PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBAWE
Thursday, 2nd March, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT
MNANGAGWA’S OFFICE (HON. C. C. SIBANDA): Mr. Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 and 4 have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC ASSETS BILL (H. B. 5, 2016)
Third Order read: Committee Stage: Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill (H. B. 5, 2016).
House in Committee.
Clause 1 put and agreed to.
On Clause 2:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name, which is inserting the definition of corruption in the Bill. Between line 44 and 45, page 6 of the Bill, to insert the following definition:
“Corruption means any conduct that constitutes an offence under Part IX of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] or any attempt, conspiracy of incitement to commit such an offence.”
Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 28 put and agreed to.
On Clause 29:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 21, delete Clause 29 and replace it with;
“29 Domestic preference
When evaluating bids, a procuring entity may give preference to bids from Zimbabwean or local suppliers and manufacturers and shall –
a) Take into account the extent to which Zimbabwean or local suppliers and manufacturers must participate in such bid, or be subcontracted to supply the bided goods, construction works and services, in accordance with the provisions of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act [Chapter 14:33] (No. 14 of 2007);
b) Take into account the extent to which suppliers and manufacturers who are women or entities controlled predominantly by women must participate in such a bid, or be subcontracted to supply the bided goods, construction works or services; and
c) Procure technological, engineering and industrial designs, solutions or applications that are or maybe the subject or registration as intellectual property, and that originate from a Zimbabwean university, polytechnic, college or research institution;
Provided that any preference shall be –
(i) Stated clearly in the bidding documents; and
(ii) To be applied strictly in accordance with such procedures and criteria as may be prescribed or as maybe stated in circulars issued by the Authority.”
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. I stand to express my appreciation for the amendments that have been proffered by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I think it does make a difference that when we raise issues in the House, the Minister does take them into consideration. In particular, let me appreciate the amendment that was brought in on 29(a), which takes into account the local suppliers. You will know that we have been raising this issue particularly in relation to issues that are to do with devolution, to say let us ensure that local suppliers do so. The reason why I am standing beyond just expressing my appreciation is to also say when we then go to the level of doing regulations for this particular Act, we hope the regulations will be much more tighter so that to some extent, it actually forces people that are going into some tendering to deal with local suppliers.
Let me also express my appreciation to the inclusion of subsection (b) which says, ‘any bid which should consider all those entities that are controlled predominately by women’. The last time I gave an example that in Kenya when they did their regulations, they actually put a percentage that says, for every tender, there will be a 30% that will be accorded to women. I am hoping that when we go to the regulations, we will create that tighter issue.
Like before, I must extend that I find that women that are working in the Minister’s Ministry are supportive and amazingly so good in working together. Again, there was one woman that was so supportive that we worked with in coming up with this clause. I stand up just to say, I hope women understand the difference that this particular clause will make to the empowerment of women and that as soon as the tenders go out, we will be going to seek our slice and it will make our lives much easier. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 29 put and agreed to.
Clause 29, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 30 to 98 put and agreed to.
On Clause 99:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that in line 36 on page 54 of the Bill, delete from paragraph (a) of sub-clause (1) “or the Prevention of Corruption Act [Chapter 9:16]” and substitute with “or of corruption”.
HON. CROSS: Mr. Chairman, I just want to make two points this afternoon. The first is, this is a major piece of legislation and a tremendous amount of work has gone into developing this Act. I want to express appreciation to all the Government officials, especially those in the President’s Office who are responsible for this excellent bit of legislation. The second is for the Minister who has heard all the points raised by different stakeholders and has given careful consideration and I am very satisfied. The Economic Budget Committee is extremely satisfied with what the Minister has done on our behalf. I just wanted to express appreciation to him for listening to the voice of the House.
Amendment to Clause 99 put and agreed to.
Clause 99, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 100 to 106 put and agreed to.
First, Second and Third Schedules put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE VICE PRESIDENT MNANGANGWA’S OFFICE (HON. C. C SIBANDA): Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE TRADE MARKS (MADRID PROTOCOL) REGULATIONS
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): I move the motion standing in the name of the Minister of State, and the Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Office that this House: -
RECALLING that the Government of the Republic Zimbabwe has
acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1989 (the Madrid Protocol) and accepted the obligations that follow there from;
NOTING that Parliament has approved the amendments to the
trade Marks Act (Chapter 26:04) to incorporate the provisions of the Madrid Protocol into domestic legislation as contained in the General Laws Amendment Act, 2016;
FURTHER NOTING that the full operationalisation of the
MADRID Protocol has been hampered by the absence of implementing regulations;
WHEREAS subsection 7 of section 97B of the Trade Marks Act
(Chapter 26:04) requires that any regulations for the operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol are to be tabled before Parliament for approval;
AND WHEREAS, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs has developed the Trade Marks (Madrid Protocol) draft regulations for the operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol which have been placed before Parliament for consideration and approval;
NOW THEREFORE, calls upon this House to approve the
Trade Marks (Madrid Protocol) Regulations as contained in the said draft statutory instrument and have them gazetted for effective
operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol.
The Government of Zimbabwe joined the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks on the 11th December, 2014. The main purpose of the Protocol is to provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the registration of trade marks in the countries which are party to the Protocol. By joining the Madrid Protocol, Zimbabwe has accepted the obligations arising there from.
These proposed regulations will assist the Department of Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property within the Ministry of Justice to process the trade mark applications that are filed through the Madrid system. As it currently stands, all the trademarks that have so far been filed through the system are yet to be processed because of the absence of the implementing regulations to guide the Department on what needs to be done.
The regulations provide for the functions and procedures that are to be followed by the Department of Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property, both as an office of origin and also as a receiving office when handling trademarks applications. As an office of origin, the Department of Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property shall be responsible for examining trademark applications originating from Zimbabwe before transmitting them to the International Bureau at WIPO. As a receiving office, the Department of Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property shall be responsible for examining trademark applications designating Zimbabwe which come through the WIPO International Bureau and making decisions to register or reject such applications.
The promulgation of these regulations is, therefore, an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency to give the Department the relevant powers and directions on how to handle the trademarks applications coming through the Madrid system. From a business point of view, the African countries that are part of the Protocol have performed very well in ranking by the World Bank in terms of the ease of doing business index. See for example Botswana, Namibia and Kenya. It also helps expand the foreign currency streams as fees generated are transmitted to the Treasury. I now therefore move that the Madrid Protocol be approved.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. Possibly, my issue is a point of order or privilege. I wish to be assisted by the esteemed Vice President, who is the Minister of Justice …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): What is your point of order? I would like to inquire when it is - because the motion pertains to regulations that are yet to be gazetted, if I understand it correctly, that we are requested to approve. My question is have we been made privy to these regulations? I do remember that the august House did...
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The regulations were distributed on the 13th of February 2017 in your pigeon holes.
HON. MAJOME: Is that so, then I stand to be corrected. That was indeed what I sought to ask. I thank you.
HON. CHASI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to commend the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for taking this very critical step to effectuate these regulations. Before doing so, I want to commend Government in general and the Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in particular and to say that Zimbabwe is a leader in the area of Intellectual Property in Africa; in that as early as 1983, Government saw it pertinent to assume this position in giving the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation a place to host it in Zimbabwe when no other country was prepared to give it a place to stay. Zimbabwe decided to host this very important organisation and gave it a place here in Belgravia; not only that, but under the leadership of the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, this organisation was transformed last year into a world class organisation, a very big one, high tech. I would urge Hon. Members to see this organisation just off Second Street which was launched just last year.
Coming to these regulations, I want to say that what the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs seeks to do is simply to formalise what was already accepted by this House. As it is known by every member in this House, we have already signed the protocols and the international agreements and so these regulations are simply to operationalise the international obligations that we have already signed and we are now implementing what we have already signed and agreed to.
It is important to understand that what we are doing is simply to assist our department of Deeds and Companies Registry to process the trademarks which have already been processed by this department without the help of these regulations. They are already in the system and the office has not been able to properly go through or process through these registrations without the proper legal framework. So, these regulations will now assist everyone who wants to register, knowing that there is legal certainty with regards to what we actually are doing.
It is important to highlight that the availability of these regulations will increase legal certainty by all the parties because the effect of these regulations is to enable people who want to register to register through our system into various countries; those that are the members of this system without going to each and every country instructing a lawyer in each country, getting translators and paying various sums and so forth. This is the effect of this system which means that we become a centre that is attractive to investors without going to various countries. I want to say that as the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has indicated in his delivery, we become a favourable destination because then investors find us attractive from an investor point of view because they can come to us and transact with us without having to go to various destinations. This has happened - we are already attractive to investors and within a short time of having joined this system, we have already opened the flood gates of investors with 903 registrations having already occurred. So, this is proving that we have done the correct steps from an investors’ friendly point of view.
What I would like to urge however, is to ensure that we now separate the Intellectual Property Office into a stand alone office and this is international practice and in that regard we are a bit isolated in Africa. I wish to urge the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to allow the income that is being generated in this office for some time to be spent in that office in order to ensure that the technology is upgraded to the required levels and also to ensure that we do not experience departures of staff within the region and in fact internationally. That is already being experienced because we are not in a competitive state to allow our staff to be kept by that office. Most of the African countries operate with a separate IP Office. We are going to experience generation of foreign currency which is in line with our ZIM ASSET strategies.
I want to commend once more the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the way that it is encouraging practices around Intellectual Property Development and to encourage innovation all round. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker for recognising me. I think first and foremost, I would like to thank the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for bringing this to Parliament and also your submissions this afternoon, Hon. Vice President have taken a lot of stuff out of my mouth. That said, I would want to thank the immediate past speaker Hon. Chasi. He worked very hard when he was Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to bring to life most of the things that we are discussing today. When he left the Ministry, he left a void, that is why things have not moved because when he left he left a void. Hon. Chasi, I am not advocating for you to go back to the Ministry but only to say when you left you left, a terrible gap.
Madam Speaker, let me put this debate into context and say what trademarks are? I would like to say to the Hon. Vice President, trademarks have nothing to do with law but everything to do with business and trade that is point number 1. So, the Intellectual Property Office must not be housed in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. It is now a unit in the Department of Deeds. I will tell you how this came about? This came about with an ordinance that was promulgated in Cape Town in 1894, even before members of the Pioneer Column came to this country to fly the Union Jack and name this town here Fort Salisbury.
Madam Speaker, the Trademark Office must essentially be housed in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce because it is industry. It is about income, investment and trade that is why they are called trademarks. What are trademarks? A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Having said that, let me talk about intellectual property in general.
Madam Speaker, intellectual property means the legal rights which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literally and artistic fields. Countries have lost intellectual property for two main reasons and I want to say what the reasons are. One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and the rights of the public to access those creations. So, the issue of economy, money and trade comes up when you talk about intellectual property and when you talk about trademarks.
Now, the Madrid Protocol, the one that is the centre of discussion this afternoon has a number of advantages for this country to be a member of the Madrid Protocol. As I said before, Hon. Chasi did a lot of work and we became the 94th Member of the Madrid Protocol. It has got 98 Members and it controls about 124 States. What it means is that when a Zimbabwean files a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office, the requirement is that you file with the country of origin. When it is filed in the Intellectual Property office in Harare, it is then filed with WIPO in Geneva and when it is filed with WIPO in Geneva, it is then protected in 98 countries. One application, one set of money in one language, you get protection in 98 countries.
Now, instruments of accession have already been deposited with WIPO, as I said in 2014, following a lot of work which was done by Hon. Chasi here. But, I want to talk also of the profile of this office. Hon. Chasi said that they are currently retaining 5% of the money that they get from registration. That money Madam Speaker, is too little because there is a lot of work that needs to be done at the IP office and I doubt very much that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development will be able to fund that office because I think in the packing order, intellectual property comes very low. So if they are able to retain slightly more than they are retaining now, they are able to automate because when somebody comes with an application of a trade mark, you want to do searches. When you do a search, you do not want to do it manually. It must be automated and I think that is what Hon. Chasi was talking about. So, automation of searches is also very important.
Madam Speaker, the other issue that I want to raise here is the issue of the advantages of what the Hon. Vice President wishes to get from this Parliament. Zimbabwe will become a member of the family of nations. It is part of the re-engagement process of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe becomes a member of the family of nations. We were slower than Malawi because Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana have done it already. So, Zimbabwe was a bit slower and it is a bit disappointing that Zimbabwe was slower although as Hon. Chasi has reiterated, we house ARIPO here in Zimbabwe. In 1982, ARIPO could not find a place here in the region. There are about 17 or 18 countries in ARIPO and none of them could give ARIPO a place to stay and Zimbabwe, through the wisdom of our Government, gave ARIPO a place. It is a huge advantage that we have ARIPO in this country. If you go and look at the offices which were incidentally officially commissioned by the Hon. Vice President Mnangagwa here, they are of international standard; high-tech and busy with a lot of work but also the disappointing thing is that Hon. Vice President, 95 % of the intellectual property which is registered even through ARIPO is international and only 5% is from Africa. Even that 5% which is from Africa is controlled by international companies. So, there is need for us to be able to educate our people on the importance of intellectual property and that education only comes if the intellectual property office gets a funding which they are able to put into training.
As we stand now, without the regulations which the Hon. Vice President is seeking this Parliament to accede to, we stand to lose a lot. Currently, the intellectual property office in Zimbabwe is sitting on about 1 200 applications which the Hon. Vice President says they are not able to do anything about because of the absence of operalisation of legislation. What happens is that when you file an application with Madrid, you are given 18 months within which to respond? If you do not respond within those 18 months, WIPO deems the trademark to have been registered and protected.
Now here is the dilemma. The Madrid Protocol talks of a certain way of protection which Zimbabwe does not. The Madrid Protocol which I have written here talks about what is called Mono-Class of Protection. What Mono-Class of Protection means is that one application for one class of protection and yet the Zimbabwean law talks about Multi-Class Protection. So there will be a dilemma. So, we need to accede to what the Vice President wants us to do. Now, when 1 200 applications go through, it means more money coming to Treasury and Hon. Chinamasa will be the happiest person in this country if those 1 200 applications are paid for. What it means is for those people that have submitted those applications is that the applications are then protected in Zimbabwe and you will have more people coming, applying through Zimbabwe, more people wanting protection in Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker, I support the Hon. Vice President’s submission and I call upon this House to equally support the Hon. Vice President so that we accede and the protocol goes through. Lastly, Madam Speaker, I would like to say to the Hon. Vice President, if Hon. Kasukuwere were not disturbing him; I would like to say to the Hon. Vice President that one area that Zimbabwe must look at and Africa in general is the issue of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and expressions of folklore. That is one area Africa must look at. The reason why traditional knowledge is not protected the way other intellectual property is protected especially industrial property and copy rights is because most of the tradition knowledge is resident in Africa. That is why it is not protected.
I think there is need for Africa to come together and come up with a special sui generis regime that protects traditional knowledge and Madam Speaker, we must take a re-look at the Suppression of Witchcraft Act. The Suppression of Witchcraft Act militates against traditional knowledge. Most of today’s medicines come from genetic resources and those genetic resources are resident in Africa. I could give numerous examples but when those genetic resources and those medicines are protected, Africa does not get any return and Madam Speaker, I implore the Hon. Vice President who is the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to please re-look at the Suppression of Witchcraft Act and let us ensure that traditional knowledge is protected either as trademarks and as intellectual property so that we get a return out of it. I would like to thank you.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am very excited because this is a very progressive piece of legislation by way of regulations; and also just appreciating the fact that Government is moving with speed to be in line with global trends, global patterns. I am however not very clear and I would want the Hon. Vice President or the Minister in charge to also clarify that. This is because, in intellectual property, we are supposed to have more than just trademarks. We have geographical locations, industrial designs and patterns which are all under the rubric of intellectual property. Particularly, I would like to hear this because it speaks to the trademarks in terms of Section 97(b) (7). It goes to the issues of trademarks and how they have to dovetail and handshake into the global system of intellectual property registration, which is a fair and good point.
However, my fear and discomfort is that, we need to have a holistic approach so that we capture geographical indication. When we are talking about geographical indications –
Some Hon. Ministers having been talking to each other.
HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Madam Speaker, may you advise our Ministers, they seem to be making a lot of noise. Please just guide them accordingly.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa, please speak to the Chair. I think it is because you are concentrating on the Ministers and not…
HON. CHAMISA: That is why I am seeking your guidance.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Speak to me.
HON. CHAMISA: Within the Standing Orders, you are enjoined by the laws to also advise Ministers to follow the rules of this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – if they want to have a chat…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members. Hon. Chamisa, speak to the Chair.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members from the back! Hon. Members, can Hon. Chamisa be heard in silence.
HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker, thank you very much. I really appreciate that protection. This is a very important piece of legislation. Geographical indications entail things like Katiyo, Tanganda and those that are very important in Manicaland, that have become international brands. They need to be registered, industrial designs are many and I do not think we have many of them here. For example, BMW, Mercedes Benz, those important designs need to be registered in terms of intellectual property.
However, I am not so sure in terms of legislation because we have the Act on industrial designs and on geographical locations. How we are going to make sure that it becomes part of the international system is something that we may need to implement with speed through making sure that we align our laws so that we also benefit from this very important regime internationally.
Hon. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for doing this in time because it is going to immediately position Zimbabwe as an investment destination. There is no doubt that people are going to come to Zimbabwe because we will be having investment-compliant laws. If you visit countries like the United States of America (USA) and China; one of the key issues they look at when they want to invest in a country is the capacity to allow and enable registration of their intellectual property rights.
It is so important to register intellectual property rights because it unlocks the gates to the ease of doing business. People become interested in a country on account of the nation’s compliance into the world system. It is almost like enter one, enter all system, once you enter Zimbabwe; you enter the entire Madrid system network. It is very important because you simply need a handshake within Zimbabwe and you will have a handshake with the whole world. It is very important to pose our country as an investment destination. Not only that, it is also going to make sure that Zimbabwe is going to harvest from the dividend of intellectual property. We have a lot of intellectual property in this country, but our people have not been educated and well-informed enough to register that kind of intellectual property.
In terms of our indigenous knowledge systems, herbal systems – of course I do not believe in herbs, but in terms of even music, the Tuku music for example, Jah – what is his name?…
Hon. Chamisa having been speaking to the gallery.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa, speak to the Chair.
HON. CHAMISA: It is not a crime to solicit the wisdom of other Hon. Members of Parliament Madam Speaker. Mbira music for example - [AN HON. MEMBER: Killer T.] – of course Killer T is not one of them. If you look at our indigenous knowledge systems, mbira for example, you go to Europe or anywhere, you will not find mbira instruments. It is something unique to our African setting. However, we need to make sure that such kind of important intellectual property is registered. Our drum is so beautiful and if we go to Europe with the way we beat the drum, one can actually marry on account of being good at it. You can earn a living, but we need to register all those important marks and intellectual property dimensions.
The second advantage we are going to have on account of justice is that Zimbabwe is going to become an intellectual property giant. We are also going to get a lot of money and commercialise our intellectual property endowments. The third one is that, we also have an intellectual history and we have a lot of intellectuals. Intellectual property rights are going to position our country as the hub of intellectual property within the world. It is very possible and we need to start positioning ourselves as the first among equals. That is why I want to appreciate this very important issue. Of course Hon. Chasi and Hon. Maridadi have already indicated that this is going to be a foreign currency earner and I do not want to waste a lot of time on that.
Last but not least is the internationalisation and globalisation of the brand Zimbabwe. Once we have done this, Zimbabwe is going to be immediately internationalised and globalised in terms of how it is accepted among the family of nations. It is a very important and progressive piece of legislation. We adopted it in the General Laws Amendment Act and now we are operationalising it to make sure that we open the process of registration.
I also want to urge the Government to do two critical things. The first one is to come up with high-tech facilities not just in Harare but across the whole country so that we can have registrations in Bulawayo, Masvingo or even in Victoria Falls. We do not want to limit it to Harare. I have a problem with a ‘Hararerised’ system because Harare is not Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is not Harare. Let us go up at least to our capitals, most importantly, Bulawayo and many others so that we are able to register. The second thing is to introduce intellectual property courses and curricula. I know that at Africa University we have a Master’s programme and at the University of Zimbabwe, it is done as a course under the legal studies. We now need to make sure that at NUST, Africa University, Solusi University and even at high school, we introduce studies on intellectual property. That way, we are going to harness from the God-given gift of the intellectual property rights we have across the whole country.
Madam Speaker, this is one of the legislations where we should not waste a lot of time, but thank the Government where they would have done well. This is a good move, it must be supported and personally, representing my Constituency, supports this and say; this is a very progressive piece of legislation. However, the Government must also know that next time when they bring cantankerous pieces of legislation, they should not have problems with our rejection. This is because we look at good things, we admire them because it is good for our country. We want to thank you Madam Speaker and also thank the Government. Thank you very much.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to add my voice. Madam Speaker, I am just here to congratulate the Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for bringing that protocol for ratification, in particular the one that speaks to Intellectual Property Rights. Madam Speaker, the Intellectual Property Rights, as he has alluded to that there are about 62 that have not been registered and assented to because of the prohibition of our nation assenting to or signing the treaty or the Madrid Protocol.
Madam Speaker, it is said in Shona, muzivi wenzira yeparuware, ndiye mufambi wayo. It is also prudent in the same vein, for other Ministries to take a cue from what the Minister of Justice has brought up today. That is the ratification of international treaties, protocols and conventions because some of these protocols impede upon our progress in terms of our oversight role and also in terms of execution of our mandate as the Executive and as a nation.
Madam Speaker, I want to call in the same vein, for centralisation of all protocols, conventions and treaties that need to be ratified and signed by the Zimbabwean Government so that it is known at any given time, which Ministry and which department has not ratified which protocol and what is the benefit of the ratification of such a protocol. Madam Speaker, what comes to mind immediately is the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol of 16 November, 2001. I say this because I am hoping that the relevant Ministry will be encouraged to ratify that convention because it is good in this manner as it gives us access to cheap aircraft; aware that there is direct Cabinet decision to find a partner for our flagship carrier. This convention of 16 November, 2001 which is deemed the Cape Town Convention, gives us access to cheap aircraft. I am saying, let the Executive in other Ministries and departments be encouraged by the ratification of the Madrid Convention.
Madam Speaker, I want to go further and say, as I conclude, it also gives us security from the debtors in that all debt is made good in the country of registry and if aircraft are to be impounded, they are only impounded in the State of registry, only to those members who are part to this convention. Why do I say so Madam Speaker? We have the London route which is now closed and because we are not a member of IATA, we are at risk of having our aircraft impounded. If we assent to this convention and protocol, taking a cue from the Madrid Convention that we have alluded to, we protect ourselves using a convention which has agreements that can make sure that our flagship carrier cannot be impounded in a foreign land except in a country of registry. It also says, we can now go into the ambit of the class of people who have access to cheap aircraft.
Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Minister of Justice in bringing the ratification of this protocol to the House and I say, other relevant Ministries should take a cue from him. I thank you.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me an opportunity to lend my voice to this debate on the apparent domestication of our international obligations. I want to begin Madam Speaker through you, by congratulating and commending our esteemed Hon. Vice President who is the Minister of Justice for following through and making progress very strident and very palpable progress in the legislative agenda that we have before this House.
You will recall Madam Speaker, this august House did indeed adopt the Madrid Protocol through the General Laws Amendment Bill. It is heartening Madam Speaker, to see Hon. Vice President, the Minister of Justice, following through, taking and allowing this House to go to the next stage of approving – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Can Hon. Majome be heard in silence?
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was saying that I am, through you, congratulating the Hon. Vice President for the diligence that has been exhibited by bringing various palpable stages of implementation of our legislative agenda that he did presented the General Laws Amendment Bill and we adopted the Madrid Protocol. Now, the Statutory Instrument Regulations are going into the final leg in terms of making them a reality. Madam Speaker, I add my voice to my fellow Hon. Members who have commended Hon. Vice President for moving to ensure that this august House contributes its bit in making sure that we improve the ease of doing business.
By domesticating the Madrid Protocol in this very practical manner, we indeed open up possibilities for the people of Zimbabwe who are of entrepreneurship and who are business minded, to be able to protect the fruits of their intellectual labour and to be able to have greater surface area, if I may call that, to entrench and get value from ring-fencing their own intellectual property in trade.
Madam Speaker, in saying that, I want to take the liberty to ask through you, the esteemed Vice President, Hon. Minister of Justice, to have the august House benefit from the same zeal in domesticating all other international treaties that we are part of. Indeed, it is good that we are moving towards business but the other international human rights instruments, it is my sincere hope that I will also live to see the Hon. Vice President and his colleagues bringing to the august House, in the same manner, International Human Rights Treaties that Zimbabwe is part to, so that we may also domesticate them. I could give an example such as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. I will also bring the UN Covenance on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
It is my plea Madam Speaker, through you, that the Hon. Vice President does, in the same manner bring to the august House motions for us to domesticate these Bills. Madam Speaker, may I say that I want to particularly commend the Hon. Vice President for showing us that our Constitution is a good Constitution and that we can implement it and it is good for the country.
I am heartened that, specifically in terms of Section 34, that gives an obligation for Zimbabwe to domesticate those international treaties that we are party to. In this particular Madrid Protocol and the Statutory Instrument that he wants Hon. Members of the august House to support, which I do hope they support, it allows us to fulfill our own obligation in terms of the Constitution that I hope we will defend and promote.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I want to urge Members of the august House and Portfolio Committees to remember our own Standing Rules and Orders, because in terms of Rule 20, paragraph (e) of the Standing Rules and Orders, it requires that every Portfolio Committee must, and ‘must’ is the peremptory wording; it is not optional. We are required to: - “consider or deal with all international treaties, conventions and agreements that are relevant to Portfolio Committees, which are from time to time, negotiated, entered into and agreed upon”. While I agree that this is a Statutory Instrument and not necessarily the Madrid Protocol itself, I want to raise concern that I have noted that we seem to be in the bad habit of Portfolio Committees not at all considering these protocols and international treaties. They are not brought to Portfolio Committees and that when the Hon. Ministers give notice that they want to move motions, may I implore you Madam Speaker, that may your office and the Clerk of Parliament indeed refer international treaties to Portfolio Committees so that we can do our part and really do justice to these Statutory Instruments. There are instances where Portfolio might also be able to amplify and assist the Hon. Ministers to do their work. So, I request that in future, we make sure that international treaties are referred to Portfolio Committees because we continue to neglect our work as Parliament because these are our own Standing Rules and Orders. We made and passed them, so let us indeed fulfill them.
Indeed, I say that I am in support of the approval of the regulations. I do hope that Hon. Members indeed lend their support and that we shall in future domesticate all our other international treaties, especially human rights treaties in the manner that we are doing the regulations through the Madrid Protocol. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I thank Hon. Majome for querying whether Statutory Instrument regulations had been made public. It is possible that there are some other Hon. Members who were not aware but by your own statement Madam Speaker, you have clarified that issue that the regulations were distributed.
With regard to the contribution by Hon. Chasi, let me assure the House that Hon. Chasi was my deputy and I assigned him to deal with these issues. He has done an excellent job in this area. We are where we are today in this area because of his contribution. He really did a fantastic job with regard to Intellectual Property and aligning all legislation relating to Intellectual Property Trademarks and so on. I miss him in that area.
The contribution by Hon. Maridadi, initially he talked of a void and I am not so sure that he is crossing into an area which is not of his responsiblility but he has a right to do so. Indeed, currently, Intellectual Property Deeds and Trademarks are housed under one umbrella office supervised by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. I am in total agreement with the sentiments that this could be separated. I have no doubt that down the line, that could be achieved but currently, that is the situation. I believe trademarks would easily be well suited in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. We have no doubt about that but currently, it is not there. It is independent in the Companies and Deeds Office where they are housed but I believe that as we are progressing and improving, we should be able to separate these entities.
I also recommend the sentiments expressed by Hon. Maridadi. Fortunately, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here. But Unfortunately, I was talking and I do not think that he heard it when you talked about increasing 5% to a reasonable percentage but you did not suggest how much. So you know Minister Chinamasa, ukamuwana avete, if you say to him Chinamasa; Chinamasa, he will answer saying, handina mari, handina mari and you say no, ndakuvigira bagwe randagocha – [Laughter.] -
So, you should have gone further to suggest the level of intention. You also dealt with the issue of automation. We are really well advanced in that area but the constraint is the issue of resources and it is the direction that we are moving to achieve. On traditional systems and traditional medicines knowledge, again we want to take this on board. It is true that in the past, most African countries have left this behind because of colonialism. Because of colonialism, we felt that our traditional knowledge was backward but we now realise that it sustained generations after generations. It is important that we must preserve traditional systems or traditional knowledge in the same manner we should protect local knowledge including our forests (fauna). All that should be protected. You will find that in Europe, they do that but when they come to Zimbabwe, sometimes you find that they come and take our trees/plants and register them in Europe but these plants are actually domestic or African plants in Africa.
Hon. Chamisa, in fact both Hon. Maridadi and Hon. Chamisa, I have nothing really to add because they have been able to articulate this Madrid Protocol perhaps more than I would do myself. I congratulate you for the understanding which you have and the knowledge which you have exhibited, it has benefitted the House. I am not sure if they have done the same except that with Cde. Chamisa – [HON. CHAMISA: Inaudible interjection.] - I am saying you did so well.
Hon. Chamisa is aware that there is a Design Act, there is the Geographical Indication Act but initially, he almost attacked then at the end, I thought he was ignorant but as he went on, he came back but he knows that these things are there. So, we would not put these things in the regulations because they are separate from this and are covered. So, again I thought you were ignorant only to be surprised that you cleared your own ignorance by stating that you know about the existence of these issues. So, I am very glad that Hon. Chamisa is very knowledgeable.
You also proposed that we should do decentralisation of these offices. Currently, we only have Harare and Bulawayo but it is necessary that as we master and gather resources from my brother (Minister Chinamasa) here, we should be able to decentralise. It is correct, both yourself and what Hon. Maridadi has said, that once you register one application here, we have 98 countries covered by one single application and this is an advantage that we are having. In fact, it will put Zimbabwe some index above from where we are now as a result of doing what we are doing just now. In about a week or ten days time, we will be in Geneva defending these protocols and I am happy that if we succeed in approving this protocol, it is a plus when we go to Geneva – [ HON. CHAMISA: I can accompany you to help you.]- If resources are available, I would not object but you need to talk to Minister Chinamasa.
Hon. Nduna, he is supportive but he brings in another aspect that there are several protocols. I think also the other earlier contributor said the same but let me say that there are so many protocols. The inflow gate is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the outflow gate again, is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But once the protocols come into Zimbabwe, there are line Ministries which then deal with the particular protocol or particular treaty so that you will find that there are so many treaties as Hon. Majome has said. There are so many treaties that are just hanging, they are not in Foreign Affairs, they are in line Ministries but at the end of the day, as each protocol, treaty or convention comes in, the Minister of Foreign Affairs sends that to the line Ministries to process. I am happy that as Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, we have the leeway to follow-up, can do so from a legal point of view - to follow-up these protocols that are hanging.
There are several of them. Hon. Majome has mentioned a few, but they are more than the number you have mentioned, which are hanging and require to be processed. We have given instructions that we should have a list of this to show which protocols have not been processed. Hon. Majome is happy that we are domesticating; yes this process we are doing is the process for domestication of the protocols.
With regards to Portfolio Committees, honestly I have no serious comment on that one. I believe that Hon. Majome was addressing this to Parliament rather than the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. It is an issue that can be handled by Parliament administration to make sure that the relevant Portfolio Committees do their work with regards to examining the protocols as well as the treaties, conventions and so on before they are processed here in Parliament. I therefore, move that this House do approve the Trade Marks Madrid Protocol Regulations 2017.
Motion that this House recalling that the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1989 (the Madrid Protocol) and acceded the obligations that follow there from;
Noting that Parliament has approved the amendments to the Trade Marks Act [Chapter 26:04] to incorporate the provisions of the Madrid Protocol into domestic legislation as contained in the General Laws Amendment Act, 2016;
FURTHER NOTING that the full operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol has been hampered by the absence of implementing regulations;
WHEREAS Sub-section 7 of Section 97 (b) of the Trade Marks Act [Chapter 26:04] requires that any regulations for the operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol are to be tabled before Parliament for approval;
AND WHEREAS, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has developed the Trade Marks (Madrid Protocol) draft regulations for the operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol which have been placed before Parliament for consideration and approval;
NOW THEREFORE, calls upon this House to approve the Trade Marks (Madrid Protocol) Regulations as contained in the said Statutory Instrument and have them gazetted for effective operationalisation of the Madrid Protocol.
Motion put and agreed to.
DECLARATION OF STATE OF DISASTER IN FLOOD AFFECTED AREAS
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): Madam Speaker, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has declared a State of Disaster for flood affected communal, resettlement and urban areas in the country and this is in line with Section 27 (2) of the Civil Protection Act, Chapter 20 (6): 1989. The declaration will be in force for the next three months.
The 2016/2017 rainfall season has ushered in a trail of destruction in the following provinces : Matabeleland North (Thsolotsho, Lupane, Nkayi, Binga, Umguza and Hwange urban. Matabeleland South, (Matobo, Umzingwane, Bulilima, Insiza, Beitbridge and Gwanda). Midlands (Gokwe North, Gokwe South and Mberengwa). Masvingo (Chivi, Mwenezi, Chiredzi, Masvingo and Bikita). Mashonaland West (Kariba, Zvimba and Hurungwe. Manicaland (Mutare rural, Mutasa, Buhera, Chipinge and Chimanimani). Mashonaland Central (Guruve and Mt. Darwin) and Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Epworth, Waterfalls, Hopley and Budiro in Harare Metropolitan Province. The worst affected district is Tsholotsho where a total of 859 people were left homeless and are currently in a transit camp and an additional 100 households are at risk….
Hon. Members having made noise.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members on my right, can the Hon. Minister be heard in silence? I think he is making a very important Ministerial Statement
The impact of the wet season including the effects of the tropical depression caused by Cyclone Dineo exacerbated the situation as this has left more than 1 985 people homeless. About 246 human lives were lost due to drowning and lightning strikes. More than 128 people were injured and approximately 2 579 homesteads were damaged. There was extensive damage to about 74 schools, five health institutions, about 70 small and medium dams have breached and extensive damage to road infrastructure.
The urban areas have not been spared either. In Harare Metropolitan Province, the excessively wet season caused urban flooding in Chitungwiza, Epworth, Mabvuku, Budiriro, Hopley and Waterfalls among others. In Old St. Mary’s suburb in Chitungwiza, nine aged houses collapsed and more than 2 500 houses are at risk of collapsing. More than 500 aged houses are at risk of collapsing in Mabvuku.
The affected population in communal, resettlement and urban areas are in dire need of assistance to rebuild their homes, rehabilitation of social institutions as well as recover lost property and livelihoods.
Given the extensive damage following the impacts of the 2016/2017 extremely wet season, a declaration of state of disaster has been recommended for affected communal, resettlement and urban areas in order to mobiles humanitarian assistance from public, private sector, development partners and other well wishers.
The flood disaster is to be managed by the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management Committee under my chairmanship as well as sub-national civil protection structures under the chairmanship of Provincial and District Administrators. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Minister for the Ministerial Statement. You were a bit late about it. What I seek to find out Madam Speaker, because this is likely to recur. When the President and the Meteorological Department announced that this year there is going to be normal to above normal rain, it simply means that normal to above, we should have prepared. Were bridged inspected because even up to now we are likely to have more bridges collapsing?
I have been under Gwayi River Bridge, one of the longest and biggest bridges. Its two pillars cracked three years back and as you drive over it now, it has already sagged, the same with Mlivizi River Bridge, one of our biggest bridges. These bridges are not being inspected and they have never been inspected. Can the Minister assure us that in the preparation for these emergencies, they are also inspecting these bridges? Even the dams that are collapsing, it is not because of too much rain. It is because most of these bridges have already been damaged. They already needed repairs.
I am aware of some of these bridges...
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. GABBUZA: I am aware of some of these bridges already needed repairs. Madam Speaker, can the Minister indicate if they are inspecting these bridges and repairing them before they go off, because they are not just collapsing. Most of them or those that have already gone have damages existing which they already had before this emergency. I wish to know if within that they can also institute a programme of inspecting and repairing what has not yet been damaged because we are likely to have more disasters. I thank you.
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Madam Speaker. I appreciate the Minister’s address to us telling us about the state of disaster, declaring the state of disaster and also highlighting to us regarding the various things that have happened throughout the country. What I wanted to find out from the Minister is that have we got people coming in to assist? For instance, I have seen on TV Red Cross had put up tents and stuff like that for the homeless. I also wanted to find out what package is in place regarding food and water for those that are homeless, besides the Red Cross that has already come in.
I also wanted to find out from the Minister that since the rains are still continuing and we continue to read from the newspapers that the Air Force of Zimbabwe has been rescuing quite a few people, have they increased or put something aside in terms of fuel so that rescue operations can continue? I picked up a sad story in Mberengwa where students are getting food through paper bags being thrown across the river in order for them to continue sustaining themselves. There are people across the river and others on the other side and they do not have anything to help them, so they put the food inside and throw it across. Some of it goes into the water. Can something be done towards assisting those that are in isolation at the moment? I thank you.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Mine is much to do with clarity Hon. Minister Kasukuwere. You have pointed out that Chipinge is part of an area which has got this challenge in terms of this disaster and I appreciate that. You have to take note that we have this road from Tanganda up to Chiredzi which was badly damaged way before the rains. When the rains came, the road is now terribly damaged and there is need to attend to the road so that you access people within Chipinge who have become victims as a result of the rains. Hon. Minister, is there any room for priority in terms of this road from Tanganda to Chiredzi which has been damaged so badly because there is hardly a road now? Thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank the Minister for his statement and acknowledge the importance of mitigating the disaster that the country is facing. I wanted to find out that in terms of resource mobilisation, we may have donors and other development partners, but I ask this cognisant of the fact that South Africa and Mozambique may not do much because they may be facing the same challenge. In terms of network links with the other regional countries like Botswana and other countries that have not had the same problem, have we reached out to some of our colleagues in the region? You run to neighbour when you are in dire need like Zimbabwe. Thank you.
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to find out from the Minister. First of all, may I thank the Minister for the statement and for declaring the problem of these floods as a national disaster. Looking at Gokwe South which you have also identified, we have problems where people have not been displaced per se but where the degradation of land in Gokwe urban has become a threat to the whole town. It has been like that for quite some time but now the other areas are no longer accessible. There are roads which have been closed because of these rains which are continuous. Are you also considering it even if there are no people who have been displaced or it is about the roads in the urban?
HON. PHIRI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon. Minister for the statement that you have given us and showing that the concern you have and also the country has towards its people. I did not hear you speak on the local level. What mobilisation has been done? I heard you talk about the national level, that is what the Ministerial Statement covers and may be provincial but at local level, we have serious sewage bursting especially in towns and cities. What arrangement is there besides the usual one where the DA and so on are involved? Which are the other people that are going to be involved at local level? I thank you.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. Please allow me to commend the Hon. Minister for coming to this august House to appraise us Members of Parliament of the measures that the Executive is doing to attend to this very alarming and sad state of disaster. I would want the Hon. Minister to advise us whether there are any measures that Government does provide in order to fund or plans to anticipate disasters such as this? This is because indeed, we cannot plan that there will be a cyclone in the long range or issues like that but from time to time, there will be certain acts that are beyond our control. It is my question whether our Government does indeed have in place certain measures so that when we are hit by such calamity, we are able to start ourselves to deal with it before we seek assistance from our neighbours or international partners and so on. I am saddened by the deaths that we have experienced and also by those people who are displaced, who are living under very difficult circumstances and who are in need of rescue.
I represent a constituency that is in an urban area, I am also particularly deeply disturbed by the extent to which these floods have affected urban areas. I am also concerned about the state of planning of physical and urban planning in our country. I say this because I have heard the Hon. Minister announcing before that there are stands that are available to all manner of people, to take and occupy. It is a notorious fact that in a lot of places that have been occupied by people following his call, these areas are not known that they have been previously designated and planned properly in terms of their water reticulation and in terms of drainage. So, I would want to ask the Hon. Minister, if he can assure the august House that human settlements that are being done in Zimbabwe and that are going to be done, are going to be done cognisant of the need for planning in terms of water reticulation and the natural course of water. I say this in particular because Harare is on a water course and most of it is a wet land and I am concerned that with these rains and floods, water tends to take its course and its level. So, I want to find out to what extent it is that the flooding in urban areas, maybe including Chitungwiza is because it is human made and not an act of God necessarily? So, to what extent has it been contributed by human beings that is in the context of going to settle in places where water that was made by God is meant to flow.
So, I would request on wet lands in particular and in terms of planning because we are a country that established a long time ago, at the University of Zimbabwe an honors study programme of Rural and Urban Planning. I think it is extremely sad that we have people who might actually have avoided living there if there was proper planning and the authorities did what they did.
So, Hon. Speaker, I am requesting that and also to learnt my voice to what Hon. Gabbuza said; yes it is a calamity which has befallen us but can the Hon. Minister and his colleagues in Government investigate to what extent it is indeed, that the suffering that has come has been exacerbated or even caused by human beings who have been negligent and also allowed certain nefarious things to happen that end up hitting on us. So, I would want him to investigate the extent to which poor or failure to plan and maintain infrastructure has caused this so that in future we can avoid that suffering. Can there be an investigation to see to what extent we can avoid this and what has actually caused the flooding of homes; are these things that we can prevent? Sometimes the collapse of bridges like Hon. Gabbuza has said, are these things that we can do as a country to prevent certain calamities either hitting us at all or hitting us as hard as they have done.
HON. M. KHUMALO: I stand here to feel sorry for the people that have been affected by the floods but also I want to give advice to the Minister and those involved in the rescue. In Sipepa area for example, which is the hardest hit; the Minister said over 800 people lost their homes. It is a very terrible situation. The Siphepha issue Hon. Speaker is repeating itself. I think around 2008/9, the same incident happened. A lot of people were rescued. The Siphepha area is not a disaster, it is the Gwayi River which when it is flooded, the water goes to the villagers. Now, those villagers were rescued by Government which took them to Lupane beyond the river. Government settled them at a place called Block O, where people were asked to settle there from Tsholotsho but Government had to let those people, even the Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho, to go back to the same area. Today those people seriously have lost everything, the goats, chicken because this thing has repeated itself.
Surely, the Minister said they are going to resettle some people. I suggest that when we resettle people, let us not just take them and give them the land but let us also…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon Khumalo! Can I have points of clarification?
HON. M. KHUMALO: I am trying to clarify the Minister’s statement because he said he is going to resettle. So, I am saying by looking for land to resettle, Government must also go into helping them build houses because surely this is why they go back to those old areas.
Secondly, we are worried as Members of Parliament; I want the Minister to clarify that in Lupane District, before this disaster happened, we lost almost 10 people in various places through floods and we raised this alarm. Not a single Minister came to our place and not even the Provincial Committee for disaster came to us and even today a lot of people were rescued by us in Daluba, Kana Block and so on. We are worried why these things are done selectively. So, we want this Ministry to go all over the country so that we help our people in the same manner.
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to add my voice and thank the Hon. Minister for declaring a state of disaster although I would like to make a comment as to particularly the Tsholotsho/ Siphepha area. It was hit by the rains about three weeks ago and one wonders why it has taken so long to have declared that Tsholotsho area a state of disaster. I am noticing that yes, of course, all other areas have been hit but is special attention going to be given to the Siphepha area seeing that they are the most hit? Thank you.
*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I have four questions that I need clarification on. When I grew up, we were told that prevention is better than cure. I have a question to the Minister. Which criteria did you use to determine the areas with disaster because you find that in Kuwadzana Extension, homes are flooded now and again but I never heard you talk about this area? So, I wanted to find out what criteria did you use to determine that there is a disaster. To proclaim a disaster, do you see with your naked eyes or the machines that are available to determine the disaster?
Secondly, in the rural areas, people are being settled by the village heads without Government allocating people proper areas. It is an issue that you need to clarify to us because people are being settled in areas that are not suitable for habitation. Can you address that issue so that if the village heads have that power, they should be assisted by people from your office to ensure that settlement is done in a proper area because others are being settled right on the banks of the river. For example, in Gutu, the village head just comes and pegs the settlement for the community. Our human settlements and the patterns should be addressed.
Thirdly, on the issue of building inspectors, those who monitor buildings, bridges, human settlement or even here in urban areas - houses are built anyhow. Is there a department in local authorities that determines whether the place is good for habitation? Some of the homes that are being built are not actually homes but they are time bombs. These can be a challenge and cause disaster even without rain. What we want is for people to have good places to stay.
Fourthly, our friends from China gave us rice, is it not possible for the rice to be diverted to Tsholotsho. The rice has been distributed all over the country but is it not possible for it to be taken to Tsholotsho. China is our all-weather-friend, what else is it doing to assist us with the challenges that we are facing.
HON. M. MPOFU: Thank you very much Minister for this statement. I heard that there are 1985 people who are homeless. I would like to know where they are housed at the present moment? I also heard that about 246 people died. Is the State giving any assistance to the people who perished? For the 180 that were injured, is Government assisting these people with hospital fees? You mentioned that 74 schools were destroyed, is there any assistance by Government which is going towards those schools and where are these schools? Minister, you mentioned that there are 580 homes which are on risk-of-collapse, is there any evacuation plan on them. Are they built on wetlands or not? Lastly, is there crop damage assessment that is taking place since some crops were washed away?
*HON. TARUSENGA: I want to seek clarification from the Minister on the issue that at least 10 people have perished along Hunyani and Nyatsime Rivers in Chitungwiza. The reason being that there are people who have been settled there starting from Eye-Court going towards Nyatsime and Dunnotar Farm. No bridges were built, so I want to understand from the Minister when this problem will be addressed.
Secondly, the houses in St Mary’s were built around 1960 and they used clay to build these houses. These houses were approved by council. Now, these homes are no longer conducive for habitation. If the rains that other parts of the country have experienced had been in St. Mary’s, there would not be any homes left. I want to find out from the Minister what measures is Government putting in place to address these issues because it is only a matter of time before we realise that St. Mary’s is no longer in existence.
*HON. MUKWENA: I rise to thank the Hon. Minister who came with the programme of action to alleviate the national disaster that we faced as a country. My question to the Minister is that, if it were possible that there are committees that are at district level for Civil Protection Unit, since they are on the ground and they are with the people, they could easily render assistance to victims. I will give an example of what transpired in December in Chiredzi when 14 people were swept by the rains. The district Civil Protection Unit did not have 70 litres of fuel to go and pick up the police sub-aqua unit so that they could rescue people that were being affected by the incessant rains. If it were possible, we would want the committees at district level to be resourced so that they can react quickly.
*HON. MACHINGURA: I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister for the steps he has taken to lessen the burden of flooding in our country. Firstly, I want to commend the Minister for including Chipinge on the list of areas that need help. I know that his Ministry is trying hard to render assistance to all provinces in the country. As I speak right now, the residents of Chipinge cannot drive to their homes because the roads are impassable. As you might be aware, Chipinge and Chimanimani are situated in a dense forest and as a result, we have the problem of trees falling onto the roads. I urge our local committees to have back up machinery in order to clear these trees so that the roads are passable. I thank you.
HON. MUSANHI: I would like to add my voice by thanking the Minister on the statement he has delivered. I think it is a very noble thing you have made that you make this statement. As a Member of Parliament for Bindura, I did not hear Bindura in your statement. Most houses in Garikai Township were destroyed by these incessant rains but I did not hear of Bindura in your statement. I think maybe you did not hear about it. Our road to Matepatepa, has been damaged by rains before for quite a long time but right now Minister, if you are going to put any aid into that area you will be able to move it in any direction as the road is badly damaged and needs urgent resuscitation. Having that in mind, I think you need to consider looking at those areas as well Minister. Thank you very much.
*HON. MUZONDIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to understand from Hon Minister Kasukuwere pertaining to the washing away of homes by flash floods thus promote many diseases especially from overflowing blair toilets as human excrement will be flowing all over the show. I would like to know what plans are in place to avail clean water to the rural populace.
Even in the urban areas, owing to the incessant rains, the water supply pipes are bound to shift thus causing the mixing of clean water and raw sewerage. What plans are in plans to ensure people get clean water and protection from diarrheal and other water borne diseases?
HON. MUDYIWA: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the update on the state of disaster arising from the floods. My concern is on those who have been affected particularly in areas like Gokwe and Tsholotsho who have lost almost everything. Most of them no longer have identification particulars. Are they going to be facilitated to get particulars like birth certificates and National Identification cards considering the fact that the voter registration exercise must be conducted before the end of this year in preparation for the forthcoming elections in 2018? Thank you.
*HON. E. GUMBO: Thank you so much Hon. Kasukuwere for your report. It is my plea that there are certain areas in the lowveld and Gwanda where flash floods happen; there is a lot of rain and they have a lot of problems. Schools, bridges as well as the road network were damaged. A lot of these rivers are overflowing like Mtshabezi River which comes from the northern part of Gwanda where there are mines and the hospital is across the river in Gwanda town. What should we do?
Members of the CPU are called but it is difficult for them to transport one injured person across the river or all the way from Bulawayo. When you look at the sanctity of human life, it is important that if it were possible there be a foot bridge to enable us to cross with the injured because the bridge on Mtshabezi River is always flooded. Gwanda town is now divided into two – there are those who are accessing services and others are not because of the low bridge at Mtshabezi River which has been under water for several months. If it were possible, it is my plea that they come and put up a foot bridge so that we can use it during emergencies. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Members for their questions, comments of support as well as various advices that we received from them.
Let me start with the question raised by Hon. Gabbuza with regards to constant monitoring inspection and ensuring that our bridges and dams are within our safety regulations. In other words, we will not compromise or not give up and end up causing disasters. I agree with you. I will talk to my colleague the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development with specific regards to the Gwayi bridge as well as some of the bridges that you mentioned. Suffice to say that CPU will come in when there is a disaster but admittedly some of the day to day responsibilities in terms of maintenance are the provinces of competence of our respective ministries and in this particular case, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
With regards to dams which have given in or given way – yes, if my memory serves me well, from a World Bank report of 2012 which spoke about dam safety conditions in the country. Indeed, quite a number of our dams that have actually collapsed in the past two days were noted and mentioned. I am happy to say that even with that challenge or tragedy happening, the CPU and various authorities are on top of the situation. Going forward, the issue to do with the maintenance and inspection is very uppermost in our minds.
The question raised by Hon. Holder on the level of assistance that is being provided. I want to say just this afternoon; I launched an appeal on behalf of the Government, to the private sector as well as the international community through the UNDP and various embassies, the UNDP Resident Representative attended that press briefing this afternoon at our Munhumutapa Building. We think that this is the step that we must have taken, it is a necessary step so that we mobilise as much assistance as is possible.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I speak, most of these organisations are already on the ground. They have been supporting our communities in Tsholotsho and various other areas which were affected but the appeal that we made this afternoon will ensure that we have more support coming our way because the level of challenge that we are facing has actually grown. Tomorrow we will be travelling to most of these areas, Filabusi and Insiza going around the country with the donors, some of the embassies and various other ministers to assess the situation on the ground so that as we consolidate our appeals process, we are able to capture mere detail of what has transpired, costs and the expected responses that we must give in terms of building and repair work for some of these areas. So I am sure that with the appeal that we have started, besides what Government is also doing which is raising funds which Hon. Dr. J. Gumbo alluded to, we think we will be able to have more funds coming our way for us to attend to these emergencies.
Mr. Speaker, the question from Hon. Mutseyami with regards to the Chiredzi-Tanganda. This road and I agree with him entirely, was affected by the cyclone Eline and we have quite a lot of work which must have been attended to which is ongoing but will now require that we take it on board as part and parcel of the response that we must undertake now. So this road is a priority road and the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development shared with us this afternoon that we need a whooping $500 million to attend to some of the infrastructure that has been lost and that includes this very economically important road from Chiredzi all the way to Mutare. So we will certainly ensure that we discuss with Hon. Dr. Gumbo and make it part of our priority that it must be attended to.
Hon. Mpariwa, thank you very much for your question and like I said earlier on, we launched an appeal process today and I hope that even our neighbours attended the press briefing and part of the meeting. We hope and trust that they will all come on board and do whatever they can in supporting our recovery efforts.
Hon. Mangami, the question you have raised to do with degradation, the landfall at Gokwe just behind the Government Complex; this has been attended to under the Hwange biological corridor programme that is being coordinated by Environmental Management Authority (EMA). However, we are also seeing this problem widening and growing and we will take it on board but this was a matter that was being attended to already under a World Bank funded programme which is run by our Environmental Management Authority (EMA) but it is a major challenge. It is not only in Gokwe where the landfalls have given us a challenge or slides. We have this situation in Bikita where we lost one child and a whole homestead just went under when we had this landfall. Again, this has been occurring around the Chimanimani area.
Hon. Phiri raised a question with regards to the local level involvement in Kadoma. There is a District Civil Protection Unit which is charged with the responsibility of attending to some of the emergencies that emerge at a local level.
The sewage challenge and so forth are being compounded now by the amount of rain that we have received. It has made the ground very wet and this has to an extent contributed to the sewage coming out because it is very wet. We have a lot of water underground and I have no doubt that the local authority will handle this issue. Should it require the support at national level, it will still certainly fall within what we are now looking forward to do as well as in terms of the assistance we are looking forward to.
Hon. Majome raised a very important question to do with the health; what are we doing, the funding that is available. Currently, Hon. Member, we are supporting families to the tune of $100 but this is not sufficient. Beyond that, various NGOs and Government itself have been making food available. I speak with authority with regards to what has been happening to parts of Tsholotsho and parts of the areas including Mt Darwin. We give them food for example mealie-meal, pulses including cooking oil. This was raised by some Hon. Members here.
Beyond this, every Government department is enjoying playing their part and I have in mind the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. They have been providing support to those amongst our society who depend on various drugs, be they on ARTs, blood pressure and so forth which in many cases have been lost because of the flooding.
On education, we flew with Dr. Dokora to Tsholotsho and we will be travelling again tomorrow. There has been massive integration of schools in schools which have gone under or which have been flooded. The children have been moved to schools that are within their area and the integration process has been going on very smoothly.
Madam Speaker, Government has also responded…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order, I am not Madam Speaker – [Laughter.] –
HON. KASUKUWERE: Mr. Speaker, you look very beautiful, so I thought you were a woman – [Laughter.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government so far with the support from the efforts of Zimbabwe, the police and NGOs have moved in to save our people.
With regards to the question of urban planning my dear sister, I am sure you moved from discussing the disasters and moved a bit into the political terrain. I agree with you entirely in terms of urban planning. There is chaos in Chitungwiza. Those of us who grew up in Chitungwiza, Zengeza 1-4 will attest that there were open spaces that were left to allow for water or rain to flow but all those pieces of land are settled right now. I need not say who has been in charge of those councils, I am sure we all know and what we must do is that we on both sides of the House, need a collective responsibility in ensuring that whoever we second from our political parties to go to council must be men and women who can uphold the responsibility. What we are faced with within the country is men and women who are not up to the task and hence urban planning has fallen below standards that are acceptable.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the human made catastrophe that my dear sister referred to, indeed, I think we have a duty to stop this lie. We will certainly investigate.
Hon. Khumalo raised a question to do with the people in Siphepha; admitted and agreed. The people from Siphepha were moved to block O but they moved back. It is always a difficult proposition when you move these people from their ancestral areas to new areas. They do not find it easy to settle there hence with our CPU and I am aware that there is a meeting this afternoon in Tsholotsho where we are looking for pieces of land or land which has been identified closer to their ancestral homes which will give them access to their fields. They are settled around the Gwayi River area because it is fertile but it is also their ancestral homes but by moving them to places adjacent to where they were, we think they will not do what happened in the past where they abandoned the new settlements in Lupane and went back.
Traditional leadership has also been engaged and we are quite confident that we will make the necessary progress. The cost of building homes and houses if they could go back and rebuild, I am sure they can also build in the new areas. However, as Government, we have committed ourselves to assist these families resettle and build model houses for them to settle and not move back to their old places.
I thank the Hon. Member for raising the question of the ten people who were lost in Lupane. I hope and trust that in future, the Hon. Member must also raise these issues with us to come and say, how come we did not know about this when he knew and decided not to communicate. I am sure as a Member of Parliament, it is his first and foremost duty to inform Government when there are challenges in his area.
Hon. Toffa has raised a question why it takes so long; we were not going to declare this extensive state of disaster just because of Tsholotsho but Tsholotsho matters and as Tsholotsho was suffering, many other areas were also suffering. So, comprehensive studies or work had to be done to understand how many people are affected, which are the areas; hence we have come up with this declaration which is all but encompassing. We did not intend to just only look at Tsholotsho otherwise we would be accused of favouritism. We have to ensure that all the other areas in the country are covered and that is what we have done.
*Hon. Chamisa our Vice President talked about the issue of Kuwadzana. Thank you Vice President. On that issue, I appeal to you – you live in that area and you have councillors. Look at the areas where residential stands are being piled; next to the road. You are the Vice President of your party. I am now sick and tired of your councillors. May I appeal through you, to go and tell your councillors? Because of your brilliance, you may assist us so that this disaster will not go ahead. We should resettle in good places. I believe Madyira, you will assist us in this regard.
This is not the only area but there a lot of areas where houses are getting flooded. It is a disaster which is man-made as Hon. Majome indicated. Maybe, if we sit down together and
*HON. KASUKUWERE (spkng): …together and assist one another with councillors. We believe that we will be able to get things done in a better way. We would want to have a meeting with your councillors so that we can come up with an amicable solution to some of these dishing out of residential stands. You tend to think that I am against councillors but that is not the correct position. Some of their deeds are not very good. You asked me four questions.
There are some village heads that spend their money at beer hall parties. They are given money and then give residential stands to people. No one is allowed to sell land but this corruption is occurring in communal lands. From the district administrators downwards, there are some corrupt cases that are going on. Even in the pastures, people are being resettled as well as in graveyards. Anyone who was at a farm and purchases beer for the village head is allocated a residential stand. It is a problem that we are facing and I intend to talk to my counterpart Hon. Ncube, so that a stop can be put to such practices. It is happening all over as has been observed in the communal lands. What you observed in Kuwadzana also prevails in Gutu. It is a huge task that both of us should work on.
On the issue of the inspections, indeed it is true; some of the houses are built overnight. When Government then says they would want these houses to be demolished, the law then says you are not supposed to destroy them but should go through the courts. They build their homesteads overnight. They come with their bricks and other building materials and then by 4.30 in the morning a three roomed house will have been roofed and this is a wetland. Yes, we may say it is Chinese style but the Chinese have a standard that they meet. This is what has happened all over Harare. That situation applied around the airport area. It does happen but I am appealing to all Members of Parliament to implore our people not to compromise building standards. It is also the duty of councils to enforce council building standards. We are trying to capacitate these councils so that they do not let such corruption go scot free.
On the issue of rice from China, it is being distributed and we have a lot of it. If you want rice at home we can give you Hon. Chamisa. If you do not have sufficient rice we will tell Hon. Mupfumira to give you the rice. Just give us a shout. You are the one who talked about this issue Hon. Madyira (totem).
Hon. Mpofu, thank you for your question. With regards to the housing of our people, especially those who are affected in Tsholotsho, we have, with the support of various NGOs, set up a transit camp which is housing the 859 people. Both men and women are all housed there. We are working 24/7 to ensure that we build proper settlements for them so that family members can be reunited. As it stands, males have their own dormitories and the ladies and our aged have their own various places to stay in including children. However, we think it is very important for us to bring back the family units as soon as possible but currently they are housed in these tents. The State has been assisting them and like I have said, various other NGOs are coming on board.
Those who are injured and those who are sick are being taken care of. We have flown medical support and various other support to ensure that our people are comfortable. Also, schools are being taken care of with regards to the education of our children.
Hon. Tarusenga asked about Harare South. We are working on Harare South and UDICORP is now involved to try and restore order there as well as to ensure that bridges and roads can be built. The settlement, like I have said, these are some of the difficult settlements where you would wake up and somebody is selling pieces of land. But you then get to a stage where you will say, can we honestly kick out the children and their parents from a property that they will have built with their little savings because this land has been sold by a land baron. We have tightened our screws around the land barons and continue to arrest them and put them in prison for their past deeds because we end up being unfair to our citizens. However, we also call upon our citizens not to be duped and not to buy land from people who are not authorised. The land authorities are our City Councils, our Government institutions and in very rare cases, individuals with private properties but those should be verified and certified. We want to call upon our people to desist from buying land from the so called land barons or those who can put pressure.
St. Mary’s 1980, yes, that is an issue that should be attended to. We will look at them and see the current state of the homes and whether they can continue, otherwise if they are a disaster, we must evacuate our people as soon as possible.
Hon. Mukwena, thank you very much for your comments with regards to the budgetary support for our CPU. We are discussing and have been discussing with the Minister of Finance and more support will be given to our CPU for them to attend to some of these challenges.
Hon. Machingura, we will discuss the issue with DDF. Thank you very much, your point is noted.
Hon. Musanhi, Bindura – I spoke to the Hon. Member this morning and he never alerted me to this issue but now that he has said it, we will also bring it up. The road has been like that for quite some time. It is in a state of disrepair and I hope and trust that with funds available we must bring back the Matepatepa Road.
The question to do with water in the rural areas – we already have the WASH programme but we had in the urban centres, the emergence of typhoid but I am happy that we are on top of this situation in urban Harare.
Our dear sister from Mudzi, the Ministry of Home Affairs is part of our CPU. They will do what is necessary to restore people’s identities and the Ministry of Health and Child Care will also do their part to ensure that people’s health is not compromised.
Hon Gumbo you asked about the issue in Gwanda. I have noted it and we are going to talk to DDF and other authorities in the area so that they can deal with the issue raised. I think that answers all the questions that were asked. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
SECOND READING: ZEP – RE (MEMBERSHIP OF ZIMBABWE AND BRANCH OFFICE AGREEMENT BILL [H.B. 9, 2016]
Fourth Order read: Second Reading: ZEP – RE (Membership
of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill, (H.B. 9, 2016).
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, I move that
the ZEP – RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office
Agreement) Bill, (H.B. 9, 2016) be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Tuesday, 14th March, 2017.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes past Five o’clock p.m until Tuesday, 14th March, 2017.