Buhera North Member of Parliament William Mutomba took Mugabe praise-singing to new heights when he introduced a motion in Parliament to express loyalty and offer respectful thanks to the President’s speech for the official opening of Parliament which was messed up when Mugabe read the wrong speech before the right one was tabled the following day by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mutomba, who opened by saying Mugabe had set a business-oriented business agenda- was interrupted by Speaker Jacob Mudenda after MPs complained that they had not received Mugabe’s speech was tabled a week before.
He described Mugabe as “the son of the soil and true visionary Pan African leader par excellence”, wjp had come up with up with legislation that would “usher in irresistible and magnetic commercial laws that will ultimately open up floodgates for foreign direct investments”.
Mutomba acknowledged that things were not well in the country but called for a paradigm shift arguing that it was pointless blaming each other for things that had happened in the past as this might even offend God.
“People are desperate and we need to immediately change. His Excellency has set the pace for this big change. There must be an instant paradigm shift in the way we do business in this House. No more time to be on holiday, it should not be business as usual, no more blame game. We need to work together as one, one people, one society, one culture with one objective to turn around the country’s economic misfortunes…..
“The spirit of oneness should start from this motion as alluded to by the State President. We should not be part of the problems but part of the solutions. The culture of heckling and bickering in this august House has reached unprecedented levels, a crescendo that is totally unacceptable. We are portraying this House in a very bad light. It is as if no hecklers, no meaningful debate. This is a very bad and unfortunate development. We are negating the electorate who have voted for us into office with trust and confidence that we will positively stand for them…….
“Let us not confuse the Almighty by continuously blaming each other about things that are in the past. The past cannot build the future of the country.”
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
MR. MUTOMBA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:
May it please you, your Excellency, the President;
We, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe, desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech, which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
MS. DZIVA: I second.
MR. MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to move this business oriented legislative agenda that was presented to this august House.
MR. SPEAKER: Sorry. Hon. Mutomba, if you can take your seat. I received notification that some hon. members did not get a copy of the speech but these were put in the pigeon holes.
*MR. MURAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. We never saw any speeches in our pigeon holes. The speech is nowhere to be found; it can be mysteriously found and then the next minute it is nowhere – [laughter.] –
MR. SPEAKER: By show of hands, how many did not receive that speech? I request hon. members to listen very carefully. I will make sure that the speech is provided once again in the pigeon holes.
MR. MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to move this business-oriented legislative agenda that was presented to this august House by the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF on the 16th September, 2015. I would want to start by unreservedly saluting and thanking His Excellency, the State President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the current Chairman of the African Union for coming up with this legislative agenda that is expected to create to laws that we usher in irresistible and magnetic commercial laws that will ultimately open up floodgates for foreign direct investments. This legislative agenda has to be read in conjunction with President’s 10 point plan.
According to the two documents, it is evident enough of an absolute political will on the part of the Executive to address the current economic challenges that the country is facing. Therefore, the Third Session of this Parliament must be supportive of this national objective and must go in the annals of history as having transformed the ease of Doing Business Environment in Zimbabwe. I say thank you very much Gushungo, the son of the soil and true visionary Pan African leader parexcellence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in our First and Second sessions of the Eighth Parliament, a number of Bills were categorically stated to be presented to Parliament. However, on checking from these previous legislative agendas, this did not happen as planned, and only a few came to the House. In the First session of the Eighth Parliament, His Excellency explicitly wanted 24 Bills to be presented to Parliament, but regrettably only 12 Bills were tabled. In the Second session, the President required 19 Bills to be presented, but sadly only eight came to the House. Now the Third session, His Excellency has directed that 21 Bills will be tabled.
Analysing the First and Second sessions of the Eighth Parliament legislative agendas, I have discovered that there are two fundamental differences that I have observed. In the First session, there were 24 Bills that were to be tabled and amongst these Bills, only five Bills were investment oriented Bills and the rest were dealing with other various social disciplines. Worse still, none of the five Bills were tabled in the House. In the Second session, 19 Bills were expected to be tabled and only six of these were presented to Parliament. The second fundamental difference is that the First and Second Sessions, the few business Bills appeared to be too restrictive and repulsive in nature unlike the current Bills, most of them are aiming at creating a friendly business environment for investors.
Mr. Speaker Sir, considering the few Bills that were presented to Parliament in the First and Second sessions, it is obvious that history will repeat itself for those who do not want to learn. For how long should we continue to be discourteous and disrespectful to our President? Why this lack of concern and lack of compliance? Is it limited financial resources that is inhibiting performance? Is it the Executive failing to bring Bills to the House – and why? Whatever the answer is, this is a clear sign of discourteous, impervious attitude and lack of support of the Head of State’s priorities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my humble submission that for once, the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament must work in conformity with the President’s priorities. Whatever is the cause of non-compliance in the above Sessions, this is now water under the bridge, and it is past. We need to focus on what is before us. This national agenda is of paramount importance as espoused by the Head of State. I am therefore imploring all the three pillars of our legislative processes to brace up and play their active role in order to fulfill what the President is expecting this House to accomplish.
In his address, the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe highlighted 21 key Bills that are set to be tabled before the House for making or unmaking in to law. It must be excitingly motivating and particularly inspiring torealise that this time the President is behind the wheel in Ensuring Ease of Doing Business Environment is remarkably improved. He has taken the initiatives to bring to the fore 14 key Bills out of 21 Bills that are expected to be presented to the House with the sole aim of creating laws that are investor friendly. These 14 Bills are:-
1. The Zimbabwe Investment Authority Amendment Bill which seeks to convert the authority into a true One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre. This will reduce time taken to complete required documents because they would be done under one roof.
2. The State Procurement Amendment Bill which seeks to improve efficiency in the public procurement system. This Bill also seeks to decentralise the procurement functions to ministries and local authorities to expedite decision-making regarding investments and also to curb corruption that has been suspiciously associated with the current board.
3. The Special Economic Zones Bill which is expected to promote exports and boost industrialisation.
4. The Banking Amendment Bill which is expected to strengthen the banking regulatory system and provide anchorage to the efforts at turning around our economy.
5. The Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill. This Bill is expected to provide for a competitive and investment focused legislative framework.
6. The Bill for the Establishment of the Pan African Minerals University of Science and Technology which will offer post-graduate training programmes in mineral value addition and beneficiation. To add value to our mineral exports thereby immensely boost generation of the much needed foreign currency.
7. The Consumer Protection Bill that will promote consumer rights and fair business competition and marketing strategies.
8. The National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act which is to be replaced by the establishment of the National Competitiveness Commission, which is expected to spearhead the improvement of the country’s business competitiveness.
9. The E-Transaction Bill …
MR. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: What is your point of order Mr. Gonese?
MR. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The hon. member is reading his speech word for word and I believe that it is not his first time to speak in this august House. In terms of the Standing Orders of this House, a member who has spoken before and is not making his/her maiden speech, is not supposed to read but to refer to his/her notes. I believe that the hon. member should be so directed that he can only refer to his notes and not go line by line, word by word through a prepared speech.
MR. SPEAKER: May the hon. member please refer to his notes.
MR. MUTOMBA: Hon. Speaker Sir, it will be very difficult to refer to my notes because these are Bills. It is difficult to come up and address them without referring to the notes.
9. The E-Transaction Bill which is to govern and manage ecommerce across the country’s network and is aimed at facilitating efficient ICT-enabled operations within and across public sector entities.
10. The Cooperative Societies Act Amendment Bill, which seeks to maintain the growth momentum within this sector.
11. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which is expected to be flexible to allow Ministers to negotiate investment thresholds that are sector specific.
12. The National Border Ports Authority Bill, which seeks to create friendly environment at the border posts.
13. The Land Commission Bill, which will enable the Commission to carry out the land audit to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of all agricultural land to ensure proper use of land and increase efficiency in the farming operations.
Mr. Speaker Sir, all in all, there are 14 Bills that are business oriented. The House must take this opportunity to thank the State President for these visionary initiatives, which will undoubtedly leapfrog the economic activities in the country. However, the other legislative pillars including this august House, must play their meaningful role to complement the Head of State’s efforts.
Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency started by bringing to the fore the most challenging issue, that is failure to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The President stated that the Government is carrying out a raft of measures to improve the business environment in the country including the Company’s Act and other pieces of legislation that are negatively affecting the smooth flow of FDI. Many of these Bills are expected to be panel beaten to align them with the current aspirations of stimulating economic activities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is unfortunate for us currently that the economy is in a bad state. People are desperate and we need to immediately change. His Excellency has set the pace for this big change. There must be an instant paradigm shift in the way we do business in this House. No more time to be on holiday, it should not be business as usual, no more blame game. We need to work together as one, one people, one society, one culture with one objective to turn around the country’s economic misfortunes.
Let me quote the President on this issue, “As I conclude, I remind all hon. members of this august House of the need to always conduct business in a manner that does not erode the stock of trust reposed in us by the electorate. We indeed carry on our shoulders, the hopes and aspirations of our people. Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country, guided by our economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET). This of course, demands all of us to always cherish the crown values of peace, hard work, and the unity of purpose.”
The spirit of oneness should start from this motion as alluded to by the State President. We should not be part of the problems but part of the solutions. The culture of heckling and bickering in this august House has reached unprecedented levels, a crescendo that is totally unacceptable. We are portraying this House in a very bad light. It is as if no hecklers, no meaningful debate. This is a very bad and unfortunate development. We are negating the electorate who have voted for us into office with trust and confidence that we will positively stand for them.
Their expectations and aspirations are flowing down the river. I am talking about both sides of the House…
Hon. Madondo having stood between the Chair and the hon. member speaking.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, the hon. member standing there, can you get out of the House please. Hon. Madondo walked out of the House.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, you may continue.
MR. MUTOMBA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I am talking about both sides of the House – MDC and ZANU PF. There is no heckle that is better than the other as heckles disturb the flow or thought of the debater. In most cases, some hon. members make life very uncomfortable for the Speaker, who at times is found sweating to bring sanity in the House. Constructive engagement is what is needed now. The President has set the tone and platform for just that. It is imperative that we give him our unwavering and united support.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Mr. Aliko Dangote has come to Zimbabwe at the right time. I have a strong conviction that the way the Government has responded to his business interest must now stand out as the country’s standard policy document that must be applied in every situation to every potential investor, whether local or foreign. The country needs huge FDI in order to spur economic growth that would create massive job opportunities for the working class.
Investors are complaining about policy inconsistencies and policy ambiguity. At times, Ministers are found to be making different policy pronouncement on the same subject. This is forcing investors to look elsewhere where the investment climate is conducive. We are living in a global world, where cut throat competition is at play.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this Third Session of the Eighth Parliament must be alive to these noble developments unfolding in the country’s economic environment that have been initiated by none other than our State President. When these Bills are presented to this House, bickering and heckling should be limited to the barest minimum, if not eliminated altogether. This is the time to show and prove to the electorate that we are politically mature. Let us accept the existence of other political parties and their different political ideologies. However, these parties must not just contradict everything that comes to Parliament to prove their oppositional existence.
What we want now is constructive engagement, which proffers substantially productive solutions to current industrial challenges. What the President has laid upon us demands the spirit of oneness since we have a lot in common. We need each other more than ever before. We are all Zimbabweans to begin with and therefore, our agenda must be one, that is to stimulate the economic activities of the country that would eliminate the hardships being faced by the country. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have this huge pressing national assignment ahead of us, that is to ensure that what His Excellency has put on the legislative agenda for the House becomes a success, that is, to pass laws that are investor friendly in order to stimulate economic growth. There should be no time for hecklings, but the spirit of unity, of oneness, togetherness and unity of purpose as espoused by His Excellency, should engulf this august House. Let us confront the economic challenges as one. Let us not look backwards as yesterday is gone forever. We need to focus on the future.
God is on the throne for Zimbabwe, he has been at work for us all along. Look at the peace that is prevailing in the country, despite the challenges. He is still at work for us. We need not confuse him by dividing ourselves. He does not enjoy to see his children divided as divided we fall. We need to confront this national assignment with a combined and positive approach. The Executive must bring the Bills to the House and the House must pass these Bills with minimum delay.
Let us not confuse the Almighty by continuously blaming each other about things that are in the past. The past cannot build the future of the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the time for loyal and true sons and daughters, the right hon. members of this reputable House of Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, to stand up and be reckoned and remembered for having positively contributed to this national objective.
Senseless attempts to derail the smooth passage of the pending Bills that are to come to this august House must be viewed with the serious contempt that it deserves. This House’s main agenda is to transform the unbearable business environment obtaining in the country into a formidable force of economic growth. The Bills that are to come will seek making magnetic investment laws and unmaking some laws that are no longer relevant to the desired economic environment. This will help to create an investor friendly country, which will result in leapfrogging the economic growth that will ultimately create massive employment opportunities for our people.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me conclude by once again thanking the State President Cde R. G. Mugabe for having created this platform from which, hopefully we are going to improve the ease of doing business and reduce the cost of starting business in Zimbabwe. Thank you. Mr. Speaker.