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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 OCTOBER 2017 VOL 44 NO 15

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 18th October, 2017

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to acknowledge the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of students and teachers from Marchwood Senior School, Mashonaland West Province.  You are most welcome – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE MOBILE APP LAUNCH

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The Parliament of Zimbabwe has launched a mobile app for accessing Parliament news and documents on your mobile phones for your convenience.  The application is available for free on google app store or applestore.  The app is compatible with android, apple and windows phones.  Download your Parliament APP, for free and receive your Hansard and other Parliament documents on the go.  For further information, please visit our website, www.parlzim.gov.zw or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.  We used to get 20% from Grain Marketing Board (GMB) especially those who borrowed from Command Agricultural Inputs. This was helping us to maintain our pumps and other implements. We have started delivering wheat to GMB, we would like to know whether we are going to maintain the status quo since the people who delivered earlier have not yet received the 20% share.

          *THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE): I am very grateful for this question Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member.  His question needs some technical explanation but on the portion regarding the fact that he collected inputs for Command Agricuture, he is well aware of the obligations which are due to him.  The contract has not changed.  I must emphasise that whatever it is you agreed upon, still stands.  If you want to get some technical explanation, you can approach me on a personal capacity or put your question in writing so that we may respond after thorough research.  Thank you.

          HON. BEREMAURO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  Hon. Minister, what is the Government policy on fuel pricing bearing in mind that Zimbabwe’s fuel is more expensive, compared to our neighbours like Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.  Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  It is true, our fuel is a bit more expensive compared to others in the region because we have several taxes we add to the fuel when it reaches here.  Thank you.

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. Since the Hon. Minister said that our fuel is higher because of taxes which I assume are levied by the Government; my question to the Hon. Minister is, is the energy sector and your Ministry not also committed to improving the ease of doing business in the country because surely if the single factor that causes exorbitant fuel prices is the Government itself through its taxes, is it not that the Ministry is falling afoul of the general policy of improving ease of doing business and making it easier to do business, instead of the Government being a cost and a pain to producers and industries?

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Yes, Government tries to alleviate the taxes but at the moment it is not possible.  However, when the climate is conducive, that will be looked into.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, fuel that we use in Zimbabwe and Zambia is procured from the same place in Mozambique.  It is procured from the same area.  Zambian fuel passes through Zimbabwe and goes through Chirundu Border Post and when it is there, it costs 80 cents per litre.  Mozambique sells fuel at 50 cents per litre.  We need to understand.  The Minister should explain to us.  If they are failing to manage, they should give the Minister of Finance and Economic Development because they regulated this.

          It is not proper to say it is taxes because Zambia that passes through our place when transporting their fuel sells their fuel at 80 cents, yet we are paying $1.36 per litre.  A liberated country like us, we should be enlightened as to why our fuel is so expensive.  We are in a liberated zone and country and we also have liberated Ministers.  They are not in Rhodesia.  The question that was asked by the Hon. Member was that why is it that our goods in Zimbabwe are expensive? Are we in Rhodesia?  Thank you.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members!

          *HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank Hon. Chinotimba.  It is true that fuel that goes to Zambia, that comes here and that which is taken to other nations is procured at the same place. Like I said, the issue of Government taxes is not for my Ministry.  That is a mandate of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we have order!  Hon. Chinotimba, tipewo vamwe mukana vabvunzewo.

          HON. GONESE: My supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is that in light of the high levels of poverty; the high levels of impoverishment which the people of Zimbabwe are going through, is it not time for the Government perhaps to reconsider their policy.  She has already explained that the cost of fuel is high because of taxes, is it not time for a review so that those taxes are reduced or removed altogether to alleviate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.  The cost of fuel has a ripple effect; it also affects the cost of other commodities.  Is it not time for her and her Ministry to consider it appropriate to review and reduce those taxes.  Perhaps she can also explain what those taxes and their purposes are.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, this one is a supplementary question but I heard the Deputy Minister saying it is not their Ministry which pegs the taxes.  If you can direct your question to the Ministry which pegs the taxes, I think it will be very appropriate so that we get the answer. 

HON. GONESE:  Since the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is in the august House...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  But if it comes as a supplementary question, it goes through the Minister.

HON. GONESE:  I hear you Madam Speaker.  Perhaps, it would then give me an opportunity to pose the question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I can give you the opportunity.  You can do it now?

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Can you please take your seat Hon. Chinotimba.

HON. GONESE:  I will now direct the question to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  I know that he is new in the job and he may not have had time to acquaint himself, but I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development,  I think he has understood the question but I will repeat it.  The Hon. Deputy Minister has explained that our fuel is more expensive because of the...

HON. ZINDI:  On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

HON. ZINDI:  My point of order is, if you allow Hon. Gonese to direct his question which is arising as a result of Deputy Minister of Energy, would I still have an opportunity to raise a supplementary question...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Yes, I did allow him to do that because everyone is waiting for that answer on the taxes.

HON. ZINDI:  Okay thank you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Perhaps, if the Hon. Minister can explain to us in view of the suffering that the majority of the populace...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Just shorten it because we want the answer.

HON. GONESE:  Is it not appropriate for the Government to review the high taxes which are resulting in the fuel being exorbitant?

*THE HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for his question that - why can we not review downward the taxes and the levies that we charge to ensure that the ordinary person in the street is able to access it.  The issue of raising taxes is done annually and is done by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, but the proposals are brought into this House and are deliberated on.

On what he has said, I think he has brought this up at the right time.  It is the time to craft the budget right now. All what he has said will be taken on board, considered during the process and we will see how we are going to address the issue.  Thank you.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  We have had a very good working relationship with the Hon. Vice President, Hon. Mnangagwa, when he was still the Leader of the House and now that we have got a new Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, could we be furnished to know whether the Vice President is still the Leader of the House or we now have – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- so that at least we...

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order!  Order Hon. Members.  Can we have order?  The Hon. Member has a right to ask what he wants to know and understand in this House.  So, we do not have to waste time.  Hon. Member, I know it is going to be announced, but you will know that another duty of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is being the Leader of the House.  That is automatic.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  So, whom are we going to ask our questions today?  Are we going to direct our questions to the Vice President or what?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  If you have any questions pertaining to the Leader of the House, you can direct them to him.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  Is he the Leader of the House, Madam Speaker? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Yes, it is our right to know because there is no point for us to waste our time and to waste the Vice President’s time asking him questions which he is not supposed to answer.  Can we know the Leader of the House?

THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, order.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  It is the duty of the Government Chief Whip through you Hon. Speaker, to tell us who is the Leader of the House [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  We do not want to be confused.  It is simple, we want to know who is the Leader of the House.  Is that a very big issue?  It is not a big issue, honestly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Can we have order in the House.  Can we have order please?  Hon. Munengami, you had a point of order you wanted to know.  I answered you by saying Government is going to announce, then why are you worrying.  Where is your worry from – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Can you please wait for that.

HON. ZINDI:  Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker, following the question raised by Hon. Chinotimba to do with taxes, I know Government has got a pipeline and Government has also said that it is cheaper for fuel dealers to use the pipeline.  May we know from a policy point of view why fuel dealers have continued to use truckers on the roads other than using the fuel pipeline which resultantly will reduce the cost of whatever goods and what have you because fuel has got a chain reaction.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA):  Yes, some of our fuel comes through the pipeline.  Most of it, but it is not sufficient for all the retailers.  That is why sometimes some prefer to use their trucks to get the fuel from Mozambique.  I thank you.

HON. HOLDER:  My question is directed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.  What policy has Government put in place to protect hyper inflation now that all the commodities in the shops have gone up by almost 100%? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Members can we be serious with what we are doing here.  The Ministers would like to understand what the question is.  Hon. Minister, did you hear the question or should he ask again?  Please Hon. Member, can you come again.

HON. HOLDER:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I said my question is directed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. What policy has Government put in place to protect hyper inflation since most of the commodities in the shops have gone up by almost 100%?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. CHOMBO):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I wish to thank the Hon. Member for his question, but I think he should direct it to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, may you redirect your question to the appropriate Ministry.

HON. HOLDER:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I will redirect my question to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce..

                THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Chapfika please bear with us.  The Hon. Ministers will need to understand the questions.

HON. HOLDER:  I redirect my question to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

          THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON.

DR. BIMHA):  Thank you Madam Speaker, I also want to thank the Hon.

Member for raising that question.  I would probably preface my response just to bring to the attention of the Hon. Member that on the

22nd September this year, we experienced a crisis arising from unsubstantiated reports through the social media that there was a looming price hike; that there was going to be a widespread shortage of basic commodities and that the Central Bank was in the process of mopping up the United States Dollar.

          At the same time, we were also experiencing shortages in terms of forex supplied to manufacturers for them to be able to procure the much needed raw materials for their production.  As a result of these unsubstantiated reports or information, there was panic buying and this panic buying also had an effect of causing shortages.  In the confusion, we also had other unscrupulous wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers also taking advantage of this. 

          Now, what Government has done in order to address this issue is in two-fold.  Firstly, Cabinet has put together a task force which is chaired by my Ministry to look into the issue of price escalations as well as the availability of basic commodities.  This Inter-Ministerial Task Force is guided by very comprehensive terms of reference going further than issues of price or availability of products, going into the whole issue of the availability of forex, issues to do with the cost of money; others also looking through the Competition and Tariff Commission, and collusive and anti-competitive tendencies by suppliers.  There is a whole breath of issues that this committee is looking into.

          A number of meetings have now been held and tomorrow, the Hon. Ministers will meet to consider the report from the committee of officials.  Therefore, tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Hon. Ministers to consider …

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, no, no, may you please wait – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ipoint of order ka!] – No, no, there is no need because he will come in and we have a supplementary question. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chamisa, can you not wait so that he finishes then you raise your point of order?

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  It is a point of order and the rules are clear.  I have a point of order.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  What is the point of order?

          *HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon. Minister is going on and on in elucidating the policies of this country.  May he please be brief or may be issue a Ministerial Statement on the matter and allow us to raise questions.  At the moment, he is touching on a lot issues that have to do with other Hon. Members of Parliament.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order. As far as I am concerned, the Hon. Minister was on the right path of giving a clear explanation.  So, I will allow him to proceed.

          HON. DR. BIMHA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The report of the committee of officials is now ready and will be subjected to scrutiny by the committee of Ministers.  Once that report is clear then Government will be directed accordingly.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  The issue of a Ministerial Statement Hon. Minister, I think like what the Hon. Member was saying is also appropriate so that Hon. Members of Parliament will seek clarification and you explain - point taken Hon. Members. Hon. Mliswa!

          HON. HOLDER:  Supplementary question Madam Speaker, but ndini ndabvunza mubvunzo wacho!

          HON. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, thank you very much.  I hope…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order may you please wait Hon. Mliswa.  Hon. Holder has a supplementary question.

          HON. MLISWA:  Oh sorry Madam Speaker.

          HON. HOLDER:  Thank you Madam Speaker. The reason why I called for a supplementary question is, I understood what the Hon. Minister said but here we are living on reality and the reality is that the prices of any commodity in any shop has gone up –[HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] -  Currently, as I speak, all vegetables and other stuff have been banned from importation.

          I am saying, what mechanism has he put in place?  What are they going to do now because it is affecting everybody here?  I thank you.

          HON. DR. BIMHA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, there are two aspects to this issue.  First of all, there is no ban and I want to repeat that when we came up  with Statutory Instruments to regulate the importation of certain goods, we indicated that this is not a ban and that when there are issues to do with the supply and demand, we will facilitate the importation of those products because as Government, we do not want to witness shortages.  So, if we are in a position where our local producers are not in a position to meet demand, we will allow importation.

  However in the interim, while this exercise that I have explained earlier on is taking place, my Ministry has been having inspectors around all the provinces in the country who have been monitoring the price escalations from the 24th September to date to ensure that we have facts when we approach the producers.  So, we now have information of what has been happening as regards prices and issues that we will have to engage the retailers, producers and wholesalers.  We can only do that when we have information and that information is now available.  I thank you.

HON. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, thank you very much.  I hope that the Hon. Minister realises that by accepting that there is hyper-inflation which is caused by political instability and inflation is due to mere economics.  So, it is clear that he has admitted that there is political instability.  With that in mind, how does he intend to address this situation because hyper-inflation is a result of political instability?  How then is he going to respond to the political instability which is there so that there is no hyper-inflation?

HON. DR. BIMHA:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for raising that question.  Madam Speaker, the issue of economic stability is the responsibility of all us.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Members. Those who need to bring in supplementary questions - I think we agreed that the Minister is bringing a Ministerial Statement, so if we continue asking the same Minister - we have the whole bench of Ministers and so many questions to ask.  The last supplementary question I am giving to Hon. Ziyambi and you can bring in your question as an original question and not a supplementary question.

          *HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question to the Minister of Industry and Commerce is that the Minister has informed the House that he is going to make a thorough research on the programme targeting the farmers, but fertiliser has gone up.  AN is now $50 and yet at GMB we are selling the maize at $390 per tonne and this is the highest in the region.  If we are to go to the Minister and call for a rise in the price of maize, what are we going to do?  The farmers are now faced with price hikes in fertilizer and seed. We know that the Minister has a Ministerial Committee which has to work at its own pace but as representatives of the people, what are we going to tell our people who are faced with the planting season?

          *HON. BIMHA: The Hon. Member asked a very pertinent issue in our agricultural encountered economy.  Cabinet is seized with the issue of the price increases.  As far as we are concerned the fertilizer which we produce here in Zimbabwe is very expensive.  So, if we want to have cheaper fertilizer, we have to look at the inputs which make the fertilizer to be more expensive than what is obtaining in the region.  We also have other programmes which are to be put in place.  The Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Industry and Commerce are holding a meeting to look at ways to solve the problem regarding the increase in prices of the inputs.  Our target was to produce a report this week but we had some hurdles and were not able to produce the report.  However, I can promise this august House that next week we will issue a statement which will include the price of agricultural inputs including fertilizer.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members, can I urge you to ask new questions.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker, when we are in this august House and even when we have only one Minister we should not be directed to take our question to a particular Minister.  It is our choice to address any Minister we feel like addressing.   If we feel we want to exhaust our questions on one Minister allow us to do so.  Let me tell you now that we are going for elections and we do not want people to say ZANU PF destroyed the country.  You know that agriculture is the backbone of our economy hence the Minister should respond to our questions, so do not protect Ministers or direct us to ask questions to a particular Minister.  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          What I am saying Madam Speaker is that you should allow us to ask the Minister what we want in this august House.  Allow us to pose questions that we want to the Ministers and not to tell us that you can ask other Ministers other questions.  What if our questions are directed to that particular Minister?  We want to ask the Minister.  Thank you.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Members.  I want to respond to Hon. Chinotimba on the issue that each time we have question time, we have a number of supplementary questions which are permissible.  So, we cannot spend the whole afternoon posing questions to one Minister - but if you have another question which is new, you are allowed to pose the question, not as a supplementary question.  Am I understood?  Thank you.

          *HON. MASHONGANYIKA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines.  We have a number of concerns relating to artisanal miners.  We do not know what the Government means when it gives assistance to people involved in bus accidents but when it comes to artisanal miners  - are you also not supposed to assist them and when do you assist them because a mine will have collapsed?  What is the policy concerning artisanal miners, because some lose their lives and in most cases it is a whole family?  What assistance do you give them?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES (HON. F. MOYO):  The issue of road carnage and artisanal mining, I did not understand where the link is.

*THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Let me assist you.  The Hon. Member is saying if there is a national road traffic disaster the Government comes in to assist but if there is an accident where artisanal miners are trapped in a mine shaft, what do you do about that? 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES (HON. F. MOYO):  I am sure we all know that currently, Government is in the process of coming up with regulations on how artisanal miners are supposed to work. Currently, we said that we do not know how the artisanal miners are working, where they come from, their ages and gender. We are not clear. So we want to find out all that information. If there are some who will have got into the mine and are trapped, the policy is that we have rescue teams that are found at the big mines such as Shamva, Zimplats and Mimosa. If there is a disaster, we expect the police to get those rescue teams from those mines. The brigades who go there are rescue teams with specialised skills. They are the ones who assist and they give reports. All is done and this is under the Chamber of Mines. I thank you.

          *HON. ZINDI: Supplementary. I want to thank the Deputy Minister for the response that he gave but if I have understood the question posed earlier on, she is saying that if people are maimed or die in a road accident, the victims are assisted through the Civil  Protection Department with the Disaster Fund. That is what the question requires that in your Ministry what is your policy that is similar to this one that we have mentioned, especially pertaining to artisanal miners who are contributing to the growth of the economy. What measures are you putting in place besides what is already there to ensure that they are assisted in cases of disaster?

          *HON. F. MOYO: I think the small scale miners are in two categories. There are migrant artisanal miners who are not known their whereabouts, age and gender. If a person is maimed or dies and is found on the side of the road, that is not a disaster. It is not about miners. I will answer for the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. If there are small scale miners who are working and were given permits, they are all insured and are covered. But if they are migrant, we assist as the Ministry of Mines in retrieving them from the trap and we take them to the mortuary. In terms of burial and other issues, that is the duty of the Government through the Civil Protection Unit since it is a civil disaster. I thank you.

          *HON. NDUNA: The issue of artisanal miners has become quite topical. The reason why they are known as artisanal miners is because the legislation to decriminalise this activity has not yet come here.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member we are talking about Government rendering assistance to those people who will have met a disaster.

          *HON. NDUNA: My question is that the ones you mentioned of Chamber of Mines as well as the big mines you talked about, have you ever considered how they work in line with what you said that they are there to assist the artisanal miners trapped in a mine?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Would you please take your seat?

          *HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, I think you need to indulge me. If it is not the way you believe it to be, you need to guide me accordingly because I have got a supplementary.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, you have a supplementary question but you are failing to craft it properly.

          HON. NDUNA: May I be given an opportunity to put it across Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you do that please.

          *HON. NDUNA: How do the rescue teams operate? Do you embark on an audit to assess whether they are working according to how they are expected in terms of rescuing the artisanal miners from the collapsed mine?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no supplementary question. If you have another question regarding this, please bring it to the attention of the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.

          +HON. P.  D. SIBANDA: The Hon. Member having addressed the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as Director General CIO in Tonga.

          HON. MASHAYAMOMBE: On a point of order! On a point of order! On a point of order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mashayamombe, take your seat. Hon. Sibanda, I did not hear what you said. What did you say?

*HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Ndati.. The Hon. Member having repeated his question in Tonga.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no Director General CIO. Can you please take your seat?

HON. MASHAYAMOMBE: On a point of order! On a point of order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Ndati.. Okay let me translate in English. My question is directed to the Honourable…

HON. MASHAYAMOMBE: On a point of order! Mira titaure mhani - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

 

          THE VICE PRESIDENT (HON. E.D. MNANGAGWA):  Madam Speaker, may I appeal to Hon. Members of this august House that in the composition of this House, we do not have the Director of CIO.  If there is any need to direct a question relating to the Office of the President, there is no need for the Hon. Member to do so in terms of our Rules.  Our Rules provide that we cannot ask questions on individuals or officers of State who are not Members of the House.  So, if there is a particular question that the Hon. Member is pleased to make, he could put it in writing and refer it to the Office of the President and there will be a member from the Office of the President to deal with the issue appropriately.  - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, I think what the Leader of the House is saying, we have to respect.  You should not make noise because once you make noise; we waste our time for nothing.  So, this is what we were supposed to hear from the beginning.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You have been answered.  I would like to recognise Hon. Khupe.

          HON. DR. KHUPE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I am also appealing to the Hon. Members because today we have school children – they have come to listen to what Hon. Members are asking Ministers so that Ministers respond to issues affecting this country.  So, I am appealing to Hon. Members at least to be quiet.

          I would have loved to direct my question to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services but now that he  is not around, I am going to direct my question to the Leader of the House.  According to the ZIMVAC Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report of July 2017; 1.1 million people are going to be food insecure during the months of January to March 2018.  What is Government doing to make sure that every Zimbabwean is food secure, looking at the fact that we had a bumper harvest and we had good rains.  I thank you.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT (HON. E.D. MNANGAGWA):  Madam Speaker, I am glad that the Hon. Member, the Leader of the Opposition has asked that question which will give an opportunity to Government to clarify the position.

 Correctly, she has stated that the report that she is referring to is the report of July when the projections at the time were very conservative as to the yields that would come.  But currently, we already have excess food supply in the country which will enable Government without any importation to support the needs of the vulnerable groups in our country during that period – January to March next year.  So, may I assure the House as well as the country that as  a result of our bumper harvest, we have an excess of 700 000 metric tonnes of grain in surplus of our national needs.  I thank you.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:   On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Honestly speaking Hon. Speaker, with due respect to the office of the Speaker and the Orders of this House, I believe that your ruling did not address whatever issues that the Chair thinks I did not properly address when I was asking my question.  So, I believe as a Member, Hon. Speaker, I am entitled to know the rationale behind your decision not to allow me to ask my question because you had given me the floor and just as I was addressing my question in Tonga, which I believe you do not understand - firstly you do not understand Tonga Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Exactly, I do not understand Tonga.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  So, what was the rationale behind you stopping me from asking my question?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I told you that we do not have Director of CIO in this House; but you insisted that you want to ask him.  You did and this is why I stopped you.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Speaker, I only spoke once and you asked me to sit down but I think I am entitled to be corrected and then to be given an opportunity to ask my question – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Where is your problem now – because you did not want to take my ruling, this is why I made you to sit down.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I never rejected your ruling Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You did Hon. Member.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  No, I never.  I have a genuine question to the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You insisted that you want to talk to the Director of CIO.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Speaker, I did not find it offensive.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Now that I had recognised others, I think you will come later Hon. Member.

          *HON. MAHOKA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. O. Mpofu.  Minister, what is Government policy regarding your Ministry on young children who are raped in rural areas?  At times, these police office come to the scene and take these youngsters for investigations after two days whereby the evidence would have been erased because these children would have been bathed.  So, what are you going to do to supply the police with the cars so that they can respond quickly when reports are made?

          +THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. O. MPOFU):  I thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank the Hon. Member, Mahoka for the question.  Concerning the issue on what is being done specifically to the children who would have been victims of rape and at the end of the day, we realise that there is no mode of transport that can take them to courts or any other incident that might have happened. 

I got into office today and the whole day, we were doing handover takeover with Minister Chombo.  It will be taking this House for granted for me to act as if I know everything that is happening in this Ministry.  My request to this House and also a request that I am putting to Madam Speaker is that you give me time to research so that I can bring an answer to this question. 

HON. MLISWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

HON. MLISWA:  The point of order is on Section 107 of the Constitution.  Minister, it is very clear that every Vice President, Minister, Deputy Minister must attend Parliament and Parliamentary Committees in order to answer questions concerning matters for which he or she is collectively and individually responsible.  The Minister has just been appointed the Minister of Home Affairs and he must respond to issues of home affairs.  Handover takeover has got nothing to do with children who are suffering, who are being raped.  I think they must discharge their duties honourably.  By the President appointing him the Minister of Home Affairs, he bestowed the power in him to respond to questions because it is going to take too long for handover.  There could be another Cabinet reshuffle where they will do another handover again.  He must answer questions according to this – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  Before you come in Hon. Member, there is a point of order here.  Hon. Members, we are people, this is not the first time we have Ministers being reshuffled.  There is need for taking over and handing over to the Ministers.  So now, – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – No, no, no.   Order Hon. Members.  I think he appealed to the House that he is going to answer you next time, once he gets himself acquainted.  Is there a problem?

HON. NYAMUPINGA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The supplementary question is that, as he brings the response next time to the House, we also want to know what the Government is doing in terms of giving awareness to the victims of rape and those who are likely to be victims, for example women; on how to look after themselves after they have been raped.  No one has ever gone out there to tell them that do not bathe, do not do this and do not do the other.  In the end, all the evidence is gone by the time they get to court.  So it is the issue of awareness that I am talking about.  We want to know what the Ministry of Home Affairs is doing through mapurisa, shamwari dzevanhu, giving awareness to the people.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:   I think it is the same that the Minister is still being acquainted to the Ministry.  He cannot talk of the programmes in the Ministry at the moment.  We want to hear the answers next time Hon. Minister. 

*HON. MURAI:  Thank you Madam Speaker. I am directing my policy question to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Bonyongwe.  We are in the process of registering people through the BVR so that we prepare for the 2018 elections but there is a lot of confusion in our constituencies.  People would want to know the required documents for anybody to be registered.  The reason why there is this confusion is that the ZBC adverts being broadcast, most of them are done in English.  I suggest that we hold more advertisements in our sixteen languages so that the people who are the beneficiaries will understand.  We have a lot of confusion among our constituents. 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, are you asking your question in English or Shona?

*HON. MURAI:  Madam Speaker, the Minister has understood what I have asked.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  It is my duty to ask you to use one language when you are speaking.

*HON. MURAI:  That is why I am responding to your questions Madam Speaker.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please do not codeswitch, use one language.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Thank you Madam Speaker.   I want to thank the Hon. Member for – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Honourable Minister, just proceed with your answer, do not listen to them. 

*HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN.  BONYONGWE:  Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question regarding the voter registration exercise for the 2018 elections.  This is a very important issue – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members.

*HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN.  BONYONGWE:  The question was asked in Shona but with some English phrases included. 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, because of Hansard, we encourage Hon. Members to concentrate on one language.

*HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE:  Let me continue responding to the question.  I am saying, I am grateful for the question that was asked by the Member.  The Hon. Member talked about the registration of people to be in the voters’ roll in preparation for the elections to be held in 2018.  I understand that ZEC is putting out advertisements to educate people throughout the country.  People should be educated in the languages that they understand.  It could be an advantage if the advertisements are done using all the sixteen languages in the country.  I believe that as we are talking and responding to the question, the ZEC officials will take advice of what we are saying because they have to educate people so that they know what is good for them and what is required of them when they go for registration.  I hope that ZEC will improve on their advertisements so that when people are educated, they will make decisions based on the knowledge given to them.

HON. BHEBHE:  Madam Speaker, I happened to be in Chitungwiza from this morning to this afternoon – if I rewind, going back to the previous elections that we have conducted, we have always had voter education process by ZEC itself, a week or two before the exercise.  What we find now, there are no people that are educating people prior to them going to register – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order.  Can we have order Hon. Members?

HON. BHEBHE:  Remember Madam Speaker, BVR is a new registration process, is it now a new Government policy that you introduce a new policy without informing or educating people about what they are supposed to do?

HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE:  Thank you very much to the Hon. Member for that supplementary question.  The issue is one of voter education for the undergoing voter registration process that is underway.  From my understanding and also as someone who follows issues as they are articulated through the Press,  there is a voter awareness programme, a voter education programme which is currently under way.  That is a fact.  With regards to the process which is on-going, that information is going out day in and day out in the print and the electronic media to cover the process to ensure that Zimbabweans go out there and register to vote.  Thank you.

          HON. BHEBHE:  On a point of clarification, I said previously they would do it a week or two before the registration starts.  I am saying, has the policy changed now because that did not happen? 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  That was the answer from the Minister, Hon. Member. 

          *HON. ENG. MUDZURI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Hon. Minister, we plead with you to move around in your capacity and also take the Minister of Home Affairs.  Can you move around Chitungwiza and listen to what people are saying.  You will notice that people are not aware of the pending registration exercise, they are in the dark.  My question regarding the campaign on the registration exercise by ZEC – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members!

*HON. ENG.  MUDZURI:  The Hon. Members always want me to ask a question outside your question but I cannot be directed by other people.  I should formulate my question the way I want and it is my privilege which I have to use.  My question to the Hon. Minister is that when we are talking about the awareness campaigns on the voter registration in preparation for the elections next year, I advise the Ministers to go to areas like Chitungwiza and hear what the people say about the registration exercise. 

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Please, let us not hold lengthy discussions but be to the point and ask your question.

          *HON. ENG. MUDZURI:  My point is, whatever is happening in Chitungwiza, the evidence on the ground shows that people are not aware of the registration process.  My question is, are you going to extend the period for the voter registration exercise so that they go and register and be included in the Voters Roll.  In these areas, we have people such as Commissioners of Oaths.  Some of the people lack the necessary documents like identity cards and we need to have more officials from the Registrar General’s office.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please ask your question.  Yes, you were in Chitungwiza.  What is your question?  Please get to the point.

          *HON. ENG.  MUDZURI:  My question is, are they going to extend the time for registration of people because there is a misunderstanding?  People do not understand what is required of them.  I appeal to you Hon. Speaker, when we are asking questions, at times we have to give a background to the question. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, it is not your first time having those questions.  I guide you on how to bring the questions.  Can I bring in the Minister to answer you?

          *HON. ENG. MUDZURI:  The Minister has to give us Government policy as to what they are going to do in taking officers to areas, especially mobile offices so that they go to people who need identity documents because most of them are told to visit the Registrar General’s office. 

          *HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE:  Madam Speaker, I realise that there are two questions.  One question refers to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the other one refers to the Ministry of Home Affairs.  Let me turn to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  The people who are responsible for the registration of voters, we have the organ called Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).  As I responded before, as we are talking now, we have people who are listening to what we are saying and the ZEC officials are going to take corrective measures so that whoever has a misunderstanding on the registration process will take corrective measures.  What I know is that the ZEC officials are aware that they should register all capable Zimbabweans.  It is their priority and they have taken all the measures to register the people of Zimbabwe. 

This current voter registration was launched on 14th September and it is still new.  We are still launching this programme and we are in phase one.  This is going to wind up on 25th October.  After the closure of the first phase, there is going to be an analysis or post mortem of the process which has been done and corrective measures taken for the next phase.  This is because we know that all eligible voters should be registered and we are going to take the necessary measures.  It is not my duty as a Minister to go and make observations in Chitungwiza but it is the duty of ZEC to do that.  I thank you. 

HON. MLISWA:  First of all Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the new Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  It is pretty clear that a new broom sweeps clean rather than those who are being re-cycled.  You are truly a new broom with the way you have articulated yourself.  I want to say to the Minister, voter education is continuous.  However, we have 16 languages including sign language.  I do not see them benefiting from it and you are saying every Zimbabwean must be registered to vote.  What about those who you are not talking to their language, those living with disability in terms of the sign language.  We are not seeing that happening.  How are you going to address that because they are part of Zimbabwe and the exercise has started?  Are you going to come back again with all these languages or what?

HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the kind words he said and at the time for that quite searching question which he raised.  It so happens that in the questions which are to follow, there are a number of questions which were raised by Hon. Chirisa which speak to that very issue.  That is the voter education which is necessary for those of disabilities, the blind and so on.  I would want to assure the Hon. Member that the current biometric voter registration system as configured has taken into account all those issues.  There is no one who is going to be disadvantaged because they are disabled or because of some other reason.  In fact, as you do the voter registration process where even someone does not have a limp or fingers, you can then skip that stage and move on to the next stage.  The machines cater for that.  So, it is something which was thought of and it is incorporated into the systems which are being used. Thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

          *HON. MACHINGAUTA: My supplementary to the Minister is that when we go out especially to the rural areas, we have village heads who take note of the serial numbers of those people who will have registered to vote. I would like to know from the Minister if this is allowed and if it is not, what action is the Minister going to take so that the other village heads are warned? – Mhindura mutsime dzinoita zvakadaro.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What language is that? Would you please withdraw that word?

          *HON. MACHINGAUTA: It is a Shona word which is found in Shona books.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  No, no. Not in Parliament. Withdraw that word.

          *HON. MACHINGAUTA: Let me withdraw the word mhindura mutsime but the Minister can proceed to answer my question without that word.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We have got to respect ourselves Hon. Members.

          HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: Madam Speaker, to that question which has been posed, I believe that the correct people to answer it would probably be the Registrar General’s Department. As far as the Ministry of Justice is concerned; the voter registration process - I do not see how the issues which he has raised come into play. Thank you very much.

          HON. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order.  While we come to Parliament, we have to institute justice to our people and justice which is not begotten to people is justice denied. The question we are asking here should be answered by both Ministers on what he is asking to say, what do you do?  Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Justice are two ministries where he should say he might have to consider with his colleague other than to just say it is a story for the Commission. The Commission, while it is independent has to operate in a just environment. What is happening today is that we are denying our citizens their birth right of being registered to vote and we are simply washing away questions. When I asked my question Madam Speaker, I also said the Minister of Home Affairs must answer on the failure of people getting registered to vote.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you saying your supplementary question was not answered?

          HON. ENG. MUDZURI: It was not and you did not correct that.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, we are not fighting. Can you please clarify yourself clearly? We are not fighting but I have to understand you – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] - Order!

          HON. MLISWA:  I would like to extend by another 30 minutes since the Ministers are hardly here, so that they are grilled properly – [HON. MEMBERS:  We object.] -

          *HON. MACHINGAUTA: On a point of order.  When I asked my question Madam Speaker, I talked about the communities in rural areas where people are supposed to be registering. What is happening is, we have traditional leaders like village heads who ask a member after registering to come and tell them their serial number. I am asking the Minister to look at some of the problems which I have just raised. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The next time, I am going to give you a chance to ask your question and the Minister will respond.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64

          HON. GONESE: I did not want to disturb the flow of questions but in terms of Standing Order No. 63 Madam Speaker, those Ministers who are not able to come to Parliament should seek leave of absence and I believe that today that was not read out. I was going to raise the issue but I did not want to disturb the flow of questions.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Even myself, I did not want to disturb. We have a list here of the Ministers.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR BRIEFING

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to remind Hon. Members that there will be a pre-Budget Seminar briefing on Friday 20th October, 2017 at Pandhari Lodge. Buses will leave from Nelson Mandela Avenue entrance to Pandhari Lodge at 0745 hours on Friday up to 1630 hours.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

DATE OF BIRTH FOR MR. TOBAIWA MUDEDE

HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour

and Social Welfare to inform the House when the Registrar General, Mr. Tobaiwa Mudede was born and further explain if he is above 65 years and why he has not retired from the Civil Service.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister of Public

Service, Labour and Social Welfare is not here.

HON. MAJOME: Hon. Madam Speaker, I think this is about the

fourth time that I am raising this issue. This august House is fast turning into a circus because clearly again, the Hon. Ministers of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare as well as …

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We are deferring it and it will be on number one again.

HON. MAJOME: Hon. Madam Speaker, I am concerned that this

House is not using the powers that it has. It is almost as if we are treating the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare with kid gloves on such an important issue. Last week, there was the excuse that the Minister was new and he needed to be handed over power but his Deputy was there. The other week, the Minister who was reshuffled claimed that she was not ready for the question but her Deputy was there. Previously again, the Ministry of Home Affairs avoided this question.

          Hon. Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. I have a right to receive an answer to this question. I move a motion Madam Speaker that you find the Hon. Ministers in contempt because this is a critical national issue. If this question is deferred again, it will give the very regrettable impression that the Speaker is protecting Hon. Ministers from answering questions. Surely, this House should show the utmost disgust and should not tolerate behaviour such as this. This is a serious question and it should be answered.

          I think the Ministers must be held in contempt. This cannot go on. The reason why we put questions on notice is for Ministers to see them and answer them. They cannot continue playing ball with us like this. If I may ask, why the Ministers are not here today?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Member and also go along with what you are saying. The office of the Speaker has tried to invite the Minister so that he is answerable to what is happening, but because of these changes I think some other people are taking advantage as well; but we are together, the office of the Speaker and the Hon. Members but we are going to continue trying to call the Hon. Minister to our office.

          HON. MAJOME: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          HON. MAJOME: Hon. Madam Speaker, my point of order is that the Hon. Minister and the Deputy Minister be held in contempt of Parliament - because inviting them to your office, I believe is unwarranted. I do not see any reason why Ministers should continue to be treated with kid gloves. I am not aware and I deserve an explanation as to why both the Hon. Minister and the Deputy Minister are not here in Parliament today.  I move that they be held in contempt of Parliament ,that will be the only way that they can know that they must take their responsibility in terms of Section 108 of the Constitution Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister who was called to our office is no longer a Minister.  Now, we have to call the one who was appointed as a Minister to come to our office so that we discuss about this issue. 

          HON. MAJOME:  Hon. Speaker, the Deputy Minister is still the same Deputy Minister – [HON. J. TSHUMA: Usaite nharo.] – no ndinoita nharo, this is what I came to this Parliament for.  Hon. Speaker I am sorry I am unable to understand that, the Deputy Minister of that Ministry is still in the same Ministry.  It is a simple question, how old is the Registrar General?  Is he over the age of 65?  If he is over the age of 65 why has he not retired?  Surely Madam Speaker that is what the question says.  Surely it is a fact that can be established by anyone.  There is a whole ministry, surely the age of the Registrar General is not a matter that requires rocket science, the Deputy Minister has not been reshuffled.   By now Hon. Speaker an answer must have been written.  All the Minister needs to do is to come here and simply read the question.

          THE HON. DEPUTY MINISTER:  Can we now close this question Hon. Majome, I have answered you.  I have tried to answer you.   We called Hon. Mupfumira to this office, but now there is a new person, we can also invite him and explain to him the problem. 

          HON. MAJOME:  But the rules do not say that you invite them to your office, it says a Minister who absconds can be charged with contempt of Parliament.  Why are we not doing that?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Because there is a problem of them not attending to this question.  This is why we are calling him to the office.  I hear your complaint.

          HON. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, why are we treating them with kid gloves?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we proceed to question number 2.

          THE MINISTER OF SPORT, RECREATION, ARTS AND CULTURE (HON. HLONGWANE): On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

HON. HLONGWANE: There is a requirement and it is in writing to some Ministers that Ministers should attend Parliament without fail on Wednesdays.  Ministers do come, often they do not get asked any question and when we get to this moment of questions with notice, Members of Parliament leave the House.  Ministers remain but we are not seeing equal treatment on either side.  I think it is a matter that you need to attend to Hon. Speaker.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  We get to a point where the questioner is not in the House whilst the Minister will be there, I do not think this is good to this House.

POLICY ON INFORMAL SECTOR WORKERS SOCIAL WELFARE

2. HON. MAHOKA on behalf of HON. MANGWENDE asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to state the policy in place to cater for the Social Welfare of workers in the informal sector.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is there any written confirmation that you are going to stand in her place, because you must have a written confirmation, where is it?  The written note should come to the Chair so that the Chair knows you are going to stand on her behalf.   We defer the question to next week.

DISTRICT VOTER REGISTRATION CENTRES

          11   HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House the exact location of District Voter Registration Centres and if they would be permanent as required by Section 17A of the Electoral Act.

          THE MINISTER JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE): Madam Speaker, let me start by thanking Hon. Chirisa for posing very pertinent questions pertaining to the registration of voters – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          Hon. Deputy Speaker having left the Chair and replaced by Hon. Marumahoko.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order Hon. Members.  You may proceed.

          HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: Mr. Speaker Sir, let me start by thanking Hon. Chirisa for posing very pertinent questions pertaining to the registration of voters, which process is indeed important as we prepare for the 2018 harmonised elections.  I shall endeavor to respond to the questions which were raised in chronological order as they appear on the Order Paper.  

          Firstly, the Hon. Member asked for the exact location of district voter registration centres and whether they shall be permanent as required by Section 17(a) of the Electoral Act. Mr. Speaker Sir, the district voter registration centres are situation at ZEC, 63 district offices.  The addresses of these offices can be found on ZECs website.  I also have a hard copy of the aforementioned document which I shall furnish to the Clerk of Parliament.  These centres shall remain open as static registration centres to register voters on a continuous basis in line with provisions of the law as you are aware.

          Secondly, the Hon. Member enquired about the measures that ZEC has taken to ensure accessibility of registration offices to elderly persons and persons with disabilities.  He further asked me to clarify the registration procedures for people who are visually impaired and also those who have no limps or fingers. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, with regards to this question ZEC embarked on a nationwide voter registration blitz from the 14th September 2017 with an initial 63 static registration centres and nine 9 800...

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You answered number 11 and therefore you had to pose until I ask – [AN HON. MEMBER: Supplementary Mr. Speaker.] – One question at a time, when we are through then I will allow you to proceed to the next question.  For now we are dealing with number 11.  Is your supplementary on question 11?

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that the voter registration blitz was preceded by the issuance of identification documents by the Registrar General’s Office. However, in some areas that have been classified as phase one, voter registration has preceded identity documents issuance and also in some instances, the identity documents issuance process started with some bit of confusion, because people were made to pay money. So they did not access identity documents. What is ZEC going to do to ensure that the constituencies and wards that have been prejudiced by the process of phase one get an opportunity to properly register after getting identity documents?

          HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: I take note of that question. Voter registrations is continuous and as a result, if anyone was omitted under phase one, they will be catered for. The objective is not to leave anyone behind, but it could be done in this way that even as we speak, there are 63 static centres but when we finish phase one, for any points which were not covered, those machines will return to do the exercise from my understanding. Thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Minister, static centres are far away from where people live. I am sure that the blitz was meant... iwe shamwari chirega kudisturbha Minister.

Hon. Mukwangwariwa having been talking to the Minister.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order Hon. Member.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Minister ndiye anofanira kuteerera haikona...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order Hon. Sibanda, continue with your question.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: The static centres are far away from where people live. The blitz, the polling based registration was made to ensure that even the poor of the poor can exercise their right of registering to be a voter in this country. This static one, people do not have money to travel to access those centres so that they get registered. The identity card issuance, the ordinary one requires that people pay at least $10 for either a new identity document. or a replacement and people do not have that money. Do you not see Hon. Minister that that process might disenfranchise some potential voters?

HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: Mr. Speaker Sir, there are two separate issues, the issue of the identity cards and so on. That is an issue which was dealt with and from my understanding, even those fees which were being charged were scrapped. Therefore, that matter has fallen away. The second point is to do with the completion of phase one and if there are any people who were left out, I believe that ZEC have got something like 3 000 machines which are in the country carrying out this exercise.

Once they have completed phase one, the point I am making is that those machines cannot be left to lie idle. Voter registration is continuous and as a consequence, anyone who is left out will be attended to. There will be some redeployment if necessary and an assessment will be done on the ground to determine those who might have been left out where and so on. The process will continue to capture anyone left out and that is the assurance which we are getting. Thank you Mr. Speaker. 

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I need to bring this information to the attention of the Minister. Someone sent me a message on my phone...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Is it a supplementary question related to what is being said?

HON. ZINDI: Yes, it is a supplementary in terms of payment for the documents to do with voter registration and birth certificates. So, I just want to read the question and bring it to his attention because the Minister has already responded on the issue of people being charged in order to access birth certificates and identity documents which are the requisite documents in order for one to be registered as a voter. This message says people are being charged $60.00 for a birth certificate in Mutawatawa in Murehwa when they are trying to get documents so that they register as voters. I do not know why this could be happening? Could the Minister carry out an investigation in order to establish if this is happening because that could be sabotaging the programme of Government in as far as voter registration is concerned? Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Thank you. It is pretty clear... –[HON. SIBANDA: Inaudible interjection]- Order Hon. Sibanda. It is pretty clear to the whole country that all charges were withdrawn. If anything of that nature is happening, it is up to the Minister to make an investigation but it is common knowledge.

*HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, what we are saying is that when the programme of issuing birth certificates started, people were made to pay...

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Can you please stick to one language?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I think I am failing to express myself in English. If you can understand me in Tonga, then I will explain it.

  THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): No, no. why Tonga, speak in English.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: What I was saying Hon. Speaker is that when the programme of issuing of identity documents started, people were made to pay for identity documents. It only took over 7 to 8 days for the Ministry to intervene. By then, the phase of issuing of identity documents ward by ward was almost over. So, in those areas where phase one of voter registration is being implemented, people did not get an opportunity to get identity documents and birth certificates for free because that process had started with some kind of payment of money. Right now as we speak, phase one voter registration is coming to its conclusion and it is ending next week on Thursday, and people do not have identity documents and because of that they are failing to register.

People on the ground want to know what Government is going to do to ensure that those people who fail to get free identity documents and who as a result of that failed to register to vote can get an opportunity to register. We cannot talk of the static centres because going to a static centre, it is about $10 to $15 one way and then getting the identity document again will be around $10 and people in the rural areas do not have that kind of money. What is Government going to do to ensure that every Zimbabwean enjoys that right to register as a voter? That is the clarity that we want from the Hon. Minister.

*HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Hon. Speaker, we should take it seriously when Parliament arranges for ZEC to come.  The ZEC Chairperson, Justice Makarau came to this august House to address Hon. Members, and she was here for four hours.  All the questions that are being raised here should have been raised at that forum.  It was mentioned that in areas where there are such challenges, they should report to ZEC so that they can go back, not for us to continue asking questions relating to the operations of BVR and ZEC – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please.  I think the Hon. Minister in his response, had alluded to the fact that there will be a redeployment if it is necessary.  What else do you want?  That was quite clear when he answered. 

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, mine was a point of clarity, it was not a point of order or a supplementary, it was - [AN HON. MEMBER: Ipaiwo madzimai mukana, hapana mudzimai aita supplementary.] –

          HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  My point of order is to remind the Hon. Member – I do not remember from which constituency because I have never heard him participate.  The ruling comes from the Speaker only and not from another Hon. Member.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is alright, point taken.

          *HON. MAJAYA:  I had a very important issue.   I am concerned because no female Hon. Member has been given an opportunity to raise their concerns.

          Hon. Chimanikire having been speaking at the top of his voice.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chimanikire, please – [HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Uyu arikundidenha munhu weZANU PF.] - No, no, when I call for order, please respect the Chair.

          *HON. MAJAYA: I was saying, you said the supplementary questions are enough, I thought they were supposed to be four.

ACCESSIBILITY OF REGISTRATION OFFICES TO THE VULNERABLE PEOPLE

          12.  HON. CHIRISA asked he Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House what measures the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has taken to ensure accessibility of registration offices to elderly persons and persons with disabilities; and to further state the registration procedures for people who are visually impaired or have no limbs or fingers.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE): With regards to this question, ZEC embarked on a nationwide voter registration blitz from 14 September, 2017, with an initial 63 static registration centres and 9 819 mobile registration centres throughout the country.  These voter registration centres are located closer to the people and are also accessible to the elderly and people with disabilities.

I must underscore that ZEC is giving priority to the elderly and people with disabilities in order to ensure that they are served or assisted first such that they do not spend too much time queuing for registration.  The registration procedures for people who are visually impaired are similar to those of persons without such impairment. 

However, where a registrant has no limbs or fingers, the system has been designed to move on to the next registration step of capturing the registrant’s facial features.  A record will be made in the kit explaining why the fingerprints of the registrant were not captured.  Therefore, the points which you raised are being taken care of Hon. Member.

HON. MAJAYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  There are citizens with identification certificates written ‘alien.’  These have not been rectified, when will they have an opportunity to register because at the centres, they are being turned back because of that reason?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: This is not a supplementary question but I have just given you the opportunity because you raised a point of order.

HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: In fact, it is one of the questions which arise later and I am going to address it.  Thank you.

ROLE OF THE POLICE DURING THE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE

          13.  HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House:-

a)  the role of the Police during voter registration exercises and to clearly state whether there would be no conflict of interest if police are engaged in voter registration;

b) whether it would be possible for police to respect the limit in their roles in the maintenance of law and order and to further state whether this would be observed during elections.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE): Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Chirisa would like to know the role of the police during voter registration and whether there will be no conflict of interest if police are engaged in voter registration…

          HON. NDUNA: Sorry Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.  According to the Standing Rules and Orders, a Member is only allowed about four questions to a Minister.  I see that on this Order Paper, there is more than four.  Hon. Speaker, we are all creatures of the Constitution and our rule of thumb in this august House is guided by what is enshrined in the Standing Rules and Orders.  That is our ‘bible,’ without which we are at sea and we would not have any direction.  The issue of progress is not all about speed and expediency; it is about direction, which direction we are given by our ‘bible’ Mr. Speaker Sir.  That is my point of order and I seek your response.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You are spot on but you missed out the point somehow.  If you look closely at your Order Paper, there are those questions with a star, that means she would ask those questions but those without a star, the Minister will just hand on his response.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I am glad that I have provoked that response; otherwise we were going to go all through Mr. Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is all in order Hon. Member.

          HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, these issues of voter registration are important and I see that after the cameras left, we are not enough.  According to Standing Order Number 56, pursuant to the provisions, the quorum is not enough.  Members of Parliament must discharge their duties professionally and not be here for television.  The aspect of ZEC is important as Members of Parliament.  As such, the quorum is not enough and I would like you to be guided by that.  Thank you.

          [Bells rung.]

          [Quorum formed].

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members, I am very disappointed.  Every Wednesday, Hon. Gonese in particular and Hon. Chamisa, you come in and complain that Ministers are not here to answer questions.  Today the full bench of Ministers is here and you find that most of the Hon. Members are not in the chambers including yourselves; you have just come in because bells have been rung. So, this is not fair on the part of the Ministers.  We should equally respect the House both sides, Ministers and Members of Parliament equally.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE): Hon. Chirisa…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members to my right, if you have not yet finished your discussions, may you walk out to the lobby please.  We need silence here, we need to hear what the Minister is saying – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order, I am talking and you are talking again.

          HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: Mr. Speaker, the role of the police is to provide security to ZEC as well as to maintain law and order at the registration centres so that all citizens freely exercise their right to register as voters.  It must be noted that no police officer is appointed as a registration officer nor are they operatives in the registration process.

          Section 10, of the Electoral Act gives ZEC guidelines as to who can be recruited as electoral officers and the Section expressly excludes Members of the disciplined forces from that category.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, with regards to the second part of that question which relates to the role of the police as outlined in Section 55 Sub Section 7, paragraph A of the Electoral Act, may I reiterate that the police officers have the sole function of maintaining law and order. Thank you.

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Minister for the response and may I also just take the opportunity to also congratulate him for being appointed as Minister.  I had the priviledge of being at the University of Zimbabwe at the same time as him in the law faculty in the 1990’s.

          My question to him therefore is, I thank him for the answer and we would want to know if the Hon. Minister will take measures to ensure in the same spirit that at election time, that those who require to be assisted to vote will also enjoy their right to vote freely without undue interference and undue pressure from police officers and others who have power so that they may freely choose whoever it is that they would want to choose.  

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am sure Hon. Majome the Minister has already spoken about it and maybe you have a reason to say that but that has been overtaken by events.

          HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, there is a recommendation from the Human Rights Commission that the police must undergo some training before elections.  I want to know from the Minister whether the police have undergone training before the election.  It is a very strong point which they recommended in their report that they must undergo training before election so that they are quite familiar with a lot of things and so forth.  Has that been taken on board?

          HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE: Well, Mr. Speaker Sir, that question would appropriately be addressed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in my view.

          HON. MLISWA: On a point of clarification! It is to do with elections and the Human Rights Commission report was very clear that when we are approaching elections, police officers must undergo training.  Elections fall under the Ministry of Justice; they do not fall under the Ministry of Home Affairs.  So as such, it is incumbent upon that Ministry to ensure that that recommendation is taken on board.  Have they undergone the training under elections because the police do not run the elections in this country?  It is under the Ministry of Justice through ZEC.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am sure the Minister was correct to say that the Ministry of Home Affairs will look into that – [HON. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection.] -

He has answered you.  He said the Ministry of Home Affairs will look into that.

 HON. MLISWA:  I think this must be very clear.  ZEC is under the Ministry of Justice.  ZEC is responsible for running elections in this country.  As such, anybody who falls under them is ZEC and it is ZEC that hires the police.  It is not for the police to train.  The police do not run elections. Home Affairs does not run elections.  It is the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that runs elections.  As such, it is only proper that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that runs elections – because it is the role of the Ministry of Justice; ZEC to ensure that there are free, fair and credible elections.  This is ZEC.  The police have nothing to do with the elections being free, fair and credible.  I think we must be clear on that – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Inaudible interjection.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon Mutseyami, are you the interpreter now?  Please, let us respect this Chamber.  Hon. Mliswa, the Minister is right to say that the Ministry of Home Affairs will look into that.  I do not know what clarity you need.  What you may do is to put it in writing to the Ministry of Home Affairs and ask if they have done the training for the police.

HON. MLISWA:  With all due respect, this was a recommendation from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission under Section 242, where they said that ZEC must train the police officers so that …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I hear you.  Let it go that way. The Ministry of Home Affairs will answer you on that.

HON. MLISWA:  But, it is not Home Affairs that run elections. It is ZEC.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, please.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  I have a supplementary question.  I am just looking at this question to do with roles, particularly the role of the police.  I think you have been very clear and we appreciate that clarity.  When it comes to the delineation of roles, what is the role of chiefs and kraalheads particularly in terms of this process of voter registration?  This is about role clarity.  You have been very clear about the police as an arising.  What is the role of chiefs and kraalheads?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Is there anything to do with chiefs on the question?

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Yes, I am glad that I am speaking to the Hon. Minister who is an Hon. learned colleague.  He appreciates that an arising question is a question that has to do with role clarity.  This was the role of the police that was …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Where is the chief and kraal head?

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  You do not need to see the chief.  You need to see the role clarity Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Unless if you just want to protect the Minister, but the Minister is very clear and is ready to answer – [Laughter.] -

FACILITATION OF EASE OF REGISTRATION OF ZIMBABWEAN CITIZENS BY ZEC

          14.  HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House how ZEC can facilitate the ease of registration of citizens of Zimbabwe, formerly deemed aliens as per the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, ZEC does not confer or deny citizenship as this is done by the office of the Registrar-General of Citizens.  However, ZEC advises all persons who, before the promulgation of the 2013 Constitution, were issued with identity documents describing them as “aliens” to forthwith proceed to the offices of the Registrar-General to have their citizenship regularised and confirmed.  ZEC will not, on the under-going biometric voter registration exercise, register any person whose citizenship is not confirmed by the national identity or other identity document lawfully issued by the Registrar General.

Hon. Nduna having stood up to ask a supplementary question.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, I am not recognising you.  I was going to make a comment on your earlier question. The Hon.  Minister will submit question numbers 15 to 18 without reading them.  May you submit to the front desk?

HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker, I still have a supplementary question on question number 14. 

HON. CHIRISA:  I would like to find out whether the Minister has with him the answers for these other questions.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Yes.

HON. CHIRISA: Are you sure?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I am positive.  That is why I said he should submit the questions to the front desk.

HON. NDUNA:  I heard clearly the Minister saying that he advises that members of the community who have had their citizenship revoked before the 2013 Constitution to go and have – he advises.  He just goes as far as advising but my arising question to him as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is; there was a proclamation – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, this is quite a pertinent question for us who have got constituencies. 

HON. NDUNA:  There was a proclamation Mr. Speaker that said if a person has got an identity card written ‘alien’ but have a parent who was born to a Zimbabwean who is married to somebody who is exotic or external, they can have their alienship revoked and have citizenship.

Will he let the Constitution and the justice delivery system be assassinated in that manner in that in Section 38 (2), it clearly says; anyone who has been born in Zimbabwe and has been resident for ten years can become a citizen.  Would he not go further than just advising and also informing the Minister of Home Affairs that they have assassinated the Constitution?  They need to align their statements to the Constitution.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, you had a very important question but you are messing it up now.

HON. NDUNA:  I need to hear your advice Mr. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I am saying you had a very important question when you started elaborating but at the end, you seem to be mixing it now.

HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker, I ask that he disregards the tail end and concentrates on trying to get the citizenship according to Section 38 (2) of the Constitution.

Hon. Adv. Chamisa having stood up.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Your time will come Hon. Chamisa. not now.

HON. RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE:  The question which the Hon. Member is raising really goes to the heart of the citizenship debate.  I would advise the member to put his question in writing and submit it to the Ministry of Home Affairs for the attention of the Registrar-General.

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker, my intervention has to do with your directive that you gave as regards questions 15 to 18.  They are so important to the extent that it would have been very beneficial and quite profitable for the questions to be pronounced to the Members of Parliament because we also have issues arising out of that.  I know you may say that we need to read the Hansard, I am very conscious of Rule Number 64 (7) which speaks to that.  It does not necessarily proscribe when we make a request, the availing of that opportunity through you Speaker that we may ask for those questions to be given orally.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Are you talking about the question that has been handed over?

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Yes, I was specifically requesting because they are very important; they are of national importance.  May they be read by the Hon. Minister if that is okay with the Hon. Minister?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The regulation does not allow you but all the same Hon. Chamisa, you have been in Parliament for quite some time.  You are quite a senior person in this.  Every Member is free to go through the Hansard. If you have got questions to ask, you can still come back and raise questions from the Hansard.

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I was just saying it does not necessarily prohibit upon request the granting of that in terms of the rules.  So, I was helping the Speaker to interpret.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Speaker is saying, not for today but another time I will consider that.

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Well, I am in your hands Hon. Speaker.  Thank you.

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

OVERSIGHT ROLE OF LOCAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS

15.  HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House on the role of local, regional and international observers and election agents as provided by Statutory Instrument (S.I.) 85 of 2017.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me at the outset correct Hon. Chirisa by highlighting that Statutory Instrument 85 of 2017 provides only for the registration of voters and not the accreditation of observers or role of observers.  This is provided for elsewhere under Part IXB of the Electoral Act.

However, ZEC has called for applications from all prospective observers to apply for accreditation as per the provisions of the law.  The role of observers is to observe and bring to the attention of the Commission any irregularities they may observe. Observers should not interfere with the process in any way.

USE OF INFORMATION FROM VOTER REGISTERS FOR CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES

16. HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain to the House whether or not information obtained from voter registers by members of the public during inspection may not be used for campaign activities of political parties or police investigations, commercial or other purposes.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Hon. Chirisa’s concern is noted. However, the law provides in Section 21 (9) (b) of the Electoral Act that the Voters Roll shall not be used for any commercial or other purposes unconnected to an election.  It is thus a criminal offence punishable with a fine not exceeding level ten or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both such fine and imprisonment for one to use the Voters Roll for purposes unconnected with an election.

ZEC ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSES WHEN COMPILING VOTER REGISTERS

17. HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to explain to the House:

a) what the ZEC administrative processes when compiling voter’s registers and the measures put in place to ensure the accuracy of the Voters Roll;

b) whether ZEC cleaning processes and compilation are open for stakeholder scrutiny in view of the fact that regulations are not clear when it comes to the involvement of citizen observers, political parties and the media where issues of transparency need to be enhanced during compilation of the Voters Roll;

c) whether ZEC can facilitate the process of registration of citizens of Zimbabwe in cases of involving those formerly deemed aliens;

d) whether ZEC acceptance of former ‘aliens’ to register is in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe which already recognises such people as citizens.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to briefly outline the administrative processes as follows:

i) Firstly, there is the registration and allocation of voters to specific polling stations as done at various registration centres (both static and mobile).

ii) Secondly, a consolidation of data at national level is carried out.

iii) Thirdly, is the duplication and cleaning of the Roll (this procedure entails verifying whether a registrant is not registered more than once).

iv) Fourthly, production of a provisional Voters Roll is done.

v) Fifthly, is the inspection of the Voters Roll.

vi)  The sixth step is the compilation of corrections (effecting of corrections or eradication of errors following the inspection of the Voters’ Roll.

vii)  and lastly, is the continuous voter registration. 

The Voters Roll will be closed for purposes of an election 12 days after the sitting of the nomination court as per the provisions of the law.

As regards to the second part of the question which relates to the need to ensure accuracy to the process, let me highlight the following measures which are undertaken; the use of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).  This system deletes any duplication of a fingerprint, in other words, as soon as the system reads an identical fingerprint, it deletes it.  This is positive in light of the fact that no two individuals no matter how closely related can share the same fingerprint.  Everyone has their own peculiar identity in the pattern of their fingerprint.  Another measure is to ensure the removal from the roll on disqualification caused by death or absence of the individual as per the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act. 

Lastly, general inspection of the Voters Roll by stakeholders will assist ZEC to ensure accuracy of the same.

On whether ZEC’s cleaning processes and compilation are open for stakeholder scrutiny – let me underscore that all front end processes which include registration of voters and inspection processes are open to stakeholders’ scrutiny.  However, for security reasons, all back-end processes will not be open to scrutiny.

On whether ZEC can facilitate the process of registration of citizens of Zimbabwe in cases of involving those formerly deemed aliens and if  ZEC will to register former aliens in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe; with regards to the issue of aliens,  I have already addressed this in my earlier response.  I will reiterate by saying that ZEC does not confer or deny citizenship as this is done by the office of the Registrar-General of Citizens.

However, ZEC advises all persons who, before the promulgation of the 2013 Constitution were issued with identity documents describing them as “aliens” to forthwith proceed to the offices of the Registrar-General to have their citizenship regularised and confirmed.  ZEC will not, on the dates of the biometric voter registration exercise, register any person whose citizenship is not confirmed by the national identification or other identity document lawfully issued by the Registrar-General.

INVOLVEMENT OF LOCAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS AS AGENTS IN ZEC ELECTORAL PROCESSES

18.  HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House whether or not local, regional and international observers and election agents can be involved as agents in ZEC electoral processes.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. RTD MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, concerning this issue, a distinction should be made between observers and election agents.  Observers represent their organisations either locally, regionally or internationally.  Agents on the other hand represent political parties and candidates during an election.  Observers may apply to the Commission to be accredited as such upon payment of a prescribed fee. 

Election agents on the other hand are appointed by their political parties and/or candidates to represent the party/candidate at the polling stations.  There is no requirement for the payment of accreditation fees for this category of persons.  I will hasten to remind the Hon. Member that we are currently not in an election period, hence there will not be an election agent for the registration process but only observers.  I thank you.

          Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.

          HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is in order that I would like to proffer my thanks to the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, that he has shown a lot diligence in the way that he has handled the questions.  I would like to congratulate the Minister that he has actually shown a lot of diligence.  Thank you so much in the way that you have answered questions.  I wish if your colleagues could take a leaf from you.  Thank you.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (RTD. MAJ. GEN. BONYONGWE), the House adjourned at Twelve Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

  

 

 

         

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 OCTOBER 2017 VOL 44 NO 15