The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the army should be given arresting powers to adequately deal with corruption in the country because right now no one is policing the police.
The Member of Parliament for Hurungwe West, Themba Mliswa, said although the country had a corruption watchdog, it had no teeth. This was allowing the Zimbabwe Republic Police to be corrupt because no one had powers to arrest them except their own members.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission must be given arresting powers and in being given arresting powers, we are able to deal with corruption. The issue of the Anti-Corruption Commission not having arresting powers is certainly allowing even the ZRP itself to be corrupt.
“Who will arrest the ZRP when they are corrupt? However, if we empower many organisations such as the Defence to have arresting powers, we will certainly come up with a situation where the police are being policed. In so doing, I am sure the issue of corruption will come to an end,” Mliswa said.
Mliswa also said another way to curb corruption was to get ministers to declare their assets on appointment.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, let me lastly say that the Ministers must be asked to declare their wealth before they are given their jobs. Time has come for them to declare their wealth before they take up their jobs so that people understand what you actually went in with and what you came out with. For as long as that does not happen, we shall have situations where Ministers constantly are at the height of being corrupt. In an economy like this, it is sad that a Minister would actually buy a bank. Mr. Speaker Sir, never,” Mliswa said in his contribution to the motion on good governance in an apparent reference to Transport Minister Obert Mpofu who owns Allied Bank.
“My plea to the honourable Ministers is that when they think about going into business, they must go into business and resign to His Excellency and ensure that they do business. It is important that we understand that. There is no way that somebody can buy a bank in this economic environment that we have. We need to look into it and it is something. This is the very same money that is being used to divide people. This is the very same money that is being used to divide people because dirty money will always be used for ulterior motives and not for sincere motives.”
MR. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member of Parliament who moved this motion Hon. Madzimure and seconded by Hon. Chikwinya. First of all Mr. Speaker Sir, it is in this august House where we are seated that corruption happens. We are endorsing it in that we are the least paid parliamentarians, probably in the entire world. Yet, in sitting in this House, ensuring that the country moves forward, we are endorsing figures to people who are destroying the company everyday in the country.
There is need for review of the welfare of parliamentarians. This approach that Members of Parliament have taken in fighting this cause, together must say something to this nation that, as Members of Parliament, we are not being taken care of. As such, for us to show that our mandate is done in a manner which safeguards the interest of the citizens of this country, our welfare should be of paramount importance.
It is clear to me that in most House of Assemblies in other countries, even board appointments come through the National Assembly. I would want to therefore suggest that, any board appointment of any parastatal goes through the relevant Parliamentary Committee for vetting. After that, they should come through this House and then to His Excellency the President for that appointment to be made.
That then gives us oversight on our role on what has got to happen. We cannot have oversight on what we do not control. The appointments of CEOs and board members must come through this august House, through to His Excellency the President and that then gives us the ammunition to be able to deal with whoever is out of line.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also important to bring about the green fuel transaction. You recall a question to the Leader of the House on why the Government had allowed green fuel to trade without complying with the 49% – 51% requirement and yet the same Government had given a condition that for green fuel to trade, they must comply with the 49% – 51%. No one answered that. If anything, the Leader of the House was sketchy in terms of answering that.
It is important that when questions are asked, they must be answered. This is not a grand standing event. It is an event which deals with national issues. I will still touch on the green fuel transaction which was still given a licence despite Government having given a condition that they must comply with the 51%. Who then gave the go ahead for the licence to be given for green fuel to trade?
Secondly, the green fuel transaction, the value of the Ethanol Plant itself, is sitting at $600 million. Mr. Speaker Sir, the entire Zimplats plant with Rolls Royce machinery, was built at $250 million. So, who then approved a plant of that nature at $600 million? We would want to get in touch with ZIMRA and see if equipment that came into this country is worth that much. It is important that these records are furnished.
Let me pay homage to the former Prime Minister, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai when his own Minister Hon. Mudzuri sitting here, was allegedly involved in corrupt tendencies, he was fired.-(HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.
MR. MLISWA: This was after Hon. Mudzuri had gone to Brazil on a trip which was funded by the owner of ratings Billy Rottenburg. On his return, he had no job. I must compliment the former Prime Minister for that. Equally, the former Minister of Energy, Mr. Mangoma was then given the job to look into energy. The Government at that time, the Cabinet through His Excellency the President, appointed a team which was headed by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Mutambara, to look into the affairs of Green Fuel to see whether they should be given the licence to then trade.
The findings of that report then suggested that, Green Fuel could not trade until they complied with the conditions which had been laid down. A number of visits were undertaken by senior Government officials to go to the plant. I must also give homage to the Parliamentary Committee at that time, which made thorough findings on recommending that, it could not function until it met the 49%-51% which was required. Not only that, but to also compensate the people in that, area that have lost their homes.
Despite that, it did not happen. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am trying to address the issue of how inherent corruption is in our people, despite even the committee in Parliament recommending for certain things to happen, nothing happens. Despite a team appointed by His Excellency to come up with findings headed by the then Deputy Prime Minister, nothing happened.
There seems to be an approach to ignore what happens. So how then can we guarantee the nation out there that Members of Parliament sitting here will deal with this rot? It is important Mr. Speaker Sir, for us to take a good look at ourselves. There are some of us who are sitting here who are part of it- [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
We must make it clear that the very same committee that has been suggested to be set up is one of the answers that will ensure that whoever was part of the rot, be it two or three years ago, is brought to book. We cannot have a situation where we sit here and watch this rampant corruption going on without us taking action.
If we go to the fuel itself, the pricing of ethanol fuel, according to international standards, is the highest. The price of ethanol, if there is anything, the fuel actually has to cost motorists more money buying that fuel than the blend fuel that we were used to. We have a situation where people have been forced to buy fuel from a mandatory point of view.
Once again, who then benefits; the people are not benefiting. If it was mandatory and people were benefiting at the end of the day, it is important that it is supported. If the people are not benefiting from that mandatory initiative which is there, there is somebody who is benefiting at the end of the day.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have an anti-corruption organisation which has no teeth. The Anti-Corruption Commission must be given arresting powers and in being given arresting powers, we are able to deal with corruption. The issue of the Anti-Corruption Commission not having arresting powers is certainly allowing even the ZRP itself to be corrupt.
Who will arrest the ZRP when they are corrupt? However, if we empower many organisations such as the Defence to have arresting powers, we will certainly come up with a situation where the police are being policed. In so doing, I am sure the issue of corruption will come to an end.
The issue of ZIMRA is very clear, which has been brought up by Members of Parliament here. The issue of ZIMRA stems from the CSC itself. I am reliably informed Mr. Speaker Sir, that the meat which is coming into the country is coming from Botswana. CSC was supposed to buy the beef and pay for it from Botswana, it comes through the Cold Storage and then it should be distributed to the butcheries. That is what should be happening but somebody is doing it contrary to the agreement that Government endorsed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there needs to be a probe on meat companies like Koala; there needs to be a probe on meat companies which you see now springing up and creating small butcheries in the high density areas which were a preserve for our own people whereby they used to get meat from the CSC. This has certainly resulted in the monopoly of the beef industry. As such, this needs to be clamped on.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of roads is very important. The road from Harare to Magunje, on the map is tarred, it is supposed to go to Binga, but right now it is not tarred. I represent a constituency Hurungwe West, which goes past Magunje, Zvipane and goes to Binga.
That is the shortest route to Binga instead of us taking Binga from Harare going through to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. On the map, it is tarred. We would want to know why is it that on the map it is tarred yet it is not tarred – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of the Tender/Procurement Board, if there is any animal which has made this country more corrupt than most is the Tender/Procurement Board. We have board members who have sat there for years and years. I therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, suggest that any tender of a certain amount of money, be it $5 billion, should come through this House. It should come through the relevant committee, endorsed in this House and go and be endorsed by the President. The Tender/Procurement Board has become a law unto itself. Not only that, in terms of the importation of the vehicles and grain, we have absolutely deprived this country of employment and money.
As I speak, the land reform programme is on its knees as a result of corrupt Government officials in the Ministry of Agriculture – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – who are busy issuing permits to people to import commodities. The importation of any commodity or product which we can grow in this country, results in the land reform being on its knees. As such, there needs to be a re-look into us being able to issue imports willy-nilly. Even the importation of grain must come through this House. If it comes through this House, I think there will be more scrutiny as to who is involved in terms of giving that grain.
Mr. Speaker Sir, credit must be given to the media for exposing the corrupt tendencies. More so, the state controlled press also needs to take a look at itself and at its leaders. In taking a look at its own leaders, it is important that we then ask as to what has happened to the leaders in these state controlled enterprises who agree that they were part of certain boards that adopted certain resolutions for certain members to be paid but they still exist on these boards. It is important that our people, at the end of the day, have some integrity; the integrity which I call upon our board members is for them to take a good look at themselves and not think that Zimbabweans are stupid.
A man like Laxon Zembe, whom we regard highly must realise that when you were part of a board which sanctioned certain transactions which have made the organisation go to its knees, it is only proper that when the time comes for you to step down, you step down. You cannot take people for granted and still accept the position to chair that board.
We are therefore asking those board members out there who have been used to doing this to stop, take good look at themselves and with time resign – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Zimbabwe Mr. Speaker Sir is a country which is renowned for its people who have pride, integrity and well schooled. We do not have to continuously debate on issues which we think they understand better. In understanding better, they must also act to ensure that they are responsible citizens at the end of the day. We cannot have a situation Mr. Speaker Sir, where we have people sitting on two, three or ten boards and continuously all that is happening.
Our own ministers, at the end of the day and some of them due to lack of capacity, are not able to comprehend some of these boards. It is therefore my view Mr. Speaker Sir, that there be set up an independent bureau that will look into all the parastatals in this country. The people who will be in charge of the bureau are the people who should have come through the relevant Parliamentary Committees and through this House and then endorsed by His Excellency so that the Minister’s role is for ensuring that there is policy and its implementation. It is pretty clear that our Ministers have failed clearly to comprehend the two; that is, ensuring that there is policy and ensuring that there is implementation, with the rot that is happening.
Unfortunately, it is not many who have that audacity to step down when they have failed but we need to put together mechanisms that will ensure that even the Ministers who are appointed and who are given many boards, are also supported in the mechanism that would have been put in place. Therefore, that bureau will be an independent bureau which, like I have said, would have people of great repute and who have done well in business, who are of good social standing and who would have to come through the committees and this Parliament.
In the event that something goes wrong, I think it would be proper for us to relieve them of their duties. It is also important Mr. Speaker Sir, moving forward, that parastatals report to this august House annually for us to understand what they are doing and for us to endorse what they are doing. Failure to do that, then I think, it becomes important that more mechanisms are put in place to ensure that whosoever is in control of the parastatal, must ensure that this House is involved.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the only House which people out there rely on, for purposes of ensuring that all the matters relating to the development of this country, are brought to the fore in a very transparent and honest manner. Ultimately, it requires one who is associated with this House to account to what they are doing at the end of the day.
As we speak, we have a shortage of grain. At the same time, we have money to import. How then do you reconcile the two? You have money to import but we have a shortage of grain yet you do not have money to buy inputs. We have said that the key to ZIM ASSET Mr. Speaker Sir, is to ensure that the agrarian reform is well supported. The agrarian reform can only be supported if these importations are given timelines. We must all endorse and agree that if it is the importation of maize, it must happen for a certain time and thereafter we must then be able to buy maize from our own farmers at a better price and not at a lower price compared to the price with which we buy maize from abroad.
One of the questions which come to mind is that: Why would one choose to pay more for a farmer who is in another country and less for a farmer in your own country. Mr. Speaker Sir, the answer is simple. There are mark-ups and those are the mark-ups which people are putting which are destroying this country everyday and as such, we need to push for importations to be brought to a stop at a certain time for us to be able to resuscitate our own industry and to ensure that our people are able to gain employment from it and get their hard earned cash.
As I speak Mr. Speaker, the tobacco floors are open. With tobacco floors open, I am sad to say that the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), which is the regulatory board, has decided to re-handle the bales themselves. What then happens to that person who used to rehandle the bales and get employment from it? We now need to watch it because tobacco is the only crop which we know at this time that brings in the much needed foreign currency in the country. It is important that TIMB allows the smaller players who were involved in this industry to be able to then re-handle those tobacco bales.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the other issue on tobacco is the decentralisation of the tobacco floors. We still have a few floors in certain areas which have become very difficult for our farmers to come to Harare. I am reliably told that the big fours in Harare are paying large amounts of money to TIMB to ensure that the decentralisation of floors in the smaller regions of this country does not happen. So that tobacco comes to Harare and so that they make more money from it. It is therefore important Mr. Speaker Sir, that we protect the citizens of this country by ensuring that tobacco is decentralised and that farmers go and sell their tobacco at a place which is close to them and not to Harare where a lot more happens. The monopoly of tobacco floors cannot be allowed to happen.
I must say Mr. Speaker Sir it is on a sad note that the statue of our late Vice President Joshua Nkomo which is in Bulawayo right now was made through a tender. That tender was won by a Zimbabwean David G. Mutasa but it was then given to the Koreans to do that sculpture. How sad is it that a Zimbabwean wins a tender to actually do a sculpture of Ubaba Wethu Joshua Nkomo, but we still allow the North Koreans to go and do the sculpture for us …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, hon. member you are left with only five minutes – [HON. MEMBERS: Towedzera dzimwezve?]-
MR. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, even on issues of patriotism at the end of the day, we have our own Zimbabweans who are able. We should promote our own culture and we should promote our own arts but we are supporting the arts of the North Koreans at the end of the day. It is very sad. I was given all the documents leading to all that. It is very sad that, Ubaba Wethu sculpture was made by the North Koreans yet there are Zimbabweans who won the tender and who could have done that. I am hoping that the one that will be in Harare will also be done by the Zimbabweans and not by the North Koreans.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this noble motion certainly gives a rude awakening and a warning to all those who think that for many years, they have gone about and done things and have gotten away with it. At this time Mr. Speaker Sir, we have the mandate from our people to ensure that we protect the citizens of this country and any money which we can get to ensure that this country moves forward and more so that ZIM ASSET is protected, we shall ensure that we do everything without fear and without favour.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me lastly say that the Ministers must be asked to declare their wealth before they are given their jobs. Time has come for them to declare their wealth before they take up their jobs so that people understand what you actually went in with and what you came out with. For as long as that does not happen, we shall have situations where Ministers constantly are at the height of being corrupt. In an economy like this, it is sad that a Minister would actually buy a bank –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – Mr. Speaker Sir, never.
My plea to the honourable Ministers is that when they think about going into business, they must go into business and resign to His Excellency and ensure that they do business. It is important that we understand that. There is no way that somebody can buy a bank in this economic environment that we have. We need to look into it and it is something. This is the very same money that is being used to divide people. This is the very same money that is being used to divide people because dirty money will always be used for ulterior motives and not for sincere motives. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]