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hearings on Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
July 14, 2011
were in session yesterday. The House of Assembly debated a motion
on the plight of civil servants while the Senate debated two committee
reports and passed the Small Enterprises Development Corporation
of Assembly Plenary
on the Plight of Civil Servants
Hon. Moses Mare
(MDC-T Chiredzi West) seconded by Hon. Greenbate Dongo (MDC-T Goromonzi
South) introduced a motion in the House regarding the “low
levels of remuneration for civil servants and everyone paid through
the Treasury”. The motion noted that the country's resources
were not being utilized in the best interest of the nation, in particular
the lack of transparency in the distribution of the proceeds raised
from the sale of the diamonds
at Chiadzwa. The motion further bemoaned the existence of “ghost
workers” who were drawing salaries from the fiscus. The motion
called upon the House to;
- Ensure that
all proceeds from previous sales of diamonds from Chiadzwa are
properly accounted for and remitted to Treasury;
- Put in place
the necessary legislation and mechanism to enable Treasury to
take full control of all diamonds mined in the country;
- Ensure that
all minerals are sold to the best advantage of the country;
- Remove all
ghost workers from the Government payroll and;
the political divide were generally agreed on the dire plight of
civil servants in the country, they differed on the causes of the
situation. MDC-T Members blamed what they called mismanagement of
resources, especially proceeds from the mining sector, in particular
proceeds from the Chiadzwa diamond fields, corruption and “ghost
workers”. On the other hand, some ZANU PF Members argued that
government was not able to pay civil servants decent salaries because
of the “economic sanctions imposed by the West” on Zimbabwe.
There was also unanimity by backbenchers that the issue of civil
servants’ salaries should be depoliticized and focus more
attention on ways of improving the economic situation and broadening
the revenue base so that government can be able to pay its workers
First Report of the Thematic Committee on MDGs
Dube tabled the Committee’s report on the Social Protection
Schemes. The report was compiled after the committee conducted public
hearings across the country.
Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), the committee noted that
there wasn’t enough consultation on the selection of the deserving
vulnerable children. For instance, the Village Selection Committees
did not include school heads yet all queries regarding the programme
were directed to the school heads. The Commiteee also observed that
there were serious communication problems between the Ministry of
Labour and Social Services and school authorities. As a result,
children on BEAM were at times dropped from the programme or sent
back home due to delays in the disbursement of funds.
The Committee also noted with concern that public assistance was
inconsistent and unpredictable. Beneficiaries were not sure when
they would next get their allowances.
observed that issues relating to disability were too complex to
be left to one Ministry. The level of government support to people
with disabilities left a lot to be desired. A lot needed to be done
to ensure that children with disabilities had access to education.
There is also need to protect girls with disabilities from sexual
Drought Relief Programme, the Committee noted with concern the lack
of proactiveness on the part of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Services with regards to responses to drought situations. The committee
was equally concerned about inconsistencies regarding the provision
of health assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Report of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights
of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, Senator Misheck Marava
presented the committee’s first report on the State of Prisons
and Prisoners in the country. As part of its oversight function,
the Committee visited Harare Central Prison, Chikurubi Maximum Prison,
Mutare Prison, Mutimurefu Prison and Whawha. The Committee observed
living conditions left a lot to be desired mainly due to budgetary
constraints. Inadequate funding made it difficult for the ZPS
to operate effectively and prisoners found the life in prison
hazardous, as they had to make do without most of life’s
- The Committee
noted that prisoners’ diet, uniforms, bedding, transport
to take them to referral hospitals and courts, constant supply
of medication especially ARVs and ablution facilities were critical
for the health of the prisoners while they serve their sentences.
- Mutare Remand
Prison Complex was in a dilapidated state and needed refurbishment
as a matter of urgency as it was no longer fit for human habitation.
There was need for urgent maintenance to avoid eruption of diseases
and other communicable infections. The complex was built with
punitive intentions during the colonial period and should be renovated
to suit a Rehabilitation Centre.
- The Committee
observed that nursing mothers in prisons fed their children from
the rations they received. Children were being forced to survive
on sadza served with beans and/or vegetables. Lack of balanced
diet affected the growth of these children. There were no crèches/pre
schools for these children and this affected their rights to basic
- The Committee
noted with concern that most of the prisons, if not all did not
have information dissemination equipment such as radios and televisions.
Inmates were forced to rely on censured newspapers for information.
Information equipments should also provide entertainment.
- The Committee
noted with great concern the length of time the prisoners stayed
on remand especially those convicted of murder, stock theft, robbery
and rape. Some had gone for more than 6 years without trial.
- The committee
noted that in certain instances, individuals were subjected to
two trials; after being convicted by the criminal court, they
were subjected to a trial (usual in their absence) by the traditional
leaders through the primary courts. If a person is found guilty
in his/her absence at these traditional courts he/she is forced
to pay fines. This means that a person faces two courts of law.
- The Committee
was also worried that young offenders were affected by lack of
transport to transport them to Whawha Young Offenders Prison and
sometimes stayed at Remand Prisons for more than 3 years. There
were no facilities at the Remand prison to protect young offenders
from being sexually molested by adults.
- Lack of balanced
diet was another critical issue that was raised by inmates. A
number of inmates showed signs of malnutrition.
- The Committee
was concerned that Whawha Young Offenders did not have birth certificates
and national identity cards.
- The Committee
observed that it was critical for government to avail adequate
funds for bus fares for prisoners upon release because the current
situation was that prisoners walked more than two hundred kilometers
home because of lack of bus fares. The pass letters which used
to be afforded to inmates to use for travelling were no longer
accepted by transport operators.
- The Committee
noted lack of legal representation for most of the prisoners.
Most of the prisoners said that they did not afford lawyers and
they had lost their cases even if they were innocent because they
would be competing with those that were fortunate enough to have
on Portfolio Committees
Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development
of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development, Hon.
Nicholas Goche appeared before the committee on Monday 11 July 2011
to brief the committee on the provisions of the Statutory
Instrument 154 of 2010, Tollgate construction and dualization
of major roads, and the situation regarding the national airline.
Initially, the meeting had been scheduled for Monday last week but
was abruptly postponed as some Members of the Committee, namely;
Hon. Edward Raradza and Hon. Noel Mandebvu objected to the presence
of an American Diplomat at the meeting despite the fact that the
Minister had indicated that he was willing to go ahead with the
Instrument 154 of 2010
On the provisions
of S.I. 154 of 2010, the Minister informed the Committee that the
effective date for the implementation of S.I. 154/10 was July 1,
2011 for those sections that deal with red reflective triangles,
fire extinguishers and reflectors. However, the ban on left-hand
drive (LHD) vehicles and vehicles older than five years will be
effected on October 31, 2011. The Minister further indicated that
the extensions had been necessitated by concerns raised by the public
and thus the Ministry needed time for further consultations on the
that are over five years old, the Committee heard that the Ministry
was consulting with the Environment Ministry regarding current levels
of pollution emitted by vehicles. On LHD vehicles, the Committee
heard that concessions had been made to allow LHD vehicles that
were already operating in the country to operate until they reached
the end of their economic lifespan. The Minister informed the Committee
that S.I. 154/10 would be amended to reflect the change in policy.
Construction and Highway Dualization
heard that the rationale behind tolling is to fund the rehabilitation
of the country’s roads. The Minister informed the Committee
that the tolling points and shelters that were being constructed
around the country were temporary structures as the Ministry was
working on a long term plan to construct toll plazas similar to
those found in South Africa to enhance collection of to fees by
On the dualization
of major roads, the Committee heard that the government had decided
to dualize roads during the Zimbabwe dollar era, but realized that
the Ministry didn’t have the capacity and the resources to
proceed with the project further than Skyline (on the Harare-Masvingo
road) and Norton (on the Harare-Bulawayo road). Instead, the government
decided that the Ministry would complete road dualization up to
those points and leave the rest of the dualization to (Public-Private
at Air Zimbabwe
briefed the Committee on the challenges that Air Zimbabwe was going
through and noted that despite the airline’s impeccable safety
record and friendly cabin crew, travellers were shunning the airline
in preference to other airlines and hence the cash-flow problems
at Air Zimbabwe. The Committee heard that the GNU had set up a cabinet
subcommittee that made recommendations to streamline the airline’s
budget through retrenchments to ensure that the airline’s
overheads matched its revenues, to clear the airline’s debts
(with IATA and other suppliers) and to find a technical partner
for the national airline. However, the plan hit a snag at the implementation
phase as some of the people earmarked for retrenchment had political
connections in high offices. The Committee heard that US$8 million
was needed to provide retrenchment packages, but the money was not
available.The Minister also informed the Committee that apart from
US$8 million needed for retrenchment packages, US$20 million was
needed to clear the airline’s short-term debt and to finance
the airline’s operations in the short-term.
In addition, the Committee also heard that the Ministry would be
embarking on institutional reforms of the Civil Aviation Authority
of Zimbabwe (CAAZ). At the moment, CAAZ is the operator of airports
and the regulator. The reforms intend to create a new entity to
run airports leaving CAAZ with a regulatory function as was the
case with South Africa. The Committee heard that the proposed principles
of the Bill that would provide for these institutional reforms had
already been sent to the Attorney General’s office.
of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrick Chinamsa introduced the
Human Rights Commission Bill in the House Assembly. As per procedures,
immediately after first reading, the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary
Legal Committee to ascertain if it conforms to provisions of the
constitution. The Thematic Committee on Human Rights together with
the Portfolio Committee on Justice have lined up public hearings
on the Bill across major centres in the country as indicated below.
Small City Hall
The Senate passed
the Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill
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