THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector
 
 
    HOME THE PROJECT DIRECTORYJOINARCHIVESEARCH E:ACTIVISMBLOGSMSFREEDOM FONELINKS CONTACT US
 

 


Back to Index

Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 8 – 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
March 15, 2012

Introduction

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Hon. Paurina Mpariwa made a ministerial statement in the House of Assembly regarding the purported ban of some NGOs in the country. Being a Wednesday yesterday, backbenchers quizzed Ministers on various policy issues and some Chairpersons presented their committee reports.

Plenary Proceedings in the House of Assembly

Ministerial Statement Regarding Banning of NGOs

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Hon. Paurina Mpariwa made a ministerial statement in the House of Assembly regarding the purported banning of some NGOs in the country. It appears the statement was motivated by press reports that the Governor and Resident Minister for Masvingo Province, Hon. Titus Maluleke, had banned all NGOs operating in the province.

In her statement, the Minister assured the House that no single NGO had been banned or de-registered since the inception of the current coalition government. Hon. Mpariwa explained to the House that the registration and de-registration of NGOs was administered by her ministry. As such, it was only her or her ministry that had the authority to ban or de-register NGOs in the country. She also explained to the House that NGOs could not just be banned or de-registered arbitrarily; there were certain factors taken into consideration and procedures that had to be followed.

Minister Mpariwa took the opportunity to express government gratitude to the NGOs for the work they were doing by complementing government programmes. She cited humanitarian work and developmental programmes in communities. She noted that NGOs played a very critical role especially during the Zimbabwe Dollar hyper-inflation period where virtually all government services had collapsed.

Question and Answer Session

There was great improvement in the number of Ministers that were present in the House during question and answer session. Backbenchers posed a number of questions to Ministers on various policy issues falling within their purview. Below are some of the issues discussed.

Policy Changes in the Mining Sector

Hon. Fred Kanzama (ZANU PF Mutare South) asked Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Arthur Mutambara, if government was considering any policy changes in the mining sector following the findings of the Cabinet delegation, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to Chiadzwa mining fields in Marange recently. Professor Mutambara said the visit to Chiadzwa was an eye-opener and was going to assist government to come up with better policies not only in the diamond sector but across the entire mining sector. He said Zimbabwe was literally giving investors the country’s minerals for free. He told the House that Zimbabwe was not realizing good earnings from the mining sector because of the flawed contracts it offered to investors. He said the country was failing to make a distinction between capital investment and equity. As a result, when signing contracts with investors, Zimbabwe did not leverage the value of the mineral claim to its advantage in order to realize money proceeds. He cited the example of Zimplats where the platinum ore was valued at $4 billion dollars but the country gave a contract to Zimplats on the basis of $700 million investment capital that Zimplats promised to bring into country. He said of that amount, Zimplats only brought into the country $300 million and it raised the rest ($400 million) from the local banks. He also cited the example of the ESSAR deal. He informed the House that the iron ore at former ZISCO Steel and its subsidiaries was valued at $20 billion but the country did not put that into consideration before it awarded the contract to ESSAR.

Status of the Police Commissioner General

Hon. Pishai Muchauraya (MDC-T Makoni South) asked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to update the House on the status of the Police Commissioner General; whether Mr. Chihuri was currently carrying out his duties in his acting capacity or as a substantive holder of the post. The co-Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kembo Mohadi said the appointment of the police commissioner general was not his prerogative but that of the President. Hence he was not privy to the appointment status of Mr. Chihuri.

Parliamentary Oversight on International Agreements

Hon. Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (ZANU PF Uzumba) questioned Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara as to why parliament was not consulted before government signed international agreements, only to be asked to ratify the agreements after the government had committed the country to such agreements. Professor Mutambara conceded that that was a serious oversight which government needed to correct. He said parliament, through its oversight function, should play its role to ensure that all agreements were adequately subjected to scrutiny before signing.

Provision of Dialysis Services

Hon. Cairo Mhandu (ZANU PF Mazowe North) asked the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare if government was aware of the plight of dialysis patients in the countryside as there were no services in those areas and that patients were currently spending $600 to $1000 per week for a dialysis session. Deputy Minister Membeshora said government was aware of the situation and confirmed to the House that dialysis services were currently available in Harare, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. He said government could not provide such services in district and provincial hospitals due to lack of equipment and qualified personnel to operate dialysis machines.

Traffic Offence Spot Fines

Hon. Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T Mbizo) asked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs if government could consider scrapping off spot fines that motorists have been forced to pay by the police for various traffic offences. He noted that this contributed to corruption. The co-Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Kembo Mohadi informed the House that Cabinet was currently seized with the matter and was still exploring ways of dealing with the issue. He hinted that government was considering scrapping off the policy so that those issued with traffic offence tickets pay their fines at their nearest police station or court instead on the spot where the offence would have been committed. On how the money collected from spot fines was used, the Minister said they handed over the money to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. The Minister also conceded to a point raised by Hon. Blessing Chebundo that the policy on spot fines was denying citizens their fundamental constitutional right to be heard in a court of law.

Release of Funds for Voter Registration Process

Hon. Kudakwashe Bhasikiti (ZANU PF Mwenezi) East) asked Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara to inform the House when government would release funds for the voter registration exercise. Professor Mutambara said government was paying attention to the issue but he was not in a position to inform the House as to when the funds would be released and thus referred the issue to the Minister of Finance, who unfortunately was not in the House.

Harassment of Citizens at the Registrar’s Offices

Hon. Ellina Shirichena (ZANU PF Mberengwa South) asked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs why some officers at the Registrar’s Offices demanded bribes, gifts and sex in exchange of such services as birth certificates, passports, national identity cards etc. The co-Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Kembo Mohadi informed the House that this was criminal and as such people should report the culprits to the police.

Presentation of Committee Reports

Chairpersons for the Local Government Portfolio Committee and the Transport Committee, Hon. Lynnette Karenyi and Hon. Blessing Chebundo, respectively, presented their committee reports. The Local Government Portfolio Committees Report was on the Third Quarter Budget Performance of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, for the year 2011. Not much over expenditures were noted except for the high telephone costs amounting close to $1million and the hotel costs for accommodation of Provincial Governors at the Rainbow Towers when they came to Harare for official business.

The Transport Committee report was on the operations of the National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ). The report noted that the NRZ was in a state of collapse due to various reasons, which included; gross mismanagement, lack of corporate governance, lack of capital, bloated staff compliment, which included military personnel.

However, the report could not be debated extensively due to lack of quorum in the House. The House had to adjourn before the debate on the report could be concluded. The mover of the motion will have to re-introduce the Report when the House resumes its sitting today.

Both Houses are sitting this afternoon.

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.

TOP