Hon. Speaker, it is my earnest view, like I indicated in my introduction, that the official opening of Parliament is a day that is supposed to grip the whole nation and expectations will be what it is that they will get from the President. But nowadays, I am quite sure even if you count the Members of Parliament; the majority was not there because there is nothing that comes out of the Head of State’s speech except mere speeches about laws that are not benefitting the country. So, we are saying it is high time that when the Head of State comes to Parliament, he should speak about substantive issues that are affecting the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe. It should not be a forum where he simply comes to fulfill a role that has been put in our laws. It should be a time when he comes to speak to issues that are going to change the lives of Zimbabweans. Otherwise if he does not do that, it will simply continue to be a mere abstract ceremony that will not attract the attention of Zimbabweans. That is why you see that even vendors do not care about the parades that will be in Nelson Mandela street but will be busy with real issues. They know that whatever the ceremony is all about has got nothing to do with their welfare. It is time that we listen to the Head of State speaking to issues of substance.
We expected His Excellency the President to speak about uncontrolled expenditure by the Executive. The expenditure by the Executive in this country Hon. Speaker, is worrying the people that are outside there. We hear of scenarios where the Head of State travels to each and every conference. This other day I was listening to people in Binga saying this President – if there is a conference on toilets – he is going to attend. Why should the Head of State attend a conference on toilets? These should not be issues of emotions. These are issues of what is obtaining on the ground.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, I think this is the same. You are also talking about emotional things because the President is invited wherever he goes. So, how can someone in Binga think the President is going to attend the official opening of a toilet? I think at times we need to – aah…
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, unfortunately people in Binga do not see the invitation but also the people in Binga are aware that when Heads of States are invited to these conferences, some Heads of States actually send their Ministers. They are aware that Presidents are allowed to delegate – what is the need of delegating Hon. Speaker. Where there President uses $10 million to travel to New York, if a Minister is delegated to go and attend the same workshop, he/she will use less than a $1 million and then we could invest that other $9 million into social amenities of this country like in education and health.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your debate is very good because you are talking of very special things, but I think that you have to be careful not to bring some issues which are not supposed to be brought into a very good speech.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am not so sure Hon. Speaker, which issues I have imported which are not supposed to be in this debate, because I am speaking to issues of …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are now bringing in the travelling of the President.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am debating the President’s Speech and the President is the Head of State.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you please proceed with the speech of the President?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. So, we expected the President to pronounce in his speech that he will now begin to delegate to conferences, rather than him becoming the only one that is travelling and with a delegation of all the clan of his family. Hon. Speaker, we do not deny that the President is entitled to travel to conferences but, I think that the delegations that he travels with should be limited.