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stops publishing Hansard
Sunday News (Zimbabwe)
not been publishing The Hansard since late last year, depriving
the public of a vital source of information on legislative debates,
the Sunday News can reveal.
is a printed manuscript containing a complete and accurate record
of the debates of the House of Assembly.
The Clerk of
Parliament, Mr Austin Zvoma, confirmed on Friday that Jongwe Printers,
the company contracted to print the handbook, has failed to produce
the publication owing to the availability of raw materials.
that we have not been receiving Hansards because Jongwe Printers
has been failing to procure newsprint. Jongwe Printers last printed
Hansards late last year and we have a backlog of 17 editions. We
sat briefly last year and the Hansards are not yet out. They have
been giving us the Hansards without any problems since mid-1980s.
is seriously affecting all the Members of Parliament, the Parliament
and all Ministers who have to respond to the questions that are
raised by the House. Some of the debates are raised during the Ministers’
absence and they need the texts in front of them when responding
to these issues. We have written to them (Jongwe Printers) to give
an assurance that they should deliver on time and they confirmed
they are going to do that," he said.
Mr Zvoma said
Parliament had an agreement with Jongwe Printers to print The Hansard
and be paid thereafter. However, he would not reveal the amount
of money involved in the deal.
About 8 060
copies of The Hansard are supposed to be printed the day after each
Parliamentary sitting and these are meant for Members of Parliament,
constituency information centres and members of the public.
passing of the Zimbabwe
Constitution Amendment No 17 Act, Zimbabwe’s House of Assembly
now consists of Lower and Upper houses.
The number of
copies of The Hansard needed for the Senate could not be ascertained
yesterday. The non-availability of The Hansard seriously affects
democratic processes because the public is not kept accurately informed
on what happens in Parliament. Voters want to know how their representatives
in the House contribute to national debates.
of The Hansard also affects the general public. As part of our reforms,
we said Parliament is an open institution where the people raise
issues. If they (Jongwe Printers) fail to produce The Hansard, we
can go to other companies, but the last time we checked, there was
no other company that was able to print them. We are going to keep
our doors open," said Mr Zvoma. The Speaker of Parliament,
Cde John Nkomo and the President of Senate, Mrs Edna Madzongwe,
could not be reached for comment.
for information and publicity, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, confirmed
on Friday that Jongwe Printers has not been able to print The Hansard
but attributed it to the unavailability of newsprint.
He said negotiations
with Mutare Board and Paper Mills, Zimbabwe’s only maker of newsprint,
were underway, adding that the printing of The Hansard would resume
is not with Jongwe Printers, but with Mutare Board and Paper Mills.
It (Mutare Board and Paper Mills) said it had a short supply of
newsprint because it is also supplying the paper to other companies.
It has very little in stock. The company is the only one that supplies
newsprint to all companies in the country like The Herald and others.
to the managing director of the company, a Mr Gwaunza, yesterday
(Thursday) who said we will receive newsprint next week. He said
he will give us 24 tonnes of newsprint on Monday. What is needed
is 50 tonnes, but he said he will give us only half of that. We
will get the remainder during the course of the week. If we get
the newsprint, we will clear the backlog the same day," said
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