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SENATE HANSARD - 10 FEBRUARY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 11

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 10th February 2009

The Senate met at Half-past Two o'clock p.m.

 

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

 

SWITCHING OFF OF CELL PHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to remind hon. senators to switch off their cell phones before business commences.

APPOINTMENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

MADAM PRESIDENT: Section 40 (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe requires that the Parliamentary Legal Committee shall examine every Bill enacted in Parliament other than the Constitutional Bill. In order to comply with the provision of this Constitution and in the absence of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, the political parties represented in Parliament have consulted and have agreed that appointments be made to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. I therefore have to inform the House that the following members have been appointed to serve in the PLC: Hon. Chidhakwa, Hon. Senator Coltart, Hon. Senator Gutu, Hon. Majome and Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa.

MOTION

LEAVE TO SUSPEND STANDING ORDER NOs. 98 AND 22.

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Madam President, I seek leave of the Senate to suspend provisions of Standing Order No. 98 relating to procedures in connection with the stages of Bills and the provisions of Standing Order No. 22 regarding the automatic adjournment of the Senate at five minutes to seven o'clock p.m. and at twenty-five minutes past one o'clock p.m. on a Friday in respect of the National Security Council Bill (H.B. 2, 2009).

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NOs. 98 AND 22

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Madam President, I move that the provisions of Standing Order No. 98 relating to procedures in connection with the stages of Bills and the provisions of Standing Order No. 22 regarding the automatic adjournment of the Senate at five minutes to seven o'clock p.m. and at twenty-five minutes past one o'clock p.m. on a Friday be suspended in respect of the National Security Council Bill (H.B. 2, 2009).

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

 

 

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 11th February 2009

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Madam President, in order to facilitate presentation and debate of the National Security Council Bill (HB. 2: 2009), I move that business be suspended until the Bill is received from the House of Assembly in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 24.

Motion put and agreed to

Business was accordingly suspended at Quarter to Three o'clock pm.

SECOND READING

NATIONAL SECURITYCOUNCIL BILL

Second Order read: Second Reading: National Security Council Bill.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTAY AFFAIRS: Madam President at its 5th Meeting held on 25th February, 1992, Cabinet took a decision to establish the Zimbabwe National Security Council to overseer and review national policies on security in its very broad and wide sense, to encompass not only issues of defence, law and order, but also issues pertaining directive. In effect therefore, the Zimbabwe National Security Council was set up by an administrative decision. Its membership was made up as follows:-

His Excellency, the President as Chairman;

Honourable Vice Presidents;

Minister of Defence;

Minister of Local Government;

Minister of National Security in the President's Office;

Minister of Home Affairs;

Minister of Foreign Affairs;

Minister of Finance;

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;

Minister of Industry and Commerce;

Minister of Lands and Agriculture;

Minister of Transport;

Minister of Mines, Environment and Tourism; and

The Planning Commissioner in charge of National Economic Commission.

It had ex-officio members drawn from Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries which I have just mentioned and included, among its membership, the Commander of the Defence Forces; Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army; Commander of the Air Force; Commissioner of Police and Director General in charge of the Department of National Security.

Madam President, allow me a moment to pause and at the same time answer the question:-

What is National Security?

What is this animal we call National Security?

Madam President, the term National Security is not amenable to easy definition. An attempt to provide a definition of National Security reminds one of the story of the elephant and five blind men. An elephant was walked into the presence of five blind men who each was asked to describe what an elephant was. The one who touched the leg said an elephant was a round pillar of a verandah. The second who touched the trunk said an elephant was a big hosepipe. The third who touched the tusks said an elephant was the smooth surface of a granite kitchen floor. The fourth who touched the body said an elephant was a wall and the fifth who touched the ears said an elephant was a blanket. But of course an elephant was all of those things and so is National Security.

Madam President, National Security can be referred to as the security of the nation's state, or the totality of policies that focus on the protection of people's political, economic, social, cultural values and ways of life. In a sense, National Security is the survival of the State and its military protection from external invasion. National Security also refers to everything a State does both in order to ensure its continued existence as an entity in a given territory and to defend its essential interest.

In this conceptualization of National Security, survival is the motivating dynamic behind National Security considerations and is a basic objective value common to all nations. Others define National Security as an ability of a nation to pursue successfully its national interest as it sees them any place in the world. National Security includes, of necessity, traditional defence policy and also the non-military actions of a State to ensure its total capacity to survive as a political entity in order to exert influence and to carry out its internal and international objectives. Finally, National Security is recognized as the preservation of a way of life acceptable to people of a given country and compatible with the needs and legitimate aspirations of others. It includes freedom from military attacks or coercion, freedom from internal subversion and freedom from the erosion of the political, economic and social values which are essential to the qualities of life.

Finally Madam President, National Security is that part of Government policy with its objective the creation of national and international political conditions favourable to the protection or extension of vital national values against existing and potential adversaries.

In the Inter Party Political Agreement signed on the 15th September, 2008, there were two indirect references to the National Security Council. In Article 20 (1) (3) (h), one of the President's many functions is to chair the National Security Council. The other indirect reference is in Article 20 (1) (4) (g) which provided that the Prime Minister is to be a Member of the National Security Council. At that time, it was the common understanding among the Parties to the Inter Party Agreement, that the composition and if need be, functions of the National Security Council, would be reviewed by the Inclusive Government and that the National Security Council would continue to be constituted under an administrative decision. Subsequently, however, there was a strong suggestion which all Parties accepted to set up the National Security Council under statute.

Madam President, the Bill before the august House is the outcome of the negotiations to establish the National Security Council under an Act of Parliament. The Bill trims down the composition of the National Security Council from the current membership of around 31 members to 22 members. The membership of this Council would be as follows:

His Excellency, the President as Chairman

The two Vice Presidents;

The Prime Minister;

Two Deputy Prime Ministers;

Ministers responsible for Finance, Defence Forces and Police Forces; and

Three Ministers each nominated to the Council by each of the political Parties signatories to the Inter Party Agreement.

The following would be additional members of the Council

The Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for National Security;

The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet;

Secretary to the Prime Minister;

Commander of the Defence Forces;

Commander of the Army and Air Force;

Commissioner General of Police;

Commissioner of Prisons;

Director General in charge of National Security.

The functions of the council draw largely from the functions of the existing National Security Council which are primarily to review national policies affecting our security and defence interests nationally, regionally and internationally. Further, the Bill provides that there should be at least one meeting of the Council in every calendar month and for the decisions of the Council to be by consensus. The Bill also provides that, in the event of inconsistencies between the provisions of this Bill and any other law other than the Constitution, the provisions of this Bill would prevail.

Finally, Madam President, the Bill provides for its demise on the date which the Inter-Party Political Agreement terminates. This in effect means that this Act has effect only for the duration of the Inclusive Government.

Madam President, with these few remarks, I commend the Bill for the support of all honourable members across the political divide. The co-sponsorship of the Bill is in terms of the tripartite understanding of the signatories to the Inter Party Political Agreement signed on 15th September, 2008. I therefore move that the National Security Council Bill be now read a second time

SENATOR KHUMALO: I would like to believe that the National Security Council Bill seeks to strengthen the Constitutional Amendment (No.19) Bill which was passed by Parliament last week. It is a good Bill for the Security of a nation and as MDC Party we are in support of the Bill signed by the three Political Parties. With these few remarks Madam President, I thank you.

SENATOR GUTU : I do not have much to say other than concurring with Hon. Khumalo. We are in agreement with the Bill in the sense that it captures the spirit of the Inter Party Agreement in as far as security matters are concerned and to the extent that it has come out from the Inter Party negotiations. We are fully in agreement with it and we are excited that it has been passed in this august House.

SENATOR MURERWA: Madam President, I also rise to support this Bill, the National Security Council Bill. I think it will go a long way in improving the National Security Policy and the programmes that emanate from those policies. I think it is a Bill that is essential in the implementation of the Inter Party Political Agreement. I would want to congratulate the negotiators of the Inter Party Agreement and also to thank President Mbeki for his leadership. This agreement Madam President, is a historic agreement and I believe it is a step in the right direction. What is required now is goodwill from all political parties, not only political parties, but from Zimbabweans as a whole. I refer to those who voted for us who want us to resolve charities of our country and this Bill will create the conditions of improved National security. I would like, in short Madam President, to urge all members of the Senate to fully endorse this Bill. I thank you.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Thank you Hon Senator Murerwa, Minister…

SENATOR COLTART: SorryMadam President…

MADAM PRESIDENT: With all due fairness Hon. Senator Coltart we want to finish in time.

SENATOR COLTART: But Madam President, I can not remain silent - [HON SENATORS: Inaudible Interjections]-

MADAM PRESIDENT: But you were advised to approach the Table earlier on, I think that will be very unfair.

SENATOR COLTART: But Madam President, is it not Parliamentary Bureaucracy sorting out Bills that come to the House.

MADAM PRESIDENT: But it would be very unfair Mr. Coltart because each Party was given one contributor.

SENATOR COLTART: But there were two contributors from ZANU PF.

MADAM PRESIDENT: And who are they?

SENATOR COLTART: Senator Murerwa and Hon Minister Chinamasa, and you should have made a ruling Madam President.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Yes, I have made a ruling that we were going to have three presenters, one from each Party.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I want to thank all the hon. members who supported the Bill. It is therefore my pleasure to move that the National Security Council Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL

House in Committee.

On Clause 1:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): The Bill is not in the form that it was in when it was gazetted. There has been amendments that were made in the Upper House and these amendments are to be renamed National Security Council to be renamed Zimbabwe National Security Council whereas this long title, short title in clauses 2 and 3 wherever you have National Security Council, you must insert those words Zimbabwe National Security Council. The other amendments which were made in the other House were in Clause 3(b).

The other amendment made was to delete other members and substitute these words "shall be ex-officio members of the Council."

On Clause 3 (1) (b) (iii) delete the word Chief Secretary before the words Secretary so that it reads the "Secretary to the Prime Minister." And then on Clause 4 add a comma to the words subject to the provisions of the Constitution. These were the amendments approved in the House of Assembly and the Bill is being presented to you with these amendments.

Amendments to Clauses 1,2 and 3 put and agreed to.

Clauses 1, 2 and 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 4:

SENATOR COLTART: I think we need to make an elaboration regarding the change made in Clause 4. The original Clause made no reference to the limit of the President's powers. It gave the President vast power in terms of the operation status of the Defence Forces. There was no clarity regarding that position. Clause 4 now strikes this balance on the President's extensive power and the powers of this new entity which is a necessary arm of government. There was also need for transparency. I also want to pay tribute to those involved in the drafting of the political agreement including Senator Chinamasa, Mr. W. Ncube, Hon. Biti and myself for an outstanding job of drafting this legislation and the Constitution Amendment. I support this.

MR. CHINAMASA: I can confirm that the amendment to Clause 4 which was on the behest of the Parliamentary Legal Committee was at their request

Amendment to Clause 4 put and agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 8 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZIMBABWE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: I move that the Zimbabwe National Security Council Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned at Twenty past five o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 17th March, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Senate Hansard Vol. 18 SENATE HANSARD - 10 FEBRUARY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 11