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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 30 OCTOBER 2018 VOL 45 NO 13

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 30th October, 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have several announcements to make, please kindly be attentive. I wish to inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has nominated Hon. Matambanadzo to serve on the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Industry and Commerce.   

PRE-BUDGET BRIEFING SEMINAR

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I also wish to inform the House that there will be a Pre-Budget Briefing Seminar on Friday, 2nd November, 2018 at Sango Cresta Lodge, along Mutare Road from 0830 hours.  Buses will leave Parliament building at 0730 hours.

INVITATION TO A WORKSHOP TO FORMULATE THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE INSTITUTIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that all Members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, all Chairpersons of Committees, Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee and Deputy Whips are invited to a workshop on the formulation of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Institutional Strategic Plan (2018-2023) from 2nd to 5th November, 2018 at Rainbow Hotel, Bulawayo.

INDUCTION WORKSHOP FOR CHAIRPERSONS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that the Induction Workshop for Chairpersons which was previously postponed is now scheduled for 6th and 7th November, 2018 at Holiday Inn Hotel, Bulawayo.

INVITATION TO THE 2018 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I further wish to inform the House that all Members of Parliament are invited to the 2018 Annual Pre-Budget Seminar to be held from 7th to 11th November, 2018 at Holiday Inn, Bulawayo.  All Members are requested to confirm their attendance, travel and accommodation arrangements with Public Relations Officers at the Members Dining Hall during sittings.  This Pre-Budget Seminar is compulsory, you can only be absent with the leave of the Presiding Officers on very sound grounds.

INVITATION TO THE ZIMBABWE WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS INAUGURAL MEETING

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  All Women Parliamentarians are invited to the inaugural meeting of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) scheduled for Wednesday, 14th November, 2018 at 0900 hours in the Senate Chamber.  

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order!

          THE HON. SPEAKR: We want to discourage the habit of points of order. 

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: In terms of Standing Order Number 68D; it is a matter on privilege, Mr. Speaker Sir.  As you may know Section 22 (3C) of our Constitution, speaks to the issue around disabilities. In particular that State institutions should facilitate and ensure that those people that have disabilities can be represented in the manner that they should be.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am raising this issue on privilege because last Tuesday, we had stakeholders coming to our Committee to make representations on the Budget.  I was saddened and embarrassed, because as we asked one of the stakeholders to take oath, I realised that the person had problems with their sight, so they could not read the oath.  The oath is so small; we should be able to put it into Braille.  Therefore, I am raising this that as Parliament and as people who are supposed to be the ones that ensure that the Constitution is implemented in its letter and spirit, surely, we should make sure that that oath is in Braille.

          The second issue around people with disabilities is the issue on sign language.  I say so because we are just about to go into our Budget Presentation, we do not have somebody who can do sign language.  Therefore, those people in our population who are deaf and dump really cannot participate in some of these national issues that are there.

Mr. Speaker Sir,   I was going to offer that if we cannot do the translation in Braille of that oath, I am personally prepared to pay for the translation to Braille.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought that is a very important observation and you would move a motion on the issue, particularly the 16 officially recognised languages.  However, I want to assure you that the Constitution is being translated into braille by a team of scholars led by Professor Magwa and they are almost complete in that regard.

Secondly, the Clerk of Parliament and the Public Relations Department have already embarked on the training of some of our staff members in sign language so that as we proceed with our business, there would be someone at a strategic position to do sign language.  Work is in progress and I hope that in the next few months we shall report to this House what has actually transpired.  Thank you very much for that observation.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I request through your high office that Day of the Day, Number 1, on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. CHIBAYA: I Second.

THE HON. SPEAKER: May I encourage the Chief Whips that before we come to the House, make sure that your house is in order.  You should have liaised with Hon. Biti about that motion and advise in time; perhaps he has forgotten that he was supposed to move that motion.  It is the responsibility of Whips to make sure that the Order Paper is adhered to religiously. 

MOTION

REPORT ON THE REGIONAL WORKSHOP TO PROMOTE RATIFICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (BWC) AND IMPLEMENTATION OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1540 (2004)

HON. PARADZA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report on the Regional Workshop to promote ratification and implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004, held in  Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, on 17-18 September, 2018.

HON. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: I second.

HON. PARADZA: 1.0 Introduction:

Members of Parliament from 24 African countries gathered in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from September 17-18, 2018 for a workshop to review progress by  Member States on the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004 calling for the total ban, in warfare, of all forms of Weapons of Mass Destruction including Biological and Chemical weapons.

This Regional Parliamentary workshop, whose focus was to promote universality and implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) through the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, was organised by the New York-based Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) of which Zimbabwe is a member. Tanzania’s Defence and National Service Minister, Hon Hussein Mwinyi, officially opened the workshop which was fully-funded by the Canadian Government and hosted by the PGA national group within the Parliament of Tanzania.

The workshop was attended by Members of Parliament from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Djibouti, eSwathini (Swaziland), the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe was represented by Hon. Kindness Paradza, who is the Secretary-General of the PGA national chapter.PGA, which has a membership of 1 300 MPs from 140 countries, is on a world-wide campaign to promote the banning of the manufacture or use of biological and chemical weapons by enforcing, at national level, the UNSC resolution 1540, of which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

Adopted in 1972 and enforced in 1975, the BWC was the first international treaty to outlaw an entire arsenal or category of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Currently, there are 181 State parties to the BWC - Zimbabwe included – with only 17 countries yet to ratify this convention.

          Zimbabwe ratified the BWC on 5thNovember, 1990. In December 2017, the Government submitted its periodic national report to the UNSC Resolution 1540 Committee. However, the implementation of the BWC remains uneven throughout the world. This Resolution (UNSC 1540) imposes obligations on all UN member states to take steps towards preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors, including terrorists and terrorist organisations. Of late, however, available intelligence data shows that these non-State actors in some parts of Africa and beyond are making moves to acquire, not only illegal conventional arms, but also WMD, including an assortment of biological and chemical weapons.

2.0 Background

          2.1 UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)

The United Nation Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), acknowledges that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The resolution supports the multilateral treaties whose aim is to eliminate or prevent the proliferation of nuclear, and chemical or biological weapons.

The Resolution further acknowledges that prevention of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons should not hamper international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.

The Resolution also urges State Parties to refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. State Parties, Zimbabwe included, are urged by the Resolution through national instruments to adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws which prohibit any non-State actor to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist or finance them.

2.2 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, was opened for signature on 10 April 1972. The BWC entered into force on 26 March 1975. The Second Review Conference (1986) agreed that the States Parties were to implement a number of confidence-building measures (CBM) in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions and in order to improve international co-operation in the field of peaceful biological activities. The CBMs were expanded by the Third Review Conference (1991).

Under these agreements, the States Parties undertook to provide annual reports, using agreed forms, on specific activities related to the BWC including: data on research centres and laboratories; information on vaccine production facilities; information on national biological defence research and development programmes; declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes; information on outbreaks of infectious diseases (in our case anthrax, cholera and typhoid) and similar occurrences caused by toxins; publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge and contacts; information on legislation, regulations and other measures.

3.0 Opening Remarks by Hon Minister Hussein Mwinyi

In his opening address to the workshop, the Minister called on universal co-operation among all UN member states in order to rid the world of these horrifying weapons, citing the human catastrophe caused by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima, Japan and the recent toxin chemical attacks on civilians earlier this year in Syria.

Hon. Mwinyi observed that for these international treaties to work, all countries must sign, ratify, implement and enforce these UN treaties and conventions related to weapons of mass destruction as well as biological and chemical weapons. In Africa, he said, there was alarming evidence to the effect that the likes of Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and ISIS, were now actively seeking to develop or acquire such weapons.

Tanzania, which is a state party to the primary weapons of mass destruction disarmament conventions, signed the BWC in August 1972 and would soon ratify the convention before domesticating it without further delays.

Minister Mwinyi encouraged participating Members of Parliament to initiate the domestication of the BWC by enacting relevant legislation so that the treaty can be enforced at national level.

4.0 Address by Hon. Job Yustino Ndugai, Speaker of  the National Assembly of Tanzania.

Hon. Ndugai told the workshop that Tanzania was committed to implementing the UNSC Resolution 1540 and called on all Parliaments across the globe to advocate for the enactment of national laws that support the Security Council stance on banning biological and chemical weapons. He also urged Parliamentarians from around the world to take collective, coordinated and cohesive actions on global problems by ratifying and domesticating these UN conventions.

5.0 Address by Professor Hamisi Masanja Malebo, Principal Research Scientist: National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania.

Professor Malebo spoke on the progress on the ratification of BWC in Tanzania and also explained that biological and toxin chemical weapons were capable of destroying human beings, animals as well as plants including crops. In Africa, he said, they were 59 biological agents composed of 23 viruses, 21 bacteria and 15 toxins, which are all harmful to humans and animals.

Prof. Malebo emphasized that acts of bioterrorism were not limited to humans only but that also the impact of agro-terrorism which has a devastating effects on crops and livestock.

6.0 Address to the Workshop by other Stakeholders

Other stakeholders who also presented their views at the workshop include Permanent Secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Professor Adolf Mkenda, United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ms Sarah Cook, representatives of the Canadian and United States Governments, and the 1540 UNSC Committee chair, H.E Sergio LlorentiSoliz, Bolivia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.

In addition, delegates from the 24 participating countries were also given slots to talk about their national programmes and their experiences with regards to the implementation of resolution 1540.

7.0 Implementation of BWC and UN Security Council 1540 (2004): The Zimbabwe Case

Zimbabwe is no stranger to the indiscriminate usage of these biological and toxin chemical weapons, judging by its history of struggle.

The cornerstone of the international biological weapons (BW) control regime, the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition and retention of BW. Of the 54 states in Africa, Zimbabwe included, 60%, or 32 states, have joined the BTWC.

These states are required by Article IV to adopt appropriate national measures to prevent the range of treaty-prohibited activity specified in Article I throughout their territory. This typically requires the adoption of criminal law that establishes penal sanctions. In practice, states will likely need to have additional legislation and other ancillary measures in place to enable them to fulfill obligations arising from the other articles – and therefore to comply with them – even though the adoption of these measures is not specifically mandated by the treaty.

In my submission to the workshop, I made it clear that Zimbabwe does not possess nuclear weapons and neither does it aspire to produce, stockpile or use these biological and toxin chemical weapons. Unlike other countries which did not experience war, Zimbabwe suffered the horrific bane of chemical and biological weapons particularly towards the end of the liberation struggle in the mid and late 1970s when the Ian Smith-led Rhodesian forces used both chemical weapons and biological weapons such as anthrax and cholera bacteria against freedom fighters. As the war intensified, the Rhodesian Security Forces initiated a CBW (Chemical and Biological Weapons) programme to liquidate guerrillas both inside Rhodesia and in external camps in Zambia and Mozambique. The CBW effort took on the guerrilla threat from three fronts.

First, the effort aimed to eliminate guerrillas operating inside Rhodesia through contaminated supplies either provided by contact persons, recovered from hidden caches or stolen from rural stores. Then secondly, the effort worked to contaminate with cholera bacteria water supplies along guerrilla infiltration routes into Rhodesia, forcing the guerrillas either to travel through arid regions carrying more water and less ammunition or travel through areas infested with land mines or patrolled by the security forces. The Rhodesians sought to hit the guerrillas in their camps in Mozambique by poisoning food, beverages, and medicines. The chemicals most used in the Rhodesian programme were parathion and thallium, vibrio cholerae (causative agent of cholera) and possibly Bacillus anthracis (causative agent of anthrax), and Salmonella typhi (causative agent of typhoid fever).

I told the workshop that it was from this horrific experience that Zimbabwe adheres to international law on armed conflict and honors all international treaties to which it is party and meet all its obligations arising there-from. I also explained that Zimbabwe is committed to the international goals of arms control and disarmament and makes its contribution to strengthen international and regional efforts to contain and prevent the proliferation of small arms, mines, conventional armaments and weapons of mass destruction, ban all production and use of biological and chemical weapons and the destruction of all such weapons and their production facilities.

As already mentioned, Zimbabwe does not possess nuclear weapons. It signed and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention in November 1990 and last year submitted a report to the UN Security Council in line with Resolution 1540. The country is a State party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1991, and is recognised as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS). Zimbabwe has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It is also a State party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and is a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Currently, the regulation and control of the biotechnology is being done by the Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe in close liaison with the military and health agencies. Established through National Biotechnology Authority Act, [Chap.14.31] of 2006, its mandate includes the following:

·       To ensure safe application of biotech in specific priority areas of agriculture, medicine, energy and environment.

·       To support the development of biosafety and biotech research and development.

·       To ensure biosafety and biosecurity in deployment of biotechnology, through adhering with the provisions of National Biotechnology Act (2006), as also guided by the United Nations Security Council Resolution, 1540, (2004).

·       To promote public understanding and participation in biosafety and biotechnology and its responsible use.

The application of the Act, among other things, is on the following areas:

·       all activities aimed at research into and the development, importation, exportation and use of biotechnological processes;

·       the import, export, contained use, release or placing on the market of any product of biotechnology that is likely to have adverse effect on human health, the environment, the economy, national security or social norms and values;

·       any activity involving biological and molecular engineering technologies such as metabolic engineering, proteomics, metabolomics, nanotechnology, genetic modifications, cloning, DNA-chip technology, bioinformatics and such other technologies as may be declared by the authority to constitute potentially harmful research or undertakings;

·       all measures aimed at minimising the impact of biotechnological processes on national security, human health, animals, plants and the environment.

Zimbabwe has registered the following in its compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004). First, there is legal biosafety framework and supporting guidelines are in place. Second, public awareness, education and training is in progress. Third, Zimbabwe passed the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act (Chapter 11:18) to domesticate and to give effect within Zimbabwe to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

The Act in its preamble reaffirms principles and objectives of and obligations assumed under the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, 1972. Section 4 of the Act provides that the Convention shall have the force of law in Zimbabwe. Section 6 of the Act stipulates that any person who:-

(a) develops,  produces, acquires, stockpiles, or retains another person; or

(c) uses a chemical weapon; or

(d) engages in any military preparations to use a chemical weapon; or  (e) in any way assists, encourages or induces any person to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the Convention; shall be guilty of an offence  and liable to a fine not exceeding $100 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years .

To comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, Zimbabwe has since drafted the Biological and Toxin Weapons Control Bill (2014) which among other sanctions, seeks to criminalise and prohibit the use of harmful chemicals and toxins in warfare. This Bill is likely to be presented in this House during this session of the 9th Parliament. Other ancillary legislation passed so far in a bid to close all loopholes include the Public Order and Security Act of 2002, which prohibits, among other things, supporting banditry and terrorism, supplying or possessing of dangerous weapons. In addition, Zimbabwe has also enacted the Geneva Conventions Act (1981, 1997, 2001). 

8.0 Conclusion

To conclude, I would like to note that the attraction of bio-weapons in war, and for use in terroristic attacks is attributed to easy access to a wide range of disease-producing biological agents, to their low production costs, to their non-detection by routine security systems, and to their easy transportation from one place to another. In addition, novel and accessible technologies give rise to proliferation of such weapons that have implications for regional and global security. In order to counter such threats, and in securing the culture and defence of peace, there is need by this Government to devise preventive and protective strategies through adherence to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention reinforced by the continuous  monitoring and domestication of these protocols that seek to eliminate the threats of biological warfare and bioterrorism.

Zimbabwe should remain focused and proceed with the enactment of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Control Bill into a fully-fledged law. During this process, funding is also required to enable the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services to undertake countrywide public hearings especially along the border areas which are populated by surviving victims who experienced these heinous crimes committed by the Rhodesian military.

Attached is the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration by the workshop participants.

PGA REGIONAL AFRICA WORKSHOP TO PROMOTE RATIFICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF

THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTIONAND

 IMPLEMENTATION OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1540 (2004)

DRAFT DAR-ES-SALAAM DECLARATION

EXTENDING our sincere appreciation to the PGA National Group of Tanzania for their hospitality in hosting this important workshop which seeks to create a safer, more secure and more peaceful Africa for us all;

EXPRESSING appreciation to all other participants in this workshop, whether from International Organisations, governments, or other stakeholders, for providing their insights, expertise and guidance;

MINDFUL of the grave dangers posed to our respective countries and peoples by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including Biological and Toxin Weapons;

ALARMED at the growing evidence in the past few years that certain Non-State Groups including terrorist organisations operating in Africa, may be seeking to acquire, develop, use or manufacture Weapons of Mass Destruction, including Biological Weapons;

RECOGNISING the importance of achieving universality and national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention in our respective countries as well as UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), and UN Security Council Resolution 2325 (2016);

DETERMINED, as lawmakers and advocates, to take steps that are necessary to promote improved, as appropriate, universality and national implementation of the BWC in our respective countries as well as improved national implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004);

We, Members of Parliament from Cameroon, Central-African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, eSwatini, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia, hereby undertake to:

1.    Encourage our respective governments, as appropriate, to ratify

and robustly implement the Biological Weapons Convention;

2.    Encourage our respective governments to fully implement UN

Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), and UN Security Council Resolution 2325 (2016);

3.    Encourage our respective governments to meet their reporting

requirements under both frameworks, as appropriate;

4.    Raise the matter in relevant Parliamentary Committee Meetings,

Plenary Sessions and in communications with relevant Government Ministries, and/or prepare and introduce Parliamentary Resolutions, Motions, Orders and/or Bills that promote the objectives of this workshop, as appropriate;

5.    Explore the possibility of drafting and introducing new legislation

to facilitate improved implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention and UNSCR 1540 (2004) in consultation with PGA, as appropriate;

6.    Express our intention to keep PGA informed within a year from

the end of this workshop of what steps we have been able to take, pursuant to this Plan of Action.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you to Hon. Paradza for the take note motion, but also for attending on behalf of many of us who are members of the Parliamentary Global Action but also on behalf of this particular Parliament. I think Hon. Paradza has done justice...

          Hon. Chibaya having passed between the Hon. Member speaking and the Chair.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I had just said that Hon. Paradza has done a good job in giving us the entire report and the issues that came out of the meeting, serve to say if you allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, let me use this opportunity to encourage Members in this House to be part of the Parliamentary Global Action because it provides for us an opportunity to engage on some of the issues that the Executive engages on without the Legislature. This is a typical example of some of the things that our own Government proceed to sign to and do not necessarily come back to us as a House so that we can speak to those issues and we can proceed to ratify, and to also begin to see in how these particular issues also relate to the issues that we are dealing with.

          The second issue that I thought I could raise in the context of this report is that it also raises issues around our oversight role pertaining to many of these protocols. What we have noticed particularly many of us that have been sitting on the Foreign Affairs Committee is that we have a lot of protocols that have been signed to but that have not necessarily been ratified. I think that is a problem because without ratification, we cannot even proceed to begin to work on issues around domestication.

Mr. Speaker, let me use this opportunity, like I said, to invite our other Hon. Members to please be part of the Parliamentary Global Action. It is across parties and it is an interesting one to come to. I am currently the Deputy Secretary General and I am hoping we are going to go to an AGM so that I can become the Chairperson. At the moment, I am Deputy Secretary General. So, let other Members be invited to join us. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would also want to thank Hon. Paradza for attending the meeting on our behalf. My worry is that as Zimbabwe, we are so quick at signing some of these conventions but the issue of ratification is a serious problem. If you look at the time that has lapsed between the time when the Executive signed and where we are today, it tells a story about ourselves. We have never been so good at attending to details as far as these issues are concerned. What also happens with the issues of ratification is that it goes with commitments. There are certain things that we have to do once you ratify. The process of ratification brings the Members of Parliament into attention of what is going on around them.

          To a certain extent, I sometimes suspect that the Executive would not want us to carry out our role which is the role of oversight. I say so because as Zimbabwe, the issue of using chemical weapons, to a certain extent, we are guilty of doing so. If you look at the tanks that are waiting outside there, they have got a chemical component that is in there. When you are hit with that water, you start feeling itchy. So, it means there is a chemical within that water. It was very evident when War Veterans wanted to hold their meeting out there - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Carry on.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot of them came out complaining that the itching that they felt resembled some of the chemicals that they came across during the war. I suppose an investigation should have been carried out, and up to today, I think as Parliament of Zimbabwe, we must know exactly the components of the chemicals in that water that the police use to disburse people. If we are serious to be part of the global community and we are open for business, we must also be prepared to have peer review of some of the activities that we carry out.

          There is also another issue that I want to raise, that is the use of small weapons. On a number of occasions, we have seen people being shot on our streets and the last one was only two weeks ago when an innocent guy was shot in the CBD. We must start controlling the use of fire arms as Zimbabwe. We even have Hon. Members sitting in this House who have been charged for possessing and firing small fire arms in public. Again, that is an issue that we must take seriously. I have just decided to remind Hon. Members - [HON. NDUNA: Inaudible interjection.] - Mr. Speaker, can you protect me from Hon. Nduna. I do not know whether he is the culprit or not. So, I encourage Zimbabwe to ratify the convention and for us to domesticate our laws. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice. When you point a finger at another person, there is needed for one to be reminded that three other fingers or four of them are pointing right back at you. I speak like this because I need the powers that be globally to self introspect before they want to impose on smaller nations like Zimbabwe, the ethos and values of what they want to obtain in the global community. United States for argument’s sake has imposed unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe and there is an impediment factor in terms of adhering to some of these protocols and conventions. That speaks to and about the proliferation of weapons both of mass destruction and small weapons as has been alluded to by the former speaker.

          If we have to adhere to the values of these protocols and make sure that to the dot, we also ratify these conventions and protocols, there is also need for the global powers, those that are in the first world in particular, the sponsors of acrimony and opposition in the form of the United States who sponsor with impunity, opposition in this House and in this country, that they remove immediately the debilitating sanctions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – in this country.  Also, in that regard Mr. Speaker Sir…

          HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir?

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

          HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the motion before this House is a motion which has been presented by Hon. Paradza that has to do with the UN Convention. It has nothing to do with America and it has nothing to do with the opposition but he is imploring the Government of Zimbabwe to ratify the convention.  So, the Hon. Member is debating something completely different, he does not even understand what we are talking about – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          Hon. Nduna having stood up to continue debating.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order.  You cannot stand up before I have made a ruling on the point of order.  Can the Hon. Member please stick to the motion – [HON. SIKHALA: Ndozvinoita kuti uuye kuParliament nekubirira.] – Please stick to the issues of ratification.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I need your protection.  I think I will be coming to this House tomorrow or any other day to speak on something that was recorded on the day of your nomination as the Speaker of Parliament. It was recorded that I need to be removed from this National Assembly and the man that said this is none other than Hon. Sikhala. I will be coming to this House on a point of privilege to put across my point.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order.  Can you stick to the motion please?

          HON. NDUNA: I am asking you to protect me against the words coming from the Hon. Member Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You are protected.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will continue Mr. Speaker Sir.  Lest we forget Mr. Speaker Sir; the United Nations is run at some point and in some parts by the elephant in the living room who is the United States.  Sometimes I forget who the United Nations is and I tend to be inclined to believe that some of the decisions made there are more to do with instigation of the Unites States of America.  However, Mr. Speaker Sir, that it has been seen and noted that unilateral sanctions are imposed on innocent, unsuspecting small nations such as Zimbabwe by big power houses who themselves are endowed with ubiquitous amounts of chemical weapons and other dangerous chemicals of mass destruction.

          I therefore, call upon the powers of this nation and Parliament of Zimbabwe to ratify a motion that says anybody who calls upon any nation to impose sanctions on this country, so – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - so that we are unable or impeded in our quest to ratify some of these very genuine protocols that are going to make sure there is complete eradication of weapons of both mass destruction and dangerous chemical weapons, anybody that calls on unilateral or otherwise sanctions who is a citizen of Zimbabwe calls on sanctions on Zimbabwe.  I call as we speak about the removal of death sentence, that person should be sentenced to death by a firing squad – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I say again no to small weapons fire, automatic machine gun fire from MAG and above in terms of caliber.  I ask however that it is the knowledge of some of these weapons that we as a country hunger for.  As long as we have sanctions that speak about the imposition of weapons and military weaponry purchase into this country, we will never get to know what weapons it is that we are supposed to ban in this country.  The proliferation of the same is coming in the dead of night Mr. Speaker and we have a death in that department of knowledge of the weapons that Hon. Paradza speaks to and about Mr. Speaker Sir. Therefore, I still call upon those countries that have imposed weaponry, military and unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe that are of an economic nature.  Also to repeal and to remove them so that we can conduct our business in an unimpeded manner, in an effective and efficient manner that is going to see us adhere, to the values of the motion before us.  I say in the absence of all this, the ratification can certainly be stopped in its tracks because we are throwing our arrows into the dark and we do not know what it is that we are stopping. I saw the issue of hydrogen cyanide amongst the group of chemicals that are needed to be completely eradicated in this motion Mr. Speaker Sir.

          Mr. Speaker Sir cyanide is used in the small scale mining sector and as long as we do not get the knowledge that we so require in order to eradicate and also maybe to get substitutes of such chemicals because of the sanctions that are bestowed upon us as a nation, it becomes very impossible for us to be inclined to ratify such protocols.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to completely ventilate the issues that are currently handicapping us in terms of ratifying such protocol.  However, Mr. Speaker Sir, it is not too late for these countries that are acting like a bull in China shop to remove those sanctions.  It is also not too late for the opposition to be inclined to see light in terms of not calling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - for sanctions for this nation.  I thank you.

          HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I note also with appreciation the report by Hon. Paradza and amplified by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga in regard to the promotion, ratification and implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention.  Of course, it is worrying that some Hon. Members speak to issues unrelated to the subject under discussion.

          Nonetheless, it is their right to speak and we defend that right to speak but I think it is also important that we take serious matters seriously as serious people, because really if we start talking about issues unrelated to the subject under discussion, sometimes it may be construed as political delinquency. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Having said that Madam Speaker Maám, I think as a country we may have become notorious for signing Treaties or Conventions and not proceeding to ratify…

          HON. MUDARIKWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  The term notorious is unparliamentary, you cannot call …. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of order is noted.  Hon. Member may you withdraw the word notorious.   

          HON. TSUNGA: Notorious defined to mean mischievous but anyway I withdraw Madam Speaker.  Thank you very much, we have a good many treaties that Zimbabwe has signed and has not proceeded to domesticate after ratification. I will give one example, the Kampala Convention – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –   

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

          HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order.  Madam Speaker, your order to withdraw has not been done.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May the Hon. Member continue.

          HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  It is unfortunate that some Members are listening with their eyes closed and ears – [Laughter] – Anyway; I was giving an example of the Kampala Declaration as being one that Zimbabwe is a signatory to and that it has ratified but has not domesticated.  So, we are slow in ratifying and domesticating those conventions that are good for this country.

          An Hon. Member as already spoken about chemicals being a part of the water cannons that are used to disperse crowds in this country and it is important that we take that very seriously and ensure that the ratification and domestication is promptly attended to and done.  Otherwise I believe that this is a very good report that Hon. Paradza has presented and this House must proceed to endorse as it is.  Thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Point of privilege, I rise in terms of Order number 69 (d), it is a point of privilege.  Madam Speaker I seek that this House respects you, especially Members from your party.  When the Speaker, Advocate Mudenda is in the Chair, your Members behave - but when he is out and you are in Chair, they do not behave to the extent of disrupting this House. 

          Madam Speaker, I want to be honest with you, I did not vote for you, but I am bound by your presence in the Chair, and I must respect you because it is your privilege to be in that Chair.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, there is no point of order. 

          HON. SIKHALA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maám.  I would like to associate myself with the motion moved by Hon. Paradza, seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for this Parliament to support the ratification of the Convention against the use of biological weapons.  I rise to contribute on the grounds, understanding that world peace and tranquility took a new order after the 1945 Nagasaki and Hiroshima massacres after the first use of the atomic bomb and nuclear weapon.

          Since then, the world started to move through the United Nations to have many conventions to make sure that peace – and war in the world is going to be fought on the basis of civilisation.  The use of the biological weapons, though it is not very fashionable in the Southern African region, is very profound in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. 

          However, as a country we are not so much affected by the use of biological weapons because we do not have terrorists in our country.  We are not in an armed conflict. However, this is a convention that was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2004.  Like what has been alluded to by Hon. Tsunga, there are many conventions which Zimbabwe signed but did not ratify, and it is one of those most important conventions which I want to support Hon. Paradza that as Parliament in terms of Section 327 (2) of our Constitution, an International Convention only becomes a domestic law after its ratification by this House.  This House plays a very important role in terms of how international conventions and treaties can become part and parcel of our domestic law.  They can only become part and parcel of our domestic law if this Parliament ratifies them.

          When the President signs an international treaty, he needs the support of this House for that convention to become part and parcel of our domestic law. We support this convention Madam Speaker that this House plays its role for the protection of international peace and tranquility.

These conventions are governed in terms of International Law. Zimbabwe is part and parcel of the global world. We are a member state of the United Nations and we have got international obligations that we are looked upon by the world for us to play as a country, which is the one confronting this House today. In both Houses, Madam Speaker, I do not think there will be anyone who will oppose the ratification of this Convention by this House.

However, when I am supporting the ratification by this House there are also other treaties which our country has signed but they have not been ratified by this House. There is one important treaty called the Convention against Torture (CAT). CAT has been signed, acceded to and ratified by 189 member states of the United Nations. The United Nations has a total of 194 member states in the world. We are the only outpost of nations in the world which did not ratify that very important convention. That important convention Madam Speaker, is also part and parcel of the United Nations Convention which I would urge this House and Hon. Paradza who is the parliamentary Portfolio Chairperson of that Committee for him also to bring that Convention to this House so that we ratify it and then the President signs it so that it becomes part and parcel of our domestic law.

Madam Speaker, there is also a very important protocol in one of the international conventions called the Convention on Political and Civil Rights. Zimbabwe acceded to it in 1991 however, this Parliament has not yet ratified it. It has a number of fundamental human rights provisions in that Convention which this country will benefit from. This is 21st Century and we must be able to live in a civilised society as we are part and parcel of the global village. We cannot remain behind when other countries are moving forward. We want Hon. Paradza and his Committee to be very active during this parliamentary session to make sure that all the outstanding international conventions that are very important for our country are brought before this House and we ratify them as per our responsibility to make sure that Zimbabwe becomes part and parcel of the global world.

With your motion Hon. Paradza, we support you. Let us ratify this convention Madam Speaker. It is very important for us also to be viewed in the global world. I think recently we also heard rumours of people who have been trying to accuse our country of contributing towards the proliferation of biological weapons when Zimbabwe was alleged to have given the right to Iran to extract uranium from our country for its nuclear development project. When you sign these kinds of conventions and treaties Madam Speaker, it gives us a buffer and protection against those people who accuse our country of being an intransigent state that we want to contribute towards the development of new nuclear weapons by Iran. If we sign these conventions, we will not be able to be associated with those intransigent behaviours.

Also, I would wish Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines to also look and investigate the veracity of allegations against our country that we have given Iran the uranium mining concessions in our country because definitely the world no longer tolerates States that are promoting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Recently, you heard Madam Speaker what happened in Syria where kids were killed in one of the suburbs in Damascus through the use of biological and chemical weapons. We as a responsible state of Zimbabwe should not be seen to be associated with that kind of behaviour. We must remain civilised and we must be able to protect our country from being accused of issues that we will not be able to defend tomorrow. This is my small contribution. We support, let us ratify the treaty and let the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs bring more international conventions that this House must ratify. I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. PARADZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to move for the adoption of the report but before I do that I must thank my colleagues; Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for seconding this motion and Hon. Madzimure, Hon. Nduna, Hon. Tsunga and Hon. Sikhala - you did very well and I can assure you, with your support we will be able to ratify this. I therefore move for the ratification of this convention.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTSEYAMI: I move that motion number 3, 4, 5 and 6 be stood over.

HON. MGUNI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the

Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

          HON. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  Let me join the debate on the State of the Nation Address that was presented by the President in this particular House.  However, since this is one of my first formal presentations, allow me to crawl a little bit.  I need to crow because I stand here as one of the first woman in the National Assembly that is coming to the House on a women’s ticket over a political party that is led by a woman who trounced 17 other men in that election.  I am glad that I do have that honour of doing so.

          Madam Speaker, let me start by raising what I would term hygiene issues.  I raise this with all due respect because myself, my political party and my principle were one of those political parties that attended the inauguration.  Others attended the November inauguration; we did not.  We attended the August inauguration; as you know traditionally, others attend where mwana atiza mukumbo and others attend when somebody has had a proper white wedding. So we decided to attend the other one but others went for the November which is okay and we respect positions that people have taken.

 The reason why I am raising this particular point is because our attendance was to say, as a people we are going to put our hands on the wheel, participate and work with the people of Zimbabwe in order to push this country forward.  Having said so, as we begin to assist; I hope that the current Government will also allow us to do a critics when things are going wrong.  It is only in beginning to speak truth to power that we can change issues.

So, I have three issues that I believe are hygiene issues that I also think this particular Government needs to deal with as a matter of urgency. Like I have said Madam Speaker, those who wanted to congratulate President Mnangagwa attended the inauguration and that was the end of the story.  Can we stop the congratulatory messages that we are seeing on television and newspapers every other day; they do not work.  What we want now is for people to go back, put their hands on the wheel and begin to work.  We are in this situation because there was a lot of bootlicking of leadership in the last dispensation.  Let us not turn this particular President into the same thing.  If you want to congratulate President Mnangagwa, congratulate him by delivering.  So ZESA, ZINWA and ZINARA  -produce electricity for us, do the roads for us, stop the congratulatory messages; they do not work.  We want people who work not people who congratulate. 

The second hygiene issue - I was excited that this Cabinet had new faces, but I am getting a bit disappointed because our Ministers are spending too much time doing press conferences.  Can people stop doing press conferences, can they do work.  Let their press officers do the press conferences and not themselves.  So, I am actually appealing to Governor Mangudya and to Minister Mthuli, that it is enough, we want you to do work not to press issues.

The third hygiene issue that I want to raise is the one to do with our First Lady.  We have a wonderful First Lady, very humble but the press wants to turn her into something that she is not.  The First Lady decided that she is going to do charity work and let her do that work in silence.  Stop putting her in the press every other day.   There is a book that talks about laws of power. If you see people too much and you talk to people; you can generate a bad image around yourself.  She is not a poster girl for Econet, neither is she for ministries.  Leave the woman to do the work that she wants to do quietly.  I have worked with her; I know the kind of person that she is.  What the media is trying to do is just totally unacceptable.

Madam Speaker, those are the hygiene issues that I wanted to raise.  Let me now deal with the issues that I think are crucial and important.  We have an economic crisis and the President has got a mantra that we are open for business. However, let us be clear about how we do this.   I am not an economist, I am not an accountant, I am just a basic woman but there are things that I understand and I am concerned where the confusion is. 

On the issue of fuel crisis – I do not want to go into the rumours around corruption, it is not my business. Let those that know how to deal with such, do so.   I want to deal with the issues around the availability of fuel.  Madam Speaker, somebody needs to explain to me why if we want to continue with the fiction of 1:1; we are not allowing some of those providers of fuel to proceed and to provide fuel using foreign currency.  That way you would release the pressure from the fuel which you are basically subsidising because the reality of the situation right now is that we are subsidising fuel as a Government.  Our fuel is probably the cheapest in the region.  If you look at the actual exchange rate, our fuel must be selling at 30 cents.  It is not sustainable to continue doing this. 

So, my proposal is that - do your two tier, have a situation where you silence some of the fuel dealers to sell in forex and the subsidised fuel, you then leave it for your public transport and Government operations.  Make sure you do not mix the two because those that are getting the subsidised fuel will sell it on the market using forex.

Madam Speaker, it is a no brainer. When we went into 2008/9, we liberalised the fuel industry.  What we are doing right now is that we have gone back into controlling the fuel industry and it has never worked in any country.  We need to make sure that - like we say in shona zvinonaka zvinodhura, those that have cars have access to some kind of forex, those that do not have, use public transport. So let us subsidise the poor to be able to move.  For those who want to go into private cars; if I go to the United Kingdom right now, I can buy a car for 100 pounds but the reason why everybody in the UK does not drive a car is that it is expensive to run a car.  So you are then forced to go to public transport.  I think we need to start dealing with both the ideological issues that say who are we supporting right now?

At the moment, if we allow everybody to get their jerry cans, drums to the fuel pumps, we are basically supporting the rich by taxing the poor which is why the 2% is not so popular.  People are saying, why am I paying 2% so that I can facilitate the people that have 5 to 6 cars that are guzzlers.  We can do it tomorrow and if we do it, we are able to deal with the issue around fuel.

The second issue that I wanted to raise is to also deal with the other commodities.  We have just said we have removed Statutory Instrument 122 but the ridiculousness of that decision is that we are still allowing people to bring in those imports and they are paying in the bond which has a fiction of 1:1.  We should, at this particular point in time, have been able to get a lot of forex within this particular week where we removed S. I. 122 if we started saying anyone who is importing anything pays in foreign currency because when you import whether it is a car or food stuffs, it means you have foreign currency on you.

          So why are we having a situation where we subsidise the person who has gone out, used foreign currency and when they get to the border they do not pay using foreign currency?  It is a no brainer to me and if we do that, by today or tomorrow, we would be having a lot of money in terms of forex - which forex we can then use in terms of the subsidies that we are trying to do.

          Madam Speaker, we cannot continue using foreign currency to import things like dyes.  Many of us who are sitting here should be grey haired but our hair is looking dark – not because we are young but we are dying our hair.  Somebody is using our special forex to go and buy dye and at this rate we may end up having to import sex toys.  I suppose sex toys are alright because our males are struggling with the stress around that hence women may actually want sex toys. – [Laughter.] -  What I am trying to get back to you Madam Speaker, is that let us have a situation where if you want expensive things – pay for them.

          We woke up one morning and Dr. Mangundya said, ‘Everybody who has DSTV should pay for it in foreign currency.’  People complained but guess what?  We are still watching DSTV and paying for it in forex,  meaning there is a particular class in this country that can afford to pay in foreign currency.  Let those who want the special luxurious things be asked to pay in foreign currency and those who we need to subsidise then be subsidised.

          The third issue that I wanted to raise which I think is crucial, because one of the things that we are failing to do in terms of this economy is to realise that the initial process is a process of stabilisation.  Even for a patient, thankfully I was married to a surgeon for 15 years, so I know a little bit of medicine – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Yes, by association my dear.  You are assuming that I was having very little sex but I probably was having a lot of it…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order address the Chair Hon. Member.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I am sorry Madam Speaker, it is just that I hate males who think they can be abusive even in the National Assembly.  – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – Go to the social media where we cannot see you.

          What I am trying to say Madam Speaker, is that if you have an unwell patient, you do not necessarily introduce an aggressive treatment.  So in terms of our economy, let us move it by ensuring that we are doing stabilisation.  The stabilisation process is what we are failing to do Madam Speaker.  I think in stabilisation, I understand that for any transition, we have to go through pain but that pain has to be fair.  What we did in 2008-2009 as we went into the Inclusive Government was one radical thing and I am proposing we do the same because one of the things that we struggle with right now is the issue around the wage bill.

          What happened as we went into the Inclusive Government, as we gave time for Hon. Biti to breathe before moving forward is, we actually made a decision and said, it does not matter whether you are a President, Minister or a sweeper.  We generally are saying everybody earns US$100.00 a month.  Madam Speaker, if we are going to deal with the wage bill, we may have to do something as radical as that so that we allow Treasury to only deal with a particular sum of money for a period of six to seven months as they begin to stabilise.  The issue that we have right now around the wage bill that we have and the salaries that we have in the parastatals is unsustainable.  We cannot continue doing that thing and if this budget does not come back with something around how we are dealing with the wage bill, we will continue to be in the state that we are in.

          We are not saying let us make the decisions about who we are, cutting out but  let us make sure that the wage bill and salaries are basically normalised to a situation of US$100.00 – that is what most economies do when they hit a particular crisis.

          Then Madam Speaker, the issue around taxation…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order!

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  I am about to finish Madam Speaker, if you could just give me two minutes.  The issue around taxation, I do agree with a lot of people who have a problem with the 2% tax.  I am saying the alternative ways of taxing - we are not taxing where we need to be taxing.  We need to make sure that we stop people from hoarding. 

So if you have four or five cars, we make sure that any extra car that you have is taxed.  We may even introduce a swimming pool tax instead of taking tax from those who are 2% so that we begin to deal with the issue of the rich being facilitated by the poor.  We have done it in other situations - let those who want to live well in luxury do it.  We have done it with schools – those who can do well will take their children to St. Georges and those who cannot afford will take them to Government schools.  Those who think they can do well will go to Avenues Clinic for treatment and those who cannot afford will go to Parirenyatwa Hospital but at the end of the day, let us not burden the poor to make sure that we are facilitating the rich.

Lastly Madam Speaker, if we are going to do international engagements - it cannot be a one political party issue, it has to be across political parties.  In the Inclusive Government, we all went; i.e. Hon. Chinamasa, Hon. Mangoma and myself met with all the other capitals.  We met the presidents of those capitals and were clear about what we were asking for – remove the sanctions and facilitate investment.  This did not mean that we did not agree that we had our own internal problems.  We said we had problems but the heart of it, is to ensure that Zimbabweans survive.  I for one am prepared to be part of that process where we engage to make lives of the Zimbabwean people better.  I do not buy into the issue that people have to suffer in order for us to change Government.  I buy into the issue that let people fill their tummies so that they can then begin to make an informed decision about who runs this particular country.  I thank you.

HON. NGWENYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the State of the Nation Address speech (SONA) by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Hon. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for resoundingly winning the 2018 Presidential elections – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  Those elections were held in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - 

Madam Speaker ma’am, I would also like to congratulate all Hon. Members of Parliament who made it into this Ninth Parliament – congratulations Hon. Members – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  I would also like to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe in general for having participated in these honourable, free and fair elections peacefully as enunciated by our President, Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.  Special mention will go to the people of Gokwe-Gumunyu Constituency who exercised their democratic right by electing me as the substantive Member of Parliament of the Ninth Parliament.  Thank you very much for your support.  I would like to express my loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg to offer my respectful thanks for the SONA speech presented by His Excellency, the President, Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa.  His Excellency rightly indicated that politics is now gone and it is time to prioritise economic development.

 The people of Zimbabwe, in particular my constituency, Gokwe-Gumunyu who I represent are happy that the President indicated that Command Agriculture and the Presidential inputs scheme will continue.  Also this would hopefully lead to the opening of agro-based industries, in particular in rural communities.

HON. BANDA:  On a point of order, Hon. Misihairabwi crossed the floor whilst the Hon. Member was speaking – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible Interjections.] – She has to be recalled.  She did not pay obeisance to the Chair.  Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO):  Thank you Hon. Member.  I did not see her.  May the Hon. Member continue. 

HON. NGWENYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  The President further called for the re-tabling of the Mines and the Minerals Amendment Bill which comes at the right time for Zimbabweans. 

HON. BANDA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member is scolding me and is using abusive language – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -  Why is he doing that?  That is very unparliamentary.  He should stand up and withdraw what he is saying to me. Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you.  There is no point of order.  May the Hon. Member continue.

HON. NGWENYA: I was just saying the President further called for the re-tabling of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which comes at the right time for Zimbabweans, especially Gokwe – Gumunyu where there are mines.  This will lead to ease of doing business, that is, online registration and mining rights.  This will be beneficial to the generality of the mines and those in my constituency.

Also of interest, will be the tabling of the Consumer Protection Bill to protect our consumers from unfair trade practices and abuse by suppliers. This will go a long way in protecting the interests of our communities.  Mr. Speaker Sir, as enunciated by our President that Zimbabwe is projected to be an upper – middle income country by 2030, this effectively places us on our pedestal for robust economic growth, development and prosperity, as well as, social cohesion.  Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is open for business.  His Excellency, Hon. E.D. Mnangagwa is leading the way and as the Gokwe – Gumunyu representative, I am also taking a lead in my constituency in this endeavor.

My speech will not be complete if I do not mention challenges being faced in my constituency, especially roads.  The roads are in a bad state and I have noticed with great appreciation that some of the roads are being serviced through the wise leadership of our President, Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa.  I have noted with great appreciation that work has started on the Nembudziya – Choda Road.  However, I call upon more effort to be put on the maintenance of other roads in my constituency.  These include Musadzi – Mashame Road, Tsungayi – Nyahurungwe Road, to just mention a few.  Also there are bridges such as Ronga, Dekete, Tafara and Chaminuka.  I have also noted with happiness and pride the efforts being made by my President as I have seen that re-construction of Mashame Bridge is already under way. 

As for water, sanitation and hygiene, the only sources of clean water such as boreholes are now ageing and dysfunctional, forcing people in my constituency to use unprotected sources of drinking water.  I have noted again with pride and happiness on behalf of Gokwe – Gumunyu people that our President took a position to purchase more machines for the drilling of boreholes in addition to those that have been purchased.  We thank you President for the effort.  Still on that matter Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to call upon the President to further lead in the construction of dams in my constituency which is naturally dry.  This will help our communities and domestic animals to have access to water. 

All I have presented to this august House this day, I have done with full knowledge of Section 117 (1) of the Constitution that says, legislative authority is derived from the people and hence we are people’s servants.  In particular, I am a servant of Gokwe – Gumunyu people whom I represent.  I thank you. 

HON. KWARAMBA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I move that the debate do now adjourn. 

HON. O. MGUNI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday 31st October, 2018.

On the motion of HON. O. MGUNI seconded by HON. KWARAMBA, the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.  

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