By Pretty Chavango
This week in Parliament as I patiently waited for the release of the latest hansard I took a journey back to the last parliamentary sitting of last year noting the positives, negatives and way forward as we reflect on things gone by and on the many issues which crossed over into the new year.
During the last parliamentary sitting Honourable Patrick Chinamasa moved a motion in his name for the ratification of the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the OPEC fund for international development which is a development finance institution established as a collective channel of aiding developed countries. Mr Chinamasa sought the approval of Parliament concerning a USD$20 million loan agreement he had signed with the OPEC Fund for International development for the purpose of constructing 12 primary, 5 secondary schools and standard teachers’ houses in the rural and newly resettled areas in 8 provinces of the country. This loan facility has a tenure of 20 years with five years grace period attracting an interest of 1.5% and a service charge of one percent. The loan is set to be repaid by the Government of Zimbabwe from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
After debating this issue which saw Honourable Gabbuzzah argue the logic of allocating USD$2 million per school as it was too much but rather opting for a basic two classroom blocks and two standard houses for about a $100,000 for a rural school. Honourable Rita Nyamupinga also called for a budget to be set aside for user friendly schools for children with disabilities. In the end Honourable Chasi stood in support of this motion, supported by Honourable Joseph Chinotimba, Honourable Mutseyami and Honourable Kwaramba and the house resolved that the loan be approved in terms of section 327(3) of the constitution which reads –
An agreement which is not an international treaty but which –
- Has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities and
- imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe ;
Does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.
At the same meeting The Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs Emmerson Munangagwa moved the motion to adjourn the matter relating to the trapping of artisanal miners at Peakstone Mine in Chegutu where seven artisanal miners were feared dead after being trapped underground. This was countered by Honourable James Maridadi who argued that it was too important to adjourn as 70% of the rural population relied on artisanal mining however in the end the matter was adjourned to a later time the same day.
Up to now I am yet to hear any news of what happened to those miners … months later, my guess is that the latest parliamentary sitting will have issues of its own, I wait to see.