Chinamasa apologises to Parliament for mid-term fiscal policy statement cock-up


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Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday apologised to Parliament for trying to seek a supplementary budget approval proposed in his mid-term fiscal policy statement last week after Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda ruled that Chinamasa had not followed the right procedure.

Mudenda ruled on Tuesday that Chinamasa should have introduced the statement as a motion if he wanted Parliament to approve a supplementary budget and barred debate on the statement.

Movement for Democratic Change national organising secretary and Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East Nelson Chamisa yesterday argued that Chinamasa was a lawyer and should not try to bring back debate on the statement through the back door.

Chamisa is now also a lawyer. He graduated last week.

MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said Chinamasa must not take legislators for granted. He should have consulted the opposition before bringing the statement for debate.

Mudenda said Chinamasa had now followed the right procedure.

Q & A:

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE ACCEPTANCE OF THE MID-TERM FISCAL POLICY REVIEW STATEMENT

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to make this statement and it is that, I accept the ruling you made yesterday and I offer my apologies to this august House for the oversight which led to the violation of our Parliamentary procedures. To regularise the motion, I am requesting this House to condone the oversight. I am therefore, seeking the leave of the House to move that the Statement that I presented to this august House on 11th September 2014, be deemed to have been made upon a motion seeking leave of the House to introduce a Bill to make further provisions for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto as required by Section 305 (5) of the Constitution, and that the debate which was to ensue from the motion, be treated as debate adjourned on the leave to introduce the Finance Bill. Additionally, the said debate on the motion, be reflected on today’s Order Paper as Order of the Day Number 51.

MR. CHAMISA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Minister Chinamasa is a lawyer himself, is a Minister of Finance who should know what the law requires. He chose not to do that. So the debate we have is that, instead of working on a dimmed basis, he is supposed to bring the process of presenting a budget according to what is required by the law instead of coming through the back door, which is what he is trying to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order! Order! In terms of the Standing Orders, where the hon. Minister has sought leave of this House, it is proper that that leave be granted accordingly. We cannot – [HON. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.] –Hon. Gonese, do you want to complete my ruling? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

Hon. Gonese, please take your seat. Order! If the Chair is giving a ruling, a member cannot just stand up in the middle of that ruling or else – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Gonese hautaure Speaker achitaura.] –Please take your sit or else I will move you out of the House. Order! May I remind Hon. Gonese to read properly Standing Order Number 77?

I have asked for any debate and Hon. Chamisa had debated and I was making a ruling and before I finished you took up the stand. That is not permissible – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Gara pasi!] – Order! Order! Order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I have not finished asking for further debate, so please sit down.

I was ruling that, where the Hon. Minister has sought leave of the House to rectify a mischief and we ask for debate, the debate should be on the motion as presented. So, can we follow that procedure accordingly but we cannot start to denigrate, implicitly or explicitly on the character or qualification of the Hon. Minister.

MR. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I am just responding to the motion by the Minister to seek leave of the House. The first point I want to make Hon. Speaker Sir, is that the issue should not be taken for granted. If the Minister wants the condonation of this august House, it should not be taken for granted that the House will be so inclined.

I also believe that in terms of due process, it is appropriate for the Hon. Minister to approach members on this side of the House so that we are not taken by surprise – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Mr. Speaker Sir, as the Opposition, I believe that the Minister should have engaged the Leader of the Opposition. In the absence of the Leader of the Opposition, engage the Chief Whip of the Opposition informing him that this is what the Minister is seeking to do so that the Opposition can also take an appropriate stance in regard to what the Minister is seeking to do. I believe Hon. Speaker Sir, that we should not take each other for granted. We would also have wanted to look into the merits of the matter and then see whether it would be appropriate for the leave of the House to be granted for the Minister to take the due process and re-introduce the motion afresh. But, for the Minister just to come here and say he is seeking the leave of the House and then expect us to accept and rubber stamp what the Minister would want, I think that is taking matters too far. What we should do as hon. members is to respect each other, consult each other for the good of the nation we can take an appropriate position and we are inclined not to accede to the request which the Minister is making – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I rise to also contribute to the motion that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has raised. Mr. Speaker, the rules are made in this House and when omissions are made in this House, we as Members of Parliament should stand up and raise a point of order advising you that the minister has made an omission, both sides did not do that. Therefore, I want to thank the Minister for coming to make an apology and ask this House to accept the Minister’s apology – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

MR. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. On the day in question, when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development made a presentation, we rose after he had made his presentation because we wanted to raise objections on the procedure that he had taken and debate was not allowed, that is point number one. Point number two Mr. Speaker, is that we represent the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe are tired of mediocricy and incompetence. We cannot allow the Minister to come here and display incompetence and mediocricy and then he wants to seek leave of this House to allow the proceedings on the Statement, we are not going to allow that.

MS. CHIMENE: Mr. Speaker Sir, when the motion was brought before this House by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, all hon. members from either side, were attentive. They could have raised a point of order but there was no point of order raised during the presentation of this Statement [HON. ZWIZWAI: There was a ruling made by Mr. Speaker and you were not in the House, wanga uri kubhawa.]
I would want the hon. member Zwizwai to know that I am also a hooligan, so, Hon. Zwizwai is a hooligan, I do not entertain that, he should not do that in this House; he should stand up and raise a point of order. He must know that we are going to divide the House. We will divide the House.

*MR. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker Sir, we do not expect an hon. member in the stature of Hon. Chimene to refer to herself as a hooligan, it is unparliamentary – [HON. CHIMENE: Nokuti ndakakuramba] – [Laughter.] –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. I think it is high time for the Chair to send someone out very soon from both sides. Now, I am making the following ruling. First of all, Hon. Zwizwai, you need to withdraw the statement ‘wanga uri kubhawa’. Hon. Chimene, withdraw the word ‘hooligan’.

*MR. ZWIZWAI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am sorry for using the word bar, she was at the restaurant.

MR. SPEAKER: I asked Hon. Zwizwai to withdraw the expression, you were at the bar. I did not ask about the restaurant.

MR. ZWIZWAI: I withdraw the statement that she was at the bar.

MS. CHIMENE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I withdraw asi zvekumuramba ichokwadi – [Laughter.]

MR. HLONGWANE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the Minister’s approach to this matter is a very genuine one. The Minister has acknowledged that he did make a mistake and indeed he has apologised to the House. He has proceeded to ask for leave of the House to allow the House to proceed with the debate on the Statement. I think that at a time when our economy is burning, at a time when our economy is suffering from the liquidity crunch, we do not have the luxury to be mudslinging and haggling in this very honourable House over what is supposed to be a very simple and straightforward matter. The fact that the Hon. Minister has shown contrition and has acknowledged the error, I think that my colleagues should be persuaded to accept to proceed with the debate on the matter without necessarily having to ask the Minister to do the presentation all over again. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

MR. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Having gone through the rules, I now rise on a point of order. In terms of Standing Order Number 35 and 38, I believe that the procedure which the Minister is using is not actually in accordance with the Standing Orders of this august House. The reason why I say so Mr. Speaker is that in terms of Standing Order Number 35, all Notices should be given on notice and Standing Order Number 38 goes further to say that every motion requires notice and then specifies those motions which do not require notice. Those motions are actually specified. One, it is a motion by way of amendment to a question which is already on the Order Paper, a motion for the adjournment of the House or debate, a motion in Committee of the whole House, a motion which relates to a question of a matter of privilege, a motion which relates to discharging a member from attendance on a Select Committee.

So, it is my respectful submission Mr. Speaker Sir that the motion which has been moved by the Hon. Minister does not fall in the categories which I have enumerated. I believe that for that notice, the Minister needed to give us notice as we usually do and I will explain Mr. Speaker. In the past, we have had motions for the suspension of Standing Orders, for example. For those motions all along we have had notices given that we need to suspend a particular Standing Order to enable us to transact the business of the House. So, we are not really speaking on the merits or the demerits of the matter but I think that from a point of view of due process, I believe that the Minister has missed the mark. What should have been done was for the Minister to actually give notice that he intends to move a motion as he has done but not in the manner that he has done.

That is the point which I want to raise Mr. Speaker, that it is not in accordance with the Standing Orders of this august House. Otherwise on the merits, we are prepared to consider the request and accede to it but as a matter of procedure, I believe that the Minister has gone off a tangent.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Gonese is correct in his sentiments but I would like to draw his attention to the fact that the hon. Minister is seeking leave of the House. That is also permissible in terms of any miscarriage of procedure, so he has sought the leave of the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order. Hon. Ziyambi, order. With the explanations given and the contributions made, as well as the observations made, I ask the House if there is any objection for the Minister to have sought that leave of the House.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ACCEPTENCE OF THE MID-TERM FISCAL POLICY REVIEW STATEMENT

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I, therefore move that the statement I presented on the 11th September, 2014 be deemed to have been made upon a motion seeking leave of the House to introduce a Bill to make further provisions for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, as required by Section 305 (5) of the Constitution and that the debate which was to ensue from the motion be treated as debate adjourned on the leave to introduce the Finance Bill. Additionally, the said debate on the motion be reflected on today’s Order Paper as Order Number 51.

Motion put and agreed to.

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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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