You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 aUGUST 2017 VOL 43 NO 84

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 aUGUST 2017 VOL 43 NO 84

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 3rd August, 2017

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to acknowledge the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery, students and teachers from Mafidhi Mnangagwa Primary School from Midlands Province.  You are most welcome. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that Hon. Revai Muguti will serve in the ICT and Health and Child Care Portfolio Committees.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 4 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. NDUNA: Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, I think you have forgotten notices of motion and then thereafter we come on a point of privilege.

THE HON. SPEAKER: My apologies.

POINT OF PRIVILEGE

CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN

          HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. Yesterday, you asked Hon. Members to join in a clean-up campaign in Harare.  It went very well for the Hon. Members who participated and I take this opportunity to applaud the Hon. Members who came through and engaged in the clean-up campaign. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –         I also want to say in that vein – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – If we can do this more often so that we can take a cue from Tanzania that there be a dedicated day each month so that we can do this more often.  It is also said, kugara nhaka kuona dzevamwe, if this can also go as far as Chegutu.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you and the Hon. Members who participated – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order sorry Hon. Nduna, may you complete your statement.

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you for your protection Mr. Spear Sir.  I was just concluding to say that it is highly applaudable as it is said that cleanliness is next to godliness.  I want to thank the Hon. Members who participated.  We saw from all walks of life and other corporates joining us, if this day could be extended to mean a day every month for cleanliness and clean-up campaign, and if can also be extended to other constituencies.  It is said, kugara nhaka kuona dzevamwe, if it can be extended to Chegutu West Constituency and other constituencies.  It would be greatly applaudable, once again I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for a job well done.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Mr. Speaker, colleagues have just highlighted to me that actually we must stand down Order of the Day, Number 1 until Order of the Day Number 2, has been disposed of.

COMMITTEE STAGE

NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCIALIATION BILL [H. B. 2, 2017]

          Second Order read:  Committee Stage:  National Peace and Reconciliation Bill [H. B. 2, 2017].

          House in Committee.

          On Clause 12:

          HON. MAJOME:  I am rising and hope that the Hon. Minister will respond to the debate I made about that.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): I move the amendment standing in my name which is on other offences that on page 10 of the Bill, delete Clause 12 (h), insert new subclause (2) which reads as follows—

“(2) Any person who threatens, victimises, assaults or does anything whatever calculated to harm or to prejudice the rights or interests of any person by reason of that other person having testified or appeared before the Commission or any of the Commission’s committees, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”  I thank you.

Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 13:

HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I would want to entreat the Hon. Minister to reconsider allowing the Commission to fully work as an independent Commission by amending that clause so that when the Commission recruits its staff, it does not have to consult the Ministry in, particular as well as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.  This is an independent Commission in terms of the Constitution, so it would be a good idea for the Commission to first consult the Hon. Minister on recruiting staff.  It does not appear like the kind of policy guidance that should be there. 

In my respective view, I urge the Hon. Minister that it is not necessary at all for the Commission; it is neither necessary, desirable or helpful for the Commission to have to consult the Hon. Minister, when it wants to recruit staff.  It would undermine the independence of the Commission as stated by the Constitution because they must be allowed to recruit staff as and when they can.  This would be very inconsistent.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you Hon. Member.  Consultation is not seeking permission, it is just mere consultation because the Hon. Minister also reports to Parliament.  So it is important that from time to time, the Hon. Minister understands what the Commission is doing for the sake of reporting to Parliament.  It is mere consultation, it is not seeking permission.  So they can still do as they deem fit; the Hon. Minister has no right to say no, you cannot.  It is just mere consultation for the purposes of reporting back.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I just wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister - like Hon. Majome has indicated; his consultation might not be seeking permission but why consult in the first place if it is an independent Commission?  Why should it consult from someone?  Does that not consultation aspect compromise the independence of the Commission?  If consultation is not asking for permission, why consult in the first instance?  Why not allow the Commission to act on its own without the influence of the Minister?  The element of consultation brings in an influence, brings in an element of submission of the Commission to the Minister, so, should there be consultation? 

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Hon. Member, like I said it is for the sake of being able to move on the same page as the Minister also has to come to Parliament and present reports.  So, he must be able to report to Parliament on what the Commission is doing.  So, this is why they consult – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  Hon. Minister then if it is for the purposes of informing the Minister for the Minister to be able to report properly to Parliament, why do you not couch that section in that manner - where you are saying the Commission will simply advise the Minister what has to be reported to Parliament, because the Commission maybe cannot report on its own; other than saying consultation.  Consultation is broad and if you leave it as broad as it is, it means that there is room for that consultation term to be abused – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE CHAIRMAN (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order, please, order Hon. P. D. Sibanda.

          HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much.  I have looked at the closing question Mr. Chairman.  I just want to draw the attention of the Minister to the effect that this consultation in respect of employment in terms of the Commission’s staff establishment, to me, there is no relationship between the reports which the Minister has to make to this august House and what we are talking about.  For me, there is no real nexus.  What I think we must be looking at is that we must enhance the independence of the Commission as enshrined in the Constitution.  For me, I would understand for financial reasons obviously, that perhaps the consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development might be appropriate in the sense that the Commission, when it wants to employ its staff, there may be some financial implications on the fiscus.

 In relation to the Minister in charge of Healing, I believe that that consultation is wholly unnecessary, because you must also appreciate that the spirit which is in our Constitution is to have an independent Commission so that as far as possible, this Commission is able to operate on its own initiative.  In this regard, if there is a Minister who is representing the Executive, is separate - [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – No, no, I think for some Hon. Members who may not have read the Constitution, it might be important for them to listen so that some of us can do the talking. 

          I just wanted to request that perhaps in respect of this Clause, we could limit it to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  We are talking of the staff establishment, we are not talking about the reports, and we are talking of the Commission creating its own secretariat.  What we are saying essentially Hon. Minister, is that let us have this Commission having its own latitude to decide as to the members it wants to have in its secretariat.  This is the reason why I am making the submission that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has got relevance but I am not too clear as to why we want Ministers to be consulted.  Why not just limit it to one as a compromise Hon. Minister?  At least there you will have a buy in from the person who is in charge of the purse of the country, that Minister who is in charge of the purse will have an input as to how big or small the secretariat is going to be.   We are not talking about reports by the way, and I just want to reiterate that point Hon. Minister.  This is just to do with what numbers we are going to have in the secretariat. 

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you very much Hon. Members for your contributions.  I still stick to what I said before.  The consultation, as you said, can also affect the budgetary issues of who they are going to hire and you also said it must be limited to one Minister and this is the Minister that is responsible to oversee the work of the Commission.  So, this Minister, we limit it to one Minister which is the Minister already written in the Bill, and he can then go and speak to the Minister Finance and Economic Development in terms of the budgetary issues.

          Hon. Adv. Chamisa having stood up to debate without being given the floor.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, Hon. Chamisa.  Order please.  Hon. Members, those who would want to participate or would want to debate, if you take two-three minutes before you stand, I am not giving you the chance to debate.  If I call for a debate, if you are ready and you want to debate, you immediately stand and then contribute, but not to take five minutes then you say you want to debate.  I am not going to give you that chance. 

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you very much Hon. Chair.  I was looking at this very important provision.  I think this provision goes to the very heart of the independence of our Commissions, as enshrined in the Constitution.  If you look at our Constitution as has already been argued by other members; the independence of the Constitution is enshrined in the Constitution in terms of Section 235 (1) (a), that the Commission is not supposed to be subjected to the control of anyone.  Now, if you look at the Minister’s role, the effect of the role of the Minister is to move it from being an independent Commission to being a dependent Commission.

          Now, Hon. Chair, I am clear that the purpose of this Commission is not for it to be dependant on the Minister on anything.  Once you subject it, you are already subjecting it to the control, to the authority, to the wisdom, to the advice and that is not the import of the Constitution.  So, may the Minister move away from that rigid position to say that because this is what we have agreed on, we have to make sure that it passes.  It will have fundamental problems not just problems of inelegance but even problems of passing the test – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – No. Hon. Chair, I think the Hon. Minister is actually being enjoined to see the wisdom of doing away with this aspect of consultation. It does not add anything; if anything, it does subtract everything. There has not been any argument to say this is the addition to the independence of that Commission.  So, may the Minister be persuaded, I know that if due regard is given to reason, she sees the wisdom of what is being suggested.  I thank you very much Hon. Chair.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you Mr. Chair and thank you Hon. Member.  It quite surprises me that this issue is coming up at this stage because this Bill has gone through all stages of Parliament.  When the Adverse Report came, one of the issues that we discussed had to do with the independence of the Commission and role of the Minister, and this was discussed at length by you as well, who are debating here today about this specific matter.  I think we will stick to what we agreed on, because consultation does not mean that it is dictatorship.  It does not mean that they have to listen to what he says; it is mere consultation in its simplest form.  It takes away nothing from the independence of the Commission.

          Clause 13 and 14 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 15:

          THE MINISTER FOR STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  This is in response to the suggestions brought by Hon. Ziyambi and Hon. Majome on the reports of the Commission.  I would like to say that Clause 15 (1) and (4), require the Commission to submit reports in terms of Section 323 and 253 of the Constitution respectively. 

          Such reports will include the operations and activities of the Commission which will take into account the concerns raised by Hon. Ziyambi.  Clause 15 (3) provides for the methodology of submitting additional reports upon request by Parliament.  Section 323 (2) of the Constitution allows an Act of Parliament to provide for the manner in which such additional reports may be submitted to Parliament.

          With regards to Hon. Majome’s concern on the need to expand Clause 15 (6) to cover all functions of the Commission, the various reports that the Commission will be expected to produce as highlighted above will include several recommendations on a number of issues.  It is out of these recommendations that the proposal by Hon. Gonese of a new clause after Clause 15 covering implementation of the Commission’s report will fit in.  The proposal has been accepted, as the responsible Minister we then lay before Parliament, recommendations that Government is implementing and those that it is not implementing and the reasons thereof.

          Amendment to Clause 15 put and agreed to.

          Clause 15, as amended put and agreed to.

          On Clause 16:

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to ask the Hon. Minister to seriously and judiciously re-consider, I suppose both the wisdom, practicality and even the constitutionality of the proviso in Clause 16 (1) (c), which provides that any donations, grants or bequest made by any person, organisation or any Government of any country to the Commission shall be part of the Commission’s funds.  Then it goes on to say, it is provided that the Commission shall accept such donations, grants or bequest after it has consulted the Minister.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to raise a similar concern that, subjecting possible donations, grants or bequests from well wishers who are interested in supporting peace and reconciliation, requiring that the Commission should go and consult the Minister, to make it a proviso, seriously it hamstrings the independence  of this Commission.  This august House is already endowed by the Constitution, very wide and sweeping powers to exercise financial oversight.  This Parliament actually provides the best strings but it does not help. 

It clearly undermines the Constitution to do this.  This Parliament has a duty to ensure that we uphold the independence of independent commissions.  It is not clear what mischief it is that is meant to be addressed by the Commission, going to first ask the Minister that here is a donation or grant, can we accept it?  The Minister’s role and function - with the greatest of respect, is something that does not help the Commission and it does not also help the nation.  It is a direct barrier to independence.  Commissioners are appointed in terms of the Constitution and selected because of their suitability, financial and other capacities.  It is not necessary to do this.

          It is also most unfortunate because we are a country whose fiscus is heavily lacking; the independent commissions that are in place are having difficulties sourcing funding and getting sufficient funding from the budget.  It is our constitutional duty as Parliament, again that we are required to ensure that independent commissions are adequately funded.  If we were to observe that when we know that our fiscus is struggling, it will not be prudent to then pass an Act that makes it a proviso that a commission can only receive donations and grants after consulting a Minister.  I know the Hon. Minister will say that ‘consulting’ like she said, consultation is just ordinary consultation, but there is a purpose to this consultation.  What is that the Minister would want to give views about donations?

          These commissions are already struggling, let us liberate them; let us unshackle them.  I hope the Hon. Minister would agree to unshackle these independent commissions from the ball and chain of having to go and consult a Minister when it wants to receive grants and bequests, especially where it is drafted as a proviso.  A proviso takes the consultations above the mere consultation where a person might not need to accept it or not.  By making it a provis, this actually makes it mandatory.  It clothes the Minister with power to say yes or no. So, I humbly and earnestly entreat the Hon. Minister to again remove this proviso from the Bill so that she allows this Parliament to do what it is meant to do, which is to support the independence of commissions.  I refer particularly to Section 325, that says, we must make sure that we give independent Commissions like this one, financial power and muscle.  This is the ball and chain that this Commission does not need.  I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I want to ask the Minister – I know that it is the practice in this country to have scenarios where the Executive wants to get involved in almost everything.  I think we must bear in mind the spirit and the underlying reasons why we have independent commissions.  If we look at that principle and further to that, look at the way we select our Commissioners – you will find that in our very own Constitution, we have put in place stringent mechanisms and procedures as a result of which for one to be selected or to be appointed as a Commissioner; firstly that person has got to be nominated and the Constitution actually sets out the criteria of the calliber of people who can be appointed as Commissioners. 

When you look at that process, you will find that only persons of integrity and high quality will actually make it.  When we look at it in that context, it is my respectful submission that we would want to give that body of people that autonomy to make decisions so that if they think that in their wisdom they would want to accept a particular donation; I do not think that it is good practice or good policy to subject them again to some other discussion or influence from a member of the Executive.  It is for that reason that apart from the issues which have been raised arising from the Constitution, I actually think that we must be moving away from a scenario or a situation where the Executive wants to control everything.  Why not allow some of these bodies which you have set up in terms of our Constitution some latitude?  I am sure that when you have got persons of that level, who have the integrity which I have mentioned, who are highly qualified, who have got the level of experience and who have made it through the rigorous process through the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  I think that it is desirable to have that body of people being able to make their own decisions and accept donations without them having to seek the opinion or the view of a member of the Executive when in fact we have said that this is an independent commission.

I believe that as a matter of good practice, can the Hon. Minister perhaps reconsider and perhaps have a scenario where in terms of acceptance of donations, we leave it within the discretion of members of the Commission.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): I want to acknowledge the comments that have been made especially in relation to making sure that the Commission is well funded to be able to do its work.  This is why we have included this clause to say that they are allowed to seek donations, contributions and so on so that their work is done accordingly.

However, we have to think about protecting the work of the Commission as well as the sovereignty of our nation where certain donations may come to try and interfere with the work of the Commission instead of helping it.  Some donations may become political donations and this may not need the decision of the Commission alone but they may need assistance to decipher whether donations should be made.  Image a situation where a terrorist organisation wants to donate to the Commission.  Is this something we must just accept or it is something we must help to decide whether it is a good idea or not. 

I really do not think it takes away the Commission’s independence because the Commission is not helped by the Minister to choose who the donor will be.  They go out and look for the donor themselves and so on.  No one stops them from looking for the donors but it is to make sure that the funding that is coming in is clean funding and to ensure that the Commission is not disturbed in its operations.

Clause 16 put and agreed to.

On Clause 17:

HON. MAJOME:  I would like to entreat the Hon. Minister again to reconsider striking out the very and unduly onerous provision that has been proposed in Clause 17 (2), which is in fact proposing that a Commission which is giving a duty on the Commission to prepare and submit to the Minister a statement of its accounts for the year.  This Commission has a very short duration and lifespan.  It is subject to the financial controls in the Constitution requiring the administration of public funds.  It is also subject to and must adhere to Zimbabwe’s very robust public finance management system, particularly the Public Finance Management Act – [HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Inaudible interjection.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Member, order.  You may continue but your Vice President has been disturbing you.

HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Hon. Chairman.  This requirement for the Commission to then be given the burden of accounting to the Minister to producing its financial accounts to the Minister, by just one Clause, turns an independent Commission into an Executive Commission.  Why should an independent Commission financially account to a Minister when it is actually required to account to Parliament in terms of the Constitution? 

In terms of the Constitution, the Commission is already required to provide or submit financial accounts in terms of Section 323 – the Commission must submit a report to Parliament through the Hon. Minister responsible.   Parliament may also cause the Commission submit further reports to itself and not to a Minister.  With due respect, I think this might have been an oversight on the part of the Minister that it is necessary that we keep independent Commissions  independent and Executive Commissions independent.  If this was an Executive Commission, then it may very well be that if the Minister wants financial reports, he can get but this Commission is going to report annually to Parliament and it shall in its annual reports, give statements.  It is this House that is required to scrutinise the work of the Commission. 

This House already also has a very robust Public Accounts Committee whose role is to scrutinise reports through the public finance management system.  Each and every year, the Auditor-General must audit accounts of the Commission and then that report goes again to the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee and this Committee reports to this House.  But to require the Commission to do another report every year to the Minister is to burden it unnecessarily with administrative issues that are adequately catered for not only in the annual report but also in the robust public finance management system.

As I indicated, Mr. Chairman, this Commission has a very short life-span. It has a lot of work to do. It must be conducting truth telling, trying to make sure that we prevent further conflict, it must operate in the past, it must deal with redress; it must do so many things in a short ten years.  If it is then to spend its time writing financial reports to the Minister, the people of Zimbabwe are going to be short changed because it will not have the time.  Further on, it is already provided for.  Let this Commission report to Parliament.  Let us not turn it into an Executive Commission by requiring the Minister to be reported to financially.  It will not be independent.  Let us allow the existing financial controls to prevail. This is totally unnecessary at all. 

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  I would just like to buttress the wisdom and logic of making sure that Clause 17 is freed and liberated from the claws and manacles of the Executive.  You are aware that this is a Constitutional Commission, an independent Commission.  It should not be subjected to the Executive.  Why?  Because once we subject it to the Executive, we are now reducing the Executive into a prefect of the independent Commission.  It is now becoming a policy to the Independent Commission.  We do not want a policy.  We do not want to have checks and balances that are not in line with what is in the Constitution.

I have read the Philadelphia Papers in terms of how constitutionalism evolved on what is called the tyranny of offices.  There has to be the balance of the tyrannies.  Now, if we are going to allow the Executive to have an overbearing effect and an overbearing role on this Commission, we are literally not only going to narrow but also hamstring the work that is supposed to be done, especially considering that we have some serious challenges of resources in our country.  That put in tandem with the issue of the limited scope and term that has to be lived by this Committee, why do we not just move away from this unnecessary chain which seeks to handcuff the activities of this Commission. 

Hon. Minister, yes, it is good to have a government, but government is best that governs least.  If you have a government that governs too much, you have a government that is so weak, a government that is paranoid, a government that ultimately is not able to also give effect and oxygen to the independence of these Constitutional Commissions that have been birthed by deed of a process that is quite consultative. 

So, I once again appeal to your good senses and seek to appeal to the undermining of that sense that is visiting you to say, there is no logic in what we are contributing.  Hon. Minister, please, we want to seek your indulgence and arouse your good sense so that you interfere with that which seeks to undermine your good reasoning, particularly on this one on behalf of Government.  Thank you very much.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you very much Hon. Members for your contributions.  I think it is quite surprising to me that Hon. Members would not want public funds to be accounted for and yet this funding that will be coming to the Commission will be funding that comes from the Treasury.  The Minister also has to report to this very Parliament the progress of the Commission and how everything is going according to Section 323 of the Constitution which says, ‘every Commission must submit to Parliament through the responsible Minister’.  So, through that Minister as well, he must also be able to account for the funds that go to the Commission to Government. 

So, there is no such thing as no checks and balances.  The checks and balances must be there because, like you said Hon. Chamisa, we have limited funding, so we must make sure that limited funding is being used appropriately, which is why I will not agree with you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much, Hon. Chair.  I was listening very attentively to what the Minister said in response to the submissions made by Hon. Majome and Hon. Chamisa and it appears to me, she is really missing the point and I will explain why. 

First and foremost, if you look at the closing question, Hon. Minister, the Clause is very clear. We are talking of the accounts of the Commission and it is really formulated in a very elaborate manner.  I will actually go over it very slowly to really explain the point that I am making.  It says, ‘accounts of Commission and appointment of internal auditor’. 

First and foremost, in terms of the Bill and when it becomes an Act of Parliament, the Commission is actually obliged to follow what is in this Clause which will then become a section when the Bill becomes law.  It is very clear that the Commission shall ensure that proper accounts and other records relating to such accounts are kept in respect of all the Commission’s activities.  In other words, the Commission will not have any choice, the provisions are peremptory, and they are not discretionary.  So, the Commission itself is forced by the law to have those proper accounts. 

More importantly, the Act, when it becomes law, will then ensure that there is an appointment of an internal auditor as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.  So, whatever accounts had been prepared by the Commission are subjected to the process of internal auditing.  Here, when you are having that process, it means that you have got the first hurdle which the Commission will have to pass in order to ensure that they have got proper accounts.  What my colleagues have been trying to point out is that this Commission will make its reports to Parliament.  I think the simple point of departure is where the clause obliges the Commission to submit their statements of accounts to a Minister who is a member of the Executive.

I think what we want to emphasise here is that, if there is to be anything and remember these accounts are going to be laid before Parliament; in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, we actually have a scenario where the Auditor General has the power to audit the accounts, not just of Government departments, but of all those other public bodies.  So as a result, you are not going to have a situation where the Commission’s accounts are simply going to be subjected to the internal process.  What it means is, if there is anything amiss, the Auditor General will actually have a report which will come before this august House through the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts. 

So, at the end of the day, what we are saying is that there are already sufficient controls and what we are trying to avoid is a situation where an independent Commission, as a matter of policy, is being subjected to submit its reports to a Minister.  We really want to have a separation and this is another point which I want to emphasise to the Hon. Minister, that when we look at the doctrine of separation of powers, we have got these three arms of the State and already the Commission is not among those three arms, but its reports and everything that it does will ultimately come before the representatives of the people, which is one of the arms of the State. 

It is for that reason that I want to implore, to plead and to ask the Hon. Minister to really take the submissions into account and hopefully, we can have a meeting of the minds so that we accept that the controls which are already in existence are sufficient for the purpose of ensuring that funds are properly utilised and are not abused in any way.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

HON. CHASI:  Thank you very much Mr. Chair.  I think in the circumstances of this debate, I did not quite understand the aversion to the involvement of the Minister in these circumstances.  I do not believe that the submission of the report to the Minister constitutes an interference with the work of the Commission or an interference with the independence of the work of the Commission as contemplated by the Constitution.

I would submit that a submission of the report, as contemplated by the Minister in the subsection that is under discussion at this moment in time, is really ex abundanti cautela and I would say that that report is an extra protection to public funds; that report can be used as information to the exchequer to know precisely how public funds have been used.  It is an extra protection.  I think we need to disabuse ourselves of the approach that says wherever the word Minister exists, it means interference in the work of a Commission. I do not think that it means that and I think in this instance, there is no interference whatsoever.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): I agree with everything that the previous Hon. Member has said.

Clause 17 put and agreed to.

Clause 18 put and agreed to.

On new Clause:

HON. GONESE: First before I move the amendment, I just want to point out that there is a typographical error on the amendment. With the leave of the Chair on sub-clause (3), which is on the clause there is an omission there where it reads ‘…a grant of from prosecution…’ there is supposed to have been a word of ‘immunity’. It was just a typographical error. So, I just seek the leave of the Chair to have that amended by pen. So, Hon. Minister, if you can also take it into account that there is a word missing. It was supposed to read ‘a grant of immunity’; otherwise as it reads it would not make sense. So, if we can just insert that word which was omitted by error.

I now move the amendment standing in my name that:

Between lines 4 and 5 on page 19 of the Bill, to insert the

following clauses after clause 18:

“20. Immunity from prosecution

(1) Subject to this section, the Commission may grant an immunity from prosecution to any particular person who has given evidence before the Commission and who—

            (a)   has acknowledged responsibility for any offence which

constitutes a human-rights violation;  and

            (b)   in the Commission’s opinion, has shown remorse for his or

her involvement in the human-rights violation:

Provided that the Commission shall not grant immunity in respect

of —

            (a)   murder;  or

            (b)   any conduct that constitutes genocide for the purpose of the Genocide Act [Chapter 9:20];  or

            (c)   any offence that constitutes a war crime or a crime against humanity under any international convention, treaty or agreement to which Zimbabwe is a party;  or

            (d)   a sexual crime specified in sections 65 to 75 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23];  or

            (e)   an offence involving the abuse of a child.

(2)     For the purpose of granting immunity from prosecution, the

Commission shall establish a committee, to be known as the Clemency Committee, consisting of five persons of whom—

            (a)   the majority shall have had experience in working with victims of human-rights violations;  and

            (b)   at least two shall themselves be victims of human-rights violations;

and when considering a grant of immunity, the Commission shall take due account of the Committee’s recommendations made after hearing representations from any victims of the human-rights violation committed by the person concerned.

          (3) A grant of prosecution by the Commission shall be in

writing and shall specify clearly the offence for which immunity is granted, and the grant shall give the person to whom it is granted a complete defence in any prosecution in which he or she is charged with that offence.

21. Commission to have access to information

(1)         In this section—

“public officer” means—

                    (a)   a member of a statutory body;  or

                    (b)   a person holding a paid office in the service of the State or a statutory body;

“statutory body means—

                    (a)   a Commission established by the Constitution;  or

                    (b)   a provincial or metropolitan council or local authority;  or

                    (c)   a body corporate established directly by or under an Act of Parliament for special purposes specified in that Act, whose membership consists wholly or mainly of persons appointed by the President, a Vice-President, a Minister, a Deputy Minister, another statutory body or by a Commission established by the Constitution.

          (2) On request by the Commission, all public officers shall without delay provide the Commission with any information in their custody which the Commission may reasonably require for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Constitution or this Act.

(3) Any person who fails or refuses, without just cause, to comply with a request by the Commission in terms of subsection (2) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

22. Reference of disputes to arbitration or mediation

          (1) Where the Commission is called upon to resolve any dispute

among communities, organisations, groups or individuals, it may refer the dispute for resolution by arbitration or mediation.

          (2) Subject to this section, the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:15]

shall apply to a dispute referred to arbitration in terms of subsection (1).

          (3) Before referring a dispute to arbitration or mediation, the

Commission shall afford the parties a reasonable opportunity of making representations on the matter.

          (4) In referring a dispute to arbitration or mediation, the

Commission, after consultation with the parties to the dispute, shall determine the arbitrator’s or mediator’s terms of reference.

          (5) In referring a dispute to arbitration or mediation, the

Commission shall appoint as an arbitrator or mediator a person whose name appears on a list of arbitrators or mediators, as the case may be, referred to in subsection (6).

          (6) The Minister, in consultation with the Judicial Service

Commission, shall from time to time prepare—

                    (a)   a list of arbitrators;  and

                    (b)   a list of mediators;

consisting of persons whom they consider to be experienced or qualified in arbitration or mediation, as the case may be.

          (7) In hearing and determining any dispute, an arbitrator shall have the same powers as the Administrative Court.

(8) At the conclusion of an arbitration under this section, the

arbitrator shall submit sufficient certified copies of his or her arbitral award to each of the parties affected by it.

(9) Any party to whom an arbitral award relates may submit for

registration the copy of it furnished to him in terms of subsection (8) to the Registrar of the High Court.

(10)  Where arbitral award has been registered in terms of

Sub-section (9) it shall have the effect, for purposes of enforcement, of a civil judgment of the High Court.

          (11)  Any person who, without just cause—

            (a)   refuses to appear before an arbitrator or mediator when called upon to do so by the Commission;  or

            (b)   hinders or obstructs an arbitrator or mediator in the exercise of his or her functions under this section;

shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”.

          At the present moment, in the Bill the issues of pardon are under the miscellaneous provisions. What I am seeking to do is to have issues relating to immunity from prosecution and any pardons, to be in the main body of the Bill so that if the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, one actually comes across it when you are looking at the Bill itself. Sometimes when you have got things that are put in miscellaneous provisions, people do not notice them and I think that is one of the things which I think we would want to avoid.

          Now going into the essence of the amendment, it is really to have situation where those issues are properly circumscribed so that the Commission itself does not have a blanket authority just to grant the immunity but it has got some exceptions. For example, the Commission will not be entitled to grant any immunity to offences such as murder; any conduct that constitutes genocide for the purposes of the Genocide Act; or any offence that constitutes a war crime or crime against humanity under any international convention, treaty or agreement to which Zimbabwe is a party; or any sexual crime which is specified in terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act; or any offence involving the abuse of a child.

          So, in other words Mr Chairman, we are saying whilst the Commission will have the general power to grant pardons or immunities from prosecution, it will be limited and it will not extend to such heinous crimes as set out in the proviso but otherwise, if any immunities to be granted Mr. Chair, the proposed amendment also provides for a clemency committee which shall guide the Commission so that the Commission acts from something where there is an input from a particular specialised committee.

          I think it is imperative that we enshrine this in the Act so that in terms of its operations, you will now have a scenario where everyone knows exactly how the Commission can exercise those powers, which by the way, are powers you just do not want to leave as being too broad. You do not want a scenario where people can start wondering as to where or why certain things would have been done but there is a due process which will have been followed. For that reason, I would really ask the Minister to read it carefully and take it on board so that it becomes part of the Bill.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Hon. Gonese for suggesting inclusion of a new clause after Clause 18 and we have scrutinised it at length. We believe that this clause may scare away witnesses from testifying before the Commission. This may further discourage truth telling. Ultimately, this may negatively impact upon processes of peacebuilding, national healing and reconciliation. Immunity is already provided for in terms of Clause 10 (3) of the Bill. This said proposed new clause violates the right to silence. Compelling someone to testify against himself or herself and then finding him or her guilty on the basis of such evidence is against the principle of the right to silence. So, I will not accept this amendment. 

          Amendment to new Clause put and negatived.

          On Clause 19:

          HON. MAJOME: I recognise that the Hon. Minister proposes that the last paragraph sub-paragraph (e) provides that regulations may provide the procedure for granting a pardon. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am concerned about making provisions that the Hon. Minister did well by thinking that regulations might provide for a pardon. I am concerned that she and the Hon. Minister stopped at only mentioning pardons yet there are other very critical issues around justice, reparations, compensation, truth telling and memorialisation. It does not make the Bill look very much in good faith if it stops specifying that regulations may be provided for pardons and does not go in the same breadth to state that the regulations...

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Members!

          HON. MAJOME: By not mentioning the other even more germane issues about peace and reconciliation, the issues that those who want to benefit from peace and reconciliation want, They want justice, reparations, truth telling and memorialisation sometimes. So, for Clause 19 paragraph (e), to just mention pardons maybe very well but without going ahead to then provide for that regulations must specifically spell out how people can get compensation, reparation, justice, truth telling and memorialisation casts the Bill in a bad light. It makes the Bill look as if its intention might be to avoid dealing with the past and dealing with these issues and may be concerned only with pardons but not dealing now with the violation.  It is my plea to the Hon. Minister again, that in the same vein as she proposes that the regulations provide  a procedure and conditions for granting of pardons, it must also in the same vein indicate that the regulations may also provide for the procedure and conditions for the access to justice, reparations, truth-telling and memorialisation so that it is a balanced Bill and it does not look like it is just trying to avoid the issues that would be grieving those who survived violations and so on.

 THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I would like to request that I have time to think about it and respond to it as the last response.

On First Schedule:

HON. GONESE:  I move the amendment standing in my name that between lines 26 to 29 on page 14 of the Bill, to delete the proviso to paragraph 2 (2).

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  In response to the suggestion by Hon. Gonese to the First Schedule, I would like to say that members of the Commission are appointed on a full time basis, hence the proviso should stand.  Appointments to the Commission need a person with an independent mind who is not attached to any other organisation for them to be able to impartially and independently serve the Commission.  Any attachment to any organisation will affect the impartiality of the member.  The proposal is thus not accepted.

HON. MAJOME:  Mr. Chairman, I take it I have a permission to debate the First Schedule, Clause 1.  I want to express my alarm and hope the Hon. Minister can see it in the same light that the very first paragraph of the First Schedule is an amendment.  It proposes an amendment to the Constitution and its effect would very well be the same as passing Constitution Amendment (No. 2).  I say this because it proposes that in the appointment of members of the Commission, the President shall, “as far as is practically possible, observes the Constitution”.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is an anomaly way, where a Schedule of a Bill seeks to amend the Constitution.  The Constitution on Section 90 provides very categorically and very emphatically that it is the duty of the President to and I quote, “the President must uphold, defend, obey and respect this Constitution as the supreme law of the nation and must ensure that this Constitution and all other laws are faithfully observed”. 

Mr. Chairman, to allow a Schedule of a Bill to detract, to reduce the duty of the President as far as the Constitution is concerned to merely, following the Constitution as far as is practically possible is in fact an amendment of Section 90.  This should not be allowed.  The President must uphold, defend and obey the Constitution.  Those four words are put there one by one for a reason.  There is a third emphasis that provides that he must ensure that it is observed but there is the third point of emphasis that does not stop there.  But not only that, he has a duty to make others observe it, not just observe it but it says faithfully observe.  I want to propose that this will be very worrying and may be challenged in a Constitutional Court.  I want to propose that it does not help the Hon. Minister to keep this clause which amends the Constitution.  We cannot amend the Constitution in this way.

A Constitutional Bill, if it wants to come must be brought in the proper manner in terms of the Constitution.  We cannot amend the Constitution in this way.  We cannot amend provisions of the Constitution with schedules of Bills.  If the Hon. Minister were to remove this, it does not take anything away because the President already knows.  He took His Excellency the President’s function and he understands it and it is to fulfil the Constitution.  So to try and reduce that duty here is not very helpful.  His Excellency the President is duty bound and he will do so but the First Schedule, Clause 1 would amend Section 90 (1) of the Constitution.  It should not stand.  It will actually cloud the Bill.  This should be removed with respect. 

The second point I wish to raise Mr. Chairman is that in sub-clause 2 of Clause 2 of the First Schedule on line number 13, it is another unfortunate inadvertent.  I do not want to believe that the Hon. Minister wants to amend the Constitution.  Clause 2 (2) of the First Schedule, this sub clause would have the effect of also being an amendment because it provides that a member shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the President may fix.

 Mr. Chairman, this flies directly in the face of the clear provisions of Section 320 (6) and (7) of the Constitution which provides that the terms and conditions of service of members of Commissions shall be fixed by Parliament.  That Clause, Section 320 (6) says that on the Conditions of Service of Members of Commissions such as these Commissions, it is provided already that members of Commissions are entitled to such remuneration, allowances and other benefits as may be fixed by or under an Act of Parliament.  It does not say the President.    To make the President fix those conditions is indeed a departure from the Constitution.  As I said, I do not believe that it is the Hon. Minister’s intention to seek to have Parliament amending the Constitution through a Schedule to a Bill. 

This adds nothing to the Bill and it subtracts nothing from the Bill.  It is something that is unhelpful but that is also unconstitutional.  It can be left out without anything because in any event, the Constitution provides what must be done.  The salaries must be made but not in a manner that the President fixes that.  That is why they charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund to ensure that they are independent.

  Mr. Chairman, I also want to draw the Hon. Minister’s attention to Clause 3 of the First Schedule, paragraph (d) (1).  I think possibly, the Hon. Minister might have made an inadvertent error where they seek to disqualify a person from being a member of the Commission who has been convicted in Zimbabwe for an offence.  Mr. Chairman, a traffic offence is an offence.  If I park wrongly and traffic police comes and I plead that yes, I have not parked properly or I have gone past a stop sign, it is a criminal offence.  I would want to think that it not the intention of the Minister to say, each and every single offence is the one that disqualifies a member from being a member of the Commission. 

I want to think that possibly, the Hon. Minister wants to put in place certain offences that are serious, that are to do with breach of trust and violence, not just an offence.  I hope she attends to that.  I want to go also to Clause 7 on meetings and procedures of the Commission to where she is proposing that the Commission’s first meeting shall be held on a date declared by – [HON. KANENGONI:  Where are you? I am lost.] – Subclause 7 of the First Schedule, on page 15 of the Bill, the bottom one where they are proposing that the Commission holds its first meeting on a date and place that the Hon. Minister may fix.

          Mr. Chairman, this again is another needless and unwarranted attack on the independence of a Commission.  An independent Commission is a Commission and surely it should decide when it holds its first meeting and where it holds it and what place.  Why should the Hon. Minister want to tell an independent Commission where it holds its first meeting, date and the time?  It does not really help anyone.  The Commission will have a Chairperson and I am sure the Chairperson can decide where and when to hold a meeting and the Commission can also decide.  This puts a bad light on the Hon. Minister, it may make it look like the Hon. Minister wants to control everything, even things like these and it is not fair to the Hon. Minister.  Can this also be removed?

          Also on Clause 9 of the First Schedule, it is an issue that is related to what I raised earlier around the remuneration of the Commission.  To make His Excellency the President fix remuneration from time to time should only be done in accordance with Section 320 (6) of the Constitution where Parliament must fix the conditions and remuneration.  Let us not amend the Constitution through the backdoor even if it is inadvertent.

          Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to go to the Second Schedule which is my last point.  On the Second Schedule, on paragraph 12, the Commission is being proposed to be given the power to buy, I quote, “dwelling houses or land for residential purposes and construct houses and improve dwelling houses or land which is the property of its members”.  Mr. Chairman, this Commission is a Commission that has a short lifespan and it should maybe be a 10 year Commission in terms of the Constitution.  Why is the Commission being given the power to buy houses and land, for who?  This is really unnecessary, it would burden the Commission unnecessarily; because surely by now, these Commissioners must have their own houses somewhere.  If they do not have their own houses, they must go to Council Housing Waiting lists, we should not burden the tax payer with empowering the Commission to buy houses for Commissioners. 

Surely if they do not have houses by now, I want to believe that they might not really qualify and have the stature to organise their lives and be mature people who can be entrusted with public policy.  Why should they want to be given houses by a Commission when they have 10 years?  Any money that the Commission has must be invested and used for the public who want peace and reconciliation.  This Commission must not be buying houses, stands and building houses for Commissioners and staff.  This would be the proverbial gravy train, may the Hon. Minister just withdraw that, because it is an undue burden on the taxpayer.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, order please, I will give you time to debate if you have some issues.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  In response to Hon. Majome’s query in the First Schedule, the 1st paragraph on appointment of members of the Commission, we accept your proposal.

          In respect to the second one where it says, “subject to paragraph nine, a member shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the President may fix”, we agree with you as well.  I think that was an oversight. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          Then where you are talking about the offence the IDI, where it says within a period of five years immediately preceding the date of his/her proposed appointment being convicted 1(i) in Zimbabwe of an offence.  We also agree that it is too vague so we are proposing to say, in Zimbabwe, of an offence involving dishonesty. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          On meetings and procedures of the Commission on 7, where you are saying it is not proper for the Hon. Minister to fix the day and place of the Commission’s meeting.  We also agree that it is not acceptable.  Unfortunately, I did not hear the last part if you do not mind repeating, the one where you were talking about houses and stands, if you could kindly repeat that one.

          HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Hon. Minister, I must really begin by thanking…

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Majome, please go to point.

          HON. MAJOME:  Yes, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for being gracious and …

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  That can also be conveyed by silence -[Laughter.] –

HON. MAJOME:  The Hon. Minister had also asked me to

reiterate and I will be very brief on the issues I raised.  One of them was also around Clause 9, which is related to Clause 1, the issue about the fixing of conditions of service.  The Hon. Minister had not responded to that because it is related to Clause 9 about…

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, order Clause 9 has already been adopted.

          HON. MAJOME:  No there were two, there was that one and she had not responded to the second one.  I was going to proceed to second and last one, the one on housing. – [HON. KANENGONI: On the First Schedule?] – On the First Schedule, it was Clause 9 also, I would be grateful to benefit from the response of the Hon. Minister because it is related to the point I raised on Clause 1 as well as number two of the First Schedule.

          Then the last issue is the issue in the Second Schedule, paragraph 12 of the Second Schedule which seeks to empower the Commission …

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Majome, we have not yet gone to the Second Schedule.

          HON. MAJOME:  On Clause 9 of the First Schedule, my concern is similar to the concern I raised with respect Clause 1 and particularly Clause 2 - that is on the fixing of conditions of service and remuneration of the Commissioners.  I want to believe that this particular clause and because conditions of service are set by an Act of Parliament.  His Excellency the President can fix them, but it must really be clear that it is in terms of the provisions of Section 320 (6) that it will be an Act of Parliament as the Constitution says; that will fix the conditions of service, remuneration and benefits of Members of Parliament.  This seems to accord with what had been removed earlier.

          HON. KANENGONI:  Just a point of clarification Hon. Majome, are you saying that it must quote the part of the Constitution?

          HON. MAJOME:  Yes, I am concerned that it may look like it is circumventing the Constitution, because it looks like it is related to the other provisions - but I will be happy if maybe the understanding is that it is there, but in light of Section 360 - in accordance with Section 320 (6), so that it is clear.

          HON. KANENGONI:  Where it is coming from?

          HON. MAJOME:  Indeed.

          HON. KANENGONI: Accepted.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Majome, I propose that you put all the amendments that you are proposing in writing so that we do not miss exactly what you want to say.

          HON. MAJOME:  Very well Mr. Chairman, we will do that.

          Amendment to First Schedule put and agreed to.

          First Schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.

          On Schedule;

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I want the Hon. Minister to please consider removing Clause 12.  As far as it pertains to empowering the Commission to buy houses and stands for the residence of members or for building houses, improving houses and lands that are properties of members.  I say this because I think that it does not make sense and look good if I can say, for Parliament to burden the tax payers with buying houses for grown men who are appointed to be a commissioner at sometime in their life.  In particular, it is because this Commission has a tenure of 10 years and for the tax payers to buy houses, land, build houses for commissioners and members of staff of a Commission that will be there for 10 years, does not look like something that is fair at all.  It would look like it is adding to what is the proverbial ‘gravy train’ and my submission is that commissioners - I want to believe are people who are selected for their stature in society and for their experience and so on.  So, I would want to think that by the time they become Commissioners, surely they must be living somewhere, and if they have a house they might have bought a house or might be renting somewhere.  For them to then seek to be housed and to have houses bought for them by the Commission, it is really unfair.  It is actually maybe just giving houses to people who already have houses, but even if they do not have, why should the tax payers be buying houses for people who are in a Commission for ten years when our fiscus is really struggling?  Zimbabweans are suffering generally and we must not be legislating for the gravy train.  I want to propose that surely, there must be other conditions of services that can be fair and commensurate with even the duration of the Commission.

          If we have done this already for other Commissions, I want to think we have made a grave error, because maybe I was not paying attention for other Commissions possibly, we could not have passed similar clauses where Commissions buy and build houses for their staff.  Mr. Chair, I think we must draw the line somewhere; we cannot continue like this.  People should not be housed, clothed and fed at the expense of the tax payers who are really struggling.  Let the Commission use any money that it has to better the welfare and the interest of the people of Zimbabweans who want to experience peace and reconciliation not be buying houses, stands and building houses for staff who are going to last for ten years only.   I really beg the Hon. Minister to remove that.  

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you Hon. Majome for repeating that bit of your contribution.  I want to first state and I think you said this at the end of your contribution that it might be something that has been done to all Commissions.  Yes, this is actually quite uniform with all other Commissions and it will be amiss to remove this provision just for this particular Commission.  I also want to bring to your attention that the Commission will not be buying houses for them or clothing them the way that you have said it.  These are loans that they may take out that they must repay back.  If you look at paragraph 30, “it says to register in the Commission’s name” like whatever is bought “must be registered in the Commission’s name any property whether movable or immovable, purchased for any member of the Commission or member of staff through loan or loan guarantee, until the loan or loan guarantee has been discharged.”   So, it is not the Commission just buying for them like as a condition of service but it is from time to time, if they want to borrow, then that is what is says and it is not unique to this Commission; it is the same for the Human Rights Commission and other Commissions as well.

          HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  I want to support Hon. Majome on this; you get loans from the bank, we cannot have a Commission operating like a bank.  Because other Commissions have been giving them loans, it does not mean we must support that, we must bring it to a stop because all they are doing is going there focusing on this.  If at all they want to have a loan, they must go to the bank and get a loan because we cannot have a situation like this.  Even Members of Parliament who have oversight over them, do not have access to those loans.  We are as poor as anything, yet our standard of life must be better as people who have oversight.  We are underfunded and we need to cut down on the expenditure of the Executive at every level.  The Executive have been extravagant and as Parliament we must cut down on the expenditure of the Executive – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  We cannot have a situation where Commissioners come in for ten years only and they walk away with a house.  We need Commissioners who are going to serve this country Mr. Chair.  We do not need Commissioners who are looking for houses. 

          We cannot have a situation like that, we need people who are seasoned who are retired, mature, of integrity and who are not looking for money but who are looking at serving the country.  This Truth and Reconciliation Commission is critical in attaining that, and for me- I would be very worried if we are offering this, yet this money can go towards social healing.  There is so much more that is required to be able to deal with this.     

          Mr. Chairman, I want to say that we cannot at all allow a situation where even if the Hon. Minister says that yes -  I think you actual have done well Hon. Minister in conceding to a lot and you are one person who is very reasonable and show that you are also different from others.  You must not copy what is wrong because it has happened; you are a different person, young and vibrant Minister who wants to ensure that this country moves forward and so forth.  If you are supporting this, it will show that a certain generation is now in force and it is looking forward to the future of the country.  Let us save money for future generations to come and not give it to one generation.

          The war veterans are not even given this, the war veterans Mr. Chairman who fought for this country were not even given houses.  The people who brought this liberation we have were not given houses – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, we cannot.  If we are to give people houses we must start with the freedom fighters of this country who liberated all of us. No wonder why Hon. Chamisa is sitting comfortably there, it is because of the struggle of this country – [HON. ADV. CHAMISA: I am not comfortable though.] - So, this one certainly must not go through.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I think I concur with my colleagues, this Clause should not see the light of the day.  I think as Commissioners, these are mature people who have worked for a long time and who have been appointed for certain critical skills that they have acquired over time.  For them to behave like school leavers who are getting in there to get loans and buy houses, I think it is burdening the taxpayers.  Hon. Minister, you have been wonderful in terms of accepting things that have been proposed in this House and this is one concession that you should seriously consider because it does not help anyone.  I thank you.

          HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  In concurrence with what Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Ziyambi said, I want to propose that Commissioners to be appointed should be at least of age from 50/55 to 60.  We need to be specific because these are Commissioners to deal with conflicts and they should be in a position to understand what conflict is all about; how to approach issues in terms of conflict resolution.  It requires mature people.  Therefore, to just leave it blank, we may end up bringing very immature Commissioners who would even cause more problems than resolving conflicts. 

          A good example is the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). You find that most of the Commissioners who were in there were people who were experienced in terms of life, conflicts and their well being.  They were well to do people.  Therefore, we should at least stipulate age to say may be 55 years and above.  I thank you.

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Chair.  I cannot see the Minister but this aspect of a sense of entitlement is basically what is problematic about the attitude of the Executive.  This whole thing of thinking that the Commission is a feeding trough, we must have time to eat, instead of understanding that when you go into public offices, it is about service and sacrifice.  This is the attitude we must deal with and expunge.  We cannot have commissions or institutions where people are only accessing so that they are able to extent their stomachs; what was done by Thomas Meikles through the Loot Committee to say we have to come and start looting; feed from the trough of the nation. 

          Why should we talk about these gratuities; these so called benefits; yes we need to get good remuneration.  I am told they are getting about $10 000 per month.  That is what I am getting and Hon. Minister, you may need to correct us.  We need to understand this; this whole thing of gratuities is not good.  It is in line with the Pioneer Column mentality.  This is what the Pioneer Column did and we cannot perpetuate the Pioneer Column mentality in a free Zimbabwe.

          Hon. Minister, I am hesitant to continue abusing you by these good arguments.  Please bear with us Hon. Minister; we do not want the Pioneer Column.  Let the Pioneer Column go back to Rhodesia.  This is a new Zimbabwe, which is liberated.  Let us save our people in line with a Zimbabwe that is liberated.  Thank you. 

          HON. CHASI: Thank you Mr. Chair.  I agree with the sentiments that have been expressed by those that have spoken before me.  I would like to look at the issue from a different tangent.  I feel that there must be uniformity of treatment of these commissions.  We have had other commissions that have been created before this Commission and we have not had a provision similar to the one that is under consideration at this moment in time where housing and similar benefits are precisely prescribed.

          There must be uniformity of treatment.  I hope what Hon. Mliswa said, the figure of $10 000, is not true.  If it is true, I understand that this House would have prescribed those benefits; then there is some anomaly somewhere because we are supposed to be allowing those benefits.  We are dealing here with a very important issue which goes to the hearts of people that I think have suffered for a very long time.  The manner in which we treat the people who preside over these issues –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can I be protected Hon. Chair.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: You are protected.

          HON. CHASI: But I cannot hear myself speak.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Zindi please. 

          HON. CHASI: I think the people that are carrying out this task have got to be people that have got the interests of the nation and the people that are affected at heart because they cannot afford to be mercenaries or people that want to be rich, get a house out of this function.  I want to emphasise that when the Minister considers or Parliament considers the benefits that these people are supposed to get, there must be due consideration to the benefits that other members of other commissions are getting so that there is uniformity of treatment.

          *HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I would like to comment on the issue of age that Hon. Zindi talked about.  I think we will have challenges.  If we go back to 1963 during the liberation struggle, the liberation struggle was not fought by the old people.  If you look at the President, the late Vice President Nkomo and all the other people who led the struggle, they were around 30 years by then.  The challenge we have now is the elderly; the aged who are in Government.  So, we should give the young people a chance to govern.

          I think it is better we have people who are below 55 to also run the Commission.  People like Vice President Mphoko and other elderly would have done a better job before, once they become old it becomes difficult to bring them to book.  We need to put the young who are still energetic and able to push the agenda forward.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Maridadi, I do not know what you are talking about and where it is coming from because it is not here.

          HON. MARIDADI: I am responding to what Hon. Zindi said.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: It is the Minister who should respond.  There is no such thing here.

          The Chairperson having called the Hon. Minister to respond.

          HON. MARIDADI:  I am not yet through.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Maridadi, we want you to talk of things that are in black and white, not what you want to talk about here.  I will ask you to sit down.

          HON. MARIDADI: Let me continue with my debate.  I am saying that the Commission is not even in the Constitution that people should be at a certain age for them to be part of the Commission.  If people are 28 years and they have the capacity to be part of the Commission, they should be part of it.

*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Member, please refer to what is in the schedule.

*HON. MARIDADI:  But Hon. Zindi said that before.

*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  You can sit down.

*HON. MARIDADI:  Alright.  May the Minister respond after I have said what I want to say?  Why are you denying me the chance to talk?

*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  I will not allow you to.  May you please sit down?

*HON. MARIDADI:  Alright.  You can put the aged in the Commission; those who are 80, 90 and 100.  I rest my case. 

*THE DEOUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Maridadi.  At one time you shall also come of age – [Laughter.] –

*HON. ZINDI:  Infact, he is already old.  He is over fifty-five.  I would like to clarify why I said that because the criticism that was coming from ....

*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  I will not allow you.  I am the only Chairperson here and nobody else. 

*HON. ZINDI:  I just wanted to ...

*THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  May you pause Hon. Zindi.  You have said whatever you wanted but that is not what we should be talking about.  You have diverted from the debate.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you very much Hon. Members for your extensive debate.  Upon reflection and listening to what you were all saying, I have decided to accept your recommendation and to remove what is stated on the Second Schedule and then to include that they must be employed according to general conditions of service.

I move that we remove Clause 12 in the Second Schedule and replace it with; “the Commissioners shall be employed according to general conditions of service.”

Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

          Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.

          Schedule 2 put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported with amendments.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL

RESETTLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA), the House adjourned at Fourteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th September, 2017. 

 

 

 

 

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 03 aUGUST 2017 VOL 43 NO 84