Chinotimba says Mugabe should reshuffle commissions too especially the anti-corruption commission




Joseph Chinotimba in Parliament

HARARE – Buhera South Member of Parliament says President Robert Mugabe should also have reshuffled commissions, especially the Anti-Corruption Commission, when he reshuffled his cabinet on Monday.

He said the anti-Corruption Commission had been rendered useless and should be empowered to become independent like the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

“Corruption has become a cancer. Corruption, the President has reiterated this. He can talk and mention about corruption many times but what concerns us is that the people who are found in corrupt activities, not even one of them has been arrested in this country,” Chinotimba said.

“There have been no arrests. This is a very difficult issue. …. When I am in my constituency, I am questioned by people who elected me that why is it that the President is always talking about corruption now and again. Who has been arrested for corruption and yet it is a cancer in this country.

“Corruption in this country has become a painful situation. We do not know what the future holds. At one time I was thinking to myself and thought of Jesus Christ preaching the Gospel when he was approached that a woman who was caught in adultery was to be stoned. Jesus told them that whoever had not sinned should throw the first stone. So when I look at people in this country, I think everyone is involved in corruption because if all of us had not been corrupt, at least a few people would have been arrested but no one has been arrested.”

He said the Anti-Corruption Commission was a toothless bulldog.

“There is nothing to show in terms of its achievements. If the Commission decides to arrest anyone it has to start with its members because they are not serious at all. They should be people who should ensure that the corrupt people are arrested without fear or favour. So corruption will not come to an end in this nation…

“We need the Anti-Corruption Commission to be independent and it should be like ZEC. No one should go there. ZEC is an independent commission and no one controls ZEC, whether it is the President or the opposition no one intervenes in ZEC operations. That is what we want the Anti-Corruption Commission to become, not that when we are told there is an Anti-Corruption Commission people follow this Commission and the Commissioners are unable to work because they are intimidated and threatened. We do not want that.”

He suggested that the Anti-Corruption Commission should be made up of equal members from the ruling party and from the opposition.

“The President talked about reshuffling.  Reshuffling should be extended to the Commissions, especially the Anti-Corruption Commission . Mr. Speaker, when you hear me speaking in this manner it is because I am deeply concerned about my nation. Honestly Mr. Speaker, the corruption we are talking about here, there is so much money in this country, but people cannot access their cash to go and buy a child a banana. A woman cannot buy her child a banana in the street. It is not that this country does not have money.”

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I stood up to add my voice in a few words to the Presidential Speech that was given by the President as we support him.  Let me start on the Command Agriculture – it was mentioned by the President in his speech.  Command Agriculture is a very good project that was successful.  When the President was talking about Command Agriculture, he said that this year this programme will still be in force.  However, but in my opinion, when he mentioned Command Agriculture – that people will be getting a lot of things, they became excited and prices for inputs went up to alarming levels.  The pesticides that we used to buy for $15 a litre, have been doubled and they are now being sold at $45 per litre.  Fertilizer that used to be very affordable at between $30 and $32 is now costing $45 to $50.  This means that Command Agriculture was a good initiative but because people are so greedy, they increased the prices because right now they heard that the shops had increased their prices of commodities and they did not realise that the inputs for agriculture would also go up.  These were raised to alarming levels.

So, we want to thank the President for the Command Agriculture but we also want him to send teams to investigate the prices that have gone up because they now prohibit us as the ordinary men to go and buy.  It is true and in the rural areas the President also mentioned the inputs for subsistence farmers, but can a person really wait for 10 kgs from the President?  This is just to render assistance with 50 kgs of Compound D and top dressing fertilizers.  There are other farmers who are able to farm much more than this.  Those people in the rural areas are subsistence farmers and they cannot afford the expensive fertilizers because the 727 seed now costs $100 for 18kgs.

So if this person is a subsistence farmer from the rural areas for example Buhera where there is always a drought, it means that the person can no longer afford to buy fertilizer or the seed itself.  So, the President talked about Command Agriculture which is a good initiative but we request that the Government goes down on the ground and investigate what is happening – not only to investigate the prices of biscuits and other commodities but also the price of inputs for agriculture.

Agricultural inputs are what affect the lives of the people and they should be monitored.  So, I am hoping that what we are saying here, if they go out into the fields and see what is happening. The rise in prices has affected agriculture whether the prices were raised through WhatsApp or whatever. This gesture is meant to destroy the nation. The country should not deteriorate.

Secondly, I want to talk about corruption Mr. Speaker Sir. In this country, corruption has become a cancer. Corruption, the President has reiterated this. He can talk and mention about corruption many times but what concerns us is that the people who are found in corrupt activities, not even one of them has been arrested in this country. There have been no arrests. This is a very difficult issue. When I am in my constituency Mr. Speaker, people ask me – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker I seek your protection from those who are talking too much for them to keep quiet as I debate.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: When I am in my constituency, I am questioned by people who elected me that why is it that the President is always talking about corruption now and again. Who has been arrested for corruption and yet it is a cancer in this country. Corruption in this country has become a painful situation. We do not know what the future holds. At one time I was thinking to myself and thought of Jesus Christ preaching the Gospel when he was approached that a woman who was caught in adultery was to be stoned. Jesus told them that whoever had not sinned should throw the first stone. So when I look at people in this country, I think everyone is involved in corruption because if all of us had not been corrupt, at least a few people would have been arrested but no one has been arrested.

So we end up not knowing why corruption continues to be mentioned and also why the Commission was put in place because it is a toothless bulldog. There is nothing to show in terms of its achievements. If the Commission decides to arrest anyone it has to start with its members because they are not serious at all– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –. They should be people who should ensure that the corrupt people are arrested without fear or favour. So corruption will not come to an end in this nation.

As I stand here, I know when I talk of corruption in this House there are people who are going to question why I mentioned it. The issue of corruption; we did not go for the liberation struggle for corruption to persist. We went to war so that people would have freedom and be able to enjoy the benefits of Zimbabwe. In fact, during the war we learnt Leninism and Marxism of the Soviet Union, – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – which actually said what you have is also mine. Whatever you have belongs to all of us. So, if Leninism and Marxism does not apply, then what does it mean– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –. We went to war and we have become a laughing stock because they ask us why we went to war – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – .

We need the Anti-Corruption Commission to be independent and it should be like ZEC. No one should go there. ZEC is an independent commission and no one controls ZEC, whether it is the President or the opposition no one intervenes in ZEC operations. That is what we want the Anti-Corruption Commission to become, not that when we are told there is an Anti-Corruption Commission people follow this Commission and the Commissioners are unable to work because they are intimidated and threatened. We do not want that.

We once mentioned in this august House Mr. Speaker that if it is a challenge the Hon. Members should form an Anti-Corruption Commission with three members from the opposition and three from the ruling party because that will assist us. Why I say it will assist us is that our own people who voted for us to be in this House will be looking forward to see what we are going to do. So if I do not do my work well, I will fail my electorate. I have to work hard for my electorate to realise that they have elected a good leader because once I fail as a leader, they will not elect me.

The President talked about reshuffling – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Reshuffling should be extended to the Commissions, especially the Anti-Corruption Commission – [AN HON. MEMBER: Very powerful speech.] – Mr. Speaker, when you hear me speaking in this manner it is because I am deeply concerned about my nation. Honestly Mr. Speaker, the corruption we are talking about here, there is so much money in this country, but people cannot access their cash to go and buy a child a banana. A woman cannot buy her child a banana in the street. It is not that this country does not have money. The bond –

*HON. MUPFUMI: On a point of order. In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it does not say that the Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate starting from the President. The Hon. Member should be advised that a sitting President cannot be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that what the Hon. Member said?

*HON. MUPFUMI: The Hon. Member said the Anti-Corruption Commission should start its investigations from the President going down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Order Hon. Mliswa. Hon. Mupfumi, you are correct in your statement but Hon. Chinotimba did not say that.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I believe that the Hon. Member was asleep. I have mentioned in this august House as if I was foretelling the future that as soon as I am through with my debate, my words were going to be turned around and there you are, I am vindicated. I request that the President gets this recording so that he could hear it. I was grateful for the reshuffle and that there should be a reshuffle in the Anti-Corruption Commission. If the Hon. Member did not hear, maybe he must have been asleep. You always encourage us to be wide awake but they are not taking heed of your advice.

Mr. Speaker, let me proceed and say that I am quite disturbed. The Hon. Member is not only an Hon. Member but indeed, he is my friend. He has disturbed my line of thought. I require to come back as a Member of Parliament for Buhera South next year and I would not want my constituency to fail to vote for me because of other people who have misinterpreted my utterances. The supply is across the political divide. People are busy pulling each other down, in the MDC and in ZANU PF.

Lastly, I would want to thank those in my constituency. We are doing quite well in terms of electrification. The only problem that we have is that once the transmission lines have been erected, a lot of time elapses before accessing transformers, but people are quite happy when the lines are put in place. They come and congratulate us for a job well done. Later on, they will ask about the issues of the delays in transformers being timeously delivered.

We urge that these transformers be delivered in rural constituencies in time. There should be variations on the prices of electricity. There are people that are employed in the urban centres and there are those rural dwellers who are not employed and at times we have droughts. If it were possible, rural electricity tariffs should be different from those ones that are imposed in urban centres. There should be a discount for the rural area consumers.

In the farms where there is farming, it is also our plea that, the farmers are doing production, but electricity is expensive. The current production and what they are going to have, there is a disparity. In fact, the farmer will not be able to profitably produce. If it were possible, there should be a discount for farmers.  The same applies to the communal areas in terms of their tariffs, and they should be given a discount. Our grandmothers are having their huts burnt because of candles. An elderly woman will go to sleep when the lamp is still on and the house is set on fire.

I am not saying they should not pay for electricity, but I am saying that when the second war came to an end, the white farmers were given land and for twenty years, they were not paying for electricity. When they later paid, they were very oppressive. That is why in First Street, blacks were not allowed because it was a no go area for blacks. It was for the whites. We do not want the discrimination that was played by the Smith Regime. We are saying that in the communal lands, they should pay a lower tariff of even 2%, lower than the urban dwellers. May be 2% of 10% so that people can be able to utilise electricity and live in light and not in darkness.

Electricity should be affordable. What hurts most is that while electricity has been made available, the electricity is going to schools, which is different from countries like Romania, China and even Yugoslavia where we went to. They would divert the electricity to the shops and they live in close communities. The villages are in close proximity. So, the Yugoslavian Government does not target electricity for schools only. They target it for the villages.

Our Government is busy supplying electricity to schools and the ordinary man and woman is asked to pay for power lines to ensure that they tape into electricity that goes to the school. The people cannot be able to raise the funds and so, electricity should pass through the people’s homes. In their respective village heads, they should be able to access this electricity. So, Mr. Speaker, because my time has been disturbed, may I be allowed five minutes because I was interrupted? People will not record that I was interrupted but I need a chance. If there is a disruption in football, additional time is given. Be that as it may, I thank you that you have heard my debate. – Insider