Follow China- hang corrupt parastatal CEOs-MP


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A Zimbabwean legislator says the government should hang corrupt parastatal bosses like China does since it has adopted a Look East policy because they are not only killing the organisations that they work for but the State and the State is the people.

Mbizo Member of Parliament Settlement Chikwinya said China valued its parastatals because its economy was anchored on them. They had even invested outside its border like in Sino-Steel Zimbabwe.

“What it does is to amass chrome in Zimbabwe for the benefit of the Chinese in China, but, because of their good corporate governance, it is a successful business which records profits.

“This business that parastatals must not record profit because they are supporting the public, and therefore can be cushioned by the public and the government, must be a thing of the past,” he said.

“We were of the thinking that parastatals are subsidising the public when actually, the chief executives were taking the profits and benefiting, lining their pockets.

“Since we have now looked East Mr.Speaker, the Chinese, if I can take them into cognisance, have put capital punishment to corruption. If you are found being corrupt and working for a parastatal in China, you face capital punishment because you are not only killing the organisation which you are working for. You are killing the State and the State is the public.”

 

Full contribution:

 

MR. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I rise to add my voice in this debate by Hon. Madzimure as set forth on our Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who has just spoken before me raised quite pertinent points in as far as corruption amidst our society is concerned. First and foremost, what I managed to know is that Zimbabwe is ranked 157 out of 176 countries on the Transparency International Zimbabwe Perception index. As I went through this, what was saddening to note is that, the more corrupt countries ahead of us are Tajikistan, Myanmar and Burundi. What you then notice into these nations is that they are run by warlords, they are failed States, collapsed economies run by individuals who have usurped State power and therefore, there is no formal structure of governance.

So, for Zimbabwe to come fourth – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- it also tells a sad story that, we are in a failed State. This is a question that goes to the Executive that: is this the picture which we want to write to the whole world that we are in the same bracket with Myanmar?

Mr. Speaker, the major drivers to the corruption perception index and these are the most corrupt institutions are notably the police, first and foremost. It is on record that between Harare and Bulawayo, you are lucky if you are going to come across roadblocks of a number less than 18. 18 roadblocks between Harare and Bulawayo, are we a police State? What is the proper intention of these roadblocks? So, the police have become the chief agents of corruption in our country – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

The second best are sadly politicians. The hon. member who spoke before me defined corruption as, an abuse of authority which would have been bestowed upon one or an institution. Politicians having been bestowed power to rule for the good governance of men have abused the very same status for their own good. The list is endless on politicians and just behind politicians are individuals who hide under the armpits of politicians. I hope politicians are not going to walk out as I speak of corruption Mr. Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): On a point of order Mr. Speaker. It is most unparliamentary to insinuate that my right to go out of the Chamber should be governed by the speech of the hon. member discussing whatever topic he is discussing. I have a democratic right to be in the Chamber and a democratic right to leave the Chamber.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Point of order sustained, would the hon. member please withdraw that statement?

MR. CHIKWINYA: Mr. Speaker, at your request, I withdraw. Mr. Speaker, sadly on the list of corrupt institutions are public officials and these are notably our executives within our parastatals and civil servants. Fourthly, Mr. Speaker, the Judiciary. Zimbabwe, according to the Transparency and International of Zimbabwe Report of 2013, has been said to be losing $55 million a day, calculated from the day we went into multi-currency regime. We have lost $10 billion for the past five years due to corruption and the money that has not been remitted to the State.

Mr. Speaker, our public tender process is in shame. One of the bodies and I want to believe that Parliament has got the powers to interrogate its proceedings and how it is conducting its work as the State Procurement Board. This is a board where corruption is manifesting itself, hatching its eggs and multiplying as the people see day in day out. Our Public Tender process is in shame and it is actually the hive of corrupt activities as we speak.

Secondly Mr. Speaker, the Government of Zimbabwe has launched the economic Blue Print of ZIM ASSET. ZIM ASSET, in its endeavour, requires a US$27 billion injection of direct investment, foreign and local. This will not come about if we do not respect our own rules of good corporate governance. At the anchor of the success of ZIM ASSET, State institutions like parastatals, the state can only look at its own investment vehicles which are parastatals for it to have a success in its own economic Blue Print.

The economy of China anchors its success on parastatals. Parastatals in China have gone outside the borders of China to invest in other countries, Zimbabwe included. Sino-Steel Zimbabwe, the biggest chrome manufacturer in Zimbabwe is a parastatal based in China. What it does is to amass chrome in Zimbabwe for the benefit of the Chinese in China, but, because of their good corporate governance, it is a successful business which records profits. This business that parastatals must not record profit because they are supporting the public, and therefore can be cushioned by the public and the Government, must be a thing of the past.

We were of the thinking that parastatals are subsidising the public when actually, the chief executives were taking the profits and benefiting, lining their pockets. Since we have now looked East Mr.Speaker, the Chinese, if I can take them into cognisance, have put capital punishment to corruption. If you are found being corrupt and working for a parastatal in China, you face capital punishment because you are not only killing the organisation which you are working for. You are killing the State and the State is the public.

Look at Cuthbert Dube, the fact that Public Service Medical Institution could not pay for its clients, people could not access drugs a person on renal care, a person on tuberculosis died because they could not access care when Cuthbert Dube was taking his concubines to Malaysia. Mr. Speaker, this institution called Parliament, over the years has been systematically weakened despite all the statutes, which are within our libraries and within our bankers to say first and foremost, when the Parliamentary Immunity and Privileges Act gives enormous power to make oversight to the Executive, this institution has been weakened by individuals presiding over the administration of Parliament. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

Mr. Speaker, the mover of this motion, Hon. Madzimure and I, the seconder, had to travel so many times between the office of the Clerk of Parliament and the office of the Speaker, for us to seek that this motion be tabled before Parliament. The answer which we were getting is that, you are putting the cart before the horse. This is a prerogative of the Executive. Therefore, Parliament cannot discuss about it. It was at the intervention of the Speaker, Hon. Mudenda that Parliament must have the right to discuss about it but the Clerk of Parliament was refusing. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

He watered down this motion because one of the tenets of this motion was, let the parliamentary committee on Parastatals and State Enterprises be mandated to carry out a wholesome exercise because every State Enterprise and Parastatal, falls under their mandate. They must provide oversight over that, but the Clerk of Parliament refused.

We wonder what he has to hide. This Parliament must demand to know how much the Clerk of Parliament earns. Members of Parliament travel in the economy class when they are going out on parliamentary trips. The Clerk of Parliament travels in Business Class, why? –[HON.MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

We need to know because we are a family. We are judged as politicians because we have the alter-ego of representing the people of Zimbabwe, not the administration of Parliament-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Mr. Speaker, it is only in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, as compared to the Parliaments around this region where, we have parliamentarians without researchers. My office, as compared to my colleague in South Africa, must be having ten researchers. I must have the duty to be able to provide political policy matters when I am meeting the constituents.

I am a politician born out of the respect of how I interact with the people. But, the intellectual and technical capacity is born out of technical research. I must be supported so that we do not come here and give streetwise debates. Where we are faced with issues of corruption, we should be talking statistics and figures supported by our research committees. Parliaments’ world over, the least in the Americas, that is Brazil, Chile and Venezuela to mention just a few, a Member of Parliament has got ten researchers depending on the institution or the Cabinet Ministries as they are clustered. This means each cluster of Government; I must have the research person in my office in Mbizo who is currently collecting data so that when I come here, I make presentations which are informed and technical for the benefit of the Executive. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

Mr. Speaker, it is sad to note that as a Parliament, we have been weakened and we have not been able to play our oversight role because some, even workshops where NGOs that commit to work with Parliament to make us more informed, have been denied the access to the parliamentary committees by the Clerk of Parliament and that upsets me a lot.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. member. We should not discuss the officers because they are not here to defend themselves. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible nterjections]- Hon. members to my left, please we need to hear the hon. member in silence.

MS. ZINDI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. You have just remarked that when members are debating, they should not talk about officers or the administration of Parliament. I think your response is inadequate for us hon. members to understand exactly how then, are we expected to address such issues where we observe that there are some inadequacies, or in as far as the management and the expectations of Members of Parliament is not being handled adequately? How then are we expected to put this across so that it has to be addressed? I think your response is inadequate Mr. Speaker. I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order, in terms of our Constitution, the Speaker is the head of the Parliamentary institution. Therefore, he cannot respond, particularly when you debate about the staff of Parliament.

MR. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I will just give the role of Parliament as my recommendation, as far as Parliament is concerned. It is my proposal Mr. Speaker that when appointing Board Members, as precedents set out in other countries, America for example. That Board Members of parastatals must be approved by a Committee of Parliament that superintends that particular Ministry –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- If we are going to have a ZBC Board to be appointed, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, must approve the Board Members. They must at least have a say before the President actually makes the final say. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Wataura zvihombe mwana] – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]—[Laughter]-

Mr. Speaker, I wish one day that our Committees’ reports that are tabled before Parliament can be respected. In 2011, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee responsible for Media then, tabled a report with specific recommendations in as far as ZBC was concerned. One of the recommendations was that there were serious disparities between ZBC Management and their workers in as far as salaries were concerned.

This we picked up in both ZBC and even the State Media which was Chronicle and Herald. The recommendation was neither given any ear by the Minister nor the Board. In the very same year, it is now public information that Mr. Charamba, who was actually a Board Member by virtue of his position as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity and also he is the President’s spokes person advised the Minister to act on ZBC but the Minister gave a deaf ear.

So, it does not then surprise us when Hon. Madzimure stands here and says, Hon. Shamu must answer. Where did he get the VX8, a black one which he was given by Happison Muchechetere. Who paid for it, he must answer – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- Hon. Shamu, is a Member of Parliament. First and foremost, he has all the right to come here and debate, since he is a Minister to come and debate and speak for himself. I respect him and therefore, he must be respected by everyone.

We must not say things out of perception but we end up saying this because Ministers do not come for question and answer sessions. If he was going to come we were going to ask him this very honourable question where did he get the VX8 a black one, supplied by Happison Muchechetere – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

Mr. Speaker Sir, there is an institution which collects our money. This institution is called ZIMRA, it is headed by one Gershem Pasi. I want to give the hon. gentleman the right to answer. Therefore, I implore members who sit in the Committee that superintends over this Board called ZIMRA, how does Gershem Pasi earn US$310 000 a month? Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because in the absence of a Parliamentary Committee that speaks to the facts and truth, we are all going to be dealing with perceptions. We need Parliamentary Committees mandated by this Parliament to go and dig into each and every parastatal –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the local authorities, Hon. Madzimure, who spoke before me talked quite wide about the goings on at Harare City Council. There is a question on the Order Paper, Mr. Speaker, which requires the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to avail the salary schedules for six major cities in Zimbabwe. Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe and Gweru.

The Minister has been ducking and diving over this question, but just to give the Minister a hindsight, the Chief Executive Officer of Gaborone, in Botswana earns 230 000 pula a year, which makes it 2 700 a month,( actually 19 166 pula amonth) yet his counterpart in Harare earns US$37 000 per month. How does this happen? The people of Zimbabwe, if we look at the socio-economic problems between Botswana and Zimbabwe, we are far away worse than them. We have more garbage in our streets than Gaborone; we have more litter in our streets than Gaborone, but how does the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) earn 10 times his counterpart in the same region? We have been lamenting as Members of Parliament that our salaries are not even comparable to Members of Parliament of Botswana, they are far better than us, so how does the CEO in Zimbabwe earn better than the one in Botswana – [HON. MEMBERS; Hear, hear]-

Mr. Speaker, recently, the University of Zimbabwe announced that tuition for students were supposed to go up by 10%, with medical students going up by 13 to 15%. The students are demanding Mr. Speaker, how do we convince our parents to fork out extra money, when we do not yet know the salary structure of the Executive of Administration. It is our duty as Members of Parliament, some of you are students; some of you are parents to assist this institution. What does the Dean of Faculty earn; what does the pro-Vice Chancellor earn, these students are simply riding on the principle of accountability and transparency and need to know that when their parents pay an extra dollar it is not going towards salaries but going towards their improvement of the faculties, administration or the improvement of the educational institution -[HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- this left students with no choice but to demonstrate for them to get this salary schedule.

Mr. Speaker, the President and Head of State of our country, spoke quite well about corruption. I heard him speak about the Masimirembwa case, and I said now Mr. President you are speaking. When the President of the State speaks, he speaks with authority. Everyone respects him because he will be speaking with authority. He spoke so eloquently and I said Masimirembwa will not last even a day. It has quite saddened me Mr. Speaker, that up to now, the President has even had to make a u-turn. I am not surprised that the President made a uturn because currently to his right is a Vice President, who is on record as having condemned the media for actually bringing to the fore issues of corruption. Therefore, the President was ill-advised.

To his left is his spokesperson who is actually embroiled in serious Salary-gate issues, where at one point was getting US$100 000 a month. To which extent he even offered to be fired. Why should you want to offer to be fired when you know that something you have done is wrong? Where are your moral ethics, where is moral standing, you should simply resign. Why should you burden the people who have appointed you to say if you feel that I am wrong, then I can resign? Therefore you are putting the blame squarely on the person who appointed you, and unfortunately in this case it is our Head of State.

“That Mr. President, you are the one who appointed me, I have looted US$100 000, therefore fire me. It is unfair, very unfair to the President, fire yourself. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

Mr. Speaker, politicians as we are, one of the biggest achievements which we have in our lives as politicians in this very dirty life; in this very burdening life which we have chosen is that we must leave a legacy. I must leave a legacy. I must leave a legacy in Mbizo. The President leaves a legacy throughout the whole country. What legacy is our Vice President who is actually the Acting President today, going to leave when she wants to gag the media that they must not speak of corruption? What legacy is she going to leave when the grand children of this country are going to hear that at one point, the very honourable lady said the media must not speak against corruption?

We are politicians by nature and we are going to be judged by what we say on a daily basis. I want to invite the Vice President that she is a Member of Parliament of Mt Darwin and she has got the right to come here. I respect her so much and I think she was misquoted. She must come here and say, ‘hon. members I was misquoted, I am against corruption.’ Failure to do that, the ghost of 12 January 2009, will forever haunt her when the media, specifically The Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom and SW Radio were awash with the news that 3.7m tonnes were being smuggled out of Zimbabwe by her in person. She must come here and defend.

Within our Constitution, there is a body called Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission. Today we woke up to news in the media that members of the Anti Corruption Commission…

MR. SPEAKER: Order. I did not hear what was said but I followed some parts of the mover of the motion concerning the crafting of the motion wherein the Clerk of Parliament was believed to have watered down the motion.

Secondly, the issue raised by Hon. Zindi about where do we complain to if we are not happy about the performance of the Administration. I want to put the issues straight. If I may go to the mover. The mover made a proposal of the motion which was looked at by the Clerk and his senior administrators and it was brought to my attention with certain reservations. I looked at the motion as it was in its state.

I called in Hon. Madzimure and indicated to him the constitutional constraints that were in that motion if it were to be brought before this august House. I explained in detail the implication thereof and assisted Hon. Madzimure which I am not supposed to do, to recraft that motion so that it has some extensive, comprehensive, more focused appeal when brought before this august House.

The hon. member appeared to me satisfied and that he would proceed and panel beat that motion. I said well and good, bring it up because it is a very important motion because it is part of strengthening the oversight role of Members of Parliament. Precisely, that motion was calling upon the question of implementation of the corporate governance framework and guidelines which had been produced by Hon. G. Moyo during the Inclusive Government and was accepted by Cabinet. We discussed that with the hon. member. I said you start from there.

The deterioration of corporate governance, again we looked at that. The issue of ineffective anti corruption laws, we looked at that to the extent where I advised the hon. member to say Tanzania for example, at Independence in 1962, through the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, had come up with an anti corruption law to distinguish it from fraud and other criminal elements. That I discussed and therefore as it comes in this form, this was an agreed position because I felt we needed that law which defined what corruption was and the consequences thereof, if one breached that law.

The issue of parastatals and local authorities was well crafted by Hon. Madzimure. There was nothing there to correct. The question of getting relevant Portfolio Committees to be capacitated and strengthened to carry out their oversight role regarding good corporate governance in Zimbabwe, I said that will pass and then the resolution.

Therefore, it is not correct to say the Clerk of Parliament watered down the original motion. That is not correct. In any case, the final authority in terms of motions and other administrative issues rests with the Speaker in terms of Section 135 of the Constitution; further, in terms of Section 151 and Committee on Standing Rules.

I am surprised that Hon. Zindi asks: where do we take our complaints when we are not happy with the Administration of Parliament when led by the Clerk of Parliament? I urged you hon. members to read your Standing Orders. They are very clear. They deal with administration of Parliament to boost the Constitutional provisions.

Therefore, if there are issues where members are not happy with the administration of Parliament as led by the Clerk, on a day to day basis, and overall at policy level it is the responsibility of the Speaker and Madam President of the Senate. It is there in black and white.

Up to now, no formal request to bring out whatever misgivings about the Clerk and his administration, has been brought to the attention of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee. There is none. So, it is unfair to bring such condemnation in this House when procedures have not been followed in terms of the Constitution before you and the Standing Orders. Read them, read the Constitution and then, you will be able to act accordingly.

I say this because some of you hon. members attack the Clerk who has no right of reply except through the Speaker, which I am doing now.

I am appealing to members to read the Standing Orders and to read the Constitution thoroughly. Please, do not peruse it, read it thoroughly.

Then to what my dear friend, Hon. Chikwinya was beginning to scratch on, we have immunities. Yes, but do not be tempted to characterise people who are not in the House, including the Office of the Vice President; especially when it is based on what was written, hear say. If we are dealing with a statement that was read out in black and white, so be it. It can be criticised but let us not rely on hear say. It is not proper. This is an august House that thrives on privileges and immunities but these should not be overstretched to character assassinate other people who are not in the House to reply accordingly.

I thought, I should make that straight. I thank you. Hon. member, you may continue.

MR. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was moving on to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Today, we woke up greeted by media headlines that the Anti-Corruption Commission is paying itself salaries outside its contract. Without necessarily delving into the merits and demerits of that story, what I am about to contribute on the Anti- Corruption Commission is that it is not supported by Statutes or by provisions of the law that gives power for it to deal with the corruption scourge before us.

The Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr. Speaker Sir, must have arresting powers. The Anti-Corruption Commission, in the manner in which it dealt with the case in which Hon. Kasukuwere and Hon. Dr. Obert Mpofu in 2013, was that as it went and interrogated them, the Anti-Corruption Commission members, themselves were arrested.

Therefore, who will then guard the guard? It now simply means that whereas the Anti-Corruption Commission, a Constitutional Board has been set out to go and eradicate corruption, it is then finding itself having impediments through politicians who are more powerful than the Constitutional Board.

Therefore, I am appealing to this House to come up with relevant statutes in the form of legislature; legislative interventions which gives the Anti-Corruption Commission enough powers for it to execute its mandate in a manner which can eradicate corruption amongst us.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to give respect to both private and public media. The manner in which they have collectively handled corruption cases is one thing which we would want to celebrate. It is my belief that behaviour rewarded is behaviour repeated. The media has played very important role in unearthing the entire scandals world over.

The scandals which have been laid here by Hon. Madzimure from 1987, being the ZISCO Steel scandal, the Air Zimbabwe scandal and everywhere. They are coming out through the media. I beg Parliament to support the role being played by the fourth estate.

Since Parliament is an institution where we have politicians, I urge that we refrain from using our political muscle to shut off the media; that we refrain from using our political position to gag the media and that instead; we should support this role because we ourselves, we are the ones who are appointing these board members who are now pilfering from the State coffers. How then are we supposed to expose the same?

It takes one or two individual politicians and they have been mentioned here, the likes of Prof. Moyo who has unleashed the institutional powers within him that these scandals be exposed. Therefore, we would want to expose them.

Of late, Mr. Speaker Sir, is the story by one Paidamoyo Mazulu on the Air Zimbabwe scandal. I would want to give respect to the Hon. Minister who came before Parliament yesterday and said, yes, I hear you Parliamentarians, after having been asked subsequent questions emanating from that story which came out of the News Day that we are making a report and we are going to give a public statement to the same.

The fact that it has come out as an investigative article in a newspaper, making the public to be aware of such issues involving corrupt individuals, involving shoddy deals, that to me is a thing we should celebrate amongst our media.

The story by Moses Matenga, that of the relationship between Chombo and Mahachi, where Mahachi was alleged to be a conduit of Chombo; again without giving credence to say Chombo is guilty or not, but the fact that there are investigations going on and that the matter is going on, I think we need to give credence to the media within that regard. The same goes to the Herald in the manner it carried the ZBC Board story; I think we need to thank the members of the fourth estate.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as I was saying earlier on, that we risk as the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, going down in history as having failed to answer one question. When everything was happening, where were you as Parliament? At the end of the day people in our constituencies queue for four to five hours attempting to vote because they have given us all the powers to make decisions on their behalf. Therefore, any problem, be it water, be it corruption or anything, they look upon us for solutions. We must be given the opportunity to provide the same solutions. We must be given the platform within which I support the mover of the motion to say, let there be a Parliamentary Committee to investigate, especially with regard to State enterprises and parastatals.

What is the salary scale within all the executives and we must get, not hear say but proper findings and then act accordingly. I would therefore, move Mr. Speaker …

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Chikwinya, your time is up but because the Speaker has stole part of your time, I indulge you with a further five minutes so that you are able to wind up your debate.

MR. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying that, with all due respect to our constituencies, we need to answer the fact that where were you as elected people with the alter ego of representing your constituencies when all this rot was happening in Government. I seek a platform through the Committee of Parliament that these committees be given the mandate to go and investigate, without interference, what is happening in these parastatals on behalf of the people. Whilst we might have limited powers with private institutions, but where we can have powers, let us be given the opportunity to investigate and make our findings public for us to give confidence to the investors. For us to be able to support collectively the ZIM ASSET, for us to be able to realise the 27 billion injection so far required in terms of direct investment. Thank you.

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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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