Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Another very important Commission which necessarily must be all over the country. The Commission has serious workload but is unable to be visible throughout the country as a result of budgetary constraints. The fuller details of that budget are very clear in the report. There has been an increase of 53% which came to an allocation of $3 341 000. The Minister must be thanked for that given the limits on the fiscal space. The Committee implores Treasury to unfreeze approved posts so that the Commission can fill up critical posts for effective delivery. This is very important in light of the forthcoming elections. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission will be a very important actor in those elections.
The Committee also recommends Treasury to consider increasing its allocation towards subscriptions and general elections. The same recommendation that we have given to the Ministry to say that it must look at all subscriptions and be able to demonstrate to this House and to the country generally that the money that is being spent is necessary and that we are getting value. The Committee also wishes finally on this particular Commission to implore Treasury to timeously resource it given that the elections are very close by and a lot of preparatory work will need to be done.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission
An extremely important commission for this country to go forward without conflict.
HON. MUNENGAMI : On a point of order. I think you can just have a look at Hon. Mlambo. Maybe he looks tired seeing that he is a former minister – I do not know. There is that need for a stress clinic or counselling clinic which we have been agitating for. Now we see the reason why it is important. We really appreciate the debate which we are doing and we appreciate all the other Hon. Members just to pay attention instead of us taking a nap. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER : Thank you very much Hon. Member.
HON. CHASI : I was saying Mr. Speaker, that I will now talk about the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the latest kid on the block with regards to the commissions. A very important Commission which already has lost three years of work as it is time bound in terms of the Constitution. The work that it was expected to do within the 10 years is still expected to be done now in the remaining time. I cannot over emphasise the need for Treasury to particularly give specific attention to this Commission and ensure that the funds are released immediately to allow them to begin to do their work. They have been given a budget of $1 399 000. This is hardly anywhere near what is necessary although it represents an increase of 22%. For the past years, the commissioners in this commission have been working from their houses.
HON. MLISWA : On a point of order. I was due to give a report but my point of order is on the allegations that I made on Hon. Shumba. I would like to withdraw them. I thank you.
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HON. CHASI : I am sure the Hon. Member’s withdrawal is in line with the work of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission – the avoidance of conflict. I was saying a very important point that the commissioners are working from home, this is completely undesirable. Government must make funds available to ensure that this independent commission is able to function from proper accommodation which is accessible to the public. The public cannot be going to the houses of commissioners to go and make their reports or complaints and so forth. This is a very critical matter which I will also discuss in connection with the National Prosecuting Authority.
Recommendations of the Committee, we need more money to be put into this Commission. It has a lot of backlog which needs to be dealt with. It is very important going into the future that all forms of conflict that have occurred in this country are resolved and also that going forward, we avoid conflict and this is the fundamental work of the Commission.
Office space and condition of service benefits which were spelt out in contracts for the commissioners have not been met. We need committed people in this commission, people who are happy to be working in the environment. Whatever the commissioners were promised must be accorded. There is also a need that we as a country look at the life of this commission
We look at the three years that has been lost and that as a country we make a decision as to how we want this to be structured.
I will not dwell too much on the Electoral Commission. I think it is one of those commissions that are discussed on a daily basis except to say that there is need for Treasury to ensure that all the funds that are necessary to complete registration and all the other preparatory works towards elections and for the elections themselves are made available well in time so that the commission can prepare for the elections. The Minister must be congratulated and thanked for ensuring that there is a separate Vote for ZEC as opposed to what transpired in the past.
National Prosecuting Authority
This is the last part of my report. This is a new kid on the block. Any business that starts with front loading of cots, the NPA is currently housed and it has to be housed outside Government buildings because it is an independent body that would like to maintain its independence. It is at Corner House – very expensive accommodation. Government needs to look at the pros and cons of either buying a building for this entity or consider getting on to a programme to build offices for these commissions.
In light of the high rental expenses, the Committee recommends the purchasing of building or office space. The independence of the NPA should be asserted by ensuring that they have adequate financial resources. There is current talk under the current administration, there is a very clear thrust to deal with corruption and from the delivery by the Chief Justice yesterday, it was clear that there is a plan to have special corruption courts and all those will need to be resourced by law officers who are adequately compensated.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, order Hon. Member, your time is up.
HON. CHASI: I am sorry Mr. Speaker, you will realise that I had so many independent departments but my last point is that there is a very clear discrepancy of treatment between magistrates and prosecutors. If one goes out, say to Masvingo, you will find a provincial magistrate and a chief law officer there. The magistrate may have a vehicle and the chief law officer will not have a vehicle. With regards to judges as well Mr. Speaker, their conditions need to be relooked at to ensure that those judges do not hike.