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SENATE HANSARD 12 APRIL 2016 VOL 25 NO 42

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 12th April, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

INVITATION TO A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE LATE HON. ENG. CHIDAVAENZI

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that the family of the late Hon. Eng. E. Chidavaenzi, who was a Member of the National Assembly, is inviting all Members of Parliament to his memorial service on Saturday, 30th April, 2016 at 1000 hours at Vukwe Farm in Mvurwi.

ZITF OFFICIAL OPENING

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I also have to inform the Senate that Hon. Senators attending the Official Opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) should register their names at the Parliament stand in Bulawayo, for them to be able to claim their fuel from Parliament when Parliament resumes.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF CHINA ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): I seek leave of the House to move that the notice of motion on the TelOne agreement which was superseded by lack of quorum be restored on the stage at which it had reached in terms of Standing Order Number 71 and that it be the First Order of the Day, today.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON RATIFICATION OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF CHINA ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): I move that the notice of motion on the TelOne agreement which was superseded by lack of quorum be restored on the stage at which it had reached in terms of Standing Order Number 71 and that it be the First Order of the Day, today.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you Madam President. I wish to conclude my presentation by outlining the benefits of the TelOne Project of which we seek Senate approval for the financing from Exim Bank.

The project is expected to yield the following results:-

  • Presents a platform where organisations can easily and readily access information across sectors;
  • Provides cheaper accessible marketing places, as well as , ease business transacting;
  • Offer modern telecommunication services whereby clients can access date, voice, video services and information;
  • Telecommunication gadgets will be used interchangeably with ease by the market whereby a single number to use a across either landline or mobile devices;
  • Savings on calls made between landlines and mobile devices by providing alternative cheaper forms of communications like viber, skype and other over the top services;
  • Local subcontractors will be involved in the installation of equipment for the project;
  • Contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the downstream effects that comes with the growth in the ICT. It is recognised and according World Bank statistics any 10% growth in ICTs results in 1.4% contribution to GDP growth.
  • Enhance access to online services in sectors of the economy; such as education and health;
  • Transforms TelOne to become the preferred one stop telecommunication service provider offering a variety of Value Added Services;
  • Enhance TelOne’s competitiveness and visibility in the market;
  • Enhance TelOne’s capability to collect revenues through pre-paid converged billing and
  • Improve the cash flow of TelOne.

Thank you Madam President.

          SENATOR B. SIBANDA: I seek clarification from the Minister if it has been necessary for each service provider to dig up and lay its own network or could not the three combine and we make some national saving?

          SENATOR MLOTSHWA: I stand to appreciate the work brought by the acting Minister of Finance. I want the Minister to note that this House is very much awake. If you look at the fact that we pay much attention to detail by not allowing the Bill to sail through last week when there was no quorum. We do not want you to think that we are not in support of the Bill but to note that we are doing our duty and we are sticking to our Standing Orders that require us to be 26 for us to be a quorum.

          Madam President, in our Constitution, Section 57, 61 and 62 gives us a direction of how people should be treated in Zimbabwe in terms of information. I hope that the Minister will realise that in other spheres, in the international forum that we attend at times or the reports that we read – there is a perception that America would want to influence its policies on developing countries by giving concessions. On the same forums, people remark that China is also doing the same thing by giving us affordable loans in order to off load its population to us since it has a problem of space, congestion and over pollution.

We hope that this loan, since you have already made agreements to, is not an indirect way of offloading the citizens of China into our space because we need that space not to be polluted. I hope that this loan is for our benefit for the pure transformation of Tel One because we need to move with the rest of the world in terms of communication and information.

I think that we are not going to get the influence of trying to gag people or the way they react – we should remember that we should be guided by the Constitution and how we live our lives here in Africa rather than in China. I thank you very much Madam President.

SENATOR NYAMBUYA: I think it is very much appropriate that we support the Minister in coming up with the Bill. Despite our differences in politics and otherwise, this particular Bill is a Bill about enhancing the environment, ICTs and perceptions about Zimbabwean people. It is about modernising our country. It is only correct and appropriate that we support this particular Bill.

Investors going into a particular country ….

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  It is an Agreement and not a Bill.

SENATOR NYAMBUYA: I beg your pardon Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you.

SENATOR NYAMBUYA: It is an agreement which is going to enable us to access finances which are going to enable the Minister to allow the parastatal to update its equipment. This will make it competitive so that any investors who want to come into this country will be able to come into the country knowing that if they are in Zimbabwe, they can communicate with their parent countries, receive data from outside the country, they can receive all sorts of modern requirements which enable their investments to function.

In particular, this agreement is going to allow Tel One to give an environment which will provide ease of doing business. It is going to allow for interchangeability but above all, we are crying because we have not been able to create enough jobs in this country. This particular agreement is going to enable jobs to be created so that our sons and daughters have got a living.

I want to commend the Minister and give him 100% of my support but above all, one of the things which we should take note of is; when we have got the private sector providing most services – if you provide a state company or parastatals in that particular area and it manages its business well, you have got the effect of reducing prices. Normally, if a state parastatals is managed well, it can actually provide services at competitive prices and that is the spirit in which I think this is going to help this country.

SENATOR MANYERUKE: I rise to support the agreement because it has come at a right time and at the right month. Thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Madam President. I rise to thank the Minister who has brought this agreement and we welcome and support it. We are a country which is still developing and we want our children to get jobs. If this agreement creates employment for our children, it is good for us.

        THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you very much Madam President and the Hon. Senators for your contributions. I will try and just respond to the comments or questions that have been asked. Hon. Sibanda has asked whether it is necessary to duplicate or triplicate investment where state owned companies have had to do the same thing. I share the concern that the Hon. Senator has raised and wish to advise that it is actually now Government policy that no other Government owned company must be involved in the deployment of the fibre backborne. This responsibility has now been placed squarely in the hands of TelOne of which we have brought an agreement where it is seeking financing from China Exim Bank for that specific purpose.

          Cabinet took a decision after we presented this scenario that Hon. Sibanda has raised, that we are having State owned companies competing in putting the same infrastructure, therefore increasing costs to our people and deploying the same services in areas where that service is already available when we have significant communities, especially in our rural areas that are still struggling in terms of getting telecommunication services.

A decision was taken that only Tel One is now responsible for the deployment of a national fibre backbone operation. All other State owned companies that have been involved in the same business like Powertel which is a subsidiary of ZESA, will now have to collapse its fibre optic business into that of Tel One, into a national fibre backbone company. So, Madam President I can say that there is no duplication as we go forward; we are very alert to the waste of having State entities doing the same thing.

          The other question was from Hon. Mlothswa and I recognise the alertness of this House but if I am allowed to say so, I want to compliment this House for the decorum under which debates are held here. I am used to the other House, it is certainly not like this, and I recognise your alertness in noticing that there was no quorum in the last two occasions when we have tried to push this agreement.

Indeed, we recognise the importance of freedom of the media, freedom of expression and it is captured in our Constitution in the various sections that you have highlighted. Of course this freedom when we talk about the media, also relates to social media which is accessed through the telecommunication service like the ones TelOne has proposed to offer. What we must also recognise Madam President, is that while freedom of the media is enshrined in our Constitution, it is also in our Constitution; Section 61 (5), that freedom of the media does not include incitement of violence, it does not include undermining the integrity of other human beings, maliciously attacking the integrity of other people, the kind of things we have seen on social media where people wake up to undermine other individuals, to attack the integrity of other individual without any basis or any evidence.

          Therefore, while we recognise the freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution we also recognise that our Constitution outlines what those freedoms do not involve and that freedom does not involve the vices I have mentioned that we have seen taking place on social media. Therefore, we are calling as a Ministry for the responsible use of social media which TelOne is now providing platforms and with this kind of loan facility, will enhance access by majority of Zimbabweans. We want to promote the use of social media in this country but we must protect the use of that social media by making sure that those that abuse that social media have no access to it. Otherwise, it is a very important tool for exchanging ideas, sharing progress, development tool but it can lose its integrity if we have people who are abusing that specific media.

We have no intention, I must add, to gag anyone. We have no intention to limit the freedoms of people of Zimbabwe to communicate through the social media, those that share their experiences through the social media, their private lives. However, we have a problem in boyfriends when they are dumped, they then take naked pictures of the ladies that they used to have a good relationship with, the pictures that they took during intimate moment and start spreading them on WhatsApp just to fix the woman, that is what we must avoid. We are saying we need to be able to regulate the use of our social media to protect innocent Zimbabweans.

The same freedom that is guaranteed in the Constitution of expression, of media also gives individuals right to privacy, right to dignity. So when you send a naked picture through what we now call revenge pornography, if you send out that through WhatsApp and distribute it through social media like Face book, you are undermining the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We have a responsibility to make sure that the provisions of the Constitution, find expression in some of our laws. Therefore any comments that we may have made to the extent that we need to regulate social media are aimed at dealing with these vices.  

          I would like to move to Hon. Sen. Nyambuya and I want to thank him for the enormous support that he has given to this agreement that is before the House of Senate. Indeed, I agree with him that this investment will enhance the operations of TelOne as a 100% Government owned company. It is very important to highlight once again the terms that are being offered by the China Exim Bank that this loan is at a very concessionary interest rate of 2%. It is also having a five year grace period and it has a tenure of 20 years, it is almost like to be given money for free. We are also cognisant that in the previous situations Tel One has gotten into trouble because it has received similar funding and it has accepted that funding and it has modeled its business plan on repayment over 20 years.

However, we all know that in the technology business, technologies changes much more rapidly than 20 years. So, if you are not smart, you may get loan for 20 years, buy technology today which will not last 20 years but you have 20 years to pay back the loan. So we have insisted as a Ministry that while you are getting this 20 year loan, we would prefer that it be paid in less than 8 years. Therefore we are able to upgrade to newer technology without the burden of having to pay for a 20 year loan on technology that has already expired. So, the business model is also being adjusted not necessarily on the tenure of the loan, but on the tenure of the lifespan of the equipment that will be bought under this facility.

          I also wish to respond to comments that relates to the Chinese- maybe wanting to use this as an avenue to impose their ideas on us. I think the Chinese have made it very clear at public forums that they have no intention to be involved politically, socially in terms of influencing independent countries about which direction they must take. They are not like other countries that interfere in the domestic politics of other countries. I think it is important to outline the main reason why Exim Banks provide funding to other countries.

The term itself Exim Bank means export and import bank, in the majority of cases, countries that provide these kinds of loans are doing so, solely for the purposes of promoting their own exports. So, they provide funding like this being provided by the Chinese Exim Bank to TelOne. Part of the condition is that the bulky of that fund must buy products from China, so it is meant to promote their own industrial product – that is really where the catch is. It is the same catch that is used by the Americans, the Europeans, the Turkish, the Indians, you get funding from their Eximbanks; you have to buy their products and that is what exactly is happening but the most exciting thing about this $98 million dollar facility Madam President is that an agreement has already been reached between TelOne and the number one telecommunications equipment supplier and provider in the world who happens to be a Chinese company called Huawei. They used to be led by a company from the United States of America called Sisko, and Sisko is now number two to Huawei.

Therefore, we are not going into an agreement where we are buying substandard equipment. We are going into an agreement to buy equipment from the number one company in the world. So, our interests as Zimbabwe, and as TelOne are protected in this regard.

Some of our experience has been that the equipment that comes in from some countries is overpriced and we need to be careful about this. I am very happy to advise that in terms of this US$98 million facility, TelOne has gone to tender to look for a consultant to analyse the pricing that has been offered by Huawei of China. That tender was participated by companies from Zimbabwe, South Africa, France and Germany and the tender was won by a company from France called Sofrecom, which as we speak is in the middle of analysing the pricing that has been offered on this loan agreement by Huawei to ensure that TelOne, the Government of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe get the best value on the $98 million facility.

*Hon. Sen. Manyeruke, I want to thank you for supporting the loan. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Machingaifa for the support which will enable the Government to proceed with developing this country and also in terms of bringing services in this country. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 3B, 2015]

          Amendments to Clauses 1 to 3, and Schedule (Parts XX, CVII, CIX, CXII, CXIII, CXIV, CXV, CXVI, CXVII, CXVIII and CXXVI) put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

        Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 3B, 2015]

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA) on behalf of THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.

                   Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): Madam President, I move that Order of Day, Number 2 be stood over until all the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 133RD ASSEMBLY OF THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

          Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe Delegation Report on the 133rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17-23 October, 2015.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2016.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF WAR SHRINES AND RECOGNITION OF DEPARTED WAR LIBERATORS

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion calling for rehabilitation and maintenance of War Shrines.

          Question again proposed.

          +SENATOR KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion which is good. I would like to thank Hon. Senator Mohadi for moving the motion; a motion on respecting the liberators of our country who died and those who will die so that they can be respected. I am making a few contributions; it is true that they fought for the country even if they have left the ruling party ZANU PF.

If you are a liberator, having fought for this country, you will remain a hero because you fought for this country. However, what we have observed of late is that if you leave the party, and die thereafter, you are not regarded as a hero. We request that even those who have since left the party be buried at the National Heroes Acre because they fought for the country. It does not necessarily mean that once you leave the party you are no longer a hero. These are my few contributions.   I am saying that being a liberator does not mean you will die being a ZANU PF member. If I leave ZANU PF having been a liberator I should be respected in whatever party I join because I would have fought in the liberation of this country. Those are the words I wanted to contribute, I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2016.

MOTION

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT AS CHAIRMAN OF AFRICAN UNION

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to congratulate His Excellency, the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe and the Government of Zimbabwe on successfully leading the African Union (AU) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) as Chairperson.

          Question again proposed.  

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 38TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

          Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe Delegation Report on the 38th Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum, Sea Side Hotel and SPA, Swakopmund, Namibia, 17th to 25th November, 2015.

          Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2016.

MOTION

TRADITIONAL CHIEFS MANDATE

          Seventh Order read: Adjourned on motion on the role of traditional leaders.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2016.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2016.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. PARIRENYATWA), the Senate adjourned at Eighteen Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 12 APRIL 2016 VOL 25 NO 42