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Roundup Bulletin No. 25 - 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
June 08, 2012
Members continued debating
the motion in reply to the Presidential Speech yesterday focusing
particularly on the issue of violence. The Chairman of the Media
Information Communication Technology Portfolio Committee, Hon. Settlement
Chikwinya presented the Committee first report on the state of the
public media in the country.
proceedings in the House of Assembly
on the Motion in Reply to the Presidential Speech
As noted above,
Members continued with debate on the motion in reply to the Presidential
Speech. MDC Members who debated the motion bemoaned impunity given
to the perpetrators of violence. They said known culprits were still
roaming the streets despite having been reported to the police.
The police were accused of selective application of the law. MDC
MPs said police often show high-handedness when dealing with MDC
suspects but always turn a blind eye when ZANU PF supporters and
officials were involved. They cited the recent incident in Mudzi
District where an MDC official was murdered
allegedly by ZANU PF supporters in the presence of the police. They
queried why the implicated ZANU PF MPs; Hon. Newten Kachepa and
Hon. Aquilinah Katsande have not been picked up by the police. MDC
MPs further cited the plight of their supporters and officials who
have been languishing in remand prison for more than a year without
trial, for allegedly
murdering a police detail in GlenView.
The debate also focused
on the sincerity of leaders in their denunciation of violence in
public fora when their supporters go on to do the very opposite.
MDC MPs argued that there was no way ZANU PF supporters would go
against the position of their leaders on violence if what they do
was not sanctioned by the party.
On the other hand, ZANU
PF MPs denied that their party condoned violence as a means of staying
in power. They said people in involved in violence were doing so
in their individual capacities. They also pointed out that MDC-T
was not clean either on the issue of violence as they had evidence
of people in their constituencies who had their homesteads burnt
down by MDC-T supporters.
Members from both sides
of the political divide were agreed that violence needed to the
tamed as it impacted adversely on development. They urged the President
and the Prime Minister to conduct joint rallies in the country to
denounce violence and preach the message of peace and reconciliation.
Report of the Media, Information, Communication and Technology Portfolio
Committee on the State of Public Media
The Chairman of the Media
Information Communication Technology Portfolio Committee, Hon. Settlement
Chikwinya reinstated the Committee first report on the state of
the public media in the country which had lapsed due to the prorogation
of the 3rd Session.
In presenting the report,
the Chairman said the Committee’s enquiry was motivated by
the Inclusive Government’s commitment to instigate media reforms
in the country as directed by the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The Committee noted that the public media in the country, both electronic
and print, were grossly under-resourced and hence relied on dilapidated
infrastructure which has resulted in poor service delivery. The
Committee noted that the situation was worse at Bulawayo’s
Montrose Studios and the Chronicle offices.
Hon. Chikwinya informed
the House that at the time when the Committee conducted its enquiry,
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) did not have a board
in place. However, the BAZ Board has since been appointed. It was
not however clear from the Chairman’s report whether or not
the current BAZ Board was properly constituted as required by the
law. This has been one of the outstanding contentious issues between
MDC-T and ZANU PF.
The report also reveals
that at the Committee’s public hearings most people spoke
strongly about Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZBC) biased
coverage of events especially political activities of different
political parties. The public raised the same concern with regards
to the public print media.
On the issue of radio
and television frequencies the Committee noted that there were limitations
due to the current analogue system that the country is using. Thus
the Committee urged government to speed up the migration process
from analogue to digital system, which can accommodate more frequencies.
in the media fraternity were concerned with constraints they had
in accessing records and information from government departments
despite the fact that the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) purported
to give journalists such a right.
on the activities of the portfolio committees
Committee on Agriculture
The Committee received
oral evidence from the Board Chairman of the Agricultural Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) on the status of the Chisumbanje Ethanol
Project. ARDA Board Chairman Basil Nyabadza informed the Committee
that the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project was consummated in 2009 on
a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model, which was an ideal business
deal at the time since government did not have adequate resources
to do this project on its own. However, with the advent of dollarization
government now wanted to renegotiate the deal so that government
becomes a shareholder. He said an inter-ministerial task-force was
working on the issue and a decision would be announced soon. However,
the Committee was not happy with the haphazard manner the deal was
conducted which has resulted in some terms of the deal being implemented
The Committee also heard
that ARDA’s herd had been depleted to 1300 from 357 294 cattle
as a result of the land reform which saw some ARDA estates surrendered
to government in terms of the land reform programme.
ARDA also informed the
Committee that a fleet of its 425 tractors acquired from Iran has
been decimated to 118. He said some of the tractors were surrendered
to government for allocation to individuals whereas the rest were
auctioned due to lack of spares. The Committee was shocked to hear
that some of the tractors were auctioned for as little as $30.
Committee on Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development
The Minister of Women
Affairs and Community Development, Hon. Dr. Olivier Muchena appeared
before the Committee to update it on the ministry’s current
activities and programmes.
Hon. Dr. Muchena explained
to the Committee how the ministry was implementing the community
development programme. This programme is earmarked primarily to
empower women across the country. She said this programme was funded
from the fiscus and to date since 2010, an allocation amounting
to $5 million had been committed to the ministry for this programme.
However, she expressed concern with delays by treasury in releasing
the money on time. For instance, she told the Committee that of
the $2 million allocated for this programme in 2011; only $1 million
was released by December of that year. For 2012, the programme was
allocated $3 million and this money has not been released to the
ministry up to now. The Minister noted that this impacted negatively
on the implementation of the programme.
However, the Minister
said for the few projects that have been implemented under this
programme, there have been marked improvements in the lifestyles
of beneficiaries. She denied the observation by the Committee that
most projects so far have been implemented in her constituency.
She said all the constituencies have benefited from the programme.
Regarding the current
work to review the gender policy, the Minister informed the Committee
that her ministry decided to suspend this until the new constitution-making
process had been concluded to ensure that the gender policy is aligned
There was no
action on the 5 Bills before the House this week, namely; Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill, Electoral
Amendment Bill, Older
Persons Bill, National
Incomes and Pricing Commission Bill and the Urban
Councils Amendment Bill.
Both Houses will be sitting
next week as well as their respective committees.
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