Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday called on Zimbabweans to unite and have a shared vision saying there was no one who was more Zimbabwean than others.
Presenting his maiden speech in Parliament yesterday Mphoko, who is also the Minister of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, said that the national healing process could not succeed unless there was a shared national vision.
“I get worried when I hear some Zimbabweans trying to be more Zimbabwean than others by exclusionary hypothesis,” he said.
“We are today making the nation of Zimbabwe from our ancestors who migrated from different places in different times as far afield as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique and Yemen. Therefore, for any one group to claim ownership of being more Zimbabwean above others could be a recipe for perpetual disunity and unending conflict among the people.”
Mphoko said Zimbabweans should should facilitate consensus building towards a shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe- a Zimbabwe guided by shared values rather than one’s gender, race, ethnicity, language, geographical origin or social class.
“The tragedy of our times is actually not in the act of falling but, in the refusal to rise and move on. We sometimes seem to cherish the memory of what keeps us down instead of what builds us and strengthens us as a people,” he said.
“We do not want to live in the past that fosters disunity when we should transcend those barriers and build a future for all. That is my belief for national healing and peace building in Zimbabwe. When a disaster strikes, the rescue team works to save all those affected regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs.”
Mphoko said Zimbabwe would not achieve economic development unless the rampant corruption in the country, which has become endemic and in some cases, institutionalised, is eradicated.
“Zimbabweans should not adopt corruption as a way of life as that will destroy the very fabric of society to Zimbabwe’s demise. All Members of Parliament are implored to embark on intense educational campaigns to educate their constituency members on the dangers of ravaging corruption and that it is their duty to preserve all public assets,” he said.
Mphoko’s full contribution to Parliament:
ADDRESS TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF NATIONAL HEALING, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION (MR. MPHOKO): Mr. Speaker Sir, let me express my heartfelt appreciation for being accorded this momentous occasion to make my Maiden Speech to this august House.
I am aware Madam. Speaker Sir, that every hon. Member of this august House has made their Maiden Speech where they thanked the electorate for electing them as members of this august House and promised them what they will achieve for their constituencies during the term of office.
In my case Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank His Excellency, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for appointing me to the post of Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – And pledge that I will serve in that position with due diligence and professionalism.
Madam Speaker, it is really a momentous occasion for me especially as I make my first Maiden Speech in this august House at 74 years old, shy only of one day to be 75 years.
(Some hon. members from the left side having broken into a song: Happy Birthday to you).
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Misihairabwi, order.
MR. MPHOKO: Thirty-five years after Zimbabwe attained its independence and having spent 16 years in the forefront fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe. For that, I glorify my God, the Almighty.
Madam Speaker, I sincerely do not believe…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members from the left side. May the Hon. Vice President be heard in silence? Hon. Chibaya and Hon. Sibanda, this is a National Assembly, can you please behave yourselves before I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to take action.
MR. MPHOKO: Madam Speaker, I sincerely do not believe and understand that there could be a Zimbabwean who does not believe that slavery and the colonisation of Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular, was a Western conspiracy. Madam Speaker, if anyone in this august House does not believe that slave trade and colonisation of Zimbabwe was a western conspiracy …
MR. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Vice President. You can take your seat. What is your point of order Hon. Mutseyami?
MR. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. The Deputy Vice President is addressing the Chair as Mr. Speaker. I think it must be noted that there is a Madam Speaker not a Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mutseyami, I think this House should be respected and should be given its due respect by all hon. members. The Hon. Vice President is the Vice President of this country and not a Deputy Vice President. So, can you please withdraw your words?
MR. MUTSEYAMI: I said the Vice President. I take note of that Madam Speaker and I withdraw to that effect.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Madam Speaker, it is both our practice in terms of our rules that when an hon. member and in this particular case, a Vice President is making his maiden speech, the rules provide that the hon. member shall be heard in silence. We do not apply the laissez faire that we are used to when a member has already given his/her maiden speech. So, in this particular case, I wish to appeal to hon. members to observe the rules of the House so that we hear our Hon. Vice President in silence. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Vice President for the direction. The Hon. Vice President may continue. Order Hon. Majome.
MR. MPHOKO: Thank you Madam Speaker, if anyone in this august House does not believe that slave trade and colonisation of Zimbabwe was a western conspiracy, then you are advised to return to your masters if you are an intellectual. If you claim to be a revolutionary, then you are a pseudo one. Moses Tshombe of the Congo was a better revolutionary than you are. The Berlin Conference of 1884 – 1885 that designed the programme, the Scramble for Africa really took place. The General Act of the Berlin Conference on Africa on 26 February, 1885. The Scramble for Africa was signed by Plenipotentiary representatives of:
- The United Kingdom
- United States of America
- The Netherlands
- Norway and Turkey (Ottoman Empire)
The countries that were responsible for the Scramble for Africa, except for Russia have never apologised for their conspiracy. Instead, during their meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in 2007, they reiterated their 26 February, 1885 positions and agreed that if a country was a former British colony, and has any type of problems including armed conflicts, Great Britain should take the lead in finding a solution. This applies to all former colonial masters.
The West is currently designing another Western Conspiracy, this time involving minerals. They are crafting a binding law to the effect that all strategic minerals do not belong to an individual country but to humanity.
Madam Speaker, following the Berlin Conference, five years down the line in 1890, September 12, Zimbabwe was colonised by the British. Have we forgotten that the notorious history of this very same building in these very same chairs we are sitting on, draconian laws like the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, Land Tenure Acts, the Law and Order Maintenance Act and other oppressive pieces of legislation were passed?
The Land Apportionment Act, for example was to ensure that each European and Native race had its own designated area. Neither race was allowed to own or occupy land in the area of another race. There was no democracy under the oppressive Rhodesian Regime. Racism was the only order of the day. The Land Apportionment Act defined an African as any member of an Aboriginal tribe, or any person who has the blood of such tribes, and a European being defined simply as a person who is not an African.
The Rhodesian Parliament was exclusively white. For a very long time, no black people or natives could be Members of Parliament. A request was made to reserve 15 of the 60 seats for blacks, but that request was turned down. Therefore, Madam Speaker, and the hon. members, the democracy that the people of Zimbabwe enjoy today did not come through the United Nations Human Rights or through any other Western Democracies, but through the blood of gallant Zimbabweans during the protracted Liberation Struggle. The highest price was paid to achieve this democracy. Let us all honour those who died for this democracy.
Madam Speaker, hon. members, our economic development thrust cannot be achieved within the current environment where there is rampant corruption, which has become endemic and in some cases, institutionalised. His Excellency, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, would like to urge all Zimbabweans in various sectors of the economy to evoke in them a sense of patriotism and carry out business transactions honestly and truthfully.
Zimbabweans should not adopt corruption as a way of life as that will destroy the very fabric of society to Zimbabwe’s demise. All Members of Parliament are implored to embark on intense educational campaigns to educate their constituency members on the dangers of ravaging corruption and that it is their duty to preserve all public assets.
Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, let me just brief the House that during this session, I will be presenting the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill for your consideration. You are aware that no national healing process can succeed unless there is a shared national vision of the desired future. I am fully convinced that as a nation, we should facilitate consensus building towards that shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe guided by shared values rather than one’s gender, race, ethnicity, language, geographical origin or social class.
The tragedy of our times is actually not in the act of falling but, in the refusal to rise and move on. We sometimes seem to cherish the memory of what keeps us down instead of what builds us and strengthen us as a people. I get worried when I hear some Zimbabweans trying to be more Zimbabwean than others by exclusionary hypothesis. We are today making the nation of Zimbabwe from our ancestors who migrated from different places in different times as far afield as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique and Yemen. Therefore, for any one group to claim ownership of being more Zimbabwean above others, could be a recipe for perpetual disunity and unending conflict among the people.
We do not want to live in the past that fosters disunity when we should transcend those barriers and build a future for all. That is my belief for national healing and peace building in Zimbabwe. When a disaster strikes, the rescue team works to save all those affected regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs. It is my hope that hon. members of this House, regardless of political affiliation will dutifully support the National Healing Bill when presented before the House. God bless you all. Ngiyabonga.
MS. MAJOME: On a point of order Madam Speaker!
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Majome, I do not think that there is need for any point of order at this stage because the Hon. Vice President was giving a Ministerial Statement.
MS. MAJOME: On a point of order Madam Speaker! Section 141 of the Constitution requires that the public shall be given access to all proceedings in Parliament. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is the one and only electronic television broadcaster in the country. My point of order is that, I think that it is most unfortunate and sends a most unhappy signal when the Hon. Vice President is making his very maiden speech and they close their cameras, pack them up and go. That is a light only that the public is entitled to hear the proceedings, especially a speech as important as the Hon. Vice President’s speech. I am raising a point of order so that it is noted and all other proceedings in Parliament.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much hon. member for your point of order. It has been noted and we will communicate with the relevant ministry on that.
MR. CHAMISA: I am sure that the Chief Whip has understood our point of order to say that, since a very important statement has been issued by a very important occupant of a very important office, we also have very important clarifications that we need. I hope that your Chair is going to allow us just to ask.
The clarification I need, which is a question is – Hon. Vice President, I have heard the historical context and what you are encouraging Zimbabweans to do, but I did not hear what you are trying to encourage us into the future, in particular your attitude towards ZIM ASSET. I thought that was going to be captured. So, the future was a missing part. Is it accidental or it is by design?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think that from the presentation of the Hon. Minister of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, your clarification does not really arise as I think that you were not really listening carefully to the speech that he was making. I will give the Vice President an opportunity to respond but from what I heard, he had alluded to what you are asking.
MR. MPHOKO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think that I was very clear because my speech was leading to request the House as I will be presenting a Bill on National Healing, that is the most important thing and that was my main emphasis. I spoke in my capacity also tilting more as Minister of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation. I thank you.
MR. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to thank the Hon. Vice President for his presentation and I think that it is a good opportunity for us as well to interact with him. Hon. Vice President, as you are also responsible for national healing, I would like to understand how you are going to deal with issues that have caused tension in this country. These are issues such as the early 1980s massacre in the Midlands.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Hon. members should not ask questions that raise people’s emotions. The hon. Member of Parliament who has posed the question -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, let Hon. Chinotimba express his point of order.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Zimbabwe is an independent country which is in harmony and we should not be opening old wounds about incidents that took place in 1980. If I was making reference to things that caused damage in 2000 and 2008, people’s properties were destroyed; the destruction of peoples’ property in 1999 and 2000 when Mr. Tsvangirai destroyed properties, they do not want to ask such questions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Let us give the chance to the Hon. Vice President to respond.
MR. P. D. SIBANDA: I was saying Hon. Vice President, I know that it is generally desirous that we should not talk about these things but there is no healing except if we talk about these things and we talk about them frankly. Between 1983 up to 1987, people in Midlands Province and Matabeleland Province were massacred. The Chihambakwe Commission which was conducted, it has never been …
MR. MGUNI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The point of order is that the massacre did not start on those years, we were massacred in 1976 by the colonial regime, so, we must start from there. The point of order is that the years which he is referring to are wrong years, it must start from the beginning.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The questions that you are supposed to be asking are questions that are arising from the Ministerial Statement that has been presented by the Minister. I am afraid that this debate is diverting to what did not arise from the Ministerial Statement. Hon. Sibanda your question has been heard I will allow the Hon. Vice President to respond to the question.
MR. MPHOKO: In my speech, I emphasised that we should not dwell on the history because some of these things were just showing us the way. Now, what I want the hon. member to understand is that, things happened, he comes from Binga, I know, they moved from where they were, some of them are in Zambia, and they lost their boundaries as a people. We cannot live, on that neither can we live on quite a number of things which we have talked about here.
All what we need to do as a people is to move forward – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – let us look at things that affect us. What we do as a people, we are supposed to look at what has happened, the after effects is what we are supposed to address not go back to the past. If you go back to the past, you will never move. The after effects are the ones we should look at.
MS. KHUPE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker, I am alive to the fact that each time we try to raise issues to do with Gukurahundi, we are told that we are trying to open wounds. The fact of the matter is that the wounds were never healed. What happened is that an elastoplasts was taken and it was put on a wound without applying betadine and what is happening is that there is puss now and it is eating into that wound. So, as long as we do not apply Betadine so that the wound is healed, those wounds will never be closed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
MR. MANDIPAKA: On a point of order I want to believe the Hon. Vice President attended to that issue by saying we should not live in the past – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – we should live in the present and there is absolutely no need Madam Speaker, to bring to the fore, issues that divide the nation when the Vice President is trying to build a nation. Thank you.
MR. MPHOKO: Madam Speaker, one of the after effects that is under discussion is birth certificates, can we get birth certificates for those who do not have, yes, we can do that, let us concentrate on that. Death certificate, we get the death certificate, can we do that, yes, we can do that. If there are some people there who have got problems, can we attend to them – [AN HON MEMBER: Compensation.] – on compensation, you are introducing an element which is going to give us a lot of problems. Let us talk about real things that we can do. Suppose we are not there ourselves, we have to look for birth certificates for those kids, some of them cannot even vote today because they do not have identification cards (IDs). So let us get those kids IDs, birth certificates and those who want to be assisted, let them be assisted but if somebody is dead there is nothing that you can do – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –memorial services, recognition of what has happened is critical. When you talk about death certificates, you are recognising that somebody has died – [MS. BUNJIRA: We want justice.] – …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, Honourable Bunjira, may you behave yourself in this House.
MR. MPHOKO: I thought we are looking for genuine solutions. We are looking for things that we can do. We can get somebody a death certificate or a birth certificate and other things that you can do or reburial if it is the case. The moment you start issuing birth certificates and death certificates, it is part of healing but if you deny people all these things, uhambe ugebha umuntu aphile,you are not doing anything.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Let me take this opportunity to thank the Vice President for the Ministerial Statement that he has made – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it was well detailed and very clear presentation and we hope that you will continue to come to the House to make such presentations.