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Roundup Bulletin No. 05 - 8th Parliament - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
October 18, 2013
Assembly saw emotions running high this week as the two main
political parties had heated exchanges on a number of motions before
the House; 31st July harmonized elections, food shortages, sanctions
as elaborated below.
on elections ruled out of order
On Tuesday Hon.
Zvidzai (MDC-T) intended to give notice of his motion which sought
the resolution of the House to allow the Portfolio Committee on
Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to conduct an inquiry into
the of the
31st July 2013 harmonized elections. However, the Speaker asked
him to defer his motion as the Speaker wanted to scrutinize it to
determine whether or not it was admissible in terms of the Constitution
and the House Standing Rules and Orders. On Thursday, the Speaker
gave his ruling and said the motion was inadmissible in terms of
the Constitution and the House Standing Rules and Orders. In his
ruling, the Speaker noted that the matter regarding the Presidential
Elections has already been settled by the Constitutional Court,
which ruled that the elections were free, fair and credible. Hence,
there could be no any other body more competent than the Constitutional
Court to pass a verdict on such a matter. The Speaker also noted
that the motion fell foul of the House procedures since it sought
to discuss a matter still pending in the Courts, that is, the MDC-T
petitions challenging the outcome of elections in 31 constituencies.
of Members to the Standing Rules and Orders Committee
announced the appointment of the following Members to the Standing
Rules and Orders Committee in addition to the list announced last
- Hon. Nelson
- Sen. Chief
- Hon. Melody
- Hon. Kazemba
- Sen. Priscah
Mupfumira (Zanu-PF) Hon. Daniel Shumba (Zanu-PF),
- Hon. Jasmine
- Hon. Constance
of Members to the Pan African Parliament Delegation
Members were appointed to the Zimbabwe Delegation to the Pan African
- Hon. Chenhamo
- Hon. Jorum
- Sen. Fortune
- Hon. Tapiwa
Mashakada (MDC-T) and
- Sen. Priscah
of Members to the SADC PF Delegation
Members were appointed to the Zimbabwe Delegation to the SADC Parliamentary
- Hon. Innocent
- Sen. Tambudzani
- Hon. Samson
- Sen. Monica
Mutsvangwa (Zanu-PF) and
- Hon. Jasmine
on food shortages
The motion by
Hon. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on food insecurity in the country created
intense debate which saw Members debating on partisan lines. While
Members across the political divide were agreed that many people
(2.2 million) in the country were facing food shortages, they were
sharply divided on the cause of this situation. Hon. Nkomo put the
blame squarely on poor government policies. He said the “radical
transformation in land ownership” was responsible for the
decline in maize production as the new farmers did not have adequate
skills, experience, technical and financial support. Hon. Nkomo
said while the principle of land redistribution was noble, the manner
in which it was done was meant to prop up the waning popularity
of the ruling party.
Members accepted the stark reality of hunger stalking the nation,
they attributed it to the former Minister of Finance, Hon. Tendai
Biti. They accused Hon. Biti for deliberately under-funding agriculture
for political gains. They also blamed the situation on the “Western
on cancer levy
Hon. Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T) seconded by Hon. Ruth Labode-Mafoko
introduced a motion in the National Assembly calling for the introduction
of a Cancer Levy in the same mould as the HIV/AIDS Levy. Prior to
debating her motion, Hon. Khupe played a video of cancer patients
to Members to demonstrate the gravity of her motion. She informed
the House that, being a victim of breast cancer herself, she had
taken a passionate interest in the subject and this has exposed
her to the gravity of challenges that cancer patients are faced
with. Hon. Khupe told the House that cancer has become the most
deadly “killer’ in the country after HIV and AIDS. However,
she noted that the country did not have adequate facilities to deal
with this disease as only two referral hospitalities in the country
were equipped to deal with the disease. She said the equipment at
Mpilo and Parirenyatwa Hospitals was in most cases dysfunctional.
In addition, she noted that cancer treatment was very expensive
and therefore beyond the reach of many sufferers, especially the
poor in rural areas. As a result, she said many women were dying
silently in their agony without any treatment and care.
The House was
shocked to hear that 60% of women in the country were at risk of
cervical cancer. In addition, 1800 women were affected by breast
cancer annually and 1200 of those succumb to the disease annually.
The motion received
support across the political divide. Members supported the idea
of setting up a Cancer Levy as proposed by Hon. Khupe. However,
the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Paul Chimedza
suggested that instead of coming up with a levy specifically for
cancer, it would be more beneficial to introduce a National Health
Insurance Fund that will cover all non-communicable diseases such
as diabetes, hypertension etc.
on the lifting of sanctions
The motion calling
for the lifting of “sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe by
western countries caused heated debate in the House. The motion
was introduced by Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu-PF Mberengwa East)
seconded by Hon. Mavima. Hon. Hlongwane called upon the European
Union, Australia, New Zealand and United States of America to “lift
all forms of sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe”. He said
these sanctions were responsible for high rate of de-industrialization,
unemployment and poverty levels which the country has been experiencing
for the last 12 years. Hon. Hlongwane and his seconder argued that
the really reason Zimbabwe was slapped with sanctions was for implementing
the land reform programme not the so called human rights abuses.
He said Zimbabwe was not able to access lines of credit from international
financial institutions because of the restrictions contained in
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed by the US
Congress as well as restrictive measures invoked by the EU under
the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
who contributed to the debate, Hon. Mashakada and Hon. S Chikwinya
dismissed Hon. Hlongwane’s assertions on sanctions. Hon. Mashakada
said it was unfortunate that Zanu-PF had found a convenient scapegoat
in sanctions as they now blame all their failures on sanctions.
He said what the western countries imposed on Zimbabwe were restrictive
measures as there were no complete trade embargoes. Further, Hon.
Mashakada noted that Zimbabwe was still in trade with Western countries
but was failing to meet its quotas. He also argued that economic
decline in the country started in the 90’s well before the
implementation of the said restrictive measures during the time
of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP). Hon. Mashakada
also said the effects ESAP were worsened by Zimbabwe’s involvement
in the DR Congo war which cost the country US$3 billion.
Chikwinya said Zimbabwe had an obligation under Article 9 of the
Cotonou Partnership Agreement to respect and observe human rights
and the rule of law. However, he said Zimbabwe was in flagrant violation
of the above mentioned Article and perpetrators of violence and
other forms of human rights abuses did so with impunity. He alleged
that Hon. Chinotimba murdered an MDC-T activist, Dickson Sibamba,
in Buhera during the March 2008 elections. This did not go down
well with Hon. Chinotimba and other Zanu-PF Members. The Speaker
ordered Hon. Chikwinya to withdraw his allegations against Hon.
Chinotimba. Hon. Chikwinya obliged but requested permission to submit
his documented evidence. The Speaker ruled against Hon. Chikwinya’s
request but rather advised him to report the issue to the police.
Zanu-PF Members broke into song and temporarily brought the House
into pandemonium. Hon. Chikwinya was not able to finish debate as
he was timed-out.
on power outages
Hon. James Maridadi
(MDC-T) seconded by Hon. Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) introduced a motion
in the House regarding the intermittent power outages and the attendant
consequences. Hon. Maridadi revealed to the House that the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) currently had an installed generating
capacity of 1 950 mega watts from its five plants against a national
demand of 2200 mega watts. He pointed out that currently, ZESA was
only generating 1000 mega watts. Hon. Maridadi attributed the electricity
problem in the country to “lack of vision and forward planning”
by government. He argued that since independence there hasn’t
been any investment into new electricity generating plants. Hon.
Maridadi also noted that electricity was one of the economic enablers
and therefore this was affecting economic development in the country.
highlighted the social and economic consequences of the intermittent
power outages in the country. He noted hospitals were hard-hit by
the problem and as a result some patients had died due to power
outages. He strongly recommended the use of other energy sources
such as solar, wind, biogas etc to supplement electricity currently
generated by ZESA.
and the President of the Senate announced the appointment of Portfolio
Committees and Thematic Committees, respectively. The electronic
list is available at SAPST upon request.
Assembly adjourned to 5 November 2013 whereas the Senate adjourned
to 22 October 2013. However, Committees will continue meeting.
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