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SENATE HANSARD - 29 JULY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 26

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday 29th July, 2009

The Senate met at Half past Two

o'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

( MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM

PRESIDENT

SWITCHING OFF OF CELL PHONES

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

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed:

SENATOR GEORGIAS: I would like to thank the President for his speech in connection with the turn around of the economy and lifting of sanctions as well as the acceptance of the President to be in the Inclusive Government which is now operative. I would like to take this opportunity to express that it is a little bit disturbing that the government of Zimbabwe indeed needs a new Constitution which is home grown and meets the expectations of our people. It should be a Constitution of the people of Zimbabwe, initiated by them and for a very good reason, funded by the government and spear-headed by the Ministry of Justice.

The current campaign for a new Constitution does not reflect that it originates from the people but from a few political leaders, whose motive is political and should culminate into the holding of general elections guided by that new Constitution. The questions therefore arising from this constitution-making process are:-

1. Who is funding the process and is the budget adequate to meet all the costs and aspects of educating the electorate?

2. Why has it become an emergency programme instead of the national economic recovery project taking precedence?

3. Is it a ZANU PF or MDC driven process and have they both consulted enough in their respective constituencies?

4. Is the Constitution making process not being imposed on the people who we all know are living in an economic environment not conducive to even hold an election?

5. Do the people know and appreciate the defects of the current revised Constitution of 1996?

6. Is it correct to have the whole Constitution making process funded by donors who prefer to prioritise this project and not the revival of the economy?

7. What is the role of civic groups in the Constitution making process and who funds them?

8. Is it not true that all civic groups constitute the pressure groups for democratic change and are not representative of all political parties?

9. Can there be transparency in the Constitution making process if donors and civic groups hijack the wishes of the majority?

10. Is it not the wish of the majority to have the GNU resolve economic problems first, thereby creating a conducive environment enabling them to participate in the Constitution making process without hindrance and dependency on NGOs biased in favour of their own covert agenda?

This House is called upon to scrutinise the motive behind a new Constitution and whether it is mandated by the majority of our people or a majority of civic groups. Those of us who believed that economic sanctions would be lifted upon signing the Global Political Agreement are yet to meet another surprise when they discover why the donors prefer to fund the Constitution making process as opposed to the economic recovery.

In conclusion, I urge the House to reject Aid.

SENATOR GUTU: On a point of order, Minister Sekeramayi's motion is clear and the motion is clear and if he does not have anything else to add in that regard, he must sit down.

MADAM PRESIDENT: How do you like it hon members if these senators do what you are doing to him when debating. Regai averenge apedze. Just finish what you are saying and then we will go to the next motion.

SENATOR GEORGIAS: In conclusion, I urge the House to reject Aid money targeted at political agendas such as the same way Western governments have rejected to offlift sanctions or give economic aid to the Government of National Unity.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR SECURITY IN THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE: Madam President, I rise to conclude debate on this motion. The President's Speech was delivered by His Excellency the President on the 26th of August 2008. Almost two-thirds of the members of this august House debated on this motion. I would like to express my gratitude for the overwhelming response by hon senators from all political parties and from our revered chiefs. This motion has been made for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gave an opportunity to most hon senators in this House to make their maiden speeches where, in most cases, they highlighted the plights of the people they represent. This is one of the major functions of the Members of Parliament to represent the people who elected them into office. Secondly, in this motion, His Excellency, the President laid out the legislative agenda for this Session. In this, he informed the hon members of the Bills which would be brought into Parliament. It gave hon members ample time to consult their electorate. This motion highlighted the dialogue between the Legislature and the Executive. Some members highlighted problems affecting their constituencies. The Executive have the obligation to listen and respond to some of the issues that have been raised. His Excellency set out the political obstacles obtaining in the country to assist the nation get the way forward. To this end, I would like to thank hon members for their high level of political maturity. As you will recall at the beginning of the Session in August 2008, the country was faced with a myriad of challenges which included food shortages, hyper inflation, cholera epidemic, negative growth rate, high incidences of political violence emanating from the harmonised elections among others. The hon members who spoke on this motion echoed the sentiments expressed by His Excellency the President in his speech that we needed to resolve these challenges. The senators differed on the means and ways of resolving these challenges, however there was a clarion call from this House that we needed to place national interest above partisan interest. During debate, it was also clear that senators were supportive of the work and formation of the Inclusive Government.

Madam President, I am sure that hon members will agree with me that the Inclusive Government is doing its best in addressing the challenges that were raised in this motion. As you are aware, the government, with the assistance of many partners, has been able to contain the cholera epidemic. The country is also experiencing a positive economic growth rate despite limited financial resources. However, Parliament still has an obligation to execute its oversight responsibility in the use of public resources so as to promote transparency and accountability in government.

A lot of heart felt thanks were expressed by members on the role played by the former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, the SADC mediator on the inter-party dialogue leading to the formation of the Inclusive Government. There are also other organisations that were mentioned in the President's speech such as the AU and NAM which have and continue to support Zimbabwe in many ways. As a country, I am sure we will remain committed to strengthening our regional and international ties so as to boost both domestic and international investment in order to achieve rapid socio economic development and uplift the living standards of all our people.

Madam President, on the legislative front, it is my hope that those Bills mentioned by the President that did not come to Parliament during this session will be debated during the forthcoming session. A number of critical Bills mentioned in the President's speech included the Energy Laws Amendment Bill, the Older Persons Bill, the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council Bill among others. These Bills are important in a number of ways, some seek to create a conducive environment for economic growth, while others seek to address social problems such as the plight of the elderly. It is my sincere hope that when these Bills come before Parliament, hon senators will be able to scrutinise them thoroughly in the interest of the nation.

Madam President, on a lighter note, when I moved this motion on the 7th of August 2008, some hon members tempers were virtually boiling. The body language in some cases was very aggressive. The spoken language was disrespectful and abusive. It is pleasing to note that by the end of the day yesterday and to some extent today, the atmosphere in this august House has transformed into a positive one, conducive to fruitful debate. In conclusion, I advise hon members in this House to work together irrespective of their political affiliation in order to rebuild our nation for both the current and future generation.

I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

OPERATIONS OF PENSION FUNDS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the operations of Pension Funds in the clothing industry.

Questions again proposed.

SENATOR S. NCUBE : I would like to thank all hon senators who contributed to the motion I moved calling for government to intervene in the operations of the Pension Funds after retirement. I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR STATE SECURITY IN THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE , the Senate adjourned at Four Minutes to Three O'clock p.m.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 18 SENATE HANSARD - 29 JULY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 26