“Mguni’s Maiden Speech In Parliament”
19 March 2021
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Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Good afternoon to all the esteemed Members of this august House.  

I thank you for affording me the opportunity to add my voice and debate the Presidential Speech as well as presenting my maiden speech.  

Madam Speaker Maam, please allow me to begin by notice that as a country we joined the international world to celebrate the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2021.  We remain dedicated to advocating for gender equality in all aspects of life in our society.

                   Madam Speaker Maam, I want to thank and pay tribute to some special women who are an inspiration and a true symbol of hope for the struggle of women issues.  

I would like to salute my own mentor, Dr. Thokozani Khupe, the leader of the opposition in Parliament and former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Hon. Paurina Mpariwa, MDC-T Chief Whip, Madam President of the Senate, Hon. Mabel Chinomona, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister and Former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States of America and last but not least, Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation among others.

                   I want to challenge ourselves as women to introspect if we genuinely are committed to achieving the 50/50 gender equality.  If so, let us then desist from what we call the ‘pull her down (PHD) attitude or syndrome.  

Madam Speaker I stand today representing Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, the City of Kings and Queens, the second largest city of this country, with a population of 638 337 according to ZIMSTATS, 2012, while Bulawayo City Council claims the population to be about 1.2 million.  

It is my hope that the coming census will present a true picture of Bulawayo Province population density, so as to help in the planning, implementation of developmental programmes as well as in allocation of financial resources. 

                   In the SONA, His Excellency the President, E. D. Mnangagwa raised a number of issues and challenges affecting our country as well as Bulawayo Province.  These include among others, socio-economic challenges, environmental and ever changing climate conditions, sanctions as well as the recent global pandemic, COVID – 19.

                   Zimbabwe has been on national lockdown for over 12 months, with most severe period being the festive season which saw the country recording alarming increase of the COVID – 19 cases as well as deaths.  

The period of this lockdown had a serious impact of livelihoods because our economy is mostly informalised.  We hope that the recent opening of the economy will have a positive impact on the daily lives of our people and of recent note is the procurement of the Sinopharm Vaccine which has seen most frontline workers as well as Members of Parliament being vaccinated.  Also of note are the following positives on the SONA:-

·       The opening of the skies to boost both domestic and international flights which will boost our tourism industry;

·       The opening of schools and colleges which will stabilise our education system;

·       Export increase in the first half of 2020 by 4.9, that is about 1.96 billion as compared to 1.86 million in 2019;

·       The foreign receipts performing better than anticipated at 18% at the end of August, 2020, coupled by the diaspora remittances;

·       The Five Year National Development Strategy which answers the question of the dilapidated infrastructure that has been debated upon by many Hon. Members in this august House;

·       Road construction, modernisation and rehabilitation as an ongoing programme throughout all provinces as well answers need for Bulawayo roads that are in an appalling state;

·       The ongoing reforms in the health services sector which will improve accessibility and affordability of health and medicines for all Zimbabweans.

Before I go any further, there is a myth that I would want to correct.  It was being debated here about women who cook for children in school and the concern was may be the medical examination that had not been done for most of them. I would like to state that HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through cooking.  

When we ask people who cook to go for medical examinations, we are trying to avoid conditions that are caused by the bacteria and probably things like tuberculosis. They normally take swabs from the fingers in order to see that they do not have bacteria as they are going to handle food but HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through food.

Issues for Bulawayo – Madam Speaker, Bulawayo Province like many other provinces in Zimbabwe, has not been spared by socio-economic environmental challenges.  These include the issues of water, housing, economy, corruption, de-industrialisation and road infrastructure among other issues.

Water as a basic human right -Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) speaks to the issue of clean water and sanitation for all.  The City of Bulawayo has had perennial water shortages since time immemorial.  

The situation worsened in year 2020.  Three months into COVID -19 national lockdown, thus in June, 2020, the city embarked on a water rationing programme as a way of saving water, which saw residents going for long hours without water.  It is during this period that the residents experienced diarrhea outbreak that claimed 13 lives and affected 2000 residents.   

It is my hope that the Gwayi-Shangani project and pipeline will be completed as promised by His Excellency, the President E. D. Mnangagwa as it will go a long way in resolving the perennial water shortage for the City of Bulawayo and the province as a whole.  

Madam Speaker, please allow me to thank His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa for the official opening of the Epping Forest Acquifer in Nyamandlovu, following the expansion and rehabilitation programme which recently took place in the past weeks.  The project will go a long way in alleviating and addressing the prevailing water shortages for the province. 

Let me thank also the Almighty for the rains that we were graced with as a country.  By his grace, our dams which supply the City of Bulawayo have harvested a combined 65% of water that will improve the city’s water supplies.


          Bulawayo Province, like the rest of the country, has not been spared of a plethora of challenges which include fuel shortages leading to transport problems.  The province and Bulawayo City council has been affected by such resulting to failure to collect refuse.

This has led to residents dumping refuse and garbage in undesignated areas around the city. This has been a serious cause for concern as it is a threat to our environment.  Hon. Members of Parliament have recommended to the Government to adopt a biogas strategy as a way of increasing our energy as well as addressing the environmental hazards that come with refuse. It is my hope that these recommendations will also form part of the NDS1 in dealing with electricity shortages in our country. 

The issue of de-industrialisation in Bulawayo province remains a serious cause for concern. Our industries have been turned into shells and now house most churches.  This development has stripped Bulawayo of her status of being “Intuthu Ziyathunga” because of the economic activities that were coming from Bulawayo.  It is my hope that as we thrive to implement devolution, we move to redress the economic challenges in the province. 


Madam Speaker, corruption is a cancer which has had a negative bearing to our economy as well as revenue collection.  Let me commend the Government for empowering the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and giving them a constitutional mandate to deal with corruption activities besieging our country.  

I call upon the Central Government to increase financial support for ZACC activities to enable the Commission to decentralise their operations in the provinces and be able to discharge their mandate effectively and delinquently.  An act of Parliament must be put in place so as to protect the whistleblowers if the fight against corruption is to be taken seriously.

Shelter and Accommodation

Bulawayo is facing a housing backlog of over 100 000 units to address the issue of housing shortages.  Section 28 of our Constitution empowers our arms of Legislation and local authorities to enable every person to have access to good shelter.  SDG 11 also makes cities and human settlements inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

The Government should look at ways of providing affordable accommodation for all including the poor of our society.  These efforts have been curtailed by harsh economic conditions bedeviling our country, as well as, corrupt transactions involving land across the country.  Madam Speaker, I call upon this august House to critically look into these issues in fulfillment of SDG 11. 

Gender and Women

Our country joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2021, yet women remain faced with serious health issues as a result of inaccessibility to health facilities and services.  May I applaud the Government for coming up with a policy of free maternal and child care.  

Whilst that is celebrated, the first port of call for antenatal booking is the local authority health care centre which still charges US$19 for the booking.  This remains a challenge to most pregnant women who cannot afford such.  It is therefore my sincere hope that the ongoing reforms in the health sector improve accessibility and affordability of the health and medicines for all Zimbabweans.

Whilst the national lockdown measures were a necessity and acceptable for the country to control the deadly pandemic, these had negative effects on the welfare of women who mostly irk a living through the informal sector.  Most households could not afford to get food for their families, pay rentals as well as other livelihood obligations. 

Let me call on the Central Government, working together with the local authorities through the devolution funds, to establish state working stations for the informal sector to allow them to carry out their businesses even during the times of crisis like this one.

According to Zimstat, the informal sector provides 94% of the country’s employment and it is the major contributor to the country’s economic activity, contributing to an estimate of at least 48% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

As the country implements NDS1, let us make it a point that women and youths are included in the manufacturing sector to drive our economy and return Zimbabwe to her rightful place, that of the bread basket of Africa.  Empowering women and closing the gender gap in the whole world is key to achieving the Vision 2030 Agenda.  Unemployment will be a thing of the past. 

Madam Speaker, may I conclude by saying that we have ourselves to correct all wrongs and leave a good legacy for generations to come.  Allow me to quote the Speaker, Hon. J.F. Mudenda.  In his opening remarks in the 2017 Budget in Bulawayo, he said, “Emancipation from mental slavery by Marcus Garvey / Bob Marley depending on when you were born.”  

God bless you all.

I thank you.