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Roundup Bulletin No. 02 - 8th Parliament - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
September 27, 2013
Debate on the
dominated proceedings in the National Assembly and the Senate this
week. Parliament relaxed its procedures to allow aides of disabled
Members to enter the National Assembly and Senate chambers during
the sittings of the Houses. Members raised pertinent policy issues
to the Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday during the Question and Answer
session. The deplorable state of the health sector also came under
the spotlight in the National Assembly.
to allow aides of disabled members in the House
of State for Presidential Affairs moved a motion to suspend Standing
Order No. 170, which barred members of the public to enter the chamber
was in session. This was done to enable aides of disabled Members
to enter House and render whatever assistance the disabled members
required. Parliament passed the motion. However, all the rules that
apply to the Mmmbers regarding discipline and decorum in the House
would apply to the aides.
on the Presidential Speech
As indicated above, the
major debate in both Houses of Parliament was on the Presidential
speech motion. As per parliamentary tradition, this is always the
first motion to be debated by Parliament at the beginning of a new
session. This motion focuses on issues raised by the President in
his speech marking the official opening of a session. The Presidential
speech sets the agenda for Parliament as well as outlining key government
policies to be pursued by the Executive during the course of the
parliamentary session in question. In the National Assembly the
motion was introduced by Hon. Edgar Mbwembwe (Zanu-PF Chikomba East)
and Hon. Annastancia Ndhlovu (Zanu-PF) whereas in the Senate, Senator
Monica Mutsvangwa (Zanu-PF Manicaland) and Senator Damian Mumvuri
(Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central) took charge of the motion. MDC-T members
boycotted debate on the motion and filed out of the House as soon
as the motion was set down for debate.
Zanu-PF members who had
the opportunity to debate the motion in both Houses commended President
Mugabe for what they considered key policy issues affecting the
nation, which needed to be urgently attended to. Hon. Mbwembwe said
the President’s speech was “a call to dedication for
Mps to commit themselves to the duty of serving the people of Zimbabwe”.
He emphasized the need for government to prioritize agricultural
support to farmers in order to achieve food security in the country.
Seconding the motion, Hon. Ndhlovu raised quite a number of policy
issues which she felt the new government should prioritize. She
called upon the government to come up with a sound climate change
policy which should see the use of ICTs in mitigating effects of
climate change in order to guarantee food security in the country.
She also encouraged government to come up with a climate change
fund as it has a huge impact on the nation’s development goals.
She noted that women and young girls were the worst affected by
the effects of climate change and therefore government should pay
attention to the peculiar needs of women and girls in this regard.
also urged government to prioritize the teaching of the new Constitution
in schools as part of the process of promoting constitutionalism.
Other members also emphasized
the issue of adequate agricultural support to farmers. Members also
mentioned the issue of infrastructural development in all sectors
of the economy, especially; health, education, transport, commerce
Members also mentioned
the issue of corruption, which has reached unprecedented levels
in the country. They called upon government to introduce stringent
measures to effectively deal with this scourge.
on the state of the health sector
Hon. Ruth Labode-Mafoko
(MDC-T) and Hon. Peter Mataruse (MDC-T Chinhoyi) introduced a motion
in the National Assembly highlighting the deplorable state of the
health care sector in the country. The motion lamented the dilapidated
health care infrastructure and poor services. The motion also lamented
the widening gap between the private and public health care systems
in the country. In their motion, Hon. Labode-Mafoko and Hon. Mataruse
sought the resolution of the House to task the Portfolio Committee
on Health and Child Care to conduct an inquiry into the health sector
in Zimbabwe. Although the motion received intense debate across
the political divide, some members dwelled on the political blame
game. However, most members across the political divide were in
agreement that the health sector needed urgent attention in order
to avert a potential crisis.
and answer session
Some key policy questions
asked by backbenchers and the responses by Ministers are given below.
of civil servants
Hon. Amos Chibaya (MDC-T Mkoba) asked the Minister of State of Presidential
Affairs, Hon. Didymus Mutasa if government was considering any plans
to address the plight of civil servants. Hon. Mutasa said government
was currently engaged in dialogue with civil service unions with
a view to reviewing salaries of civil servants.
Steel- ESSAR deal
Hon. Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma) sought an update from the Minister
of Industry and Commerce regarding the take-over deal between the
government of Zimbabwe the Indian Company, ESSAR, of ZISCO Steel.
The Minister said the agreement was still in place and would be
implemented soon; after all procedural matters have been attended
of condoms and contraceptives to children
Hon. Porusingazi (Zanu-PF Chipinge South) asked the Minister of
Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. David Parirenyatwa to elaborate
government’s position regarding the issuance of condoms and
contraceptives to teenagers. The Minister noted that the ministry
had a clear policy on sexual and reproductive health that was enacted
in 2012, which did not encourage the issuing of contraceptives to
children. Together with the Ministry of Education, his ministry
has put up a programme or a syllabus which takes into account the
normal growth of children. Hence, sex education starts right in
primary school but the issuance of such materials as contraceptives
was targeted at 16 year-olds not 10 year-olds as alleged in the
Regarding the provision
of health care facilities in rural areas, the Minister said the
long standing policy regarding the distances between clinics was
that a person should not walk more than ten kilometers before they
get to the next clinic. He said government was going to build up
to 100 clinics to fill the gap and thus address long distances traveled
by patients in rural areas.
Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T Hatfield) asked the Minister of Industry
and Commerce to explain to the House government plans to reverse
de-industrialization process particularly in Bulawayo. In his response,
Minister Bimha noted that the problem of de-industrialization was
a national challenge. He said in order to address this challenge;
his Ministry has come up with two policy documents, namely, the
Industrial Development Policy and National Trade Policy after extensive
consultations with the business community.
Regarding the issue of
cheap imports and the effects they have had on the local economy,
the Minister pointed out that there was a need to strike a balance
between the need to protect industry as well as the need to honour
agreements that the country has entered into in such regional groupings
as SADC and COMESA.
Both Houses adjourned
to Tuesday 2 October 2013.
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