You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>SENATE HANSARD 04 OCTOBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 27-6-1

SENATE HANSARD 04 OCTOBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 27-6-1

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 4th October, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS AND IMPLEMENTATION REGISTER

     HON. SEN. MASUKU:  I move the motion standing in my name That this House;

RECOGNIZING that in 1999, Parliament adopted the final report of the Parliamentary Reform Committee (PRC); and one of the recommendations contained in the report was that of establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethics and Implementation Register for Members of Parliament;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in section 198 provides for the enactment of an Act of Parliament which must provide measures to enforce the provisions of principles of public administration and leadership, including measures to:―

1.    require public officers to make regular disclosures of their assets;

2.    establish codes of conduct to be observed by public officers; and

3.    provide for the disciplining of persons who contravene the provisions of Chapter 9 of the Constitution or any code of conduct or standard so established.

NOTING that the recommendation by the PRC and the requirement by the Constitution culminated in Standing Order No. 48 of the Standing Rules and Orders of the Senate;

 

COGNISANT of the approval of the Code of Conduct and Ethics and Implementation Register by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders on 21st of April, 2016;

NOW THEREFORE, resolves, that the Code of Conduct and Ethics and the Implementation Register be adopted.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I second.

HON. SEN. MASUKU:  Madam President, in 2008, the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe adopted a Code of Conduct and Ethics of Members of Parliament.  The implementation of the Code could, however, not take off as the register was not in place.  A register for the declaration of assets has since been prepared, considered and adopted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. 

The two documents were circulated to all Members of Parliament in December, 2016 for their comments.  Comments submitted were considered and a workshop was held for the presentation of the Code and the Register.  The Code of Conduct and Ethics for Members of Parliament is an official document which regulates the behaviour of Members of Parliament by asserting what is considered to be acceptable behaviour and what is not.

          Purpose

1.    To establish standards of correct behaviour which the Members of Parliament propose to observe as elected representatives serving their country in its highest democratic institution in accordance with the dignity of the institution in which they serve in.

2.    The Code-

a)    Has been developed for the guidance of all Members of Parliament.

b)   Sets out ethical standards and principles to assist Members in observing the expected standards of conduct in public office and to act as a benchmark against which that conduct can be measured.

c)    It contains the rules concerning the additional income, gifts and personal interests that must be declared by Members of Parliament published in the Register of Members’ Interests.

d)    Is not designed to be exhaustive, and there will be occasions where Members will find it necessary to adopt more stringent norms of conduct in order to protect the public interest, and to enhance public confidence and trust.

Members of Parliament are expected to promote and support this Code by leadership and example.

Madam President, the two documents were circulated and the rest of the things that are in this code, I am sure that Members of Parliament are aware of them but I am now going to touch on what the Code contains.

What the Code Contains

The Code is a five part document that looks at various matters that relate to the manner in which Members of Parliament are ethically expected to behave, some highlights of its content include:

Purpose of the Code

This section was introduced in order to provide an informed description of the purpose of the Code it aims.

a)    To create public trust and confidence in public representatives and to protect the integrity of Parliament;  and

b)   To ensure certain standards of conduct amongst parliamentarians in an endeavour to increase public confidence and curb corruption.

Like I said Madam President, other things will be covered by other Members, that is the scope of the conduct, the financial interests, confidentiality of the code and many others.  I think I should come to the conclusion so that I leave something for other Members to debate.

Conclusion

Whether the Code is written or communicate informally, a Code of Conduct defines behaviour and expectations for those that it governs and in this case, it is Members of Parliament.  While codes may not prevent inappropriate behaviour or fraud, they do provide Members with legal and ethical standard that will influence their performance and commitment to Parliament.  Madam President, I believe that the Code of Conduct and Ethics will be adopted in this House as a Code for all Members of Parliament.  I thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion of which the Hon. Members have read the Code of Conduct and they understand what it means because we have to know what is contained in the Code of Conduct.

Madam President, without much ado, I will go on to the Scope of the Code.

The section covering the Scope of the application of the Code was introduced in order to clarify the extent to which the Code applied.  The section indicates that the application of the Code includes, all Members of Parliament and those who are part of the Executive notwithstanding the fact that the Executive is subject to other roles.  This broad approach is aimed at developing a Code that provides a tool for the public’s scrutiny and one which enhances accountability of the public official.  This section is in line with the widely accepted standards of Parliaments in other jurisdictions. 

Financial interests

The section which provides for the disclosure of financial interests of a Member “direct or indirectly”, was extended to include those that cause a direct benefit to the immediate family or any business partner of that Member.  This was done in order to promote good governance and to ensure that Members advance public interest as required by the Constitution.

Madam President, this section prevents Members from pressing for financial benefits in the conduct of parliamentary business as their involvement would be regarded as exerting undue influence and as such, contrary to public interests.  This provision seeks to restrict Members from influencing decisions in Parliament which would benefit only those areas which they have a financial interest in.  However, even where Members are prevented from certain types of lobbying, there are grey areas and this is because there is difficulty in defining what amounts to a conflict of interest in any particular set of circumstances and it has to be accepted that it is impossible for the Code to foresee and cater for all possible eventualities which may arise or be diversed by human ingenuity.  The ultimate goal is to identify the potential to conflict and ensure public trust in Parliament and avoid any implication that Members use their positions for private enrichment.

Therefore, what can only be done is to provide a guideline which prohibits the promising, offering or giving to a Member whether directly or indirectly, of an undue advantage for the benefit of a Member or another person or entity in order for that, the Member acts or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her official duties.

Confidentiality Clause

Madam President, on the confidentiality clause; this clause was inserted in order to promote compliance by the Members.  This came after the realisation that Members might be discouraged to disclose information relating to their financial interests because they want to protect their privacy.  Therefore, in order to promote compliance with the Code, strict measures will be put in place to protect the confidentiality of the information provided by the members.  The clause clearly spells out who has access to the register, specifically the confidential part.  Access is limited to the Clerk and his/her staff (only when performing their duties or responsibilities in terms of this Code.)

The mischief that this section seeks to address is that appreciation of abuse of office can be as damaging as the actual abuse of power.  There is therefore need to provide provisions which protect the integrity of Parliament through the aspect of transparency, which is provided through the disclosure of financial interests by Members.  It has to be understood that disclosure does not necessarily remove the conflict between a private interest and the public interest, but it helps identify instances where potential conflict exists and makes it easier to detect when it occurs.

The form and timing of the disclosure of financial interests by Members is divided into two categories, that is; either ad-hoc or routine disclosure.  Ad-hoc disclosure requires a Member to declare financial interest before participating in a debate, committee hearing or vote where that financial interest is likely to result in a conflict of interest.  Whereas routine disclosure demands that Members must declare their financial interest on taking up the position as a Member and at regular intervals thereafter.  The Code adopts the routine disclosure approach and Members are required to declare their financial interests within 60 days of the Opening of Parliament and to periodically update the register of financial interests during the lifetime of a Parliament. This approach of routine registration of interest is an effective means of identifying conflict.  The system of routine registration forms is an essential part of combating corruption as allegations of illicit enrichment can be easily identified as mysterious increases in Members’ interests are revealed.

Another issue that has to be clarified is the question of who is supposed to register?  The answer to this question seems to be obvious, but the expansion of the definition of financial interest of a Member (direct or indirect) to include those that cause a direct benefit to the immediate family or any business partner of that Member raises a lot of concern.  This is particularly so because the interests of individuals who, themselves are not public officials are required to be registered.  This is necessary in order to stop Members from circumventing the regulations by channeling assets to other members of their family and business partners.  In an attempt to cure this perceived invasion of privacy, the register has a part that contains confidential information and access to this part of the register is restricted.

Breach of the Code

This section deals with the procedures to be followed in the event that a Member fails or neglects to comply with the provision of the Code.  The insertion of this section came after the realisation that the previous Code only indicated that a breach of the Code amounted to contempt of Parliament but did not provide for the procedures to be adopted in the event that such breach occurs.  The section also provides for the procedures to be followed when conducting investigations for the breach of the Code and clearly states what constitutes breach thereof.  This was done in order to promote and enforce compliance with the code.

The provision of principles and rules in the Code was not enough.  There was need to include regulatory frameworks which provided mechanisms for enforcing the rules and applying sanctions whenever there is breach.  This is crucial in the combat against corruption as it deters potential offenders.  The enforcement and regulation of the Code is done by a Committee which is empowered to instigate its own enquiries against Members for breach. 

Conclusion

Thus in conclusion, whether written or communicated informally, a code of conduct defines behavior expectations for those that it governs and in this case, Members of Parliament.  While codes may not prevent inappropriate behavior or fraud, they do provide Members with legal and ethical standards that will influence their performance and commitment to Parliament.  Madam President, with these few words I beg to second the motion.  I thank you.

HON. SENATOR MASUKU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second,

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday 5th October, 2017.

COMMITTEE STAGE

  CONSIDERATION OF AN ADVERSE REPORT ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO 74 OF 2017, POLICE (ASSOCIATION) REGULATIONS 2017

Second Order read: Consideration of the Adverse Report by the

Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument No. 74 of

2017- Police (Association) Regulations, 2017, published in the

Government Gazette during the month of July, 2017.

House in Committee.

         HON. SAMUKANGE: My name is Hon. Jonathan Samukange, Member of Parliament for Mudzi South. I am accompanied today, on my right by Hon. Fortune Chasi and on my left, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi. These are lawyers and members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC). As has already been stated by the Chairman, the Statutory Instrument was referred to the Committee for its consideration, in particular on whether it is consistent with the Constitution.

       After our deliberations we concluded that it was inconsistent with the Constitution, in particular that it compelled police officers to join the association. The Constitution is very clear, no one is compelled to join an association and that is the main reason why we then issued an Adverse Report. I am going to read the whole summary of our deliberations and my learned friends who are members of the Committee will either assist in answering questions or expanding what I will have read.

       In pursuit of its Constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 of the Constitution, the Parliamentary Legal Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) met on the 18th July, 2017. On its agenda was the analysis of Statutory Instrument 74 of 2017, Police (Association) Regulations, 2017, gazetted on the 9th of June 2017. After deliberations, the Committee unanimously resolved that an Adverse Report be issued in respect of the Statutory Instrument, due to the following considerations:-

1.    Section 3: Purpose and functions of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Association.

           The purpose of setting up the Association and its functions thereof are provided for in Section 72 (2) (m) of the Police Act as read with Section 3 (2) of the Regulations as regulating all matters affecting the welfare and efficiency of members. The Constitution, in Section 222, establishes a Police Service Commission whose functions are articulated in Section 223. One of the functions of the Commission is to ensure the general well being and good administration of the Police Service and its maintenance in a high state of efficiency. This function refers to matters affecting the welfare and efficiency of the members of the Police force which are being regulated for under these Regulations. It is the constitutional mandate of the Commission to look into the issues of the welfare and efficiency of members, not the Commissioner-General of Police as provided for in the Regulations. As a result, the Regulations are parallel with the functions of the Commission and seek to usurp the powers of the Commission thereby violating Section 222 and 223 of the Constitution.

           In addition, the Commission may make Regulations for any of the purposes in Section 223, and in this case the Regulations make no reference or mention of the Police Service Commission. In contrast the Regulations in Section 3 (2) states that all issues shall be brought to the notice of the Commissioner-General of Police. There is no mention of referral of the matters upon receipt to the Police Service Commission.

2.    Section 3 (3) Affiliation and Membership

           The affiliation to an Association may be voluntary and by choice of an individual member. Section 3 (3) of the Statutory Instrument provides that the association shall consist of members of the Police Service. The wording of the provision is not clear whether membership is voluntary or compulsory and automatic by virtue of one being a duly attested member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. If the latter is true, the provision is in contravention of the right; that is the freedom of assembly and association guaranteed in Section 58 of the Constitution. Section 58 provides that;

(1)            Every person has the right to freedom of assembly and association, and the right not to assemble or associate with others.

(2)            No person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.  The net result Mr. Chairman is that the regulations, as formulated make it compulsory and actually violate those rights which I have outlined.  

           Members of the Police Service must be given a choice to join the Association or not. There is no mention in the enabling Act that the Association is an extension of the constitutional mandate of the Police Service as provided in Section 219 of the Constitution. It is also not clear if the public is welcome to join the Association or it is only confined to the Police Service.   

3.    Section 6: Powers of the Commissioner-General of Police.

      The powers given to the Commissioner-General of the Police in

terms of Section 6 of the regulations are excessive and encroach on

the members’ right to freedom of association as members may want to choose their leaders amongst themselves who chair and spearhead the work of the association, but are not afforded this opportunity since the Commissioner General appoints the individuals mentioned above. In addition, his powers as earlier mentioned contravene Section 223 of the Constitution as he is taking the powers and functions of the Commission, thereby usurping the powers of the Police Service Commission.

4.    Enactment of the Regulations

The enactment of the regulations by the Minister violates Section 223 (2) of the Constitution in that the Constitution empowers the Police Service Commission to make regulations with the approval of the Minister for any of the purposes in Section 223 of which the issue of welfare is part of the matters mentioned.  In terms of Section 117 (2) (c) as read with 134 of the Constitution, Parliament confers subordinate legislative powers upon a body or authority within the scope laid out in the enabling Act.  These regulations should have been cited as having been made by the Police Service Commission with the approval of the Minister.  There is no mention or reference to the Commission in the regulations at all, thus they are in contravention of Section 223 (2).

It is the collective wisdom of the Committee that the Statutory Instrument contains provisions that contravene the provisions of the Constitution and unanimously resolved to issue an Adverse Report on the Statutory Instrument. We rest our case –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].                                                                    

House resumed.

Progress reported.

HON. SAMUKANGE: Madam President of the Senate, I now with leave, move that this House having given consideration to the Report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument Number 74 of 2017, Police Association Regulations 2017 resolves that the Statutory Instrument would, if enacted, be in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President. I rise to debate on the Presidential Speech which was delivered to this august House by His Excellency, the President on the 12th of last month. Madam President, the President touched on a lot of issues in his address. He outlined a number of Bills which Parliament is expected to pass during this current sitting. The main things of his address include the alignment of laws with the Constitution and he sighted about 30 pieces of legislation which were to be aligned to the Constitution. With this Session being brief as it is, I think we have to work overtime, to sit longer periods and be more productive if we have to achieve this ambitious agenda which was set by the President.

          The second thing in his address broadly touched on the improvement of Zimbabwe’s business of environment of doing business in Zimbabwe. The priority attention should be given to those areas which enhance Zimbabwe’s appeal as a nation to attract investment so that it becomes an investment destination, and those areas which improve the domestic business environment generally. The third area –[HON. MUSAKA: Inaudible interjection.] – Mr. President, I want to be heard in silence.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, you may continue.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Thank you.  I said the fourth area which His Excellency touched upon was the need for hard work by all Members of Parliament.  This means both Members of the Senate and the Lower House, including the ticking off of absentee Ministers.  Ministers sometimes do not come here deliberately under the guise that they are doing other business outside there.  I think it is a privilege to be appointed a Minister from among us and we expect those Ministers to be here – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear] – and articulate our issues.  The President was adamant.  He said there should be a tick off so that the Minister when he is absent, he should give through you Presiding Officers his notice of absence.

          The ambitious agenda which I have mentioned above demands absolute commitment and diligence from all legislators who should also engage in robust and well informed debates.  That is what we must do here.  To achieve this, all MPs should always be present, punctual, disciplined, professional and display impeccable Parliamentary conduct according to the President.  His Excellency referred to those Ministers who do not attend Parliament as being guilty and they lack impeccable Parliamentary conduct.  He said they are expected to lead by example, especially if you are Cabinet Ministers.

          The other area which the President addressed in his Speech is the Government’s legislative agenda which tabled out 26 Bills to be considered during this session.  Several of these tabled Bills have featured before in previous sessions of Parliament and they have never been attended to.  However, there are some new interesting Bills which have come up for the first time and I am interested in a few of those. Among these new Bills are the following:  the Land Developers Bill, the Teaching Professions Council Bill and the Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill.  These are very important in my view and we should deal with them before the end of this session if I were to direct the Ministers to bring them here.

          Mr. President, the Land Developers Bill is intended to bring some security and sanity in the operations of land developers in general.  We expect to see the issue or problem of land barons to be a thing of the past if this Bill is enacted. It should empower the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to deal with these effectively once and for all.  I also urge local councils to also abide by the law because some of the councillors do not do things above board and with this Bill, I think we will go a long way. 

          The other Bill which I want to discuss briefly is the Mandatory Sentence for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill.  This Bill is aimed at the provision for more deterrent penalties for perpetrators of rape and other offences including sexual abuse. For example, there is a rise of abhorrent incest going on in the rural and urban areas.  People do not respect boundaries of relatives any more.  They are abusing women and children with impunity.  Earlier on, there was a proposal and I think the Government has already shown its intention that penalties must be increased for the offenders that 60 years without option for those who rape children under 13 and 40 years for those who rape adult people.  I think this should be maintained and it should come to fruition so that we see sanity in this country.  We are guilty of many of these offences as a nation and we are doing nothing about it. 

          Lastly, I want to discuss about the Teaching Professions Council Bill.  This Bill is intended to regulate and promote ethical conduct within the teaching profession.  In my view, as a former teacher, I think this Bill was long overdue.  It should have come a long time back when we got independence.  The teaching profession is the only profession which had no professional council to regulate its workers and conditions of service.  I think we should applaud the Minister for coming up with this Bill.  In his quest to introduce the new curriculum, he has come up with this consummated Bill which I think in my view is going to go a long way to encourage the people in the teaching profession to do their best.  By the way, this sector of the teaching profession comprises by far the largest number of Government workers in this country.  The teachers are the bulk of civil of servants.  They deserve much better treatment and improved conditions of service.  So through this Bill I think that would go a long way.

          Mr. President, I want to thank the mover of this motion, Senator Chief Charumbira and his seconder, Senator Chief Mtshane for bringing this debate into this august House. I hope we will debate it. As I said, we need robust debate on such issues across the political divide; not just to leave it to one section.  Thank you very much.

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  Mr. President, I would also want to add my voice in support of the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane.  The number of legislative pieces which the President mentioned in his Speech will definitely see our country moving forward.  As such, we are supposed to come here with evidence based information so that we can debate robustly and also from a position of knowledge so that we can come up with better Bills for our country. 

          I will dwell mostly on the issues which you raised and I must commend the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus for the wonderful lobbying and advocacy that they have been doing. 

We have now seen that the President came up with quite a number of pieces of legislation.  The Child Justice Bill will certainly provide the proper ways of handling children and the Marriages Bill will certainly outlaw early child marriages.  We have seen ourselves as a House debating at length the SADC Model Law on eradicating early child marries and now, the Bill will be brought to Parliament.

          I would also want to talk about my other Bills but I will zero in on the Corporate Governance Bill because as you can understand, no matter how much noise we make, no matter how much advocacy and no matter how much lobbying, if the cake in terms of Treasury money is not there, we will not be able to achieve the results that we want.  So on corporate governance in any modern economy, there are usually two major players in the creation of wealth.  There is the Government and then there is the private sector.  The commercial entities which are public and private are usually the most creative and productive creators of wealth.  These assume the risk of raising and investing capital in any country to meet the task at hand.  Because they manage risk in an individual capacity, it is tempting to cut corners and usually at the expense of the owners of the capital – the workers and the consumers.   In any such environment of risk management, the law of the jungle easily and readily beckons.  So, I am talking about corruption here.

          The Corporate Governance Bill - we all hope that, that regulation will become very important in terms of making sure that everybody who deals in raising capital does it in its proper management.

 I am glad that His Excellency the President also took due cognisance of the international corporate trend.  In his speech, he highlighted the issue of virtuous corporate governance as an instrument of gross domestic product growth.  Certainly, this shows us that this was a long overdue piece of legislation – the Corporate Governance Bill.  Parliament needs to rise to this occasion and this is the time Hon. Members, that we need to look at how capital has been managed in this country.  Related also to the Corporate Governance Bill is the domestication of the Marrakech Agreement on the World Trade Organisation.  We all know that we are a global village where local and national goods link communities across continents and it is important that we understand that.  If we do not understand that, those who are in power of raising capital and those who are in power of signing agreements will take advantage.  So as Members of Parliament, we should rise to understand those issues if we want the issues of our country to be managed well.

I am happy to highlight that once again, His Excellency the President has grasped the crucial role of trade and has presented to Parliament this important agenda.  Zimbabwe is keen and ready to play its rightful role in global wealth creation through accession to this Marrakech Agreement and I think that we need to understand more about it.  As I said, as Members of Parliament we are here to uphold the Constitution and to play the oversight role to make sure that those who were put in power are carrying out those policies. 

The President also turned his attention to the issue of labour which is a very important area.  I was once a Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Services in this country and I think that is a very important Bill to come to Parliament because indeed, Zimbabwe is actually trail blazing in terms of our human resources and we know that.  Of course, there is brain-drain because of our economy which is not performing well but eventually, we want all our Zimbabweans who are in the Diaspora to come back and help in the development of this country. 

So, that Bill is also coming at a very good time.  The high quality of brains of educated Zimbabweans are a source of great pride – we know about that here at home, regionally and internationally.  So, this new Labour Law Amendment Bill is equally very important and I encourage all of us to debate it robustly. 

I also want to commend the Presidential Speech because it embraced a lot of Bills which are coming.  He showed his understanding of the need for a comprehensive approach to the optimally husbandry of minerals which we have in this country and the fertile soils that we have and also the tantalising tourist attractions which we have.  As a result, as Zimbabweans, we should never be poor because God gave us all those wonderful natural resources.

All these Bills will certainly harness all these to a potential of growth and prosperity but the law of the jungle will wreck havoc to the hard working people.  Corruption has transferred wealth from the most vulnerable to the most corrupt cartels of self-anointed land barons.  The Land Developers Bill is certainly coming at the right time to deal with this.  The victims – the young couples or young families who are trying to look for a place to live are hoodwinked and they buy these little lands and then end up without anything.  The victims are fully aware of the evil players who stole their hard earned monies and I hope that with the Corporate Governance Bill, we can deal with the land barons in this country.  Mr. President, I submit.

*HON. SEN. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this important motion.  I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira who moved the motion which was seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane.  The Presidential Speech for the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament had very important words for both the National Assembly and the Senate.  In his speech, His Excellency talked about amendment Bills that will be coming to Parliament and he also talked about the Labour Amendment Bill and also the Public Entities and Governance Bill that is likely to address issues of corruption.  If we look at what was happening in Zimbabwe, people were left jobless overnight but if this Bill on labour comes into this House, we can have a look at it.  We need to consider it so that people are respected at work.

He also mentioned issues on mining and talked about the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which addresses the issue of our minerals that we have here.  Right now, there is a lot of environmental degradation that is taking place because of mining activities.  This amendment is a welcome development and I hope that when it comes to this House, we will debate it effectively. There was also mention of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and if we look at what is happening in our nation, people are dying due to road carnage.  This accident fund will enable us to assist the deceased and ensure that everything works accordingly.

He also spoke on Command Agriculture and we want to thank the Lord for giving us a good rain season.  We know people prayed through their different religions.  Some prayed through the spirit mediums and some to God but what we want to thank him for is that we were able to get good rainfall.  This year, if people are to engage in Command Agriculture, there should be awareness on veldt fires because a lot of people lost their produce because of the veldt fires.  We would also want a situation where when people start harvesting there should be equipment such as combine harvesters, to assist in harvesting. 

He also talked about the issue of irrigation.  If we look at what is currently in place, a lot of wheat has been planted and our request is to increase irrigation so that we once again become the bread basket of Southern Africa and assist other nations.  Now that wheat is available, we also need combine harvesters to harvest the grain and ensure that it is not left in the open or lost. 

The Defence Forces and the Security Forces also have great work ahead of them.  If you look in the electronic media, there is a lot of conflict in other countries but let me say that in Zimbabwe there is peace.  Yes, I know people can have differences here and there but the bottom line is that there is peace in Zimbabwe.  So, I hope that the security forces will continue to do their work diligently in as much as they were appreciated by the President.  So, the security forces should remain efficient and effective.  Even in this august House, we also want to thank them because they are also maintaining peace.   As we debate in Parliament, we want to thank the President because he acknowledged that we are doing a lot of work.  So, as the Upper House, we should ensure that we debate the motions that come into this House effectively. 

We want to thank the President of the nation for the speech that he gave and for the wise words of wisdom.  I hope that we all heard the words and I hope that as we continue to do our work we will remember those words.  With these few words, I want to thank you.

*HON. SEN. GOTO:  I also rise to add my voice to the Presidential speech that was presented on the 12th September for the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament.  I want to thank Chief Charumbira for raising the motion.  We want to thank the President for his words which were very important.  He mentioned a lot of things and as an individual, there is something that should have touched you.  On my part, I was deeply concerned with the issue of child marriages and the fact that the whole nation is affected was indeed disturbing.  However, I realised that to put an end to the issue we need to come up with legislation to ensure that children are children before they become adults. 

Long ago, children used to engage in different games and they also used to follow the community norms that were there.  Last Saturday, we had a function for traditional leaders in Mashonaland East.  They were all involved in the traditional ceremony which is something that we do not uphold nowadays.  I wish the children were there to see what was happening then they would understand that this is our tradition and culture.  The way the children were dancing – there were so many men who looked at the girls who were dancing and got attracted to them.  The girls who were dancing followed the taught routines and were not ashamed to perform those routines.  The girls do not know anything besides dancing.  Long ago we used to go swimming with boys and that was not a challenge.  It is just like the days of Adam in the bible – if he had not taken the fruit they would not have known that they were naked.  So, the children who were dancing were not even aware of what was happening but the men who were watching were busy looking at them and expressing their hopes to have them as wives.  So, we need to uphold our tradition and culture.  That was something that deeply touched me. 

There were also so many Bills that were mentioned and if they are to come to Parliament, both Houses should support the Bills.  I want to urge us as Senators to come up with legislation and not to be political but to look at the Bills as a Government.  It is unfortunate that at times we find ourselves being political.  So, we need to come up with legislation that will be good for the nation.  The Bills that were mentioned included the Sexual Bill, Labour Bill and Teaching Profession Bill.  All the Bills are important to this country.  Even if the teachers are out there, they should know why they trained as teachers and why they are there.  They should know their Code of Conduct.  Even as Senators, we are Senators but we also have our Code of Conduct that we should follow in public and how to work with the public.  I support that.

He also mentioned command farming and right now our silos are full.  So many people have joined Command Agriculture after seeing the results.  Once you take your grain to GMB, you get your money in no time.  It might not be in cash but you can get it there and then through a bank transfer or ecocash.  As I speak right now, I am coming from buying shellers and disc harrows.  So, let us reinvest the money that we got from farming. 

He also mentioned mining but we are destroying our nation through artisanal mining because we are not registering and we are engaging in environmental degradation.  Artisanal mining is dangerous and so we need to look into it.  He also mentioned the Accident Fund.  We have heard of people dying in road carnages and people are heard searching for their relatives on the radio.  The Accident Fund is equivalent to the Aids levy.  Aids levy is used for people living with HIV/AIDS.  So, the Accident Fund will also assist those people who do not have relatives to give them a decent burial. If possible, if all those Bills come, let us support them so that in 2018 we are able to proceed without any challenges.

          He also mentioned issues pertaining to rape. I do not know what we can do concerning issues on rape. There is an elderly woman, a grandmother who was murdered. She was cut into pieces and people realised that she had been raped prior to the murder. Those are issues that come to us as leaders. Let us not take the traditions and cultures of other countries and bring them to Zimbabwe. I know most people bring these foreign cultures but our children should learn how to dress the traditional way. The way our children dress is appalling. They now put on skimpy clothes that leave the whole stomach exposed. Long ago people used to wear animal skins. That was then. Those would only make sure that the private parts were not exposed.

          I will not say everything but I will leave a few things for others to comment. What I just urge us in this House is that let us unite and work together, and pass our Bills and become good leaders. We are relative and we need to work together in the rural areas. So, if we do not pass that Bill, what then will we do? Mr. President, I thank you for the time that you have given me to say these few words. I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon. Goto and we also want to thank you for the traditional ceremony that you had in Mashonaland East in Wedza educating our children on our culture. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 5th October, 2017.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PROMOTING STAKEHOLDER AND PARLIAMENTARY DIALOGUE ON THE ARMS TRADE TREATY (ATT)

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I move the motion standing in my name:

That this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe

delegation to the International Conference on Promoting Stakeholder and Parliamentary Dialogue on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) held at Pullman Teranga Hotel in Dakar, Senegal from 13th to 14th June, 2017.

        HON. SEN. D. KHUMALO: I second.

        HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: The United General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on the 2nd April, 2013. The main objective of the Treaty is to regulate international trade in conventional arms. Its goal is to foster peace and security by curbing transfer of small arms and light weapons to countries experiencing instability. Consequently, this would create difficulties for those countries that violate International Human Law to get supplies of such weapons. The purpose of the conference which was held from the 13 – 14th June, 2017 in Dakar, Senegal was to prioritise the prevention and reduction of armed violence, as well as global terrorism and organised crime.

        The conference was organised by the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES). Most armed conflicts in the world, regardless of their scale are perpetuated by the use of uncontrolled arms and light weapons which are readily available to terrorist groups such as militias, warlords and extremists groups who have no legal authority to acquire such weapons, hence the need to address this scourge and curb its proliferation as a means of achieving lasting peace and sustainable development. Perpetrators of armed conflicts also involve non-state actors who resort to illicit means of arms acquisition through division from state stockpiles, black markets and trafficking, as well as those weapons produced locally.

The Conference therefore aimed at promoting stakeholder and parliamentary dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goal No. 16 and Arms Trade Treaty Universalisation and Implementation and also building efforts towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

        2. The Parliamentary Action Plan

        2.1 The Conference held discussions and drew its conclusions from the participants perspectives on what can be achieved globally and the areas where attention and action needs to be focused in the ATT process. An Action Plan emanating from the deliberations sought to reinforce parliamentary ownership, participation and understanding of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and other relevant instruments, such as the Firearms Protocol for example, as well as the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal No. 16(4) and the Programme Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the illicit trade in small and light weapons in all its aspects (UNPOA).

        2.2 The Parliamentary Action Plan also sought to facilitate, gather experiences and recommendations from the Conference on specific issues to be addressed and actions to be taken related to the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty in Africa. A follow up conference namely, the Third Conference of State Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP3) was expected to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in September, 2017 where input from the parliamentary perspective was expected to be provided.

        2.3 The Action Plan was meant to focus on parliaments’ role in strengthening the response to armed violence and small and light weapons proliferation. It was also designed to achieve the following:

·       Support the universalization and/or effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty by addressing synergies between the ATT and the framework of Agenda 2030, SDG No. 16 and UNOPA, of which as Zimbabwe we signed the Arms Trade Treaty in 2014;

·       Guide parliamentarians in their work related to the ATT, to ensure that the legislative response is both nationally appropriate and consistent with the aims of the instruments;

·       Suggest mechanisms for effective oversight of Government;

·       Recommend methods to strengthen links between the Executive and legislative branches of Government and between parliaments and civil society on the armed violence prevention and reduction agenda-strengthening the social contract.

        3. Recommendations on Universalisation and Implementation

        3.1 The Parliamentary Action Plan identified three recommendations which are based on the key roles of a parliamentarians namely; legislative, oversight and awareness rising. The gender equality perspective was also perceived as fundamental; hence the role of women and youth, as well as other relevant international instruments on conventional arms control could not be down played.

        3.2 On universalisation, the following were proposed;

·    Establishing comprehension of the rationale that prevents ratification by a specific country and adopt a strategy according to the findings.

·    Enable awareness raising efforts in coordination with civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders, organise trainings with parliamentarians and civil society;

·    Clarify the role of defence and security actors and ensure their participation;

·    Identification of national authorities and responsible focal points, based on multi-stakeholder national commissions in inter-institutional coordination;

·    Ensure the support of regional organisations, such as the Regional Economic Communities (REC) in the facilitation of outreach, reporting and other relevant efforts; and

·    Ensure donor coordination and funding, enabling a base for international exchange for parliamentarians at the national, regional and international level.

3.3 On implementation emphasise was on the following:

·    Increasing context specific capacity building initiatives, including awareness raising between parliamentarians and civil society, shadow reporting mechanisms and establishing a roster of experts;

·       Clarifying leadership on the national level, e.g National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons;

·       Including Parliamentarians in national delegations to the Conference of State Parties, based on stakeholder involvement and inter-institutional arrangements;

·       Elaborating a national strategy linked to national political priorities and relevant international frameworks such as the Agenda 2030 and the UNPOA;

·       Ensuring domestication of the Arms Trade Treaty, that is to adapt national legislation to the Treaty’s commitments and

·       Striving for streamlining and compliance of reporting.

Recommendations

     From a parliament point of view, the following need to be seriously considered as recommendations:

-         Parliamentarians should advocate together with colleagues in civil society, for possible suitable amendments in their interactions with the Executive.

-         Parliamentarians should play a leading role in lobbying the Executive to sign the ATT or refer the ATT to Parliament so that it can be reviewed and ratified.

-         Parliamentarians should encourage the Government to sign and ratify the ATT so that it can quickly come into force in their respective countries.

-         Parliamentarians should take a lead in encouraging their Executive to deposit Instruments of Ratifications or Accession and to inquire if the Executive intends to make any reservation and what the nature of such reservations may be.

-         Parliamentarians should ensure that provisions of ATT are adhered to, particularly where claims are made that the agreements are defence cooperation arrangements – thereby pursuant to the Treaty, unaffected by its provisions and to ensure that the agreements in question are legitimately described as such and have not been simply entered into as a way of evading application of the ATT.

-         Parliamentarians can identify national associations of civil society to raise awareness about the danger of the proliferation of SALW. Persuading States to sign and ratify the ATT for those who have not yet done so.

-         Parliamentarians should develop a schedule for meeting with the Presidents of Parliamentary Groups for training sessions and information on the ATT.

-         Parliamentarians should establish national level mechanisms for the ATT and Programme of Action.

-         Parliamentarians should collaborate with the media on the dissemination of harmful consequences of illicit trafficking of SALW and the effects resulting there from.

-         The Parliamentary Forum on SALW must recruit members from all groups and committees for effective action.

-         Parliamentarians must use parliamentary roles to ask questions to members of the government working on defence and foreign affairs lobby for ratification.

-         Parliamentarians should seek the approval of Parliament to pass any business and activity in the context of the fight against the proliferation of SALW and the ATT.

-         Parliamentarians should lobby for involvement in the process of negotiation and conflict resolution through the strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy.

-         Parliamentarians should seek the expertise, support and guidance for agencies of the United Nations in the process of awareness and advocacy for the implementation of ATT.

At Regional level, MPs should:

(a)             Create regional networks on SALW and ATT;

(b)            Collaborate with the parliaments of other countries to have a regional approach;

(c)             Raise awareness among governments and African States, Latin Americas and the Caribbean to promote dialogue instead of war as a method of dispute resolution;

At the international level MPs should:

-         Encourage the Security Council of the United Nations to vote on a resolution that enhances the control and traceability of transfers of weapons and condemn and punish all those involved in the smuggling.

-   Have a significant role to play in ensuring that the Arms Trade Treaty effectively prevents and reduces armed violence, and in particular SALW-related violence.

          In conclusion, Parliamentarians worldwide are urged to take action and prepare themselves for the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and Zimbabwe should ratify as soon as possible the ATT. I thank you.

HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on the issue of the Arms Trade Treaty. The discussions are making us aware of the effects of the arms within any country-that if there is a proliferation of arms within the country, there is lack of economic development if we are aware. This is because people will be frightened to work and running away from these people who will have small arms and will be fighting. If we look at Goal No. 16, it is about inclusiveness and access to justice for all so that the conflicts are reduced.

The inclusiveness is at different levels and different issues. It may be inclusiveness in work situations, inclusiveness in employment because its people are not satisfied. That results in some people developing the issues of wanting to be against their friends, Governments and their regions. So, we need development in all the regions of the country within the neighbours. That is why our country, our President is always trying to make agreements with our neighbours in the East, South and in the North.

That means even within the country, there should be agreements and looking into the issues that there is inclusiveness like Goal No. 16, inclusiveness in employment, training and all these other issues. Once there is inclusiveness, there is peace within the country and that reduces the need which we all fight together the small arms which come to the country. If there is no arms trade and peace, we see the conflicts affecting generally the women and the children.

It is saying we should ensure that there is no arms trade. The Treaty must be signed so that we stop the conflicts which are going to affect women and the children.  If the women and children are affected, you know what will happen; you can conclude before I even say it.  There will be no time for the preparations for agriculture, preparation of the food for the community and once that happens, there is poor nutrition and poor health – [HON. MEMBER:  Hear, hear.] – Therefore, we need to work together so that there is peace, we can have agriculture, eat and live properly.  Strife results in lack of development. 

          As I have said, there is no economic development when there is strife.  Economic development means employment, good life and everybody is happy and always singing.  I am saying, this meeting was held on 13th to 14th June and there was signing in there.  Why not also hasten the ratification so that this becomes our country’s way of life because we will have agreed with the treaty and we will be implementing the treaty.  There is need also as a country to take the action plan that was discussed at Dakar so that we strengthen the responses to armed violence and small or light weapons proliferation.

There was a recommendations which also interested me a lot, the recommendation about the method to strengthen links between the Executive and the Legislative branches of Government, which will link the civil societies to work together.  Once we agree and we work together with our civil societies, parliaments and neighbours, we will have reduced conflicts within the country.

I also looked at the issue of universality.  It enables awareness raising efforts in coordination with civil societies and other stakeholders. There is need which I heard also being mentioned here, the need for training.  What does it mean to say, Arms Trade Treaty.  We need to be trained to understand and it should not only be the Parliamentarians or Government workers.  That should be inclusive and also the civil societies and the ordinary people should be part of it.  Particularly, our chiefs within their areas should understand this so that they can help us in the understanding of the Arms Trade Treaty. 

I thought my other interest within this discussion was increasing context specific capacity building initiatives, including awareness raising between Parliaments.  Shadow reporting mechanisms should be made available.  After training, where are we going to be judged that we are improving as a country or not improving?  I thought this was a very good issue which was raised by the group.

One of the major recommendations which came to my attention is, Parliaments should play a leading role in lobbying the Executive to sign the Arms Trade Treaty or restore the ATP to Parliament so that it can be reviewed and ratified if possible.  We need the whole document as it is as Parliament to look into it so that we can see what we can recommend or leave out.  As you know, it covers all the other countries but then we can remove those areas we think are not country specific or do not fit the Zimbabwean nation. 

Having said these few words Mr. President, I will finally say, we have those who are members of the SADC, can you please take this with you and go and discuss it so that we have an agreed way of dealing with the conflicts as SADC.  Thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 5th October, 2017.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU, seconded by HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA, the Senate adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Four o’clock pm.     

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 October 2017 17:45
Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 04 OCTOBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 27-6-1