PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 15th April, 2021
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I must say that it is difficult when you have too powerful, intelligent, articulate women. So, I must give credit and at times I wonder where the women’s capacity is but I see it, it is there somewhere and I should see more. Women also take it upon themselves to further educate themselves like Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri from the struggle, she educated herself, Mai Mujuru and others. So, continue to further educate yourself, it is important.
Madam Speaker 41 years after Independence we are close to it and this is when we talk about the founding principles of our country. This is when we think of Josiah Tongogara, Nikita Mangena but 41 years down the line we are still debating on the rule of law, where are we. I see that the ACP-EU was very clear about the rule of law, it was a key issue which was brought up to see if Zimbabwe part of the global world in terms of the rule of law when you have the State Security more focused on destroying people’s lives from a blatant use of State apparatus, where you expect State Security to be more of an economic tool which educate His Excellency about the economic sabotage but have turned themselves into a unit which deals with any voice that wants to speak. Zimbabwe today is known for the wrong headlines where people are ambushed, people are killed through the CIO and there is no position which is given from the CIO about this; cases like that of Itayi Dzamara is one issue which whether you like or not the world knows about it and we have done nothing about it, we ignore it but we expect to be part of the global village. You have got a situation where despite that the High Court ruled that there must be a report from Home Affairs on where Itayi Dzamara is, there is no compliance on that. So, you then ask yourself how we can be part of this global village when we still believe that arresting people for speaking is the way forward, behaving exactly like the Rhodesian system. What is the difference between Zimbabwe and the Rhodesian system? Sanctions were pushed against Rhodesia because it oppressed its people and today there is a black Rhodesia which is oppressing black people. So, the rule of law has totally been disregarded and we have to be honest about it. For as long as we do not respect people’s human rights, we shall suffer economically as a country. Let us not question why sanctions are there. Sanctions are there because certain institutions are being used to silence people, the same way our fathers pushed for sanctions because we were being silenced, the generations of today are also saying there must be sanctions because we are suffering.
We must look at our conduct as a country and leaders if it is in line with the late Josiah Magama Tongogara’s vision of a one Zimbabwe where black and white children play together. Is it in line with Nikita Mangena vision as young as he was, he went to the struggle and he was able to liberate this country because he believed that it is a country that is for everyone and so forth. So, to me the aspect of the strong institutions of the SDG16 likes of Hon. Moyo read out, the importance of that is justice on strong institutions. There is no nation – if you look at America, America’s pride is in its institutions being independent and being strong. No matter what you say about America the institutions remain strong. The citizens can do what they want, Donald Trump can do what he wants but you cannot change the institutions and institutions are critical in the growth of any country – not only that there must be independence of these institutions not institutions where CIO is knocking on the door to check on what people are doing instead of doing their jobs and so forth.
You then ask yourself that are we really independent enough despite that we are 41 years past the liberation struggle, we are totally far from it and we have to be honest, we need to also look at many aspects. Institutions are influenced to make decisions, is the Judiciary independent? The Prosecutor General, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commissions, Zimbabwe Election Commission and police are they independent? You see that at the end of the day as you keep going down the list, you are slowly stopping your ticking because the independence is not there. The struggle was about a Zimbabwe for everyone not a Zimbabwe for one party no. The moment that we go over party politics and stand up even the ruling party can entertain Zimbabweans to be part of it in terms of governing the country then we say we have a Zimbabwe. We have to be politically mature in understanding that and political maturity is not there, why cannot we as Zimbabweans have a thing that is able to build this country and which when we go out there, we speak with one voice. That is the reason why when you see us going out, even with these things, it becomes difficult for you to have an agenda that talks about Zimbabwe and so forth. We must be able to look at the judiciary, like the report said, which is transparent and fair. While the Constitution can be amended any time to suit whatever which is in line but more or less, the medical doctors in their thinking and wisdom realised that when somebody is 60 or 65, they cannot do certain things and scientifically it was proven. Of course, the Constitution can be changed to accommodate certain issues but I do not know whether these issues are national or personal issues – it is something that needs to be looked at.
So I am also going to talk about attacking us being a country that is not nationalistic and patriotic. There is nobody who does not love their country, there is nobody who is not nationalistic but we seem to accuse each other – this one is not nationalistic. The whole point of the liberation struggle was one man one vote – democracy and when you do that, then you open yourself to a democratic process where we are saying that everybody has a right to belong to any party. Our Constitution is very clear in terms of freedom of association. Are we happy with it that people can associate with whoever they want? Freedom of expression is equally there and so forth. It becomes difficult for parties going to represent Zimbabwe to be able to debate on this when we know that there are issues and so forth where they are coming from.
We must look at the issue of the Executive, a responsive Government; these are one of the issues that were brought up. Do we have a responsive Government? Do we have a Government that is able to be proactive? Do we have a Government that is people centered? Do we have a Government that comes up with solutions that concern the people or we have a Government that thinks of itself? The reason why I say that is the level of corruption is alarming. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga spoke about it to a point where for you as Zimbabweans to go and talk about sanctions and corruption, if we put these two there Madam Speaker, do we go and push the sanctions or corruption issue? They will tell you no, let us push the corruption issue first and not the sanctions issue.
Like Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, sanctions, despite them not being good are overtaken. They have been superseded by the aspect of corruption where today there is selective application of the law. This one can be arrested and that one cannot be arrested. Even allegations on the Commissioner General of Police where you write in black and white to say, he has violated PRAZ procurement; he has been buying cars and he is still not investigated. Where do we go as a country? Who gives you money when people in these high offices are not subject to being investigated? They are not transparent in their discharge of duty and so forth. The powers and roles might be operational at the end of the day but without that, it does not mean anything.
Civic society, journalists, my heart bleeds, my heart bleeds to see that we are still excited about arresting journalists who are just writing stories and we believe that we are a growing nation when we want a nation to be quiet. You cannot keep a nation quiet. In their hearts, they are speaking and will act one day. This is exactly what happened with the First Republic when people could not speak but when there was a time to speak in God’s time and they indeed spoke on 17th November. God ultimately rules and no matter what you do, he is watching. God is always watching and at an appropriate time, he will move in and save his people.
Lessons are not learnt, we repeat the same mistakes every day. Hopewell, whether you like him or not, when he writes something, you go on him. Members of Parliament, Hon. Sikhala is arrested, Fadzai Mahere is arrested and of course I am their favorite client. I do not have to really talk about myself but what does it give? A headline, lawyer arrested, a Member of Parliament arrested but fortunately for those on the other side, they are not harassed but us on this side, we seem to be the easy target, the easy fish and so forth. It does not mean that the other side does not commit crime but they are only arrested when there is factionalism happening. That is the only time that they are picked up but besides that, they have a good walk in the park and so forth.
So do you expect me Madam Speaker, with this persecution that happens to me, to stand up and defend this country? Do you expect me to do that? Were the former liberators of this country prepared to support Rhodesia when they were being oppressed? No, they did not. They were detained, the late Mugabe, the late Joshua Nkomo, the current President and Didymus Mutasa, you can name them but Zimbabweans still had victory despite them being detained. So why can lessons not be learnt at the end of the day?
When you are in power, there is a word called ‘meekness’. Do not use it to show people that you are powerful. One day you will be out of power. We have people who were ministers, who were powerful but today they are in exile and a lot more will follow. Mark my words on this day, a lot more will follow. Just three days before Independence, you will remember what I said – a lot more will follow. When we used to say it in this Parliament, Madam Speaker you remember? Most people could not talk in ZANU PF. I could speak out and talk about the thing, I could talk about the Former First Lady and they were quiet. These votes that we are having today, some of them were not here. Hon. Mudha you know, he will tell you that we would talk about strategies on how we would be able to win the struggle Hon. Mudha, but today, you are attacking us now. So who is your friend? Him and I would go and talk about it out there. We were giving him information to give to the President on G40 – he knows it. He could not speak, I could speak but today they enjoy the cake on their own and Mliswa is wrong. I am equally protected by God and my ancestors, they cannot allow me to work for a nation and fold their arms when I am being attacked.
No, we are Africans, when a man has worked hard, let us have a situation where we know where he is coming from – choose your eyes and choose your friends. Who is your enemy? We had this situation but today we have crossed over, we are not together as some are closer and yet those who were foot soldiers are not there. No wonder why factionalism and division will always happen for as long as political parties exist because one says, I fired the first shot and the other one says, but I was behind. So who do you think fired the shot? These are some of the issues that make it pretty difficult for us to get out there.
We have the issue of the unemployed youths, mahwindi. Ahewa, ahewa, haisi mhosva yavo, it is not their fault Madam Speaker. Mabasa hakuna. When unemployment is high Madam Speaker, there is crime, drugs there is this and that. So kuenda kuno vavharira, hapana zvamuri kuita. Now armed robbers are more. If you go to Norton, young boys are going into properties Madam Speaker – 19 of them with guns and holding people hostage. They are following people’s money in their homes, they do not even have time for the safe anymore. They pitch up and say, go and open the safe in your office. So the crime rate is going high. We can issue statements about unemployed people and say we must issue a statement of this. The statement that must come from the Government is how many jobs have been created for the youth? Vocational Centers were mentioned, how many vocational centers have been created to substitute unemployment so that by the time the economy gets better, people are trained to do something. So we have that problem of unemployment and crime going high as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic, I am sorry to say, I used to send my children to Greystone Park Primary School because I believe in a Government institution. Madam Speaker, I went to drop off my children, afternoon the other one was going there. You go and drop them off, what have you learnt? Nothing, I had no choice but to send them to a private school. I had to drive to Rydings School and say, I cannot allow the future of my children to be destroyed like this. Government schools, that is the end of those children, my son was part of it, the situation is just out of this world. It is just that most of the people cannot afford private schools but if you have your child at a Government school, you will appreciate what is going on. The education is as good as dead. The difference between those in Government schools and those in private schools – I do not know and to me, God knows how he is going to deal with that imbalance but I can tell you that education is as good as finished because COVID has caused havoc. Government has not capacitated the schools in many ways.
One of the issues which I thought was missing was the issue of an economic recovery for Africa. Hon. Moyo was correct in giving all the problems.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa you are left with 5 minutes – [HON. M. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections]-
HON. T. MLISWA: I think you are really out of order, this is not a Mashonaland West meeting, here we have the Speaker. Hon. Speaker, can you put an order, this is not a Mashonaland West meeting by the Governor. I am not a brother when I am here, I am a Hon. Member of Parliament, and we are brothers and sisters at home.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Mliswa!
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker the issue of the COVID-19 has created many problems at the end of the day. We need to see how best we can deal with it. What about a stimulus package; Hon. P. Moyo read very well but I did not hear a stimulus package for Africans, it was not mentioned. So, how does the economy recover? It seems like we go there we talk, we have coffee and come back yet the only way recovery can happen on such a pandemic is a stimulus package. What is the EU doing to give us a stimulus package? These are the issues that we are supposed to be talking about.
The Sovereign Wealth Fund – what has happened to it? We have spoken about it years and years, this Parliament has mentioned it, but there is nothing that has happened. Can we get the Sovereign Wealth Fund going so that we have money? All these schools which need money, the Sovereign Wealth Fund would have money pumped out to all the areas of Government which need money.
Finally, I do not know whether EU and Africa are equal partners, it is their politics of just entertaining us. Why has the delegation from Zimbabwe not spoken about sanctions in those meetings? It is not noted in the report. Instead of us talking about sanctions here, we know them! Can you take them to Europe, can you take them to America when you go there? The same ways we attack those whom we say are selling the country through sanctions, you are also not doing us any good when you jump into Europe and not talk about sanctions. Represent the country that is what is important.
What I did not hear from this report was the remuneration of other Members that you are with – Zimbabwe. I thought that would be important. You can only be as effective as what you are eating and what is in your pocket at the end of the day. Other than that it becomes difficult. So, I did not hear that.
I want to applaud Members of Parliament despite the different parties we belong to. I must say this on record, they have been loyal to this country, and they have been patriotic to this country and are nationalistic. Unfortunately, we are in a profession which does not say thank you, which hammers you every day. When we talk about the remuneration, it makes headlines but we are not different from anybody else. We are pushing together that can we get better remuneration and that remains the case.
We are sending soldiers to EU who are hungry and when they are there, they end up being compromised, being given things and they cannot speak. May our soldiers be well equipped so that when they go to these sessions they are ready and not compromised because hardly do they go there with enough for them to win the war.
The report was good Hon. Priscilla Moyo, I really liked it and you touched on a lot of issues which are pertinent. Portfolio Committees are only as a result of the Chairperson. If the Chairperson has no drive, the Committee is dead.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Chair, I think that Hon. Chasi hit the nail on its head. I think what is important is for us to proceed with the business of the day. We will waste a lot of time and that is the reason that I even said to Hon. Ziyambi yesterday, we cannot debate judgments in here and I still maintain that. If judgments are passed by the courts, instruct your lawyers to go and argue in court. This is not a court of law, this is a Parliament where at the end of the day, we are another arm of the State and we must respect the other arm of the State.
So, I can see that Hon. Mushoriwa is very legally minded and would encourage him to pursue law so that he can be my lawyer too but for now, let us proceed to the business of the day.
Clause 2 put and agreed to.
On Clause 3:
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. There is nothing called abuse of two thirds majority. The two thirds are the people. We are all seated here representing people so whatever we articulate and do here is a reflection of the voting pattern. Therefore, the minority must not say that the majority wants this when the majority is speaking.
Let us not confuse and try to manipulate things. We represent the majority and what we propagate is what the majority want. If you go into that Section in the Constitution, it says the President must choose a running mate not the people. What is democratic about that Clause? There is no guarantee that if the President is chosen today, if the will of God is that he must die a day after that, we will have a President that has not been chosen by the people but handpicked by a President. Again, we debated this and the reason why it was deferred is because there were contestations.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga articulated it very well yesterday; she gave a historical perspective of what happened. I even said the other party has experienced it when their late president ‘May his soul rest in peace passed away’ and they performed a coup de’tat. Why did they not follow this for certainty, the certainty that they are talking about. So, I believe that these are personal preferences that have not been proven worldwide. So I urge that we proceed Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: It is important for us to realise that the Constitution has a provision for amendments. This very same document has provisions for amendments and the provision for amendments are there. Section 2 of the Constitution, Madam Speaker, talks about the supremacy of the Constitution. That the Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. The obligations imposed by the Constitution are binding to every person, natural or juristic, including the State and all executive legislative and judicial institutions. Legislative – meaning us and judicial institutions and agencies of Government at every level, and must be fulfilled by them.
So equally while we are debating this, we have got to understand the Constitution can be amended and the process that we are going through is the process which is necessary, but let us also understand one thing which is democracy is stubborn. I will tell you why democracy is stubborn. The majority will have their way; the minority will have their say. Maybe it is the minority having their say but ultimately the majority will have their way. Thank you.
HON. GONESE: I disagree Madam Speaker. If you look at the clauses, the substantive clause is actually referring to section 92 not 91. If you look at the clause we dealt with it relates to section 91 and not section 92. It talks about qualifications. When we talked about qualifications, we have not said that there should be no election. So for me, I am still entitled to debate because these are separate clauses notwithstanding that some of them are consequential upon each other.
The point remains that I am entitled to make substantive submissions on the merit of the removal of election of Vice President. It is my submission that there was a lot of debate and there are a lot of countries with similar provisions and some of them on our continent. I will refer to Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana who have elections of President and Vice President simultaneously. As we speak, the President of Malawi, Chakwela and his vice President Chilima were elected together on the same ticket. What it means is that when it comes to the power dynamics of the offices, I will give an example of America. After their recent election, Trump did not want to accept the results of the election and the role of the Congress, Senate and the House of Representatives. Seating jointly as Congress was simply to validate the election and the person who presides over that joint sitting is the Vice President. Trump tried to arm twist his Vice President to do what he wanted but because the VP was elected in his own right, he was able to resist and Trump was powerless to do anything about it.
I believe in terms of the principles of democracy it is actually a desirable situation to have a VP who has also been elected in his/her own right so that if you have such a scenario where the President goes rogue, you have got another office which you can rely upon knowing very well that the power of the VP is vested in that VP by virtue of an election from the electorate and they have their mandate from the electorate. I think it is a good principle and I submit that there are no good reasons why we should depart from it. The fact that it was suspended for ten years does not make it invalid because when we look at that section, it is actually a substantive section of our Constitution, Section 92. I maintain that it is desirable for us to remain with this clause. I know that others may have fears but why do you want to remove it before you have even implemented it? Why not try it first and see if it is not workable because other countries in our continent have done it successfully.
I therefore submit that I am not in agreement with Clause 4 which seeks to remove the election of a President and his two Vice Presidents as part of one ticket.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I have already made my submissions earlier on regarding this, but let me also add that if you go into the very same Constitution in Section 99 – functions of Vice President, the Vice President assists the President in the discharge of his or her function and it goes on to say, he may be assigned a Ministry that the President may assign to them. So basically, the function of a Vice President is simply a help mate but now you want a help mate to be subjected to the same electoral process for the purposes of helping. You are creating two centres of power because the helpmate and the person elected will all have gotten their mandate from the people. If you are looking for an assistant, you do not look for an equal. You look for somebody who will be able to listen to you and execute what you instruct. So even if you look into this Constitution, it does not give a specific function to the Vice President save that he/she must assist the President So what is wrong with he/she who is being assisted to choose their own assistants and fire them too if they are not following their instructions? However, if you look into this Constitution, a President cannot fire his or her assistant; if you look at the removal clause of the President. So you are creating a monster that can choose to listen or disregard the President knowing fully well that the removal processes are entrenched in the Constitution and it is very difficult to remove that particular individual. So we may want to compare with other nations but there are several contradictions in our Constitution. I want a helpmate but I cannot fire that helpmate even if they have failed to help me. So I submit that as we have already done, let us proceed and scrap this condition that this person must be voted for. I thank you.
(v)HON. MUSIKAVANHU: [Network Challenge]
HON. T. MLISWA: I agree with what the Minister is saying but if you go to Section 97 of the Constitution, I need clarity. It talks about the removal of the President or Vice Presidents from office and it has conditions. If the President is the one who is appointing, why should there be conditions to remove the Vice President. I need clarity on that. If we are going to say the President must appoint, he will equally disappoint. At the end of the day, if the President fails to discharge his duties, the Constitution still has a provision to have him out. I see no problem in that because it is still catered for.
We must also reach a point where we cannot be obsessed with elections all the time because they cost money. You have a presidential election and vice president – do you not feel for tax payers. You want elections yet you are not being taken care of properly here. Why does not that money be channelled to Parliament so that our remuneration is better? We need to be like UK – we need to reach a consensus. At 41 years, we should be able to share the same vision.
A hunter hunts with his dogs. There is no hunter who goes hunting with someone else’s dogs. You choose the dogs – I want bingo, ginger or this one then you go and hunt. If you do not come back with a hare, you are kicked out of the house by the wife because you did not bring meat. The provision is there to also be divorced. It is strictly clear – let us not worry about semantics yet it is clear at the end of the day.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I wanted to add my voice in terms of this Clause to say that I think what we are having here is a problem that we are failing to appreciate two important points. The first one is that a Constitution of a country is like a Bible or Koran. So, when you enact a Constitution, especially this particular Constitution which is the one that we enacted in 2013 through a public process of consultation that ended with a referendum; the reason why as a country we had to do a referendum was because we appreciated the fact that when you are enacting a Constitution, you are enabling the people of Zimbabwe to have a say – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am commenting on the Clause on the issue of a running mate and I am saying that why it is important for us as a country not to change it is because the constitutional process of amendment that we did in 2013, in its wisdom as a country collectively, we appreciated the need to separate the difference between a ruling party, a government and a state so that as a country we are sort of protected from the instability and volatility that we all know happens in political parties. So, a running mate – a Vice President who is ready to takeover in case there is need for such is good for the stability of the State and Government because we cannot wait for a party to discuss that issue when a country needs leadership and guidance. I am saying it is important that we maintain this Clause that there should be a running mate. We are not supposed to change it.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Members, this one is very important. The issue of the Vice President taking over and the party choosing is of no consequence, why? Because 129 (i) (k) has that provision and it can recall anybody. So, even if the Vice President is elected the party can still recall and so it is catered for by that provision.
Clause 9, put and agreed to.
On Clause 10;
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty past Eight o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 20th April, 2021.