MP says he advised fish vendors to poison their fish to kill satanic parks officials


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The Member of Parliament for Binga South Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza said at one time he advised fish vendors from his constituency to poison their fish so that National Parks officials who confiscated the fish and fed their families would die because of their satanic behaviour.

Contributing to the motion on the harassment of women vendors, Gabbuza said he did not expect such behaviour from government officials who drove in twin-cabs for free.

“..In my constituency, a donor agency built a fish market place for some women at Siyatshilaba Business Centre, bought them some rigs and these women pay for catching fish to the National Parks and once they have sold the fish to the vendors, the vendors pay to the council to sell the fish at the market built by a donor. However, the same Parks officials follow them and confiscate all the fish asking them to pay again.

“Now, that whole fish market has been deserted and the women are now selling under trees hiding and hiding away from the Parks officials. Council comes and charges them. They pay money but Parks also want some money but Parks is supposed to be charging the fisherman who is catching the fish but they are charging the fisherman who is catching the fish and then want to charge the trader also, the hawker for the fish at the market.

“Now, people are running away from that market and they have lost their fish. I have reports and if I had made my preparations Mr. Speaker, I would have brought you a list of names and quantities of fish that are continuously being stolen.

“I will call it stolen by the Parks officials because that fish, after having been confiscated, is never auctioned anywhere. Perishable as it is, there is no way we can say they will keep that fish. They eat the fish with their families. At some stage, I was actually advising them to poison the fish so that they die because that is very satanic.

“Mr. Speaker, it is very satanic. Somebody has lost the little money that they have in buying the fish and some big somebody driving a twin cab given by government for free simply comes to steal the fish from a poor woman, takes that fish and eats with his family. How satanic that is and yet we call ourselves liberated. That is very unfair Mr. Speaker,” he said.

Gabbuzza also lashed at the incompetence of local authority employees saying Parliament should not even be debating the issue of vendors as this was for local authorities. He wondered whether town planners for local authorities were really qualified for their jobs because some of the things that they did did not make sense.

“Firstly, if you talk about commuter omnibuses, with all intends and purposes, people at the City Council of Harare, they sit down and plan to decongest the city centre of kombis and they built a kombi terminus somewhere towards Rainbow Towers? Would you ask yourself if this person was ever thinking and did he study for the degree in city planning as they sometimes claim. The papers they have do not tally with the quality of work that we see with some of these officials.

“How do you put a kombi rank 20 or so kilometers away from the people that you want to serve? A kombi driver would have to be mad to go and park somewhere near Rainbow Towers because there are no people there,” he said.

 

Full contribution:

 

MR. GABBUZA: Thank you very much for recognising me. I also want to add my voice on this very emotive and sorrowful motion. If you listened to those that have presented what they have put forward, it is quite clear Madam Speaker, that this motion is exposing us as a country and exposing us big time.

Why am I saying that Madam Speaker? To imagine the whole institution of a Westminster based Parliament debating on how to plan and give vendors stands, how to put toilets in a city – the institution of Parliament dropping all the way from where we are as a second arm of government, what that means is that somebody is not doing what he is supposed to do. We have been brought down to the level of a council administrator to plan the city.

I can imagine the House of Commons or Congress debating on how to put car parks in Washington. My view is that Parliament must be talking about how we increase the GDP, how do we pay civil servants, how do we put a satellite in orbit or even talk about how do we go to the moon? Those are issues for Parliament, but we have been reduced to talk about issues of council because some people are lazy and are not doing their job. Mr. Speaker, clearly this is an indication of poor administration of cities.

I want to concur with the last speaker. That problem actually is not restricted to urban areas alone. It is the work ethics by some of the Executive members; the people that we put in the office. The type of attitude that you see even in the rural areas, like where I come from in my constituency, a donor agency built a fish market place for some women at Siyatshilaba Business Centre, bought them some rigs and these women pay for catching fish to the National Parks and once they have sold the fish to the vendors, the vendors pay to the council to sell the fish at the market built by a donor. However, the same Parks officials follow them and confiscate all the fish asking them to pay again.

Now, that whole fish market has been deserted and the women are now selling under trees hiding and hiding away from the Parks officials. Council comes and charges them. They pay money but Parks also want some money but Parks is supposed to be charging the fisherman who is catching the fish but they are charging the fisherman who is catching the fish and then want to charge the trader also, the hawker for the fish at the market. Now, people are running away from that market and they have lost their fish. I have reports and if I had made my preparations Mr. Speaker, I would have brought you a list of names and quantities of fish that are continuously being stolen.

I will call it stolen by the Parks officials because that fish, after having been confiscated, is never auctioned anywhere. Perishable as it is, there is no way we can say they will keep that fish. They eat the fish with their families. At some stage, I was actually advising them to poison the fish so that they die because that is very satanic.

Mr. Speaker, it is very satanic. Somebody has lost the little money that they have in buying the fish and some big somebody driving a twin cab given by Government for free simply comes to steal the fish from a poor woman, takes that fish and eats with his family. How satanic that is and yet we call ourselves liberated. That is very unfair Mr. Speaker.

Such attitudes by some of our civil servants, I think needs to be nipped in the bud. It is very bad and it does not give a good image of government to the ordinary citizenry in the rural areas. Look at the type of stores and we are generalising, this is an issue of poor planning. Look at some cities, they are well planned. I will give you Bulawayo, for example. You do not see the confusion you see in Harare in Bulawayo.

Firstly, if you talk about commuter omnibuses, with all intends and purposes, people at the City Council of Harare, they sit down and plan to decongest the city centre of kombis and they built a kombi terminus somewhere towards Rainbow Towers? Would you ask yourself if this person was ever thinking and did he study for the degree in city planning as they sometimes claim. The papers they have do not tally with the quality of work that we see with some of these officials.

How do you put a kombi rank 20 or so kilometers away from the people that you want to serve? A kombi driver would have to be mad to go and park somewhere near Rainbow Towers because there are no people there.

The challenge we have in what we call geodesics, if you see people crossing in your lawn, do not fence the lawn, what they are simply telling you is that there is a need to put a path in that lawn – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – You would rather create a path. But what do we see with our city councils, kombis, the fact that they are moving into town means there is a need for somewhere where they will rank when it is properly done.

If women are selling in front of the stores, it means there is need somewhere and that is why there is the market. Then provide somewhere where they are because that is where there is money but to start chasing around those people, you are actually fighting with nature because nature is calling them there and you are trying to fight them away so that they move away from where they have their need.

I think we have a serious problem with our city planners and our city engineers. Look at the quality of the stores. If you drive all the way from Harare, look at the market stores that you see in Kadoma. Sometimes it is just two logs and some plastic shacks and then you wonder what the council is charging the person for. It is just two sticks and those sticks, I went myself to cut them and brought them and they said the black paper put on top is my own. So what is the council really charging?

If you go to the rural areas, it is even worse. The market places are in all shapes and sizes and you wonder if we have a planning authority in the country which could come up with a simple basic standard structure format to say, if you want a market store for vegetables, this is the design.

I am sure public works can ably do that and even city councils. Just a simple design and say people, can you build so that things are standard and are in a manner that is presentable but you are just charged for a piece of ground, not even demarcated. You are just told that it is 3m x 3m from here to there and you pay so much every month. They are not embarrassed to follow you every time to collect that money and yet they have done nothing. I think we have a very big problem there.

I was going to give again an example of Bulawayo. If you look at Bulawayo, the way it is planned, I think gone are the days when we will have cities where we have that Central Business District (CBD) type with the concentric zones, the typical ancient type of cities. Some cities like Bulawayo are moving out, decentralising and putting other shopping malls like the Entumbane Compelx and Nkulumane Complex where the hon. friend of mine here comes from. That is a clever way of trying to decentralise the city so that services go to the people and you do not have all people coming to the city. But look at what is happening in Harare, nothing.

They continue following that traditional colonial system or way of planning cities and by then that was the correct system because people were few. Now people are many and I think it is high time cities must sprawl going out providing services at smaller centers where the people are, then we have less kombis into the towns. Put concentric roads right round the town so that those people coming from Bulawayo going to Karoi do not have to drive through the city but do you see that in some of our cities?

When these guys meet every morning on Monday morning meetings, with their Mayor and the Town Engineer, what do they discuss because we are now as a Parliament, planning what they must be doing on Mondays? What they must simply say is that we have failed, can Parliament come and help us. What we are doing Mr. Speaker, is that we are planning for people who are not planning but we are paying for them. I think this is a very serious problem with our guys at the city councils there.

There are several things that we could do and I have already mentioned some of them Mr. Speaker. Certainly, decentralising is one of them and proper planning is one of them. It is unfortunate that we do not want to accept that the people that are manning most of our offices are not the right ones right now because from the quality of work that they are displaying, we have lost proper brains. Perhaps it is high time we should come up clear and say we give you targets and if you cannot do A, B, C in your city, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, I think must be very firm on that. We cannot continue presiding over cities and year in and year out we are talking of the same things.

I am sure the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing must really rein in on the councils and make sure that they follow what is in their various by-laws and Acts. Mr. Speaker, there is nothing wrong with those by-laws and Acts like the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act. The colonial regime has tried and tested those laws. They work and that is why if we look at our cities in Zimbabwe now, we cannot be compared to other states in Africa.

Some of us who have travelled outside the country in Africa, Zimbabwe remains the cleanest in terms of cities mainly because of those, Regional, Town and Country Planning Act and the city by-laws that were left by the colonial masters. They have made us to be a clean country that we are but unfortunately, because we are no longer following those laws, people are now doing as they wish, moving away from the laws.

There is nothing to be amended in those laws. If anything, we must emphasise on making sure that the laws are followed to the book because that is what has kept the cities in a state in which they are right now. Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to highlight some of these issues so that I add to the debate. I thank you.

(20 VIEWS)

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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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