ZwNews Chief Correspondent
On the 17th and 18th of September, Honourable (Hon) Kindness Paradza from the Zimbabwean parliament joined other parliamentarians from 23 African nations, in a regional workshop held in Tanzania, to promote the ratification and total ban in warfare, of all forms of Weapons of Mass Destruction including Biological and Chemical weapons.
In line with the United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 of 2004, the regional parliamentary workshop was meant to review, and urge member countries to ratify the resolution.
Though Zimbabwe is one of the 164 of the 181 state parties to the Biological Weapons Convention, who have ratified, with 17 nations still to ratify the pact, the uneven implementation of the convention across the globe has raised concern.
In his submission to the workshop, Hon Paradza made it clear that although Zimbabwe does not possess, produce, or intend to use nuclear weapons, the country has suffered the bane of this warfare during the struggle for independence.
On 30 October 2018, Hon Paradza reported back to parliament, on his tour of duty in Tanzania, and many parliamentarians supported the nation’s stance on the issue, while others expressed reservations regarding certain treaties to which Zimbabwe is signatory, but yet to ratify.
Hon Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga seconded the motion, and also bemoaned the executive’s behaviour of failing to come back to the legislature, whenever they sign treaties on behalf of the nation.
Contributing to the feedback Hon Madzimure said it was worrying that the country rushes to sign some of these conventions but take time to ratify, he said this is evidenced by the time lapse since the executive signed the convention, to this day.
He said he suspect that the executive do not want the parliament to play oversight role, as Zimbabwe is using chemical weapons.
“I say so, because as Zimbabwe the issue of using chemical weapons to a certain extent, we are guilty of doing so. If you look at the tanks (water cannons) that are waiting outside, they have got chemical component that is in them,” he said.
He urged parliament to interrogate the type of chemical used in those water cannons, which are used by the police to disperse people during protests. He added that Zimbabwe should also start to control the use of small fire-arms, referring the shooting of unarmed civilians on 1 August by the soldiers.
Hon Dexter Nduna chipped in saying the so-called big nations should lead by example, not to dictate on small nations to ratify certain things when they themselves do not do as they preach.
He said Zimbabwe is under sanctions that extend to being barred from purchasing weapons or military weaponry, and as such the country will never know the weapons that it supports to have banned.
He added that as long as the country is under weaponry, military, and unilateral sanctions, Zimbabwe do not know what it is stopping.
However, Hon Tsunga chided Nduna for being misguided and expressed support for the ratification, saying the water cannons referred to by Hon Madzimure should be taken seriously, and ensure that the ratification is domesticated promptly.
Hon Job Sikhala also gave his contribution, he started by mocking Nduna, saying; “Ndozvinoita uuye ku parliament nekubirira” loosely translated ‘That is why you gained parliamentary entry through cheating’ referring to the fact that Nduna had to win the parliamentary Chegutu seat through the court after the results were legally challenged.
Sikhala then proceeded to support the motion, saying the only way that Zimbabwe can domesticate these conventions is through ratification. And he added that Zimbabwe is one country that has indeed signed various treaties and never ratify them.
He gave the examples of the Convention of Political and Civil Rights and the Convention of Torture which he said were signed but yet to be ratified.
“We are the only outpost of nations in the world which did not ratify these very important conventions,” he said.
In Zimbabwe, biotechnology is controlled and regulated by the Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe in close liaison with the military and health agencies established through the Biotechnology Authority Act, (Chapter 14;31) of 2006.