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Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
Roundup Bulletin No. 29- 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
June 22, 2012
The major highlight
of this week’s sitting in the House
of Assembly was the Prime Minister’s question and answer
session where backbenchers sought clarifications from Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai on a number of topical policy issues affecting
citizens in the country. The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality
Industry, Hon. Walter Mzembi, made a Ministerial Statement in the
House of Assembly on the country’ preparedness to host the
2013 United Nations World Tourism General Assembly in Victoria Falls.
The House of Assembly also ratified the United Nations Protocol
to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially,
Women and Children.The House also debated a motion by Hon. Jeffryson
Chitando (MDC-T Masvingo Central) on the need for government to
put in place mechanisms that will ensure a peaceful post election
transition in the country.
The issue of
“ghost workers” in the public service came under spotlight
in the Senate this week. The Senate also debated a motion on the
plight of teachers in the country.
Proceedings in the House of Assembly
Minister’s Question and Answer Session
The Prime Minister
prefaced his question and answer session by expressing his gratitude
to the National Football Team for winning their match against Burundi
last Sunday. He also thanked all MPs who participated in debates
in the House during this session. He expressed disappointment at
the poor attendance to parliament by Ministers and expressed hope
that there will be change of attitude by Ministers in the next session
of Parliament. Below are some of the issues discussed during the
Prime Minister’s Question and Answer Session.
of Livestock in Drought Stricken Areas
a question by Hon. Paul Mazikana (ZANU PF Mbire) regarding the plight
of livestock in drought stricken areas mainly in the Southern Region
of the country, the Prime Minister said government was already seized
with the matter. A Cabinet Taskforce has been appointed to look
into the issue and advise government appropriate measures to take.
Utterance by Senior Military Officers
Tsvangirai told the House that as much as political utterances by
some senior military officers were unfortunate, they reflected personal
views of a small clique in the security sector. He noted that most
officers in the security sector were committed to upholding the
Constitution and the protection of the people of Zimbabwe. However,
he said such statements tended to undermine efforts to hold credible,
free and fair elections. The Prime Minister was reacting to a question
by Hon. Blessing Chebundo (MDC-T Kwekwe Central).
of Cotton Farmers
Hon. Isheunesu Muza asked the Prime Minister to explain to the House
measures that government had put in place to address the plight
of cotton farmers in their price impasse with merchants. The Prime
Minister noted that the current impasse was mainly due to policy
contradictions in the cotton sector; government liberalized the
cotton marketing system on one hand and imposed price controls at
the same time. He said the best model was for government to subsidize
the inputs supply side so as to cushion cotton farmers from fluctuating
international cotton prices.
Position on the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project
The Prime Minister
clarified government’s position on the Ethanol Project in
Chisumbanje to the House in response to Hon. Moses Jiri’s
(MDC-T Chikomba Central) question. He said government was not against
the green fuel project but the issue at the core of the problem
was that the agreement between the investor and the Agricultural
Rural Development Authority (ARDA) was poorly constructed to the
disadvantage of government. He said government was currently looking
into the agreement to ensure that the project benefited the country.
of Imported Drugs
Mutomba (ZANU PF Buhera North) noted with concern the influx of
imported medical drugs and herbs in the country and asked the Prime
Minister what government was doing regarding the issue to ensure
that consumers were not exposed to harmful drugs. The Prime Minister
said the Minister of Health was better placed to answer that question.
He, however, said government relied on the advice from the Medicines
Control Authority of Zimbabwe on such matters.
Deficit Mitigation Measures
Tsvangirai said government would ensure that grain was moved from
surplus areas to deficit areas to avert starvation in those areas
which did not harvest adequate food. In addition, government would
import 500 000 metric tonnes of grain possibly from Zambia to offset
the grain deficit in the country. He was responding to a question
from Hon. Reggie Moyo (MDC-T Luveve) who wanted to know measures
that government has put in place to avert looming starvation in
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
of Children Living with Disabilities
The Prime Minister
told the House that government was very committed to improving the
plight of children with disabilities so that they have a normal
upbringing like all other children in society. However, he said
government could only do what it could given the limited resources
at its disposal. He thus called upon everybody in society; families,
the corporate sector and all other stakeholders to assist government
in improving the plight of children with disabilities. He was responding
to a question by Hon. Anastancia Ndhlovu (ZANU PF Shurugwi South).
Situation in Harare and Bulawayo
Hon. Gift Dzirutwe
(MDC-T Glen Norah) wanted to know what government was doing to address
water woes in Harare and Bulawayo given the perennial challenges
the two major cities in the country have been facing for some time.
The Prime Minister said government was aware of the acute water
and sanitation problems in the two cities and was currently implementing
some measures to address the problem. Regarding the situation in
Harare, the Prime Minister said he would be commissioning a new
water treatment plant this weekend. He said this will go a long
way in addressing water supply challenges in the city of Harare.
Regarding Bulawayo, he noted with concern the slow progress regarding
the completion of the Mtshabezi Dam Water Project, meant to augment
water supplies to the city. He said delays were mainly attributed
to the red tape in the State Procurement Board which took its time
to adjudicate tenders thereby offsetting project timelines.
Response to Climate Change Phenomenon
Sithole (ZANU PF Chiredzi East) asked the Prime Ministers what measures
government was putting in place to address the phenomenon of climate
change. The Prime Minister noted that climate change was a global
phenomenon that required a collective response from all the countries
in the world. He said the Rio Summit in Brazil on Sustainable Environment
that the President was currently attending was one such response
to the phenomenon by the international community.
Position on ESSAR Deal
The Prime Minister
was asked by Hon. Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T Mbizo) to clarify
to the House government’s position on the ESSAR deal given
conflicting press statements from the Minister of Industry and Commerce
and the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. In his response,
the Prime Minister said the apparent lack of consultation between
the two ministries was unfortunate. However, he said Cabinet has
already made a decision on the issue and agreed that Mwenezi iron
ore claims be released to ESSAR as part of the deal on condition
that ESSAR and the Government of Zimbabwe will conduct a joint evaluation
of the claim.
of the AIDS Levy Fund
Ndambakuwa (ZANU PF Magunje) raised concern to the Prime Minister
regarding the distribution of the AIDS Levy Fund. He said despite
the fact that all employees in the country contribute to the AIDS
Levy Fund ever month, many people living with HIV/AIDS were struggling
to access anti-retro viral drugs. The Prime Minister said he was
not aware of the quantum of revenue realized from the Fund and as
such was not in position to say whether the money was enough or
not to meet the demand of people who require this service. He thus
advised Hon. Ndambakuwa to refer his question to the Minister of
Health and Child Welfare who was better placed to address the nitty-gritty
of the Fund.
Kumalo (MDC-T St Mary’s) asked the Prime Minister to clarify
the correct position regarding revenue from the diamond sector.
In response, Prime Minister Tsvangirai informed the House that Cabinet
in its Special Meeting on Thursday last week discussed the issue
and agreed that all revenue from the diamond sector should be channeled
to treasury. He noted that between January and May this year treasury
received less than $25 million, a far cry from the projected revenue.
He said the projected revenue of $600 million in the 2012 National
Budget would not be met given the current inflow trends from the
Diamond Sector. On a suggestion by Hon. Willias Madzimure to cancel
licences of the current diamond mines in Chiadzwa, the Prime Minister
said this would be counterproductive. He said the issue with diamond
revenue had nothing to do with production but with transparency
and accountability in the marketing
of the Chiadzwa diamonds.
Servants Salary Freeze
to Hon. Jeffryson Chitando’s (MDC-T Masvingo Central) question
regarding press reports on the salary freeze for civil servants,
the Prime Minister said government has not adopted such a policy.
However, he said as much as government was committed in upgrading
the current salaries of civil servants, government did not have
the latitude to do so at the moment given the tight fiscal space
it was faced with. He further said it was irresponsible for some
people in government to apportion blame on the Minister of Finance,
Hon. Tendai Biti. He said government decisions were made on the
basis of collective principle and as such the Minister of Finance
was merely responsible for articulating government policies on public
Out Private Transport System
Kapesa (ZANU PF Makonde) enquired from the Prime Minister if government
had any plans to phase out the private transport system in favour
of the public transport system given the carnage on the roads in
the country. The Prime Minister said government was not in a position
to do so for now given that the public transport sector was still
facing many challenges and was thus not yet in a position to provide
a better service.
of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)
The issue of
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) came up again in parliament
during the Prime Minister’s Question and Answer Session on
Wednesday. Hon. Misheck Shoko asked the Prime Minister to clarify
the correct status of BAZ given conflicting statements from government
officials on the issue, especially the Minister of Media, Information
and Publicity’s insistence that BAZ was properly constituted.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai said BAZ was one of the 24 outstanding
issues in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), which the Cabinet and Party Principals
agreed it should be implemented. In addition, the Prime Minister
noted that nominations by Parliament’s Standing Rules and
Orders Committee (SROC) to the Board were ignored by the Minister
of Media, Information and Publicity, Hon. Webster Shamu. Thus the
Prime Minister called for the censure of Minister Shamu for disobeying
directives of Cabinet and GPA Party Principals.
Statement by the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry on
the hosting of UNWTO Conference by Zimbabwe and Zambia
of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon. Walter Mzembi, made a
Ministerial Statement in the House of Assembly on Thursday 21 June
2012 on the country’ preparedness to host the 2013 United
Nations World Tourism General Assembly in Victoria Falls.
He assured the
House that preparations were well on course. The Minister said government
has given high priority to this event and as such all government
agencies have been marshaled towards the successful hosting of the
event. At Cabinet level, government assigned Vice President Hon.
Joice Mujuru to coordinate preparations for the event.
Mzembi appealed to the nation to maintain peace and security in
the country as this was a prerequisite for the successful hosting
of the event of this magnitude.
of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, especially Women and Children
of Home Affairs, Hon. Theresa Makone brought before parliament the
United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, especially, Women and Children, for ratification in
terms of Subsection (1) of Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
She said the purpose of the protocol was to prevent and combat trafficking
in persons in especially women and children. Thus the protocol seeks
to protect and assist the victims of such trafficking with full
respect for their human rights and also to promote cooperation among
third parties in order to meet those objectives.
The House unanimously
approved the protocol and it now awaits approval by the Senate.
Debate on the Motion on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections
and Governance The House debate a motion introduced by Hon. Jeffryson
Chitando on Wednesday 20 June 2012 urging government to institute
mechanisms to ensure a peaceful post election transition in the
country. The motion further called SADC and African Union to ensure
that member states subscribed to the ethos of the AU Charter on
Democracy, Elections and Governance.
urged the government of Zimbabwe to emulate other countries in the
continent such as Zambia, Malawi, Senegal and Lesotho for peaceful
power transitions in their countries. Regarding the forthcoming
elections in the country, he urged SADC to deploy its election observers
in Zimbabwe at least 6 months before and after the elections.
who debated the motion were agreed across the political divide for
the need to institute mechanisms that will ensure peaceful elections
in the country, they differed along partisan lines on some aspects
such as the invitation of election observers from western countries
who ZANU PF MPs said they were hostile to their party.
The motion was
unanimously adopted on Thursday 21 June 2012 after extensive debate
by Members across the political divide.
Proceedings in the Senate
on a motion on Ghost Workers in the Public Service
Makore (MDC-T Chitungwiza) moved a motion on the alleged existence
of ghost workers on the Public Service Payroll. He condemned the
financial prejudice government suffered as a result of the alleged
ghost workers in the public service, who continue to draw salaries
from government coffers. Senator Makore also expressed dismay at
the lack of an expeditious response to correct the situation by
eradicating the potential existence of ghost workers and bringing
to account all those responsible for illegally recruiting these
so-called ghost workers.
Musarurwa moved a motion on the plight of teachers in the country.
He noted that teachers were not remunerated well despite their commendable
efforts of providing quality education for children. He thus called
upon government to take appropriate measures to alleviate the plight
of teachers otherwise the country risked deteriorating education
adjourned to Tuesday 10 July 2012.
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