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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 06 - 8th Parliament - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
November 11, 2013

Introduction

Last week saw the reinstatement of Hon Munyaradzi Kereke to his seat in Parliament. This was in line with the Constitutional Court’s ruling which nullified his expulsion from Parliament. Hon. Kereke will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Budget Finance and Economic Planning and the Mines, Energy and Power Development. Members raised pertinent policy issues to the Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday during the Question and Answer session.

Changes to the portfolio committees

The Speaker announced the following changes in Portfolio Committee Membership;

  • Hon. Fanny Chirisa will no longer serve on the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment as she already serves in other two Committees.
  • Hon. Thokozani Khupe will serve on the Finance and Economic Planning Committee,
  • Hon. Brian Tshuma will move from the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Committee,
  • Hon. Alexio Musundire will serve on the Public Accounts Committee and the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs,
  • Hon. Dingilizwe Tshuma will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Health and Childcare and Education, Sports and Culture.

House Etiquette and Decorum

The Speaker urged Members of Parliament to observe established rules and customs relating to decorum and the precedence of the Speaker or other presiding officers.

Speaker’s ruling on Hon. Matambanadzo’s unparliamentary utterances

The Speaker made a ruling regarding utterances by Hon. Matambanadzo’s in which he accused MDC-T MPs “for urinating on pots and plates” when they were students at the University of Zimbabwe. MDC-T MPs had objected to the utterances and asked the Speaker to rule Hon. Matambanadzo out of order. At the time the utterances were made, the Speaker said he needed time to read the hansard so as to be able to make his ruling. On Thursday last week, the Speaker ruled that Hon. Masango Matambanadzo’s utterances constituted unparliamentary language. Thus, Hon. Matambanadzo was ordered to withdraw his statement and apologize to the House, which he duly did.

Motion inquiry into the power sector in Zimbabwe

Members noted that the farming sector is facing challenges as a result of the power outages; farmers can no longer irrigate their crops as the supply of power has now become erratic in most areas. During the course of the debate, Hon. Masango Matambanadzo caused a stir when he said the MDC-T Members of Parliament had labelled him uneducated but with all their degrees had failed to notice that sanctions had destroyed ZESA. The debate on the motion strayed into the sanctions issue with counter accusations form the two main political parties in the House. This plunged the House into commotion and as a result the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Hon. Marapira had to adjourn the debate to restore sanity in the House.

However, this did not go down well with MDC-T Members who still wanted to debate the motion. The MDC-T Chief Whip Hon. Innocent Gonese protested saying that according to the House procedures if a Member still wanted to debate they should be allowed to do so. The House had to be divided in order to vote on whether Hon Gonese was to be allowed to debate on the motion; the votes were MDC-T 27 and Zanu-PF 91.

Question and Answer Session

Tollgates in towns

Hon. Thamsanqa Mahlangu asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development what Government policy was towards setting up tollgates in towns. In response, Minister Dr. Obert Mpofu said that consultations were being conducted in order to come up with a policy on the establishment of tollgates in towns.

Climate change

During the question and answer session, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Hon. Saviour Kasukuwere said that Zimbabwe was beginning to experience the effects of climate change. He said government was busy working on the National Strategic Plan in order to mitigate the problems that come with climate change. He went on to say that Government will build more dams to ensure that farmers were not affected by climate change. He was responding to a question by Hon. Annastancia Ndhlovu.

Institutionalisation of Metropolitan and Provincial Councils

Hon. Sesel Zvidzai asked why the Metropolitan and Provincial Councils had not been institutionalised and constituted, eight months after the new constitution came into force and three months after the formation of the Government. In response the Acting Leader of the House, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa said there was need for institutional and legal framework thereafter the relevant ministries could be in a position to set up such Councils.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Hon. Edward Cross asked the Finance Minister if Zimbabwe was on a staff monitored programme with the IMF. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa pointed out that Zimbabwe was indeed under a staff-monitored Programme which looks at the soundness of the country's macro-economic policies. He also went on to say that the IMF delegation was currently in the country to review the country’s economic progress.

Motion On establishment of a women’s bank

On Wednesday last week, Hon. Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T) seconded by Hon. Dorcas Sibanda introduced a motion in the National Assembly calling for the introduction of the establishment of a women’s bank. Hon Khupe highlighted the problems faced by women when they try to access loans to do their projects. She called the House to support her motion arguing that women constituted 52% of the national population in Zimbabwe. She noted that women contributed 82% to the GDP in Zimbabwe and therefore there was needs for a bank that catered for their needs since greater percentage of them work in the informal sector. Hon Majome supported the motion saying it was a noble and bold motion which sought to do things in a different way. She gave an example of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh which has implemented a similar model of a women’s bank. She argued that statistics have shown that women repay their debts at a faster rate than men do. She pointed out that in order to end the vicious cycle of poverty there was a need to empower women by developing a banking model and a bank where women were subjected to appropriate mechanisms to enable them to borrow without collateral. The motion received a lot of support from the male Parliamentarians who felt it was a noble idea to raise such an issue. Hon Haritatos said women were the back bone of development and so needed favourable terms to support their efforts as they contributed to the development of the nation. Hon Mukwena urged women to unite despite their different political affiliations and fight against sanctions. Hon S. Chikwinya said women have been historically disadvantaged and there was a need to address such issues. Hon Chinotimba said he was impressed with the motion and added that issues of sanctions should be dealt with in order for the banking sector not to be affected negatively.

Office bearers of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus

The following members were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus as follows:

  • Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa - Chairperson
  • Hon. Mpariwa - Deputy Chairperson
  • Hon. M. Dziva - Secretary
  • Hon. Senator. Mahofa - Treasurer, Hon. Mahoka - Committee member
  • Hon. Senator Shiri - Committee member

Hon Dorcas Sibanda (MDC T) and Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) pointed out that their parties did not take part in the selection process of the Women’s Caucus and therefore their parties did not recognise those elected. The Speaker said the House could not entertain such a complaint as the election was conducted outside the House. He advised the complainants to go back to the Women’s Caucus forum to resolve their disagreements.

Motion on lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe

The motion calling for the lifting of “sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe by western countries continued this week as it had been interrupted by automatic adjournment of the House on 16 October. The motion was introduced by Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu-PF Mberengwa East) seconded by Hon. Paul Mavima (Zanu-PF Gokwe Sengwa). 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”. Hon Chikwinya (MDC-T, Mbizo Constituency) tabled a paper to the Hansard Officers and read part of it saying he wanted to prove that Zimbabwe was trading with the Government of Zimbabwe. He pointed out that between 2011 and 2015, the UK government through the Department for International Development (DFID), expects to provide over US$ 700 million development assistance. Their top priorities are strengthening democracy, including constitutional reform and they have already done that through assisting the constitution making process. Results so far are that during the financial year of 2012 to 2013, the DFID office provided approximately US$125 million in support of vulnerable Zimbabweans. He also went on to say Zimbabwe was still importing from the UK. This year as of August, Zimbabwe has imported goods amounting to US$35 million. Exports from Zimbabwe to UK amount to US$14 million, simply because of our incapacity to produce. He pointed out to the House that he wanted to give the Honourable MPs a document that showed that Zimbabwe has no restrictive measures with regard to trade. Concerning corruption he said Zimbabwe ranks 163 out of 176 on the Corruption Perception Index. He pointed out that there was need for a ‘Whistle Blowers’ Act’ to protect whistle blowers against powerful politicians who are in the majority of committing crimes. Hon. Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF, Buhera West Constituency) joined the debate on sanctions and pointed out that on paper it says Zimbabwe firms not connected to Government leaders are free to do business with American firms. At the same time, American firms are free to invest and trade with Zimbabwe as long as they avoid business deals with top Zanu-PF officials. In reality however, a number of companies from Zimbabwe, whether or not linked to Zanu-PF have been experiencing serious problems in obtaining offshore financing or credit guarantees, just for being Zimbabwean operations. Other members who debated on the motion were Hon. Misihairambwi-Mushonga (MDC), Hon Mukwangwariwa (Zanu-PF), Hon. G Moyo (MDC-T), Hon. Matangira (Zanu-PF), Hon. Matambanadzo (Zanu-PF) and Ms Chikwinya (Zanu-PF). There was so much interest on the motion that the time period for adjournment was waivered in order for members to continue the debate on sanctions.

Suspension of Committee Business

The Speaker announced that all business of committees of Parliament would be suspended until 15th November 2013.

Adjournment of Parliament

The National Assembly adjourned to 19 November 2013. The Senate did not seat last week and resumes business on 19 November 2013 as well.

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