Back to Index
Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 19 – 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
June 15, 2011
Being a Wednesday
yesterday, the business of the House
of Assembly was preceded by question and answer session where
backbenchers quizzed Ministers about policies and programmes under
their purview. Sadly, there were only three Ministers in the House
during the session, namely; Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur
Mutambara, the Minister of Finance Hon. Tendai Biti and the Minister
of Public Works Hon. Joel Gabbuza. As a result, all questions with
written notice were deferred. The House also debated a condolence
motion on the death of Edgar Tekere.
Business in the House of Assembly
of question and answer is confined to policy related questions.
As indicated above the majority of Ministers were absent, and hence
all the questions were directed to the Minister of Finance and Deputy
Prime Minister Professor Mutambara.
of the Sandton
Extra-Ordinary SADC Summit
Mlambo (MDC-T Chipinge East Constituency) asked Deputy Prime Minister
Mutambara to brief the House on the outcome of the Extra-ordinary
SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government. In response, Professor
Mutambara said the summit was a “victory for the people of
Zimbabwe and democracy as there were no losers or winners”.
Thus he implored political parties to desist from misleading people
by trying to score political points regarding the outcome of the
summit. He also took the opportunity to explain why he did not attend
the summit. He said the commencement of the summit was delayed by
the burial of Albertina Sisulu and hence by the time it eventually
kicked off, he had to come back to Zimbabwe to attend the burial
of Edgar Tekere. DPM Mutambara said he felt that the burial of Tekere
was more important than the SADC Summit, not what was reported by
“busy bodies in the media” concerning his hasty return
to the country. The media had reported that Prof. Mutambara was
snubbed by SADC in his attempt to have Prof. Welshman Ncube and
his negotiators replaced by his preferred appointees.
on Contracting External Debt
Chinyadza (MDC-T Makoni West Constituency) asked the Minister of
Finance if there was policy in place to deal with the contraction
of external debt. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Biti informed the
House that the framework governing external debts was defined in
Section 111A of the Constitution
and in the Public Finance Management Act. He revealed to the House
that Zimbabwe’s unvalidated external debt currently stood
at US$7.1 billion whereas domestic debt was US$1.5, and most of
the domestic debt was incurred by the central bank through quasi-fiscal
activities. His ministry was in the process of reconciling debt
interests so as to come up with a clearer picture of the quantum
of the country’s external debt.
He further informed
the House that in November of 2010, pursuant to a subcommittee that
was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara, government adopted
a high breed method of dealing with debt called Zimbabwe Accelerated
Debt and Development Strategy (ZADDS). He said ZADDS consisted of
three instruments of trying to settle our debt; chief among those
was Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and the attempt to use
our own mining resources. As part of implementing this strategy,
the ministry of Finance had set up a Debt Management Office in the
Ministry of Finance which has started the process of doing the reconciliation.
The Minister also informed the House that one of the things that
government needed to do was to have an accelerated engagement with
the IMF with regards to traditional methods of dealing with this
debt. On Hon. Chinyadza’s supplementary question if it was
prudent for the country to borrow for non-productive sectors, the
Minister said it was “criminal” for the country to do
that at the expense of productive sectors. He made reference to
the Chinese Loan Agreement that Parliament ratified
recently, which is earmarked for the construction of the National
Defence College. Hon. Biti said given the current economic situation,
the country did not have capacity to repay the loans even at such
concessionary interests of 2% or 5%.
Closures and Imports of Cheap Goods
Zhanda (ZANU PF Goromonzi North Constituency) asked the Minister
of Finance as to whether government was doing anything regarding
company closures triggered by cheap imports. In response, the Minister
said the Zimbabwean economy was suffocated by four structural problems,
namely; politics, external debt, land question and capital. He said
as long as those factors were not dealt with in a holistic manner,
the local industry would continue to suffer. Hon. Biti informed
the House that the economy had the potential to grow by a double
digit of 14% and reach a capital base of US$30 billion in the next
three years if the above- mentioned factors were addressed.
of the dumping of cheap imports in the country, he said government’s
hands were tied as Zimbabwe was member- state of such economic blocs
as SADC, COMESA etc which stipulate free trade rules.
efforts to keep the local industry afloat, the Minister said government
had mobilized lines of credit under ZETREF with AFREXIM Bank to
the tune of US$70 million which local companies can access at concessionary
rates. He noted however, that there was a low uptake rate of this
facility as so far only $10 million has been drawn down.
Hon. Biti also
informed the House that there was another facility for the local
companies to the tune of $350 million which government negotiated
with the PTA.
further revealed to the House that a facility of $15 million was
set aside for the SMEs. Modalities of disbursing this fund were
currently being discussed.
of Clerk of Parliament in the Administration of CDF
Gwiyo (MDC-T Zengeza West Constituency) wanted to understand from
the Deputy Prime Minister the role of the Clerk of Parliament in
the administration of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The
Clerk of Parliament was quoted in the press recently accusing the
Minister of Finance of usurping powers of parliament by putting
the administration of CDF under the ambit of the executive. In response,
DPM Mutambara said the administration of CDF should be coordinated
by the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs together
with Parliament. However, he said the specifics of the Fund were
better explained by Hon. Eric Matinenga the minister responsible
for the programme.
Labour Practices by Chinese Companies
Dumbu (MDC-T Zaka West Constituency) asked DPM Mutambara what government
was doing regarding ill-treatment of black employees by Chinese
companies that have set up shop in Zimbabwe. Prof. Mutambara said
the Chinese companies should operate within the framework of the
country’s labour laws. He informed the House that it was up
to Zimbabwe to enforce its laws to ensure conformity by Chinese
companies. In a rider to his response, Prof. Mutambara informed
the House that China was one of the biggest economies in the world
that Zimbabwe could not afford to ignore.
Chimbetete (MDC-T Nyanga South Constituency) asked the DPM Mutambara
regarding government’s position on the Anglican Church saga
where two factions have been at each other’s throat over the
ownership of the Church’s property. Prof. Mutambara informed
the House that government was seized with the matter, and had assigned
Vice President John Nkomo to mediate between the two feuding factions.
The Co-Ministers of Home Affairs were also looking into the issue.
from International Justice
Denga (MDC-T Mbare Constituency) asked the Deputy Prime Minister
to explain to the House the country’s policy regarding fugitives
of international justice such as the former President of Ethiopia
and Mpiranya of Rwanda who are wanted in their countries for crimes
against humanity. Professor Mutambara said Zimbabwe’s position
was governed by the international law and conventions which it has
signed. He further indicated that it was not easy to deal with this
issue given that some of those people were once friends of Zimbabwe
during the liberation struggle for independence.
Motion on the Death of Edgar Tekere
ZANU PF Chief
Whip, Hon. Jorum Gumbo introduced a condolence motion in the House
on the death of Edgar Tekere who died on 2 June 2011. He narrated
the life history from his childhood, his involvement in politics
and up to the time of his death. He said Tekere was one of the founding
members of ZANU PF when the former split from PF ZAPU. Hon. Gumbo
described Edgar Tekere as a fearless cadre and because of his active
role in nationalist politics, he was detained in places such as
Gonakudzingwa and Sikombela.
the political divide were agreed that Edgar Tekere’s contribution
to the liberation of Zimbabwe was unquestionable. Members, thus,
argued that Tekere epitomized the liberation of this country. Members
also paid tribute to Tekere’s resolute stance in opposing
the one-party state ideology that ZANU PF wanted to implement soon
after independence. They described him as the “father”
of opposition parties in Zimbabwe as he resigned from ZANU PF in
1988 and successfully formed his own party, Zimbabwe Unity Movement
(ZUM) which opposed ZANU PF’s one-party state ideology.
remembered Tekere for his anti-corruption stance in government,
which was vindicated by the Willowvale vehicle scandal, which saw
Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials being hauled before
a commission of enquiry regarding abuse of public resources.
of the House
The House of
Assembly adjourned yesterday until 12 July 2011. The Senate will
resume business on 5 July 2011. However, portfolio committees and
thematic committees will continue with their business during the
time parliament is adjourned.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.