Chamisa says Parliament must reject RBZ bill because accepting it as condoning corruption


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Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa says Parliament must reject the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Debt Assumption) bill because accepting it is the height of irresponsibility. Those who benefitted must pay because if Parliament accepts the bill, this is tantamount to condoning corruption.

The bill passes on the central bank’s US$1.35 billion debt to the government.

Chamisa argued that the bill was being bulldozed through parliament without proper audits.

“This Bill ought to be rejected, rebuked and sent back so that we are able to deal with the issues that are supposed to be dealt with. Who benefited from the beneficiary list? If they benefited, why are they not paying for what they benefited from? ,” Chamisa said during the second reading of the bill.

“You cannot leave your home and have the comfort of parking a tractor and a combine harvester at your house and then come here to say let the State take over my debt. It is the height of irresponsibility. We cannot afford to do this and by doing so, we are legislating and condoning corruption in Parliament. We cannot afford to do this.

“ This nation is bleeding and we cannot add unnecessary arduous debt. We need accountability of the highest order. Let those who benefited pay for their benefits. Let those who were paid, pay for what they were paid. We cannot come to Parliament and then say we want Parliament to inherit the debt which was not accounted for….

“This is the sort of Bill that should unite both ZANU-PF and MDC unless if some of us have abandoned the zone of patriotism. If we are still patriotic.. out of the sense of patriotism and justice, we need to reject this Bill. If we are to be a proud and sovereign nation and Parliament, this Bill ought to be cursed, rejected and condemned with the level of condemnation it deserves.”

Chamisa said that he was surprised that David Chapfika and Muanyaradzi Kereke who had been against the quasi-fiscal operations of the central bank were now supporting the bill.

Chapfika is the chairman of the Finance and Economic Development Committee  and urged everyone to support the bill.

Kereke is the former advisor of central bank governor Gideon Gono and at one time accused Gono of corruption but when seconding the second reading of the bill, he praised Gono for doing a sterling job to save the nation.

 

Full contribution:

 

MR. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Chairman of the Committee and the one who is seconding in my manner of contributing and adding my voice to this very important Bill before Parliament.

However, I seem to have more questions than answers. Questions in the sense that there is a deliberate attempt to undermine and minimise the sovereign role of Parliament in terms of dealing with certain matters to do with the affairs of the State. If you look at this Bill, it is actually improperly before Parliament. We are supposed to have had a proper process of condonation first, a proper process of appropriation and of course a proper process of an audit that is carried out to make sure that we know who benefited what and under what circumstances.

What is clear is that we are coming to Parliament – people were given loans yet we want those loans that were given to be written off under the guise of quasi-fiscal measures. In any case, if you go to Section 8 of the Reserve Bank Act, it does not allow the Reserve Bank to undertake matters that are quasi fiscal. What we are literally doing, we are coming here to legislate an illegality. Parliament is coming here to condone the breach and violation of our own laws in the country. I believe that there is no other written and recorded scandal than this one – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, Hear.] – We are coming here to condone abuse of resources, opaqueness in Government, arbitrariness in how we do our things. We are coming here to say it is okay to abuse State resources, to curry favour and you would want Parliament to then come and endorse.

That cannot be permitted in an accountable society. In fact, I am surprised that Hon. Dr. Kereke, who just yesterday was very clear that this is a wrong thing, is supporting it today. He is the one who gave us very vital information about what has happened in the Reserve Bank which is wrong about the central bank. Today, he is the one who is saying, it is a good thing. What has happened overnight? I can understand the conflict. Even the Chairman, Hon Chapfika, I know that deep in his heart, he is convinced that the voice I am carrying is his voice – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

DR. J. M. GUMBO: I am rising on a point of order to ask the Chair to ask the hon. member contributing to deal with the matter on the table and ignore talking about other hon. members.

MR. SPEAKER: The point of order is relevant. Would the hon. member deal with the issues arising from the Bill?

MR. CHAMISA: I want to stick to the matter before the House. I was not digressing but I was clarifying and elucidating the facts. That is appreciated Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to say my fundamental difficulty is located in not appreciating why Parliament would be asked to inherit the debts and liabilities without necessarily accounting for the assets. The Reserve Bank does have a lot of assets and those assets are not being reflected as part of what we are inheriting. We cannot just be forced to inherit the deficits but the certain surpluses that are elsewhere are not being inherited.

There was a smarter view that had been taken earlier on during the Inclusive Government to then create a special purpose vehicle that would then be used to chlorinate and do the laundry of the kind of work that has taken place within the Reserve Bank. That way, you have a curator who is then able to pursue the assets and debts so that you are doing a cataloguing that would give justice to the taxpayer’s pocket. As it is, we are doing it the hatchet way, the undertaker way and the macho way which cannot be condoned in a society of accountability.

This is why I have fundamental problems to be a Member of Parliament in this day and age and be part of people who are saying carte blanche; lock, stock and barrel – we agree with the direction that is being taken by Government. This Bill ought to be rejected, rebuked and sent back so that we are able to deal with the issues that are supposed to be dealt with. Who benefited from the beneficiary list? If they benefited, why are they not paying for what they benefited from? You cannot leave your home and have the comfort of parking a tractor and a combine harvester at your house and then come here to say let the State take over my debt. It is the height of irresponsibility. We cannot afford to do this and by doing so, we are legislating and condoning corruption in Parliament. We cannot afford to do this – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear!] –

This nation is bleeding and we cannot add unnecessary arduous debt. We need accountability of the highest order. Let those who benefited pay for their benefits. Let those who were paid, pay for what they were paid. We cannot come to Parliament and then say we want Parliament to inherit the debt which was not accounted for.

Having said this Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not want to waste a lot of time. This is the sort of Bill that should unite both ZANU PF and MDC unless if some of us have abandoned the zone of patriotism. If we are still patriotic – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- out of the sense of patriotism and justice, we need to reject this Bill. If we are to be a proud and sovereign nation and Parliament, this Bill ought to be cursed, rejected and condemned with the level of condemnation it deserves.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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