You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>SENATE HANSARD 03 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 05

SENATE HANSARD 03 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 05

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

REMINDER OF INVITATION TO THE LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE RETREAT

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform the House that all Chairpersons of Committees are invited to the Liaison and Coordination Committee retreat (LCC) to be held at Holiday Inn, in Bulawayo from 6th to 9th October, 2017.  Travel arrangements will be communicated in due course.  

SECOND READING

NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL [H.B.2A, 2017]

          First Order read:  Second Reading: National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [H.B. 2A, 2017.]

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE: (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Madam President. 

1.      The purpose of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill, 2017 is to provide for the operationalisation, composition and functions of the NPRC in fulfillment of Chapter 12 Part 6 (Sections 251-253) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which established the NPRC. 

          The Bill also seeks to confer additional jurisdiction on the Commission, including the investigative powers, provision of the terms of office, conditions of service, qualifications and vacation of office by Members of the National Peace and Reconciliation and the appointment of the Executive Secretary; and to provide the matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.  The NPRC Bill, 2017 shall come into operation when the President assents to the Bill.  The NPRC shall be a full time Commission.

          Clause 1: Short Title

          2. The clause provides for the short title of the Bill which is the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

          Clause 2: Interpretation

          3. The clause provides for the definitions of words in the Bill.  To this end, words like Commission, seal, Executives Secretary, Minister are defined for ease of reference.

          Clause 3: Procedure, Powers and Functions of The Commission

          4. The clause provides for additional functions of the Commission as original functions are established in terms of the Constitution.  The Clause also seeks to provide for procedures to be followed by members of the Commission when conducting meetings.  It also provides for the manner in which vacancies may be filled.  The same Clause confers ancillary powers upon the Commission which may help the Commission better discharge its functions.

          Clause 4:  Independence of the Commission

          5. The clause reinforces the independence of the Commission established in terms of Section 235 of the Constitution.

          Clause 5:  Seal of the Commission

          6. The clause empowers the President to, by proclamation, set the seal of the Commission.  The seal must be kept in the custody of the Executive Secretary.

          Clause 6: Offices and Operations of the Commission

          7. The clause gives the Commission powers to establish offices throughout the country.  The Commission has to establish such offices in consultation with the Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance.  The offices established must be accessible to all people including those using public transport and those with disabilities.  Where necessary, the Commission may request the co-operation of certain entities like other independent Commissions, Local Government structures, civil society organisations and faith based institutions for the Commission to better perform its functions.

          Clause 7:  Removal of Members from Office

          8.  The clause reiterates the procedures to be followed for the removal of Members of the Commission from office as set up in the Constitution.

          Clause 8:  Investigative Function of the Commission

          9. The clause confers investigative functions upon the Commission.  The Commission shall invite any person affected by any dispute or conflict arising out of any action or omission on the part of an authority or person to, in any one of the officially recognised languages, make an oral or written complaint to the Commission requesting it to investigate such action or omission.  The Commission has got powers to make the investigations.  However, the Commission shall not investigate any matter which is pending before any competent court.

          Clause 9 Gender

          10.    The clause confers upon the Commission the power to establish a Gender Unit that will look into the development of specific gender guidelines and rules on how the Commission will mainstream and incorporate gender into every aspect of its work.

          Clause 10:  Manner of Conducting Investigations

          11.    The clause sets out the investigation procedures for the Commission.  In its hearing procedures, the Commission must not be bound by strict rules of evidence.  Any person who is called to appear before the Commission to defend the allegations raised against him or her must be afforded 14 working days to respond in writing.  Any person appearing before the Commission is entitled to be represented by a legal practitioner of his or her choice at his or her expense.  This clause obliges Members of the Commission and their staff not to disclose information obtained except in special circumstances.

          The Minister responsible for national security may issue a certificate to the effect that certain evidence or documentation must only be disclosed in camera in the best interest of defence, national security, external relations and the like.  Any person who is dissatisfied by the decision of the Minister may appeal to the Commission while any appeal against the decision of the Commission lies with the Administrative Court.

          Clause 11:  Compellability of Witnesses and Inadmissibility of Incriminating Evidence Given Before the Commission

          12.    The clause provides for the inadmissibility of incriminating evidence.  Only the person who may be compelled by the Commission will enjoy this privilege.

Clause 12:  Appearance before the Commission

13. The clause compels persons who appear before the Commission to take the oath or make an affirmation before they testify.  Any person who appears before the Commission shall be entitled to give evidence in any of the officially recognised languages.

Clause 13:  Other Offences

14. The clause establishes various offences for violating the provisions of this Bill.  Such offences are to empower the Commission to better discharge its functions without any form of disturbance.

Clause 14:  Staff of the Commission

15.    The clause confers upon the Commission power to make an establishment of its staff.

Clause 15:  Appointment and Functions of the Executive Secretary of the Commission

16.    The clause gives power to the Commission to appoint the Executive Secretary who must assist the Commission in the discharge of its functions.

Clause 16:  Reports of the Commission

17.    Provides for the manner in which various reports may be submitted to Parliament by the Commission through the Minister.

Clause 17:  Implementation of the Commission’s Report

          18.    The clause provides for the implementation of the Commission’s Annual Report indicating timeframes and the form it takes.

Clause 18:  Funds for the Commission

19.  The clause provides for various sources of the Commission’s funds.

Clause 19: Accounts of the Commission and Appointment of Internal Auditor

20.    The clause compels the Commission to keep proper books of accounts.  The Commission is allowed to appoint an Internal Auditor in terms of this clause.

          Clause 20:  Audit of Accounts

          21.    The clause provides for procedures for auditing of the Commission’s books of accounts.  In terms of this clause, the Auditor General is empowered to audit the accounts of the Commission.  Any person who fails to cooperate with the Auditor General shall be guilty of an offence.

          Clause 21:  Regulations

           22.   The clause confers upon the Commission power to make regulations which shall be of no force unless they have been approved by Parliament.  I so submit Madam President.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I rise to give a few comments on what has been presented by the Minister.  I happen to be one of the Chairpersons who went out on public hearings on this Bill.  I will not read the whole report but I will highlight some of the concerns which were raised by the people when we went round and other Members of my Committee, I hope and trust that they will also add on what I will not have said.

          First of all, we went to Matabeleland for the second time – by the way, we should remind the Senators that this one was the second.  We went on the first one and then the Bill was withdrawn by the Vice President before it was read fully because of the concerns which were raised.  When we went for the second time, we got a few concerns and I think that most of them, when I saw the refined Bill, I think that they have been rectified and addressed to.  One of the concerns which most people were raising was the entry point of where the reconciliation starts but I think that, that one is addressed and the Minister will clarify.  That is what we got from the people.

          Then the second one was the protection of the victims who are giving evidence – they wanted protection and that is one of the concerns.  The third one was the decentralisation of offices.  The Minister alluded to that one in her reading and it was a point which was emphasised by the people that their offices must be seen in all provinces if not at district level – the MPRC.

          The other concern was the investigative functions of the Commission.  They said I think powers of the Minister should be limited or reduced a bit to give unfettered power to the Commission itself.  The Commission must be left to do its own investigations without interference.

          The other point that the public raised was and I am asking now through the Minister – was there no possibility of providing free legal services to the contending parties or the victims?  Some people are poor and they cannot stand against a lawyer when they do not have legal representation.  So they said Government can come in and provide free legal services to such issues.  Then the other point which was also read in the presentation by the Minister was recruitment of staff which should be left to be done by the Commission itself and Government secondments should be limited to areas of need. 

The last but not least point is they asked the question that the Commissioners have already been appointed and they have been operating and getting salaries but doing no work at all.  Is the ten year period going to be extended?  Those are some of the concerns that we got from the people in brief.  So, with those, we want to accept that the Bill must go on.  There are some people who said it should not see the light of day but we said no ways, this is a starting point of how people should engage and dialogue to resolve our problems.  So, as a Committee, I think we were satisfied with the revised submissions which the Minister has brought and we are supporting the passage of the Bill.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam President.  I have followed this Bill and observed that some of the matters which were raised by our people have been rectified.  So, I will simply mention a few things which were raised by the people.  The people who are interested in this matter have their own wishes.  When we went out as a Committee, people were worried about the venues.  They were worried about where the meetings were to be held, which is in town.  People wanted such meetings to have been held in Tsholotsho so we are not doing things for the sake of doing things. 

Many people arrived in Bulawayo, Gweru and Victoria Falls halls but is that where the people who wanted to contribute were supposed to meet.  People had their own concerns because the victims were of the view that the matter should have been taken to where this problem emanated from.  They were of the view that matters should have been taken to Gwanda where people were buried at Balagwe, Thsolotsho and Lower Gweru where there was so much fighting during Gukurahundi.  In short, this issue of money for this Commission, where is the Committee going to be getting its resources?  If you refer to the Ministry for everything, is it not that the Minister may now end up undermining this Commission because all the resources will be coming from the Ministry?  We should try and look for money from donors or from the Government. 

The other matter which was raised was the issue of languages.  People were worried why when debating such matters they come with people who do not know the language to explain to them.  When there are such matters, the people who reside in such areas should be the ones to explain this Bill.  The Bill was also accessed a few hours before the Committee arrived.  Why were people not given the Bill in time to enable them to read and understand then explain to each other?  Again, it was accessed by a few who did so over the internet and downloaded it and were advised of the meeting rather late. 

In some cases we found there were only three or five people or less than ten people.  In most places we found only a few people.  They said they had heard on the day in question that there was a meeting. If at all there are meetings of such a nature they wanted to be given time or to be informed in time of the Bill in their own language.  For instance in Victoria Falls they said they would have preferred to hear the Bill in their own language so that when they contributed they would do so meaningfully because they would have understood it. 

Since we are independent, empowerment means all languages but when you come to us with documents written in English how do we understand?  Some people would have wanted to contribute but they had not understood the contents of the Bill.  From my own perspective, I would like to say this Bill is now different.  I thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I thank you as well.  I would like to say that these field trips are organised by Parliament and the Minister has nothing to do with that. So I think your concern about meeting in halls instead of Gwanda, Lower Gweru and so forth – that does not arise as far as the Minister is concerned and that is Parliament business.  So, we will note that as Parliament but the Minister does not have to respond to it because they are not responsible for that particular activity.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  Thank you Madam President. I rise to support the Bill because I think it is a good Bill for the nation even though we have had challenges at the public hearings but that is the starting point.  We should proceed because we have realised that it is something which is positive.  As Chairperson of the Peace and Security Thematic Committee Sen. Mumvuri said, despite the importance of the Bill, people did not give constructive feedback because they ended up bringing in things that had nothing to do with the Bill.  If this Bill comes into law, people need to be conscientised on the Bill so that they become aware of what the law is saying.  What happened in South Africa is the same process.  They also fought but now it is a Bill that is good.  I know there are a lot of challenges but I support the fact the Bill is very important and is good for the nation.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: I thank you Madam President. I would like to add to what has been said by others because I was part of the Committee. I have a few things I would like to add. People complained about the heading that ‘National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation’, people were requesting for justice. In accordance with our culture, it is good to forgive each other. It is like what we say in our tradition that smoking the peace pipe, there is need for justice so that people may not say you or you, you took that. They want justice so that when we smoke the peace pie, we will see that those who lost their items will be compensated by Government since the Government is now involved in this. It is no longer a people’s thing but a Government programme to try and iron out the issues.

          We have two things here. There are arguments of polarisation. If at all it happened; yes it happened - we cannot reverse it but the request of the people is that there is justice on this heading so that when you smoke the peace pipe things will be sooth. They will not be any hiccups so that people will not remain with complaints in their hearts. People accepted it even though they complained. There are a lot of things they wanted to complain about but this was the main thing, that people want that there be justice so that they can be reconciled and not remain with other issues which are not done properly.

          May Government, as time goes by, amend and see to it that people stay in peace because people will sell each other out. Some children do not have birth certificates. Some children are heads of families and their parents are dead. I request for that Madam President. That is an important request that is coming from the people.

          +HON. SEN. MASUKU: Madam President, in supporting this Bill I would like to think that the time has arrived for the Bill to be before both Houses. I would like to request that if we talk of peace and reconciliation, it is a very important matter. Peace, where should this peace begin because when we debate about people who are out there as their representatives, I see that peace and reconciliation should start with us here, people who are debating here so that those who are out there who do not understand the matter, we will be able to explain to them. This issues we are debating here is not something the people in these two Houses are not involved in. They are involved. We are involved so this exercise should begin with these two Houses so that there will be peace and reconciliation.

I have noted that we are talking about the creation of a Commission. I have heard another Hon. Member stating that when they went out on public hearings, one of the issues that was raised was that offices should be found close to the people. What I stood up for Hon. President is that when we talk of offices, we do not talk of walls or structures but we also talk of the occupants. This is so because the people who occupy these offices when they fail to deliver on the matters that are supposed to be done  - so that the Bill is understood well out there it is good that there be understanding, not that in these offices we should find people who cause people to be reluctant to visit the offices. They will not be closed physically but due the type of people that will be found there.

I would like to support this Bill very much but what I have stood up for Madam President is to request and encourage that the late Vice President used to say ‘Peace begins with me! Peace begins with you! Peace begins with all of us!’ I would like to say that it should not be ourselves going to the people and us again creating difficult conditions for the Commission to work because on our own, we are not reconciled. When supporting this Bill, let us support it because all of us as a nation of Zimbabwe, we are saying no, this thing happened and we are sorry and let us proceed. I thank you Madam President.

+HON. SEN. D. KHUMALO: I thank you Madam President of the Senate. What I want are just a few things. Is the Commission going to call us as well and sit down with us to hear what we feel on how we reconcile? Yes, it went out wherever it went but it did not manage to reach out to everyone. To tell the truth, some of us were involved in this at that time and we actually witnessed some of these. You know you people who were in the bush there. This is why you are happy that you worked hard to liberate the country like this.

As for us who were involved in this matter, we request that you approach us so that you hear how we feel and what we witnessed. How do I reconcile if you have not approached me so that I can also tell you what is in my heart? As I am here in Parliament, I am prepared to pour out my heart. I can talk to people in the morning advising them that I will come and do something for the nutrition programme. Some of my friends whom I will have talked to in the morning, when I go there I find that they are no longer there. You understand me.

When I go to some other place to talk and strategise, some of the people I will have strategised with will have passed on. Some of the coordinators that I used to work with have passed on and I am told that they are lying in a grave. There should be a way to make me reconcile. We should talk to each other. These things do happen, but there is a need for all us to be addressed on this issue so that we can be reconciled on how we can smoke the peace pipe. There is a lot of pain among the people. We actually witnessed some of these things. Some of them were bayoneted and we put them in hospital. We saw those things and I would like to be talked to so that I can be reconciled. I still feel pain when I see some of the children of my friends.

          I used to work in Nkayi/Tsholotsho where I used to witness these things. We need those who witnessed those things to be talked to so that they understand that we have been corrected. I have not understood what has been corrected. There are some other people who are just like me who would also want to understand that things have been made right. Probably some of the people who have talking, I will hear what they will say and they will pour out their heart and feel okay.

          As for us, we have not been talked to and therefore, we still have that bleeding heart especially when we were working for the Ministry of Health.  It was really difficult to move around. Let us reconcile each other. Let us talk to each other so that we put finality to this matter. We have not yet finalised this matter. We need to be talked to as well so that we understand where we are going. What answer do I give to these people? When I say everything has come to a close, whether that is what was said I do not know. There are a lot of people who are like me and are still in pain. This is because they were witnesses to some of these things. I thank you Madam President for this time and I am sorry Madam President.    

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice to this very important Bill that has come in the Senate. I am also a Member of the Committee on Peace and Security that went around with Hon. Mumvuri and heard people’s views. We travelled around Zimbabwe listening patiently. As you have heard, we had problems here and there. Others did not want to give others an opportunity to speak but we never stopped. We were patient and people spoke. What did the people say about this Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, which I hope is going to be covered?

          They spoke of victim centres to say the victims have to be considered and this Bill has to really focus, protect and really be thoughtful of the victims. They also spoke of interference by the Executive, like this ministerial certificate. That means that the Executive is interfering. So, they want the Commission to be given powers and not the Executive. They also spoke on the Bill. There is a deafening silence on gender. Women have to be considered because they really have to work. It has to be 50/50 like what the Constitution says.

          For example, we have Rwanda where there are so many women in Parliament and there is peace. We are mothers and we want peace. So, in your day to day work on this Peace and Reconciliation Bill, I beg you to consider women because men are not unifiers at all – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections]- We are unifiers and we want this to end.

Hon. Vice President Mphoko having laughed. 

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Yes I am happy Hon. Vice President that Hon. Kanengoni-Malinga is a lady and she is the one who brought this Bill. So, I hope that when you are working, you are going to consider this as well to say we are going to work with women and women are going to be more. Granting pardon is a practice and it is an amnesty. It has to be clear what it is because people were saying sometimes if you just pardon and just say it is over, a person is likely to go back and do it again. There has to be something and a person has to show that they are remorseful and may be at least punish some of them that did worse things others. People were clear on this.  

So, Madam President, with what I heard people saying, I hope and pray that this Bill is going to deal with Zimbabwe, a slave of violence and assist society to build a more peaceful and just society. We need love, unity, we need to be a Zimbabwe with that spirit of ubuntu. I hear others saying kusvutisana fodya. *Long ago our culture did not allow us to bit up a child. If you saw your neighbour without any food, you could not sit down to eat with your neighbour going hungry.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order Hon. Member, you have to stick to one language.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I was saying you had to share but if you look at it now, we have lost it along the way. I am happy to eat and yet my neighbour has nothing. I am happy to have a salary which is worth $200,000.00 when another person has no job. So, I am hoping that this Bill is going to bring that culture of ours back and we become united. There is nothing wrong because we are all Zimbabweans. Politics is politics.  We do not want to say you have failed or someone saying let me also do this. I hope this is going to address this to say politics is politics and we are all Zimbabweans.

Even if I am President tomorrow, it does not mean that I am a bad person. If I am bad, five years down the line, you vote me out. It does not mean that we have to fight. I hope this Bill is going to bring that to our society to say we are not enemies because I also want to participate in politics and I also think that I can be good. I hope that Bill is going to include the chiefs. I do not have a copy of the Bill but should also include our chiefs’ nemaSabhuku edu nokuti ndivo vanoziva. Those are our leaders, our traditional leaders who know where we came from. They know our sacred places and culture. This can also help us to move in another direction that we lost. So, I hope this Bill has our traditional leaders because we need them. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. First of all, let me congratulate Zimbabwe. In English, they say it is better late than never and that is exactly what we have done now, but in a rude way I can say we have come to our senses and recognised our omissions. My current concern is not with the Bill. The Bill is here but the challenge that would be an indictment on us is to turn the Bill and make the Commission something we will look back and say at least they did their work in terms of the legislation. It is one thing to set up a Commission and it is another to hinder its functionality.

I therefore would like to appeal to the Commission that I know you already exist and to the Executive that let the Commission do its work and be seen to do its work.

          The second point I want to make is that as Zimbabweans, we will either take Zimbabwe forward or keep it at a standstill with this Bill as if we had not passed it.  It is therefore incumbent upon us all, particularly the Legislators to play our effective role on the Executive and the Commission.  I am actually of the opinion that it may be late; let us start practicing now.  We come here and talk about a very positive Bill that brings light to our society and country and behave completely differently.  It is sad that when we discuss this Bill, people continue to fight politically.  Let us put an end to this, let us just make a stop, let us be honourable people – [HON. SENATORS:  Hear, hear.] – take action and put a stop to this please. 

          The last point Madam President that I would like to make is that if we make the right decision and pass the right law, we are setting examples even to the region, including Africa.  Africa is still tumultuous, we have a lot of conflict here and there but we also know that Zimbabwe is reasonably well-respected from a political point of view in Africa.  If we do the right thing and make the right Bill; if we implement the Bill to the satisfaction of our own people, it will translate to the satisfaction of Africa.  If we do the opposite of passing the right Bill and behave in a different way to the Bill, we are also sending the wrong signal to Africa.  So, let us translate legislation into action. With those few words Madam President I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:  Thank you Madam President.  I rise to commend highly the Minister for bringing this Bill into the House.  As a member who was involved during the Constitution making process, I think this is an issue which came out clearly that we need that to ensure that we have post conflict justice and also that we promote national healing, unity and cohesion among ourselves as Zimbabweans.

          The Bill will certainly bring national reconciliation and I want to talk a little bit on encouraging people to talk about their past.  Madam President, I hope this Bill will also deal with issues which have affected war veterans, especially female war veterans; the trauma they went through.  That question was raised by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri to say when the mandate of the Commission will start, so that at least we are given an opportunity.  A lot has been said about gender based violence, a lot has been said about what happened after independence but not much has been said about what happened before independence.  There is a lot of trauma among war veterans, especially women and this is why most of the time when they are interviewed to talk about their past, what comes to them is crying more than talking.  What they need to be provided with is a platform to talk about that – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          I would also want to commend this Bill because it is talking about mainstreaming gender and this is what this House has been talking about.  The fact that they will establish a gender unit, we applaud that very much.  That will provide for an analysis of gender and sex disaggregated data.  Most of the time we are talking of whether there is gender balance but if we do not have disaggregated data, we are not able to really understand how much progress we are making in terms of gender balance.  It will also identify victims of gender based violence and not just identify them but assess their needs and also make sure that they get back into their communities.

          The issue of appointing a gender focal person, we applaud it Hon. Minister in that Bill.  We need that to be dealt with.  I also want to commend the Minister that they talked about everyone who will appear before the Commission being represented by a legal practitioner but it says at his or her own expense. I am sure you will agree with me that it is a serious problem because most of our people are poor and the legal aid directorate is not really very useful to those who cannot afford to pay for their costs.  Otherwise Madam President, I really applaud this Bill and feel that it is time we get moving.  Thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity.  I want to thank the Vice President for bringing this Bill before us.  I tried to look at the Bill and I think it was an omission.  My request is that you make an amendment putting the role of the traditional leaders because chiefs have a role to play when we look at the issues of national reconciliation.  If you can find a section where you can include such a clause for the benefit of sustainability.  If we leave out the traditional leaders, we would have left out a key stakeholder. 

I want to take this opportunity Hon. Vice President to put you to task that the Ministry that you are heading is a big Ministry.  Some of us may not know but you head a Ministry that determines the future and life of the people of Zimbabwe.  For the past 37 years, our nation became polarized.  Currently, we do not have a nation at all.  We want to build a nation and your Ministry, Hon. Vice President has the mandate of building the nation of Zimbabwe, where we will not be segregating each other on the basis of party lines.  There are sections that were mentioned by people during the public hearings as they gave their opinions.  They requested that the Commission should be independent.  We have seen that you quoted Section 235 to emphasise its independent nature and we are happy about it.  We said that they did not want evidence to be given in camera. 

There are a lot of things that were said by people that are in the Bill and we thank you for that consideration.  It is a commitment that you have given us Hon. Vice President as a representative of the nation that you want the fate of Zimbabwe to change. Those who were victims want this legislation to be in place as soon as yesterday.  The victims are the ones who are hungry for peace to prevail in this country because they are facing more challenges. As one speaker said, we do not want to have a Commission that is there for window dressing because it will reflect badly on you Hon. Vice President.  People will say that when you became Vice President, you presided over a Commission that was a toothless bulldog.  We want your legacy to live on so that we can reflect back and say that when Hon. Mphoko was the Vice President, he led the Commission that led to nation building and it is in that Unit that we will see development.  We are not at peace although we are not at war. 

The definition of peace is not necessarily the absence of war, but there is need for unity and for us to live as a community; even to engage in different religious practices together.  That is not in our nation.  So, that Bill is going to address the issue of peace.  In English, they say the peace in Zimbabwe is negative peace but we hope that what this Bill is going to achieve is positive peace.  If we do that, we will have succeeded.

          Vice President, what we want to promise you is that we will be there for you.  We would also want the whole community from the highest position to the districts and to the wards, that work should be done.  As you will be in your office, you will know what is happening in Uzumba, Rusape and in different areas that people will be talking of peace.  Rwanda did that and they formed the Magachachas and meetings were held.  Eleven thousand committees were formed in Rwanda as they addressed the issues of the genocide.  We have  Gukurahundi victims and we cannot run away from that.  We can define them the way we want but at the end of the day, we have victims.  We have Murambatsvina, we have June 2008 and we have different issues that are there. 

Let us sit down and talk about it.  They say if you talk about what is hurting you, it is actually more soothing than getting money.  If I were to come and say I was arrested in such and such a year and  was beaten up, I will feel much better because it has a soothing effect.  If we do that, we will have succeeded and I hope that will happen.  I wish this could happen as soon as yesterday.  We are hoping that if possible, this Bill should be signed by next week.  Why – because we are going towards an election where a lot of violence takes place and we end up asking whether an election is a good or bad thing.  We are supposed to appreciate and to be happy about an election.  It is a game that we should have and we should have it in peace, but in Zimbabwe we get to a point of murdering each other.  That is where we are going.  We may implement this law after we have murdered each other but what will it help us?

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order Hon. Member, let us avoid sensationalising while we are contributing.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Madam President, but you are talking to a victim.  The moment you tell a victim not to talk ….

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Hon. Komichi, we are assisting each other.  I do not want a debate between you and the Presiding Officer.  The debate was proceeding quite well and my wish is that the debate proceeds and ends successfully.  If you start sensationalising, then there is a difference.  You may continue.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  I hear you Madam President, I am your child and I accept the caution but this is the practice that we have to be used to.  We are going to meet such sensational feelings.  Madam President, we are trying to express ourselves and we are trying to convince the authority of the Vice President.  We are applauding him for bringing this Bill.  Do you know that the way he changed this Bill, if you compare it with the old Bill…

          *HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  On a point of order.  Madam President, the Bill that is before us wants to set up a Commission that will look into the issues of disagreements and violence.  So, the moment we start saying we are going to face challenges and we start now, why are we seated here?  Let us look at the Bill and consider it and once it has passed and has become law, as legislators we will see that it is implemented.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Madam President.  I know my friend that each time I want to debate he always stands up to give points of order.  Let me conclude my debate by saying, I accept and appreciate this Bill.  That is why I am speaking in this way and that is why we are giving out to the Vice President that we want to work with him to ensure that there is unity.    We are looking forward to a new Zimbabwe so that development can take place.  I want to thank you Vice President.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  I just want to add my voice to this Bill which has been brought by the Vice President in support of it.  Madam President, for some of us who have been in this Parliament for a long time, we know where we are coming from and where we are going.  I think that it is high time for all of us to accept this Bill because this Bill is trying to reconcile us so that we build our country and move forward.  As long as we resist, that means we are not going anywhere – we cannot reconcile, we cannot go ahead with Zimbabwe and we will stay where we are.  I do not think that it is a good thing because this is a continuation of where our Hon. late Vice President Nkomo left and they are just continuing from there.  As we speak now, the Commission is already in place and it is getting money yet we are still saying we cannot go ahead – till when? 

Let us think together; we are the people who are to bring peace in this country if need be because if we agree on this Bill and we go and lecture or create awareness in our constituencies, our people will understand us better for they know us better.  We have a duty to perform and there is no need for us to keep on arguing because we are actually wasting time.  It is not just because of the elections but even after elections, we want peace in Zimbabwe.

Madam President, I just wanted to add one thing.  The thing that I thought maybe would assist is to also include the disabled, the vulnerable groups or at least a member as we would like the chiefs to be there.   I think they are part of us and there is no way we can do all our business without them.  We have to think of them whenever we are doing this Bill.  Without much-a-do Madam President, I beg to support this Bill.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Thank you Madam President, I just have a few comments.  Unfortunately when I came in, the Minister was already making his presentation but I think I can make a few meaningful suggestions.  For instance, I realised that it looks like the Bill is very focused on the past.  But from what is going on so far, when people speak of the past, it actually sets them ablaze, it puts them on fire and they start burning now.  They are not burning in the past but they are burning now.  So, I think it is important that as part of this Bill and as part of the operation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, they can also be empowered to instill peace, reconciliation and to encourage people to forgive.  Maybe not to forget because that would require rubbing off the memory but at least to be able to forgive or to understand that certain things happened and certain things can happen even now.  It is important that in order to be able to go ahead and move forward, we should be able to tackle our situation in a manner that will build Zimbabwe as a nation.  I think that is very important.

Then there is Clause 8 (2), when I came in, the Minister was reading that Clause.  The official languages of this country, according to the Constitution are about 16 and one of them is sign language.  But they say in the Bill that when you present your evidence or your responses, it has to be written or oral.  But sign language is not an oral language.  Also when they write, most of the Commissioners who are there may not be able to understand what really a hearing impeded person might be trying to say.  So, I think it is important that the Minister and the Vice President can take some remedial or accommodative action just to ensure that persons who are deaf or have hearing impediments can also be catered for adequately by this Bill.  I want to repeat the call for Government to be able to provide some kind of legal assistance to people who need it.   In Clause 10, I think most of the people in our constituency especially the people with disabilities; most of them are part and parcel of poverty.  They are actually poverty themselves and Government needs to do something about it.

Then in the copy of the Bill that I read some time back, I think the Commissioners could be given loans and would be able to undertake educational advancement, but I did not hear the Minister reading that part today.  Maybe it has been removed.  It would be good for me if the Minister could explain whether that part on the issue of loans and advancement of educational qualifications has been removed from the Bill because when I read it, initially I thought these are supposed to be well trained people with a lot of experience.  In ten years they want to be advanced educationally and also want to get loans to buy vehicles and houses.  What amount are they going to be paid to be able to clear all those loans in ten years?  So, maybe the Minister can explain to us and to me, that is part of my concern unless it has probably been dropped out of the Bill.  I thank you Madam President. 

HON. SEN. CARTER:  Thank you for this opportunity Madam President.  The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, I would have hoped that there was justice written into that National Peace and Reconciliation but if I look at the functions, (a) to ensure post conflict justice – the word is there.  So, that gives me some hope because people who have suffered injustice will need to feel that justice has been achieved for them to forgive.  If you look again at (c), the provision of justice is there and that is quite helpful.  In the past there are these issues but if you look at the future, I think it talks about in (d), to prevent conflicts and disputes arising in the future.  I think at this moment, where we have an election coming, this could be a very powerful Bill if properly instituted to ensure that we have a peaceful election.  I think it could be something that we could judge it as to whether we  can achieve it.  Thank you very much.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  Thank you Madam President.  I also rise to add my voice to the Bill.  I heard that there will be offices set up in provinces, which is decentralisation.  My opinion is that this Bill should be expedited because we all know that our country was under colonial rule and hopefully, that should give us the opportunity to discuss the issues of colonialism because we have quite a number of our people and remains of our ancestors that are outside the country.  While these discussions are taking place, there has been no concrete resolution as to what will take place.  This includes the skulls and parts of our ancestors. 

I am sure that when this Commission is now in place, it will enable us to talk about the issue again and to look at the wealth that was taken by the British and the Americans.  I think it will be a very pertinent issue for the Commission as well as having good relationships with those countries.  What we aim to achieve is to have good rapport between Zimbabwe and those countries. 

We also know that we have children in the diaspora and so, if we discuss those issues and we remain with such concerns, I think justice will not have been done because we were under colonial rule for a long time. 

So, I want to thank the Minister and the Vice President for bringing this Bill before this House.  For us it is long overdue because right now we could have been somewhere if the Bill had been in place as it gives us an opportunity to air our views, concerns and the pain that we have. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you Madam President. I also rise to contribute a little bit to this beautiful thing which is seeking for peace in this country, which is something that had dodged us for a long time. Madam President, this is a welcome move because as long as we adhere to the routes through which we can achieve peace, then it is really welcome by everybody. Now, the thing is history is something that one cannot ignore because it is real and it is good for our children to know history. They will look and see what their parents went through.

          We have Madam President, a history of doing bad things, being cruel and ruthless to each other. We have got a history of ‘short sleeves’ and ‘long sleeves’ in this country and yet the population is so small. I am happy that if this Bill sails through and we are all serious, we should involve the people who really matter. People like the Chiefs and traditional leaders. Ninety percent of these tragedies happened in the rural areas. So, we must not forget out rural folk. They are human as well. If we say let bygones be bygones, are we all saying it serious because somebody has got itching feet to run after other people or itching hands to beat other people  up and that must stop if we are a country which we wish it to be.

          Madam President, no one can stop wishing for some reparations if we think of what happened before. We must all take those issues into consideration. It helps both of us; the victim and the perpetrator because the perpetrator does not do things that he really wants to do. It happens also within him. So, a perpetrator is a certain victim with a certain problem that he must also be assisted. There is no normalcy is a person who enjoys cutting the throats of other people, killing and rudeness. No one enjoys all that but some people find themselves in it and when you find yourself in it, you need some help.

          So, Madam President, I only stood up to say please if we say these things in this House, the whole world and the country is watching. Our rural folk who have suffered for so many years are also watching. They need us to say things from the bottom of our hearts. As for me, I am saying it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. I felt I could not contain what is in my heart because of the good Bill that is before us. I want to thank the Vice President who is leading peace and reconciliation. The issue of peace is very important in a nation. In my opinion, if we politicise this issue we will not be serious in resolving the issue of peace. Peace does not require imitation. I think I have borrowed that word from the English language. Peace is important in Zimbabwe because there are so many scars that people have. Some scars are political and some are natural.

I am sure you heard that even in homes there is domestic violence. Madam President, the men and women are fighting in homes. Others are murdering each other. Maybe it is because there is too much love or the love is gone. So, this issue is very important. The word reconciliation Madam President refers to forgiving each other and also burying the hatchet. There is nothing that we have welcomed as much as this Commission. Amongst all the other Commissions, they struggle to execute their mandate. My hope is that this Commission with the task and challenges ahead of us; we accept it, hoping that it will carry out its mandate in a transparent, accountable and fair manner. That is our hope Hon. Vice President.

We hope that people would be given a chance to say what is affecting and hurting them. They should not be intimidated and be afraid. I am sure you heard others say that in life there are certain fears that are within people. I know having to rule is a challenge but at times as a leader you need to listen to what others say for you to be able to lead. I heard others say that there should be committees right up to the ward level. We support that. People can be free to say what happened to someone whom they know.

If someone was to sit on Madam President’s Chair, we would sit and look at that person but with you Madam we are used to working with you. So, that is very important because people want someone that they are used to. That is why I am saying the Commission has a huge task ahead. So, we want to thank you for bringing this Bill and we will not compare you with other commissions. This one is about peace and forgiveness and for people to be able to develop. The world is built through unity.

I am almost 70 years old. At times you just see me seated and listening because I want to hear others. Are we going to reach a rallying point of maturity and be able to pull together? Even in this august House Madam. President, it is a challenge. It is not just coming here smartly dressed. There are others who want to know where we are coming from and what is there. So, I want to thank you that the challenges that you are taking on board as a Commission are huge. All we hope to see is work being done well and in a transparent way. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President. I stand to support the Bill that is before us in this Senate. First of all, I state that we are not debating the content. Almost everybody who stood up is talking about the implementation. This simply means that we are in full agreement that this is an important Bill, but we want to make sure that we are going to implement that Bill to the satisfaction of the nation. I also want to congratulate Zimbabweans for realising that something has gone wrong in the country and that acceptance, I think builds a nation.

          We cannot continue burying our heads in the sand and say we are a peaceful nation. There are things that are very clear that show that we have not been living in peace. I want to say that it is not only different political parties that are in conflict. We also have intra-party conflict and I think that also disturbs peace in the nation. Normally, this comes through hate speech and hate language. So, as we have the Bill before us, let us all try in our political parties; intra and inter, to make sure that we tolerate our differences because the moment we start tolerating one another, we can move the nation forward.

          It is also important Madam President that we realise that there are other organisations that have been dealing with peace issues. I want to believe that with the coming in of the Bill into existence, we will not forget that there are efforts already where people are dealing with peace issues, that we should accommodate and include them so that the Bill will be implemented looking at the issues that affect the people on a day to day basis. I want to thank the Minister and the Vice President for bringing this Bill. I want to believe that we are going to implement all the issues that have been brought forward by the communities as they were consulted. Thank you Madam President.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Madam President and thank you very much Hon. Members for all your valid contributions. I will attempt to respond to all questions that were raised. Some might have been lost in translation because of the language barrier but I noticed that a lot of the issues were being repeated. So, if there is any issue that I might have skipped that you feel is important, please do raise it.

          The first issue that I would like to respond to is the issue of the protection of witnesses. It was raised that there is concern that witnesses should be protected and this issue is covered in the Bill under Clause 13(2) which talks about other offenses. It clearly spells out that any person who threatens, victimises, assaults or does anything whatever calculated to harm or to prejudice the rights or interests of any person by reason of that other person having testified or appeared before the Commission or any of the Commission’s Committees shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 12 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

          So, the issue of witnesses is taken care of in the Bill. There is also the issue of legal services which I read out and I noted that it was raised by three Senators. I want to highlight Clause 10, where I raised the issue and where it was debated. Clause 10(4) is the one that I read which says “Any person appearing before the Commission may be represented by a legal practitioner at his/her own expense”. The following Clause 5, goes on to say, “the Commission may recommend to the Director of the Legal Aid Directorate that any person who is about to give or is giving evidence before the Commission shall be provided with legal aid, and the Director shall take action on such a recommendation as if it had been made by a court in terms of Section 10 of the Legal Aid Act Chapter 17(16). So that provision is also made in the Bill as well. So, there are two options.

          There is the issue of staff recruitment where it was raised that the Commission must be free to recruit staff. In Clause 14 of the Bill, it highlights on Subsection (2) that subject to Section 234 of the Constitution, the Commission shall appoint the Executive Secretary and staff of the Commission. So, the Commission is allowed to do that. There was a question that was raised of whether the ten year period of the Commission is going to be extended. According to the Bill, the Commission will run for a ten year period after the effective date, and it has been agreed that the effective date is the date that the President was sworn in. So, unfortunately it means that time has already elapsed in the ten year period. However, it is up to the President to also extend this term if it may be necessary.  

          The next one was the issue of gender which was raised that there must be balance. I think when I read the statement; I initially mentioned that there is a clause on gender that speaks of a gender unit that will cover all necessary gender related issues, including the issue of balance.

We then go to the issue of inclusion of chiefs as a relevant part of dealing with peace and reconciliation. We agree that chiefs are an important element of our community and they play a huge role in making sure that there is peace and healing. According to Section 252 (d) of our National Constitution says part of the functions of the Commission is to develop procedures and institutions at a national level to facilitate dialogue among political parties, communities, organisations and other groups in order to prevent conflict and disputes arising in the future.

So, there is no limit as to who should be involved in the process of National Healing and in the process of investigations and chiefs are part of that integral part that should involved. It is not the chiefs alone, but the Commission as they do their work can incorporate as many people as they deem fit to deal with issues on a case by case basis. There was also an issue of the Bill being focused on the past. The Bill is not focused on the past alone. It is also a futuristic Bill which deals with issues that may arise and preventing conflict. When you want to prevent, it means you also want to maintain a stable and peaceful environment at all times.

So, Section 252 (g) of the Constitution states that part of the functions of the Commission is to develop mechanisms for early detection of areas of potential conflict and disputes and to take appropriate preventive measures. Therefore, it is not just dealing with the past but it is also making sure that peace is maintained at all times and also conflicts are prevented.

          There was an issue of loans of the Commissioners and educational advancement. This issue was in the Second Schedule but we have since removed that from the Bill because there were concerns that this may become an expense to the Government, the State, the tax payer and Commissioners may start concentrating more on getting stands, houses, buildings and not actually the work that they are supposed to do. We made an adjustment so that they are employed according to the general conditions of service.  The issue of sign language and braille that was raised, I think maybe the Hon. Member had not understood exactly where it was coming up. He is talking about it in the general sense of how to conduct the issues but where we refer to issues presented in writing is under Clause 10(3), which says, “the Commission shall afford any person who is alleged to be directly or indirectly responsible for perpetrating, implementing, perpetuating or permitting the continuance of any violence, dispute or conflict 14 working days from the date when he or she is notified of the allegations in writing by the Commission to respond to such allegations in writing.”  So, this has to do with someone who has been accused of a certain crime and they have to respond.  This response must be given in writing.  It does not have anything to do with the manner which people present issues before the Commission, so those are two separate issues.  Madam President, I hope I have not left any important issue out.  These are the responses that I have for now.  I move that the Bill be now read a second time. 

          Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL [H.B.2A, 2016]

          House in Committee. 

Clauses 1 to 18 put and agreed to.

First and Second Schedules put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported without amendments.

          Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 2A, 2017]

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Madam President, I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th October, 2017.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON PEACE AND SECURITY ON THE PREPAREDNESS OF THE GRAIN MARKETING BOARD TO HANDLE THE 2016/2017 CROP DELIVERIES AND THE SUCCESS OF THE COMMAND AGRICULTURE PROGRAMME ON THE ORDER PAPER

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Mr. President, I just want to move the motion standing in my name.

          HON. SEN. MAKONE:  I second.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  It is a brief introduction and I am not going to read anything.   I just propose for the reinstatement of the report which I made and which was superseded by the last session so that it be reinstated on the Order Paper and people can start debating it from the point where we left it.  Those who have already contributed will not contribute again but, those who have not yet done so will do so. I thank you Mr. President.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Eight Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

         

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 18:15
Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 03 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 05