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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 06 MAY 2021 VOL 47 NO 47

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 6th May, 2021

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. MASANGO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I rise on a point of Privilege.  On the 29th of April, 2021, the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Hon. Kazembe Kazembe visited Makombe Passport Office where he experienced corruption at its highest level when he was asked to pay a bribe of US$30 so that he could jump the queue.  This was a really welcome impromptu visit and it led to the arrest of the perpetrator.

As the Minister is constantly saying on ZTV these days, corruption involves two or more people.  If he had paid the US$30 without any arrest taking place, then the corrupt individual would have gone scot-free.  Hon. Speaker Ma’am, to curb corruption as Zimbabweans, we have to really work collectively.  My prayer is for all Hon. Members to shun and report corruption and if possible, take a leaf from what Hon. Minister Kazembe did, going out on impromptu visits to unmask corrupt activities.  Our President, His Excellency, Hon. Mnangagwa is always discouraging corrupt activities.  So, let us heed this call because corruption is destroying our country.  I give thanks to the Hon. Minister Kazembe Kazembe for showing us another way of unmasking corruption.  I thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, thank you very much and good afternoon to you.  I rise on a point of Privilege.  There are a number of rulings which the Hon. Speaker in the Chair and yourself made which are not followed through.  First of all, the Speaker had ruled that Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s Committee must meet the Trust schools to look at the school fees which are hiked all the time.  He gave a deadline of two weeks, and the two weeks have gone and that has not happened.

You also made a ruling on Hon. Chombo coming with a position on how, in terms of devolution funds and Section 264 of the Constitution, that the Provincial Councils were being paid sitting allowances when they were not sitting and why others who are part of the Provincial Councils like Hon. Members of Parliament were not being paid that.  That has not come to this House again.

Lastly, the other issue was the ruling by the Speaker, may be it happened while I was away, for the Minister of Finance to give a breakdown of the surplus that he said they had gotten in the last Budget presentation, how it was spent.  That has not come through again.  It really does not auger well with some of the situations in the country that people are faced with from a welfare point of view and livelihoods.

The aspect of fees going up in Trust schools is a bit too much and this continues unabated.  We have a Constitution which everybody should follow.  The Trust schools are in Zimbabwe, they must follow the laws of Zimbabwe in terms of the Education Act and all that.  If it has to be amended, then it is now up to the Ministry to be able to do that but most parents are complaining. If they have to speak to these meetings themselves, they are victimised and these are the savings that they have which they are now channeling towards unjustified increments in school fees.

Madam Speaker, my appeal is that, when are we going to get those matters done?  As Parliament, we must ensure that we are seen to be producing  reports when the Chair says a report must be out.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  I am going to do a follow up on all your concerns and I promise to bring the answers on Tuesday next week.  Thank you.

HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise to celebrate Mothers Day which is going to fall on Sunday, 9th May.  I would like to celebrate the work all women do to support mankind.  I would also like to hail all women and to encourage them to fulfill their role as mothers.  Thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. T. MOYO:  Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 8 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 9 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND CHILD CARE ON THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF TRADITIONAL AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINES IN ZIMBABWE

HON. CHINHAMO-MASANGO: Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on the Development and Promotion of Traditional and Complementary Medicines in Zimbabwe.

HON. TOFFA:  I second.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Sorry if I am mistaken but I thought the Committee Chairperson is Hon. Dr. Labode.  Why is she not here to give the report?  What is the point of the Chairperson of the Committee not being here to discharge their duties?  What is so important that she is doing that she cannot be here?  We cannot have this happening all the time, people wanting to be chairpersons only to be just given cars which are better than Members of Parliament yet when it comes to them doing their duty they are not here.  I would like to know why she is not here.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  Hon. Ruth Labode is away on other parliamentary duties.  So it is allowed for her to delegate another Member of the Committee to present the reports for the Committee here in the National Assembly.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I now know.  I just wanted to know. Your answer is clear enough.  May this be a warning to all Chairpersons; you must be like Hon. Misihairabwi who presents reports herself.

HON CHINHAMO MASANGO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

Introduction

2.1 Traditional medicines play a critical role in the health of many in Zimbabwe. As such, it is imperative to ensure that it is recognised through the creation of an enabling environment that promotes its development.  COVID-19 pandemic has taught Zimbabwe to look inward and be self-reliant, not only in terms of local production of conventional medicines and drugs, but to consider development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines as the generality of citizens made them medicines of choice during the lockdown period. Thus, the Committee resolved to enquire into the development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe

1.0           Objectives

The objectives of the enquiry were:

2.1 To assess the extent to which the traditional and complementary medicines are being used in the management of COVID-19 virus and other diseases and ailments in Zimbabwe;

2.2           To ascertain the research that is being done to add value to the traditional and complementary  medicines in Zimbabwe;

2.3           To appreciate the constraints and challenges in the development of traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe;

2.4           To appreciate the efforts that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has made to develop a useful working relationship between the conventional and traditional medical practitioners; and

3                   To recommend possible solutions for development of traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe.

3.0    Methodology

The Committee held oral evidence meeting with the following witnesses:

  1.             Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Fungai Mudyiradima on 25th January 2021;
  2.             Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Onias Ndoro on 9th March 2021;

                         iii.            Acting Managing Director for the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), Mr. William Wekwete on 9th March 2021;

  1.             Acting Chairperson of the University of Zimbabwe-Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor Chagonda on 9th March 2021;
  2.             The Registrar of the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC), Ms. Joice Guhwa on 9th March 2021; and
  3.             The President of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA), Mr. George Kandiero on 9th March 2021.

4.0    COMMITTEE FINDINGS

4.1    Institutional Arrangements for Traditional and Complementary Medicines: Legal Framework

4.1.1 During the oral evidence meeting held on 9th March 2021, Dr. Ndoro presented the following legal frameworks and institutional arrangements that govern the practice of traditional medical practitioners and those in the complementary medicines filed:

  • Traditional Medical Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:14];
  • Health Professions Act [Chapter 27:19]—Part IV—Natural Therapist Council;
  • Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act [Chapter 15:03];
  • Research Act of 1959 and Government Notice of 1974;
  • Public Health Act;
  • Research Council of Zimbabwe; and
  • Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe that provides independent ethical oversight.

4.2    Traditional and Complementary Medicines Practice and Products

4.2.1 Traditional and Complementary Products and Services comprises of three (3) pillars namely: Service Providers, Practitioners’ Clinics and Manufacturers.

4.2.3 There are two arms of Practitioners:-Traditional Health Practitioners regulated by Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC)-informally trained through apprenticeship and National Therapist Council regulated by Health Professions Act (HPA)-formal training

4.2.4 The Traditional Medicines Act allows the Traditional Health Practitioners to prescribe medicines but when it comes to the general use in the absence of the traditional health practitioner, the herbal medicines are required to be registered and regulated by the MCAZ.

4.2.5 Complementary medicines are imported outside of Zimbabwe and must be fully registered through MCAZ.

4.2.6 TMPC is mainly in private setting and currently does not have hospital setting while Natural Therapist Council (NTC) is also mainly in private setting but has recently opened a clinic and has no hospital. Both practices do not have medical aid cover.

4.2.7 TMPC involves traditional healing, herbalism and faith healing while NTC involves acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic, herbal medicines, traditional Chinese medicines and so on.

4.3    The extent to which the traditional and complementary medicines are being used in the management of COVID-19 virus and other diseases and ailments in Zimbabwe;

4.3.1 According to Dr. Ndoro, there is no scientific study in terms of the statistics on usage but it is generally believed that home remedies and traditional medicines are highly used by citizens.

4.3.2 Ms. Guhwa, the Registrar of the Traditional Medical Practice Council (TMPC) concurred with what Dr. Ndoro had submitted as she stated that traditional medical practice is based on individual knowledge which is not trained through formal institutions. Consequently, it becomes difficult to capture how the practitioners are treating patients and statistics on what the extent of usage is. However, she added that there has been strong indication via social media platforms that traditional medicines were used in Zimbabwe to combat COVID-19 symptoms.

4.3.3 Mr. Kandiero, the President of ZINATHA informed the Committee that Traditional Medical Practitioners (TMPs) developed herbs that boost immune system and solve other respiratory complications related to COVID-19 virus. He added that zumbani and kunatira were common traditional methods widely used in Zimbabwe to combat COVID-19 virus symptoms.

4.3.4 Mr. Kandiero stated that as a matter of policy, TMPs refer COVID-19 suspected cases to the nearest health facility testing centre, thereafter if the cases tested positive, the TMPs could then assist using herbs.

        4.3.5    He also informed the Committee that before the outbreak of COVID-19 virus, traditional and complementary medicines were being widely used in rural areas to treat various ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers among others where conventional medical services are sometimes inaccessible or not affordable.  He stated that the traditional medicines are preferred because they are cheap, believed to have less side effects and are easily accessible.

 4.3.6   Ms. Guhwa added that limited accessibility to modern medicines contributed to the high demand of traditional medicines during the COVID-19 lockdown period due to restrictions on movement.

4.4    Efforts that the MoHCC and MCAZ are making in the Development and Promotion of Traditional and Complementary Medicines in Zimbabwe

4.4.1 In his oral submission on 25th January 2021, Dr. Mudyiradima indicated that the MoHCC had not banned the use of some medicines which were perceived to be effective in addressing some COVID-19 symptoms. He stated that the MoHCC was willing to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to conduct research and assessment on some proposed conventional, traditional and complementary medicines to ascertain their efficacy. This he said, would be conducted under controlled environment where danger is carefully kept and harnessed in order to inform policy direction before the public can use the medicines.

4.4.2 During the oral evidence meeting held on 9th March 2021, Dr. Ndoro informed the Committee that the MoHCC had developed a draft monograph for lippie javanica (Zumbani) which Mr. Wekwete, confirmed that the MCAZ had approved in managing COVID-19 virus symptoms.

4.4. 3   Dr. Ndoro informed the Committee that clinical trials of Kembo Herbal Medicines believed to ameliorate COVID-19 symptoms were also conducted as well as an investigation of ionised water nebulisation to alleviate respiratory symptoms and hypixia in presumed and confirmed COVID-19 patients. Results of these trials were yet to be ascertained.

4.4.4 He also informed the Committee that MoHCC was in the process of developing a National Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Formularies to set out standards for herbal medicines as well as inclusion of traditional medicines into the essential drug list.

4.4.5 He further informed the Committee that the Government of Zimbabwe had stablised the Traditional and Complementary Medicines Institute at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in collaboration with the Chinese Government.

4.4.6    Regarding the process of registering medicines in Zimbabwe, Mr. Wekwete told the Committee that applicants should submit applications with a payment of a fee a of US200 or ZWL equivalent to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ). Thereafter, MCAZ Secretariat receives, receipts and evaluates and finally the Complementary Medicines Committee approves the product.     At the time of this enquiry, the MCAZ had registered 234 traditional and complementary medicines and only two (2) (less than 1%) were local herbs and these are Mukwa and Moringa Powder.

4.4.7 On infrastructure development for education and training and delivery of health services, Dr. Ndoro informed the Committee that the MoHCC intends to establish Public Health Institutions for Traditional Medicines in Zimbabwe. He added that to date, the MoHCC has established a Traditional Medicines Research Department at the National Institute of Health Research; developed curriculum for the training of the Traditional and Complementary Medical Practitioners and Integrated the Traditional and Complementary Medicines into the curriculum of Health Science Students at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

4.5    Research and Development for Promoting Evidence Based Use of Traditional and Complementary Medicines in Zimbabwe

4.5.1 According to Professor Chagonda, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ)-Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences started researching into indigenous plants, for example zumbani or manhuwenhuwe (aromatic plants) around the late 80s in Zimbabwe with funding from IDRC (Canada). The plants had high quality of oil for essential medicines but had low volume. Research for essential medicines and publications for the research are available but there was no funding to make products out of the aromatic plants.

4.5.2   Professor Chagonda informed the Committee that the University does not have a dedicated laboratory to enable continuation of research into indigenous plants’ medicinal properties. This is despite the fact that it has done a lot of research work on traditional medicine such as zumbani whose information is already at the UZ Library.

4.5.4   Mr. Kandiero also added that the Traditional Medical Practitioners conducted research on Gundamiti, a natural antiretroviral herb in the fight against HIV during the term of  Dr. Timothy Stamps as the  Minister of Health and Child Welfare. Sadly, Dr. Stamps passed on and efforts to continue with further research were futile as there was no more funding for the work.

4.5.5   Dr. Ndoro informed the Committee that the MoHCC had developed guidelines for clinical study of the traditional medicines and created a register to record COVID-19 medical claims made by the Traditional Medical Practitioners. He also informed the Committee that at the height of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, stakeholders submitted proposals for funding of research on COVID-19 medicines to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, but they were not funded.

4.6    Status of the Relationship between the Conventional Medical Practitioners (CMPs) and Traditional Medical Practitioners (TMPs)

4.6.1   Although the Ministry of Health and Child Care has made efforts to put in place legal frameworks that enable the Traditional Medical Practitioners to practice freely, it was evident that a lot still needs to be done to demystify the practice. According to Ms. Guhwa, the working relationship between the Conventional Medical Practitioners (CMPs) and the Traditional Medical Practitioners (TMPs) is characterised with friction due to lack of appreciation of the strength of each practice.  She highlighted the following as some of the causes of the friction:

  1. a)Stereotyping and use of derogatory language when referring to Traditional Medical Practitioners (TMPs), for example the term “witchdoctors, which is associated with evil. The enactment of the Witchcraft Suppression Act during colonialism limited the development of the practice and this led to the undermining and stigmatisation of the use of traditional health care and systems;
  2. b)Most of the MCAZ staff operate as Conventional Medical Practitioners and have bias towards the conventional health care system or medicines. For purposes of development, this would not yield significant progress; and
  3. c)Less collaboration between the TMPs and the Medical School at the University of Zimbabwe in conducting research on the traditional medicines.

4.6.2   Mr.  Kandiero also added that the referral system is one way, meaning to say that it is the TMPs who always openly refer patients for further management to the CMPs and not the other way round. He however, stated that those who do are few and do so in secrecy and this is very disheartening as it does not bring about the desired positive development and promotion of the traditional medical practice in Zimbabwe.

4.7    Constraints and Challenges:-

  1. a)Lack of funding for research on the efficacy, safety and adequacy of the existing and new indigenous and complementary medicines;
  2. b)Unavailability of land that is earmarked for the cultivation of herbs;
  3. c)No mainstreaming of the traditional medical practice in education curriculum;
  4. d)Negative attitudes towards the traditional medical practice from the media, churches, Government of Zimbabwe and society at large;
  5. e)Most of the TMPs are illiterate and this becomes a barrier as they are looked down upon by the CMPs;
  6. f)Lack of standardisation of the  traditional practice and products;
  7. g)Lack of organised information from the TMPs when applying to register their medicines at the MCAZ;
  8. h)Limited understanding of the standards and guidelines for the registration of medicines at the MCAZ;
  9. i)Traditional Medical Practitioners are limited to functioning without the use of  modern basic gadgets like BP machine, thermometer, pulse readers among others;
  10. j)Lack of political will to promote the development of the traditional medical practice in Zimbabwe.

5.0    Observations by the Committee

The Committee noted that:

5.1    The traditional and complementary medical practice in Zimbabwe is grossly underfunded.

5.2    No land is dedicated for the growing of herbs for medicinal use in Zimbabwe.

5.3    The traditional medical practice is often misunderstood due to lack of appropriate information to the generality of Zimbabweans as well as the colonial lenses that are used when looking at this practice.

5.4    Players in this sector are doing a lot of work on traditional medicines, however the efforts are uncoordinated and they lack coherence to bring about the much needed development on this practice.

5.5    Uncordial work relations between the TMPs and CMPs cripples the development and promotion of the traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe.

5.6    Lack of access to laboratories and ability to read laboratory results, medical insurance as well as non-use of modern medical instruments such as BP machines limit the effectiveness of the traditional medical practice.

5.7    Non-disclosure of medicinal properties impedes the development of the traditional medical practice in Zimbabwe.

5.8    Political will is lacking in the development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines as evidenced by the gross underfunding of this sector.

6.0    Recommendations

6.1     The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should allocate funding to the traditional and complementary medicines in the 2022 National Budget to enable more research and development in this field.

6.2    The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement should earmark land for the cultivation of herbs for medicinal use in Zimbabwe by December 2021.

6.3    The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development should consider inclusion of the traditional medicines into schools, colleges and universities curriculum to demystify the practice by December 2021.

6.4    The Ministry of Health and Child Care should cause collaboration of all relevant players in the sector to bring about coherence in the development of traditional medicines in Zimbabwe by December 2021.

6.5    Cordial work relations between the TPMs and CMPs are essential ingredients in boosting the development and promotion of the traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe. Therefore, the Ministry of Health and Child Care should always strive to put in place strategies that encourage good working relations between the two practices.

6.6    The Ministry of Health and Child Care should ensure that TMPs have access to laboratories, are trained to read results, have medical insurance and are able to use the modern medical instruments such as BP machines as their counterparts in the conventional medical field by August 2022.

6.7    The Ministry of Health and Child Care should start training and educating the TMPs to move from individualism (non-disclosure) to nationalisation and protection of property rights if Zimbabwe is to bring about total development in the traditional and complementary medicines sector within the first quarter of 2022.

6.8    Political will is key to any development, hence the Ministers responsible for the above-mentioned ministries should immediately take keen interest in ensuring that the recommendations that have been directed to their respective ministries are actioned within the stipulated timeframes.

7.0    CONCLUSION

7.1    Although there are no statistics to prove the extent of the use of the traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe to address various diseases and ailments, it is evident that the rural population uses them as most modern health facilities and services are inaccessible and unaffordable. It is also evident that even the urban population resorted to the use of the traditional and complementary medicines as movement was restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown. In spite of this, little attention is given to the development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe. It is therefore imperative now more than ever, to invest in the development and promotion of the traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe, lest we become no more than a market of other nations traditional medicines. Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.

          HON. TOFFA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  As I second the report from our Committee on Health and Child Care, I want to say this report is a very important report as it affects the majority of our people in the nation of Zimbabwe, particularly because traditional medicine or remedies are mostly associated with people from rural areas and low incomes earners, not that the middle income earners and the rich do not use them but because it is easier for them to access and they are more familiar with them.

          As a Committee, we listened to the oral hearings and submission brought to us by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Department of Traditional Medicines. We were very interested because of the COVID-19 era that we were in.  Most of our attention was drawn to umsuzwani otherwise known as muzumbani.  Most of the people were using this traditional herb and there was a lot of debate in the community about umsuzwani. I would like to draw focus to a platform on WhatsApp which we conduct as amakhosikazi from Bulawayo. I was an invited guest on that platform and we had Dr. Michael Bhebhe who was a Biochemist.  He pleasantly surprised me because as presented at Parliament by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Traditional Medicines Department, I was very skeptical about the fact that tests were being done in the country with regards to these products. In our discussion, there were traditional medicines that came up such as umsuzwani/umzumbani, umafavuke/Makoni Tea and uququza. These plants are generally known as food used by poor people and because they are so familiar with them.  Unfortunately as per our report, there was not enough information given to the general public.

          The debate on social media and communities was very negative but it was pleasing to hear and also for the women that were on the makhosikazi platform, to hear that some research has actually been done in Zimbabwe.  From what Dr. Bhebhe said, there was very good anti-oxidant in umsuzwani which helps in treating diseases like tuberculosis, flue and asthma. These are some of the things that they were used for.

          Madam Speaker, if you look at the fact that garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemon and cayenne paper is widely used around the world. it is because those countries where these herbs come from have invested in research and testing of those herbs.  So as per our report Madam Speaker, I think it is important for our country to also invest in such.  When Dr. Bhebhe was presenting to us, he said they did not manage to do extractions from umsuzwani because of the way COVID-19 came into play. It was very sudden, there was lockdown and people had to stay in their areas of residence.  So they did not manage to actually do an extraction so that they could test its effectiveness against COVID-19.

          Madam Speaker, he also said that the anti-oxidant that was found in umsuzwani was able to mop up free radicals that accumulate in the body and cause infections. So I am referring to this platform because it is of great importance and it also gives confidence to the people that what they are using is not all wrong. He went further to say that it does not mean to say that all the natural medicines are good or are not toxic.  That is where the importance of the Ministry of Health and Child Care or Government comes in through investment, research and testing of traditional medicine.

          He also went further to say that one thing that was really lacking was funding as was in the report.  He also said that what was needed was a very big infectious laboratory; I think he was very specific about that, that would house all clinical laboratories and scientists who must do their research in one place.  I think what we need is to make sure that in the next Budget,we are going to have the Minister of Finance taking traditional medicine very seriously and invest in research.  There seems to be an issue about the name calling as alluded to in the report about witchdoctors. If I remember correctly, in one of the oral hearings, it was argued that you cannot just call a traditional practitioner a doctor which is a word that will make people more comfortable. I think we need to find a way where we can get traditional practitioners more palatable or more acceptable in our communities and not be seen as something that when you want to visit them you go in private.

          Madam Speaker, a lot of examples were given by different women from Bulawayo that were contributing to these traditional practices and medicines.  We also had the traditional medicines department, which is attached to the Ministry of Health.  They are actually not part of the Ministry of Health.  Somehow, I think as a country we need to find a way that we can incorporate and have a good working relationship, where we can get referrals from both ends.  If you look Madam Speaker, we have a lot of imported traditional medicines from China, such as Tsunami; we have medicines from countries such as Nigeria – the name has just left my mind, I thought I had written it down but we are using other people’s traditional medicines because they have worked on them.  We need to work on our traditional medicines and promote them.  Having said that, I would like to thank you Madam Speaker Maam.

          (v)HON. NDIWENI: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam.  This is a topic that is deep. This is a topic I have interest in.  Traditional Medicines are so downplayed in this country when they are so important for us.  If you look at statistics in Zimbabwe, traditional medicines are used by almost two thirds of the population.  Some of us use traditional medicines behind closed doors.  Some people use traditional medicines openly but statistics say two thirds of the population use traditional medicines.  So what it means is that two thirds of Parliamentarians also use traditional medicines.

            The problem that we are facing in Zimbabwe is when  people grow up and they think they have a little bit of money, then they start looking at traditional medicines as being inferior to European or Western medicines.  What they are not aware of is that most of the so called Western medicines that they take, the active ingredients come from our own traditional medicines.  So the problem that we are facing in Zimbabwe is we are not doing much in terms of research.  We cannot blame Government on this challenge that we are facing that is downplaying traditional medicines.  Government has put in policies.  Government has put the Traditional Healers and Traditional Medicines Act in place but it is how to operationalise these Acts.  How to implement them, there are people in offices that feel traditional medicines is inferior.  I am of the opposite view, I believe in traditional medicines. I used traditional medicines as I grew up and I still use traditional medicines now.

          There is need Madam Speaker Ma’am, for traditional medicines to be effective - it is 40 years after independence, by now we should be having a trolley run of our own traditional medicines. Here we are, an independent Zimbabwe, we have indigenous leaders who are aware of the importance and effectiveness of traditional medicines.  What we should have done in the 40 years is to take all the traditional medicines that are known, take them into laboratories, test the active ingredients, find out what works because these medicines worked.  There is no traditional medicine that is said to alleviate stomach ache that does not alleviate a stomach ache.  So they do have active ingredients.

What we should have done as scientists was to take all these drugs of traditional healers, take them to laboratories, test them, find out what active ingredients are there and thereafter we dosage them.  We find the correct dose and we package them.  Then, most important, we should also patent these medicines because what happens is these traditional medicines that have been tested and are being used already have dosages but people forgot to patent them.  So what happens is a clever Western Scientist comes to Zimbabwe, he realises that this drug is used for anxiety and it is used in Zimbabwe.  He takes the drugs and goes with it and tests it in the laboratory and they patent it.  In the end, our own traditional medicines - we cannot claim, because it is patented by somebody who does not even know where we got the roots of that traditional medicine from.

          When we talk of traditional medicines, I also wish for us to concentrate on trial because there is need for trials when we are testing these medicines.  We should avail hospital wards.  We should have a ward where we have all the patients that we are referring to say no, Western medicines have not worked on this one, let us take this patient to this ward where there is a n’anga who work there.  I will be waiting and I take my traditional medicine, test them in a controlled manner. What happens is – let me stress this point, you know the Western medicines that we take, some of these medicines do not work for African people because the trials were just done on Caucasians.  So, for your own information, there is medicine that works for Caucasian, white people and does not work for Black people.  This is why I am saying trials are very important in our own surroundings, in our own temperatures, our own black skin, our own high temperatures of 31degrees Celsius.  You test these medicines and find how effective they are.  That way, we will come up with traditional medicines that are tested for effective and then we will package them and sell them in pharmacies.

          It is sad Madam Speaker, right now, go to Parirenyatwa Hospital, you will find a ward that we have opened that is dedicated for the Chinese traditional medicines – how sad.  I am not saying it is bad but we should have started by a ward that has clinical trials for African traditional medicines which is medicines that we grew up taking.

          Madam Speaker, I would pause this question to male Parliamentarians in this august House, how many of them have not taken mushonga we musana?  Most of them take this mushonga wemusana if you were not aware Madam Speaker.  However, I just want to warn them on the dosages, they should be very careful otherwise they will end up with problems but we take them, I am also one of them.  I have tested to see how mushonga wemusana works and it works. These are aphrodisiacs.

 Coming closer to the pandemic, like our report has mentioned, what led this Committee to then look at what the Government was doing towards the traditional medicines was the use of Zumbani recently in alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms.  Zumbani works. We have used it before for fever.  So, it actually has some active ingredients that lower temperature.  They help for fever.

We should therefore, not discard these medicines in favour of paracetamol and all the western medicines because they are expensive, not accessible but these herbs we have them in abundance, we have them in our gardens and bushes.  We are an educated nation but we are not using our education in order to help our country and also the President’s Vision 2030.  I think there should be more emphasis, we should put more funding to traditional medicines.

  The other problem that we face is the funding problem.   It came out clearly in our report. There is very little funding that goes to research on traditional medicines.  Coupled with that, there is also mistrust from the so called officials in the Ministry. They do not trust traditional medicines yet they use them in the night.

The other problem that we realised is the problem that there is no coordination in the Ministry of Health.  There is a department for traditional medicine but it does not coordinate with other departments, it does not coordinate with the pharmaceutical departments, the medical department and plenty of other departments in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. By so doing, you find that nothing is achieved.  Our research in the use of traditional medicines then lags behind.

Madam Speaker, I want to enlighten you on the fact that at the moment in Europe, the most sought after drug or nutritional food is the Baobab Tree.  We have the Baobab Tree in Zimbabwe but we are not aware. So, for your own information now, if any one wants to make money, they should harness the Baobab Tree.  The Baobab Tree from the roots, seeds, and bud up to the trunk there is nothing that is not of use in that tree.  All the parts of the Baobab are worth using for nutritional purposes.  There is plenty of vitamin C, potassium and carbohydrates.  So the western world have realised it, they are actually calling it a ‘tree of life’.  We have a tree of life within our midst that we are not aware of.

The Baobab Tree is not only nutritious, we have always been using it traditionally as a medicine.  We have used it for treating malaria, tuberculosis, fever and dysentery.  So, where is our problem? We are not doing much research in order to reap the benefits of natural resources.  There are much indigenous knowledge systems that we have amongst our elders in the village.  The only problem that we face as blacks is that some of the things are not documented.  Ndiweni today knows whatever he knows but we do not write it down, so these are some of the pitfalls.

If you have an uncle or grandfather who knows a couple of traditional medicines, they do not write them down. Maybe they are trying to be secretive so that no one knows.  However, they are not aware that by documenting them down, their children and grand children will always pass on that information so much that the knowledge is not lost, it is kept within the family settings.

The other plant that I want to look at which was very popular in the 2000, if you remember the African potato, tsenza, we call them umbondiwe in Ndebele.  African potato is a very effective traditional medicine. It is very good for cancers and that has been proven but we do not know at what doses.   It is very good for prostate cancer.  It has got this drug called Beta-sitosterol which is very good at defeating cancers.  It works for bladder infections, lung disease, arthritis. Some of the things it works for, we do not even know because we have not subjected it to laboratory testing to find how effective it is.

The interesting thing about our medicines is that there are also myths around them.  I want to give you a typical myth about traditional medicines.  At one stage I was in my own small pharmacy and Mambo Dendera walked in.  Interestingly, we had funny in the pharmacy. I said to my front counter let me serve the chief myself.  So, I talked to the chief and he wanted paracetamol which I gave him but whispered to him saying dhonzai upon handing him.  So, this is one of the myths in African traditional medicines. You do not just take, you pull a little bit.  The chief looked at me and I told him do not thank me.  When he was mystified in that way, I told him musazocheuka Mambo, ndokuti ushande.  The traditional chief enjoyed the exchange. So, those are some of the myths that are associated with our medicine that makes it unique and interesting.

With those few words, I feel we are doing a disservice to our selves by not funding research and development into our own traditional medicine.  I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO:  I want to add my voice to the motion that has been moved by Hon. Masango and seconded by Hon. Toffa on the importance of traditional and complimentary medicines.

Madam Speaker Maam, it is important to mention that traditional and complimentary medicines have been very important and were important since time immemorial.  They were important in the sense that they were widely used in pre-colonial Zimbabwe, post colonial Zimbabwe and they are still very important and significant especially in rural areas.

Traditional and complimentary medicines are important in curing diseases such as cancer; hypertension, back aches, diarrhoea and traditional doctors are known for kuuchika phenomenon.  We have seen couple who had spent more than 15 years failing to have a child, visiting those special hospitals but when they visit those traditional doctors…

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! Note that I just want us to clarify; do we have a traditional doctor or a herbalist?  If I ask what a traditional doctor is - I know Hon. Moyo is an academic, maybe it will help but I would like to be lectured to today and just a herbalist will be a better word than a traditional doctor.  If probably you could use the word herbalist Madam Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Thank you Hon. Mliswa. I am sure it is a matter of semantics – [HON. T. MLISWA: Traditional doctor, what is a traditional doctor?] – It depends from where you are coming from.  I am sure that is in order Hon. Mliswa.

HON. PETER MOYO: I think because we are talking of traditional medicine, one can be regarded as a traditional doctor or herbalist.  What is derogatory is a witch doctor, it becomes stigma.  I think we can use herbalist to appease Hon. Mliswa.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I was saying that traditional and complementary medicines were used widely and are still being used today.  They have several advantages, they are cheap, readily available and can easily be found in the local habitat in the local communities and because of that, as legislators we need to advocate for the wide use of those traditional medicines.  It is also important and prudent to mention that the word ‘witch doctor’ - we should not stereotype or stigmatise traditional and complementary medicines through the use of witch doctors, which is derogatory and that should be discouraged.

I want to talk about Education 5.0 which advocates for Heritage Studies.  Education 5.0 has witnessed a mushrooming of innovation hubs in all universities.  These are important in the sense that it is going to contribute to collaborative research between conventional practitioners and traditional complementary practitioners.  As legislators, we need to advocate for this collaborative research whereby traditional or herbalistS and those conventional doctorS are going to meet in the innovation hubs and look at the medicines that they use and come up with solutions to ailments that people are experiencing.

We also need to talk about curriculum development and implementation.  In China, children as early as ECD, learn about traditional Chinese medicines.  Why can we not do it in Zimbabwe whereby students in ECD learn about traditional and complementary medicineS?  That will make them to appreciate our heritage.  The local medicines are very important and more important than what we import because what we import cause side-effects.  The herbs that we use do not have side-effects.

In the late 90s, there was a very important innovation at the University of Zimbabwe which was called the ‘Gundamiti Innovation.’  Dr. Mashava came up with an innovation from the herbs to treat HIV/AIDS.  I remember quite a number of patients used to visit the Department of Science and Mathematics at the University of Zimbabwe for reversing those HIV infections.  Unfortunately, I do not know what happened and why the Ministry of Health did not pursue that phenomenon.  If that had been domesticated clinically, by now I am sure we should have made some strides.  We should not allow the disappearance of what we call zumbani. It is very important because those people who used zumbani, who used to steam up, none contracted COVID-19.  These are the traditional medicines which are very important.

Finally on tools of trade, as I said earlier on collaborative research between conventional doctors and herbalists will lead to development of those things like thermometers. The herbalists also need to use these thermometers, BP machines; they need to have gloves as they practice their trade.  In a nutshell, I would say traditional and complementary medicines are very important.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me join my colleagues in thanking Hon. Masango and Hon. Toffa for bringing this very important motion to the House.  I particularly am quite excited because I think this shows a mindset shift in us as legislators but also as Zimbabwe.  I think for a long time we have been fed with this mantra that anything that is African is by its very nature bad.  This is why we have destroyed the things that have gotten us to get better and embed things that are coming from outside that have not necessarily been very good for us.

COVID-19 is a very good example.  No one has said why when everybody had predicted that with COVID-19, we would be finding dead bodies in the streets in Africa.  That is what the Western media had fed us with, that we were going to die like flies.  We have realised that in fact, it is in the West that people have died more than the people in Africa.  So there must be something that is African that we were able to do well.  Our only problem is that we never research to find out.  Somebody should have really worked on trying to find out what it is that protected us as Africa even with minimum health facilities.

Let us just look at what is happening in India right now. India is seen as the global hospital, it is the pharmaceutical centre but it has statistics of close to about 20 million COVID-19 infections as we speak right now.  The United States has equally bad numbers but they have the infrastructure, medicines, doctors and nurses.  So something must have happened that got us protected from COVID-19.  Unfortunately, all we can do is to suspect – perhaps it was zumbani, maybe we were steaming ourselves or it was something else because no one bothered to do some research.  I think that is the folly of Africa, that we will never be able to get the information that we need.

I just want to give you two examples Madam Speaker.  When I was growing up, I used to have serious period pain such that I would not be able to go to school for three to four days; dysmenorrheal is what they call it.  If you went to a doctor, the first thing that they would tell you even when you were aged 14, was that you needed to be given family planning tablets.  That is what would manage.  It is actually medical treatment that they give for people with dysmenorrhea.  I just happened to have an uncle who was a herbalist and all I started doing was that I would get - I will say its name in Ndebele, because my uncle is Ndebele, I used to get ntolwane.  So just before I went for my periods I would take ntolwane and I never suffered from dysmenorrhea, yet today every other child that is having period pains is rushing to the pharmacy to get panadol and painstop which in certain circumstances is addictive and that for me is just a sign of how we have not been able to use the things that we are supposed to have.

We used to have what were called traditional birth attendants and they were very good in Africa.  You only would refer a woman to go and give birth in hospital if you thought that there would be complications.  The traditional birth attendants, when they were looking at you, were able to actually say you have a breach, therefore go to hospital.  We destroyed the traditional birth attendants and yet as we speak right now in Europe if you have money you will give birth at home and yet for Africa we were told that giving birth at home showed that you were poor.  Now the Europeans themselves are giving birth at home.  They have their own traditional birth attendants, but for us we have destroyed that structure of traditional birth attendants.  So I think this conversation needs to go beyond just the help and the health facilities to say as an African person, at the very least be proud of your Africanness and celebrate that level of Africanness.

Marijuana is one example.  Europe is now asking us to grow mbanje for them because they have now realised it is medicinal, but for many years the white person came here and said if you were caught with mbanje, you would be arrested and yet they themselves are now passing laws to legalise marijuana. This is because it is now clear that it works around chronic illnesses like cancer; it works around issues of anxiety and mental illness, but for the African, nothing happened.  Now, what are we doing because we never got ourselves organised around this, we are now being used as the people who grow mbanje for them to then make medicines and we remain poor.  So this conversation - this is why I said for me, this is exciting because it gives us a different mindset in beginning to say how do we make our structures purely African and not necessarily go that direction.

In summary, Madam Speaker, I know that there are people who are coming to this House speaking about how we need to go GMO.  Again, it contradicts some of these fundamental things that we are talking about.  Traditional medicine is by its nature good because it is organic and if there is anything that we need to protect, it is our fields, vana Pfumvudza vatirikuita ivava because that is where the world is going to, but now those that want to make money will come and say go the direction of GMO, yet if you go to the United Kingdom right now and you want to buy eggs, the eggs that are organic are more expensive than the eggs that come from chickens that are GMO fed.

So we need to really start thinking and ask ourselves each time we are given these things what it means about destroying the things that can get us to live. Like I said, Madam Speaker, I am glad that covid-19 has shown us that at least there is something good that as Africans we are able to do, because everybody had taken us to the graves.  We were all supposed to have died but yes, God came in. I am sure there is something traditional that got us to survive this epidemic.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. S. ZHOU:  Allow me to thank my colleague Hon. Masango for this motion.  We have learnt a lot on these issues.  When it comes to traditional medicines, it is very painful for us to hear.  The only problem that we have is us the people, we are looking down upon traditional medicines.  It will seem as if someone is doing something which is evil or bad when they are treating people using traditional medicines.  It is as if the modern medicines are the only ones that are acceptable.

Most women who are pregnant know the traditional medicines that they are supposed to use.  For them to deliver nicely without complications, they know they resort to traditional medicines.  Even young children have traditional medicines administered on them because they work.  Young and old we use traditional medicines and they work for us, even most men use traditional medicine.

When we look at these traditional medicines and their use, we are proud of them, but they are not given the deserving honour they should get.  People do not embrace traditional medicines.  A good example for reference is the Garden of Eden.  It had all the types of trees.  Even to this day if you look at it the traditional medicinal plants that we are seeing today, we are getting them from our forests.

The other issue is that of people who actually embrace traditional medicines from other countries.  These things that people are admiring from other countries, we have them in this country.  South African went a step further and became so much persuasive on their product which is Rooibos.  We could have done the same as a country.

Our scientists should dig deeper and make research on these medicinal plants.  Correct information must be relayed to individuals who consume these traditional medicines so that they do not overdose and do not consume poisonous plants.  Most of the people because of this pandemic which has ravaged the whole country have consumed zumbani, they have consumed medicinal plants. COVID-19 has acted as a reminder of our past, our historical background of medicinal plants that we used as people, as Africans.  I am very thankful to all those who came through who taught us, informed and enlightened us with regard to the use of medicinal plants.  We should be a people who are proud of their historical and cultural background with our traditional medicine. If you are not well, a doctor will just say take aspirin and everyone knows about aspirin. Education information should be passed from generation to generation. If traditional healers passed on and people do not know that vital information, what will happen and how will we know? Province by province, it should be established the use of medicinal plants that we have, their use and how we can make use of them and how it will help us as a nation.

          The Ministry of Lands should engage universities especially institutions and start on the plantation of medicinal plants. People should be taught and knowledge given to them on the benefits that come with these plants. If someone is being treated at Parirenyatwa Hospital and given a list of medicine to take, it is possible that we add traditional medicine to them as they consume. Even someone who is bitten by a snake or someone who is critically ill or someone who has cancer, he/she may get assistance from these traditional medicines. With these few words, it is my anticipation to see Zimbabwe advancing and developing traditional medicines that they become something of great benefit to this nation. Thank you Madam Speaker.

          (v)HON. MURIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to support Hon. Masango’s contribution to the House. I rise with happiness and where I come from in Chipinge, it is an area that is well-known for the use of traditional medicines. Even for spiritual assistance – a lot of people from this country come for spiritual assistance in Chipinge, those who are critically ill and even those with various illnesses. Our area of Chipinge has a lot of medicinal traditional medicines.

           A lot of people are healed by these traditional medicines. If you use the Mutare Road to Chipinge, on your way to Chiredzi and on your way along the road you see a lot of sign posts indicating the presence of traditional healers. All of those are traditional healers who assist people using traditional medicines. I am shocked that as a nation, we spend a long time arguing and debating as if we do not know that traditional medicines work. We do not believe in our traditional methods of healing. We despise our own ways of healing through traditional medicines.

          Something has been left on the parts of women. Even those that are made to strengthen private parts they use traditional medicines. If you go to the Ndau people, they will assist you in using traditional medicines. They are open and free to enlighten you with regard to that issue. We do not believe in such things as Zimbabweans. The Ministry of Health allowed for such to take place. It is important for people to be informed what traditional medicines can be used and how they can be used to the safety of people. Tree barks in my area do work as traditional medicines. I drank that from my homestead and I never went to the hospital. It really helped me. As Government, let us not waste time speaking and talking despising our traditional medicines.

          It is by desire that we have a law that will enforce and force the Ministry of Health that traditional medicines be used legally. Allow universalities, especially institutions, to develop these ideas and develop these traditional medicines. What we need to understand and know is for people to have the knowledge, how this is used and how it can be developed for the safety of those who consume it. We need to educate people on what exactly needs to be done. As Parliament, we should look at the law, how we can best craft it. If we do that, even some of the money that we use to import medicine from China, we will see reduction in the budget.  One of the major problems we have as a nation is, we look down upon ourselves when it comes to the use of traditional medicines.  We are not proud of ourselves.

          Madam Speaker, my desire is that we must not waste time talking.  All the ministries in Government should come together, sit down and deliberate on the best way to develop our traditional medicines for the safe use of citizens.  I do not have much to say Hon. Speaker.  With those few words, I would like to thank you for the time that you gave me.

          *HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me an opportunity to also contribute on the report by Hon. Masango, which was seconded by Hon. Toffa.  The major problem is that we are ashamed of ourselves.  We do not follow our culture and the traditional ways that we are supposed to.  There is no culture that is said not to exist - even the Chinese, the whites and the Jews.  If you are to bring snuff, people will dismiss you as a traditional healer.  If we are to visit our cultural practices, everyone does put snuff on their hands but for people to bring snuff into this House, they get ashamed of their cultural practices.

          If we look at the Traditional Leaders Act, it empowers people to do things traditionally.  The chiefs are responsible for the various areas.  They are well-informed on the medicinal plants in this country.  They can assist us because they have indigenous knowledge with regards to herbs.  Madam Speaker, during campaigns, I held about six meetings in Hurungwe West and I developed stomach problems. I talked to a certain elder and revealed to him that I could not carry on because I had a terrible tummy ache.  He just went into the bush for three minutes as I wanted to leave.  He asked me to chew a certain herb and the pain stopped.  I had to do three more meetings.  I say this because if we look down upon some of these things we will continue to suffer.

          COVID has killed a lot of people in the urban areas and not in the rural areas – why?  That is the question.  Why did we wait for the ravaging of this pandemic so that we start to act?  Our universities in the country have departments that can do something about all these things.  The Head of State urged us to pray so that we have good rains.  Spirit mediums are also in waiting to see us consulting them on what can be done.  Mbuya Nehanda was a spirit medium.  What are we doing as a nation in terms of consulting the spirit mediums that are still alive?  We are doing nothing.  During the liberation struggle, people consulted spirit mediums but today we have gone silent.  We are not doing anything.

It is ideal that we re-visit our traditional practices and consult our elders. How many of us take our children to their rural areas?  That is the first step that shows that you know who you are.  If you look at young girls of these days, we heard Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga giving a testimony that she was once unwell and was treated by traditional medicines.

Right now, we hear that mbanje is a medicine; it is a multi-million dollar industry.  In the rural areas, people used to smoke mbanje and they were not arrested; some people who herd cattle smoke it.  Some actually despise people who smoke mbanje. We should be proud of ourselves and that which the Lord gave us.

Hon. Masango, in her report, stated that of the 200 drugs at Parirenyatwa Hospital only two are local.  It is painful.  If we look at the money that is given to research and development on our budget it is little.  Nothing is done without money.  Even the vaccines that we are taking are herbs that are refined.  How can we fail as a nation to develop these medicinal plants and come up with a vaccine?  What China has done well is to come up with a product that has been well researched and turned it into a vaccine.  Mothers’ Day is coming and mothers are here.  You all know the remedies.  It is my advice that we go back to our cultural ways as narrated by Hon. Moyo, let these people come together, doctors and traditional herbalists.  They must come up with a sustainable solution.  One thing that has killed this area is corruption, the problem is we want to buy from Drugs International. Corruption is the root cause that caused lack of development of these medicines. Those who are gifted do not look for money, people run away from the correct channels and resort to corruption, they are buying from Drugs International through corrupt means.

          We should inject capital for research, we are the only ones who are ashamed of our culture.  My father believed in traditional ways and medicines.  He told me that when you have problems, you do not visit a n’anga  - you take snuff, go in the forest under a tree and consult the spirit.  Whenever we have elections, I go and consult a spirit medium, that is why I win always in my constituency, even those Hon. Members like Hon. Nduna and the like when they want to cause problems they will not succeed because my ancestors will be looking after me and fighting for me.  I am telling you now that if you face problems, take snuff and go into the forest and consult the spirits of your lineage. I do that even at my farm, I do not experience hunger, and I experience a bumper harvest every year.  If you follow tradition you will start to see things moving positively.  Let us not be between culture and modern methods, follow our culture.

          Before I conclude, I want to take this opportunity to say that next week will be Mothers’ Day.  We will commemorate our mothers; though we might disagree in this House, I salute all the women Hon. Members in here including the Hon. President of Senate and you our Hon. Deputy Speaker.  To be what we are, you the mothers are to be complimented for the good work that you did.  I will bake scones and bring in this House next week for all the women parliamentarians in this august House.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Hon. T. Mliswa you are allowed to bring us scones next week when we resume sitting so that we celebrate this big day, Mothers’ Day.  Your effort will be greatly appreciated.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to add just one or two words to the report by the Portfolio Committee on Health.  The topic under discussion is a reminder for us Zimbabweans; there is a saying globally that if you want to take a case study of how to colonize a country, you have to visit Zimbabwe.  We are the most colonized country in the world. For us to be having this debate more than 40 years after independence, it tell you Madam Speaker that what we have done over the past 40 years, we have not done what we said we wanted to do when we went to the liberation war.

          What we intended to do was to bring back Zimbabwe that has been taken over by force.  If you check from 1980, we have actually been competing to outshine the Europeans in their own game.  We have been competing to simply say we are the best in probably speaking English or doing other things that do not really add value.  I will give you a good example in terms of the COVID-19 vaccine.  I know it is now a fashionable thing to simply say ‘have you been vaccinated’.  Most of our people prefer to be vaccinated by a vaccine that they do not know anything about.  They shy away from our traditional medicine.  I know for a fact that for some of us, we are proud to take traditional medicine, traditional medicine does not necessarily mean that one has to go to a n’anga.  Traditional medicine is out there; all our tradition has taught us that this tree, this shrub and this grass cures this and that disease.

          The mere fact that we have got a Ministry of Health in 2021 which does not allocate fund towards the budget for traditional medicine shows you that Zimbabwe is not yet in World Health Organisation.  We have not reached a stage as a country where we are proud of being Africans, where we are proud of our tradition and proud of being great Zimbabweans, we have not reached that stage.  I listened to Hon. Masango when she was doing the report. My only misgiving on the report was to say we need a perception to say the Committee also chat with a number of herbalists who are dotted around the country.

          I know for instance in my constituency, we have a garden where we grow traditional medicines and we are using those medicines to cure people from various ills, including the recent COVID-19 infection. We did not hear the report telling us the challenges that our herbalists are actually facing in this process.  Our fear Madam Speaker is that there is deliberate policy in the Ministry of Health where our traditional medicine is being stolen during the night and going out there and being patterned in other countries where those drugs then come as if they have been manufactured in Europe, America or Asia whereas that medication will be coming from Africa.

          I think what is crucial and what is important, next time when the budget is presented before Parliament, there is need for the Portfolio Committee on Health to scrutinize the health budget, and find out how much has been allocated to traditional medicines.  More importantly Madam Speaker, there was the Hon. Member who spoke from Chipinge, he was correct to simply say we do have the medication.  It is not about research, it is not about taking our medication and putting it in a laboratory. What is important is that the only research that is needed is to simply say when I take zumbani what quantity should I take in the morning, afternoon and evening and what should be a course of zumbani, this is what needs to happen.  This is when you need the people that went to colleges to be trained in this regard. Without that Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe we are going nowhere.  My view Madam Speaker is that we need as a matter of urgency, and we will be discussing this when the budget comes to simply say have monies set aside.

          Lastly, I just want to mention another aspect and all the various legislation that the report relates to. Most of the legislation was put way back during Ian Smith’s time. They have not been looked into and this is one of the things that the Portfolio Committee on Health needs to do. Also they need to interrogate the Ministry of Health to really look into these pieces of legislation so that they are actually in conformity with the aspirations of Zimbabweans.  Once we do that, then we will actually be happy.

                   I represent a few, if not the majority of people that still believe that getting vaccinated whether it is Pfizer, whether it is Johnson and Johnson, whether it is a vaccine from China or from India, are actually happier to continue to change the vaccines from our own medication that we have been taking.  To me, they make more sense.  As I stand Madam Speaker, I move to support this report by simply asking the Portfolio Committee to do even more as they go forward; as we go towards the budget.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. H. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this chance to also support the report that was presented by Hon. Masango and seconded by Hon. Toffa.  I think there is need for research in public use of traditional medicines and we also should now have traditional medicines’ pharmacies that are functioning.  Shown by the statistics that two thirds of the population around the country use these traditional medicines, whether openly or in secrecy, we should now have traditional pharmacies in place so that people could choose whether they want to go to the traditional way or to hospitals.  We should also by now have opened colleges that train traditional healers so that the people that believe in traditional healers can just go there knowing that the people have been trained professionally.

          We also should train traditional healers’ nurses.  There should be colleges or universities that are in place to train nurses, so that when they use the medicines, they use the right dosages that have been verified to give to people.  We should have researched medicines that can be exported so that the country gets foreign currency – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Order, Hon. Members on virtual.  You can proceed.

          HON. H. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was saying researched medicines can be exported to other countries and in turn can bring foreign currency to our country.  This is my contribution.  Thank you for affording me this chance of contributing.

          *HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this report.  I would like to thank the Almighty for giving us these trees which we use as medicines.  I would like to start with zumbani, especially this time of COVID- 19.  I noticed it on one funeral in my rural area.  Everyone harvested zumbani to use when they return to their respective homes.  If it was not for zumbani, we could have died of COVID-19.  We look down upon these traditional medicines but they work wonders on certain ailments.

          I had a nephew who used to treat people who would have been beaten by snakes even if the person is far away.  You could just call him and he will ask you where the person was bitten and he would treat the person by rubbing that medicine in his body part similar to where that person was bitten and the person will be healed.  This is the extent of how traditional medicines can work.  What we should do is to promote and trust them.  Since this issue has been raised here in Parliament by Hon. Masango and seconded by Hon. Toffa, if we continue talking about these traditional medicines, the Government will do something.

          Also those who use traditional medicines should come out openly so that others can also see how they work.  These traditional medicines should be packaged and there should be books about those medicines and how they work. Our Grandfathers and mothers used to trust these medicines but we are now discarding them.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAPER: On a point of order Hon. Members.  Let us not repeat what has already been said, so that we accommodate everyone.  As you can see, I have got over 10 Members on virtual and three in the House.  So, kindly assist by not repeating what has been said by another Hon. Member so that at least we can allow other Hon. Members to contribute.

          (v) HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also add a voice to the debate on traditional  medicines which was raised by Hon. Masango and seconded by Hon. Toffa on their Committee report.  Hon. Speaker, I will go Biblical today by quoting Ezekiel 47 vs12.  The Bible says “by the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food.  Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail.  They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing”.  It shows how God set forth nature so that it can be used as it is.  If you go to Exodus 15 verse 23, the Bible says, “and when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah for they were bitter.   Therefore, the name of place was called Marah.”

Exodus Chapter 25 concluded that issue when the Bible says, “And Moses cried unto the Lord and the Lord showed him a tree which he had cast into the waters and the waters were made sweet.  There, he made for them a statute and an ordinance”. It is also showing that God is supporting   traditional medicines.

 Where did we go wrong Hon. Madam Speaker? Through colonization, we have lost our culture in favour of processed herbs and now we prefer injections, capsules and pills.  We have lost on the marketing ground because the media was controlled by colonialists such that we have now doomed with disdain on our traditional herbs.

Some Hon. Members in this august House wear traditional clothes like me but unlike me, they do not go an extra mile to use traditional medicine.  We do not even understand why we wear traditional wear when we cannot balance it up with traditional medicine.  So, all drugs come from nature yet we have thrown them outside and thrown away our culture.  Even the Lord Jesus Christ used traditional medicines as said in John Chapter 9 verse 6, “when Jesus had spoken, he spat on the ground and made clay of spittle and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay”.

          It indeed shows that nature is where all these things are coming from.  I just want to speak on the issue of being industrial; this time maybe asking Ministers responsible to repeal the Statutory Instrument on industrial herb farming because it is in such a way that only the rich can farm it.  We kindly ask the relevant Ministers to review the SI so that they relax or reduce the licence fees required to enable everybody to be able to grow it.

          Hon. Speaker, in my constituency, we have had running battles with one organisation, which gets its medicines from South Africa, and they call it herbal medicine.  They were in a place called Kensington and I was called to Kensington to see roads being locked because there is a lot of traffic going into that place.  So as a Member of Parliament representing that area, they asked me to come and resolve that issue.  I went with council authorities and found that they were operating illegally and asked them to close.  They closed and moved to another section of the same constituency but within two weeks, we got another complaint.  The roads are closed, there are so many clients, and there is so much noise.  We went there and they closed and now I hear that they are in Msasa.  This is clue that traditional medicine works Hon. Speaker.

As I conclude, in Revelations 22 verse 2 which says, “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bear 12 manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nation”.  Again, God is going back to nature it shows what is really important.  I support this motion that has been put forward by the Health Committee.  I thank you.

(v)*HON. MAKONI: I would like also to contribute to the motion that was brought by Hon. Masango seconded by Hon. Toffa.  This is a very important report to us. Traditional medicines are very good to us as Africans.  These traditional medicines have helped our elders in the past even in the present day, that is why they are healthy.

We dismissed these traditional medicines as useless because we had adopted the western medicines.  We should never throw away our culture.  A woman passed on from sugar diabetes; if only she had known  she would have been saved from death.  We have herbs that assist such ailments.

In most instances, these western medicines are expensive and beyond the reach of many compared to our own traditional medicines that are easily accessible. There are a lot of benefits in traditional medicines and there is a lot we can gain as a people.  Let us embrace our culture.  I thank you.

*HON. SHAMU: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  The first thing the colonialists did when they came into this country was to get rid of our tradition and culture to enable themselves to rule over us.  I am happy it has been well articulated in depth and I remember a few days ago we attended a workshop.  Journalists were commemorating the World Press Freedom Day which was hosted by UNESCO and Namibia.  A speaker at the workshop said someone referred to COVID-19 as ‘Covid-91,’ another is said to have said ‘Covo,’ the other even said ‘Coventry.’  We all know what we have been told about previous pandemics like that which was referred to as Gore rehwiza.  I feel that we should also give this pandemic a name in our own local languages and call it ‘Denda renhandira.’  Other words in different dialects can also be crafted -  Ndebele, Shangani, Suthu and so on.  That is the first thing that I wanted to say.

Secondly, I would like to thank Hon. Moyo who touched on the issue of previous innovation done at the University of Zimbabwe to show that there was once research in trying to develop our medicines.  This reminded me of the late Prof. Godfrey Lloyd Chavunduka who was a traditionalist. He was very passionate about indigenous knowledge systems.  He passed on when he was of an advanced age.  He used to encourage people to preserve traditional culture.  At one point he was the head of ZINATHA and he was also influential at the University of Zimbabwe.  He is someone who valued African tradition.  He was educated, he was a sociologist.  I was also reminded of the late Herbert Ushewokunze who was a medical doctor, but also believed in allopathic medicines because he believed that all these could be applied to different ailments.

Let me also say that it is important to preserve these traditional herbs as we know that burning bushes leads to the destruction of these natural resources that are found in our forests.  We know that with the resettlement that is happening, there has been wanton destruction of forests.  Some people just cut down trees without looking at the type of trees that they will be cutting.

Going back to our traditions, let us look at what is happening right now, are we not destroying our traditions, looking at the way we are destroying the forests.  The burning down of bushes should not be done.  There should be deterrent sentences for perpetrators of such crimes.  In the past, there were a number of laws which included interventions that were done when a veld fire erupted.  For example, if people were travelling by bus and happened to pass through where a veld fire had erupted, they were expected to stop the bus and try to put out the fire.  This can also be applied in the contemporary society so that we preserve our herbs which are found in our forests.

It is also important that there is research.  We have a tendency of not accepting things that we are seeing, we have places like the Henderson Research and Kadoma Cotton Research Institute and these stations are not operational.  In the past, these stations were used for research and development of seeds.  So it is important for us to support such initiatives which bring development in the country.  It is also important to take indigenous knowledge systems seriously.  My request is that – in looking at allopathic medicines, it is important that we respect and honour them, instead of looking down on them.  We might not have control of what might be transpiring, but we need to understand that our culture and future are in our hands.  I thank you.

(V)*HON. PETER. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to start by thanking the Hon. Members who brought this motion, which is a crucial motion.  This issue concerning traditional medicines is a very important issue.  When we look at the past, you will discover that hospitals did not appreciate the use of traditional medicines.  At times, you would find people with different ailments in Mberengwa where I come from being treated using allopathic or traditional medicines.  At times we might not have a solution for some ailments, but I believe that the suggestion that traditional medicines should be appreciated and put to use is a good suggestion.

There are some people who sometimes go to radio stations to advertise that they have herbs which can treat different ailments.  There should be a law which prohibits those people.  If a herb is found in traditional pharmacies, it means that it would have gone through a thorough research, investigation and scrutiny by professional scientists to determine its efficacy.  It is then that one should go on air and advertise their herbs. We do not want misleading advertisements on national broadcasts.  Sometimes we need to put in place laws that protect our traditional and indigenous knowledge systems.  In countries like Uganda and other African countries which have such laws which appreciate and protect indigenous knowledge systems, sometimes you discover that we find people getting sick because we are shunning our traditions and our medicines.  This can be explained that in the past, such diseases were being treated using traditional medicines.  So it is important that we do that as a nation because there are some medicines which are found in our forests or bushes.  Such medicines need to be protected.  Some might not need to be planted but they need to be protected.  So let us protect our forests.  Let us make sure that our traditional medicines are protected and conserved for posterity, especially in the rural areas where we find vast tracts of land with such traditional medicines.

You will discover that in other areas, some people are using modern technology to treat foot and mouth in cattle but in the past, we used to use our traditional medicines to treat foot and mouth disease.  So it is important that even our traditional medicines be medicines that are applied.  During my childhood, I did not go to hospital but I grew up being treated by my parents who were using the indigenous knowledge system.  Hospitals were not there when we were growing up but still we received treatment.  However, nowadays this is not happening.

So what Hon. Moyo said is very correct. We have the right to talk confidently about allopathic medicines.  As Hon. Members of Parliament, it is also important to articulate such issues at such a forum.  My plea, Madam Speaker, is that traditional medicines should be considered.  So I would add my voice to support the report.  I thank you.

 (v)*HON. SAIZI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this discussion which is a motion which was put forward by Hon. Masango.  Madam Speaker, it became apparent that there was no harmony between the Ministry of Health and Child Care and ZINATA, but what surprised me today is that the consensus that is in this House has never happened where you find Hon. Members agreeing upon a topic like this.

It pains to experience different ailments.  We know that there are ailments like cancer which do not have a cure but this is because we do not appreciate our indigenous knowledge systems.  Research has not been done to see whether there is a way of addressing such illnesses.  The problem, Madam Speaker, is that sometimes for those who go to work you will discover they expect everyone to have five O’levels.  No one considers Shona but Shona is the language that is our mother tongue and you will discover that most people who use allopathic medicines are people who can communicate using the local language.  So I believe that there is need for funding of a research institute, of research programmes aimed at investigating the efficacy of indigenous knowledge systems, particularly traditional medicines so that we have vaccines and medicines to treat different ailments.

Madam Speaker, I am surprised that in the past, herbs were being used.  At times people were taking tea or herbs in their tea and they were healthy.  This is quite an important discussion which will culminate in us using herbs and allopathic medicines.  I thank you.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you.  We are left with quite a number of Hon. Members wishing to contribute to this debate so let us not continue repeating the same points that have been raised by previous speakers.

HON. MUNETSI:  I want to thank you for giving me this time to just pick on a few items that I feel are of importance and people must know about our traditional medicine.

Traditional medicine is there and it is real.  I want to cite a few examples where we do not use colonial medicine, where we use traditional medicine and we do not have an English equivalent for anything like that.  I want to give an example of what we call in Shona runyoka.  We do not have any pill that can heal runyoka except if you go to a traditional healer.

If you look at someone who is mentally retarded, if you want that person to be cured and healed forever you go to a traditional healer.  Look at some things like toothache. They say the best medicine to cure your teeth is to remove it but we have got traditional medicine that can cure ailing teeth and they remain in your mouth without removing them. It was done to me practically. I do not know and if I may ask – there are some women and when someone is pregnant they go to our old mothers and get some medicine from them, which we do not find anywhere within the English society. That is the reason why the first pregnancy, you send your wife back to their parents so that they can be given that type of medicine. I do not know what it is called but the old ambuyas know what I am talking about.

          If you ask Hon. Kwaramba, maybe she knows those traditional waters that are given to young women when they want to give birth during their first pregnancy. Look at nhova - we have something called nhova in our culture which is also healed traditionally. In the event that one is affected by STIs, it is also healed traditionally. We have in Shona what they call guchu which you are given by our traditional fathers. You drink it for two to three days and it all goes off traditionally. We also have some medicine for back-ache which is also given and it is not found within the English framework. Here in Harare, there is an Indian just opposite OK near Leopold Takawira and next to Kingstone who heals traditionally.

          All the medicine that you get there is traditional and the place is packed every time because traditional medicine does a lot just here in Harare. I do not want to talk about human beings only. If you go to our domestic animals, they heal our cattle traditionally. If you put gavakava in water, it heals chicken - what they call chitosi and all that is done traditionally. It is so much that tradition has done. If you give cattle chin’ai soot, it heals the whole system of the cattle.

          Even during the war, tradition worked and if you ask the Chimurenga gurus, they can tell you. I was a mujibha during the end of the war. They can tell you about how this bird called chapungu was used during the war. It is all traditional. So, we have several methods of our tradition which work so well, but we have neglected them because we want to be English. We can never be English and a leopard can never change the colour of its skin.

          You cannot walk forward when you are looking backwards, never. What we should know is that we have a tradition which we must follow. I do not even advocate for some laboratories for our medicines. Let us use it the way we used it before. We should go to the mbuyas, sekurus and to our n’angas wherever they are –that is our lab and we get our medicine from there just like that. I thank you.

          (v) HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to debate on the report which was tabled by Hon. Masango and which was seconded by Hon. Toffa on advancing traditional medicine. Long ago, there were no hospitals and there was no English medicine. These medicines came later and they used that chance to introduce their medicine so that we see our own traditional medicine as useless. Also, Christianity looked upon everything that we did in a negative sense. If we keep on using our traditional medicine, it really works. We even have traditional love portions so that when the husband does not come at home in time, he is given that love portion and he changes completely...

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Masenda, I am sorry we can no longer hear you. I will give you another chance to debate when the network is up. Thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker, I just want to touch on two issues because the rest have been touched on the issue of traditional medicine. I compliment this report in that we currently have infiltration by the erstwhile colonisers or by the First World into our traditional medication and our traditional way of living which might bring to extinction the current way of our living in terms of both medication and our livelihood in terms of our seeds. The first issue I want to touch on and encourage is the issue of our small grains.  The continuation and the subsistence of planting, ploughing and rearing of our small grains can be complemented by our “Pfumvudza” concept.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, Seedco in terms of our small grains has been taken over by Monsato.  Monsato is an American company which seeks to infuse and to take over our seed bank which was championed by Seedco.  The long term effect of Monsato taking over our local seed varieties makes sure that we do not have longevity in terms of our small grains and the varieties of our traditional seeds that are actually resistant and resilient against our local and our African pesticides and herbicides.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the people that I am talking about are an international cartel which are meant to make sure that eventually we will start having GMO and other varieties as mentioned by the seconder of this report, Hon. Toffa and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. So, for us to make sure we protect our seed varieties, we need to protect our local seed bank so that there can be traditional medicinal properties derived from our traditional grain and our traditional foods.  For a very long time, our health has been protected by these traditional medicines and our traditional foods that have traditional medicinal properties.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is my fervent view and hope that as His Excellency has proclaimed and pronounced that 1% of our national budget should go to research and development, it is my hope that our traditional medicine field and our operatives can tap into this 1% of our national budget that has been proclaimed by His Excellency in terms of enhancing the operationalisation of our traditional medicines and our traditional food stuffs.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, as I wind up, I want to say we need to have our national seed bank and the way to do it is not to give away our birth right to global cartels championed by Monsato as I have spoken about.  It is only prudent, fair and just to make sure that we go into these contracts and agreements all eyes open so that we cannot reverse the gains of our independence.  It is time to make sure that we get our birth right back that was taken over by the colonialists.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of traditional medicines and infusing it in the current Health Act is similar to what we want to do with the artisanal miners in the current Mines and Minerals Act.  There is need to repeal the current Mines and Minerals Act, shred it and bring in the artisanal miners and small scale miners to also be recognised in the Mines and Minerals Act that we want to repeal.  Similarly, we need to shred the current Medical and Medical Practitioners Act in order that we include our formally marginalised black majority, the Mbuya Nehandas of our time, the traditional healers of our time and those that we had sidelined because of the Pioneer Column and the erstwhile colonisers.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have vociferously, effectively and efficiently given my word on this motion and this report as the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have heard me debate.  I thank you.

           (v)*HON. CHIKWAMA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want  to debate the issue which was brought into this House by Hon. Masango, the issue of our own traditional medicine.  As African people, we destroyed our own traditional medicines because we have no confidence in our medicine.  If you look at roots such as ginger, we look down upon them but the moment the West came through and talked about it, we then started using it.  What we are saying is that we need to change our mindset and we also need to have legislation that will promote use of our traditional medicine.

I think our education also discriminated against anything African as it promotes everything Western as ideal.  We do not want to dwell much on our traditional ways of life.  Now that we have Education 5.0, it should also look into the issue of research of our traditional medicines so that we can also have tablets that can be sold openly and are well packaged after the research.

The white man came into our country whilst our African ancestors treated themselves using traditional medicines which were very effective.  Our fellow Africans thought that the well-packaged tablets from the white man were the ideal medicines forgetting that our own medicine could still be used for medicinal purposes and heal ailments.  Other religious groups look down upon traditional medicine and see it as evil.  I think we should come up with relevant legislation, so that we go back to the drawing board like we did with the small grains. People now want to take sadza made from small grains which is very healthy.  We should know that our medicines are very good and be convinced of its effectiveness.  I say so because one can get cancer and some succumb to it while others lose their limbs but you would find that one can actually go to a very humble person whom people do not hold in high regard and be treated.  So many diseases that we are getting today can be treated using traditional medicines but the challenge is we have been colonised and believe Western medicine is the best and have lost our values as Africans.

          It would be ideal if we write about this medicine using our own vernacular languages giving the names in vernacular and not English.  Using the name pain killer has brainwashed people and yet if I go and get the bark of “mutamba tree” and take it, my headache will go away.  We want to thank the Hon. Members who have come up with such a motion pushing for a legislation to establish factories to process traditional medicines in the form of tablets or powders.  We take some powders from South Africa which soothes our headaches.  If we also do likewise with our traditional medicine, we can then see that our medicine is effective.

          We have been colonised and we were educated not to provide for ourselves but learnt subjects like Maths and English without learning about things that develop us as Africans.  In my rural area, a person can be bitten by a black mamba but we have elders who know the medicine and what they do is they just rub the medicine on the snake bite and one is healed.  The challenge is that we tend to associate traditional medicine with witch doctors, which is bad.  These are different.  What we are talking about here are traditional medicines obtained from the trees and roots that God gave us that we can use as medicine.  With these words, I rest my case.

           (v) *HON. SHAVA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to add my voice on the motion concerning our traditional herbs. I want to say that Zimbabwe must have pharmacies that sell traditional medicines.  Long ago even in the liberation struggle, the war veterans were treated using traditional herbs, be it snake bites or whatever.   Traditional herbs have been used since time immemorial.   

          In our culture, women who give birth for the first time are sent back to their homes so that they will be given traditional herbs that will make it easy when they deliver. This cultural process is called kusungira.  Experts or herbalists must be consulted in coming up with these pharmacies.  I want the Government also to encourage these herbalists to grow a lot of traditional herbs just like the Government encourages farmers to grow crops under command agriculture. I thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. NDUNA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 11th May, 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day on today’s Order Paper Nos. 10 to 17, be stood over until Order No. 18 has been disposed of.

          HON. NDUNA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 48TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

`        HON. KWARAMBA Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 48th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC – Parliamentary Forum, held virtually on 04th to 5th December 2020.

HON. NDUNA:  I second.

HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker, I am presenting a report of the 48th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held virtually on the 4th of December 2020.

Introduction

The 48th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum was held virtually on the 4th of December, 2020.  The deliberations were aimed at consolidating, administrative and financial matters of the Forum as well as to discuss issues of regional concern.  Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe led the delegation which compromised the following Members of Parliament.

  • Hon. Sen. Tambudzani Mohadi, Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure.
  • Hon. Goodlucky Kwaramba, Standing Committee on Gender, Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus.
  • Hon. Dought. Ndiweni, Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights,
  • Hon. Anele Ndebele, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment
  • Hon. Joyce Makonya, Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

Official Opening Ceremony. 

The Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Prof. Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, was guest of honour and official opened the Plenary Assembly.  The Premier pronounced his country’s support to efforts to transform the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament as his country assumed the Presidency of the SADC PF.   Prof. Ilunkamba Tamba recalled that, in the aftermath of the aggression war in 1998, SADC troops made up of Angolan, Namibian and Zimbabwean contingents supported DRC troops to put an end to foreign aggression.  He said DRC would forever remain grateful for such regional cooperation, thus paying tribute to the troops that fell in the battlefield to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC.

In proposing a vote of thanks the Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana Hon. Phandu Tombola Chaha Skelemani stated categorically that it was unacceptable that SADC remained the only region in Africa without a Regional Parliament.  He paid tribute to the mutual dependency among member of States of the SADC region attested by the intervention to maintain peace in the DRC.

Statement by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda pursuant to Rule 45 of the rules of procedure

Hon. Mudenda recalled that on 11th October 2020, he moved a motion in accordance with Rule 26 (4) of the Rules of Procedure regarding the tabling of motions on matters of urgency and regional importance to support the candidature of Hon. Duarte Pacheco of Portugal for the position of President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

In this regard, the Hon. Speaker was happy to report that Hon. Duarte Pacheco was overwhelmingly elected as the 30th President of the IPU after an unprecedented online election held during the Extraordinary Virtual Session of the IPU’s Governing Council on 2nd November 2020.

The election of Hon. Pacheco would precipitate his vision of having Parliaments playing critical roles in finding collective responses to global challenges.

Furthermore, the Hon. Speaker reiterated President Pacheco’s commitment to strengthening the IPU by building bridges between countries, peoples and continents to address the problems facing the world.  There was also an urgent call to respect the voices of all Parliaments regardless of their sixes or geographical location.

Adoption of the report of the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee tabled its report for consideration and adoption during the 48th Plenary Assembly meeting, which was duly adopted.

Update on transformation of the forum into a SADC Regional Parliament and related Plenary Assembly Matters

Plenary Assembly noted with appreciation the highly successful Lobby Meeting led by the Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nwidamilimo Mudenda, Chairperson of the Strategic Lobby Team to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lesotho, Rt. Hon. Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, on Monday 9th November 2020.  The meeting expressed profound gratitude to the Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho, Rt. Hon. Sephiri Enoch Motanyane for facilitating this meeting.

Plenary Assembly expressed profound appreciation to the National Assembly of the DRC, through Hon. Speaker Jeanine Mabunda for hosting the 48th Plenary Assembly Session

Hon. Speaker Mabunda was elected SADC PF President unopposed.  She became the first woman from her country to assume the Presidency of the SADC PF.

Plenary Assembly noted the Transformation Agenda and roadmap document submitted to member countries as the most practical implementation tool for the transformation process.  The Parliament of Zimbabwe has since made positive comments towards the document.

UPDATE ON THE OFFICIAL RESIDENCE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

The Plenary Assembly noted with appreciation that the forum had purchased an official residence for use by Secretary General.  The Plenary noted that the Secretary General had since moved into the new property situated at Erf 2052, Klein Windhoek, 89 Joseph Mukwayu Ithana Street, Ludwigsdorf, Windhoek, Namibia.

SECONDMENT OF STAFF FROM NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS

The Plenary Assembly noted and appreciated the secondment of staff from the Parliaments of Angola, Malawi, Seychelles, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa to the SADC PF Secretariat.  Other countries were requested to fill the remaining slots on the forum’s administrative paradigm.

MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING THE 48th  PLENARY ASSEMBLY MEETINGS

Motion on a Matter of Urgency and Regional Importance: Condemning terrorist attacks in the Republic of Mozambique and expressing solidarity with the Government and people of Mozambique

The Plenary Assembly Session adopted a motion strongly condemning terrorist attacks in the North of Republic of Mozambique and the unrest in the eastern part of the DRC.  With respect to the armed insurgency in Mozambique, the Plenary Assembly noted that such terrorism was threatening that country’s security and sovereignty and undermining the efforts to consolidate the rule of law and democracy.  The Plenary called for a regional response to the terrorist attacks in Mozambique to avoid the phenomenon spreading to other SADC member states.

Motion on the Impact of the African Migratory Locust on Agriculture and Food Security in Southern Africa

Plenary Assembly adopted a motion calling for an integrated pest management system in managing the locusts in order to effectively control the further spread of the pests.

Motion on Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative and Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments

The Plenary Assembly noted the establishment of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP), which was officially launched in October 2020 by the Speakers of the Parliaments of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.  Member Parliaments were enjoined to support this initiative and advocate for debt cancellation as a remedy to the current dilemma the region and continent are facing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND WAY FORWARD

Parliament of Zimbabwe to support the ‘proposed SADC Parliament and the Transformation Roadmap’ produced by the joint Task Team as a practical way to complete the missing link in the regional integration matrix.  In this regard, the Parliament of Zimbabwe has written to the Executive reiterating unqualified support to the Transformation Agenda.

Parliament of Zimbabwe notes and appreciates the assumption of Hon. Christophe Mboso Nkodia Pwanga as the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parliament fully associates itself with calls for a regional approach to root out terrorism in Mozambique and other parts of the world. A regional effort should be made to nip the scourge.

Zimbabwe stands ready to respond to the growing infestation of the African Migratory Locusts which threaten to exacerbate regional food insecurity.

CONCLUSION

Hon. Esperanca Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias, Speaker of the National Assembly of Mozambique and outgoing President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, concluded the Plenary Assembly by thanking all delegates for the support that her country received in the last two years of presidency of the forum.  She encouraged the Plenary Assembly to continue pushing for the transformation agenda.

On behalf of the SADC PF and on his own behalf, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe saluted the outgoing President of SADC PF for presiding over the affairs of the forum with tact, firmness, impartiality, fairness and credibility.  He implored the outgoing President of SADC P to thank the President of Mozambique, H.E. Filipe Nyusi, for graciously supporting the National Assembly of Mozambique to host the Plenary Assembly for a record three consecutive times.

Plenary Assembly adopted the nomination of the Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda into the Executive Committee of the SADC-PF spearheading the transformation of the regional forum into a regional Parliament.  This role, he continues as the Chairperson of the Strategic Lobby Team of the Transformation of forum into a regional Parliament. I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The issue of the Beira Corridor that is also resident into Mozambique is now infested in other part by the terrorist.  It is my fervent view and hope that the SADC region can expeditiously deal with the terrorist that have invaded parts of Mozambique.

          The second issue is the composition of what SADC PF is trying to transform into a fully fledged parliamentary organisation.  It is applauded; I want to congratulate them, they are making very good steps in transforming that organsiation into a grouping that has parliamentary powers.

 The reason why I touched on the second issue is because the aims of the SADC Forum are to provide a platform to support and improve regional integration.  The first issue is that it promotes human rights, gender equality and governance, democracy and transparency; to promote peace, security and stability as has been alluded to on the issue of Mozambique; hastening the pace of economic cooperation development integration and bases for equality and mutual benefits; the facilitation of networking with other inter-parliamentary organisation if they become a fully fledged parliamentary organisation; to promote and participate in non-governmental organisation business and intellectual communities in the SADC activities;  familiarisation of the people of SADC with the aims and objectives of SADC and lastly, informing SADC of popular views on development and issues affecting the region.

          So, this organisation cannot continue to operate without fully fledged parliamentary powers.  This is my view and I applaud them for taking steps to transform themselves into a parliamentary organisation.

          My last point is the issue of these locust migrations which might deplete the agrarian reform programme of the SADC region including that of 2000 in Zimbabwe.  However, this is the physical transformation or movement of these locusts.  I spoke earlier of global organisations which are cartels in agricultural activities, in particular in seed varieties, Monsanto and such like these also should be curtailed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum in terms of infiltrating into the SADC region and causing the depletion of our known seed bank.  I thank you for giving me this opportunity to second an eloquently presented report by Hon. Kwaramba of the SADC PF 48th Summit.

          HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. NDUNA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 11th May, 2021.

          On the motion of HON. T. MOYOseconded by HON. NDUNAthe House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday 11th May, 2021.

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