within the stipulated time frame, the C and A G should transmit a copy of the report to the Speaker of the House of Assembly for tabling. In other Parliaments, the C and A G submit the reports for tabling by the Speaker. Upon tabling of the report in Parliament, the C and A G is required to present a memorandum to the Public Accounts Committee, which highlights the audit observations raised on accounts of the various government departments or parastatals. The memorandum brings to the attention of the public accounts committee areas of concern, which need to be followed up with relevant accounting officers.

4.1.6 The Structure of the Audit Office

The Audit office is presided over by the Comptroller and Auditor General who is assisted by three Deputy Auditor Generals and each is in charge of a division in the office. Two are in charge of the management and audit of government ministries or departments and the third one is responsible for the management and audit of designated statutory bodies or parastatals. Immediately below them are Directors of Audit who supervise two sections each that are under the management of Deputy Directors of Auditing. The Deputy Directors of Audit are the first line managers and below them are the operational staff.

The C and AG expressed concern on the centralised nature of its function as it operates from Harare and is expected to cover all government departments including those decentralized throughout the country. In other jurisdictions such as in Malawi and Tanzania there are provisional district offices.

4.1.7 Curent State of Audits and Reports

The C and AG is required by law to audit law and to report to Parliament the results of such audits on an annual basis. However, for the past years this requirement has not been complied with. The office could not produce annual reports for tabling during the period 2000 to 2005. The blame was apportioned on ministry that failed to produce the necessary statements and returns upon which year end audits will be conducted. As a result, the ministry of Finance totally failed to produce the Consolidated Revenue Fund Statement.

Audit inspections of government offices and other costs centers both inside the country and in Missions abroad has declined over the years from 11,75% in 1983/4 to nil in 2008. Auditing of Public Accounts Practitioners which should be conducted at least once every financial year has been greatly curtailed over the years.

However , there has since been improvement this year. The C and AG managed to table the annual report for 2006. This was tabled in the House of Assembly on 19th February 2009. One special report on the management of Construction Projects by the Ministry of Public Works and National Housing was also tabled on 17th June 2009. The 2007 Annual Report and the 2009 Interim Report are due for tabling before the House. The 2008 Annual Report is being finalised. However, the Committee was of the opinion that Parliament might need to waiver the requirement for the 2008 audits, as it does not make economic sense to use the scarce United States dollars to audit expenditure which is in Zimbabwean dollar. The C and AG proposed to issue a disclaimer or adverse opinion especially on assets instead of conducting the actual financial audit.

4.1.8 Challenges by the C and AG's Office

In her presentation to the Committee C and A G highlighted a myriad of challenges and these are largely caused by shortcomings in the enabling legal instruments, unattractive conditions of service and budgetary constraints. The Committee hopes that the challenges will be addressed in the proposed Audit Office Bill. The challenges are highlighted in detail as follows:

l Gaps in the Enabling Legal Instruments: Both the Constitution and Audit and Exchequer Act do not give the C and AG any sanction powers to compel Ministries and departments to observe and comply with the Treasury Instructions and other regulations regarding submissions of returns. Rather, it relies on the Treasury as the manager of public funds and state property. As a result, recent reports of the C and AG have revealed delayed submissions and in other instances total failure by Ministries and departments to produce certain returns and statements required for audit. This impacted negatively on the ability of the Audit Office in producing the annual reports as well as meeting the statutory deadliness for tabling of such reports in Parliament. Again, the law does not provide enforcement mechanisms with regards to Audit recommendations. A scrutiny of published reports revealed a uniformity of Audit observations raised from year to year, which is evidence that little or nor action was being taken on observations made. Through a combination of under resourcing and poor responses by government ministries and departments, the C and AG is behind in delivery of annual reports to Parliament. The C and AG has however, managed to expand its work in the area of value for money audits as in some instances accounts on which they base their audits will not be forthcoming.

l Unattractive Remuneration: The playing field regarding the recruitment of technical skills is currently heavily skewed in favour of the private sector as conditions in the public sector are regarded as sub economic. This problem has some legal basis as besides the C and AG, the Audit and Exchequer Act effectively places the rest of the staff under the Public Service Commission. Over the past years, the Audit Office has been experiencing high staff turn over among the technically qualified and experienced staff. The departing staff are not readily replaced as the recruitment is done by the Public Service Commission. There is also currently a freeze on filling vacant posts. At the time of briefing by the C and AG, the Audit Office was operating with a vacancy rate of 50%. Due to skills shortage the Audit office could not conduct examinations and audit of accounts of designated statutory bodies and resorted to contracting out to private accounting firms.

l Budgetary Constraints: The Audit Office activities are funded from the fiscus. Over the past years, the budget allocation has been shrinking due to the prevailing unfavourable macro economic environment. As mentioned earlier, the Office's field based activities were greatly curtailed. The office was not able to procure most of the consumables owing to the limited budget allocation.

4.2 Briefing on the Operations of the Accountant General's Office in Relation to Audit Work

Mr Zvandasara, the Deputy Accountant General, briefed the Committee on the operations of the Accountant General's Office, the governing statutes, and challenges faced in the execution of its mandate. The major highlights of his presentation are summarized below.

4.2.1 The Regulatory Framework

Like the C and AG's Office, the work of the Accountant General is governed by Chapter XI of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which gives the broad framework for the management of Government finances. The Minister responsible for Finance is required by the Constitution of Zimbabwe to cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament estimates of revenue and expenditure every year. The Treasury is mandated by the Audit and Exchequer Act [Chapter 22:03] to manage the CRF, determine the manner in which public moneys and State property should be accounted for and managed as well as to exercise the general direction and control of the same. It empowers the Treasury to issue instructions and directions in relation to among other things, the collection, receipt, custody, control, issue and expenditure of public moneys to accounting officers. These are in the form of Treasury Instructions, Accounting Procedures Manuals, Circulars and Circular Minutes that cover various aspects of management and control of public finance. Accounting officers are expected, with the approval of the Treasury, to design and implement systems of internal checks and control that are best suited to their different operating environments. The State Loans and Guarantees Act [Chapter 22:13] provides for the borrowing and administration of State loans and issuance of guarantees by Government.

4.2.2 The Role of the Accountant General

The Accountant General's Office maintains the Government's books of accounts, consolidates transactions by all Ministries and presents an analysis of budget performance every month in order to facilitate informed decision making. It compiles financial returns for audit and subsequent publication in the C and A G's Annual Report. It is responsible for the formulation, review and administration of the national accounting policy, procedures and regulations. It handles the servicing of and accounting for central Government debt. It facilitates disbursements, accounting and monitoring of donor funds and projects. The Office is responsible for statutory funds managed by line Ministers with regards to: review of drafts; proposed amendments; monitoring operations and performance; providing technical advice and direction on accounting system, analysis and design; financial management and control; and preparation of financial statements.

The Department, in liaison with the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA), undertakes financial appraisal and analysis of key Public Enterprises' financial performance to inform decision-making. It is responsible for the development of internal audit and review of internal audit reports, with a view to identify systems weaknesses and / or compliance deficits to facilitate appropriate action. It manages the Public Finance Management System (PFMS), which is a computerized accounting system that links the Treasury with the line Ministries.

4.2.3 The Role of Accounting Officer

The Accounting Officers are required to prepare and submit financial returns pertaining to their Ministries or departments in accordance with Treasury Instructions. They are responsible for the preparation and submission of annual appropriation accounts and statements together with any explanation as directed by the Treasury. They are required to offer explanation or replies to observations raised by the C and A G on the accounts of their Ministries or departments. They are also required to furnish any statement, evidence, explanation or memorandum concerning their Ministries or departments to which Parliament or any Committee of Parliament may be entitled to,

4.2.4 Challenges Faced by the Accountant General's Office

The Office faced capacity constraints necessitated by lack of resources to update the legal and regulatory framework to bring them in line with the current demands as well as for monitoring to ensure compliance. The lack of resources, compounded by the loss of skilled and experienced personnel as a result of uncompetitive remuneration, has adversely affected the quality and timeliness of financial reports produced by Ministries. The highly inflationary environment resulted in the PFMS system's design being unable to cope with the number of digits the Government was dealing with. The subsequent revaluations of the Zimbabwe Dollar put pressure on the limited skills available to develop and implement coping mechanisms. This caused transactions during 2008 to be processed outside the system and in turn affected the production and quality of financial returns.

5. Observation and Recommendation by the Committee

5.1The committee deliberated on the submissions made by the C an A G and the Accountant General's Office and observed that the challenges facing the two offices were severe in nature and needed urgent government attention if government was committed to restoring and adhering to principles of prudent financial management and control of public funds and State property. The Committee's recommendations were informed by presentations made as well as experiences of similar supreme audit institutions from the SADC region. The Committee's observations are highlighted as follows.

5.1.1 Independence of the Office of the C and A G

The Committee observed that section 106(6) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that the Comptroller and Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction and control of any person or authority other than Parliament in the exercise of his or her duties. This gives an impression that the office enjoys a great deal of independence. After a careful analysis of what was obtaining on the ground, the committee came to the conclusion that the independence of the C and A G's Office was to some extent compromised. In as much as the President in consultation with the PSC appoints the C and A G and Parliament is not involved, the Treasury determines and controls the budget of the audit office and the rest of the officers under the Office are civil servants, genuine independence of the Audit office is far from being realised.

Recommendation 1: The Legislature instead of the PSC should be consulted in the appointment of the C and A G.

The committee's recommendation was guided by the international standards on the independence of Supreme Audit Institutions. According to the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) criteria, for a Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) to be independent from the Executive regarding the appointment of the C and A G, the Legislature should be consulted. This is in line with the current developments brought by Constitutional Amendment No. 19 which have seen Parliament playing a centre stage in the appointment of Commissioners for various Commissions such as the Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

5.1.2 Staffing and Remuneration

The Committee observed that the C and A G entirely depends on the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission on matters of staffing and remuneration. The PSC can delay recruiting and even freeze filling of vacant posts and the C and A G is just powerless and as a result is greatly compromised in his or her watchdog function. The PSC can transfer some of the staff under the C and A G. In terms of remuneration, the staff working under the C and A G are civil servants and there is nothing exceptional to reflect their special role in government. As a result, the Office of the C and A G has been with the organisation for only three years. This has reduced the Audit office to a training ground and rendered the office ineffective in delivering its mandate. The Audit Office has now resorted to contracting out auditing or parastatals to private accounting firms. In other jurisdictions the Audit Office also audits the accounts of local authorities but given the staffing situation, this cannot be the case with our Audit Office.

Recommendation 2: The Office of the C and A G should have its own system for staffing and remuneration.

To recruit and retain trainable and trained staff depends largely on the extent the C and A G can attract capable staff through offering competitive remuneration and other employment conditions. The C and A G should be given powers to employ, appoint, promote and control discipline of officers who assist him or her in the discharge of her mandate. In the Audit Bill, it is proposed to have a Service Commission.

5.1.3 Executive Response to Audit Reports

It was observed that audit observations are repeated from year to year which is an indication that they are not taken seriously by both the Treasury and the Accounting Officers. Thus Audit reports do not have any impact, as they do not lead to any remedial action. As a result, the Audit office is rendered a watchdog institution without teeth to bite.

Recommendation 3: The enabling legislation should be amended to include a provision which requires the Ministry of Finance to table in Parliament a remedial plan of action.

The committee feels that if the Audit reports are to have the desired impact, the enabling legislation should place an obligation upon the Treasury and the accounting officers whose accounts have been qualified to respond with a remedial action plan to the C and A G's annual report. The C and A G would then follow up on the action plan and report on action taken in its next annual audit.

5.1.4 High Turnover among Professionals in the Accounting Field

The committee noted with concern from the Accounting General's presentation that the Ministry of Finance and all other Ministries have over the years experienced mass exodus of professionals in the accounting field. This has resulted in Ministries failing to produce quality financial reports and within the stipulated time frame. Consequently, the Ministry of Finance is also failing to produce the Consolidated Revenue statement upon which audits are based,

Recommendation 4: Government should improve remuneration and conditions of service for officers in the accounting section.

The committee strongly feels that if public funds are not properly accounted for, such a situation can easily create conditions for corruption; misuse, abuse, embezzlement and decision-making will easily manipulate towards self-interest. The current global economic crisis also calls for the need to be prudent in the management and control of public resources as recovery is largely dependent on the public purse. There is therefore need for government to attract and retain skilled and experienced staff to ensure that public funds and State properties are properly accounted for.

5.1.5 Update Legal and Regulatory Framework

The committee noted with concern that the Ministry of Finance has over the years failed to review the legislation that governs the management and control of public funds. As a result the laws can no longer deal with a plethora of problems confronting the Ministry of finance as the manager of public funds and state properties. It is now very difficult for the Ministry of Finance to compel Ministries to submit appropriation accounts because it has no sanction powers.

Recommendation 5: The Committee commends the Ministry of Finance for repealing the Audit and Exchequer Act, replacing it with two Bills namely the Audit Office and the Public Finance Management which the committee feels will be able to address some of the challenges highlighted above.

What should be borne in mind is that accounting and financial management practices are not static and as such, there is need to regularly review the governing legal instruments to bring them in line with current demands.

6. Conclusion

The committee came to the conclusion that although the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the independence of the C and A G's office, there is still more that needs to be done for the Audit Office to be able to realise such independence and supremacy in reality. The existing regulatory framework needs to be revisited as a matter of urgency to include provisions that guarantee freedom of the Audit Office in matters of the budget, employment and remuneration. There is also need to urgently address the accounting skill requirements in the Ministry of Finance as well as in line Ministries to ensure prudent financial management and control as well as to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and State property. I thank you.

*MRS CHIKAVA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir, I rise to support the first report of the Public Accounts Committee. We should be honest enough to concede that there was a drain on the country's wealth. I am happy to say that the current Auditor General is a courageous women who is doing her work well. She is leaving no stone unturned in exposing the wrong doers. She wants to bring all the culprits to book, it is now time to forget about the past and focus on the future. We would want that office to be well resourced. The Auditor General's Office should operate independently, to this end we propose that the Auditor General and his support staff be independent. They should not fall under the auspices of the Public Service Commission. Furthermore, their working conditions and remuneration should be attractive enough to motivate and retain them. We all have the Auditor-General's report and if we had not read it, then we are not representing our people properly. Every woman knows that if she has a dripping water bucket, she will use soap suds to patch the hole. The Auditor-General's Office should also be afforded the opportunity to look at the use of funds at Embassies, they should also have a chance to even go outside the country and audit these Embassies. My plea to all member of this House, whether female or male is that the Auditor General's Office should be independent and be answerable to Parliament. This helps in dealing with issues such as threats that may emanate from the Executive since her staff fall under the Public Service Commission. We hope you will support us in our endeavours to bring sanity in the handling of public funds. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th November, 2009

MOTION

CONFERMENT OF HERO STATUS

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

DISTURBED by the current situation where national heroes and heroines are declared in a partisan and biased manner;

NOTING that several deserving Zimbabweans have not been accorded the heroes and heroines status;

CONVINCED that it is undesirable for the organ of a political party to determine such national issues;

ACCEPTING that an objective and bipartisan process will restore confidence in the process;

NOW THEREFORE, this House resolves to set up a committee, which will examine the matter and make appropriate recommendations to the House.

MS T. KHUMALO: I second.

MR F. M. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker, this motion calls for sober and rational minds because the content thereof is of paramount importance to the nation. Before going further Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence that, I read through my prepared speech as the subject/motion will assist many Zimbabweans to understand the heroism concept in relation to Zimbabwe.

To this effect, I will also ask the Speaker to cause the recording in total, the National Heroes Acre (Chapter 10:16) as an annexure to my speech for the good of Zimbabweans of all levels.

According to the National Horoes Acre (Chapter 10:16), designation of heroes is done by the President, "where the President considers that any deceased person who was a citizen of Zimbabwe and has deserved well of his country on account of his outstanding, distinctive and distinguished service to Zimbabwe, he may, by notice in the Gazette designate such person as a national, provincial or district hero of Zimbabwe". Therefore, conferment of hero status is a great honour in recognition of those gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe. The heroes and heroines are classified in three categories and generally reflect the departed hero's or heroine's contribution to the nation. To this end, how are heroes and heroines determined? Are they determined by the state or a political organ of a single party? The aforesaid questions need to be answered squarely and truthfully.

National Heroes Acre (Chapter 10:16) has the following sections:-

l Part I - deals with Preliminary issues.

l Part II - on how heroes are designated.

l Part III - on heroes dependants assistance board.

l Part IV - on state assistance.

l Part V - on heroes dependants assistance fund.

l Part VI - on general issues.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE OF THE NATIONAL HEROES ACT

In simple terms or in brief, the Act's objective is to provide for the Heros and Heroines of this country. This has to be said in case we change for the better in this noble cause: No one can doubt heroism of the likes of Dr Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Edson Zvobgo, George Silundika, Herbert W. Chitepo, Ackim Ndlovu, Josiah Magamba Tongogara, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Sally Mugabe, Rodgers Alfred Nikita Mangena, Ariston Chambati Willie Musarurwa, Daniel Nyamayaro Madzimbamuto, Lookout Masuku, Chief Rekayi Tangwena, Josiah M. Chinamano just to name a few. The truth is the list of such heroes/heroines is not exhaustive. Heroism is earned not made. Both the fallen and living heroes are determined by their deeds while alive not dead. We should honour and recognize them while living and be honest to them thereof.

UNSUNG HEROES/HEROINES

Because of the partisan nature of how our heroes/heroines are designated, this country has left out many unsung fallen heroes. The unsung heroes had outstanding distinctive and distinguished service to Zimbabwe, but for unknown reasons, they have been left out. As a people let us re-consider them, posthumously: - some unsung heroes/heroines are:

l Samuel Munodawafa.

l Mucheriwa Choga

l Kenneth Mano

l Henry Hamadziripi

l James Nyikadzinashe

l Crispen Mandizvidza

l Tinzwei Goronga

l Ndabaningi Sithole

l Saul Sadza

l Phibeon Shonhiwa

l Sheba Tavarwisa

l Joseph Chimurenga

l Cletos Chigowe

l Dr Joseph Taderera

l Patrick Kombayi

l James Dambaza Chikerema

l Dr Michael Mawema

l Enock Dumbujena (former Chief Justice)

l Oliver Munyaradzi

l Solomon Mabika

l William Kona

l Mark Nziramasanga

l Jairos Jiri

l Rev. Canaan Banana (former President of Zimbabwe)

l Mrs Susan Tsvangirai

l Chief "Chioko" Mangwende (of Mrehwa)

l Chief Bveke (of Nyombwe/Mt Darwin)

l Sir Garfield Todd

l William Bango

l Chief Malisa (of Silobela/Kwekwe)

l Noel Mukono

l Isaac Matongo (fromer MDC National Chair)

l Learnmore Juda Jongwe

l Talent Mabika

l Dr. Samuel M Mundawarara

l Jefrey Mutandare

l Albert Mugabe (Trade Unionist)

l Shongwe Chifamba (Trade Unionist)

l Mercedes Sibanda (Footballer)

l Titus "Zii" Majola (Footballer)

l Dr "Love" Paul Matavire (Musician)

l Safirio Madzikatire (Comedian/Musician)

l Biggie Tembo (Musician)

l Leonard Dembo (Musician)

l James Chimombe (Musician)

l Ndema Ngwenya (Academia)

l Patrick Nyamanyama

l Tichaona Chiminya

l Jerry Nyambuya

l Tonderai Ndira and

l Better Chokururama

The list of these unsung heroes/heroines is not exhaustive.

I therefore call the honourable members to research and come up with other deserving unsung heroes to this august House for urgent consideration and then propose for their heroes-status conferment posthumously.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Mr Speaker Sir, I recommend to this august House to set up a committee to find out how, a non-partisan body could be established and mandated to determine and confer hero-status to all deserving citizens across the political divide.

8. To recommend and commend to the proposed non-partisan body to confer Hero-status to all unsung Heroes/Heroines across the political divide.

9. To recommend and commend that other deserving citizens from other sectors i.e. industry, commerce, business, sports, farming, mining, medicine and education be considered for Hero/Heroine status.

10. That conferment of hero/heroine status should not be a preserve or a prerogative of a single party organ but be a state function, whereby the state, through a non-partisan body adjudicates and designates would be Heroes/Heroines of Zimbabwe.

11. That the National Heroes Act (Chapter 10:16) be amended forthwith as to be compatible with the current political dispensation, which is inclusive in nature, character and spirit.

Mr Speaker Sir, I humbly rest my submission for your invaluable and the august House consideration. I hereby submit the National Heroes Act (Chapter 10:16) together with my speech.

I thank you all.

MS T. KHUMALO: This country is pregnant with heroes and heroines who are still living. The problem is that we do not sing praises about them whilst they are still alive. What then happens is that we are using their deaths as a talk show in order to challenge each other. We are basically washing our dirty linen in front of our children when we are perceived to be parents of these kids.

The Act is very clear and was promulgated by this House but we are no longer following what we wrote. The reason is known by ourselves. This is the time for us to respect the laws that we make so that we can be respected by the people. We know that national heroes and heroines are for the nation, but today a single party declares someone a hero. What has happened is that there are heroes at the National Heroes Acre, one thing that we have forgotten is that these heroes have left dependents. The dependents are turned into destitutes the moment we bury that hero. It is no longer about moral justice, it is all about me, myself and I. It is no longer us. Today, the dependents of these heroes are destitutes and we are sitting here in this august House pretending that we like them.

Human life is never bought. Doctors have been trained to help the sick to try and save life. One thing that they have failed to do is to give life but what we can do is to give life to the dependents of the dead. We are privatising declaration of heroes. Zimbabwe is not a private limited country and we have to respect our heroes.

Heroes are not people who fought the struggle only. We have Kirsty Coventry whom we pronounced in this House, and has made this country very proud by winning gold medals. We have trade unionists that have made this country move, we have never declared them heroes. We have women that fought for women's rights and they have never been declared heroes. Today the only hero that we have is the only hero that held the gun. If you did not hold the gun then you are not a hero in this country.

I think this is the time that in this august House, we change and respect the people that made this country proud. Like I said earlier on we are pregnant with heroes and heroines. One thing that we should do in this House is the opportunity of pronouncing heroes. If we can pronounce Kirsty Coventry in this House why can we not pronounce Lovemore Matombo, the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, why not pronounce the women that fought for the rights of women?

We must sing praises of these heroes before they are dead and tell the nation what they did. Heroes and heroines are like wet cement, you drop any of it then it is stuck for life. Let us make sure that we drop the right thing so that we will not have to use ten pound hammers to break that cement in order to change our image.

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday 4th November, 2009

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that Order of the Day, No. 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

MR F.M. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir, for according me this opportunity to respond to His Excellency the President's official opening speech on the second session of the 7th Parliament on the 6th October 2009.

My response will dwell on five major areas as follows:

l proposal of phasing out second hand vehicles (page 9)

l remuneration of Civil Servants (page 15), (based on Poverty Datum Line)

l investment opportunities in the Region and promoting peace, security, democracy and good governance (page 20)

l building bridges of unity, forgiveness, trust and togetherness (page 21)

l missing link - Water Development in Matebeleland (page 12)

On page (9) of the speech, the President proposes to ban the importation of second-hand vehicles. Notwithstanding proffered reasons, I do not believe road carnage in our road network or highways is caused by second hand vehicles but bad conditions of our road network throughout the country for example;Masvingo-Beitbridge,Mt Darwin-Muzarabani,Bulawayo-Kezi, Bulawayo-Nkayi and Gweru- Silobela roads.

These roads are narrow and have no shoulders to say the least. Many of our roads both in urban and rural areas are dangerous. Visitors or tourists wonder how we drive in such bad roads.

The other reasons why we have many road accidents is the quality of drivers and dubious driving schools that have no adequate facilities to train would be drivers. We have also fake drivers who buy driver's licences hence unnecessary accidents occur. Our ZRP traffic sections are so corrupt that un-roadworthy vehicle drivers are made to pay bribes and let to go scot free. This is a cause of concern that police are abating and demanding bribes from unroadworthy vehicle drivers and letting the culprits go free and commit other accidents on a daily basis.

I therefore disagree totally that the importation of second hand cars be banned for the reason that, it could be counter productive to say the least. If enforced, this could be a classic economic disaster tantamount to "killing the goose that lays the golden eggs" because, duty on imported vehicles currently constitute a larger proportion of government revenue.

According to the 2009 Mid- Year fiscal review, the Minister of Finance, Hon Biti, said in July 2009, customs duty accounted for about 32% which is equal to US$285 million revenue collected between January and June this year. It was second only to Value Added Tax which contributed to a significant 39% of total revenue during the same period. In brief, vehicles processed through the Beitbridge netted US$50 000 daily from duty paid and ZIMRA sources also confirmed the same to be true.

On the Look East Policy, Zimbabwe is looking East and it is prudent to state that Japanese and Singaporean vehicles have ready market in Zimbabwe. Therefore phasing out or banning second hand vehicles is tantamount to "killing a goose that lays golden eggs". The Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) has no capacity to produce enough, reliable, and durable cars. The demand for vehicles outweighs the supply of locally manufactured vehicles. In this regard, I urge the Minister of Trade and Commerce to review this retrogressive move sooner than later. I also appeal to this august House to urge the government to be rational and pragmatic enough and see wisdom of keeping the status quo on second hand vehicle importation.

Mr Speaker, Sir, I feel compelled to point out that centralization of procurement of water treatment chemicals as stated on page ( 12) by the President is counterproductive for it will indeed escalate the woes thereof. The current philosophy of all progressive nations is empowering the locals of devolving of power and services. Because of bureaucracy and corruption, some cities and towns may be sacrificed. Let us as a nation move with the general trend of devolving power and services to the local authorities, whereby they themselves procure water treatment chemicals not otherwise.

Water is life, without it there is no life. In this respect, the President's Speech has a glaring missing link with reality. Matebeleland is a drought stricken region, between to (4 to 7). The government through the Ministry of Water development should have a programme of water development by building dams. Since 1980, the government has not built a single dam in Matebeleland. The dams that supply water in Bulawayo were built by the Rhodesian Front Regime under Ian Smith. People in Matebeleland expected that the State President would direct his cabinet through his speech to spearhead dam construction in Matebeleland North and South, but this is not the case. It is not proper to rely on dreams that will never come true like Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project and Mtshabezi pipeline. People needed dams since 1980 to date. Lessons have to be drawn from Israel where they turned a desert to be a green valley. Why not harness wasted water and develop modern farming methods as other nations?

As a trade unionist, I believe workers should be paid a living wage regardless of being civil servants or private employees. The concept of paying employees based on PDL is internationally accepted and is the current norm where workers' labour is valued. I suggest that all workers in Zimbabwe be paid based on PDL, not only civil servants but all Zimbabwean workers. This move will enhance good labour relations and retain most skilled people in all sectors ie public or private. As a matter of urgency, labour unions and employers associations should engage each other in good faith and revive our economy as was in the 1990s to realise better working conditions. Cheap labour is counter productive in many aspects for; workers that are demotivated are not productive. I therefore urge the Ministry of Labour and Public Service to meet relevant workers representatives and come up with common goals and improve working conditions of all workers.

We should not over emphasise that good governance begets investment opportunities. However, let us also agree that bad governance begets economic meltdown. In this regard, the President calls for creating investment opportunities in the region that promote peace, security, democracy and good governance. This is what my party (MDC) stands for. As Zimbabweans, let us avoid rhetoric and theories but be practical, actions speak volumes than words. As a nation, let us implement the GPA, to the letter and spirit so that we attract investment locally, regionally and internationally. Zimbabwe needs peace, security of persons, rule of law, democracy and ultimately good governance. We have to work together and build the bridges starting locally for charity begins at home. We have to forgive each other, yes! People need the truth and justice before verbal forgiveness.

In conclusion, I pray that this august House agree with me that banning second hand vehicles now will be like killing a goose that lays the golden eggs.

Let us as Zimbabweans, honour and pay our workers a living wage based on Poverty Datum Line.

As Zimbabweans, let us be practical and demand real truth and justice before mere verbal forgiveness. Let us as the Government of Zimbabwe be proactive in dam construction, particularly in the drought stricken region of Matabeleland.

Implement the GPA in total as to achieve intended objectives, namely economic growth, social integration, healing and reconciliation and ultimately have a people driven and democratic constitution by and for the people of Zimbabwe.

Empower the local authorities by devolving both power and services to them. Let us as a nation be objective thinkers and avoid being praise singers in order to constructively criticise our political leaders for the betterment of everyone regardless of one's social or political persuasion.

MR MUZA : Thank you Mr Speaker for affording me the opportunity to make my maiden contribution to the motion in response to the address by the Head of State, Government and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, which he was pleased to give on the opening of the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe. I want to start by congratulating His Excellency the President on delivering a speech that reached out to all sectors of our political tapestry, recognised the progress in stabilising the economy and the legislative measures that will be put in place to ensure full recovery. I will be failing in my duty as a legislator if I fail to commend members on both sides of the House for according the Head of State the reverence and respect he deserves by displaying a spirit of unity, mutual trust and common purpose. Let me also take the opportunity to thank the people of my constituency for voting me to represent them in this august House.

The President highlighted a number of issues which touch the very soul of my constituency and which we as legislators need to seriously deliberate on for the benefit of our electorate. To illustrate the gravity of the challenges before us, I will crave Mr Speaker's indulgence to an excerpt from the 19 th State of the Nation Address on the 20th of December 2006 wherein His Excellency, the President exhorts hon members to: "...desist from ivory tower theorising and better still from being long on critique, but short on prescription..."

By virtue of the fact that my constituency straddles communal, resettlement and urban areas, the challenges it is facing in agriculture, mining, industry, road and social infrastructure are characteristic of what the entire country is experiencing. In this respect, Redcliff is unique in that it is one of the few constituencies with a population mix that reflects the national outlook.

National Food Security

Mr Speaker, pertaining to agriculture and the need to guarantee food security, it will help us as a nation if we support this vital area to avoid spending vital foreign currency on importing food. We must build on the positive results of the 2008/09 cropping season, which registered a 70% increase on the output of the last season. It would be imprudent not to support agriculture as all successful economies do so through subsidies, very low land taxes, provisions of inputs and an array of other incentives. The case of Malawi is a good example of the positive results of government support for the vital agricultural sector. I therefore urge the Inclusive Government to continue supporting agriculture as there is a direct correlation between agricultural output and economic recovery, especially for an agro-based economy like Zimbabwe.

(b) PLACE OF SMALL GRAINS IN GUARANTEEING NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY

Mr Speaker Sir, Redcliff falls under agricultural regions 3b to 4 which are characterized by an erratic rainfall pattern and requires irrigation for the successful growing of crops. I commend the government for promoting the cultivation of small grains in the constituency and in the more arid areas of the country in order to bolster food security.

(c ) TIMELY PROVISION OF TILLAGE SERVICES

Given the limited time available before the onset of the planting season and the challenges facing DDF in providing adequate tillage services to farmers in communal and resettlement areas, I implore the Inclusive Government to expedite the provision of their essential service. I am sure I speak for other hon. members when I say that timely provision of tillage services is an area that needs urgent attention.

(d) SIMPLIFICATION OF PROCESS OF APPLYING FOR INPUTS

In the same vein, it is important to simplify the process of applying for agricultural inputs and their subsequent disbursement so that beneficiaries get them within the shortest possible time. This is particularly important if we are to ensure adequate food security in the 2009/2010 agricultural season.

(e) PRIVATE-PUBLIC SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS IN REHABILITATION OF IRRIGATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Mr Speaker Sir, in view of government's limited resources, I urge legislators to make use of private-public sector partnerships to rehabilitate infrastructure like existing irrigation facilities and dams. Such an arrangement will boost productivity and improve food security for both small scale and commercial farmers.

f) NEED TO SUPPORT SMALL-SCALE MINERS

Mr Speaker Sir, I commend government for the initiatives it is taking to empower our people in the mining industry as it generates vital foreign currency and employment in downstream industries. My constituency sits on the mineral-rich Great Dyke with high value metals like gold, platinum and chrome, among others. In welcoming Government's efforts to revitalize the sector, I appeal to the authorities to support small scale miners who face challenges of accessing claims due to the allocation of Exclusive Prospecting Orders to those who use them for speculative purposes.

Sadly, this leads to a situation where small scale miners, who constitute the majority of miners in my constituency, also face the problem of obsolete equipment, for example, the mills for crushing the ore are so old and inefficient that the gold is not fully extracted and remains in the dump. It is therefore vital to establish a special window for the purchase of mining equipment for small scale miners. In this respect, I call upon legislators to debate the Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill seriously and take corrective action for the benefit of our electorate.

g) RESUSCITATION OF ZISCO

At this juncture Mr Speaker Sir, let me highlight that, previous efforts to recapitalize ZISCO have not yielded expected results because the recapitalization programme was done in phases of adopting a wholesome package, where for example, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company is divided into 3 segments, the Primary Production Plant, which processes the raw materials and the Secondary Production, which processes the output of the first stage of production, feeding finishing plants which add the maximum value to ZISCO products, therefore enabling maximum profitability from products and services of ZISCO Steel.

So, most of the products that were then coming out of the capitalised projects were semi-processed or value addition only added up to 40 percent, therefore, profitability was not at full realisation. As such, we were actually wasting resources, which would have otherwise paved way for the recovery of this economy. I want to believe this time around, the inclusive government can select an investor with adequate capacity to enable full capitalisation of the plants, at the same time so that commissioning of the plant is done and full value addition of these products is actually realised at the end of the whole capitalisation programme.

h) PROVISION OF CLEAN DRINKING WATER

Mr Speaker Sir, people in communal areas and farmers resettled on the A1 model of my constituency have problems in accessing clean drinking water. While we acknowledge various efforts by the government to provide clean drinking water to people in communal and resettlement areas, it is a fact that a number of boreholes have broken down and are in urgent need of rehabilitation. I therefore appeal to the government to expedite the process of rehabilitating existing boreholes and sinking new ones.

i) REHABILITATION OF ROADS INFRASTRUCTURE IN COMMUNAL AND RESETTLED AREAS.

Mr. Speaker Sir, while we commend the ingenuity of the government and some local authorities in repairing and maintaining our road infrastructure in the face of limited resources, I encourage the government to do more in the communal and resettlement areas where road infrastructure is in a particularly bad state. Legislators must not forget that a good rural road network facilitates distribution and transportation of agricultural inputs and farm produce to markets.

j) PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS IN PROVISION OF IRRIGATION FACILITIES AND DAMS.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in view of government's limited resources, I urge legislators to make use of private-public sector partnership to rehabilitate infrastructure like existing irrigation facilities and dams. Such an arrangement will boost productivity and improve food security for both small and commercial farmers.

Provision of Health Infrastructure

Mr Speaker Sir, l applaud the Inclusive Government for embarking on programmes to roll back malaria and re-equip our health institutions with vital drugs. In spite of such noble efforts, however, I urge the government to do more in the communal and resettlement areas, which have inadequate health infrastructure and staff. Both the urban and rural areas of my constituency have a critical shortage of drugs and ambulances. It is in this respect that I want to pay special tribute to the medical support and staff of Loreto Mission hospital for displaying unparalleled dedication and commitment in the face of current challenges.

Enhancement of Educational Infrastructure.

As in health sector, people in resettlement areas of my constituency face the challenge of inadequate educational infrastructure like classrooms and accommodation for teachers. Government should adopt a deliberate policy of building primary and secondary schools in all resettlement areas countrywide. Currently, such educational infrastructure does not exist in resettlement areas.

Mr Speaker Sir, in spite of limited resources facing all departments, I urge the government to continue its noble efforts of enhancing the working conditions of teachers and other civil servants in rural areas. In this respect, it is vital that schools are provided with adequate textbooks, writing materials and other learning resources so that we maintain our pole position as a country with one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and provide sound base for our development.

At this juncture I need to mention that the development in any nation can only be realized when the environment is enabling. We need to be honest in this. Chief amongst the challenges is the issue of sanctions. Unless these sanctions are called off, there is no way our industry can recover fully because of ...-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-. Write now all huge companies are closed. You can go to ZNCC they will give you a list of companies that are operating. Right now, if there are telegraphic transfers, most of these payments cannot be cleared through the London Letter of Credit System because of these sanctions - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-.

MR SPEAKER: Order hon. members. Every member will have a chance to debate, so can you give him a chance....

MR MUZA: The issue at stake is that it is everybody's responsibility to play a meaningful role because that is a primary responsibility for which we are charged by the electorate who made us appear in this august House. Therefore, when we are talking national issues we need to be united for common purpose as Zimbabweans.

MR. M. KHUMALO: Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to respond to the address by President Mugabe on the opening of the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament on the 6th October 2009. The President alluded to the fact the inclusive government has entered into a new era of collaboration and togetherness. In this, l see that Cde Mugabe misrepresented realities obtaining on the political field by saying the inclusive government of national unity has ushered in a workable collaboration and togetherness.

I see that the misrepresentation comes into effect by that, ZANU PF as a political partner is not cooperating with MDC which happens to be the wining party as regards 2008 March election. ZANU PF sincerity in this issue, not only ZANU PF but even the sincerity of the leadership of ZANU PF, President Mugabe becomes questionable. A number of issues that were agreed to on the 15th of December 2008 as l speak remain unresolved, fourteen months after the formation of the Inclusive Government. These are the issues of Governors, Attorney General, RBZ Governor and the swearing in of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Designate, Mr Roy Bennet. These issues are yet to be honoured as l debate. If you look at how the state media isoperating, you find that what was said by President Mugabe and how the State media is operating in this country leaves a lot to be desired. The State media is still reporting along partisan lines and disseminating hate speech and it is channeling propaganda.

Secondly, President Mugabe also reported that work was in progress towards a new Constitution. This also to me lakes accuracy and sincerity as nothing is there to write home about in terms of seeing that the country is given an opportunity to craft and an opportunity to have a new Constitution. Why do I say so? There are some quarters in ZANU PF that are dragging their feet in respect of giving Zimbabweans an opportunity to craft their own Constitution and then endorse it. Work that is actually in progress in ZANU PF or in some quarters of ZANU PF is that they are actually skimming how best to impose the so called Kariba draft to this nation.

To this effect Mr. Speaker, I am reliably informed that the Clerk of Parliament Mr. A. Zvoma has been used effectively by some elements in ZANU PF to interfere and to create bureaucracy so as to derail or deny the Constitution making process. ....

MR MAZIKANA: On a point of order Mr Speaker Sir, the hon. member can not refer to the Clerk because he does not have the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. member please withdraw that statement.

MR. M. KUMALO: I am corrected, I withdraw. My forth point is on the establishment of the four Independent Commissions that are provided for in our Constitution. These are the Zimbabwe Media Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. The President of ZANU PF, President Mugabe also told the nation that this process was progressing well. As a nation Mr. Speaker Sir, we know that when the process of making sure that the four Commissions are in place had gained momentum, some elements in ZANU PF applied both the hand and the foot brakes in an emergency manner. Honourable Minister Shamu then deflated the tyres of a moving vehicle by unilaterally appointing and making public appointments - illegal boards of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority and the Zimpapers. This renders the process into a lot of political tension and political controversy.

Mr. Speaker Sir, on economic stability and the restoration of economic stability in our country - no matter how hard we sacrifice whether our sweat, tears or even blood, under the prevailing conditions which are sour, I do not think as a nation we will go anywhere. Whether we employ short, medium or long term recovery programmes of three years or five years, nothing will change. I think what we need to change rather is the political ideology of our partner ZANU PF that of scaring away prospective investors from this nation. It does not matter Mr. Speaker Sir, how many economic bills this session will see passing through but what I believe is lacking is the political will from our unfaithful partners, ZANU PF.

On food security, we need as a nation to note that agricultural growth brings economic stability and prosperity. Zimbabwe's economy - we all agree in this House that it is an Agro-based economy. Therefore, an agro-based economy, food security promotes peace and development but with the resurfacing of fresh farm invasions by some ZANU PF thugs who masquerades as farmers, the nation will be in a perpetual house of hunger thereby inviting anger among the citizens and fighting because what I believe will be happening is that a number of people will then be competing and fighting for meager food staffs. This will further threaten our fragile peace. So, I believe the President should have instructed in his speech a halt to farm invasions and this madness by our partners.

Mr Speaker Sir, in the mining sector, the presentation by President Mugabe was of the view that all is well but recent investigations have proved otherwise. This other political partner that we have ZANU PF have actually sponsored disturbances in Manicaland at Chiadzwa, to be specific where these disturbances are continuing unabated.

On the manufacturing sector, the President spoke of the National Income and Pricing Commission which I believe we need first as hon. members to ask ourselves a million dollar question that is the NIPC a necessary evil or not. If it is, I believe the NIPC is actually a platform which was created to allow corruption and perpetuate patronage so as to make sure that the people would then be facing facing the expenses of the consumers. On the Information Communication Technology (I CT), there is need I believe for the nation to generate more energy and complete the so called rural electrification programme and not embarrass prospective beneficiaries of (ICT) services by for example, donating computers to remote schools and areas that are not accessible or that do not access electricity. I believe that would be a disadvantage to the prospective beneficiaries of ICT.

Mr Speaker Sir, His Excellency, the President also acknowledged that tourism is a strategic sector of our economy but I believe we need to devise strategies and tactics in terms of how to attract the tourists that we need to have an environment that is peaceful and friendly to our visitors so that tourism then prospers. Vakuru vano taura, Mr Speaker, vachiti pamba pano garwa pachitukanwa kana kutipachirwiwa hapasvike vaenzi. Vakasvika havanyanyogara vano pfuura vachienda. So I believe it is now upon us as a nation to create a conducive atmosphere for tourism to be boosted in this country.

Mr Speaker Sir, I see that the speech that was delivered by President failed to attempt to come up with ways of promoting how the country will benefit even through the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We need to devise ways on how best to relate with our neighbours so that we will also benefit from the giant soccer event that will be in South Africa next year.

Mr Speaker, Sir, on the procurement of water treatment chemicals, President Mugabe used the term middlemen. He said he was of the view that we need to do away with middlemen. I think this term according to the speech was making reference to corrupt officials and unscrupulous business people Vanozviti ma middlemen. I believe the President of ZANU PF should have castigated corrupt tendencies, but I am surprised he chose to use -

MR SPEAKER: Order, order, he is the President of Zimbabwe and the First Secretary of ZANU PF.

MR M KHUMALO: There was deliberate choice by President. Mugabe to use a friendly and diplomatic term when corruption is actually a cancer that is threatening our economic prosperity as a nation. So I believe there was need to be asked on these so called middlemen and castigate their activities on the ground. Mr Speaker Sir, on the issue of addressing the effects of the brain drain, there is no professional that will come back to a country where there is political tension both in government and outside the government. I think the tension in the inclusive government will hamper progress in as far as repatriation and retention of skilled manpower is concerned. I believe Mr Speaker Sir that a lot of our friends and relatives that are in the diaspora are waiting for the improvement of the situation at home so that they can come back and start investing in this nation; but with the threats about the proposed reintroduction of the useless Zimbabwean Dollar into our markets, it will scare away our skilled labour force that are now exiled in other countries like South Africa and abroad.

The introduction of the useless Zimbabwean Dollar would then give them option to say, 'is this the right time for me to go home or to wait in a foreign land and earn in foreign currency?'. Mr Speaker Sir, also on the re-engagement of the international partners there is need and I believe for our political partners in ZANU PF to respect first the tenets of the rule of law, democracy and good governance so that the economic restrictions that we target to some of its leadership would be revised or reviewed as it may be. So I believe the speech has an attempt to mislead the nation by abusing the phrase illegal sanctions as is being echoed by our colleagues in here. This was alleged to be hurting our economy but I believe if ever we have sanctions in Zimbabwe by any chance then ZANU PF as a political party is responsible for these sanctions. Because of their lack of respect for the tenets I refered to earlier on, the tenets of rule of law, democracy and good governance.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, the failure by ZANU PF to honour the provisions of the GPA in full, I see it as breach of peace on its own. For this will bring back the polarised atmosphere that we used to endure in this country. It might resurface if we as political parties fail to honour the provisions of the GPA. We, Mr Speaker can not talk of peace where there is no unity. So if we do not have the desired unity of purpose as a nation, as political players then we can not talk of peace and prosperity. Thespeech by His Excellency President Mugabe lacks important points such as employment creation initiatives by government and health provisions. It shows that ZANU PF for the last three decades was leading Zimbabweans in building a house without a foundation, but now the house is on the verge of collapsing.

Mr. Speaker, allow me to take note of the fact that I deliberately refer to the leader of ZANU PF as Cde Mugabe in avoidance of employing the term 'State President' because outside of the GPA or Inclusive Government, Mr. Mugabe's legitimacy and legality is highly compromised. He only remains president of ZANU PF and former President of Zimbabwe until and unless we agree with the provisions of the GPA.

Mr Speaker, let me end by urging our unfaithful political partners in ZANU PF to start to live to the reality that Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T Party won elections on March 29, 2008 and compromised for the sake of Zimbabweans. How are those who lost the elections then failing to compromise when those that were given the mandate to govern Zimbabwe have compromised to the highest levels? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF STATE ENTERPRISES AND PARASTATALS : I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th November, 2009.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE ENTERPRISES AND PARASTATALS, the House adjourned at Nineteen Minutes Past Four o'clock pm.

Last modified on Monday, 18 November 2013 14:12
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 36 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 3 November 2009 VOL. 36 NO. 5