HON. MLISWA : Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Finance Bill. The issue of corruption is an issue which brings confidence or will chase away investors. The Government has failed in its promise to the people to deal with the aspect of zero tolerance on corruption…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER : Order, there is a vehicle registration number ADI-8984 which is blocking other vehicles. May the owner please go and remove your vehicle.
HON. MLISWA : I want to address the issue of corruption being imbedded in us as a country even at institutions that we believe should be protecting us, institutions that should be advancing the objectives of this country.
The Cabinet – the Cabinet is responsible for the implementation of Government policy at every level so that the manifesto that the ruling party would have delivered to the people or promised the people is delivered at the end of the day. We have a situation where you really ask yourself, what does Cabinet really do? When you look at how badly we perform, Cabinet seems to just sit, have coffee and go to their offices. For a very long time, I have never understood the role of Cabinet and I would equally ask these Hon. Ministers what they do in Cabinet because there is no work on the ground which they discuss and think in Cabinet. We have situations where Cabinet departs from the very policy that it is supposed to put forward.
Let me talk about the recommendations that were made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General pertaining to parastatals and ministries. It is important that we deal with facts. This is the reason why this Parliament supported the Comptroller and Auditor-General in retaining that position because of the good work that she had done but most of the recommendations – nothing was ever done. There is no way an Hon. Minister appointed by Cabinet should do anything outside Cabinet. We had a situation where this august House recommended that Air Zimbabwe must not function but then we had a situation where there was Zimbabwe Airways created by an Hon. Minister who sits in Cabinet. My question would be, are there minutes from Cabinet which say the Hon. Minister was supposed to fund Zimbabwe Airways?
The reason why I am saying this is that most of what the Hon. Ministers were doing was outside their mandate. There are no minutes at all relating to what they did, which means there needs to be a thorough investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) together with the police on every decision the Hon. Minister took, whether it was sanctioned by Cabinet or not. This is where the corruption must start from. If it was a directive from the former President, it must be in black and white. We cannot have situations where Hon. Ministers are hiding behind the former President because you are corrupt. You were protecting the former President because you were scared of going to jail because you had been stealing – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Not because you liked, him that is why you wanted him to be in power because you knew that you would end up in jail.
The whole former Cabinet and current Cabinet members need to be investigated and those who are clean must stay in Cabinet. Those who are clean must not go because what stops us from believing that they will still do what they used to do with the current President? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We will continue having Operation Restore Legacy Two and we cannot have that happening. So we must be very clear. His Excellency, Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, whether you like it or not is the man for the job but the question is, are his lieutenants the people for the jobs?
I must say that I was disappointed by the Cabinet that he appointed because I looked at the personnel in ZANU PF and said to myself, you have people who are educated and work hard in their constituencies but they are not rewarded. An Hon. Member of Parliament is rewarded when he/she is working hard in his constituency and contributing in Parliament but we have Cabinet members who have never said anything in Parliament. So what will they say in Cabinet? We have Hon. Members of Parliament who do not go the constituencies to a point where you end up losing confidence. The people lose confidence in that team. It is important that when Cabinet is picked, the Head of State equally consults the Hon. Speaker to say, Hon. Speaker, is this Hon. Member of Parliament qualified to be a Cabinet Minister? It is important, this institution is critical.
You know, I have nothing against the wealth of anybody especially the wealth of Hon. Mpofu because I would like to have the same wealth but I would like to ask him how he acquired it. When children are growing up they always say, I want to be like Batman, Superman and so forth because you see how they fly. I would like to know, for me to be as rich as him, how did he get that rich? For me, he seems to have a better career being a business person than a Minister but he chooses to be a Minister and allows his business to go broke. His business triumphed while he was a Minister especially when he was the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. People are not stupid. If you think they are stupid, they are not. He had a bank when we was Minister of Mines and Mining Development, where did he get the money from? Now he is a partner in a mine in Hwange, Makomo – is it?
This Cabinet, if I am not mistaken, wanted to give him a $600 million sovereign guarantee. If I am lying, members of the Cabinet should tell me yes or no. A $600 million sovereign guarantee for a Minister who used its powers to go and get the money and we must be sitting here endorsing $600 million! You think the world will give $600 million to entities acquired in a corrupt manner? The former President, I am told, was aware but it is a few Ministers who were able to object. Thank God to the factions of ZANU PF because some of this information, I get it from the G40 members. They would say, but this issue the President knew but others argued and said, but if Government is to do that guarantee, then it must be a shareholder – but they were prepared, sovereign guarantee for $600 million with the Chinese.
So to me, it is an issue which I am saying, how much money has been signed for at the expense of the people? Today, we have a situation where the issue of that mine, it is important that as Hon. Members of Parliament, every Zimbabwean has a right to own business but there is also a problem. When you become the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, you are equally having more businesses to do with mines. Ethically and morally, it is wrong but because you have a habit of stealing, you do not see how wrong it is. So we have a situation where investors must put in money when they know what is happening and we have such members of Cabinet and so forth.
We had the aspect of Command Agriculture – I want to talk about Command Agriculture. We have names of companies sponsoring Command Agriculture – where is the money coming from? Tell us! Command Agriculture is being funded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning through Treasury Bills but we see companies saying they are giving money. Can we see the paper trail of how much money they have put into Command Agriculture for us to be able to say they are putting in money? We are not blind to this. We are here to represent people and we shall say the truth. Whether you are linked to a General or not, it does not matter because Zimbabwe comes first. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We shall equally target criminals around the Generals, if you think being associated with the Generals is your way of making money. Then sorry, we shall tell the Generals that this is a criminal. The same way we used to tell the former President; he is a criminal, he allowed them to be around him – where is he today?
It was a people’s revolution because corruption had been too much and people were suffering. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The ruling party is the last party to say that they are the ones who put His Excellency in power. They kicked him out in all the provinces. Did you not sit down and resolve that E.D. Mnangagwa must go? You did. Do you think we are stupid? Now, you want to go around and say to him we helped you. I have minutes of every provincial meeting that you had to say he must go – the same way you did with the former Vice President Joyce Mujuru. So, do not come here today and tell us that you are the ones who put him in power. You got him out. It was people like us who were not in ZANU PF, the War Veterans, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the Opposition and the people of Zimbabwe who put him in power. Do not claim glory where you have not gained glory – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Today, it was important for people to understand that when it comes to the issue of Zimbabwe, we all get together. As such, it was important for the President to equally appoint people who are not in the party on merit to also move forward – it was important. Let them say no to that issue but he would have shown inclusivity in terms of moving forward because that was the people’s revolution. For the ruling party to claim glory on this, you are lying to yourselves. The people know that you kicked him out to the point where he border-jumped and walked for 30 minutes. You actually wanted to arrest him. So you want to claim what glory? It was important that everybody is recognised.
I want to talk about the welfare of the war veterans which will never come. We seem to be very reactionary to war veterans. We only give them money when they talk. We treat them like kids. War veterans are not kids. The success of any country is measured by how you look after the veterans of the struggle. If you have not looked after the veterans of the struggle, you have failed as a people. America looks after its veterans. Britain does the same too but our war veterans are the poorest. When it comes to issues of politics, you use and dump them. Where in the budget do we have a situation where we must address the welfare of the war veterans once and for all? We do not see anything. This means that we will be reactionary again. You still want them to go and march. Others are no more. They are busy queuing up, they are on the ground and they spend days or months ensuring that you are in power but when you are in power you forget about them. It is important that the welfare of the war veterans is addressed once and for all. As Members of Parliament, we must be together in this – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –The opposition agrees but the ruling party does not do anything. What are you ruling if you cannot look after the war veterans of the struggle?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Mliswa, you have five minutes to go.
HON. MLISWA: We had the former President who was a patron of the war veterans. When you are a patron, you are like a father. What did he do other than insulting them left right and center; undressing them in public yet they were so kind that they gave him power that he never had during the war. He comes and treats them in a manner which is unacceptable.
I want to talk about the issue of hospitals. The budget must address that. The Abuja declaration is clear on that. Minister, you are a lawyer – you a Minister of Finance and I expect you to comply with agreements. There is no debate there. Let us comply. The health sector is in a mess. We have had the First Lady going around doing a good job, exposing the mess in the health sector that has got to be attended to.
I totally agree with Hon. Cross pertaining to the 5% on those transactions. I think we need time Hon. Cross. I respect you when it comes to these issues. I must say when we come to issues of finance, black people usually trust white people. It is a fact, you do not lie. No wonder why you see that – not that you are not Zimbabwean but what I am trying to say is that 5%, if we look at our economy, the informal sector has more money. The big businesses no longer have money. So, if we use that 5% across the board, you talked about the $9 billion that will be generated. Five percent 5% on every transaction – Hon. Minister, that money is coming directly to you and not to anyone. It will kick-start this economy and I think that is a no brainer. That is something we need to talk about.
Where is the revenue that is coming from the diamond mines? We had Mbada, Anjin and so forth and there was a moment that the former Minister of Home Affairs, Ignatius Chombo sent 300 police officers with AKs to go and take over a mine. What was his interest – three hundred police officers with the Commissioner General. This is where commission of inquiries must be set up on all these issues.
I was arrested so many times but I see that others are not arrested. I used to go to my uncle Didymus Mutasa and say, sekuru ndasungwa zvonzi enda ku court. I would go to the current President and say, ndasungwa zvonzi enda ku court. I would go to the Air Marshal who is a brother to me – enda ku court. So, why are you also not telling these corrupt people to go to court – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – It is only Mliswa who must have a record of being arrested. I went to court and I was cleared in court and yet the crimes that I had committed had nothing to do with causing havoc in the economy or having to steal money. It was just from a political point of view. I am saying this with a heavy heart that I went through everything. Hanzi it is an allegation, enda inonoperera ku court. All these are allegations, ngainoperera kucourt ka.Ko sei muchiramba kuti vaende ku court? Asi zvinobata ini here?
The President must understand that ZEC cannot be the only institution which arrests people. From a constitutional point of view, what is their role? Right now, we read that ZEC has arrested people. What is the role of the police? Why are they being given money? We have police stations in every area. Saka basa remapurisa rave rei? ZEC haina mapolice station, ZEC must be overhauled because it is equally corrupt. That I agree. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – That, is something that I will agree with the former Vice President Mphoko. He was right that ZEC must be overhauled. Even if he is not with us, the truth remains. ZEC must be overhauled. It has become corrupt.
Why is it that we only arrest people when they are out of power? It means all of you here are committing crime but when you are out of power you will be arrested – Hon. Mavima. Why are you arrested when you are out of power? The only person who enjoys immunity is the President. We have a situation ….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, can you please conclude.
HON. MARIDADI: On a point of order Madam Speaker, I propose that we increase the Hon. Member’s time so that he can round up his debate nicely and talk about all these corrupt people that must go to court.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: I second.
HON. MLISWA : I want to say something which is important to all the political parties – for me it is sad to say that the former President was destroyed by the people around him. I even equally say about the opposition leader, I have never known President Tsvangirai to be corrupt, I will not lie to you; I have never heard of it. Mugabe, I must be honest too – our leaders seem to have that moral in them but it is the people. It is important that they choose the right people.
The aspect of Command Agriculture Madam Speaker, we are in the deficit and these figures are important. We are in a deficit of $1.8 billion. Six hundred million dollars was used to pay the farmers – that is Treasury Bills for all the maize. $358 million, if not mistaken was used for Command Agriculture; and $158 million was used for Presidential inputs. If you calculate that, you are probably hitting $1.2 billion which has gone to agriculture and our deficit is $1.8 billion. So, in real sense, the money that is owed is $600 million which can be paid easily. We have a situation where the $600 million paid to the farmers; the farmers were given inputs, they were supposed to pay, how much did they pay back? There was no money paid back. So, more money would be printed. My point Minister, the money that was paid back is not enough, so you are forced to then print more money. What should happen at the end of the day is that; when those inputs are paid for, that is the money that should be used to then pay for the maize and there is a top up, but we do not have figures of how much was paid by the farmers – [HON. CHINAMASA: Can you present it during question time?] –
You have a situation of $150 million of the Presidential inputs distributed by the Ministry of Agriculture but the inputs for Command Agriculture are not. So what is the role of the Ministry of Agriculture? Who is distributing these inputs if it is not the Ministry of Agriculture and yet the $153 million for the Presidential Inputs is distributed by them? The timeous issue of inputs is important. Inputs are coming in late and we have a situation where farmers do not get the yield that they require and we end up in this hole. We have a situation where that $350 million is given to the suppliers to buy fertilizers, they do not have foreign currency and they are forced to go on the black market. So, who is pushing inflation, it is the Government – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it is the Government pushing inflation because they keep on printing Treasury Bills and when they need foreign currency, they go on the black market, the rate goes up.
Let me also say this in terms of confidence; there are three issues which are critical in an economy, three factors which make sure an economy ticks;
What do I mean by expectation? It is the confidence of the people. I might say since the 15th of November, the rate was at 90% to 100% in terms of RTGS, it has gone down to 60%. So, it means the confidence is not the issue. Availability – are things available? Things are not available because there is no production. We talk about domestic resource mobilisation which we went to Bulawayo for and we spoke about it. How much money has gone into domestic resource mobilisation? We were told that ZISCO Steel needs only $65 million, Kamativi needs a little bit of money but yet we have these people who are called investors who were sitting on our resources.
We have the Great Dyke Investments (GDI) in Darwendale, which should be the biggest platinum mine, no deal has been signed but we are sitting on it. We have resources which we are sitting on, no one is using them. However, we have bureaucracy which is allowing this to happen and corruption at the end of the day at the expense of this economy. So, it is important that these minerals are utilised in a proper sense.
We have got the aspect of cost, who is pushing the cost? Right now the meat price has gone down, the wholesale price for Super was $67 but in the supermarkets, it was going at $13. Basically, what we are saying at the end of the day is that we also need to have business which has the discipline of ensuring that they serve the people and not make money.
I want to talk about what the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement must do in terms of the farms that the former First Lady owns. The Government policy is ‘one man, one farm.’ The former First Lady is sitting on over 20 farms, what is Government doing to recover those farms? There must be no debate because it is a policy on ‘one man, one farm.’ There must be no consulting, the only consulting that must happen is to ask the former First Lady ‘which farm do you want’ out of all these farms, she keeps one and the rest go to the people. These are the issues that we are talking about.
It is important Madam Speaker that those Ministers who did ills when the former President was there, must be honest and stand in front of this House and the people and say, ‘I was sent to do this which I was not supposed to do, it is called confession when the time is ripe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – because if they do not do that, then they are not honest. So, it is important Madam Speaker that the new dispensation in having to close, requires Ministers who did things which were not proper, to do things which are proper. They must be able to say so that ‘I was under pressure, I was instructed by the First Lady or the President then to be able to do this.’ It is about time that the new dispensation does not take instructions from people who do not have Executive powers – [AN HON. MEMBER: Varikuzvihwa!] – they must never do that.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity but I want to remind the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning that the price of maize in Mozambique is $140 per tone, Zambia it is $140 per tone. This means that the subsidy that Government has given to the farmers here is $250, there is absolutely no way that an economy can take off by giving such a subsidy. They would rather reduce the cost of inputs so that the farmers grow more and make more profit and so on. I want to thank you Madam Speaker for giving this opportunity, and Members of Parliament for pushing for the extension of my time. Thank you very much.