President makes history at new Parliament Building
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday delivered a state of the nation address at the official opening of the First Session of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe. He delivered the speech at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, where the new capital is taking shape. Below we publish the full text of his speech:
IT is my singular honour to address this august House as we open the First Session of the Tenth Parliament of Zimbabwe. The Session comes shortly after we successfully conducted our credible, free, fair and peaceful Harmonised General Elections, in accordance with our democratic traditions and practices.
Honourable Members of Parliament, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you all for having secured the mandate to serve the people of our great motherland, Zimbabwe, in your respective constituencies for the next five years.
I challenge you to accelerate the completion of the matters outstanding from the legislative agenda of the Ninth Parliament. Much work lies ahead.
As you are aware, our economy has been on an upward trajectory, recording positive growth rates across sectors, notwithstanding the illegal sanctions imposed on us by our detractors.
The robust measures put in place by Government to enhance and guarantee agricultural productivity, including irrigation development and climate-proofing, saw us realise national food security. Zimbabwe is now wheat self-sufficient. The Second Republic has begun the drilling of 35 000 boreholes and establishing Village Agro-Business Units. This is set to consolidate national agriculture productivity and food self-sufficiency.
Our mining sector, grew from US$2,8 billion in 2017 to the present US$12 billion, and is propelling socioeconomic development and growth. To enhance the participation of small-scale and artisanal miners, Government established the US$10 million Mining Industry Loan Fund, while the rolling out of more gold centres will be prioritised.
Mr Speaker Sir, Madame President;
The Second Republic will increase resources disbursed towards the Devolution and Decentralisation Programme. Priority is being given to projects which improve access and quality of education, health, roads, water and sanitation.
My Administration is committed to industrialising and modernising the economy as well as transforming our infrastructure in order to improve incomes and the livelihoods of our citizens.
Power supply has significantly improved following the commissioning of Hwange Power Station Units 7 and 8, while arrangements have been made to guarantee stable supply from existing power stations.
Deliberate investments are ongoing for increased power generation capacity, including removing entry barriers for Independent Power Producers.
To enhance connectivity, we continue to upgrade the road network across the country through domestic resources.
Similar initiatives are being implemented with regards to rail infrastructure, with focus on recapitalisation, rehabilitation and refurbishment.
The tourism sector is on a growth trajectory, registering an increase of 62 percent in international tourist arrivals during the first half of 2023.
My Government continues to accelerate implementation of the Heritage Based Education 5.0 Model, aimed at producing goods and services for our country’s socio-economic needs. This Science, Technology and Innovation thrust has scaled up science-based education from the primary level up to institutions of higher education. More of our young talented boys and girls are registering patents and running viable start-ups.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; The fiscal consolidation measures and reforms have ensured positive fiscal outcomes that are critical for budget sustainability and lasting macro-economic stability. Complementary fiscal and monetary policies have positively impacted the attainment of the prevailing stable macro-economic environment.
Going forward, the Second Republic remains resolute in implementing measures that ensure confidence in our domestic currency.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President;
May I now turn to the legislative agenda which must occupy the Parliamentary schedule during this first Session of the Tenth Parliament.
The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill; Public Finance Management Amendment Bill; Medical Services Amendment Bill; Insurance Bill and the Private Voluntary Organisation Bill, which were outstanding from the Ninth Parliament, must be concluded during the First Session of this Parliament.
Obsolete laws such as the Fredrick Clayton Trust Act; the Service of Documents Act; Settled Estates Leasing Act and the War Marriages Validation Act should be repealed under the Repeal of Laws (General Amendment) Bill.
New Bills which will constitute the business of the First Session include the Persons with Disabilities Bill and the Administration of Estates Amendment Bill.
The Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to streamline the registration process for foreign legal practitioners. Also on the agenda will be the Inheritance and Succession Laws (General Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aligns inheritance and succession laws to the Constitution and international best practice.
To give impetus to matters related to climate change adaptation and resilience, the Tenth Parliament is called upon to review the Water Act; the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act and the Plant Breeders Act.
The much-anticipated Climate Change Bill seeking to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate low carbon development technologies should be thoroughly debated towards strengthening appropriate institutions and funding mechanisms.
The Parks and Wildlife Act is being amended whilst a Human Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund is being set up to offer monetary benefits to victims of human wildlife conflict in communities. Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; The Second Republic aims to fully exploit, value add and beneficiate the country’s abundant natural resources.
In this regard, as industrialisation gathers momentum, Parliament must expedite the consideration of the Competition Amendment Bill; Economic Empowerment Bill; Standards Bill; Sugar Production Amendment Bill and the Technical Regulations Bill. Ratification will also be required in respect of the Sadc Protocol on Industry and the Inter-African Coffee Agreement.
Through the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill, Parliament will assist in the establishment of a framework promoting fair, accessible, responsible and sustainable online transactions. The long outstanding Postal and Telecommunications Amendment Bill must be concluded.
Government is committed to providing modern and affordable human settlements for all Zimbabweans.
In this regard, the Zimbabwe Construction Contractors Council Bill seeks to establish an authority that will bring sanity in the built environment.
Parliament is expected to consider the alignment of the Housing Standards Control Act and the Housing and Buildings Act.
Government has made strides towards decentralisation of service delivery, including deployment of medical specialists to provincial and district hospitals. The Medical Aid Societies Regulatory Authority, Health Professions Act; Family Planning Council Act and the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act will be brought before this August House.
The enactment of the National Health Insurance Bill must be expedited to accelerate the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme towards Universal Health Coverage.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is expected to bring the National Productivity Institute Bill; Pensions Amendment Bill; Occupational Safety and Health Amendment Bill as well as the Human Resources Practitioners Bill for consideration.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; Government is deeply concerned about the increase in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youth.
Measures to tame the scourge by strengthening relevant institutions for effective coordination and programming of activities, will be instituted.
Over and above this, Government is developing the National Youth Bill, which will be considered during this Session. The Bill will provide for mechanisms to facilitate mainstreaming of the youth in social, economic and political spaces, as well as the sustenance of Vocational Training Centres as hubs for local community development. I challenge the private sector to play a part in support of our ongoing initiatives for youth development and empowerment.
Meanwhile, women play a critical role in nation building and their contribution to economic growth should never be overlooked.
Equally, viable and profitable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have a far reaching impact on our economy as a whole.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Act will be reviewed. Additionally, Parliament is expected to approve the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies Bill to provide for the administration and management of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies.
The mainstreaming of Community Radio Stations attests to the Second Republic’s commitment towards accelerating media reforms. In an endeavour to further open up the airwaves, the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill should be finalised and amendments to the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act passed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; Sport is integral to job creation as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyles. In this regard, the Second Republic is currently developing the Sport, Leisure and Recreation Bill to create an enabling environment for sport and recreation delivery. Through the Sports Integrity Bill, Parliament is expected to assist in the creation of a regulated and fair sporting environment.
Parliament should also consider amending the Lotteries and Gaming Act for the purpose of its alignment to the Constitution and the incorporation of corporate governance measures, as provided for in the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; Our political independence came about through the support and solidarity of progressive nations in the region and beyond. Hence, the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act will be amended to include Botswana as one of the countries that had transit camps during our Liberation Struggle. “Non-Combatant Cadre” will be redefined to acknowledge those who played a part in the Struggle, under this category.
Similarly, the National Heroes Act will be amended to redefine categories of heroes, namely: National Hero; Liberation War Hero; and Liberation Hero.
Amendments to the War Victims Compensation Act will now include recommendations from the Chidyausiku Commission of Inquiry Report.
As Zimbabwe strengthens its cooperation with the international community, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which seeks to complement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is expected to be tabled for ratification. Furthermore, radiation safety will be strengthened through the Radiation Protection Amendment Bill.
Biological weapons, which were used by the minority racist white settler regime during our Liberation Struggle, harmed both combatants and civilians alike.
The Biological Warfare Bill will criminalise the use of such weapons by giving effect to the Convention on Biological Warfare.
To date, Government has launched a National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons. To operationalise the Plan, this August House must amend the Trafficking in Persons Act.
Other pending amendments include those that relate to the Immigration Act; Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act; National Archives of Zimbabwe Act; Private Investigators and Security Guards (Control) Act; Official Secrets Act; Unlawful Organisations Act; Censorship and Entertainments Control Act and the Births and Deaths Registration Act.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President; In concluding my address, I wish to commend both the National Assembly and Senate for championing the diligent discharge of business in the last Parliament.
Let me once again take this opportunity to urge all Parliamentarians to wholeheartedly participate in the enactment of laws that will improve the quality of life of our people. ‘Nyika inovakwa inotongwa inonamatigwa nevene vayo, Ilizwe lakhiwa, libuswe, likhulekelwe ngabanikazi balo’.
This August House should ensure that law is an instrument for development. Further, Parliament is encouraged to be an institution of peace building, hope, national development and the entrenchment of constitutionalism and deepening democratic practices in our country. In all our activities, let us safeguard our values and traditions as the unique people of Zimbabwe.
With continued unity of purpose, we can accelerate our ongoing quest to build, modernise and industrialise our great motherland, Zimbabwe. This weighty obligation is on our shoulders. We must deliver and lift more of our people out of poverty and into prosperity.
With these remarks it in my distinct honour and privilege to wish the First Session of the Tenth Parliament of Zimbabwe success and hereby declare the First Session of the Tenth Parliament of Zimbabwe officially open.
God bless you.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.