Buhera West Member of Parliament Oliver Mandipaka said he was not ashamed to praise President Robert Mugabe whom he described as “a great Statesman, an intellectual par-excellence, a great politician and liberator who fought for equity and justice”.
He was commenting on a headline in one of the dailies which said Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislators were praising Mugabe’s speech which was tabled in Parliament after he presented the wrong speech at the official opening of the current session of Parliament.
Mandipaka said in the spirit of democracy he begged to differ strongly with Movement for Democratic Change- Tsvangirai vice-president Thokozani Khupe who had said Mugabe’s speech did not address bread and butter issues affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.
“Allow me to differ very strongly with that assertion because the legislative agenda that is coming out of the speech by His Excellency sets the tone to improve the economy sets the tone to improve the well-being of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“If that is not addressing bread and butter issues, I then do not know what that is addressing. When you closely take a look at the speech by His Excellency, he was looking at the vital Bills that will create vibrancy in the economy. Once we discuss in this august House those Bills, that creates a conducive environment for economic development and the President is actually addressing bread and butter issues. He is also looking at bread and butter issues. So, I do not see inadequacies in the speech that was given to us by the President of this Republic.”
Mandipaka added: “The legislative agenda that we find in the President’s Speech is unequivocal. It clearly sets out the parameters within which as legislators we are going to debate and it also sets parameters within which the President of the country expects us to do business for this Session.
“I do not see any ambiguity in that speech. What strikes me in the President’s Speech, Mr. Speaker Sir, is what is found in the third last paragraph of his Speech and I would like to quote verbatim, ‘Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country guided by our economic blueprint, ZIM ASSET’.
“That statement alone is a clear indication Hon. Khupe and other members here present that the President of this country is concerned about the economic well being of our people, despite the economy having been ravaged by sanctions.”
MR. MANDIPAKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. This debate; I would like to refer you to today’s paper, the NewsDay where there is a headline – ‘ZANU PF legislators praise President Mugabe’s Speech’. I stand before this august House unashamed to praise His Excellency, the President of this country. We have no regrets in thanking His Excellency for his visionary leadership for this greatnation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me also to make insights observations and above all, to debate the address by this great Statesman, an intellectual par-excellence, a great politician and liberator who fought for equity and justice and that is the reason why we praise him each time. I will also want to begin my debate by thanking the following hon. members from the opposition:- Hon. Khupe, Hon. Majome and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for making contributions or debating the speech by His Excellency. In fact, it is important that this august House listens to the voice of the opposition so that we understand what they stand for, who they represent and what they aim to do.
So we are grateful Mr. Speaker, but I would like to at least, for good parliamentary democracy, to differ a bit with the observation by Hon. Khupe, where she said the speech by His Excellency failed to address bread and butter issues. Allow me to differ very strongly with that assertion because the legislative agenda that is coming out of the speech by His Excellency sets the tone to improve the economy sets the tone to improve the well-being of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. If that is not addressing bread and butter issues, I then do not know what that is addressing. When you closely take a look at the speech by His Excellency, he was looking at the vital Bills that will create vibrancy in the economy. Once we discuss in this august House those Bills, that creates a conducive environment for economic development and the President is actually addressing bread and butter issues. He is also looking at bread and butter issues. So, I do not see inadequacies in the speech that was given to us by the President of thisRepublic.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am tempted also to thank Hon. Mutomba for moving the motion which was seconded by Hon. Dziva. I want to also extend profound gratitude to all other members that I have not mentioned in my debate who had a contribution to the President’s Speech. The legislative agenda that we find in the President’s Speech is unequivocal. It clearly sets out the parameters within which as legislators we are going to debate and it also sets parameters within which the President of the country expects us to do business for this Session. I do not see any ambiguity in that speech. What strikes me in the President’s Speech, Mr. Speaker Sir, is what is found in the third last paragraph of his Speech and I would like to quote verbatim, “Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country guided by our economic blueprint, ZIM ASSET”. That statement alone is a clear indication Hon. Khupe and other members here present that the President of this country is concerned about the economic well being of our people, despite the economy having been ravaged by sanctions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 324 of the supreme law of the country, our Constitution talks about aligning legislation to the Constitution. We have been challenged by His Excellency Mr. Speaker Sir, to speed up that process as Parliament. What I would say in my debate is to challenge the Executive to ensure that they bring these Bills with speed for the betterment of our people.
Hon. Khupe talked about new money in the economy. The President of the Republic in his Speech talked about foreign direct investment. He also talked about a raft of measures that the Government of Zimbabwe has put in place to ensure that we attract foreign direct investment. So, basically we are saying that we have a caring Government that appreciates the economic problems faced by the nation, at least they are not sitting on their laurels, they are doing something to ensure that these issues are addressed. So, we want to appreciate the position by the leadership and the Executive.
In the Speech, Mr. Speaker Sir, there is talk about ease of doing of business; it has been singled out in the Speech. As hon. members we should ensure that this is paramount because once we improve the ease of doing business as a nation then it would mean we are able to create our own new money and at the same time attract investors.
There is also talk about the Border Post Bill which shall be brought before Parliament, it is very critical once it has been brought in and we debate about it. We intend as a nation to make sure that there is smooth flow of investors in our country who would want to come and do business. As they come through our borders, we quickly facilitate their entry but of course taking cognisant of our security situation. When they come, we enter into various deals, we have heard the hon. Vice President taking about the mega deals that have been signed.
We anticipate that something is in the offing and we anticipate that this is one of the best Governments that we have ever been found because it understands the plight of the poor. Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought hon. members would applaud that statement a round of applause. – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – The beauty about this country is that it is a very safe destination for investors. We have enjoyed peace for the past 35 years. Perhaps Mr. Speaker Sir, courtesy of our people, security forces and the President has quite often commended the security forces for making sure that they create a conducive environment to do business, where we do not fight each other. As a nation we challenge investors within and without to come to Zimbabwe and do business with us.
The State Procurement Amendment Bill, we are told, is going to be brought before this august House – it is a welcome development and it have been long overdue. There are a lot of inconsistences, some red tape of some nature which has also opened flood gates for corruption. Once that Bill is crafted, comes before Parliament and becomes law, it will curtail corrupt tendencies and corrupt activities within our institutions and that is good for our country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the introduction and establishment of economic zones – what a beauty, what some strategic thinking! There is no other option which is better than thinking of introducing economic zones. Once these are introduced, the bottom line is that the economy of the country is improved. We are constrained with resources, yes, here and there, financially and materially but efforts can be felt that there is happening for the betterment of our people. That is the reason why this Government has existed for the past 35 years because it is a caring Government.
It is my considered view, Mr. Speaker Sir, that His Excellency has set the correct tone, the correct legislative agenda, when he singled out Section 296, where there is talk about the Land Commission that will carry out land audit. As these audits are being carried out, we should not overlook the need for productivity because it is only productivity from our pieces of land that we got from our caring Government that will enable us to revive the manufacturing sector and industry. So, I think such a Bill will be welcome and it has been highlighted, correctly so by His Excellency in his Speech. So, in my view this is a Speech that is quite explicit, that gives us direction of what we are expected to do as hon. members during this session. Mr. Speaker Sir, we continue to call for productivity, to ensure food security. ZIM ASSET talks about food sufficiency and food security once there is productivity in our farms, then of course this nation is going to be able to feed itself.
Hon. Khupe talked about His Excellency failing to explicitly tell this august House how 2,2 million jobs are going to be created. She also observed that in 1984, Zimbabwe was almost the bread basket of Southern Africa. Yes, it was, it continued to be from 1980 but apparently the introduction of opposition MDC brought disaster to the economy. They wined and dined with the enemy and paralyzed our economy. The agenda for some of us was very clear; it was to overthrow the constitutionally elected Government lead by Comrade R.G Mugabe.
I do not understand the definition that the opposition attaches to employment but I am sure if we have thousands and thousands of people in the small to medium scale enterprises doing their business – that is a form of employment because at the end of the day they get some money to feed their families. They will have some money to put in their banks and that is employment. We can see Mr. Speaker Sir, that even here in Harare, the City of Harare has been making efforts to construct stores and ablution facilities for our vendors so that they carry out their businesses in an environment that is conducive. Like the hon. Vice President has rightly pointed out, the creation of employment was a ZANU PF manifesto, if those in the opposition are interested to know, the doors are open, yes they are open but we are quite convinced that people are able to maneuver. When we were allocated farms and we have our families relatives and friends being employed in those farms tilling the land. That is some form of employment. So, it is not far fetched to say that we are going to create employment for our people.
When we say employment for our people is going to be created, it is not overnight. It is over a period of time. So, we want to acknowledge the efforts of this right Government which brought independence to this country.
We are encouraged, Mr. Speaker Sir, by the idea of discussing the National Border Post Authority Bill. We are also encouraged because when we discuss this Bill in this august House, it enables us to ensure that tourists flock into the country day-in and day-out. It ensures that goods also are able to come into the country and we are able to do business.
Mr. Speaker, we need to give credit where it is due. There is remarkable progress, in my view, that has been made by Government in the digitalisation project which is going, at the end of the day, to enable us to send information from one corner of the country to the other through radio and through television. So, we should actually clap hands for the Government of Zimbabwe for having made efforts to meet the millennium goals and actually digitalising.
Last but not least, Mr. Speaker Sir, when one looks at the President’s Speech, he talks about the provision of quality education; he talks about the Public Health Bill which shall be brought before this House. He talks about health challenges, corruption which is cancerous and almost at every platform that he addresses the nation, he condemns corruption. What else would one need from a leader of this great nation? He has tried to look at all corners and all angles in the legislative agenda which have a great impact on the livelihoods of our people and so, we should applaud His Excellency for his wonderful speech, for his wonderful address. He also talked about rapists when he addressed this august House.
He said their days are numbered. That would actually indicate the moral uprightness of our leader when he is condemning those men who are in the habit of raping juveniles. This august House should also assist the Head of State and Government when we go out to our various constituencies to educate those men of the like-mind who have gone on the rampage to rape our minors because they are the future of this country. So, we should clap hands, acknowledge, approve and support the address by His Excellency, the Hon. R. G. Mugabe who liberated this country and the Executive for some job well done. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.