Shamva South Member of Parliament Joseph Mapiki said Zimbabwe can only progress if people are committed to their country and change their work ethic. They should also channel their money into investment instead of building mansions that do not benefit the nation.
“I made a research on Cuba which was under sanctions for 50 years but they survived. They said that if people in Zimbabwe are committed to their country and their work ethics change, we will progress,” he said in his contribution to the President’s speech on the opening of Parliament.
“We can complain that there is no money in Zimbabwe but what we do not have is the attitude for investment. If you go to Highlands, you will find there are mountains there where people are building houses in those mountains which do not match with their salaries. So, if we can channel those monies to better use, I think we can go somewhere as a nation.”
Mapiki complained that the police and the Anti-Corruption Commission were not doing their work.
There was a police “Gold Squad” yet people were smuggling gold out of the country with the latest case being that of someone who tried to smuggle 50kg of gold.
The auditor-general revealed several cases of abuse of funds by government officials but the Anti-Corruption Commission did not do anything about that.
“I do not know how we can address the issue of corruption because we have the Anti-Corruption Commission but I heard that they were also withdrawing money and using fuel whilst they were not working. So who is going to reprimand them if they are involved in shoddy deals as well?” he asked.
*MR. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I would want to thank Hon. Mutomba for raising such a motion on the Presidential Speech. Before I go any further, I would like to do a review of the First and Second Sessions from what the President had put before us, looking at the construction of roads, schools and electricity provision. It shows that before this session, there is a lot of progress when it comes to the construction of roads on which we got help from China and Brazil. Looking at our roads, many of them are now tarred and are in good shape. Only Harare-Chirundu and Harare-Beitbridge roads need regravelling and expansion. This shows that when plans are put in place, we look forward to the help that we are getting from these other countries. Even looking at agriculture and food security, you will find that when it comes to irrigation, we have countries like Brazil where we expect them to fund us in that area. We got a lot of equipment from that country to enable us to carry out irrigation and we have received US$125 million for digitalisation. From the way we have been progressing, this shows that the President is doing very well. Madam Speaker, even looking at our minerals, we are doing value addition and beneficiation, which means that we are doing something. In this Third Session, I think we are going to progress very well.
Looking at the speech, it shows that where we are going now, it is not about money only but it is for the people who are doing the work, the commitment of the Minister and the employees. Employees should work hard so that our country can go forward. The Minister can only do so much but you find that there will be a bottleneck when it comes to approval, and investors will go away. This is our benchmark.
Looking backwards, you find that many people ran away from Zimbabwe because there was a lot of bureaucracy. A person will be referred from ministry to ministry until they give up and go away without doing any business in Zimbabwe. I made a research on Cuba which was under sanctions for 50 years but they survived. They said that if people in Zimbabwe are committed to their country and their work ethics change, we will progress. We can complain that there is no money in Zimbabwe but what we do not have is the attitude for investment. If you go to Highlands, you will find there are mountains there where people are building houses in those mountains which do not match with their salaries. So, if we can channel those monies to better use, I think we can go somewhere as a nation. I think what the President has put forward is that all of us should work hard for the betterment of our country, not for individualism.
Referring to the Presidential Speech, the President touched on the Water Authority Bill. There is a lot of corruption going on in many local councils in the rural and urban areas. They are awarding themselves huge allowances which do not correspond to their educational qualifications. The Minister in charge of the local authority should abide by the law. People who are being given the money are awarding themselves huge salaries and this is impeding the progress of councils.
Looking at the local authorities especially the rural ones, you find that ZINARA can give them funding for road maintenance but instead of using that diesel, they take it and channel it to wages. When ZINARA makes a follow up, they are given bribes and then they come up with good reports yet the diesel would have been channeled to the wages. So, that the money is not being used for the intended purpose. There should be a good law for monitoring these local authorities. If people are guilty, they should be charged.
Madam Speaker, this is emanating from the fact that if you look at the Auditor General’s report, there is a lot of corruption which is happening in local authorities. We came up with the Anti Corruption, instead of the Anti Corruption looking at those reports, we do not know what they will be investigating. If this Anti Corruption Commission was working on those reports, many people would have been convicted. There is a lot of evidence and if you make a follow up, you will hear the police saying that no one reported and it is the Government which is being robbed yet people are silent about it. Even if you look at the targeted funds that were channeled to health, those who were in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development just folded their hands and the money was channeled to the wrong people. In order for us to see anyone being convicted, it is just a story. What we are saying is that we should be able to manage our own resources without involving outsiders.
Madam Speaker, Ministers and the ministries should be committed to work for the betterment of the country because we can talk and talk but if people are not committed, we will not go anywhere. If we look at the issue of SMEs, here in Zimbabwe, we are not looking at people who are going to invest like Cone Textiles. Worldwide – you will find that SMEs are doing very well. It has to be supported. Banks should change their attitudes towards SMEs. If you look at the survey which was done by FINSCOPE in Zimbabwe, it says that US$8 billion is circulating without finding its way to the banks. If we have eight million SMEs, you find that big industries are very few. So, it is a dream that we are going to have these big industries. From what the President said, I think the banks should help SMEs because there is no one who can assist the country. No big industries are going to come to Zimbabwe. If you look at Ghana, it is doing very well in terms of SMEs because the Government urged the banks to give money to SMEs.
Madam Speaker, the ball lies in our court because I am looking at what people were talking about that there are no jobs in Zimbabwe and that we should look for big companies. When I went to Matebeleland, I observed that the youth in Matebeleland are given money so that they come up with hay, and they consider this to be a job. I also went South Africa, I looked at leather, you find that the materials are used for making boats. In South Africa, if you buy material that is made from those animals, you find that they are sold at exorbitant prices. You see that here in Zimbabwe, we should do something as Zimbabweans so that we promote the small to medium enterprises and we do not have to look for employment from other people. If we could get capital from banks, people can access loans to make clothes, the machinery can be imported duty free; you will find that we are concentrating on second-hand bales but we should channel our attention towards the importation of duty free equipment. Even the loans that come, I think we should lend machinery to each other, so these SMEs should be closely looked at.
Looking at agriculture, it shows that we are making strides but looking at Matabeleland where we do not have sufficient rainfall, their boreholes can be sunk up to 80m. If they can buy a solar pump worth $470.00, a borehole can cater for 20hectares and it will work out that if we can yield 10 tonnes of maize per hectare then one borehole will irrigate the land and many people will get food and value addition will be realised.
I think we should focus on Zimbabwe rather than outsiders because we have a lot of things that we can do as Zimbabweans. Looking at the Zimbabwe National Defence University, these days there is a lot of terrorism taking place, even if you look at the Middle East where there is the ICC (ISIS), Boko Haram and even close to home in Mozambique, the Matsanga. We really need that intelligence because nowadays, terrorism is becoming more sophisticated. Some people think that terrorism is only when a person is wielding a gun but it is all in the mind– that is the terrorism that we are currently faced with. So having such universities will afford people to be trained in intelligence and if there is hunger in the country, an uprising can be averted. The colleges should not look at the army only but also look at our national security, including food security so that people live safely.
The other issue that he touched on was that of corruption. I do not know how we can address the issue of corruption because we have the Anti-Corruption Commission but I heard that they were also withdrawing money and using fuel whilst they were not working. So who is going to reprimand them if they are involved in shoddy deals as well? They can convict a lot of people if they perform their duties well.
In the Zimbabwe Republic Police, we have a unit called, ‘Gold Squad’. In Bindura and Zvishavane, you will find that people are buying gold from homes and exporting it yet the Gold Squad and the Anti-Corruption Commission are there but no one is working towards curbing that. So I think that Bill should also address that those who are incorporated into the Anti-Corruption Commission adhere to their mandates, failing which the Commission is dissolved because they are awarding money to themselves, being involved in bribes and corrupt activities.
A few days ago, we read that gold worth US$950 000.00 and 50kg worth of gold was exported whilst we are in difficult situations. Even if you look at diamonds, you will find that it is being lost through rivers yet there are ministries that should be looking into this. Madam Speaker, when it comes to corruption, we do not know where to run to because corruption is everywhere. Even in Parliament, there is corruption and the same applies to the ministries. That is why we are pleading that the Anti-Corruption Commission is now like a toothless dog since they cannot reprimand people who have been singled out in the Comptroller and Auditor-Generals’ report.
A few days ago, it was reported that the employees at the DDF misused some funds but no one was held accountable. Even in the health department, you will find that funds were abused and if you call the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, they will have their own story and the Ministry of Health and Child Care will have their own story as well and in the end, you do not know what is happening.
Looking at the awarding of tenders, we queried as to why it was that people who were awarded the tenders were not attending to roads construction? We discovered that the people there wanted bribes in order to win the tenders and this only bleeds our country because people…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mapiki, you have two minutes to wind up debate.
*MR. MAPIKI: Madam Speaker, I think the President was articulate on corruption but we really have to enforce tough measures so that people who are found on the wrong side of the law are convicted. Ministry officials should be convicted as well as several people who committed crime in ZESA and this issue should be dealt with once and for all. I want to thank you Madam Speaker, for affording me this opportunity.