Independent legislator Temba Mliswa has blasted fellow Members of Parliament for not questioning why they are debating a supplementary budget when they are not even aware whether the original budget has been exhausted or not.
He said that Parliament was not playing its oversight role because it did not know how much has been disbursed to the various ministries and chided legislators for being kicked out of hotels yet they were the ones who had approved the budget.
“You are crying foul that the hotels are not accepting you. Shame on you but you passed the budget. What have you done to just deal with your own issues?” he asked.
“Let us not come here to rubber stamp issues from your caucuses just to pass things. We are fed up of parliamentarians who make noise the last minute when you are going towards your end of term because you are now thinking of your suffering.
“When you came in here, who told you that there was cherry in this place – there is no cherry in this place; I hope the nation understands that being a Member of Parliament is the route for being poor at the end of the day.
“The people who were Members of Parliament during Rhodesian time were farmers who came with their land cruisers, park them here, got into 504s when doing Parliament business and during weekends, they go back in their land cruisers.
“Now, because you are poorer, whichever witchdoctor told you that you will be appointed a Minister when you come into Parliament wronged you. I think you must stop going to these witchdoctors who are lying to you because serving people requires you to be capacitated.
“We now need that, not only intellectual but from a resource point of view and so forth. So, it is really disappointing that the Caucuses that you have do not talk about your welfare and all that and you have got Chief Whips who should be looking into that.”
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I just want to contribute on the report on the Mid-Term Budget Economic Review. The Chairman put it correctly in saying that there were cocktails of interventions for the improvement of social and public services. The moment you use the word ‘cocktail’, it means that the original drink is not sweet, so you need to add something until you gain some taste. So indeed, the interventions have been plenty. You are talking about the 929 billion which is required which takes us to nearly two trillion and we have to look at what we have also passed before, whether it has been disbursed or not.
That is really important for Committees to report that the various ministries where you have oversight over, did they get money? The last time we debated, 30% had been disbursed and not 100%. So, why do we need a supplementary budget when you have not disbursed the first lot? I do not know – ko sei muchida mari yakawanda iyo yekutanga yamakatenderwa musina kupihwa? I am failing to understand the logic of Hon. Members in wanting to support this supplementary. Again, you are encouraging non-performance on passing budgets here. It is a shame on you that you are not paying attention to detail in terms of that. It exposes us because if there is anything, we should be asking the Hon. Minister what happened to the budget that we passed. Did the money reach its intended purposes as allocated as per Votes? If it did, then supplementary comes in.
What is the definition of supplementary? Mothers you are here, supplementary milk means mukaka unonwiwa kana wamai usikukwana, munoshandisa wepowder, mwana akamwa here zvakakwana kuti muzoda wepowder? I am totally against this House constantly endorsing or rubber stamping issues which do not make sense.
My question here is; why are you pushing for a supplementary when the budget allocated to different ministries was not disbursed? The Portfolio Committees – what are their reports saying and what are they doing? So clearly, there is an exposé of a Parliament which meets once in a while to endorse or rubber stamp things which are illegal. The Public Finance Management Act itself is pretty clear that quarterly or monthly, there must be reports coming into Portfolio Committees. Once again, you are repeating the same mistake of not following the Public Finance Management Act and continuously we sit here and blame the Minister of Finance and yet we hold the keys to everything. To me, it again exposes us as Parliament at the end of the day, even our own money that we are supposed to get; did we get the money? You are crying foul that the hotels are not accepting you. Shame on you but you passed the budget. What have you done to just deal with your own issues? You are busy talking about other people’s issues when your house is not clean. Clean your house first and then go to the next house because it is embarrassing as Members of Parliament who passed the budget that you are saying hotels have not been paid for. So when you were passing the budget, did you not factor that in? At any point, did we as Parliament come in and say we have been allocated all our money and there is some money which has not come through, we need it so that we pay bills? You make your bed and you lie on it, that is what English proverbs say – you make your bed as parliamentarians and you are laying on it.
Let us not come here to rubber stamp issues from your caucuses just to pass things. We are fed up of parliamentarians who make noise the last minute when you are going towards your end of term because you are now thinking of your suffering. When you came in here, who told you that there was cherry in this place – there is no cherry in this place; I hope the nation understands that being a Member of Parliament is the route for being poor at the end of the day. The people who were Members of Parliament during Rhodesian time were farmers who came with their land cruisers, park them here, got into 504s when doing Parliament business and during weekends, they go back in their land cruisers. Now, because you are poorer, whichever witchdoctor told you that you will be appointed a Minister when you come into Parliament wronged you. I think you must stop going to these witchdoctors who are lying to you because serving people requires you to be capacitated. We now need that, not only intellectual but from a resource point of view and so forth. So, it is really disappointing that the Caucuses that you have do not talk about your welfare and all that and you have got Chief Whips who should be looking into that.
Going back to this point Madam Speaker, you have a situation where the Hon. Minister here talked about a surplus, what has happened to the surplus? Many times we were told about the surplus, I did not see the Finance and Budget Committee talking about the surplus. Where did it go? You have the opportunity to invite the Minister to say Minister, we are short of money can you kick-in the surplus. Why do we not follow up on things which are said here? Where did the surplus go? The report talks about SDRs, SDRs you are now spending money on roads rehabilitation yet the whole point was to have local contractors paying the local currency, SDR is not local currency, it is USD. Now you are using USD to pay the local people yet we were pushing business for the local people to make money.
Madam Speaker, the agreements were 50% would be USD and 50% would be ZIM dollar. I go back to Government, being the chief culprit of inflation, you have contracted foreigners to come and work here, Chinese are not earning yern (yuan), they are earning ZIM dollar. Madam Speaker, they go and burn that ZIM dollar to turn it to USD, they have no interest of investing here, they send it back to China. All these dams which have been built have come as a result of cost where inflation has gone up, when inflation goes up, it haunts the innocent person. The innocent person is the one who has suffered. Look at the contractors who have been contracted. How many are foreign and how many are local? Let us look at the local ones, have they done well, have they not done well but the local ones end up falling on the wayside because they are trying to be very straight forward in their approach and they lose business because if you clearly run a business in this country using ZIM dollar, you will go broke. If you want to use ZIM dollar for your health care, you die. Foreign companies given the ZIM dollar, they burn it, they take out the local contractors and they are on their own. So the USD is in fact working at the end of the day because they have got the financial muscle, they are not paying for any equipment because they are well resourced.
What the Chinese have done for example in this country, is just coming with equipment. I have never heard of anybody who has been loaned money by the Chinese. I have never heard of Government being given money by the Chinese but they are given equipment. Is the equipment money, is Zimbabwe looking for equipment? No, we are looking for money! The last time the former President Mugabe was around when Ambassador Mutsvangwa was Ambassador to China, there was a rumour that we were given USD1 billion. Did it come? It did not come, it ended up ZANU PF nearly losing the controversial elections in 2008. Where was the billion dollars-friend who does not give you cash? If our partners are China, why are we short of cash? They are putting you in a Parliamentary building where you do not have money, to do what? You want to be taken photos in that Parliamentary building when your children are starving, when we are not dealing with the local issues. You need to go back to basics.
Madam Speaker, there is the aspect of domestic resource mobilisation. Zimbabwe is endowed with resources. What happened to domestic resource mobilisation? Where is the accountability of the resources in this country? We are talking about 12-billion dollar economy in terms of mining, we are talking about small scale in terms of the minerals but the small scale farmers, while I agree with Hon. Nduna but they are a disaster in terms of environmental degradation. The country is worn out, the farmers cannot look after cattle. The only wealth that an African man has is cattle. Your cattle are your wealth and it is your moving bank. But now, with all these portholes allover in the rural areas, we are now even losing our heritage and culture. So where is the money going to come from for rehabilitating of all these holes which have been left which are killing our animals today?
Madam Speaker, we are poorer by the day and to me it is important that we are able to look at the foreign direct investment. The late S. B. Moyo came with a list of the foreign direct investments of countries and companies which said they were going to invest in Zimbabwe. Let us talk, how many of them have invested? An agreement is not an investment. How much money has come to the country from the foreign direct investment? Not only that, we foolishly, stupidly abandoned the Indigenisation Act to appease foreigners. The 10% for the local community is no longer there, the 10% for the worker went away, the 31% for the sovereign country went and now we are poorer. We reversed a law because of the Finance Bill saying that no, they were not happy with that. One thing that you cannot take away from the late President Mugabe – I was talking to my friend today was clarity, it is either black or white. Inconsistency of Government policy, one minute the President whether advised or not, has got the Minister of Finance on the left and on the right he has got the Governor of the Reserve Bank speaking about the monetary policy. Within a week, it is changing. So, who advised the President on that? Where are the technocrats? Now we have a situation where there are saboteurs who seem to be in Government. The Ruling Party must stop pointing people to be saboteurs when it is housing saboteurs within the Government offices and within the party. Take a good look at yourself. Who looked bad? It was the President. What did you do as Parliamentarians to bring people to talk about that statement, you did nothing. So the enemy is within, the enemy has never been outside. The enemy outside is well-known, is easy, he does not run away.
We have got saboteurs who are bent on exposing the President by coming up with the wrong policy and then within a week, it changes. What is that called, it is inconsistency. No one invests in a country where there is inconsistency. The Look East Policy by the Former President Mugabe was very clear, everybody understood it. Those who wanted to come were invited to come and those who did not want to come did not come. Then the reengagement started by the Americans, the Second Republic must not lie and say that they are engaging and reengaging. The First Republic had the Americans and the British starting to work with us because there was consistency. Madam Speaker, it is important to be consistent. It is equally important and well appreciated to be consistently wrong. You are wrong but you are consistently wrong, it is better not to try to be right yet you are making many wrongs. We have a situation where you are not even consistently wrong. We are always inconsistently wrong. To me it is important that consistency of policy create confidence of the people, confidence in the currency, no one has confidence in the currency anymore because of inconsistencies which happen.
When a President issues a statement, he is the number one citizen, he is the last person to speak at the end of the day and everybody holds onto that. It is important that we look at the aspect of agriculture. Farmers right now are holding onto their maize because of the price metrics, importation you are paying USD280, your local farmer you are paying USD90 plus RTGs which probably is worth 120 dollars per tonne. We have seen local farmers holding on to their maize, why are we not prepared to give our farmers money yet we are prepared to pay the foreign farmers. There seems to be people who are bent on seeing farmers not doing well, not sustaining themselves because they are making commissions from the deals of maize. Pane macuts avanowana macommision, saka zvirinani akasabhadhara murimi akashungurudzika asamire futi, voramba vachiimporter. You cannot suffocate a country because of corruption, that is what is happening. You go to the aspect of farms and sales, the title deeds. There has got to be tenure in terms of farms and 99 year leases, and offer letters are not required. The Minister of Finance is a banker and there is no offer letter which can be withdrawn. However, once you leave ZANU PF and take the farms, not only that, they kick you out of the party and they take the farm. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
So which bank will do that? I am an example of somebody who left ZANU PF and they came and invaded my farm. Fortunately, the former President said you have kicked him out of ZANU PF, so allow him to have his farm. The Vice President then, E. D. Mnangagwa sent Ziyambi Ziyambi who was the Chairman to go and remove the people in 24 hours. I am an example and so no one should argue. You pay land with politics. When you leave ZANU PF, which banker will give money when you know that you are a politically polarized country? When you leave the party you also want to go for the family, dogs and everything. We must know when politics talks and when the economy of the country is important.
I also want to talk about the issue of rainfall. Everybody knew that we were facing drought – where was the cloud seeding? We all were told about cloud seeding and we are crying that there was a drought. How can we have drought when cloud seeding is there? I am glad that the Deputy Minister of Environment, Hon. Rwodzi is here. You were not in the Ministry then – why did you not cloud seed? You told everybody we are cloud seeding and you went to Scotland for climate change. You come here and you are prepared to see a drought yet you have the mechanism of cloud seeding. Do not tell us things that you are not going to do because you get us excited about cloud seeding. Where did we see any cloud seeing? There was no cloud seeding. So to me, if you do not adapt to the current climatic conditions in the world, it becomes very difficult to sustain the economy. The portfolio needs to look into that.
On the platinum, when things were bad with COVID, the platinum classes went up. Are we not a platinum country and being a platinum country, the price of platinum went up; the price of resources went up and the price of gold went up. We are sitting with a gold refinery. There are other miners in this country who are taking gold to Dubai to get it refined yet we have a refiner. They are taking this gold corrupting our own leaders. The leaders are prepared to give them the million dollars yet we were losing US$100 million. So where are we going as a country, endowed with the resources which are there when we are busy selling resources?
The Chinese are here and you can talk about Manhize. Manhize is going to attract USD20 billion per year in exports but what is in it for us – nothing and for that you have given the Chinese to build the Parliament, the airport on a project which is USD20 billion. The furnaces which are coming for Manhize are as long as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Two thousand hectares of industry and 50 000 jobs, the contractors there are not Zimbabwean contractors but they are Chinese contractors who are busy abusing our people again. Where are we going?
A mine is opened in Bikita and the President goes there, they do not feel shy, our children are being abused and people are crying. You cannot talk about your good economy if the labour practice in the country is archaic, punitive, and abusive by other foreigners. God, where is Mbuya Nehanda to protect us from such things? Now, we are looking for spiritual help because men have failed us. What else can people do except to look up to God and our ancestors? That is where we leave it to.
I want to conclude by saying that there must be legal instruments that protect our people. The chairman of the Committee said that you create all these nice names like AFC, Agribank and yet there is no money to give to the farmers. So why are they being paid to be in those institutions? The only good thing I want to talk about which people did not realise and I am going to share with you, is that the economy is going to stabilize not because of any architectural work but the coins have come in and the role of the coins is to mop up the ZWD.
The Minister of Finance will smile because it will mop up the ZWD and the Government has decided not to pay ZWD to the contractors. So ultimately the good news is that while Hon. Biti and many of us talked about dollarization, it has come but Government will not announce it. You shall be paid in USD because Government is no longer paying contractors in ZWD. So I would like to commend the Minister of Finance for following what Hon. Biti and others like myself used to say that dollarize; you have come with it behind the scenes and Hon. Minister, I can tell you that the economy is going to stabilize because of that. Keep on doing the gold coins – we are not asking how much gold is in it because you are buying from us. That is for another day but they are going to mop up the entire ZWD. Thank you for bringing that strategy and I think in a way, God did talk to you about using gold in hedging our currency. Thank you.