A legislator for Mashonaland West has urged Zimbabweans to embrace indigenisation now so that they will not be left out like those who played watch-and-see during the land reform programme but are now demanding audits so that they can be accommodated.
In her contribution to the debate on the Presidential Speech in the lower house last week, Nomsa Mhlanga said indigenisation is a deliberate means of ensuring that the pervious exclusion of the indigene Zimbabwean from meaningful participation is removed whilst broadening the economic base so that all Zimbabweans have a share of the economic cake.
“We need to bring on board mining entrepreneurs. We need to demystify our mining resources. Zimbabweans should not just be mere CEOs and employees of foreign companies but must also be joint owners of this wealth.
“Mining remains an important and crucial sector for value addition and beneficiation as well as the creation and establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). This can also satisfy the infrastructural and utilities deficit which stands at about $15 billion according to the present analysis,” she said.
Mhlanga emphasised that she was not singing for her supper. Several countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Morocco and South Africa had benefitted from similar programmes though they might have had different names.
In Nigeria Saro Wiwa of the Ogoni Land died in the crossfire advocating for a say, as regards the oil that is extracted in the Ogoni People’s land leaving them with nothing to show for it or benefit.
“Closer to home, South Africa named it the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). We all know that a wave has begun in South Africa where sections of the indigenous population are demanding a larger stake, be it land, or industry and commerce,” she said.
She said local control of the economy was essential because if Zimbabweans controlled their own economy, the sanctions that were imposed on the country by the West would not have had such a crippling effect.
MRS. MHLANGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for availing me this opportunity to make my contribution on the Presidential Speech – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I am Jennifer Nomsa Mhlanga of Mashonaland West Province.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I begin by extending my congratulations to you and the other presiding officers on your election to the apex of this august Assembly. Congratulations Mr. Speaker Sir, also go to my fellow Parliamentarians for making it to this Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. Of special note is provision No. 124 sub section 1(b) of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe of which women of Zimbabwe became beneficiaries. I would therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, like to thank my Party ZANU PF and the entire leadership for seconding me as one of those women parliamentarians.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is still jubilation and ecstasy in Mashonaland West Province, over the huge vote of confidence given to His Excellency the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde. R. G. Mugabe, by his fellow countrymen and women in the July 2013 harmonised polls. His Excellency the President, Cde. R. G. Mugabe’s pro people driven policies, his unwavering quest for Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, his love for his people and country, his track record in the country, region and continent and on the international stage, no wonder earned him this vote of confidence from his fellow Zimbabweans.
Through this novel standing, Mr. Speaker Sir, the people of Zimbabwe earned top credentials for conducting credible, free and fair elections, that ZANU PF went on to win with a 61% margin. It is therefore prudent that all Zimbabweans join hands and steer the ship for the next five years, hence the agenda that was presented to the nation by His Excellency the President.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Mbwembwe, as well as the seconder for enabling us to debate on this important motion. His Excellency the President’s Speech is an all encompassing agenda for our people and touches on issues that will impact, in the positive, on the general citizenry. These issues include:-
- The harmonisation of various laws to the new Constitution.
- The resuscitation of the agricultural sector and the revival of industry and commerce.
- Sound transport infrastructure.
- The implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment.
- Social responsibilities in health, education, water and sanitation.
- The importance of ICT to all facets of running our country as well as energy
- Corruption and the abuse of the Constituency Development Fund
- The importance of the tripartite and the empowerment of civil servants.
- Environmental conservation vis-a-vis sustainable development.
- Promotion of the image of the country, as well as its political and economic interests through diplomatic channels.
- The riddance of sanctions as an unjustified punitive embargo for embarking on the Land Reform Programme.
- The sterling contribution of our security forces in safeguarding the nation and on peace keeping missions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in reply to the above agenda, Zim Asset is now breathing life as a home grown developmental blue print that will look at four clusters, namely
- Food security and nutrition.
- Value addition and beneficiation.
- Social services and poverty reduction.
- Infrastructural utilities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am particularly pleased that the agricultural sector has once again been given its prominence by His Excellency the President, ensuring that the agricultural sector is fully rejuvenated. Agriculture is an important drive in terms of food security and nutrition as well as contributing to value addition and beneficiation. We reminisce about His Excellency the President’s huge support for the agricultural sector in the form of loans, mechanisations and easy access to inputs that almost guaranteed phenomenal success in this sector. These inroads were, however, eroded during the Government of National Unity, whereby the agricultural sector was starved of the necessary support and funding.
We applaud His Excellency the President’s US$161 million facility in the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme. As women, Mr. Speaker Sir, we are appealing to His Excellency and the Government for such a package to include herbicides, as women and girls do most of the weeding, leaving them with very little time for other life sustaining activities or income generating initiatives.
As we bask in the glory of a successful Land Reform Programme, I must however hasten to highlight that most land lies fallow as a result of the unavailability of support to both the A1 and A2 farmers. Agriculture is a strategic sector in the economy and farmers can never be expected to make it on their own, especially with the inflated prices of inputs and the unavailability of loans from finance houses.
The bone of contention, Mr. Speaker Sir, pertaining to the reluctance of banks releasing such type of funding is that of security. The tenure documents of land reform beneficiaries are opinioned by the banks to be of no security value and therefore not tradable and cannot then be presented as collateral for loans. Government, on the other hand, is still wary of the reversal of the Land Reform Programme if current bank arrangements prevail. Inevitably, banks and the Government have to find ways of insuring that this crucial sector is financed. The agricultural sector desperately needs fresh capital injection as a way forward.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Tobacco industry is doing fairly well and seems to be growing each season. These efforts are commendable. The maize farmer can take a leaf from the tobacco arrangements of contracting to help increase the hectarage and the tonnage of maize. As a way forward, the financial services sector needs to adjust the lending regimes to accommodate the new farmer.
We are also aware that stakeholders have engaged the banks as regards to this issue. We await a positive outcome as finance remains a crucial ingredient in the agricultural sector. Let us not lose sight of the fact that land must be put to productive use. The pricing regime of the agriculture commodities is also a cause for concern among the Zimbabwean farmers who feel that the local farmer is usually underpaid and when it comes to importing grain, this grain then lands at a higher price after taking transport and other logistical costs into consideration. In this House, it has also been raised that the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development revert to the old system of announcing producer prices for the various grains within its mandate, as a way of incentivising farmers to producing important crops such as maize.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our region of Makonde – Mhangura – Chinhoyi is part of the ‘green belt’ which contributes the bulk of the stable food maize. We appeal for timeous and adequate availability of loans and input so that higher yields can be realised, thereby averting overreliance on imports and hand outs. Certain wards, nevertheless, in rural Makonde, that is wards 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are prone to perennial droughts.
The area can benefit immensely from the growing of small g rains. The livestock drought mitigation programme can also contribute to restocking in Makonde, at the same time contributing to growing the national herd. These mitigation measures can go a long way in addressing food security and nutrition in areas of Makonde.
Mr. Speaker Sir, urban agriculture for the Chinhoyi urban community remains one of the variable options in contributing to food security and nutrition in the household. We wish to seriously undertake the venture and would want to borrow a leaf from countries like Tanzania, who turned home based gardens primarily for household food.
It is the same in Lusaka, Kampala and Yaounde in Cameroon. We therefore ask the Ministry of Agriculture, to factor in and support this initiative in the agricultural plan for the coming season. Those who have successfully carried out urban agriculture say it improves food security by providing healthy and plentiful substitutes for purchased food. It can also translate to a primary of supplementary income. There are challenges, of course, that include a clash with local authority by-laws, but a well crafted and researched compromise is possible.
Mr. Speaker Sir, another area that needs focus and satisfying food security and nutrition is that of the rehabilitation of dams and the various irrigation schemes which are redundant or are in very minimum use.
Another suggestion is that of vigorously harnessing water, as over 70% of rain water that we receive is said to be wasted away to the Indian Ocean.
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment:
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not singing for my supper and I, therefore, beg that my fellow Zimbabweans lend me an ear. I will begin by giving examples of countries who have undertaken affirmative action to bring corrective measures, as regards economic redistribution of a country’s wealth. SavoWiwa of the Ogoni Land in Nigeria died in the crossfire advocating for a say, as regards the oil that is extracted in the Ogoni People’s land leaving them with nothing to show for it or benefit.
Closer to home, South Africa named it the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). We all know that a wave has begun in South Africa where sections of the indigenous population is demanding a larger stake, be it land, or industry and commerce. Nigeria, Botswana and Morocco are some of the countries where indigenisation has taken root.
We, therefore, continue to applaud His Excellency the President and the Government of Zimbabwe for the country’s IEE Laws which ensure that 51% of the country’s economy is in the hands of the indigene Zimbabwean. Mr. Speaker Sir, if 51% of the country’s economy were driven by locals as we speak, simple logic explains that sanctions imposed on us by the West at the instigation of fellow Zimbabweans, would not have a crippling effect on our economy and ultimately, the social well-being of our people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, IEE marks a welcome departure from a Eurocentric model of development to that of a home grown developmental solution which is unique and relevant to our country, taking into cognisance the fact that Zimbabwe is richly endowed in minerals and other wealth producing resources. I urge my fellow Zimbabweans to embrace indigenisation now and not be left out again, as has happened in the Land Reform Programme. Others now seek to participate through the back-door by always clamouring for land audits in the hope that they may also be accommodated.
We need to bring on board mining entrepreneurs. We need to demystify our mining resources. Zimbabweans should not just be mere CEOs and employees of foreign companies but must also be joint owners of this wealth. Mining remains an important and crucial sector for value addition and beneficiation as well as the creation and establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). This can also satisfy the infrastructural and utilities deficit which stands at about $15 billion according to the present analysis.
IEE is a deliberate means of ensuring that the pervious exclusion of the indigene Zimbabwean from meaningful participation is removed whilst broadening the economic base so that all Zimbabweans have a share of the economic cake. Zimbabweans now want to own and control their economy. Foreigners – yes, come in as partners and not owners.
This will contribute to the improvement of our people’s social standing as well as poverty reduction.
Sound Transports Infrastructure:
Mr. Speaker Sir, sound transport infrastructure improves trade facilitation and also reduces transport costs. The area of Makonde does not have a single tarred road to its name. Kenzamba Road, a busy road that links to Chinhoyi is in a bad state. All the other major roads in Makonde are in a deplorable state. In Mhangura, the state of the roads is also gravy and there is need for capitalising DDF as a matter of urgency. The case of our road network is not only unique to Makonde, but is an issue that most legislators in this House have also brought up. Action is needed and bridges are also in a sorry state.
Social Responsibilities, Water, Sanitation, Education and Health:
May I take this opportunity Mr. Speaker Sir, to express our appreciation to the health and education sectors for holding fort during the most difficult of times? However, attention is still needed in the area of satellite schools in both rural Makonde and Mhangura. Mhangura and rural Makonde can also benefit from the establishment of a boarding school. Suggested locations include St. Ruperts in Chigaro, Hombwe or in Mhangura.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. I notice some very good rapport among the two sides and people are talking across to each other. Can we reduce the level of our tête-à-tête so that we can hear the debate and those that want to exchange across the table there, please, you can do so outside.
MRS. N.J. MHLANGA: More clinics in Makonde and Mhangura can also reduce the walking distance for our people especially around Chipfuwamiti and Shupa areas. Expectant mothers are the ones who bear the brunt of walking long distances to the clinic. Tiripano in Mhangura is also in need of a clinic. Makonde Administrative District does not have a district hospital. We suggest that this hospital be set up within Makonde-Mhangura area. Makonde-Mhangura Ward 7 of Murereka has initiated the construction of a mother’s shelter. However, resource constraints continue to hamper the actual project’s take-off, hence the community appeals to Government for assistance.
Makonde/Mhangura communities must be commended for their support in both the health and education sectors as they stand willing to support these developmental institutions by contributing whatever material is locally available.
The whole area of Makonde and Mhangura urgently needs borehole rehabilitation. New boreholes are also needed as a large chunk of our population is still without safe drinking water. Makonde has been prone to sporadic outbreaks of dysentery, cholera and diarrheal diseases.
We are pleased by the envisaged support for water and sanitation services which I must highlight that it continues to be a perennial problem in Chinhoyi Municipality, covering the areas of Alaska, Shackleton, as well as Lions Den and Mhangura Service Centre under Makonde Rural District Council. We appeal to our Government to look seriously into this issue as both local authorities lack the capacity to fund such vital services.
The bridge linking St. Ruperts Mission Hospital and Mukohwe Valley Clinics needs urgent attention as the link is vital for drugs supply from the former to the latter.
The Importance of ICT and Energy
Communities of Makonde, especially in areas as far as Jechenene in Ward 1 and Mukohwe Valley in Ward 14, also wish to be incorporated into the mobile networking family. We appeal for the switching on of Matoranjera booster which will tremendously improve communication in that section.
On schools, Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency the President’s Computer Programme is a noble one and we wish to express our gratitude for this initiative. However, for this programme to spread in both Mhangura and Makonde, we ask the Rural Electrification Programme to be fully resourced so that other schools can benefit from these computer programmes. The coming in of REA can also benefit the local clinics as well as the electrification of local households. REA may also come up with other alternatives of giving energy such as solar and wind, communities are willing to these alternatives. These initiatives become skewed to one of the ZIM-ASSET tenets that are infrastructure and utility development. In Zumbara, Chipfuvamiti and Hombwe, most electrification infrastructure has been laid down and we urge REA or ZESA to complete this important project.
On the issue of sanctions, Mr. Speaker Sir, sanctions exist in Zimbabwe. This embargo has caused a lot of suffering in our constituency; women, children and the disadvantaged communities. Therefore, as Hon. R. Mpofu has strongly advocated for, I also call for the unconditional removal of these sanctions as they will never succeed in terms of their regime change agenda. We, therefore, condemn these sanctions and any Zimbabwean supporting these sanctions should be embarrassed by this action.
As a way forward Mr. Speaker, and as already alluded to by other contributors, I propose that as parliamentarians we register our displeasure with the embassies whose countries have imposed unjustified sanctions on us and our people.
On the issue of Environmental Conservation vis-à-vis Sustainable Development, briefly Mr. Speaker Sir, I will touch on the veldt fires that continue each year unabated as if this country is devoid of an environmental conscience. Mr. Speaker Sir, veldt fires have become a perennial menace to both our people and wildlife. Our forests are consumed en-masse and sometimes when one is travelling from one region to another; it is as if the whole country is on fire. This will result in the upset of the whole ecological system affecting our weather patterns and ultimately the dreaded climate change. Mr. Speaker Sir, we suggest that this coming season, tangible action must be taken to arrest veldt fires. Most rural communities that we represent are depended on these forests for their livelihoods and development, talk of mazhanje, macimbi, mushroom and timber among others. All this gets destroyed during veldt fires. Sometimes when one travels through large tracks of these veldt fires, it is as if the requisite authority has really given up.
In conclusion, Madam Speaker, from the President’s speech, we appreciate that the focus of our economic growth is diversified. We are also gratified by the chronology of events and the clear strategy that the Government has adopted. We begin with the ZANU-PF manifesto which has the mandate from the people as the governing party, His Excellency the President’s agenda to Parliament, the ZIM,-ASSET strategy and ultimately, the Ministry of Finance’s budget which helps spell out how we will navigate to achieve security and nutrition, value addition and beneficiation, social services, poverty reduction and infrastructure utilities.
Madam Speaker, it is increasingly clear that Zimbabwe has turned to its own resource utilisation for developmental initiatives as witnessed by the envisaged creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, a vehicle for raising capital from internal sources to support wealth, creating sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture, Public Private Partnership and the Built, Operate and Transfer arrangement which will drive the infrastructure utility initiatives.
Madam Speaker, for Zimbabwe to tick, we need a peaceful environment as well, hence we must give accolades to our security sector for the sterling work of defending the nation and on peace keeping missions where they have displayed their diligence and excellence making us proud as a nation. Thank you.