Norton MP Temba Mliswa yesterday slammed the ZANU PF MP Togarepi who claims that the British government attacked Zimbabwe in a debate on commonwealth readmission.
Said Mliswa: There was no attack; We must be an institution of integrity and I think we are really making our ministers appear foolish at the end of the day.
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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 24th November, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, but I need to give a little bit of background. Madam Speaker, we have seen a lot of meddling and interference from the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. Recently, they came out debating Zimbabwe and vilifying our country, talking about us joining the Commonwealth as if they kicked us out before. In my view, we walked out of the Commonwealth.
I would like to hear from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, what is the position of Government, as regards these attacks from the British Parliament? These people, in my view, are breaking the international law. They are interfering with our internal affairs and our sovereignty. What are we doing in terms of raising this behaviour on the international platform so that they are seen by this behaviour that they would want to influence another country to interfere with another country’s processes? What are we doing as a country because we cannot keep on allowing them to attack us in the name of re-engagement? They are attacking us daily.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! The point of order is, we need to be very clear, the sponsor of the question was not specific to what the British have said. He just said they are saying this and that in the House of Commons. What is it that they are saying which is an attack on the people of Zimbabwe? It was a debate, the same way we debate about sanctions that the British must not push for sanctions, the Americans must not push for sanctions – it was a genuine debate. We must be very clear when interfering with debates of other countries.
He can move a motion for us to discuss on it. It is a clip and I wish I could be connected; you could listen to it. There was nothing, Zimbabwe wants to re-engage in the Commonwealth and in so doing, they are going to the British, they are lobbying the British who have got their own terms of re-engagement. They are saying, human rights violation, you are not adhering to it and so forth; persecution of people – I am one who has been persecuted by this Government. So to me, I also agree in terms of reforms that should take place. So I do not know when they are debating on issues which have not been put in this House to say, the British have said A, B, C and D.
We debate on sanctions, let us also sit down and debate on the wrongs that the British are doing if there are any. Each House debates on what it believes – sanctions for example. I do not expect a British Member of Parliament to say Zimbabwe House of Assembly debated on sanctions and they are attacking us. There was no attack. We must be an institution of integrity and I think we are really making our ministers appear foolish at the end of the day. If the British are out of order Madam Speaker, the Ambassador is called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to put them in order – that is how we work in terms of diplomatic ties.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My follow up question goes to the Minister of Justice on the same issue. Madam Speaker, listening to the social media clip, it will be viewed as though law in Zimbabwe is not law, as though Zimbabwe is a pariah State and as though Zimbabwe does not observe law. I am a student of law myself…
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam speaker. This is Parliament, records cannot be discussed on social media. If we start discussing issues on social media, hazvipere. Mangwana ndinonzi ndine girlfriend pasocial media, torifeya. Hazvipere. Can we have facts? I therefore, implore somebody to put it there. I have got the video on my phone. If ICT can do it so that we follow properly what has been said. We cannot just refer to things on social media. Madam Speaker, so many things happen on social media and this House is not determined by social media, but facts. The precedence you set of social media, you will not deal with it moving forward. It will destroy all these Members of Parliament tomorrow if we are going to talk about social media. We must protect this institution by doing things which have credible evidence.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Whilst we connect to that video, let me allow Hon. Nduna to be able to debate.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. If you combine what the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said and what I said, I think we adequately addressed it. I indicated that there are desires between both parties for us to go back into the Commonwealth and for the Commonwealth’s desire for us to go back. There is engagement that is going on. We do not respond to issues that are raised in the House of Lords or House of Commons. The Deputy Minister was perfectly correct. If there is any issue that London wants to raise with us, there are appropriate channels that are used. Likewise, in our engagement and in our efforts to join the Common-wealth, there are issues that they raised that are indicating that we are responding to through the diplomatic channels. I believe that let us leave this case as it is. His Excellency is handling it in a manner that is extremely good. Allow those processes to proceed. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order: I do not know if I heard correctly, the Minister has referred to you as a Deputy Speaker, but you are not the Deputy Speaker when you are sitting there, you are the Speaker. I do not know if I heard correctly, I thought you said Deputy Speaker; she is not the Deputy Speaker there, she is the Speaker, so I think it is important to take corrective measures to address her correctly. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you Madam Speaker, if there was a slip of the tongue, I withdraw if I said that.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was here and she left. The Deputy Minister sat again and he is gone. To me, I see the backbench having to deplete in numbers. Why are we not respecting this House? Can the Leader of Government Business respond to this because he is in charge of these Ministers? Where are they? Honestly, the Minister and the Deputy Minister were here but they have both gone. If there is a question directed to the Ministry, who responds to it? Today is Question Time and they must focus on it. We have got seasoned Ministers like Hon. July Moyo here sitting and Hon. Kazembe. Where are the others? Hon. Mhona is there. Where are the Cabinet Ministers? This is where we are getting it wrong. The 2030 Middle Income Economy will never be achieved unless these men here take seriously the responsibilities and the mandate given to them by the President. We have oversight over there. Where are they? I was very quiet. The Leader of Government Business must respond to this. It is our job of oversight.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: You left other Cabinet Ministers though. Hon. Leader of Government Business, may you please respond.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I am not sure whether there is a point of order. People are allowed to go out to refresh and to go to the washroom. If he has a question, he can simply ask his question. There are adequate Ministers to deal with any information. In any event, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Ministry does relate to information that pertains to all Government Ministries and the Ministers are here. So I do not think there is anything that he is asking for in terms of the Minister and the Deputy Minister who have gone out to refresh themselves and they will come back. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and it is on Green Energy, COP 26. A lot of reforms and resolutions were reached at COP 26. Has that not affected your policy in terms of the environmental policy that you had after COP 26? What are you doing to have the resolutions of COP 26 into your policy here? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. N. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very important question. Madam Speaker Ma’am, with your indulgence, it is my intention to present a detailed Ministerial Statement, which is a report on COP 26 with clear implications from the decisions of COP 26 on Zimbabwe going forward, including some of the measures that we are taking. I do not know if the Hon. Member is willing to hold on. Unfortunately, my hope is to present it next week on Wednesday. I could not present some of the recommendations in Cabinet yesterday but I believe this to be a very important report, for which I believe Members can then ask more detailed questions. We will be able to engage them following that presentation. I am able to respond here but I am thinking it will be fair if I present the report and you will be able to indulge from that report. I seek you indulgence, Hon. Member.
HON. T. MLISWA: The Minister is correct. Can you take these two issues that you must include in your report? Zimbabwe is sitting on over 12 billion of coal. How does that affect us and how do we intend to clear it? I heard the Prime Minister Boris Johnson trapped about 10 billion being available for those countries willing to comply. If so, what measures are you taking to receive that so that we also benefit from this, especially with this clean energy that wants to happen and the 10 billion that is available? What are you doing to make sure we have access and the 12 billion that we have, reserves in coal? How is that going to affect us as an economy and again from the energy point of view and also coming up with better ways of making it clean? So if you can factor this in your report. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary to the Minister is that you have companies that were given contracts in terms of registration plates and tollgates monitoring, companies like UNIVEM. Is it not their responsibility in terms of the contract to make sure that the tollgates are accessible and they are also putting money there because they cannot just be making money and not improving that? It should not be the burden of Government. What are you doing to approach those companies which were given contracts and are still making money, especially UNIVEM who have a contract which I am told will last for years and years yet they are not performing according to expectations because Government at times takes the burden when it is not supposed to take the burden? The contractor must be able to expand things accordingly because they are making money. So, why are we not approaching companies like UNIVEM who I am told are responsible for some of the tollgates and Group Five to expand, of course people are fast but when it comes to the tollgates, they are not slowing down. The question is; what can we do to engage the companies that were given these contracts to ensure that they serve their purpose by improving these conditions rather than giving the burden to Government?
HON. MHONA: Let me thank Hon. T.P Mliswa for that important question. It is true Hon. Madam Speaker that there are companies that have been engaged and I also want to make it clear in this august House that at times the issues of technology, you face resistance when you try to implement. We have been hearing what has been happening at ZINARA whereby systems were actually being denied to be implemented in terms of the process flow.
Hon. Mliswa has cited a company called UNIVEM. If you then interrogate after the Auditor-General’s report, you find that some of the issues and in the first republic that were being talked of in terms of the implementation matrix, the company in this particular case ZINARA, was resisting some of the digitalisation of the institution. It is very clear and if you then go to that same company, it would tell you how many cars have passed through a tollgate but that information was not being shared by the company. So, these are some of the issues that we are also addressing as a Ministry.
In terms of their contracts that were just haywire, we have amalgamated the contracts to say we cannot have contracts that will run in perpetuation and we must have a contract that has got a termination date. This has been what the institution has been seized with in order to try to harmonise all those haywire contracts so that we have got one vibrant contract that will specify the terms and conditions, and deliverables so that no one does not doubt what one is covering.
I want to assure the august House that in terms of implementation, Hon. Mliswa you are very right. The burden is not within the Government but this is an arrangement of working together. So, what has been done now is to say, what are the expectations from the Government and the service provider, and this has been well spelt out as we speak. The implementation matrix also involves the service provider. I thank you.