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SENATE HANSARD 26 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 02

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday 26th September, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

AANOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

APPOINTMENT OF THEMATIC COMMITTEES

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that Thematic Committees will continue their operations as constituted during the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament pending appointment by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of new Committees for the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  I move the motion standing in my name:

          That a respectful address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows –

May it please you, your Excellency the President we, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE:  I second.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President. I am very grateful for the motion which I raised in English. Let me read; ‘…we, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.’ I stood up to show some gratitude for what His Excellency Cde. Robert Mugabe has done when he came to Parliament on the 12th of September opening the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe and this is the final session.

In his address, His Excellency talked about a lot of issues and I will debate on just a few.  I believe as Senators we should debate these issues so that there is development in the country.  One of the issues he talked about was the importance of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which was crafted in 2013.  He said there are sub-sections which are built around the Constitution and what this means is that we need to align some of these rules, regulations and laws to the Constitution so that we ensure that the Constitution is the supreme law of the country through this alignment.

His Excellency directed that from 2017 to 2018, when we go for the next elections, we should work hard as Members of Parliament to align 30 Acts which are left to the current situation and the Constitution.  What this means is, as Members of Parliament we should be prepared to work hard and be serious in our duties so that we align these laws. 

His Excellency also stated that amongst these laws that need to be aligned, is the Child Justice Bill. The aim of this Bill is to protect both the boy and girl child.  Madam President, I can assure you that Hon. Members of this august House, the Senate will work hard; they will put extra energy into these laws for protecting these youths.  We also have to align the Marriages Bill aimed at protecting the girl child.  We are saying, as Members of Parliament, we have been talking for quite some time whereby we have been blaming these early marriages. We said we are the House which is going to protect the girl child from these early marriages.  I would like to emphasise and say whenever we are debating such pertinent issues, let us not copy what is happening in other countries.  I know we need to research, we need to google but let us not copy the verbatim what is done in Australia or the Democratic Republic of Congo.  We are Zimbabweans; we have our cultural values and norms.  When we craft such regulations, we need Zimbabwean bred laws.

We also have to align the law on prisons, the correctional services because prisoners need to be rehabilitated.  We realise that in the past, the laws we had on taking care of the prisoners were foreign and did not put emphasis on the rehabilitation and hence we need to make laws which will make the prisoners who have been released from incarceration to be rehabilitated and be accepted by the society.  We need to look at those things. We need to look at such people. A person who has stolen some 18 cattle and is released back into the community, how do you view and accept him.  His Excellency the President also talked about the Zimbabwean economy and I believe that as Zimbabweans and as Members of Parliament, when we are debating this issue, let us talk about the economy of Zimbabwe. 

My fellow Members of Parliament, let us avoid partisan politics and discrimination. We need to craft laws which will lead to the development of the country and the welfare of our people.  A good example is, Zimbabwe is now the breadbasket of Southern Africa because of the Command Agriculture and we now need to look at other programmes that we can put into this command programme.  My suggestion is that, we need to look at irrigation because the command that we are now talking about is supporting farmers with irrigation facilities.  We are now saying amongst those farmers who do not have irrigation facilities, let us craft a legislation which will enable them to install these irrigation facilities like now that we are in September and we should be distributing agricultural inputs – the seeds, the fertilisers and the chemicals.  It would be absurd for such facilities and things to be distributed in December when we are well into the season.

          When we talk of the Disaster Risk Management Bill, we know that in the country whenever we go through the rainy season, we go through many disasters.  So, we are saying the law which is to be crafted is going to capacitate people who are in that environment to be able to support them in a situation whereby they are faced with such problems.  We now have climate change and we need to create laws that will enable us to cope with the climate change which is charactersied by the droughts.  As Members of Parliament, let us go and google to enquire on the ways of mitigating the problems caused by climate change.  What we know is that the problems on climate change at the moment are being handled at academic levels like at the universities and colleges and we are saying, let us bring them down to the village/home level.

          The President also advised on the economy; that we need to have some supportive legislation which will help people who want to create employment and there should be laws which are friendly to investors who want to come to Zimbabwe.  We need to create an enabling environment where the Insolvency Bill has to be linked to the Shop Licences Bill.  So my fellow Parliamentarians, I am begging, advising and asking you to go and research on these Bills and motions because some of them were done in 1962 and they are out of sync with realities.  We can also talk about the Labour Law Amendment Bill whereby people are just fired at random at the whim and will of the employer.  I am very grateful for what Justice Emilia Muchawa did and that is by asking for the reinstatement of people who were fired on three month’s notice long back in 2015 following the Zuva saga and if they cannot be given their monies, they should be re-employed. That is one of the laws which were applied in retrospect.  This was a judgement given by the Labour Court.

          One of the statutes which is very precious to me is the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Bill.  We used to talk about the inefficiency in the parastatals and we were complaining about the boards for these parastatals and the awarding of tenders. This Bill is going to give us a chance to rectify all these anomalies which we are talking about on the operations of these parastatals.  Therefore, this is a new angle which we have adopted.

          Again as Zimbabweans, we have land barons and developers who were stealing land from the people and stealing money from the ordinary people.  Therefore, the Land Developers Bill is going to put some clear-cut guidelines on the allocation of land and also the use of that land so that we will not have people who are shortchanged.  We have a lot of people who are in difficulties and have lost monies because of this abuse of land.

          I will now turn to the Minerals Amendment Bill.  As chiefs who are the custodians of our tradition, we are saying the law which was operating is archaic because it states that if we have gold or a mineral which has been discovered in a certain area, it means that all those people who are living in that area are supposed to be moved and resettled somewhere.  The owner of that place will be the man who has paid $500 to the Commissioner of Mines and those people who have lived there for ages and generations, should be moved out of that place, but we need to be prepared for this law.  Again, let us make our registration.

          The other law that we are going to talk about is the insurance on the Road Accident Registration Fund.  What happens in the current situation is that whenever anybody is injured or killed in an accident, the best that the operator can do is to supply the coffin and food and that will be all yet the person who has died or has been maimed has been the breadwinner of the family and now the family lives in poverty.  We need to work on this law and make it people friendly and orientated.

          We are also going to debate a Bill on cyber crime and social media because social media and cyber crime have now destroyed the fabric of humanity.  Some of the issues which are thrown around and debated in the social media are so uncouth and uncultured.  There is vulgar language, falsehoods, alarm and despondence.  We are saying we should not abuse the development in the ICT because ICT is a development that is meant to improve our lives but at the same time, the social media and cyber crime is destroying humanity, families and countries.  There is going to be a Bill aimed at teachers whereby we are told of teachers who abuse their pupils.  We need to craft a law which will protect both the teacher and the children.  As a result, this Teachers’ Bill and the Child Protection Bill will work hard towards the protection of these people.

We know that the adults have to be protected from being sold as slaves in other countries, like we have heard in the past whereby we have had our girl children who were taken to those countries as slaves.  Because of this social media, some people are leaving their jobs some of which are even good and high paying jobs.  I have a friend of mine who was working at Pumpkin Hotel in Mutoko and he received this social media advert/message that he was going to get a good job in Kuwait.  The parents tried to persuade him not to and they were even crying when they accompanied him to the airport but he said he was going to get a good job.  When they got to the airport, they met with other families who were also with their children who were going to Kuwait and Asia for those jobs. Unfortunately, when they got there, they were miserable because of this human trafficking and yet they have been promised heaven on earth.  When you get to the ground, you find that the grass is always greener on the other side, but when you get there it is just like the grass in your environment. 

          We are going to have a rape Bill and we are going to debate about it.  In Zimbabwe rape cases are on the increase and the way the perpetrators are doing it is bad and cruel. Typical cases of such cruelty is a father raping his own daughter, a brother raping his own sister or even cases where a son rapes his own mother.  In this act, it is no longer rape; I do not know what to call it.  Rape itself is immoral, diabolic and satanic; and the way these perpetrators are now doing it shows that Satanism is on the increase because you hear of a case where a father sexually abuses his children - really can we call this rape.  Some of us think these are the ‘end time signs’ which were prophesied in the Bible. 

          We are advocating for mandatory incarceration sentences for people who are convicted of rape.  Some may even suggest sentences of life imprisonment or some may even be talking of the castration of the offender.  The President was very grateful because of the peace which is prevailing in Zimbabwe.  This was attributed to the Defence Forces for providing security in the country.  Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in Africa - if not in the world where we have peace and people have freedom of worship and freedom of association.  When you compare Zimbabwe to other countries – taking an example of our neighbour South Africa, where we have heard of some people, even our fellow Zimbabweans who were murdered in cold blood there but Zimbabwe is a peace-loving nation.

          I am saying the fact that we meet as members of this august Senate is because of the peace in this Senate.  In some countries, Members of Parliament cannot meet as open as we are doing now.  Even when they meet in their Parliaments, they fight amongst themselves, but in Zimbabwe we have peace and we are very gratefully to our security forces.  Members of this august Senate, I am pleading with you Hon. Senators when this Bill is tabled, let us support each other when debating; I am not very sure how much time we still have, maybe 7 or 8 months to go.  I am pleading with you fellow parliamentarians; when we debate, do not think that as we are preparing to go for elections I might lose my seat, so why should I work hard.  Yes, as a Member of Parliament, you may lose your seat but you will still be a Zimbabwean though not a Member of Parliament. 

          In the past two days we have heard rumours which were spread by the media which led to price hikes.  I am saying Madam President; we should be giving an allowance or award as a form of gratitude to Members of Parliament who make constructive debates.  Let us not award Members of Parliament who will be talking of self-aggrandizement; we need to give prizes to Members of Parliament who would have debated on issues which have to do with the development of the country.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to respond to the Presidential speech.  Madam President, I feel honoured to second the Presidential Speech which was addressed by His Excellency two weeks ago.  Please allow me to respectfully commend His Excellency, the President, for setting the tone on issues that touch the nation, and indeed our cultural and moral fibre in this country.  

          Madam President, as traditional leaders, it goes without saying that we have an onerous responsibility to serve as vanguards of our culture and tradition.  To this end, we are particularly pleased that the Government’s legislative intent as espoused by His Excellency, the President’s speech, demonstrates a clear commitment and a responsible political will to arrest the moral decadence and decay that has slowly creped in, in our society.  I refer in particular to the Child Justice Bill and the Marriages Bill that will come before this Hon. Senate; which seeks to outlaw child marriages.  Indeed such practices as child marriages fly against the values and ethos of our culture and tradition.  It is a matter of grave concern to us as traditional leaders, as it should be to the Hon. Senators present here that 4% of girls are married off at the age of 15 whilst 34% are married at the age of 18.  Child marriages violate various human rights, particularly on a girl child.  It violates the victims’ rights to human dignity, the freedom of choice, health - especially reproductive health, personal liberty and other human rights. 

          It is therefore, commended and timely that the Government has seen it fit to legislate against early child marriages.   Mr. President Sir, I must acknowledge that both our culture and some religious practices have been involved in encouraging child marriages.  Be that as it may, the law alone will not put an end to this malpractice.  We need to address the root cause of child marriages if we are to succeed in stemming the tide, otherwise we will do nothing more than prescribing an aspirin for a terminal illness.  It may temporarily dull the pain but it will not cure the illness.  A report by UNICEF (2016) “Child marriages predominantly affect girls who live in poverty and in rural areas.  Girls from the poorest 20% of the households were more than 4 times as likely to be married or in unions before the age of 18 than girls from the richest 20% of the households.”

          It behooves us, therefore, to map out sustainable poverty alleviation strategies if we are to arrest the scourge of child marriages.  To this end, I must salute His Excellency, the President for spearheading the country’s success in regaining its food self-sufficiency through the introduction of Command Agriculture.  As a country, we have shamed our detractors who were more than happy to label us a ‘basket case’ by retaining our bread-basket status.  I am also pleased to note that in order to consolidate the gains made through Command Agriculture; Government will now be investing more resources in water harvesting and irrigation development.

          Let me also draw this august House’s attention to the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill.  I must hasten to acknowledge that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have created fertile opportunities for development and employment creation.  However, as traditional leaders, we are gravely concerned at the level of moral decadence and shocking behaviour that has arisen from the use of ICTs, particularly social media tools.

          Revenge pornography has suddenly come to the fore, while the circulation of shocking pictures of brazen nudity has become fashionable and a means to cheap fame.  The proliferation of the so called ‘sex tapes’ has confounded our perception of our bodies as an embodiment of the ‘temple of God.’  My heart bleeds for our children that are exposed to such shameless acts.  It is my hope that the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill will criminalise and provide deterrent penalties against such repulsive acts.  As Parliament, we must act immediately by lending our unqualified support to this Bill. 

          As the Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), allow me to also applaud His Excellency for recognising, acknowledging and committing to action against the phenomenon of climate change through the Disaster Risk Management Bill.  Sustainable Development Goal Number 13 – ‘Climate Action’ – calls signatory States, Zimbabwe included, to take action to mitigate climate change.  As Chiefs and as Members of Parliament, I am sure we were all variously affected by the unanticipated floods that ravaged the country in the past rainy season, particularly in Masvingo and Tsholotsho. 

          Mr. President Sir, nothing less is expected of us as Parliamentarians, Section 117 (1) of the Constitution states that “the Legislation Authority of Zimbabwe is derived from the people and is vested in and exercised in accordance with the Constitution by the Legislature.”  It is clear from this constitutional provision that we exercise our responsibilities as Members of Parliament at the pleasure of the people of this country; hence whatever we do should be for the good of this country.  Indeed, we all owe it to posterity to ensure that we enact laws that guarantee the peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to support the Presidential Speech which was delivered by His Excellency, the President which was moved by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira.  Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira touched on rape cases which are on the increase on our children.  This challenge of rape is common in homes where the mother is late or divorced and the children are being looked after by the father alone.  When the father marries a second wife, she is reluctant to take care of another woman’s children.  These children live in abuse. 

          It could be that the mother would be there but she would not disclose issues of rape in trying to protect her marriage.  She will not be concerned about the future of her girl child but only concentrate on her marriage which is a challenge with us women.  I am happy because the President of this country pleaded with the churches, our constituents and chiefs that we should continue talking about this issue so that we bring it to an end.

          Since there is a Bill coming to this House about the mandatory sentencing and rape sexual abuse, we should think deeply, especially us women on our input on that Bill.  We should look at issues like when a child has been raped, what are the challenges that the girl child faces.  Most of them are threatened by death or to be hurt or they are forced to implicate many men so that they will be no witnesses.  We should assist the girl child and also as women, we should not be involved especially when a girl child is raped; when you are there, you should not protect your marriage at the expense of your child.  We have come across such incidents as women.  We should look into that.

The President also pleaded with us as Members of Parliament that we should get a chance to debate professionally and informatively on the Bills that are coming so that we help our country.  He also pleaded with our Ministers that they should work hard and also come to Parliament.  I have just come to add my voice on the issue of rape because it is very pertinent and it is happening in the rural areas.  We are not happy about it.  It looks like we are not Zimbabweans but because of women who have been divorced or who are late; their children really suffer hell here on earth. 

I think there should be a strong law to protect these children that whenever they are giving their statements, they should not change.  No one should interfere.  They should not take heed to threats.  We should deeply think about it so that our girl child will grow up properly.  I thank you. 

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to add my voice to the motion that was brought to this august House moved by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane when they were talking about the report that was brought to this joint august House by the President of the country.

Mr. President, I want to thank the President of this country for the speech that he delivered which included the dualisation of the road from Beitbridge to Chirundu.  We have been long awaiting for the dualisation of this road.  From past experience, the road is now a death trap.  We do not know how many deaths have occurred along that road.  They have tried by all means to mend potholes but alas, it was not helpful in any way because the road would be mended today but tomorrow, the same potholes are back.  If this road is dualised, it will save a lot of lives.

Apart from this, I would like to thank His Excellency, the President when he talked about Command Agriculture which is taking place now, which has seen people in Zimbabwe for the whole of this year not having hunger in the country because we have enough food for our country as well as surplus after so many years when people were experiencing a lot of droughts as they were not having sufficient food.  It is really a good gesture which we should also commend.  I hope that the next two years, people are not going to starve again.

Mr. President, I would like to commend the President of the country when he talked about the Kuwait loan to Zhove Dam.  The dam has been there for quite a long time and has not been beneficial to the community.  Now that a loan has been secured, I think we are going to have a green belt which stretches for more than 60 kilometers along the river.  As we know that Beitbridge on its own is in region five and mostly survives with irrigation – if not under irrigation, we cannot talk about meaningful agriculture especially when we talk about maize production.  It will be good for the people of Beitbridge at least to have that green belt.  Also, it will be good for Beitbridge to get sufficient water to supply the people of that community.  As we all know, the town is fast growing but without water, it cannot go anywhere.  So, it is also a good gesture.

I will talk a little bit about mining. When we talk about mining in our country, we know that we have a lot of the natural resources. I cannot even name them because they are so many. At the moment, we find out that we do not know what we have.  We do not even know what we have used.  We do not even know the future; whether we have enough reserves for our children.  I think that there is need for that information to be made available because we have to know about our mining or where we are coming from and where we are going to.  We ought to have our future reserves for the new generations to come.

There was also mention of climate change.  Yes, it is a reality which we are living with. As a result, we find that when we talk about climate change, if we take into consideration the issue of water – water is life.  Without water, we cannot survive.  We find that at the moment, our underground water is dwindling.  We are not having enough underground water.  One asks a question – what is going to happen?  What preparations do we have so that we have sufficient underground water because the phenomenon is continuing, what shall we do?

If it was my wish, I would wish that if it was possible, we should have awareness workshops to create awareness to the communities and everyone at large about this phenomenon of climate change because it is a reality which is coming hard on us.  We do not even know what we are going to do.

Lastly, Mr. President I would like to talk a little bit about the Bill which is to come on Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill.  I think we have been waiting for this Bill because when we talk about rape, Mr. President, the sentences that are being given to people are just nothing.  If it was my wish, Mr. President, when we talk about rape and sexual abuse sentences, especially on the rape and sexual abuses that are committed by relatives of children, I do not even think the 40 to 60 years is enough for those people. 

If it is on close relatives, really, we should think about whether they should be put in jail for the rest of their lives because if you can imagine a father raping his own daughter; as the chief put it, we used to know rape cases, but these rape cases of fathers and daughters, uncles and grandchildren, really, it is something that has to be taken seriously.  I think that by the time this Bill comes to this august House, members will debate seriously on this one and make proper recommendations on the sentences of these rape cases.  With these few words, I would like to thank the two chiefs who moved this motion in this august House, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE:  Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to debate on the Presidential Speech.  We want to thank the Lord for we all came back alive after the holiday.  I want to thank the President, the Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces, for his speech.  In his speech, he touched on a lot of things and also on Bills that should be debated in this House which we are supposed to align to the Constitution because if we do not debate on these issues, we would have done nothing.  For us to raise our concerns, we should speak about it.

The President talked about mines and climate change, which led us to engage in Command Agriculture which has given us life as people of Zimbabwe.  It was successful because of the chiefs.  The chiefs really supported the Command Agriculture Programme.  We want to thank you chiefs because last year, you really took your time to appease the spirits and we got some rains.  We want you to continue so that we continue receiving these rains so that people will have good harvests.  Even looking at the elections next year, it will go well because the people will not be hungry.  People who are well fed are good mannered.  Even if we do not debate it here in Parliament, the President really urged us to align all the laws with the Constitution.

At the end, the President talked of those who do not debate or those who abscond from coming to Parliament.  We will continue to debate and those who do not debate, we will report them to the President because the spirit of the Lord will be upon us.  Even if prices of commodities are going up, even if we have challenges, like in Muzarabani from Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there was no cooking oil on the market, but all those are dangerous to our health.  So, in Muzarabani we are not worried about that because we eat peanut oil and oil from pumpkin seeds.  We are eating traditional foods so that all those diseases caused by cooking oil are reduced.  So in Muzarabani, we will keep trudging on with the nation of Zimbabwe.  We will drink our mahewu and diseases will not come back.

We know that whatever, despite the situation, we are going to have our elections.  So, Mr. President, I want to thank the President for his speech.  He is very humble whenever he comes to speak to us.  We cannot change anything.  So, I want to thank you, Mr. President, for according me this opportunity to debate.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 27th September, 2017.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Nine Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 26 SEPTEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 02