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Roundup Bulletin No. 10 – 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
March 21, 2012
On Tuesday 20
March 2012, the House
of Assembly debated the Public Accounts Report on the management
of government vehicles by CMED (Private) Limited and a report by
the Portfolio Committee on the schools textbooks tender. The Senate
debated two reports yesterday; a report by the MDGs Thematic Committee
on the Millennium Development Goal 2 (MDG 2); regarding the achievement
of universal primary education by 2015 and a report of the HIV and
AIDS Thematic Committee on the Anti-Retroviral Treatment Roll-Out
Programme. The Acting Minister of Justice reinstated the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral
Amendment Bill to the Order Paper.
Proceedings in the House of Assembly
Debate on the
Public Accounts Committee Report on the Management of Government
Vehicles by CMED
of the Public Accounts Committee Hon. Webber Chinyadza presented
the committee’s findings on the management of government vehicles
by the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED). The committee
investigations into this issue were prompted by the damning audit
report by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
report revealed glaring irregularities at CMED, ranging from lack
of corporate governance, mismanagement, lack of recapitalization,
corruption etc. The Committee noted that despite its commercialization
in 2000, CMED has failed to transform itself from being a government
department to a commercial entity. The House was told that for the
past three years, CMED has been operating without a board, a situation
which left it at the mercy of government. Further, the Committee
noted that the previous CMED board was made up of mainly government
officials, a situation which the committee felt was not healthy
for the proper running of the organization. The Committee said good
corporate principles required an independent board to ensure that
sound decisions were made.
As a consequence
of its failure to transform itself into a commercial entity, CMED’s
profit margins have dwindled from $6 million in 2009 to $200 000.
As a result, the organization has not been able to recapitalize.
The House was
also shocked to hear that CMED could not account for a stock worth
$50 million. More than 1200 vehicles disappeared without trace.
The Committee attributed this to corruption. Debate on the Report
of the Education, Arts, Sport and Culture committee on the tendering
of primary and secondary textbooks.
Mangami, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education,
Arts, Sport and Culture presented a report on primary and secondary
schools textbooks tender and distribution process. The textbooks
were acquired under the Education Transition Fund coordinated by
The report alleges
that there were anomalies in the manner the tender process was done.
The argued that the process was not transparent from the beginning
as the advertisement in the newspaper was misleading. The advertisement
gave the impression that it was only printers who were invited to
bid for this project therefore the publishers did not apply. However
after enquiry the publishers were given only thirteen days to bid
for the tender. Furthermore the contract was given to the publishers
and not the printers. The Committee queried why the tender was awarded
to Longman Zimbabwe at the expense of other bidders such as Zimbabwe
Publishing House, College Press etc. The insinuation was that the
UNICEF and the Minister of Education, Senator David Coltart conspired
to award the tender to an international company, Longman, which
is a British company by using Longman Zimbabwe as a front. Some
Members even alleged corruption on the part of the Minister of Education
whom they accused of single-handedly awarding the tender to Longman
Zimbabwe in flagrant violation of tender procedures.
also argued that the books were of poor quality and therefore would
not last their expected 5-year life span.
Members felt that the Minister of Education and his officials should
be commended for providing textbooks to all schools in the country
thereby improving the pupil-textbook ratio to 1:1 as compared to
the previous situation where 45 pupils were sharing one textbook.
Debate on the
motion continues today after the question and answer session.
Proceedings in the Senate
of the Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals on the
Provision of Education in Resettled Areas (S.C. 4, 2012).
Chitaka presented a report of the MDGs Thematic Committee on the
progress regarding the implementation of the MDG 2, regarding the
achievement of universal primary education for boys and girls by
2015. The Committee conducted fact-finding visits and public hearings
in newly resettled areas to assess the provision of education services.
The Senate heard that most of the people affected by lack of proper
education facilities and services in the resettled areas were farm
workers since the farm owners were able to send their own children
to better schools.
noted that all the schools it visited in the resettled areas were
characterized by make-shift structures made up of grass-thatched
pole and dagga classrooms and at some of these schools, lessons
were conducted in dilapidated tobacco barns or under trees. The
report also highlighted the challenge of acquiring birth certificates
as another issue that government needed to address urgently. The
House was informed that given the fact that most of the farm workers
or their parents were immigrants from neighboring countries such
as Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, they were treated as aliens in
this country and therefore could not apply for birth certificates
and let alone national identity documents. As a result, most of
the children only go as far as Grade 5 or 6 as they could not write
Grade 7 exams without birth certificates. This has in turn resulted
in a cycle of illiteracy and poverty in the resettled areas.
also noted that water and sanitation were a big challenge that these
schools were facing; thus exposing school children to diseases.
also concerned about the long distances that children in resettled
areas had to travel to and from school daily; in some cases children
had to travel 26 km daily. This has resulted in high rates of absenteeism
and school drop-outs. The Senate also heard that there have been
cases of young girls being raped and that some children have been
kidnapped without trace. Compounding the situation was that other
crucial services such as clinics, police posts etc were either non-existant
in the resettled areas or were very far away from the communities.
on the report continues today.
of the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS on the Anti-Retroviral
Treatment Roll Out Programme (S.C.1, 2012).
Khumalo presented his Committee’s report on the Anti-Retroviral
Treatment (ART) roll-out programme in the country.
The Acting Minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa reinstated
the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral Amendment
Bill to the Order Paper. The Bills lapsed in September 2011 due
to the prorogation of the 3rd Session of the 7th Parliament. Parliamentary
procedures allow for the restoration of lapsed motions in the new
session at the stage at which they had reached when they lapsed.
Hence, debate on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill will
resume at the second reading. The Electoral Amendment Bill is under
consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).
business will take precedence today over government business. Wednesdays
are generally reserved for backbenchers motions, questions and reports
in the House of Assembly and the same for the Senate on Thursdays.
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