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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 JUNE 2021 VOL 47 N0 57
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 8th June, 2021.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House of the following changes to the membership of Portfolio Committees.
(a) Hon. Tsvangirai has moved from the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism.
(b) Hon. Samuel Banda has moved from the Portfolio Committees on Transport, Infrastructural Development and Industry and Commerce to the portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and Primary and Secondary Education.
(c) Hon. Musarurwa will serve on the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. I thank you.
REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY OF ZIMBABWE FOR THE YEAR 2019
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe, for the year 2019 presented to this House of Parliament, in terms of the Section 262 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I so, move Mr. Speaker Sir.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that this House takes note of the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2020, presented to Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICES COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that this House takes note of the Report of the Judicial Services Commission for the year 2020, presented to Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that this House takes note of the Report of the Human Rights Commission for the year 2020, presented to Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2020
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I move that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the year 2020, presented to Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states that every Commission must submit to Parliament, through the appropriate Minister, an annual report on its operations by no later than the end of March in the year following the year to which the report relates.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I just wanted to advise that the ZEC report unlike other reports, the report was not attached to our file. We have checked with Papers Office, unfortunately we were told that the internet was down. I ask for your indulgence that this matter be stood over so that Members can have access to the ZEC report.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. On the Electoral Commission Report, I have been to the Journals Office twice to tell them it is not working, I have also e-mailed them twice and we still do not have that attachment. I can tell you there is not one Member of Parliament with that one, to my knowledge. The other one is the J. C Report, it did arrive but we cannot open it and I have come across a number of MPs in that same situation. I am worried that we are not acting quickly enough when we have attachments, yet these are very important documents. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Markham, the Clerk will ensure that the attachments are done so that the Hon. Members can debate.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): In that regard I move that the debate do now adjourned.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 9th June, 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 6 to 13 be stood over until Oder of the Day Number 14 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE 2021 VIRTUAL PARLIAMENTARY HEARING AT THE UNITED NATIONS UNDER THE THEME “FIGHTING CORRUPTION TO RESTORE TRUST IN GOVERNMENT AND IMPROVE DEVELOPMENT PROSPECTS
HON. MAVENYENGWA: I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 2021 Virtual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations under the theme “Fighting corruption to restore trust in government and improve development prospects held on the 17th and 18th February 2021.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I second.
HON. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.
The 2021 Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations was convened virtually on 17 and 18 February 2021 under the theme, “Fighting corruption to restore trust in government and improve development prospects'.” Participation was drawn from 400 Parliamentarians as well as diplomats, representatives from civil society and experts on the theme. The theme was designed to ensure a parliamentary contribution to the Political Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session against corruption (UNGASS 2021) scheduled for June 2021.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe was represented by the following Members of Parliament:
Hon. Tsitsi Veronica Muzenda;
Hon. Vincent Tsvangirai; and
Hon. Robson Mavenyengwa.
The Hearing was officially opened by Hon. Duarte Pacheco, President of the IPU and H. E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly.
In his remarks, Hon. Pacheco noted that corruption has become a cancer to democracy and requires collective anti-corruption efforts as well as political will in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) “to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms by 2030”. In this context, he called for Parliaments to be guided by the 2005 UN Convention Against Corruption. This requires legislation and resources to enforce laws that have become even more urgent due to the pandemic. Hon. Pacheco also lauded the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) for its active role in trying to reduce corruption.
H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir noted that corruption remains a pervasive global challenge which erodes public trust in democratic institutions. He underscored the crucial role played by Parliaments in their legislative, representative and oversight functions through keeping the governments accountable, informing governments about the challenges and aspirations of the people and translating UN resolutions into effective legislation. In the context of the COVID 19 Global pandemic, H.E. Bozkir called on Parliaments to ensure that emergency funds approved to fight the pandemic are not diverted through corruption.
In her keynote address, Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chairperson of the Board of Transparency International, highlighted the importance of the 3 Ts in fighting corruption, namely: Trust, Truth and Transparency. She emphasized that the adoption of conventions is not enough but implementation of the principles in letter and spirit is imperative. She noted the clear correlation between anti-democratic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and high levels of corruption.
UN Convention Against Corruption and Implementation Challenges and Corruption Involving Vast Quantities of Assets “Grand Corruption”
Corruption was identified as a serious threat to global security and stability. It adversely affects development, delivery of public services, especially health care which has now been burdened by the current fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.
Following presentations from lead presenters, participants were given an opportunity to share country experiences and best practices. Hon. Mavenyengwa shared Zimbabwe’s experience highlighting the following best practices:
- Creation of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the National Prosecuting Authority,
- Zimbabwe's corroboration with International Criminal Justice, the launch of National Development Strategy 1 (2021 -2025), and
- National corruption laws such as Prevention of Corruption Act, Money-Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act among others.
The following salient outcomes emanated from the deliberations:
- The 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without tackling corruption through enacting laws to curb illicit financial flows, recovering ill-gotten assets, protecting whistle blowers and creating robust, independent anti-corruption bodies.
- In addition to good corruption laws, there is need for public awareness, strengthened public institutions and political will to enforce and implement these laws and policies.
- Ending impunity through criminalization and effective punishment of corrupt practices is necessary.
- Enhancing regional and international cooperation and collaboration in combating corruption. Parliamentarians were identified as key players in the establishment of inter-governmental agencies and processes to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
- The need for a multi sectoral approach - in particular, the inclusion of the participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector in fighting corruption was emphasised.
- Despite different levels of development across regions of the world, the use of artificial intelligence is a key component in fighting corruption.
- The media, including social media, is a watchdog over the conduct of public officials and politicians. However, its role should also be regulated to curb excessive production of fake news and misinformation. The UN launch of a facility called 'Verify' to authenticate information from social media testifies the need to exercise restraint on social media.
- States can draw from the Oslo Statement (2019) which contains 64 expert recommendations on preventing and combating corruption involving vast quantities of assets.
- A proposal to create an International Anti-corruption Court (IACC), modeled on, but distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC), was made. However, it was met with reservations amid concerns that the organ may be used to target victims from weak developing countries, while culprits from the rich powerful countries are protected.
Gender-Sensitive Anti-Corruption Policies and Key Anti-Corruption Measures: Assets Disclosure and Beneficial Ownership, Whistleblowers, and Financing of Political Parties/Elections
The Session identified the following challenges faced by women:
- Corruption undermines economic development and perpetuates poverty and may drain resources for public services that women depend more on than men.
- Political and grand administrative corruption may perpetuate gender inequalities such as discrimination against women with respect to resources, participation in politics, and access to high-level positions in public administration.
- Male-dominated decision making has even wider consequences as fewer resources may be allocated to government policies and programmes that benefit women.
- Women risk being exposed to physical abuse, sexual extortion and exploitation.
Parliament and Anti-Corruption: Good Practice and Strategies
Participants critically examined The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), noting that it requires member states to enact domestic anti-corruption laws. These laws are required to prohibit extortion, bribery and money-laundering.
However, it was further noted that the UNCAC does not effectively address mechanisms for enforcement of the provisions of the Convention or the domestication of laws. Its provisions against political corruption were described as weak. In this regard, the UNCAC has failed to curb grand corruption.
Gender Sensitive Anti-Corruption Policies and Key Anti-Corruption Measures: Assets Disclosure and Beneficial Ownership, Whistleblowers, and Financing of Political Parties/Elections
- The following outcomes and recommendations emanated from the Session:
- Parliaments play a critical role in fighting corruption through its legislative, representation and oversight functions. Parliaments were called upon to exercise their functions as follows:
- Ensuring a strong legal framework to curb corruption. This involves passing national anti-corruption legislation and creating an environment that makes corruption more difficult by promoting transparency.
- Ensuring that public resources are used legally and responsibly by monitoring government policies and activities to ensure conformity with priorities of their constituents.
- Establishing a robust whistle blower program where women feel safe to raise concerns such as a gender-specific response team in addition to other whistle blowing channels (i.e. women reporting to women). This can be done through budget allocations and amendment of existing laws.
- Supporting gender analysis and collection of sex disaggregated data on corruption and the application of collected data, particularly in law making, oversight and representative roles.
- Participants called for gender parity in the representation of women in Parliament. Furthermore, Women Parliamentarians were encouraged to lobby their political parties to be placed in strategic Committees to help address vulnerabilities faced by women in the various sectors.
- There is need to combine targeted anti-corruption policies with efforts to empower women in governance and improve access to information through promoting and advocating for an enforceable right to information for women and men.
- Participants were called upon to further explore the establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC). Such an international mechanism with authority and power to freeze laundered money and to investigate and punish the criminal elements has a chance of reducing corruption.
Zimbabwe has made great strides towards anti-corruption and anti-money laundering efforts as evidenced by the anti-corruption measures adopted by the Government to eradicate corruption and build trust in Government.
However, there is a need to address some gaps in terms of legislation, for example, enacting legislation in line with the provisions of Article 32 of the UNCAC which provides for the protection of witnesses, experts and victims of corruption.
Parliament can also influence the budget allocation towards fighting corruption to ensure adequate resources to, among other issues, capacitate relevant officers as well as to facilitate public awareness campaigns.
Parliament should play its oversight function in ensuring the implementation of the various measures in place as well as the functioning of established institutions to fight corruption.
Parliamentarians, through their Chief Whips, should lobby for women Parliamentarians to chair strategic committees.
Parliamentarians should contribute towards anti-corruption efforts using a gender lens. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to second this motion by Hon. Mavenyengwa on the issue of trying to combat the disease called corruption. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say generally causes of corruption come from greed and poverty. Those who have always want to continue having. As a result, you find that they will want to accumulate more than what they should have at the expense of others. On the other hand, those who have no resources may also want to get them in a manner that promotes this illness called corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to applaud our Government for the efforts that have been made towards fighting corruption. We have heard from this report, issues from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). Such efforts are actually meant to make sure that corruption is reduced to its lowest ebb.
Corruption as we have seen does not give confidence to the citizens of a nation over those who will be running the country. Even if it is done clandestinely, they always believe that there is something to do with those who are in the upper echelons. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say corruption is also there in our lower tiers and organs. Even in the villages, you find if food hand-outs are given, usually the beneficiaries or the deserving ones are on the losing side because there will be other measures taken by those who would be in charge. It could be the village heads or people in the relevant ministries.
Also where there is a pandemic, we find a proliferation of corruption because some people want to take advantage of that. If you look at the issue of COVID 19, there are people who would be celebrating and say here is our chance. There will be things meant for the deserving people but you find they can be diverted before reaching the beneficiaries. It is important that we make some collective efforts towards curbing corruption in order to make sure that our country, Zimbabwe prospers.
We are also seriously affected by the issue with regards to women. They are the people who are supposed to see that children have something to eat and they are the people who are usually at home although a number of women now go to work but the challenge is that they do not occupy senior positions. Usually to get to those senior posts, there are some demands made. For a Christian woman who does not agree to having sexual relations in order to be promoted to a senior position, that woman stands to be disadvantaged. In our institutions of higher learning, some students are really at task to pass their examinations because they will be required to provide some sought of sexual relations with a lecturer or someone who is in authority.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what has been said about truth, trust and transparency, normally those who engage in corruption do not say the truth. In most cases, telling a lie is what makes them benefit. I think we need to educate our communities to always go for the truth so that we do the right thing in eradicating corruption.
The issue of political will is quite a major one. You find that during campaigns and as we go for elections, it is the women who always tumble and fall because men have greater valor. Some women even reject their colleagues and go in support of the men for whatever reasons. In such a case, you find that the playing field will not be level for our women but I want to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe in terms of extending the quota system which makes women to have an opportunity to continue being in this Parliament.
We also find that the United Nations Convention against Corruption has been found to have some loopholes and it is our hope that such holes are plugged so that we have a system that is water tight because if those upper organisations still have some grey areas where we need to improve, it means we have nowhere to copy the international best practices from. We want to make sure that our United Nation against Corruption is improved in its systems.
It is also good for Parliament to ensure that the laws that we are going to pass in our august House must be implemented. We have always talked about Zimbabwe making wonderful beautiful laws, but when it comes to implementation, down there at grassroot level – I am saying that we want to continue with our oversight role to see the proper implementation of these laws, irrespective of who they are directed to. It goes without saying that we have to improve our budgetary allocations towards issues that are related to corruption so that we call it a thing of the past for this nation. I want to end by saying our President has given no room on the issue of corruption, but some people continue feeling that there are some people who are being left out, who are being exonerated when they are corrupt but it is because we are supposed to have a untied effort. Everyone must play a role towards identifying those who are supposed to be prosecuted or brought to book. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday 9th June, 2021.
RURAL WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I wish to present a Ministerial Statement on Rural Waste Management Systems. According to available demographic statistics in the country, 70% of Zimbabwe’s population resides in the rural areas and of that 70%, 60% of that population is vulnerable or susceptible to open defecation. A study by Dr. Smartson P. Nyoni and Mr. T. Nyoni in (May, 20) highlights
on the magnitude of open defecation in Zimbabwe. Globally, 15% of the population still practices open defecation. Open defecation and poor sanitation results in the spread of water-borne diseases that affect both children and adults. The outbreak of such diseases results in disruption of education programmes and productive work thus, impacting negatively on community development and the overall economic productivity of the country (Human Rights Watch, 2013. According to Morgan P. (2020), open defecation is practiced in rural areas, especially in the bush owing to the lack of accessible sanitation infrastructure or as a result of traditional cultural practices. Timely remedial intervention which involved in the deliberate investment towards alternative systems which improve rural sanitation and flushable toilets is of paramount importance. Furthermore, open defecation has been a source of transmission of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery and cholera.
Proposed Easiflush Waster Management System
Pursuant to the aspirations of NDS1 (2021 – 2025) and Vision 2030, there is now compelling need to embrace appropriate technology towards the disposal of human waste in informal and dysfunctional settlements as well as rural communities. Eaziflush Waste management System is an innovation by a wholly indigenous and Zimbabwean owned company which Government intends to apply in communities that do not have proper sewerage systems. The system is readily available for application in rural communities and/or dysfunctional settlements dotted throughout the coutnry. Eaziflush system uses at least 2 litres of water per flush in comparison to the conventional system which uses 7-9 litres per flush of potable water. (Refer to the attached Brochure). Apart from using 2 litres the system can also use water that has been used after washing clothes or bathing, etc.
Furthermore, the proposed system is economically viable in terms of water use and he overall cost of the attendant infrastructure. The system is fitted with a water closet, water tank and is also fitted with a seal that eliminates any odour emanating from the pits. The system may also be connected to the water mains in areas with running water. In rural areas where running is a challenge the system is installed with a 10 litre water tank, which can be filled manually from time to time. Additional works required include the erection of a septic tank and soak-away. The design of the septic tank is subject to the number of people using the system. The system can also make us of the existing pit latrine infrastructure, thus reducing construction costs by as much as 80%. Attached herewith, is a Cost Comparison Schedule (Annexure C) of the Eaziflush System and the conventional flush system for ease of reference.
The construction of a septic tank and soak-way may be done through the Participatory Approach by the local community. The system comes with a wash-had basin and a fitted sanitiser cylinder. (Refer to the attached Brochure). It is important to note that the components associated with the system will be distributed throughout the country from ordinary hardware stores dealerships. In that regard, the normal bidding process and procedures will be adhered to only when bulk procuring is required. The proliferation of informal and dysfunctional settlements that are also served by pit latrines and open well is of a major concern in peri-urban and their existence is contradictory to the aspirations of NDS 1 and Vision 2030.
The Republic of South Africa’s Experience
On South’s experience, in august 2018 His Excellency, Cde. Cyril Ramaphosa the President of the Republic of South Africa promised to get rid of open pit latrines in schools across the country following numerous deaths of pupils. This was according to a report by a tabloid called South Africa’s Eye Witness News. The South African Government Commissioned... an audit of the country’s 25,000 schools in September, 2018 and an infrastructure plan for replacing pit latrines was adopted. According to the same tabloid, partial assistance came from donors, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and UNICEF. The above mentioned organisations eventually merged as key financing partners of the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Programme. His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, which he pronounced in 2018, states that Zimbabwe must attain Upper Middle Income Economy Status by 2030 and as a matter of course, Government must now take a deliberate position to provide sustainable, modern and affordable infrastructure in both urban and rural communities. Vision 2030 also speaks to Sustainable Development Goal Number 6, which states “ensure availability and sustainability of the management of water and sanitation for all.”
Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are pleased to inform Parliament that the system has been developed, installed, tried and tested at Glenwood Primary School in Epworth as a pilot project. We are further pleased to inform the august House that the system has proven to be effective, functional and user friendly in terms of applicability and cost. It is our considered view that if this system is implemented to the letter and spirit, a solution to the rural sanitation challenges may have been found as we gravitate towards achieving the aspirations of Vision 2030.
The Proposed Roll-Out of the System
The system is going to be rolled out by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities in collaboration with the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education, Health and Child Care and Local Government and Public Works.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, through the application of the National Quality Policy, will be approached in setting - up stock designs or prototypes to be replicated country-wide. The Standard Association of Zimbabwe and the Harare Institute of Technology are also key players in design development of this technology where issues of the use of alternative renewable energy are now paramount.
The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is facilitating discussion between the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and Sant Con Consortium with a view to foster the possibility of local production of the technology using universities and technical colleges across the country.
Phase 1 of the roll-out programme is focusing on rural schools, community centres and clinics. The programme may be funded through the Schools Development Associations, Constituency Development Find, Devolution Funds or donor participation.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is against this background that the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities seeks the august House’s indulgence in supporting the Programme by directing part of the Constituency Development Funds towards financing the implementation of this waste management system in peri-urban and rural communities. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am still recovering from his last statement, where he is asking the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to also come in. I just want to know the cost of the unit that he spoke about, at least each unit and also if that can sustain the sit-on toilets that are flushable? Can it sustain the taps that can run water through opening and closing? I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you Hon. Minister. Madam Speaker, I approve the use of 2 litres of water. My concern is whenever we discuss these issues, we refer to rural areas and we leave out urban and peri-urban areas. I would like to highlight that with the lack of water in urban areas, this is also very applicable to urban areas, particularly in formal settlements. The fact that they use liitle water, it is actually as applicable here, to rural areas but my question is, can you confirm that the product has zero input from outside. Is it all locally manufactured? I would also like to know the total cost per unit. I thank you.
*HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also want to thank the Hon. Minister for the Statement. I want to add on what was said by Hon. Markham. In Mt Pleasant, one of the best suburbs in the country, there are places where they practice open defecation, the same way they practice open defecation in Epworth or Mabvuku. They just take plastic bags and do what they do, then leave it somewhere. I was wondering also if this technology can also be practiced in towns because I think it is now becoming a huge problem. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would also want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this Ministerial Statement. This Ministry is just a few years old but he has done a good thing by bringing their Ministerial Statement so early. I understood what he said and I am very pleased with that. What I would like to know is on the houses that he talked about that they would build in rural areas, is there anything different from the houses they have right now? Their houses are good as they are. Are they going to be allocated title deeds, so that surveying can take place? Will this not cause urban-rural migration because many people would prefer going to rural areas since it is now difficult to get a house in town?
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I have two questions to the Hon. Minister though I was not so sure in terms of the direction of the Ministerial Statement. It appeared like it was not so clear. Firstly, I want the Hon. Minister to confirm, when he says 70% of Zimbabweans live in the rural settlement, what is the definition of rural? Does rural include the peri-urban as they are, where do peri-urban settlement fit in? Are they part of the urban or part of the rural?
Secondly, I want the Hon. Minister to tell us in the budget of the Ministry, how much money has been allocated to this programme that he has raised in Parliament so that we know that it is a policy which is backed by financial resources because any policy which has no resources, backing it may just be an empty slogan. I just want the Hon. Minister to do that because I am looking at the Blue Book in terms of the allocation that they got from Treasury. I thank you.
HON. I. NYONI: I would like to thank the Minister for the Ministerial Statement that was detailed. However, I missed some parts. I heard him highlighting some effects of open defecation of humans only. From my limited knowledge, it also has effects on livestock, rural areas, farms and others. If it was highlighted, please accept my correction.
The issue of pit latrines is very important that for those who have it, perhaps this should be promoted so that it is a form of hygiene. In places where there is not water, these pit latrines would be the way to go. It is just a suggestion. I thank you.
*HON PETER MOYO: I want to find out from the Minister that in places like Mberengwa, Mwenezi and Chiredzi where there is water shortages, how is this new technology going to be implemented?
*HON JAJA: Apart from South Africa, are there any other countries that are using this system?
HON GARWE: Let me start from Hon Nduna’s question. Thank you for the questions and you want to know the cost in comparison to the conventional methods. The system costs as little as US$450 per unit; the conventional methods which we are now used to. The cheapest stands cost US$1500 per unit as of now. Predominantly, his question was premised on this.
His second concern was on how Members of Parliament can get involved. We are requesting the august House to direct Hon Members when they get their CDF, to use some of those funds in funding the installation of the system in primary and secondary schools or clinics. They will choose within their constituencies. That is what we are proposing.
Hon Markham, you asked the question whether the system can be applied to peri-urban areas. I made mention of peri-urban areas in my presentation which are being served by dysfunctional settlements. Where we cannot install the traditional system, we will use this. As you may be aware, we have already started the programme on the regularisation of informal systems and very soon we will be in Hatcliffe. We know Hatcliffe has issues. We will be dealing with this issue as well.
On whether the system is locally manufactured, I did mention in the report that we are now in discussion with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education including universities and technical colleges so that we can form a partnership where it will be manufactured locally.
Hon Banda, you made a comment about open defecation and propose that - why can we not apply it in urban as well? Yes, we agree with you; it can be applied anywhere. We were focusing on the rural communities – rural is a generic name which includes the farming communities as well because one Hon Member asked a question about demographics.
Hon Chikukwa, I thank you for your comment. We are working together with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to give out title deeds to houses which do not have title deeds. The problem is prevalent in urban areas as well. I am looking at areas like Gletwyn which is a low density but the area has no title deeds.
On the regularisation programme, we are also making sure that those houses have title survey and there is proper planning so that the home owners can have title deeds.
We have noticed that if a breadwinner passes on, the land baron will demand part of the proceedings from the agreement of sale because there is no proper paper work. We are moving in very fast so that we restore sanity on such issues.
Hon Mushoriwa wants to know what we mean by 70%. In Zimbabwe we have ten provinces and of the ten provinces we have eight provinces that are called rural provinces. The former commercial farmers which are now under A2 and A1 farmers are also affected because the new farmers, majority of them are being served by open bushes, open defecation, pit latrines and blair toilets. On the question if there is any budget allocation from Treasury, we do not wait for a budget allocation to think. This is an innovation that came after the budget was announced but we do not stop because there is no budget allocation. We then go to Treasury and say this is an innovation adopted by Cabinet which is so beneficial to Zimbabweans, can you create a budget for it and that process is work in progress.
Madam Speaker, as we speak, there are about 70 schools that were financed by OFID which we are all aware of them in all the eight rural provinces the money has been set aside by Treasury. Yes, for now there is some budget but we are not ending there, we are looking at all the schools and clinics that are in the rural communities. They have to be funded by Government. Part of that Government funding it is our wish that part of the CDF which you manage here be channeled through your MPs to fund the escalation of this system.
I want to thank Hon. Nyoni for saying it needs to be popularised and promoted. This is the reason why we are coming here. We will be working very closely with the Ministry of Information and all other media institutions to ensure that it is properly marketed and people are aware of it. About water, there is a question to say how are we going to have it in areas where there is no water and you made reference to Mwenezi as one of those areas. The system uses grey water, if you are preparing a meal you wash your hands to eat sadza, you do not throw away that water, you put that water in the ten litre tank that I talked about. If you wash your clothes or bath yourselves, you do not throw away that water, you take that water and set it aside for feeding into the ten litre tank that is the grey water that we are making reference to. For as long as you are washing your hands or you are bathing, there is water for this system.
Over and above that, we are all aware of the programme that through the Ministry of Lands ZINWA has embarked on a borehole drilling programme throughout the country and DDF is doing the same. So, these are programmes that we want to be running concurrently as DDF provides clean water in terms of the relevant SDGs. We want to provide sanitation in terms of SDG No. 11 which speaks of sanitation and clean water.
There is a contribution from Hon. P. Moyo, he was talking about the same thing and I have already answered that DDF and ZINWA are drilling boreholes. The last one was from Hon. Jaja on whether there are any other countries that are using the system other than South Africa. With all due respect, it is not an issue. We must be the first to change the lives of Zimbabweans and Africans generally in providing innovation and new technology. That is the reason why we are more educated than everybody else. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I think the Hon. Minister did not answer my question. I did not say that people should stop thinking, it is good to announce policies and this is the reason why I was asking the Minister to simply say how much resources have the Government set aside for that project because without financial resources it becomes problematic. The second part is that if he says eight provinces out of ten are considered rural, if you check in all the ten provinces of this country there is an urban settlement and I am just wondering why the Minister would then say that 70% are rural when we are aware the in each and every province of this country …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, ask your question Hon. Mushoriwa.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: My question still stand to say which method has the Ministry used to come up with the 70% of the population that stays in the rural areas.
HON. GARWE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Allow me to thank Hon. Mushoriwa for his request for further clarification. The programme is not a cut and pest kind of a programme where Treasury has to sit and give a budget and say this is a budget now we are rolling out. This is a progressive programme. It is a programme that we are tackling as we gravitate towards Vision 2030, we must by that time have dealt with the use of pit latrines, open wells, blair toilets or open defecation. That is what we are doing, in so doing we will mobilise funding as we progress. Right now, we are so pleased to advise the House that Treasury is setting aside a considerable amount of money to start with 17 schools that were constructed using OFID funding. I understand the funds are still there so we want to ride on that and start a programme.
Madam Speaker, he then queried how we got the 70%. It is in a report prepared by the two Nyoni’s as I read in my presentation. Also if you go to the department of statistics in the country, it gives you the same figure, it is not a creation of the Ministry, this is what is on the ground. Madam Speaker, if we have ten provinces and of the ten provinces eight provinces are deemed to be rural including the farming areas and peri-urban areas, therefore a figure of 70% being exposed to open defecation is not an exaggeration. Hon. Speaker, I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 15 to 19 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order Number 20 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
FIRST JOINT PETITION REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND CHILD CARE AND THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON THE PETITION FROM THE ADVOCACY CORE TEAM (ACT) ON THE AGE OF CONSENT TO ACCESSING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES BY THE ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG PERSONS IN ZIMBABWE
Twentieth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Joint Petition Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care and Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS on the Petition from the Advocacy Core Team (ACT) on the age of consent to accessing reproductive health care services by the adolescents and young persons in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the report which was presented by Hon. Saizi.
Madam Speaker, the issue at hand is very critical in preserving the life of young girls. It is very important that young girls access reproductive health services. Our law as it stands actually works to the disadvantage of young girls because they cannot access reproductive health services without the consent of their guardians – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Madam Speaker, the lives of young girls are at stake as we speak because of our law which prohibits young girls from accessing reproductive health services without the consent of their guardians or parents. It is high time that Zimbabwe reconsidered this position.
If you want to take a closer look at behavioural changes that have taken place since the turn of the millennium, we find that most young girls or young adolescents are having sexual intercourse whether we like it or not, so for us to say they cannot access reproductive health services actually, it works to the disadvantage of the adolescents.
Many girls are getting pregnant before they reach the age of 18. Why, because they cannot access those services that would have helped them prevent those pregnancies. If we deny the fact that our children are engaging in sexual activities, we are shooting ourselves in the foot because many legal abortions are taking place. Many young girls are dying giving birth because they would not have had the chance to access contraceptives because our law is prohibitive. If they go to the clinics and hospitals to say look here, we are pregnant or we want contraceptives, they will just be chased away saying why are you engaging in sexual activities, but that is what is obtaining on the ground. We should reconsider that position by amending the Health Act, making it open for young adolescents to access reproductive health services.
Many adolescents are dying of STIs because they cannot go to hospitals to get treated because they are scared. They cannot tell their parents that they are indulging in sexual activities because of the current law. So it is high time that we reconsider this position as Parliament of Zimbabwe and advocate for the amendment of the Health Act so that our adolescents can access sexual reproductive health. That is my contribution Madam Speaker. I thank you.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to air out my views on the motion which was seconded by other Members. Firstly Madam Speaker, we would not want to say things whilst we are hiding the fact that the young children go to health services. We are not saying children should go and have sexual intercourse but we are saying, Hon. Speaker, these children should go and get assistance so that they should not have abortions because as they try to abort, we see there are a lot of deaths that happen because of the different ways that they use in aborting these unwanted pregnancies. It is not good, Hon. Speaker, that at the end, these children face a number of challenges in trying to abort. Therefore, I am saying let these children go and get assistance from the clinics.
I also want to add on, Hon. Speaker, that there are Hon. Members who said 90% of the people who came to the public hearing disagreed on the fact that adolescents should have access to reproductive health services. I would want to say it categorically that these same Hon. Members who are saying so, are the same Members who go and sleep with these children. Madam Speaker, I would like to say that these Hon. Members who are in this House should respect the women because we are seeing them. They are saying these children should not be allowed to get health services yet these are the same men who we see going out with these children in the hotels.
One Hon. Member said that Zimbabwe is a Christian country which should not allow children to go and access – [HON. NDUNA: Point of order Madam Speaker] - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. What is your point of order Hon. Nduna?
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am a HeforShe advocate. The type of debate that is being presented here does not amalgamate and does not promote coercion, in particular as it points a finger at male legislators in this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We are waiting to debate Madam Speaker Ma’am and when you point a finger at one person, you have got four fingers pointing at yourself. It is my thinking that if you control the debate such that it does not become acrimonious, it does not escalate in the manner that it is doing – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It does not give us space as male legislators to debate effectively and efficiently in support of the girl child but the current scenario does not have depth. It is my thinking that there is need to nip it in the bud. Leadership is an art and so is debate. If this is going to be the type of debate, then it does not promote the male legislator to debate. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I hear you. Hon. Sibanda, please do not point fingers to fellow Hon. Members of Parliament.
HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am not pointing a finger to anyone. I was just responding to what other Hon. Members debated last week. +Madam Speaker, there is an Hon. Member who said Zimbabwe is a Christian country and said that children should not have access to sexual health services. The Hon. Member should know that accessing SHRS is a human right for everyone who is in Zimbabwe.
Another Member quoted the Bible saying that God once spoke to Israelites but if you read the Bible in Mark 10, Jesus said let children come to me because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. So, I do not know where this Hon. Member got the issue from. May I not waste time Madam Speaker. I am demanding the Minister of Health and Child Care to amend the Public Health Act to allow every child in Zimbabwe to get access to health services.
I also disagree with the Hon. Member who once said, let this be allowed to children whose parents are in the diaspora. I am saying Madam Speaker, let the child access these services so that we do not have children dying at an early stage, children dropping out of school or not getting opportunities of being MPs like myself. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
(v)HON. DR. MATARUSE: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me time to contribute to this important motion introduced by Hon. Saizi on behalf of the Committee on Health and the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS. I want to thank the Committee for doing a good job; they produced a good report. I just want to highlight a few issues. The first issue is that prevention is better than cure and I strongly support the Committee for recommending that children should have access to family planning without the consent of the guardian. I have seen a lot during my 35 years in practice. I have seen young people coming after abortions with threatening events leading and I have seen young people coming with ectopic pregnancy. I want to tell you that there is no time to consult the guardian under such circumstances. Dealing with these issues could have been prevented if these people have family planning. I have seen people with advanced cases of STIs. I will tell you that I have seen people with their penis no tool to reproduce. These cases could be prevented if they access to services without the knowledge of their guardian because the children are afraid their guardian that they have got affairs.
I want to inform the Parliament that there are enough checks and balance in the Ministry. There are people who are qualified to make rational decisions and assist these young people. We have got a lot properly qualified psychologists and qualified nurses to be able to deal with the psychological problems of the young people. They can counsel them and make proper decisions. Those who need the services could then get the services and those who receive the counselling will be assisted. At the maternal in charge of the health department, you will find there is a junior sister, there is community sister who is really properly qualified and you will find there is a sister-in-charge, there is matron, a Government medical officer, a superintendent looking at that particular centre of activity. I am sure that team can make rational decisions and properly assist these young people. I personally agree with the Committee that we should allow the health professional to provide their services freely. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. L. MAPHOSA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for allowing me to air my views and the motion that was raised by Hon. Saizi and supported by Hon. Dr. Labode. I would want to start by what I always do when I am doing any debate. It must be understood what this debate is all about. It is not about allowing consent to sex by children. That is a very wrong interpretation of the whole issue. We are talking of access to reproductive health services in institutions of health, not just anywhere else but in the right institution set up for those particular reasons.
Having said that, it boggles the mind to hear people talking about culture coming in on someone who would have contracted STI when having sex somewhere that we do not even know and going to a hospital...
Hon. S. Banda having brought out a packet of condoms
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Order Hon. Banda. Hon. you are not even connected. Hon. Banda, Order please! You are not even connected and we are not even hearing you.
HON. L. MAPHOSA: I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir. I think there is a tendency in this House of belittling women whenever they are debating. I do not know what this is all about because last week when Hon. Banda was debating I was on virtual and I was not agreeable to 90% of what he was saying but I never said anything because I respected the procedures of this House. So, it should be taken note that our male counterparts should respect us. We are not their wives in this House or their girl friends. We are Members of Parliament adhered to appearance.
I will continue Hon. Speaker Sir. Before I was rudely interrupted..
Hon. S. Banda having continued to disturb the Hon. Member on the floor.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO): Order Hon. Banda.
HON. L. MAPHOSA: When I stand up, I do not stand up to play, I stand up to lay facts. So I know why this is all happening. It is not the first time. The last time I was debating Hon. T. Mliswa tried it but failed. I will go on Mr. Speaker Sir. Before I was rudely interrupted that I do not know where culture fits in the debate that we are doing because when we are talking about accessing services, we are talking of somebody who already has been infected or already has got a problem.
We are not saying go and have sex. We are saying child, if you find yourself you have had sex with your consent wherever you were, you should be allowed to go to a hospital to find whatever help you want there. So that is our debate Hon. Speaker Sir and I think I have to correct that. Culture cannot heal any STI and it cannot deal with the issues of pregnancy and of health when that child has got a tear in their cervics or whatever. Culture cannot deal with that. Even religion cannot deal with that. Yes, they can go and be prayed for, but they will need stitches in hospitals. They will need betadine for the wounds and they will need everything and this is what we are talking about - I think people should understand that.
I find it very hypocritical to have people saying – yes in this august House to a law was passed that children should be allowed to go to school when they are pregnant. We agreed on that as law makers’ because we said we were protecting the girl child not to lose their education when they become pregnant and it is a good cause. I find it rather disturbing that we can allow a child of 13 and 14 years to go to school while pregnant within the vicinity of other children, but we are saying no if that same particular child wants to go and prevent herself from getting pregnant. Where is the rationale?
We are not saying children should go and have sex but those that are doing that should be allowed to go and access the services that they want. We have got countries that are modernised and some people who have got money and who got their children in these countries and these services are availed in those countries, but we have those same people coming to Zimbabwe and saying we cannot have those services because we are a Christian country. So, it is okay that the children of the rich who are outside this country who have got those countries doing the same thing that we are advocating for are having it okay because their children are protected and us the poor in Zimbabwe and those that cannot pay. It is not like these services are not offered – they are, but they are only accessible to those with money and those without money cannot go to a private doctor and they are suffering.
We do not want a selective service to only those that have money. We want a service and a law that will cater for every child in Zimbabwe and that is what we were talking about when we were advocating for a Child rights Parliamentary Caucus and a Child Rights Ministry because we have seen that issues to do with children are being dealt with by people who do not have these children at heart. Some, I will use ‘some’ because if I say men, they will then stand up and disrupt again. Some of the men who are vocal about not allowing children accessing Sexual Reproductive Health Service (SRHS) are the same men that are violating children –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – For your own information, we have had meetings with young girls, they have revealed some of the most scary things that you can ever imagine.
The men do not want to have virginal sex with these children because they fear that they will fall pregnant. They now go for anal sex, with children of the ages of 12 to 17 years. These children are contracting STIs, they are being violated because if that is done to you, for you to gain the confidence again as a woman cannot happen. If you are an older woman like myself, you cannot go for that because I know I have the right to say no, but if I am a child and I am given $20.00, I comply. So these are the issues that we are speaking to and we are appealing to the Minister of Health to amend the Public Health Act to cater for these children, so that if they find themselves in those situations to go and find redress.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I stay with my 12 year old niece. This generation is completely different from what we were when we were 12 years. We never attended parties at 12 years. We never knew of anything if I tell you she tattoos herself, she writes love letters – you will find letters in her uniform. She is already in her menstrual cycle at 13 years old. What it means is, if what she is exhibiting is what she is practicing, it means any time from now, she can be pregnant at 13 years. I am talking of a child who is in Grade 7. I am always in Harare, I am not there most of the times but when I am there, I see these things. What does this mean? It means that all the dangers that we are speaking of here, are happening in my own house and I speak from experience. I am not paid to talk about these things, like somebody said that those who are saying they want this are paid. No, I am a young mother and I have got these children staying under my roof and I have my neighbours and I know what I am talking about. So, without taking everything from everyone’s mouth, I thank you.
(v)*HON. CHIHURURU: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice on the issue of children’s rights to access sexual reproductive health service. I know we are all in denial but this is happening. Our children are far ahead of us in terms of technology and they access these things without our consent and later want to experiment. As mothers, we can notice that my child is far much ahead of me in terms of everything.
I have a granddaughter who is four years old. I am in various groups where I can receive some unappealing things and pictures. When she noticed those pictures on my phone one day one day, she ran to my bedroom to have a better look at those pictures. I searched for her, only to find her hiding in the blankets so that she can enjoy seeing those pictures. This shows that we are behind in terms of what they know. They know a lot of things which we cannot believe.
I think we should visit bars as Members of Parliament, we will see the shock of our life with what will be happening to our young girls and these elderly men. Men are denying this but they are the ones who sleep with these young girls – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear hear.] –That is why we are appealing to the relevant Ministry to let children who need those healthcare services to be allowed to do so. They should be allowed to access condoms and family planning tablets if they need them because this is happening, whether we like it is not.
I once went to Mozambique, young girls would go to a hospital and get their pills and condoms. I asked why this is happening and they said we realised that if we do not allow them to use protection, they will not complete their education because our children are far ahead of us.
HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice on the joint Committee on Health and Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS. This motion was moved by Hon. Saizi, seconded by Hon. Dr. Labode. The gist of the matter here is, open access to health facilities by adolescents. The issue here is to allow these young girls to access health facilities. As parents, it is very difficult for us to believe that our little girls whom we love so much may be from the age of 8, 9 and 10 are sexually active.
I have spoken to teachers and I have spoken to girls themselves; they have agreed that they are doing it and as parents we must say, now what we need for our girls is precaution. We need them to access sexual reproductive health services with no restrictions if they need them. As one speaker alluded to, these are young girls. When they indulge in sex, they get hurt. When they do anal sex, they get bruised and it is difficult for them to tell mummy that this is what has happened.
In some churches, there are these aunties who check on girls’ virginity. So, there is no way these girls can accept to use the vagina, knowing that this lady in church will check. So, what do they do. They comply when men say they want anal sex and in the process they are bruised. When they are bruised, they need to go to the clinic to access health services. As a mother, it is not easy to say yes they are doing it, even coming to my own house to say that this is the truth and we cannot run away from the truth. It is happening, young as they are.
I will give an example of a little girl, 10 years old, who gave birth a few days ago. I am sure we all saw that she is a baby herself but she has given birth to a baby who weighs 2.8 kg. I am a mother of twins. One of my twins weighed 2.5 kgs and the other one weighed 1 kg but let me tell you going through that pregnancy was just a nightmare. I could not walk, it was just difficult for me. Now imagine this little girl, a 10 year old, going through this pregnancy and giving birth to a child who is 2.8 kgs. Maybe if this child had access to these facilities that we are talking about, she would have gone there and may be that pregnancy would have been terminated. Now she is 10 years old and she has got a baby. What is the society saying, she is now a mother. So we have mothers who are 10 years. What are we saying? Should they go to the clinic or not? What about those who are doing it without babies, bruised and need to be treated? Let us allow our little girls who are abused by these men, be it older or younger people. At the end of the day, what they need is facilities where they can be treated and again where they can tell their story. It is not easy for them to tell me as a mother or you as an aunt because you will say - what were you doing? Is this what you are doing? So there is need for a place which is secluded and you can tell your story and no one disturbs you.
Now this Act which is saying these little girls cannot access health facilities – I implore Hon. Members in this august House to change. We are the law makers and we can change this law today and not tomorrow. I implore Hon. Members to amend Section 35 of the Public Health Act on consent of users which specifies that consent is only given by a person with legal capacity to include an exception of the legal capacity requirement for adolescents to access sexual reproductive health services without a guardian’s consent in all cases.
I have seen my own relatives who were abused during their childhood because they could not access health facilities but they were damaged to an extent that they do not have children now as I am talking to you. If there was that facility, after being abused; they would have gone to a clinic and sought medical attention.
The world that we are living in has changed. There is ICT that our children are using and we cannot stop them from using ICT because they are using these tablets or phones at school. They google and find out about these things and they know exactly what is happening. You can try and stop them but they know exactly what is happening. In some of our homes especially in towns, we have small houses; we share bedrooms with these kids and we think that they are young at the age of four, five or six. We think they are still babies – they are not babies but they are seeing what is happening. They go and tell their friends and say, ‘come on let us try it. Is this what they were doing? Let us do it’ and they do it.
We cannot keep on allowing these girls not to access health facilities. The moral fibre of society will continue to be plugged in disarray if the health system continues to military stick in its execution of health service. The Alma-Ata Declaration on Health talks about health care for all and not an imaginary few. When these girls are pregnant, because they cannot come to mommy or aunty; they go to their peers who will tell them to use for example a crotchet hook so as to try and remove that pregnancy and in the process, they die. We have children who have died because they were trying to terminate these pregnancies.
I ask all mothers, aunties and even daddies; these are your girls. Support your girls, children or grandchildren. Let us speak with one voice. Some of them have STIs but they cannot access medication because some of these perpetrators are people whom we live with. They are fathers, uncles, daddy’s friends, brothers’ friends or neighbours. What will happen is –when this child talks to mom; mom will say – ‘do you want daddy to go to prison? Over my dead body – I will chase you from this House’. We have read stories where we have seen a man and a woman pining out a small girl and a man raping that little girl. We have seen it and we have read about it. This is happening – we cannot pretend as if nothing is happening. It is happening and let us protect our girl child. We are there as guardians; even God knows that we have to protect these children. He gave us so that we can protect them from all evils and the worst evil is when a man rapes a little girl and we keep quiet about it. When she wants to go to the hospital, you tell her what to say. We want a system whereby they will go and tell their story without anyone interfering.
When these pregnancies are being terminated, they must be terminated in a clean environment, which is the hospital. I implore you all Hon. Members to support this amendment of Section 35, to allow our little girls to get access in a clean and safe environment. I thank you.
(V)HON. MUSHORIWA: I would like to add my voice to the debate on the floor which was brought by the Portfolio Committee on Health together with the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS. The report was read by Hon. Saizi and was seconded by Hon. Dr. Labode.
I have listened to the report from the Portfolio Committee and I also listened to Hon. Saizi and Hon. Dr. Labode when she contributed in seconding this motion. I also listened to another Hon. Member who also contributed giving a dissent to this recommendation that the Portfolio Committee came up with. This issue is a critical matter that divides; no wonder why you could understand the emotions that comes through it.
Hon. Ndiweni highlighted that a number of people that participated in the hearings were against this proposal, primarily because they were –[HON. S. BANDA: Hear, hear.] – citing the issue of us being a Christian nation. On the other side Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also the call that the Portfolio and Thematic Committees have raised, the question that we do not need to put our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening and that indeed, there are young people out there who have matured beyond what we all know.
I have also understood Mr. Speaker Sir, being a Member of Parliament who represents one of the oldest high density suburbs in Zimbabwe which is Dzivarasekwa. I have listened generally talking to the christian and Moslem communities in my constituency who obviously will side with the sentiments that were echoed by Hon. Ndiweni and others. I have also spoken to other people who pointed out the number of girl children, those who have been to school be it Dzivarasekwa High 1 and High 2. Those adolescents who fell pregnant when they were in Forms 1 and 2 and could not complete their education.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if a referendum was to be done pertaining to this issue, it is my view that it is people’s emotions that will carry the day. What we want as a people is to continue holding onto what we have been doing and what we were taught even in this country. The two oldest professions in the world are politics and prostitution. Sometimes we close our eyes and say, no, there is no prostitution yet we know from the day that we started knowing the difference between good and wrong that people have been practicing prostitution for time immemorial. We also know that even since time immemorial, I do not know who the oldest person is in this august House but even if we were to talk to the oldest person in this august House, he/she will tell you that there were certain children that they attended school with who fell pregnant whilst they were in primary or secondary school. Some children who were so brilliant that failed to complete their education.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a few days ago, there was an issue that shocked the Dzivarasekwa Constituency. When schools closed recently, some of our children at Dzivarasekwa High Schools, there were some photos and videos that came out that basically shocked me as a legislator and representative. School children doing Form 1 and 2 were kissing, hugging and fondling each other’s private parts were being filmed without any shame. This is the reason why I feel that this is a very tight matter. We want to speak and stick to our way of doing business, we want our morals to remain upright and we want to stand as a nation built on christian values.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as a practicing Christian; I aspire and wish to see our children confirming to the norms and standards that our parents, teachers and the Bible teaches us. I am also very aware of the fact that in the Bible, even Jesus Christ does not force people to accept him but those who accept him become children of God. In a matter that is as tight as this is, we need to look and see the balance. What is better to allow the few children who are crossing the path to die through STIs, engage in back yard abortion or should we say as a nation and as Zimbabwe, we want to continue to uphold and claim that we are what we are or what we think we are?
In my view Mr. Speaker Sir, I will grudgingly believe that the best thing that we may need to do is to move in the direction that the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care is recommending. The issue, in my view, is not like we are saying let us go out there and tell the children to indulge. The issue is to do with us, making sure that we leave no one out because there are certain children definitely who are going to fall and we need them to be accommodated. At the end of the day Mr. Speaker Sir, the morals of a society start from homes that we come from. Most of us in our constituencies and across the country know that there are children who come from homes whose parents do not value the so called societal norms. What do you then do with a child who has crossed the line?
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have just been researching. We have a drug problem in my constituency and I suppose across the entire nation in terms of our youth. Here is the thing, if a youth is engaging in drug abuse, we do not turn a blind eye and simply say no, no, this boy is busy smoking dagga or drinking Bronco or this. Then we say no, no, Rujeko Clinic or Parirenyatwa Hospital should not attend to the child because he/she is less than 18 year age limit for people to drink beer. We attend to them and treat them. Let us also do the same to these children. Those who have crossed the line should also be attended to.
To that extent Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to persuade my colleagues to those who feel strongly on a moral, spiritual and cultural upright to simply say we are as strong as a nation as the weakest point. Let us consider and take the plight of those children who may also cross the line. In that regard Mr. Speaker Sir, I support that the Health Act be amended accordingly. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank the Portfolio Committee and in particular, the mover of this motion but more importantly for the work that they did in going around and engaging. In particular, let me thank them for engaging with young people because I think one of our biggest problems as a nation is to speak on behalf of the young people. If we listened more to the young people, we would understand where we are supposed to go because the life is not about us, it is about those young people.
I just want to start with a few things just to buttress the point that has been raised by my colleagues. They have said let us be clear about what this debate is about. It is not about asking kids to go and have sex, it is about facilitating that those that need the services should be able to get those services. Let me also explain because I keep hearing this thing about those that have messed up. In fact, it is those that have not yet messed up that need that SRHR. If we spoke to our kids more, they would understand that delaying sex is what is good for them. Because we have made the discussion around sex a subject that is not for the dinner table, let us be honest all of us who are sitting here how many of us have been able to sit with our kids over dinner and have a conversation about sex. We have not.
The reason why we are in this trouble is because we have failed ourselves both as parents, church and all other institutions that are supposed to do what they are supposed to do. What we are doing is to address a problem because of a failure that society has had. We are actually not talking about access so that we give access to those that have a problem but we have an opportunity for those that are thinking that this is what I want to do to have a conversation with somebody that can tell them about the problems that are associated with early sex.
I know that men may not like this but I have to say this. The reason why we are having a conflation around services and sex is because there have been studies that have been made. For men apparently they think about sex 19 times a day. So, when you talk about services, automatically their mind goes to sex. Can we stop this? It is not about sex but services. Women actually think about it but half the times that you men talk about it.
The second issue around this debate is that this is a class issue. It is not just a class issue in terms of those that go to Europe. It is a class issue internally here and this is why the elite cannot understand where we are coming from because a child that is coming from a rich family has a medical aid, family doctor, personal pharmacist and when they want these things, they do not have to go through their parents. There are avenues for them to do this. The child that we are talking about is the child who is sitting in Epworth who does not even have a parent or guardian. We know what HIV/AIDS has done to this country. We know that we have so many child headed households. These are some of the children that we are talking about. You cannot talk about guardianship with a child who is a child themselves but is looking after another child in that particular home.
There were some Hon Members who were talking about the need to allow for a section of those people to have access. Legally how do they do it? Are they then supposed to go with death certificates that they do not have to prove that our father and mother died therefore I am a child headed child and I want this child to get services. The issue is that let us allow for access in general because we understand that we are living in a society that is unequal. Like I said, for those that are coming from rich families if they get pregnant, they will walk into a place and get a termination. We know that is what they are doing. For this child that cannot go to a private doctor and get a termination, they are reduced to doing the kind of things that my colleagues were talking about.
The long and short of it is that this is a gender conversation and this is why when men were coming here, we were quick to say to them can you stop abusing us because for men, sex is about pleasure and not responsibility. For women and young people, any sexual act gives some kind of responsibility. That is where we are different between ourselves as women and men. This is why you find that for most women that are standing up here, they are passionate about it because it affects our daily lives. That is what we have always known from the first day that I became a girl and started menstruating and having period pains; I understood that I needed services. If you are going to tell me that I cannot go into hospital and tell them that I am suffering from dysmenorrhoea because I cannot talk to my dad and tell them that every other month I suffer in such a way that I cannot go to school, then you are not being a nation. This is why I said let us broaden the conversation around SRHR to go beyond just sex.
One of the problems that we are having here is the assumption that SRHR means that Doctor Labode is going to be standing in the street and giving tablets or condoms. Nobody is saying that. We are saying create a nice environment so that a proper conversation can take place with a child who probably has not had sex but is thinking about having sex. In your mind, you are saying even that child who just wants a conversation who if they were to sit with an adult, would be told about the dangers of not having sex. You are sitting here and you genuinely want to tell us that you want to stop that conversation from taking place.
I am surprised that for many of us, one of our fights in this House has been around making sure that we increase the age of consent to sex because we know that there are predators in this country who are busy abusing children. That conversation has not taken place in this House. As we speak right now, the age of consent legally is 12 years, that is what we should be fighting about. We should be sitting in this House and say this is ridiculous. We cannot have our little girls being abused. But no, you want to spend all your time fighting about access to contraception. You want to fight about issues of access but you do not want to talk about the legal age of consent. If you talk about legal age of consent, trust me, you will have all of us marching in the street because we are sick and tired of our children who are being abused.
Just to conclude, I am getting this emotional because I had an opportunity to sit under Katswe with a group of little babies, some of them HIV positive and looking very stunted. If a child is HIV positive and they have stunted growth, they even look smaller than their age and yet when you sat through and listened to these kids talking to you about men that come and have sex with them, you would be shocked. I do not want to say they are the men that are sitting here but men have to take collective responsibility for the kind of abuse that they are doing to our young children. For any one man in here to begin to speak against this particular motion is to say you are supporting those marauding men that we are finding in Epworth.
We are prepared to come out of this House right now and spend the night in Epworth and see what is happening to those little babies. They have been traumatised by losing a father and mother. They are traumatised because the economy does work for them, they have nothing to eat, they are being traumatised by men that come and sleep with them and you want to sit in here and further traumatise that child by saying you are not going to get access to treatment because we want to look good, because we want people to believe that we are the best people that live here, shame on you. You should actually be ashamed of going into this discussion. I have met those kids, perhaps it is not right for me to give that judgement. We should ask Katswe to invite some of those kids to sit in that courtyard and you listen to those kids speaking. Then you can come into this House and say in your right mind, with a proper conscience, you can go and sleep and say you would rather have that child die than to have that child go and seek help because you want to look good since you are a Christian. I am not going to say that I am a Christian but I know that I am a Christian but I also know that I am a sinner. So, that is not what I am putting in front. I am asking everybody not use the Bible as a stick to destroy these young children. If there is anything that we need to talk about right now, it is how we should create a safe environment for these little broken kids that are going to be adults but having experienced a very bad past of abuse. I like what Hon. Dr. Mataruse said, that hospitals are the places in which they can get both psychological support and physical examinations. I am a survivor of mental illness and I know what mental depression can do to a person. I am lucky I survived because I could get access to services but you certainly want to deny this little child anything that can give them an opportunity to at least live and like I said, shame on you. Thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I stand here to support the motion that was raised about children getting access to sexual health. I heard a lot of Hon. Members debating here and some people even showed us things that we cannot view in this House, an Hon. Member showing us condoms in this House. I was shocked as an old person. Our children are no longer ashamed to show us condoms in public. We want our children to get access to sexual health because as a grandmother or a mother, I cannot be told by someone who never gave birth - giving birth is very painful and as women in this House, you realise that women are celebrating that we should get access to sexual health reproductive care. We are not saying they should go to traditional doctors to get help but they should go to safe places for help even if they may have been abused. This will enable them to get proper professional assistance as well as counseling where they can be told that you went through these problems because you were a child but now you are mature enough. These facilities must be available to all the children. So, I will not go on but let me say as women in this House, we do not want to be shown things that are not good. Thank you.
*HON. JAJA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Girl child refers to a mother. This culture that is being talked about - if a girl child gets pregnant, as a mother you will suffer, you will not have peace in that house. It is as if you are the one who sent your daughter to engage in sex. So this is very clear, children need to be protected. If I am looking after my daughter, I do now want to be given a burden of looking after the grandchild, so they should get prevention before things go bad. If they get pregnant sometimes they do not have the money to go to clinics and other times they die during pregnancy.
We did consultations with Hon. Dr. Labode and children were pleading with us that they be allowed to use protectors because they do not get money to go to clinics when they get pregnant. So, they go around looking for unsafe ways to terminate the pregnancy thereby endangering them and die. I urge this august House to appreciate what a child is. I grew up under very difficult circumstances. We did not even know what a television is. We used to watch Sarafina drama, no pornography but these days children have access to everything. We should allow them to protect themselves instead of getting pregnant because you will not be able to take care of that. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was quiet and observing some people saying that the Bible must not be used but the Bible does not say anyone who commits a sin should be stoned to death. We are seeing a picture of a child who has given birth. Indeed, no one wants sin to be committed but it is being committed by people. I want to give an example. There was a person who saw a child being almost attacked by a vulture. That person was busy filming the child but when people saw that they had made a judgement that the biggest vulture was the one who allowed a bad thing to happen, the photographer left the child to be devoured by the vulture – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - What I am saying, ‘is we do not like children to do that. These days we do not spend most of the times with our children including Pastors’ children. Some of the people are prophets; the devil is using them and the devil is using young people also. They can be attacked by the devil. For example, this child has slept with a man at such a tender age and there is need to tell them not to use prevention methods. It is too late. Some of the children may be down-syndromes and the parents or guardians who are supposed to take care of them are abusing them. It is better for community leaders to teach these people to ensure that whether they like it or not, they should be able to report their grandparents in case of abuse. So we are saying - what should we do because we have problems in our midst? Jesus said the person who did not commit any sin should take the first stone to throw. We are not encouraging our children to engage in sex activities but we are merely acknowledging that they may be doing it, so we need to help them to prevent early child pregnancy. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members can you practice social distancing there please.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This issue has long been there but let us look at our culture as a point of reference. Let us look at the manner in which we got married ourselves. The process is very clear. You come in as the son-in-law and you are introduced to the family. I would like to say, Mr. Speaker Sir, everything has its own time. A child does not eat porridge before the time has come. The process should be followed accordingly. They start by being breast fed then they move on to the next stage.
Our culture is very clear. A child should be given ample time to grow up and reach the appropriate stage – [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member please! Order please, Hon. Member!
*HON. NYABANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, in our country we have our own culture. We do not allow people to die because they are simply fighting each other. We do not allow chaos to continue while we do nothing. We should find a sustainable solution instead. We should be in a position to advise these children on the best way to act. Who is teaching these children? These things should be taught to children and should not be left to continue without any action being taken.
Those who are rushing to say let us give condoms to these children are wrong. I have daughters myself. I look forward to my children experiencing the same cultural practices that we did as their parents. Let us not kill this nation. We should not abandon our culture simply because we have come through to the Parliament of Zimbabwe –[ AN HON. MEMBER: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani proceed. There is no point of order there.
*HON. NYABANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, as Members of Parliament let us come up with sustainable solutions to this crisis. Let us make sure our children have adequate knowledge with regards to this issue. From what we got from the Committee on Health I believe they only visited urban areas and not the rural areas. They should have involved chiefs and other traditional leaders to tap into their knowledge and their perspective on this particular issue. Even village heads, they should have listened to what they have to say on this issue.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Holy Bible clearly states that where a lot of people turn to one direction it does not necessarily mean that is the correct direction. We are actually losing it when we say we need to give condoms to these children. Let us follow our culture. Children should be safe guarded and we should do so through imparting knowledge to these children. Why harvest before time. Let us allow them and give them time to grow up.
I do not agree with what these Hon. Members are saying. Let us refer to our churches, let us refer to our traditional leaders. Let us not follow wayward ways of living. Honestly, what kind of reasoning is this that we have brought to the House? We should be upholding our culture; we should be imparting the proper knowledge to our children not to promote wayward behaviour. What are condoms meant for for our children? I am totally against those who have brought such an idea into the House. Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this House.
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this subject that is raising so many tempers. First of all I would like to thank the Committee on Health that did a joint with HIV and AIDS for the detailed report.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyoni I know you are alone there. Can you remove your mask?
HON. I. NYONI: Am I clear now. I do not have my mask on.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, you are now clear.
HON. I. NYONI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice on the report compiled by the Committee on Health and HIV and Aids presented by Hon. Size and seconded by Hon. Dr. Labode on the age of consent to access reproductive health services by adolescents and young persons in Zimbabwe. Section 76, Subsection 1 to 4 of the Zimbabwe Constitution states that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right and access to basic health care service, including the reproductive health. This right has no age limit. It transcends right down to those who are under the age of consent. It is important that young people have access to legal abortion and family planning services and education to both reproduction and health issues.
I am going to repeat what was said by Hon. Dr. Mataruse. Getting pregnant involves two people that is, male and female, transmission of STIs involves two people, that is male and female. My recommendation is that we have the Public Health Act amended accordingly. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
(v)*HON. NHARI: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to support the motion that was moved by Hon. Saizi and seconded by Hon. Labode.
Nowadays, children know things that we did not know when we were growing up. This is due to the exposure that they get from the advancement of technology and they end up indulging in sexual activities at a young age.
The current Public Health Act does not allow young people below the age of 18 to access medical healthcare without the consent of a parent or guardian. As a result, many adolescents die or suffer from sexually transmitted illnesses because they do not want their parents to know that they are engaging in sexual activities.
What I am saying is, children should be educated on SRHS. Also, they should be allowed access to healthcare, even without the consent of their parents, so that we do not lose them. We also have children from child headed families and they should be assisted so that they access healthcare services.
Let us help each other as a nation in order to assist our children. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
(v)*HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to this debate appreciating the Hon. Members who went around finding out how our children are living. In this country Zimbabwe, we have two types of children. There are children from rich families and those from poor families. Children from rich families use protection because they get money from their parents as pocket money. Some of them can even have a US $1000 on them, whilst poor ones do not have even a cent. They will buy protection from the pharmacies. I worked for a pharmaceutical industry for 20 years. They buy morning after pills and family planning tablets; even school children.
If you look at statistics of children who got pregnant during the lockdown, it is so frightening. Some of the parents sold their crops for children to go to school and yet they get abused by rich men, including some Legislators. If you look at some of the well-up people, if you want to do your research go ahead. Some of the officials in high offices are the ones who are impregnating these children. So the issue of giving children access to sexual healthcare is very important and I support it. It is better for us to do that so that they go through school and complete their education and become tomorrow’s leaders. We are losing a lot of future leaders because of culture that is no longer operational or relevant.
My child who is seven years old can operate my cellphone better than myself. So, our children are engaging in sexual activities day and night. It is better for them to prevent themselves from getting pregnant.
On one hand, they are afraid of their parents and on the other hand, they are being abused by rich people who are indulging in sex with them. Mr. Speaker, I would like to say this law must be enforced. Children should get access to condoms and choose on their own what they want to do. As it is at the moment, admitting it or not, they are engaging in sex. We hear about children engaging in sex from all over the country and some of them contracting HIV. It is a pity that children who are getting married even at 18 years are already on ART. We try to invoke culture which is no longer applicable, it is no longer relevant in the 21st century. It is better for our children to use protection so that they do not get diseases and so that they get married properly and become future leaders. We need to consider this so that it becomes law. They should be given condoms and get them in numbers so that they get protection.
(v)HON. DR. T. KHUPE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to contribute to the debate which is before this House. I have seen children losing opportunity because they got pregnant and they dropped out of school; they had an abortion and they ended up losing their womb such that they cannot give birth anymore...
(v)HON. PETER MOYO: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
(v)HON. PETER MOYO: My point of order is that I did not finish, I was just about to conclude my debate.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I have made a decision to call Dr. Khupe because you were no longer there. Dr. Khupe please proceed.
(v)HON. DR. T. KHUPE: I was saying I have seen children losing opportunities because they got pregnant. They had a child and because they got pregnant and they an abortion, they ended up losing their wombs such that they cannot have babies anymore since they got HIV at a tender age. This is not right and I think it is high time we stop all this. Contraceptives help to protect people from getting pregnant and from catching infections during sex. The motion before us is important because prevention is better than cure. The fact of the matter is that our children are already indulging in sex and it is our duty to protect them.
My heart bleeds when I see a child carrying a child. We have now turned our children into mothers and fathers when they are not yet ready for that responsibility. It is high time we wake up and smell the coffee. Look at the picture on the screen and look at that miserable child who is carrying another child and breast-feeding. These children are going through serious trauma Mr. Speaker Sir. What we need to do is to have conversations with adolescents to the effect that not having sex is the best way to protect them from HIV, STIs and unwanted pregnancies but at the same time, it is important that our children be protected by having access to protection through sexual reproductive and health rights services. Our children must have access to these services. I therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, would like to add my voice in short by supporting the recommendation by the Committee. I rest my case.
HON. SAIZI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday 9th June, 2021.
On the motion of HON. PRISCILLA MOYO, seconded by HON. TOFFA, the House adjourned at Twenty-Two Minutes to Six o’clock p.m