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Roundup Bulletin No. 35 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
October 28, 2011
The major highlight
of this week’s sitting was the re-introduction of the Prime
Minister’s Question Time in both Houses of Parliament. The
House of Assembly adopted a motion to introduce a private member’s
Bill to amend the Urban
of Assembly Plenary Proceedings:
Minister’s Question Time
reintroduced Prime Minister’s Question Time, a platform where
backbenchers seek updates and clarity on national government policies
and programmes. In terms of the Constitution,
the Prime Minister is the Leader of Government Business in Parliament
and is also responsible for the formulation and implementation of
government policies. Parliament of Zimbabwe had a slot for Prime
Minister’s Question Time from 1980 up until 1989 when the
post of the Prime Minister was abolished in preference of the executive
26 October 2011, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai took questions
from the backbenchers for the inaugural Prime Minister’s Time.
Backbenchers asked the Prime Minister wide-ranging policy issues;
indigenization regulations, gay rights, unfinished capital projects,
lack of corporate governance in state enterprises and parastatals,
agricultural support, constitutional process, media reforms, conditions
of service for civil servants among other issues.
Position on the Indigenization Policy
Hon Paul Mazikana
(ZANU PF Mbire) enquired from the Prime Minister whether there was
division in government on the indigenization policy. The Prime Minister
informed the House that government was not divided on the issue
but pointed out that the implementation of the policy was bogged
down by political rhetoric. He also informed the House that there
was a need to balance the objectives of the indigenization and empowerment
policy with investment promotion. He argued that it was better to
grow the economic cake rather than to attempt to share a small cake.
He also said that government needed to come up with alternatives,
“wealth creation fund”, that would ensure that the policy
also benefited the poor.
Sibanda (MDC-T Bulawayo Central) asked the Prime Minister to clarify
his position on the issue of gay rights in the light of recent media
reports. The Prime Minister indicated that he was just echoing what
Zimbabweans expressed during the COPAC
outreach programme. He said his personal view did not matter
and government position would be guided by the outcome of the constitution.
Sithole (ZANU PF Chiredzi East) asked the Prime Minister to explain
government policy regarding unfinished capital projects dotted around
the country, some over 10 years. The Prime Minister informed the
House that government would want to see all unfinished capital projects
prioritized before government embarked on new projects. He said
the main challenge government was facing regarding capital projects
was funding. He informed the House that 70% of the national budget
went towards employment costs leaving 30% for operational costs
as well as capital projects.
of Corporate Governance in State Enterprises and Parastatals
Mudarikwa (ZANU PF Uzumba) asked the Prime Minister why some boards
of parastatals and state enterprises did not have boards and why
some individuals were serving in too many boards. He also questioned
the rationale of retaining boards and chief executives for parastatals
that were making losses. In response, the Prime Minister informed
the House that it was unfortunate that this was the situation but
government was actively working towards rectifying the issue. He
said the Minister of Parastatals and State Enterprises had already
come up with a standard corporate governance policy for parastatals.
of Civil Servants
Hon. Eliah Jembere
(MDC-T Epworth) asked the Prime Minister if he had reneged on his
promise to address the plight of civil servants. The Prime Minister
said that government had not reneged on its undertaking as evidenced
by the July salary increment for civil servants. However, he emphasized
that though government was committed in addressing the plight of
civil servants, it was faced by resource constraints.
Support to Commercial Farmers
Hon Paul Mangwana
(ZANU PF Chivi Central) asked the Prime Minister to explain if government
had a policy to support commercial farmers with subsidized inputs.
The Prime Minister informed the House that government’s agricultural
support was biased towards supporting small scale farmers as they
were the most disadvantaged group and hence $45million had been
set aside for this category of farmers. He said commercial farmers
were in a position to approach financial institutions for loans
to finance their farming operations.
Operate and Transfer Policy
Mutomba (ZANU PF Buhera North) asked the Prime Minister to explain
government policy regarding the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT)
concept with regards to road construction. The Prime Minister informed
the House that government had embraced the Private Public Partnerships
(PPPs) with regards to infrastructural development. He gave the
example of the BeitBridge- Chirundu and the Plumtree-Bulawayo-Mutare
highways as some of the projects where government was engaged in
discussions with investors to explore the BOT concept.
Impact of Re-introducing duty on basic commodities
Mutseyami sought clarity on government’s policy with regards
to the re-introduction of duty on basic commodities vis-a-vis affordability
of such products especially by the rural poor. The Prime Minister
informed the House that the mischief behind the re-introduction
of duty was to allow the local industry to recuperate by cutting
competition from outside. He went on to say that this issue was
more of cash flow problems in the rural areas than unaffordability.
on Agricultural inputs
Raradza (ZANU PF Muzarabani South) asked the Prime Minister why
the price of agricultural inputs were still high despite government’s
pronounced policy on subsidies. The Prime Minister said the government
policy on agricultural subsidies was meant to assist small-scale
farmers in rural areas and the modalities of the policy were the
responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture.
Deficit in Some Rural Areas
Huruva (ZANU PF Chivi North) wanted to know from the Prime Minister
measures government was taking to avert starvation in rural areas
which were affected by drought. In response, the Prime Minister
said that government was aware of food deficit problems in provinces
such as Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North, some parts of Manicaland
and Midlands provinces. He said there was sufficient food in the
country and therefore the responsibility for moving maize from surplus
provinces to deficit provinces lay with the Ministry of Labour and
to Deal with Political Violence
Kumalo (MDC-T St. Mary’s) asked the Prime Minister if government
had any policy measures in place to deal with political violence.
The Prime Minister said government did not condone violence. He
noted that there had been reduction in cases of violence in the
country. He pointed out that it was the responsibility of the police
to curb violence in the country. He said government principals had
tasked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to ensure that police carried
out their duties professionally. He also appealed to national leaders
to ensure that the message on peace should cascade down to lower
structures of society.
to Restrain Political Parties from Causing Violence
Hlongwane asked the Prime Minister if there were any measures to
restrain political parties from engaging in violent activities given
that elections were around the corner. The Prime Minister said government
would convene a meeting of central committees of all parties and
develop a code of conduct that would guide structures of political
parties right down to the lowest structure.
Position on Libya
Mahlangu (MDC-T Nkulumane) asked the Prime Minister to explain government
latest position on Libya following the assassination of Colonel
Muammar Gaddafi given that when the Libyan revolution started government
was divided on the issue. The Prime Minister said Zimbabwe position
would be guide by the African Union (AU).
Funding to the New Constitution
Bhasikiti asked the Prime Minister why government was not providing
adequate funding the COPAC to ensure that the process is expeditiously
completed without financial hitches. The Prime Minister acknowledged
the constitution-making process was one of the key priorities of
government. As such, he said government disbursed $2 million dollars
to COPAC. He refuted the insinuation that the process had stalled
because of lack of funding. He said this had to do with other problems
not funding. He appealed to the COPAC co-chairpersons to expedite
the process because it was a key component of the election roadmap
that the political parties were working on.
of the Airwaves
Gonese (MDC-T Mutare Central) asked the Prime Minister what government
was doing to liberalize the electronic media in fulfillment of Article
19 of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). The Prime Minister said government
leader had assigned the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity
to reconstitute the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board
and to expedite the liberalization of the airwaves. He said that
government was also concerned with hate speech and vilification
of other government members by the state controlled media.
Member’s Bill to Amend Urban Councils Act
Matimba (MDC-T Buhera Central) introduced a motion seeking leave
of the House to bring in a Bill to amend the Urban Councils Act
[Chapter 29:15]. The Bill seeks to reduce the powers of central
government over municipal and town councils, thereby encouraging
democracy at local levels. He said the Bill would also correct anomalies
arising from previous amendments made to the Act. This motion seems
to have been motivated by the alleged undue interference by the
Minister of Local Government and Urban Development, Hon. Ignatius
Chombo in the administration of local authorities. The House adopted
the motion paving the way for the introduction of the Bill.
of Marange Diamonds
Cross (MDC-T Bulawayo South) introduced a motion in the House calling
for the nationalization of the Marange
diamonds. He urged government to take steps to remove all unauthorized
personnel from the fields and secure the boundary to prevent unauthorized
entries. He said government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development should invite offers and enter into an agreement with
reputable companies to mine the mineral on behalf of Government
of Zimbabwe in compliance with the Kimberly process. Further, government
should establish a Compensation Court for claims arising from the
mining exercise and a Community Trust to represent the people of
Marange in the mining venture.
Motion on the Death of Hon. Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro
Hon Dumbu, seconded
by Hon. F.M. Sibanda moved a condolence motion on the death of Hon.
Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, Honourable Minister of Public Service
and Member of Parliament for Gutu South. Hon. Mukonoweshuro died
on 5 August 2011.
adjourned until Tuesday 15 November 2011.
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