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Give youths priority in development programmes: Temba Mliswa

Hon Tembva Mliswa

Hon Temba Mliswa, the independent legislator for Norton has called on the government and critical stakeholders to put the youth at the centre of sustainable development programmes.

He was contributing to the motion moved by Hon Mathias Tongofa on 21 June 2022 who had encouraged youth to be well acquainted with youth-centred policies, especially the National Youth Policy for them to effectively engage in economic governance processes.

 

Below, Spiked Online Media shares hon Mliswa’s submissions:

It is a very critical subject because the youth are the heart of the nation.  They must be given the priority and attention they deserve.  This report, as in Section 32 of the Constitution, talks about the recreational facilities and sporting facilities which are around and the Constitution is very clear.  The Constitution is very clear; it says ‘they must’.

This is a must, so in a way, we have to be seen to be adhering to the Constitution so that we align with the SDGs of the world that we are part of.  Now, if we cannot respect our own Constitution, how then are we able to really be part of the global world because the global world requires you to follow the Constitution?  So, 32 is very clear.

We have looked at interact centres and the question here is, what is an interact centre?  I saw that the Chairman kept on talking about it.  I do not know if Members in their constituencies are privy to an interaction centre.  What is an interaction centre?  Interact means, of course talking. They are talking in terms of what, sport, drug rehabilitation, avoiding drugs, what is it?  Are they meeting to interact while drinking beer or what?  Is it where artistes can equally meet and so forth?

So to me, it is a deeper situation, which requires deep thought and analysis in terms of what needs to be done.  About 60% of the population and over is the youth but where are they in terms of many issues?  We heard of a fact-finding mission where they went to a number of places and I do applaud them for doing that because when you go on the ground, you are able to see a true picture of what is on the ground and so forth.  They came to this House to report on the true picture, which in a way is a bit gloomy but again it is not their fault but there also has to be an aspect of certain authorities which control these areas.

As the Chairperson, Hon. Tongofa was saying – he spoke about rural and urban authorities being key to the development of these areas and how serious they are in terms of doing that.  What are the councils doing in resolving that there must be recreational facilities in each ward, in each area, so that people participate?  You will see that the level of corruption has escalated to a point that people do not want even recreational facilities.  The recreational facility is taken away and there is residential development because people want to make money.

Gweru Sports Club is a good example.  If I am not mistaken, they have resolved that it is turned into a residential place or some industrial place.  So where will people then participate in recreational facilities?  I used to play rugby at Gweru Sports Club. There is a tennis court, swimming and so forth.  In terms of the council, rather than raising enough funds to rehabilitate those facilities, they are busy wanting to sell and resolutions are being made by corrupt people so that they make money.

So, who has the youth at interest, when local authorities themselves are not setting aside money to be able to rehabilitate those facilities?  It is going to cost more to build a new facility but common sense would allow somebody to raise money and rehabilitate the facility, than allowing them to die and build another centre.

The population of Zimbabwe has increased.  How many new recreational facilities outside those built by Rhodesia are there? All these country clubs you see; the recreations you see are a result of Rhodesia having realised that recreation was critical for a man and woman’s body.  It helps your mind.  It helps in a number of issues and so forth.

So we must take stock and say how many recreational facilities have been built by local authorities with the land which is there. It is a Constitutional provision and who is against that Constitutional provision?  Where they have earmarked a school, they put housing there because they are making money.  On wetlands, they have done the same, they put housing.  You now see a scourge of drugs; who is responsible for these drugs?  It is the leaders of today, who have neglected their responsibilities to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution.

Why is the Portfolio Committee on Local Government not calling the councils to give a master plan?  When I got in as a legislator in Norton, I asked for the master plan of Norton.  It had been done; it has to be reviewed from time to time.  I implore all Members of Parliament to go to the council and say can I see the master plan of this Constituency.

The master plan is able to give a way forward in terms of all the schools, where are the recreations and with the population growing, are we able to absorb this population from a housing perspective; from social amenities, which are critical.  When I talk about social amenities, I am talking about health centres, schools, and recreational facilities. For as long as you are a legislator here and you have not asked for a master plan then you are going blind.

You must be able to ask for that and I asked for it.  I invited people from the University of Zimbabwe and now Norton has a master plan.  We have not yet reviewed the master plan.  When you see the master plan, where there is supposed to be a recreational facility and it is not there, you are able to say where is it?  Now you can bring in ZACC to be able to arrest people because the master plan is talking about a recreational facility but you have built houses.  So why do you build houses where it should be a recreational facility.

There is drug disheartening all over – vana vanotamba kupi?  Imi makakura muchitamba, ko vano tamba kupi?  Because Havana kwekutambira, vanoputa mbanje, vava kutora guka, vava kutora madrugs ese, mutoriro vari kutora.  Tozoti a, icourge yemadrugs. Without realising that recreation is important for them to interact and we knew when we were growing up kuti mwana ari kutamba kwakati.  Vana mai nana baba vaitoziva kuti mwana anotamba nanhingi nanhingi, bhora ropera odzoka kumba.  But today, how do you take stock of your children when they have no recreation facility that you can say, uku tinofanira kunge tichienda tichinovaona ikoko.  Not only that, those recreational facilities were monitored by experts in sport, child care, zvese, even vana kucreche vanenge vachionekwa kuti vari kutamba sei, mabhora ariko…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Mliswa, may you use one language please?

HON. T. MLISWA: So, to me, these were structured in such a way that you would get – there was food.  This is where you would give your son or daughter $1.  With $1 they would get food, drink, water, and everything because the council would be able to subsidise.  That is the keyword, it is able to subsidise because it is getting rate payers’ money and because they have to explain; for ratepayer money, they have to come up with a good package.  To me, that is not happening.  Not only that, those facilities are income-generating facilities.

Weddings were held there, churches can be there, conventions, my fellow colleagues who belong to political parties here, can do rallies there.  You can pay, they are not interested in which political party you belong.  What they are interested in is in you paying your money.

That money goes to the council, it is able to now assist that club to sustain itself.  Without you ploughing back, it becomes a problem.  So there is now a way of having funding.  The balls are there.  Not only that, it has an effect on the national sporting agenda.  We are dismally performing in all sports, why, because there are no centres.  Cricket, if you go to the West Indies, they play cricket on the beach.  We have never heard that they sold the beach. There is Bryan Lara and Viv Richards if you know of cricket.

The great legends of cricket were playing on the beach.   That is how they learn cricket, that is in West Indies.  Where are we in terms of our own people?  You go to the rural areas, they go to the schools, you see them playing football.  Vofudza mombe, but varikutamba bhora, umwe arikunoona mombe and so on.  Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, I need to come from time to time.  There are times when I go to English and then Shona but English becomes the key language.  So to me, we need to really understand all these issues.

We spoke about corporate social responsibility. Hon. Members here, you have got companies in your constituencies, how much are they contributing to the constituency in terms of corporate social responsibility?  How many clubs have they built, how many schools have they built, how many clinics have they built? Surely, there is no Member of Parliament who is excited about being given fuel to get around yet at the end of the day you are getting around – for what?

It is there in the Constitution, Section 13 (4) of the Constitution talks about your local resources being the ones that you used to empower your people.  Why are you not using that provision?  Surely, no one should come and tell you. We have the Constitution, we make laws, that is why people are saying Zimbabwe is good at making laws but they never implement the laws.  Section 13 (4), zvinhu zviri munzvimbo imomo hupfumi hwevanhu vari imomo, and that is it.  Go to every company and say how much are you putting into this area to grow?

So, corporate social responsibility – they do it willy-nilly, they are not serious, they are fake companies who have not done anything to grow this country.

They are taking out more than they are ploughing back.  In that aspect, I regret the suspension or the repeal of the Indigenisation Act which was 49% to the majority, 10% was to the locals, 10% to the workers, 31% was to the Sovereign Wealth Fund which in case of emergency, where there is COVID, can be utilised.   Today how much has the Sovereign Wealth Fund got?

I am talking about laws which had been there which were good – were taken out; we were hoodwinked by the foreigners saying no, 41-59% is too much.  We relaxed it, how much foreign direct investment has come in after we repealed this?  It is our people who are poorer because we removed a law which empowered the people.

The late former President R.G Mugabe was critical and serious about the empowerment of the people, may his soul rest in peace.  We were given farms, he then said let us go for these companies, we did it.  He fought for this country to be empowered.

We have lost the economic emancipation of this country by wanting to appease the foreigners at the expense of our people. This is emotional.  How then do you explain to generations to come that the country is ours with nothing tangible?

The youths are now abusing drugs.  We need to revisit our laws; we need to be serious if we are true legislators.  We need to stop being whipped at the demise of people suffering – they will not bring you back.  I pray that any leader or legislator who believes in being whipped and not representing the people, may God do what he has to do and may the ancestors of our country make you suffer because when you were in power, you made people suffer.  You went before the people and said I will represent you.  Are you representing the people?

The Khumalo, hockey stadium, is state of the art, I am glad that the Chairman talked about it.  The reason, hockey is being played but Mr. Speaker Sir; why not use that as an international stadium for SADC tournaments?  You need to have a swimming pool to swim; you need to find a swimming pool.  So we do not need to be playing hockey for people to find a good hockey stadium here – that is state of the art.  I am glad that Bulawayo with the little resources it gets sets the example.

They are marginalized in many ways but they have maintained it.  Go to Chitungwiza to the Aquatic Complex; go to the National Sports Stadium, avemarara but Bulawayo and the people of Matabeleland must be applauded for maintaining this stadium because it is totally opposite to what is happening in Harare and Chitungwiza.  Let it be put out there to the nation, to all countries as a stadium that they can come and be able to do that where they can visit the city of queens and kings where you will see the most beautiful women, light-skinned, that is our country – that is important.

I want to also talk about the disabled; we have been talking about the disabled here and we talk about it when it suits us.  It is not on the agenda.  What have we done about the disabled? Where are the disabled people’s sporting facilities?

There must be a hockey stadium for the disabled, and a football stadium for the disabled.  It is not a choice to be disabled; that is the way that God has made it. They are over a million 10 to 15% of the population.  Should we honestly remind each other that there must be a toilet, way, car for the disabled? Why are we letting God down? Which God do we pray to?

At Danhiko, you could show a lot about the former First Lady but I do not want to talk about the bad, she used to do something at Danhiko for sport.  So I am not about looking at what bad people do, I am different, I look at what good they do.  So who is sustaining those sporting activities there?  She used to do it and it was important from a national point of view, Danhiko would be there.

The late President R.G. Mugabe would be there, pulled by the wife that these are our orphans, let us take care of them.  So, what are we doing now to ensure that the orphans are taken care of?  Right now, they are crying, there is no one to help them.

You ladies are here, Women’s Caucus; why not caucus with the First Lady to continue with that programme?  Who is stopping you? You are being whipped again, you are afraid to talk to the First Lady?  If I speak, you say ah atuka vakuru!  No, I will keep on telling the truth; when things are not good, they are not good.  We will not mince our words.  The Executive must be able to act in terms of the disbursement of money.

Finally, the information centres for Members of Parliament; could be a conduit to doing a lot.  May it be a law that a Member of Parliament is given four hectares, not under any Hon. Member’s name but under Parliament so that anybody who goes into office, people make use of that area.  Four hectares are there, it is a centre   with everything, why are we not being given money for that?

We have passed the budgets here, we have not received the information centres, and we are going towards the elections.  So whatever we have passed in this House, 30% has been disbursed, so how can you say you are a nation moving forward?

How can you curb corruption? Without resources, you are wasting time. We burn midnight candles here to pass the budget but 30% is given.  So, how can the Minister even come for a supplementary budget when he did not disburse all the money?

Corruption is on the rise because of 30% disbursement. Hon Porusingazi for example is given insufficient coupons to go to his constituency in Chipinge, he will be forced to ferry people along the way to supplement his fuel.  We are at a threat from a security point of view because of poverty, and the non-delivery of the budget in this country.

For as long as the budget we pass here, money is not disbursed on time, it is a problem and people will continue to suffer.  May those that were given the gift by God to say the truth, say the truth without fear or favour, may that spirit of people being true legislators speak and may that spirit of whipping and being intimidated come to end.  It is about time you get up and represent people.  I thank you.

 

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende