PVO Bill: We lack seriousness, we are reckless, says Mliswa
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa says Zimbabwe lacks seriousness and is reckless when it comes to issues of good governance.
He said the PVO Bill that is before Parliament is unnecessary and will lead to the demise of innocent people.
Mliswa added that instead of pushing for economic reforms, Parliament is being made to push draconian punitive Bills that are based on panic from the ruling party.
The outspoken legislator said Zanu PF is panicking over the impending 2023 general elections hence the PVO Bill.
Below is the full text of Honourable Mliswa’s debate to the PVO Bill.
ON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I think when a country has so much polarization, there must be a voice of reason and it is only an independent Member who can be the voice of reason. Mr. Speaker Sir, yes, history is in two parts; there is good history and bad history. When we are here, we must talk about the good history that we want to create. We have Section 58 which talks about the freedom of association. We tend to have a knack for rushing using resources to come up with great blue prints, in this case it is the Constitution itself. The Constitution itself, most of the issues have never been attended to. We believe and must appreciate that the Constitution is for the good governance of the country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we live in a global village and Zimbabwe is on a re-engagement crusade and when we talk about a re-engagement crusade, we are re-engaging America and Europe, there are terms for that re-engagement. One of the terms which is clear on the template is the respect for human rights. The respect for human rights and rule of law becomes critical. The land reform was a noble cause, the Americans never opposed it, but the British opposed because it affected their kith and kin. The Americans opposed because of the human rights violations in terms of deaths, violence we all do not appreciate. With that in mind, an attitude was then built around and that was a build up to sanctions more than anything else. Why are you killing your own people politically, and the majority of the people who die are black. I have never seen a white or an Indian person dying out of political violence in this country but it is our own black people. Why do we have to allow our own when we successfully fought for this country and God and our ancestors gave us permission for blood to spill once because we wanted to liberate ourselves, not second, not third?
Section 2 of the Bill is long, and when you see such a long clause, you then say really will people comprehend this law. You then go to Section 5 itself of the Bill, which really targets anything political, in fact it is political, when any private voluntary organisation that supports or opposes any political party, we have a well equipped security sector; the Central Intelligence Organisation’s role is economic saboteurs, not beating up people as it is alleged. That is the main war, to see that who is it that is sabotaging the economy, who is it that is sabotaging the country. We have got the Army with the Military Intelligence Department who are critical for the security aspect. We have got the Police Intelligence who are also there, they are the watchdog of making sure that a lot does not happen.
Financially, as the other speakers alluded to, you have got the FIU, which monitors transactions. Surely, there are laws which can curb all these rather than us wasting tax payers’ money to come up with an amendment when the very same laws that we have are not enforced. The problem with this country Mr. Speaker Sir, is of non-enforcement of laws and that cannot make you change the Constitution or change the Bill. It might as well change the personnel. Maybe there must be capacity building amongst people who are responsible for superintending these laws. That is a question which is for another day but a very critical point is that how much did they comprehend? Do our people understand the Constitution? Do our people appreciate the Constitution?
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have over 300 Statutory Instruments passed. I was with a friend in South Africa and he said, probably what they have done is seven only and we are over 300. It talks about panic. The recent pronouncement on the monetary issues has just been reversed. All they have is confidence that these laws are bad and they equally be reversed. It is just that the law cannot be reversed as quickly as the pronouncement. Was this done thoroughly, properly? I am glad that the Minister of Finance, when he came here Mr. Speaker Sir in your absence, I asked him to go and revisit these pronouncements because they are not good for the country. I must give credit that it takes a leader to listen to another person to go and revisit. They have revisited those pronouncements and now they are taking corrective measures.
The same that I ask of this Bill is that we are going towards elections – why are you panicking? Have you been told that you are going to lose? Why is there panic every time we go towards elections, laws must be changed. Certainly elections are not won by changing laws – elections are won by an economic situation. What we must be pushing for are economic reforms which better the lives of our people in terms of welfare. However, we see nothing in terms of the economic reform. This House has been seized with draconian punitive Bills coming through.
We dealt with AIPPA and it is no more, POSA as well it is no more. My good colleagues came up with the Patriotic Bill again. So to me, there is the ZACC Bill which is supposed to be in this House for us to curb on corruption but it has not come. So what is more important in terms of priority? The ZACC Bill in curbing corruption or this law? Political power is never through the Constitution. Political power is through the people, the Constitution does not vote and these Bills do not vote but it is the people who vote. You must be able to gage the mood of the people.
Zimbabweans at this point in time, no wonder you mention that these public things were polarized. I am no longer interested in all these Bills. We must also be able to read the ground or the leader; no wonder why any leader has an advance team to go and assess the situation on the ground to see if there are people or there are no people. The President is said to be going to Mashonaland Central. The meeting is cancelled because there was an advance team that told him the truth that there will not be people in the stadium and so do not come. It is postponed.
So it is important for us to be really thorough in what we do. We lack seriousness when it comes to the good governance of this country, when it comes to the law. To say the least, we are reckless, absolutely reckless to the demise of the ordinary people who are innocent. Why do we have to do that when we are such a great country with great loving people? Why should we plant hate? The politicians have planted hate in our people and our people are not of a hate character. They are good people. You go anywhere, they are respectful and they will greet you but when you are now having such Bills coming through the House, it becomes extremely difficult for us to really appreciate these…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the Hon. Minister and Leader of Government business, no matter what an Hon. Member may be saying, I think every Hon. Member deserves the attention of the Hon. Minister so that you can give a comprehensive response accordingly. I am requesting the Hon. Minister to please pay attention to what the Hon. Members are saying so that the issues are disbursed accordingly to the satisfaction of the House. I know you have some scribes at the back who are assisting you but personal attention is better than secondary information. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. There are institutions in this country that have assisted with education. The Higher Life Foundation which is led by Mr. Strive Masiyiwa through Econet – was he not a talk in the country, an allegation that he was pro-the opposition, but in the 2013 elections, they advanced Government money for elections. The licence that they were supposed to pay – the time was not up but they advanced Government because Government had no money for elections and paid for that.
So how then all this time there was a negative opinion of him but later on you then go and ask him to give you money to pay in advance for a licence? He paid because we had no money for elections. You have got these examples where the Government makes decisions knee-jerk. I have never experienced such kneejerk reactions by any Government. It is the worst that we have seen and at times I said people who are advising the President, are they on Guka or are they on mutoriro? Maybe the drug must go to these people because I do not understand. The pronouncement of the President talk about shows that he is definitely ill advised. He is advised wrongly and it is only this House which can advise him the truth and we have that responsibility. We have the responsibility of oversight.
This law does not fit the shoes and it will not be respected. We are part of the global village. Members of Parliament here some who are hypocritical have benefited from these NGOs. You have come into this House through these NGOs. They have put boreholes in your constituencies, they have paid school fees, they have paid for books, they have given gadgets to kids to work and you have been failing to see the good and you want to talk about the bad which you have not seen. If there is bad in the work that they are doing, why do we cite the bad, we cannot talk away the nation and laws on speculative issues. We cannot speculate Mr. Speaker. I speculate that someone wants to kill me without evidence. We have not been presented with any evidence of any NGO which has acted out of order. If it has, the laws are already in place to deal with them. What is the point of the law enforcement agents?
If they have been corrupt, what is the point of that? We must have checks and balances in whatever we do Mr. Speaker Sir and I am totally against this law. In my constituency, Hon. Ziyambi knows as Mashonaland West Constituency, there is a school Jinks Town Primary School which was built by Direct Aid. This area had a farm and it is brand new. There is a boarding school and kids go there and now they have totally stopped because they will be looting and vandalizing all the equipment. What does it say of our country of resources coming from Kuwait and these NGOs are Kuwait based and we are friends of Kuwait. We have written letters to say how can Kuwait be an enemy of Zimbabwe yet it is a friend.
The Ambassador in Kuwait has tried to say but can you help these people but still the school is lying idle… Children will suffer. Why are we not generous and kind to this? I want to close by saying as you always say Mr. Speaker, gonzo ukariwana mumba, hamupise imba. This law is about one person who is wrong and you are punishing everybody. Zveshuwa here kuti gonzo ropisisa imba yese nema suit enyu akanaka nehembe dzamai nenyaya yegonzo. Ko madii kuteya gonzo nemushonga uripo moona kuti harife here? Madii kutsvaga kiti kuti riwuraye gonzo? Gonzo ropisisa imba here? Ndapedza.
PVO Bill: We lack seriousness, we are reckless, says Mliswa