By Anna Chibamu
OPPOSITION MPs have demanded President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be connected to Zoom so he could hear legislators’ concerns during live debates in the house.
This came after outspoken Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya argued during debate that Zimbabwe has failed to lure investments from the West due to human rights abuses.
During a debate on the ratification of agreements with several governments on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments in Parliament on Tuesday, Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya urged government to stop abductions and torture.
He alleged these had caused damage to the nation’s image and led to the country’s failure to attract investors from the United States in particular.
“Madam Speaker (Tsitsi Gezi), the people are saying we are failing to trade with America because we are continuously abducting our own people. We must be able to face that.
“If it means that the Head of State is not on Zoom, put him on Zoom so that at least he can listen to what the MPs are saying, in case the Minister of Foreign Affairs is shy to tell him that the MPs are saying we cannot achieve trade and investment by the Americans if we are continuously abusing the people’s rights with the intention of using the American taxpayers’ money,” Chikwinya said.
The vocal MP added that development had been derailed due to government’s conduct.
“It comes to the issue of our own conduct as a people of Zimbabwe.
“The Americans have been clear; ‘we cannot do trade with you when that money is promoting the abuse of human rights’.
“The Americans are clear that ‘we cannot fund human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by giving you opportunities to do business with us’.
“’We cannot use American taxpayers’ money for you to abduct Joanna Mamombe. We cannot abuse the American taxpayers’ money to fund a regime that does not respect its own people,” Chikwinya said.
Foreign Affairs deputy minister Musabayana agreed that a lot needed to be done telling Chikwinya that every country had its own underlying issues.
As government, the minister said, every effort was being made to correct the anomaly through re-engagement processes and the implementation of reforms that were on-going.
“Yes, I agree that as a government, it is our responsibility to ensure that we set a macro-economic environment that is conducive or has the rightful ambience to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and also domestic investment, of which I think that is exactly what is happening in this country.
“Why I say so, I underpin it with the ease of doing business index. We were 155 last year, 2019 and we came down to 140 and Zimbabwe was quoted as one of the top 20 reformers in the world in 2019.
“If we take that into perspective, we will realise that indeed, we are doing a lot of reforms and surely that we are a conducive investment destination.
“If we look at the stability that is now obtaining in our country, in terms of the currency stability and balance of payments, it is also a positive sign that the environment is becoming more stable and conducive to international investors.
“I agree with you that there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of reforms to ensure that we have ease of doing business and move fast in licencing and also the turnaround time of licencing should be much shorter,” Musabayana said.
In the same debate, MP Kindness Paradza had concerns about the slow processing of treaties that have not been signed.
“Yes, I agree, but as you know, not all treaties or protocols are the responsibility of International Trade and Foreign Affairs. We are saying with the International Treaties Bill that is now to become law, I am sure this would be taken care of.
“As a Ministry, we are doing everything necessary to ensure that every Treaty that has been outstanding has gone through this Parliament for ratification,” stated Musabayana.