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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 08 OCTOBER 2020 VOL 46 NO 73
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 8th October 2020
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 changes to membership of committees whereby Hon. E. Mutodi has moved from the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.
HON. TOGAREPI: I rise on a matter of privilege. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to share my observation for the past sittings that we have been in Parliament as Members of the august House. I have observed convergence in the way we conduct business. It has been heart warming to see Members of Parliament, despite our diversity, discussing pertinent issues that are very important to the generality of our people with honour and dignity. This has been very important and I hope that this new found maturity in terms of behaviour prevails and we continue to work together in our diversity for the good of our country. It is my request that we take a cue from our leadership in this country, in particular our President who works daily and tirelessly for the betterment of the people of Zimbabwe. While we differ in many ways, I have seen from both sides of the House, people now beginning to concentrate on constructive debate supporting the issues that come to the House for deliberations. I think it is very critical that we maintain that and it is good for us as Whips to see Members concentrating to do business of the day not things that divide us. I think going forward, we will see all Members of Parliament working judiciously for the good of our people. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Togarepi, although you were a bit hesitant about qualifying the nature of the diversity. Impute it to mean political diversity – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Inaudible interjection.] – Zuva risati radoka, wakutangisa Hon. Chikwinya. Haunyare. - [Laughter.] -
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to say a few words to this House. I want to ask how the children are going to do about the issue of going to school. Right now, looking at Harare where I come from, children wake up as early as 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to prepare to go to school. They are going to wait for the buses which ferry people who go to work. Sometimes it depends with the organiser at the bus terminus that he or she gives school children opportunity to board first or not. Sometimes they end up punishing and shoving each other to get into the bus. When they finish school at 1 p.m. they wait for the buses that ferry people who come from work for them to get the opportunity to board a bus. What can we do as august House since this issue of buses was once talked about and it was said that buses will be availed to ferry school children. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. That is a very important observation and I am hoping that you will follow it up next on question time so that you can fully debate your observation on the ground.
HON. MASANGO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of privilege. The 10th October is the World Day Against the Death Penalty. This is commemorated annually to highlight the plight of those who have been denied the most essential human right of all, the right to life. This commemoration is on Saturday. Taking into consideration the events of the past weeks; whereby every woman, every mother is commiserating with Tapiwa Makore’s mother, it is not a secret that Tapiwa was murdered because one of the perpetrators was seen on our national television explaining how he did it. The way the gruesome murder was executed leaves every mother in tears. On 18th February, in this House, Hon. D. Sibanda moved a motion on the abolition of the death penalty. It was debated and we are yet to reach a consensus. Today, as a country, we are dumbfounded by the killing of Tapiwa Makore. So how are we as legislators going to encourage the commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty while there is this heavy shadow hanging over us Mr. Speaker sir? My prayer as a woman is for justice to prevail and not justice which keeps these murderers in prison vachidya mari yenyika. Vakauraya Tapiwa Makore must also be executed. They did not value his life, so why should we value theirs? Tapiwa had a right to life but some people thought otherwise. Do we commemorate the World Day Against the Death Penalty or not Mr. Speaker Sir? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Masango, I think together with Hon. Members - you have to insist that the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs does inform the House on the measures that are being taken by the Executive to ensure that the death penalty is abolished. I think you are aware of the fact that the Head of State and Government, His Excellency Cde. E. D Mnangagwa is averse to the death penalty. So you will need to move as Parliamentarians to ensure that the law is amended accordingly.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker, the point of privilege raised by the Hon. Member is actually to ask us as Zimbabweans to reflect on our position over the death penalty. How can we commemorate this day on the death penalty with this shadow of murder hanging over us? This is not only on the death of Tapiwa Makore but of the other man in Rusape and the other young boy in Mashonaland West. She is saying we must actually call for the death penalty to be enforced because these murderers do not deserve a life after taking other people’s lives. So, your response I do not think it speaks to what she is concerned about. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. Come up with your position as the House accordingly.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, No. 1 to 23 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 24 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
ALL-INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT POLICIES CATERING FOR THE NEEDS OF PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITIES
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Mr. Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that;
NOTING that Zimbabwe ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013;
ALSO NOTING that Section 83 of the Constitution exhorts the State to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities realise their full mental and physical potential;
CONCERNED that persons with disabilities continue to be marginalised in socio-economic development initiatives, including disbursement of the Covid 19 Lockdown cushioning grants for vulnerable groups and e-learning facilities during the lockdown;
ALSO CONCERNED that the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] of 1992 has been overtaken by events and no longer adequately caters for the rights of persons with disabilities;
NOW THEREFORE, calls upon:
- a) the Government to craft all-inclusive development policies which cater for the needs of persons with disability, amongst other groups;
- b) the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to urgently provide specific grants and e-learning packages for persons with disabilities respectively by 31st July, 2020; and
- c) the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to present a Bill to Parliament which aligns the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] to the Constitution and domesticates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by 31stDecember 2020.
HON. E. NCUBE: I second.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is worth acknowledging that the Government of Zimbabwe came up with the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe Amendment, Number 20  which among other good sections promulgated SectionS 22 and 83 on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Since then, some achievements have been made to ameliorate the needs of persons with disabilities. However, more still needs to be done in terms of buttressing inclusivity and empowerment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Government of Zimbabwe is called upon to craft all inclusive development policies that promote the needs of persons with disabilities. These policies should start with the availability of disaggregated data in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – which data can be aggregated to provide information that facilitates positive responses to the needs of persons with disabilities. As of now, there is inadequate data on the statistics of persons with disabilities all the way from village level to Ministry.
In schools, where inclusive education has been pronounced Mr. Speaker Sir, for quite some years now, a number of school buildings including toilets still remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities. During pre-visits to monitor the state of preparedness for schools towards re-opening after this COVID-19 pandemic, it was observed that the template that was used as an assessment tool did not reflect anything on preparedness of schools to receive and manage health issues of the disabled learners.
Government should also come up with clear policies on the allocation of resources to persons with disabilities. Good examples are the allocation of agricultural land, residential and commercial stands and even employment opportunities in the Government sector like teaching. There should be specific ratios that reflect how sensitive we are to the needs of persons with disabilities.
At this juncture Mr. Speaker Sir, it is also important to state that the number of Hon. Members in our Parliament who are directly responsible for persons with disabilities is too small to mention. Efforts should also be made to ensure that there is rehabilitation of persons with disabilities within their own communities and social environment. This promotes inclusivity at local level and a sense of belonging, thereby eliminating the stigma that some people associate with disability. Persons with disabilities in schools and communities should receive education on deadly diseases like HIV and AIDS and also sexual reproductive health rights so that they contribute effectively to the development of our nation.
Section 5 (b) (ii) of the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17.01.1992] seek to enable disabled persons to, as far as possible lead independent lives. In 2019, the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development made the following observations among others. That there were no disability grants and social protection; there was lack of access to revolving funds or loan facilities and lack of equal support and opportunities in entrepreneurship. It is against this background that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should provide specific grants to persons with disabilities. Mr. Speaker Sir, the present scenario therefore promotes the charity model where persons with disabilities are viewed as people who survive through begging and receiving food handouts from wellwishers. Given the relevant grants, persons with disabilities are empowered. Section 5, 1(b) Article of the 1992 Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] which is still in use today states that to “encourage and put into operation schemes and projects for employment or generation of income by disabled persons who are unable to secure employment elsewhere”.
If a disabled person gets something like RTGS 300 per month, that will not be enough to empower the individual like one who gets a grand. That can ensure the realisation of the full potential of the disabled recipient, thus given the requisite grants; persons with disabilities can effectively participate in agriculture SMEs, sport and education and hence contribute towards vision 2030.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the effects of COVID-19 did not spare persons with disabilities who in actually fact were the most affected. The closure of schools in particular implied the end of effective learning for learners with disabilities while some learners had E-learning facilities. Those with disabilities could not afford those expensive gadgets that are user friendly to their nature of disability. Now that schools are reopening in phases, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should include E-learning devices in the package of learning materials for learners with disabilities to cover up for the lost time during the lockdown. Coupled with this challenge is the absence of a standard sign language and assistive devices.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in their 2019 recommendations the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development stated that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should, as a matter of urgency, bring to this Parliament the Disabled Persons Bill which has been in draft form since 2019.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should align the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and domesticate the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities. It is now 7 years since the birth of the Zimbabwean Constitution and yet the disability legislation of 1992 has not yet been aligned to the Constitution. Thus the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01] of 1992 is now obsolete because it is no longer in tandem with the Zimbabwe Constitution of 2013 and the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007. Therefore, the Act does not reflect advancement in human rights for the past 13 years. The Disabled Persons Act has been promoting the charity model of looking at disability instead of the current human rights approach as reflected in Section 22 and 83 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the CRPD of 2007.
Mr. Speaker Sir, although policy makers realised the need to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013 and as a crucial step towards advancement of human rights, the convention has not yet been domesticated. Section 11(c) of the Disabled Persons Act requires that Zimbabwe should give effect to the needs of persons with disabilities under any convention, treaty or agreement. Section 34 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that the State must ensure that all international conventions, treaties and agreements to which Zimbabwe is a part are incorporated into domestic law. Section 327(II) (a and b) of same Constitution says an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority (a) Does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament. (b) Does not form part of the law of Zimbabwe unless it has been incorporated into the law through an Act of Parliament. It is mandatory then that Zimbabwe domesticates the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that the human rights approach to disability is in line with international best practices. So, I submit Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. E. NCUBE: Thank Mr. President for giving this opportunity to contribute a few words to this motion on disability which has been moved by Hon. J. Sithole. I think in this country, we have many disabled people and they are disabled in different ways. We are facing a challenge of COVID-19 and disabled people are facing a very difficult time. During the first 21 days of lockdown, noone was able to move even the able bodied ones could not leave their homes. The people who were affected most are the disabled people. They could not find food from anywhere. We were expecting that the Ministry of Public Service would first consider the people with disability because these people are not able to help themselves at all. The Ministry was not able to do that.
The small to medium enterprises sector were being considered more than the disabled people. This is something which surprised us and we are not happy because we are not following the laws which we agreed in the country and other countries, the conventional laws. The able bodied benefited first compared to the disabled, we were expecting and we are still expecting that these people must be given help by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare like what was happening in the past so that they can have money to buy basic needs like mealie-meal, soap and pay school fees for their children.
There is another issue that came out a few weeks ago where these people were taken as useless people. This happened in Masvingo at TM shop when an albino person said I cannot use sanitizers because of my condition and he or she was told you are not able to buy – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is a disability which these people have but they must be treated like everyone else. Their skin is sensitive. She wanted to go into the shop and was told to sanitise her hands to be able to get into the shop but she refused to sanitise because her skin is sensitive. So she was refused entry into the shop.
Such behaviour is bad in our country that we deny a person their right to buy things to support his/her family because of the disability because their skin is different from others. We condemn such behaviour in this country. We wish that people who do these things could be given a certain penalty because this is bad and this person is like that because of God not by will.
Still on the issue of the disabled people, most of them were now coming from the streets but now because of COVID, there are now many disabled people in the streets which is bad for their health. We are fighting for good health for these disabled people but we are doing nothing. So I plead that the disabled people should be given help by the Government as compared to other people. They must be the first people to be given help by the Government whilst the able bodied come last because disabled people cannot help themselves.
There is another issue of the disabled people. Right now when we go to Public Hearings, we see that a disabled person is willing to attend the hearings so that they can air their views but because they do not have transport from point A to B, the person ends up staying at home and the person will not be able to air his/her thoughts. Government must consider and analyse these issues. Yes, we know that in the past when food was distributed through the Public Service, here and there, they were given but a lot of the food was for the underprivileged. For many months, these underprivileged were not getting any food. So how are they living? These issues must be resolved by our Government. Thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion on the challenges faced by the disabled people. The time when the country is having challenges is the time when we must be doing everything possible to help a person who is disabled and the underprivileged. We must have time to reflect on the disabled people. As an Hon. Member and all Hon. Members in this House to think that because today you are walking with your two legs, have your two hands and eyes, is assurance that you are going to die the same way only means you are not thinking clearly because disability can come any day. You can be disabled any day.
We must live knowing that the laws which we must follow as Parliament, Government and areas where we stay, the laws which promote the rights of the disabled must be implemented properly because tomorrow you might end up being disabled. I heard the one who raised the motion saying that nowadays because of COVID-19, we have done what we can to prevent people from contracting COVID-19. We must also look closely at all the ways we are using to prevent, how we have catered for the disabled people with their different disabilities. We are a country which is known worldwide in protecting the disabled people.
We have experts in this country like Jairos Jiri who stood to protect the disabled people by giving them shelter, food and as the Zimbabwean family, we must look at how we can raise the expertise which was left behind by Jairos Jiri. There are places which have people with disabilities. How can these facilities be improved because those who normally give food and other things to the disabled cannot go to Kapota or Jairos Jiri in Bulawayo because they were also affected by COVID-19 in terms of sourcing for funding to help the disabled. So, right now these places were the disabled people are being looked after must be looked into.
Looking at the issue of COVID-19, I am hurt – to hear that in Masvingo there was an Albino who was denied entry into a shop. All of us know that COVID-19 made us to wash our hands or use sanitisers to protect ourselves but I think those from Ministry of Health must help us to look at the suitability of the medicines or if they will have an effect on the Albinos. They should be able to tell us which medicines have effects and which ones do not have so that they can be protected from this disease because this disease does not select. It affects everyone. Even the disabled people can contract COVID-19, but looking at their health first so that we do not disturb their health whilst we are trying to protect them.
Schools are opening and there are schoolchildren who are disabled in different ways. Their skin is sensitive, walking to school and other things, but right now we have heard that boarding buses to schools is difficult for the able bodied. What about those who are surviving with disability? Are they going to be able to handle the pressure in getting into buses? We must have a plan to solve this issue. When we are fighting with a problem that is within the country – we should do it accordingly, accommodating the disabled.
We are the representatives of the people; we have the responsibility to explain to people within our constituencies that when a country is faced with a problem like a cyclone, right now we are getting into the rain season; the disabled people will be facing money problems. Even if the able bodied face a problem – this will be too high for the disabled. I encourage Members of Parliament to have a programme to educate the constituents about the disabled and how best we can help them to get whatever they want during the time of need.
When we experienced the cyclone, many disabled around the country were affected. When we get into a difficult situation, we must do the proper thing. I also wish that we support the laws and conventions that have been brought into this House. When we pass such laws in this country, the disabled people will be able to live well. I wish that as Parliament we should do everything possible at a fast pace. Most of us here are able bodied but tomorrow, you can be involved in an accident and end up being disabled. If you delay to make a law, you are delaying your help. Even when you are grown old, you may not be able to help yourself. It is another sign of being disabled. We must craft laws looking at all these things, considering that this affects everyone else.
When the Minister of Finance comes with the Budget, we must ensure that social welfare receives enough money, focusing on disabled people. We must take care of the disabled because these are the people who have got the right to be taken care of by us. Disability can occur any time, despite the fact that some people are born disabled. We must have rights to be protected properly.
In conclusion, we have the opportunity which Jairos Jiri exhibited. He was a hero who dedicated his life to work for the disabled although he was not disabled. This means that as Zimbabweans, we managed to get an example from him. In our constituencies, we must have a number of those who are disabled and what can we do for them; what Government has done for them and what the NGOs have done. They must live a decent life because they are Zimbabweans, just like us. They have rights just like us, they are only different in that they are not as fit as we are. We must be able to help them in all ways. I thank you.
*HON. MPARIWA: May I take this opportunity to thank Hon. Sithole who is a member of the Public Service and Labour Committee. I am also a member of that Committee.
The Committee saw it fit after realising that there are a lot of treaties that are discussed in this Hon. House but often, people tend to overlook the needs of the disabled. There is nothing like people living with disability – it should be people with disability because if you say people ‘living’; it is as if you apply for it but you do not apply for this. It is God’s will, sometimes you are born like that.
Hon. Speaker, I find it so disturbing that in 2013 when this convention was supposed to be ratified, after doing everything – I wish that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should bring the amendment of that Bill from 1992. I once brought it here when I was Minister of Social Welfare. There was a lot that was presented including the speaker who raised this motion.
I have three points that I want to raise. If you look at Section 83 of the Constitution – it enables us to make laws to give enough rights to the disabled. The 2013 Convention enables us to give an opportunity to address the rights of the disabled in various Government ministries; be it in the Ministry of Youth. In this country, there are 10% of people with disabilities. What it means is that it is the duty of the legislators here to find out where they are, what they are doing, how they live and what can be done for them. Just like what we do when we campaign to be elected into office. It is important as representatives of the people to talk to these people so that we get to know their needs. Next week we will be going out as Members of Parliament with the Budget Portfolio Committee and Expanded SDGs. We should be able to get their views. They should tell us what they feel about the previous Ministry and the previous Budget. They should look at what is happening in all the ministries.
There is also the fact that there are disabled women and the Ministry should assist all those people. If you look at it, people are born of women and sometimes some are born of a disabled woman. They need assistive devices and equipment such wheelchairs and gadgets to use for eyesight or hearing aids. If I take off my spectacles, I will not be able to see properly and that is a kind of disability. How many people are there in our constituencies that are not able to read their Bibles? When we grew up there was United Omnibuses and they were dedicated for the disabled. Right now how may commuter omnibuses have facilities for the disabled? The ratification is in tandem with the Constitution. You should not prescribe to them what should happen but they should be assisted in all aspects of life. If we talk of wheelchairs we should provide for them. How many disabled do we see on the streets begging, sometimes with bad wheelchairs because they are poor. All Government ministries and departments should coordinate and work together to address this issue.
I turn on to discrimination. All the disabled persons are discriminated. Sometimes parents or couples would divorce and cite the problem being from the other couple’s background. The blame game would go on. Let us remember that as each day goes we are going towards our death or disability. How many got disabled because of vehicle accidents. When we address issues of the disabled let us remember that it is not only the needs of those people but you can also find yourself in that situation tomorrow.
I will now turn to buildings and infrastructure. In the past, buildings would be constructed with facilities that cater for the disabled, but these days you would hardly find such facilities with ramps. They struggle to get into buildings, be it in banks or Government’s offices. They struggle because the facilities are not user friendly to them. We should not only look at the Ministry of Labour, let us look at all the ministries and departments because they can assist in one way or the other. There should be coordination in order to assist those people.
Let me now look at the hospital facilities. The disabled people suffer a lot in hospitals more than those that are able bodied. Our hospitals should take the disabled people as people with rights to a good livelihood and should be given priority. It is so embarrassing and shocking that disabled people also join the queues as if it is business as usual in hospitals. Let us remember that it is not all of us with equal needs. We are not the same. When someone is disabled, they need assistance. When it comes to allocation of land, we would also want to know how many disabled people benefited - be it in residential stands, how many benefited.
Mr. Speaker, we want to hear on the reports on empowerment of such people. This issue touches me because my father had a stroke and stayed in the wheelchair for seven years. We prepared a friendly environment for him. As you know Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members, I am a Member of that Committee and havea passion for that, and that we be able to adopt this motion, supported by the Committee of Social Welfare. This is the Committee that caters for the needs of the less privileged and the needy. It also takes care of the workers. I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the discussion. I support all the other speakers who have gone before me and what they have said about people living with disabilities. I implore this House and society at large to take note that disability is not a curse and that all of us have a potential to be like those living with disabilities. We can be involved in accidents and many various disasters in our lives. So the people living with disabilities are just like us. I want to address the issue of needs of those living with disabilities. It is true to say that by their nature those living with disabilities have more needs than the able-bodied. They live a very expensive life, more than all of us seated here. Even when it comes to their education, it is also very expensive and some because of mobility challenges also have very expensive assistive devices. They need rams and special facilities. In fact they need user friendly facilities which suit their nature.
It was very painful one of these fine days in the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education whereby we invited parents of children with disabilities. We literally had a mother who cried before us because of the challenges she is facing in taking care of her child with autism. This mother is a professional woman who has gone to school and has so many degrees but has forgone work so that she can be home to take care of her autistic child. I am addressing the issue of the needs of those living with disabilities. They need special care and this is very expensive. If we take a situation whereby a mother is no longer going to work so she can be fulltime at home to take care of her autistic child, it means that family remuneration from the mother is zero. Maybe they will be waiting for one salary if the father is going to work or no salary at all.
I am appealing to this House and our Government to take this issue seriously. Besides what I have said, their health requirements are also very expensive. My colleagues have talked about lotions for those with albinism, they are very expensive. Therefore, Government has to give more to this group of people.
Let me also address the issue of discrimination which my other colleagues have also talked about. What we need is attitude change in all of us starting from this House, attitude change going to employers, the education system and all citizens. Why I am saying so is because I have witnessed that even at schools when it comes to recruitment of learners, those given first preference are the able-bodied. Schools tend to avoid or shy away from recruiting those with disabilities. I think the general thinking is that they will heap problems on them or heap pressure on their resources because they have to cater for their needs. So, there is a lot of discrimination at the recruitment process in schools. Not only that, even at homes we have heard several cases whereby those children with disabilities are hidden from the public maybe because some parents think it is a curse or they will be discriminated against when they go out. We have to change holistically our attitudes towards those with disabilities starting from the home to the schools, wherever as I have already alluded to. On jobs also, I think it is true to say that where there is an option of recruiting somebody who is able-bodied, employers may tend to recruit the able-bodied first which is not proper. We need attitude change in the homes, schools and with employers.
My colleagues have also talked about the transport system which is not friendly to those living with disabilities. Many a time we push around even those with clutches. We do not give them first preference but I have noticed that even when we go to some supermarkets they tend to give preference to the 65 year olds and over, the so-called old generation but those with disabilities who need more of this assistance more than us are not recognised. So, as a country, starting from this Parliament, we need to ensure that we give them the space which they need and offer them social, economic and even political assistance. Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is good to say that we appreciate what the Government is doing in terms of social services to those living with disabilities but like what my colleagues have already said, I think this is not enough. We need to see first preference being given to those living with disabilities before these social services can be rendered to all of us.
I was just thinking aloud that government is also giving the much talked about pfumvudza to those who are able to dig the ground, but what about this group which needs more than us? Have we done enough and have we also given them those packages we are giving to those who have dug the holes? I implore this august House to come up with legislation which takes good care of those living with disabilities because like I have said before, all of us here have a potential to be in a worse scenario than those we are seeing living with disability. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this debate.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I have stood up to also add my voice to this debate looking at the plight of those living with disability. Looking at my constituency Rushinga, I made an analysis of how many are disabled and they came up to 40 that need wheel chairs. I tried to buy the wheel chairs but each one costs $6000 and I am still paying for those wheel chairs. I think this law was long overdue; we should have debated this issue long back because these people live very pitiful lives. When they board buses they are asked to pay yet they are not getting any money at the end of the month and they do not get any food. So, my thinking as a representative of the people is that those living with disability should get some allowance and food assistance from Social Welfare. They should get free transport if it is public transport. If they are children who are disabled, they should have free access to transport especially on buses – Government should pay for them. Their children should attend Government schools for free, some of these things are done on paper but do not happen in reality. On paper, it is written that they are supposed to be assisted yet on the ground you will find that they are struggling. So I think that Government should further make findings and see to it that those living with disabilities get help
Looking at my constituency in Rushinga, I see a lot of people living with disability – some were born like that, others it is due to landmines that were left behind during the liberation struggle. Sometimes disability comes from nowhere, therefore such people may have families and may be bread winners but they are no longer able to fend for their families. I think that Government should intervene; the Department of Social Welfare should have statistics on their needs and the kind of assistance that they require so that they may lead better lives because if they continue to struggle, even if they try to make families, their families will also suffer and poverty becomes perpetual. At times people living with disabilities are not employed, they are discriminated against when it comes to employment but that is not to mean that they are not able to do anything.
I urge that there be legislation to ensure that companies also employ such people so that they are able to fend for their families. When it comes to vacancies, when we look at office bearers be it here in Parliament; let us try to find out how many people living with disabilities are here. Sometimes there is a lot of discrimination people feel that they are not able to do anything. Personally, I feel that this debate was long overdue because people out there who are living with disabilities are facing a lot of challenges. We should be able to come up with binding resolutions to assist those living with disabilities. With these words, I pray that God’s mercy be upon us so that we come up with resolutions to assist people living with disabilities. I thank you.
*HON. PETER MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for tabling this debate. When you look carefully at local authorities countrywide, how many local authorities are able to facilitate for people living with disabilities who may be blind, et cetera that have been given access to residential stands or accommodation? I think we should come up with legislation to compel local authorities to set aside 15% for those living with disabilities even in fuel queues. The 15% to local authorities should be dedicated to those living with disabilities in terms of allocation of residential stands or houses.
In fuel queues, there should not be debate on the fact that they are supposed to get fuel and then go. When you look at my constituency in Southerton and Rugare, there are a lot of people living with disabilities. For example, I had a serious problem with Mrs. Maphosa or mai Wilson for the past two weeks. Her rentals were continuously being hiked as a way of forcing her out. So she bought 10 000 bricks and wants assistance to build two rooms. I have written to local authorities and other construction companies to assist her as a lot of people come to the Hon. Member of Parliament at all times to seek assistance. I am not able to assist them because I am also poor.
When the police arrest people living with disabilities – they do not even consider and care about what the law says when dealing with such people. Government should have clear legislation on dealing with people living with disabilities, be they at service stations or wherever. They are supposed to apportion land dedicated for service stations and meant for those living with disabilities. In this country, Government also has a lot of mines. Why is it so difficult for Government to dedicate a mine to people living with disabilities so that they may benefit from their Government in that way?
If we ratified the Convention as Zimbabwe, why are we failing to fulfill that when we are endowed with various resources including minerals? This should be fulfilled and people living with disabilities should be allocated working space in farms where there are double allocations. Those farms should be confiscated and be reallocated to those living with disabilities. If we are able to assist in programmes such as Pfumvudza, where we assist able bodied people in Command Agriculture, can we fail to dedicate such resources to people living with disabilities?
I also urge Government to dedicate a Ministry that is solely for people living with disabilities and not have a desk within another Ministry – this should not happen because it is not helpful. Currently, as Members of Parliament, we were advised to write down the names of those living with disabilities but to date, they have not received any form of assistance. Those who may have benefited are very fortunate. Some people were maimed during the liberation struggle, some of us have five or so relatives who went to war and others are not even known. Maybe those living in urban areas maybe benefiting but those living in rural areas are not. So Government should ensure that such a law is implemented with immediate effect.
During the Cyclone Idai catastrophy, some of these people were wiped away by the floods and lost all their property…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, order Hon. Members, you are supposed to maintain a social distance of a metre apart please. You may proceed Hon. Member.
*HON. PETER MOYO: Some of the issues have already been raised by my predecessors. I also would like to add that indeed they spoke what I wanted to say but I would like to reiterate that I also share the same that that law should be passed immediately and those issues should be addressed immediately especially in local authorities. I suggest 15% should be legislated and local authorities must be accountable so that they tell us how many people are living with disabilities and have they been allocated stands or houses? I thank you.
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Public Service and Labour Committee members who brought up the motion that is being debated. Most of the time we think that people living with disabilities should only be people who survive on handouts. We know that they are a lot of people like Somandhla Ndebele or Mujaji and there is also this musician who sings with Sulumani Chimbetu. They are successful because they were being assisted by some people. If Government dedicates some resources to such people, they will succeed. One of the speakers said people living with disabilities may be 15% of the population.
If we say 15%, that is a huge number which means they are supposed to get help. If it is Local Government, they are supposed to get their 20% allocation because they are not able to go and join the waiting list to get those houses or join queues to get access to water. This becomes very hard for them. I really appreciate that there are a lot of those conventions that we ratified but as a country, we are not considering those conventions, so we should consider them in order to assist such people.
One of the things that surprises me is that we may talk about people living with disabilities but here as Parliament, our Hansard is not printed in Braille form, which means the blind may not be able to read our debates.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I need to keep on reminding Hon. Member, we need to maintain social distance. I am addressing you Hon. Dzuma please.
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was talking about the Braille language and that the Hansard should also publish a publication in Braille form to cater for visually impaired people. I remember when I was the Chairperson of the Public Service Committee, our witnesses were visually impaired, so they were supposed to take oath and they objected because they said they were supposed to read on their own. That is when I realised that indeed as Parliament, we must have documents in Braille form.
I remember sometime I saw a pregnant woman on television. That woman was carrying a very deformed baby so she was advised to terminate the pregnancy. When she gave birth she was advised not to breast feed the child so that the child dies but she refused. The baby was very deformed, the nostrils were wide open, the baby could not feed because the mouth was deformed, it fed using a teaspoon and also her limps needed surgery. We do not have a law to address that and to date, that child is suffering together with the mother. No one is offering to assist, not even doctors offered to assist that child. I think such conventions should be domesticated and implemented. I have a teaching background. With reference to radio lessons, there are some children who are deaf so they were not benefitting from radio lessons because they are deaf but they are supposed to sit for examinations just like the able bodied students.
In countries like Malawi and Kenya, when a child is born with albinism, they are killed for ritual purposes because there is a belief that such children bring wealth. I am grateful for the fact that in our country we do not do such things. I also heard about buildings that are friendly to the disabled community. When I was a teacher, I used to see some children coming to school on wheel chairs and they would find it difficult to get into classrooms but I am glad that some classrooms now have ramps but not all schools have such facilities. I think a law must be made that all schools should cater for needy children.
When it comes to the money that they earn from the Social Welfare, they are given very little money. Such people should be given money enough to sustain themselves because they are not supposed to live on begging. As you can see, I am also putting on spectacles, it means I am living with disability so someone invented these spectacles to enable me to read. If there was no one who had invented that, it means it was going to be difficult for me. There are so many of us here living with disabilities. Let us not think that disability is something which is very unusual.
Where you are in one way or another, you may have disabilities and you should know that you are living with disability. We must be merciful on such people and let us push for the implementation and assistance for such people. As we speak right now, there is this command programme and people accessing inputs are able bodied people yet those living with disabilities continue to beg and struggle. So, we are saying such people should get access to inputs so that they sustain their own lives. I thank you.
HON. SVUURE: I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker for allowing me to add my voice on this profound motion that has been put forward by Hon. Sithole, the motion on the disabled persons. I would like to first bring it forward to our attention as a House that we are naturally all in one way or another, vulnerable but the level of vulnerability for the disabled is a lot higher and I would like to urge society to be cognisant of the fact that this vulnerability for the disabled is higher. So society must always be aware of this fact.
If we get to be aware of this fact, that the level of vulnerability for the disabled is higher, we must then be biased towards this group of people even in service provision. In every sector of the society when we provide services, we must be biased towards this group. You find that even in food distribution that the Minister of Social Welfare does, in some places, able bodied people go well ahead of the disabled to get those food hampers or provisions and leave out the disabled.
Even the people that are given the responsibility to register such beneficiaries, it is amazing that sometimes they register an abled bodied first and then write or register the disabled at the very end and in some cases leave them out. This is something that I would like to urge society to always be cognisant of. I would also want to urge society in this manner that sometimes you hear people bragging about their wealth saying I have this type of car or house, yet if you look closely at that person or such persons, you do not hear not even a single day where they have done anything for the disabled in their society, even in the villages that they come from.
You then find that kind or level of wealth amounts to nothing if you are not sensitive to the needs of the disabled that are in your society or even in your family that you come from. You will find that there is no one in our midst that does not have a disabled person(s) but you do not hear of any occasion where they donate a single thing to such society or members of that particular family.
Disabled persons are so vulnerable in a way that where an able-bodied person budgets for himself or herself, disabled people budget for double that much. If it is travelling, they will have to find transport fare for themselves and also for the person that would have to help them push the wheelchair. When they travel, they usually have to travel in twos because they will not be able to help themselves. So the budgets are always double because of the second person that will have to assist them in whatever they would have come to do or gone out to do.
I would also want to look at even the COVID-19 pandemic that we are going through. You find that disabled people are more vulnerable in the sense that some of the COVID-19 prevention regulations are more difficult for the disabled. Social distancing for example, where one person has to stand a metre or two metres apart from the other; this person in some cases will always have to have some person with them to assist them in whatever they will be doing. That makes them a lot more vulnerable. These are some of the things we also must be aware of.
I would like to talk of the facilities; the offices and buildings. This point has been mentioned but I want to emphasise this that I think it should be mandatory that every public building should be user friendly for the disabled. Every building design or plan should not be approved unless it has a provision for the disabled because half the time, the disabled are not able to get to the offices that they really would have wanted to get to because there is no provision for them to get to such offices. In some offices, you find that the way is user friendly in getting into the offices but one thing that I have found is that many offices or buildings forget about the ablution facilities. Many buildings forget that aspect. Yes, the means to get into the office might be there but the ablution facilities therein are not user friendly for the disabled. These are some of the things that we must consider when we do our building designs as it were.
Even the transport models, when we were growing up, those that are of my age; you would see then that the buses that were there had a special place just behind the driver’s seat which was specifically reserved for the disabled people but if you look at the buses that we have these days, I am not sure where they think the disabled person will sit with their wheelchair. So I would like to urge that the designs, be it public transport, kombis, buses or whatever mode of transport it may be, it should provide for the disabled.
Transport means is so difficult for the able-bodied even now so you must then consider what more for the disabled if it is so difficult to get into a ZUPCO bus for an able-bodied person? What more for a disabled? The pushing and shoving that we see people engaging into get embark on a bus is disheartening. So we must be considerate and consider our designs when we design these things.
The other thing that I would want to quickly touch on is representation in decision making forums. We must also make sure that the disabled people in our midst are also involved at the core of decision-making centres or forums. It must be deliberate because sometimes if you expose them to an equal scenario, you find that the able-bodied person goes ahead of them. So there must be a deliberate decision that we must come up with that in every high office or decision-making forum. We must have a representation for the disabled people.
Half the time you find that in so many boards, I am not sure how many boards have been made deliberately in a way that provides for the disabled. In institutions like Parliament or institutions like schools, heads of schools, there must be a deliberate lineage towards the disabled. I will tell you of two schools in my constituency; Zaka Secondary and one called Chinyaradza Secondary School, the heads for those two schools are both blind heads. I will tell you that those two schools are amongst the highest scoring in Zaka district. What this goes to show is what an able bodied person can do, a disabled person can also do. We must not look down upon the disabled like one Hon. Member mentioned earlier on that disability is not anyone’s fault. Disabled people are equal in every aspect to the able-bodied. We must not look down upon the disabled in our midst.
The other thing that I want to touch on is the stigmatisation. This is one of the bad things that we see happening amongst the disabled. Disability is not anyone’s fault. For those that read the word of God, there is one time that people met with Jesus and there was a disabled person that was sitting there. They approached Jesus and asked him if it was the disabled man’s fault or his parents’ that he was disabled. Jesus told them that it was neither his parents’ fault nor his own fault but God allowed it so that his power would be manifest through this person. When we look at the disabled people, we must not always put blame on them or anyone; sometimes God just allowed it so that his glory is manifest amongst the living.
Stigmatisation is one of the things that really is profound in society. I will tell you of this one couple. I was distributing rice to the disabled in my constituency, then someone asked me if I was aware that at this particular home, there is a disabled child. This is a family that I had known for years but I had not known that they had a disabled child in their house. They never talk about him and they do not carry him outside or take him anywhere in t public. I struggled to approach them to ask if indeed they had a disabled child. That is a thing that they never want a society to know. I had to give their neighbour – who knew that they had a disabled child so that he would pass on this parcel to them. So stigmatisation is not only in the distant society but it can also be in the same family that we come from. This is one thing that we must fight as a society.
I would like to end by urging us that we social leaders in the various spheres of life that we come from. It must start with us as Hon. Members of Parliament in the societies that we come from. If we are seen by society taking care of the disabled in our own society or community, then the outside world will then begin to appreciate the importance of taking care of the disabled in our midst. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. PHULU: I have a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order is in the form of moving for the amendment of the motion.
HON. TSUNGA: I second.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Are you contributing? I did not recognise you.
HON. PHULU: I am not contributing; it is a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I had not recognised you, I had recognised Hon. Tekeshe.
HON. PHULU: I am sorry about that Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Alright, you can go ahead.
HON. PHULU: If the mover of the motion looks at the motion, point Number 2 of the motion says; that they would like the Government to pass a Bill by the 31st of July 2020. I think before we continue debating, we may be debating a motion which is actually redundant. I move that that part of the motion be amended to read 31st December 2020 or some other date that the House thinks is appropriate.
That is one way of doing it. The other way is according to Standing Order Number 68; I moved a motion that was seconded.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is not a privilege Hon.
HON. PHULU: But it is there in the Standing Orders. It is a motion without notice
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is a motion with notice.
HON. PHULU: No, Mr. Speaker. The motion that I made is that during a debate, a member can move for an amendment of a motion. All that is required is that it be seconded then the House can vote on it.
Mr. Speaker, there is no other way of amending a motion....
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no need for us to do that. The point that you are making does not apply.
HON. PHULU: May I be allowed to make a written submission before you make a ruling.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have already made a ruling. It does not apply.
HON. PHULU: How is it going to be amended?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have already made a ruling. The Hon. Member must go to Papers Office.
HON. PHULU: That will not be a valid amendment Mr. Speaker. That will not be an amendment. An amendment must be made in the House or in Committee.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What you are talking about is an amendment which is not relating to what you have raised.
HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker, it is an amendment of the question before the House.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please I have made a ruling and you cannot challenge the ruling.
HON. PHULU: Previously Mr. Speaker, Members have been allowed to make written submissions. I do not agree. An amendment by the Papers Office is not an amendment. It is not valid.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is a correction that you are going to make, that is not an amendment.
HON. PHULU: It is not a correction. It is an amendment to the motion. How can we be debating a redundant motion? The question is already before the House. Papers Office has not power to amend what we are debating. Only the House or the Committee if we are in Committee can do so.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I have already made a ruling and I cannot entertain your argument.
HON. PHULU: My submission is that I be given an opportunity to make a written submission. It has been done for other Members. We have seen other Members being given that opportunity to make submissions so that a ruling by Mr. Speaker can be made later.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Unfortunately, I have made a ruling and I cannot withdraw my ruling. I have ruled that the correction can be made through Papers Office.
HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the Standing Orders which says that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member we are not debating here.
HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker, you cannot dismiss me without pointing where I am wrong.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you approach the Chair?
Hon. Phulu approached the Chair.
HON. PHULU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to add my voice on the debate. Mr. Speaker Sir, the disabilities vary. There is nothing that they can do in life. I think that the Government should take the responsibility of those who are disabled from birth because other parents carry disabled children on their backs until they turn 30 years. Those children need pampers and the Government is doing nothing. There is need for wheelchairs because mothers cannot carry their children on their backs up until they turn 30 years. The Government should cater for them instead. During the colonial rule of Ian Smith, people thought there were no disabled people because they were kept well and taken care of, but these days the disabled are abandoned and left gallivanting around the country in different places. How can the Government abandon people?
Names of all the disabled persons were written down and those who are blind were also written down but nothing has been provided for them. In my constituency, I have not seen any assistance coming for the disabled but I hear people saying they are going to donate something. The previous speaker said that we are very good at drafting things but no implementation. The problem is that we do not take any action. We were supposed to have specific schools to take care of the disabled. It looks like a punishment to parents for giving birth to disabled children. If we go to Jairos Jiri, they are made to pay school fees just like the able bodied. It is Government’s responsibility to pay their school fees. Parents should just visit their children at boarding schools where they are taken care of. In our culture it is not allowed to remove the pregnancy of a disabled child because of their disability. Government should take its responsibility to look after the disabled children and assist mothers who never tried to kill their disabled children. There is not even a single disabled person who has been given a residential stand. They are even told to join waiting list. People do not want disabled tenants. We expect councils to assist them by giving them residential stands. We want laws that cater for disabled persons and that whenever there is allocation of land, a certain percentage should be allocated to the disabled them. There are very intelligent disabled children who cannot afford to go to school because their parents are poor or because the Government cannot pay for the children. If we are to ask the Ministers in this House, they will say they have the law but nothing is happening and no food is being given to people.
We are very good at writing down things but there is no implementation of the things. I kindly ask you Mr. Speaker Sir that if there is a law to assist the disabled, as MPs we should take it upon ourselves to be our responsibility to assist these people. People are having challenges of accessing medication, school fees and mobility. As an MP you will end up assisting. Our call is that Government should take that responsibility and assist them. I thank you.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have a few points to present on the motion. Let me say disability is not a want. No one under this world wants to be disabled. As such, I want to believe if there are disabled persons, it is the Government’s responsibility to look after them. I want to suggest just a few points that the Government should assist disabled persons with school fees and the type of schools which suit disabled persons. If they need wheel chairs, they should be assisted with wheel chairs. Government must also assist by giving food and also some form of allowances. The allowances should cater for day to day needs and they should include clothes and the general hygiene of a person and Government should take care of that. We should not segregate disabled persons. We should learn to love them and not look down upon them. I want to also ask Government to give disabled people space. There are some disabled people who are very intelligent and can do special projects on their own. So, if Government can identify such kind of people and help them do their own projects that can be a good thing for disabled persons. Let us make laws which promote disabled persons and we must enforce. I want to suggest that from birth, Government must have files for disabled people and follow up how the people are surviving and getting enough of everything. If there are some exercises that need to be done, are they being done, because there are some disabled people out there who do not even know where to go with a disabled person because Government does not reach out to see what is happening to disabled persons out in the rural areas.
I was happy that Hon. Tekeshe was talking about assisting disabled persons. The manager in his shop is a disabled person in a wheel chair and he has been working with him for years. So, he talks from what he is experiencing. Let us assist as communities these disabled persons as much as we can. If Government does not come in, I want to believe that we form some associations in our communities where we can assist these disabled persons. Thank you very much.
+HON. MHLANGU: Since most of the points have been said already, I will just add a few points pertaining to the motion moved by Hon. Sithole from the Public Service and Social Welfare Committee. I would like to commend Government for the BEAM programme that is enabling people living with disabilities to access their BEAM allocation any time. Although their allocation sometimes will not be adequate because many schools complain that the money is not disbursed on time. I would like to appeal to institutions like NSSA when they allocate residential stands they should consider people living with disabilities because they tend to lose out most of the times. They also miss out on opportunities of getting houses just like how everyone else benefits. I would like to appeal that when they allocate, they should dedicate a quota or certain percentage to people living with disabilities. Right now during Covid-19 times that we are living in, most people living with disabilities survive on vending. For those living in rented houses, they are expected to pay at the end of every month. They face eviction because they are not able to pay their rent on time. We will end up seeing them on the streets just like the visually impaired. I appeal to Government to look for accommodation for the visually impaired because we realise that even young children are found on the streets begging trying to raise money for rent. They do not have any other source of livelihood. My colleagues also spoke at length on the fact that when it comes to budgeting, they should be represented by people who are also living with disabilities instead of being represented by able bodied people because they do not really know their needs. They would not really know where they need additions so I appeal that they should come and present their proposals to the Public Service and Social Welfare Committee when it comes to budget time so that they present their needs in person. Looking at Parliament there are very few proportional representative members who represent people with disabilities. We only have one female Hon. Member. Government should ensure that in the constitution, more seats are reserved for people living with disabilities so that they get five or six seats so that they assist each other in making these representations. That way they can effectively communicate their needs instead of being represented by one Hon. Member. Some of us are not able to adequately represent them because we fall short in knowing their needs. Most of the points have been raised Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
HON. TSUNGA: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I also contribute to this very important debate relating to people with disabilities. I think it is very important because it impacts on virtually all of us as Members of Parliament because we come from communities where there are a lot of people with disabilities. A lot of issues have been raised and discussed but I must also re-emphasise on some of the issues that have been raised and discussed but I must also add a few issues or re-emphasize others.
Firstly Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of housing is a nightmare for people with disabilities. A good many of the people with disabilities do not own houses of their own and local authorities, as somebody has already indicated, must take affirmative action to ensure that there is a deliberate attempt to make available housing stands for people with disabilities at concessionary rates – that is the first item. Related to that, in fact I must give an example, in Mutasa South Constituency that I represent. There is a gentleman who has been on the council waiting list for ages on end and has not received any joy from the local authority in Mutasa Rural District Council. This gentleman by the name Michael Mutike has been on the waiting list for over a decade and there is no mercy. Nobody seems to be listening to him and I think that if appropriate legislation were passed to ensure that local authorities necessarily reserve a quota of housing units or housing stands for people with disabilities the problem may be resolved.
Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, is the issue of sustainable safe livelihood activities for people with disabilities. A good many of them are beggars, they rely on hand–outs and are always asking for help. Those who use public transport, it is common knowledge or common sight to see the blind singing and asking for freebies; i.e. money, food and groceries. The same applies to most of our urban centres. At street corners, there are also a lot of people with disabilities begging for food, clothing and other items that sustain their lives.
I think what needs to happen now is for Government departments and ministries to set aside a quota of employment opportunities for people with disabilities so that they are guaranteed of employment upon graduation at institutions of higher learning or at vocational training centres. Also, there must be deliberate effort to provide start-up finance for people with disabilities. So, our financial institutions must be compelled through legislation or other rules and regulations to ensure that people with disabilities have access to capital so that they can be able to start, expand or diversify some of their income generating activities.
We also notice Mr. Speaker Sir, that a lot of public buildings are not so designed as to enable people with disabilities to access some offices or social services. For instance, you find a lot of buildings without ramps so that people with disabilities can be able to move around with relative ease to be able to access social services i.e. schools, clinics and such other services.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have also noticed that in some communities – people with disabilities are sacrificed for ritual purposes. I think that there must be relevant legislation to ensure that such social and tradition practices are halted. Special schools is another area – education, it does not appear like Government has deliberately focused on ensuring that special schools are adequately resourced because these schools are where children with special needs like disabilities such as hearing impairment, visual, mental or physical attend. There is not much assistance coming from Government to ensure that the teachers at these schools are adequately motivated to be able to work with these children. Also, the schools do not get preferential treatment in terms of the provision of per capita grants so that they are able to operate.
Again, if there is going to be legislation in this regard, it is going to be most helpful for special schools. For example in Mutare, Mutasa South Constituency, we are looking at schools as the National Rehabilitation Centre and also Chengetai Special School. This school by and large is financed by ZIMCARE Trust and I think that such organisations that have deliberate focus on special education require a lot of help and resources.
Finally Mr. Speaker Sir, social safety nets, I think that Government needs to establish a special fund for people living with disabilities. I do not know if I may call it a disability benefit so that people with disabilities are guaranteed of a monthly income that should be able to contribute to the welfare of the disabled and their families. In the absence of reasonable and adequate monthly financing as a benefit accruing to people with disabilities we will continue to have the number of beggars on our streets increasing.
Otherwise Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a very important motion that needs to be supported and we must all be seen to be engaged so that at the end of the day, all said and done, people with disabilities are at least on equal footing with their so-called, able-bodied counterparts. I thank you.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand to add my voice to what Hon. Sithole was discussing about people with disabilities. Firstly, I would like to thank the Government for the work that they are doing in looking after people living with disabilities.
Secondly, I would like to thank the President of the country who saw it fit to ensure that people with disabilities are well looked after and live better lives and also having an adviser in his office, Cde. Malinga. It shows that Government is dedicated to ensuring that these people have better lives. I also heard the previous speaker saying Smith looked after people living with disabilities very well. I grew up during the colonial era and never witnessed any of that. Instead, we saw Jairos Jiri taking care of African people living with disabilities. Even missionaries at places like Morgenster that is where we got people who could not speak even Kapota it was for missionaries. Right now I would like to thank the Government because of places like Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, it shows that the Government has disabled people at heart. They are people who were involved in accidents and were permanently injured; since 1980 there was a worker’s compensation fund and to date in Bulawayo we have a place called NSSA Rehabilitation and these people who will be living with disability as a result of car accidents are compensated.
The First Lady is going around the country giving disabled people wheel chairs and this shows that our Government has the heart of disabled people at heart. On education the Government included what is called inclusive education meaning when teachers are trained they must be able to teach a child who cannot see or speak this shows that the Government has people at heart. During the Smith Regime we did not have such a thing. I would like to thank the Government for the efforts they are doing to support people with disability.
HON. TEKESHE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): What is your point of order?
*HON. TEKESHE: My point of order is that I want to correct the Hon. Member debating; she said I said that Smith was assisting black disabled people. No, I did not say that, I said that in Smith’s time we never saw disabled white people in streets because Smith was taking good care of them. I never said Smith was looking after black people I said he was taking good care of white disabled people. Can the Hon. Member be guided?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Point taken Hon. Member.
*HON. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to debate, the issue that is being discussed here is a very important one. I would like to thank Jairos Jiri for what he has done; he is a hero though he was not declared a national hero. When it comes to the issue of disability people are disabled in different forms, they are those who cannot walk those who are visual impaired, the deaf and dump and the albinos. The albinos are not talked about much but they are disabled because they cannot see things that are far away, they cannot do hard labour and they cannot stay in the sun for long.
Government should have statistics of all the disabled people in our country and support these people. The fact that we are not caring for the disabled, we are losing talents that these disabled people have. We have a person called Masimba Kuchera an economist but he is blind. We are very thankful the father took him to school no matter his condition. He is someone who can contribute to the Government of this land and we are able to see progress. We expect people to help him but we see people looking down upon him. Villages must have statistics of people who are disabled.
I hear an Hon. Member saying that she sometimes help disabled people, I was urging this august House to continue to help the disabled and one we will say we help two or three disabled people. Disabled children come to us to tell us their problem. The disabled girl child has quite a challenge in choosing a husband she can only accept those that came to him even if they are not her choice because she will be saying if I lose this one who else will approach me. Another point is if disabled people go to school this will ease their way of living because they can find something to do.
People shun away the albinos but the albinos are very clever and very intelligent, an example is the Late Prof. Makumbe he was a professor and he helped a lot of children who lived with albinism. As a Government it is our wish they put funding to assist the disabled. The most important thing is for us to know the names of all children living with albinism. I thank you very much.
HON. PHULU: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I would like to contribute to this debate on disability. I would like to say that I second the motion that has been moved by the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Welfare – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible Interjections.]
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, less noise in the House.
HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe has ratified the convention on people with disabilities the UN convention. In fact as we speak the African Union has also passed a protocol on people with disabilities the UN convention. In fact as we speak, the African Union has also passed a protocol on people with disabilities, which I think Zimbabwe is yet to ratify. I think as we debate this motion, it is important to also take this opportunity to implore the Government to ratify this important African Instrument. The African Instrument, over and above the other standard setting instruments on disability, will give us an opportunity to look at certain things which are pertinent to people with disabilities from an African point of view.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the debate also asks the Government to craft appropriate policies for dealing with people living with disabilities and I would like to support that. However, I also want to say, it is difficult for those policies to be crafted in the air and the manner in which the motion has been crafted also deals with that. The third motion calls for the alignment of the Act, our very own Act, the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17.01]. If you look at the Disabled Persons Act, it is very basic and deficient. All it does is provides for a board to determine issues to do with people living with disabilities. It creates a director, provides for the functions of the board and provides for reports to be made to the board. It has no substance in terms of social welfare. If you compare it with the Old People’s Act and the Act dealing with social welfare, which specifically provides for various groups of persons to be provided with social welfare – in as far as the Disabled people are concerned, there is no such provision.
So, the Act is very sketchy. I acknowledge that it creates offences for discrimination, yes, it says that no one must be denied access to public premises, services, amenities, access to employment simply on the basis of being disabled but it is very lacking in terms of providing for their social welfare and other things. So, we need an Act that is more proactive rather than that simply says, do not discriminate, we need to go further and provide various things for them. In fact, I suggest that as soon as we domesticate our international obligations – we have seen the Government moving to domesticate quite a number of our international instruments and I think it is quite a pity that the instruments to do with the people living with disabilities have not been at the top of the agenda in terms of ratification. The moment we ratify them, we immediately create an Act of Parliament which is based on these international instruments. I see that the motion captured that quite succinctly but I think the omission is that it would be good at the same time as we try to craft an amendment to this Act to do it via the domestication of one of these international instruments so that we have a comprehensive Act that is quite proactive and deals with a lot of these issues. I will not go into them in detail.
I would like to say that the COVID-19 situation that we are experiencing is actually a good example of how, as we pass our legislation, we did not pay particular attention to the disabled because the situation affects them differently. A lot of those who debated before me have covered this situation regarding the schools. I think last week in the Question and Answer Session, we dealt with the issue of how it is necessary to have special amenities and special aides, books and so on in order to cater for the disabled children. To have special equipment to cater for them even as they experience this e-learning and various modes of communication that they have been instituted by the situation of COVID-19.
The other complaint – I was called by a constituent of mine, Mr. Jemwa from Nkulumane. He was complaining that, Nkulumane is one of the suburbs which had a housing scheme sometime back and took in a lot of disabled people. So, you will find that it is one of the constituencies’ per capita which has the highest number of disabled people. One of the challenges that they have been facing, which has been mentioned by some of the Hon. Members is; when it comes to social welfare and other issues, we tend to prioritise – of course we do prioritise the elderly and I am a chief proponent of prioritising the elderly. However, in the least of the people who are prioritised to receive social welfare, whether it is, mealie meal or rice, I think the disabled come at number six or they are not there at all. I once went on the ground and found that the disabled come right at the bottom and sometimes they are omitted from the list. It points to a policy which does not recognise the amount of discomfort and challenges that disabled people face.
This motion, if it is passed and certainly if the Government acts on the recommendations in this motion, it will see all policies having to automatically take into account issues of the disabled in each and every policy that is passed. It will compel the Government at every level to actually make sure that in their reasoning, they have a quota for the disabled. It will ensure that even in our Governance structures – maybe the reason why the Ministry of Social Welfare does not pay particular attention to the disabled is perhaps that on that board or Committee at the province or wherever, I can bet that there is no disabled person and we get a situation where they are being overlooked. Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought that I should just add my voice briefly to this issue because it is an issue that touches everyone, Hon. Members and all our constituents.
By way of closing, I would like to say that certainly, this motion is in line with the opposition’s Smart Policy which supports a disability grant accessed according to established extent and severity of the disability. It also supports that a grant be paid directly to the disabled, to those affected or to the institutions caring for them or any other nominee whom they may appoint who is collecting or administering this grant on their behalf. Certainly, as opposition, we also support –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Member, this motion does not require you to talk about parties.
HON. PHULU: No, Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not talking about the party –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: No, no, there is no need for you to talk about opposition.
HON. PHULU: No, Mr. Speaker, it is an official term of Parliament, there is Government and opposition. I am standing on a motion that has been moved by a Committee imploring the Government to implement it and I am also saying; as the other side of the aisle, we are lending our support to the motion. I think it is important. Opposition simply means the other side of the aisle; I am not talking about parties. Certainly, one of the issues that we support Mr. Speaker Sir, is the issue of – and this is not in the motion but I am sure, as the policies unfold it will be considered. It is to give incentives to the private sector whenever they employ a disabled person and whenever they extent a lending hand to a disabled person. We should see some form of incentive from the Government, either capacitating them giving some sort of fund or tax incentives because there is no way we can do this without support from the private sector or civic society. So we would want to see Government incentivising those who come out and support in all its aspects of the agenda to ensure that we prioritise the disabled persons in our country and obviously have representation in all our bodies.
Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to say that our Constitution in Section 22 advances a right to all disabled persons. It protects them from discrimination, entitles them to protection by the State and support by everyone in the country, and certainly this motion is in line with Section 22 of the Constitution. I implore the House to vote in favour of this favour to the extent that it ensures that there is alignment of the Disabled Persons Act, to the extent that it calls all of us to ratify, adopt and domesticate all the relevant international regional instruments relating to disability, to the extent that it calls upon every single policy of Government to take into account issues to do with disabilities and certainly I hope that because there are dates mentioned. I think these are the three proposals.
The last one talks about I think 31st December, 2020 and second one talks about 30 July, 2020 which obviously has passed. I have been assured by the Chair that that will be attended to and an appropriate amendment will be made which reflects the urgency of this matter. I would like to implore both sides of the House, I do not think there is a single member who would stand and say they are not in support of this kind of motion. It is one of those motions that everyone in the House will unanimously lend their wait. I would like to see the Member who will stand up and say this motion must be thrown out and I certainly think every Member here is in support of such an important motion. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. KWARAMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, this woman has been standing up for quite a long time and you have not recognised her. Please, it is unfair.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have not seen her, sorry Hon. I was using a list which I have here. It is only these two that I have called who are not on the list. Her name is not here.
*HON. KACHEPA: I want to add a few words on people living with disabilities. Mr. Speaker Sir, disability is something which is found in every family. There is no family which can say we do not have a disabled person in a family.
Firstly, even when you grow old you end up being disabled and will not be able to walk. I plead that the Government analyse and budget like CDF, we are travelling in every constituency. If we take disability like the border lines like in my constituency, there are many people who are disabled. Their legs were amputated because of landmines. Some of them do not have legs and are crawling like babies. I appeal to Government so that we work together to help those people
On social welfare, there are many problems which we are facing at our rural homes. There are some people who are disabled but social welfare has said the disabled person must bring a witness to witness that this person is disabled. I am appealing to Government to talk with Social Welfare to help people. The Minister of Finance has said he has a lot of money which is being given to Ministry of Social Welfare but when we look at our district, people who are benefitting are very few. I am pleading Mr. Speaker so that every person benefits because some of them are not able to go to areas where registration is being done.
They must also be given wheelchairs so that these can be distributed to disabled persons to make it easy for people to move from one place to another in our constituencies, wards and districts. Being disabled, there are some other people who are locked in houses. Some people feel burdened to handle the issue of disability. Those people are not able to farm or move from one place to another so they must be a law that there is a follow up on a disabled person to see how this person is living.
Mr. Speaker, I am also pleading, especially we as Members of Parliament that if possible we can ask everyone to ask each and everyone but these people can be asked in the streets. I am pleading with everyone to have a heart to help. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me commend the Hon. Members who thought of this important discussion and motion, Hon. Sithole who moved it and seconded by Hon. Ncube. Let me also say that I am the advisor for the National Council of the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe in the entire country. For it is of interest for me that this was brought to Parliament for debate.
First of all let us look at Section 83 of the Constitution which states that “the State must take appropriate measures within the limits of the resources available to it”. That is where the problem is, “within the limits of resources available to it”. Being disabled is not a choice and how do you limit resources. Munhu akaberekwa nehurema asi moti mangwana tofanira kuvabetsera kana mari iripo. That needs to be changed. That was supposed to read “the State must take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities realise their full mental and physical potential, including measures which will...”.
So we have got to revisit this and this is not only on this Section but many others “resources permitting”. Also, resources permitting, we now give the Executive the excuse to say but the resources are not there. Disability is a lifetime, it is not an event. It is a lifetime scenario that has been bestowed on you by the Almighty in his own ways. We also have got to look at Section 83 (i) to enable them to become self sufficient. Where in the Budget have we budgeted for them to be self sufficient? The first thing that I want to say which all Hon. Members will agree with is that we as a people, have been very insensitive to the disabled people in the same way we have been insensitive to the war veterans or freedom fighters. We have not prioritised things which are critical. I have not seen us passing a Budget for the disabled so that they are self sufficient.
We know that some of them cannot even get to areas where Government programmes are being carried out because of their disability. What measures have you put in place to make sure that they get there or to make sure that they get what belongs to them without it being a favour, but being an entitlement because of the condition that they are in?
We also have to look at Section 83 (b), to enable them to live with their families and participate in social, creative or recreational activities. Let us do a poll and come up with the number of families with disabled people who are implementing this. If anything, they are actually neglected because most of us are able bodied. We have never understood how one who is disabled functions.
Despite the adage that inability does not mean disability; we like to use – disability is not inability. Despite being what we like to say as a people to console them, it is never implemented. In the first place, why do we say disability is not inability, instead of saying inability is what they are? Even in using the word disability, we are already discriminating and the problem starts there. Hon. Paradza who is a renowned editor and writer would certainly agree with me that there is stigmatisation there already. We already have divided them that they live with disability but we should make them able-bodied instead of saying the inability that they live with ndiko kugona kwacho.
We then go to protect them from all forms of exploitation and abuse. We are guilty as charged as MPs because when we are going to elections as politicians, we look for them because we want their votes. There is nobody who has two, three or five votes. We all vote once. Where the abuse and exploitation comes is there is 10-15% in population from a demographic point of view. How many of those are in the corridors of power?
Hon. Togarepi is here, he belongs to the ruling party; Hon. Thokozani Khupe who is in here belongs to the opposition – what measures have you taken within your party Constitution to ensure that there is that love, compassion and sensitivity? I am saying this because charity begins at home. Let us not expect the Constitution to be a sacred document before the people who are affiliate will have not done that. It is critical that political parties are able to accommodate the disabled in the corridors of power.
How many political parties have got disabled people in leadership? In this very same august House, how many disabled people are chairing Committees or are in the influence of power? We are seen wanting and that is the reason why I say on behalf of this nation as a national Member of Parliament, I would like to apologise to the disabled community that we have been insensitive. Moving forward, we must be serious in the things that we say to the people. People are able to write their names down – some who cannot get benefits - even civil servants themselves are busy including them on the list of beneficiaries yet they do not benefit. What measure is being taken by the Minister of Social Welfare to ensure that what belong to Caesar goes to Caesar? How many people are not able to attend a function that are disabled, but still love ZANU PF, MDC –T, NDONGA or any other party? A t-shirt has never been taken to them but they are expected to vote for them. A t-shirt is something else; what about the food which is meant for them?
In this whole COVID 19, what I have seen and credit goes to the First Lady – for giving hampers to students who are disabled. The First Lady has done that from a charitable organisation. What is the Government doing now to augment the efforts of what the First Lady is doing through her heart? What about those mothers and fathers who are disabled or a family that has children or rather a whole family that has disabled people? How then do we say they are catered for? We have seen in terms of abuse how as a people we have even gone as far as raping people who are disabled.
There must be a law put in place first of all for you if you abuse a person who is disabled – it must not be less than ten years and then we go to the crime committed to protect them. They feel they have nowhere to go as a result of that. The 10-15% which we all know is what they constitute from a demographic point of view - is that reflective of Government, Parliament, Parastatals or the Boards that they sit on that represent everyone? It is not. There must be a law which makes sure that – if Hon. Members can go and pass a law about Proportional Representation coming to Parliament and the youth. What about the disabled? Why have we not brought it up?
The freedom fighters that fought for the struggle are not even catered for in the Constitution and yet they brought us freedom but there is not provision to accommodate them but we are busy putting people who ultimately are able to do things themselves. How can we talk about 50-50 nemunhu ari disabled?
Hon. Members, how many times do we go for elections and we have people who are disabled also campaigning? Is that fair - yet we are pushing for Proportional Representation – that is why in God’s name I am against those pushing for Proportional Representation when the disabled are not given a piece of the cake and I debate against that because they cannot campaign like we do. If we decide not to accommodate them; it is ungodly. God is for everyone and being for everyone, even us who are able- bodied must be able to move an agenda which ensures that there is fair play.
The Constitution talks about doing things in a just manner. If you hear our prayer, you must do things in a just manner. Are we doing things in a just manner when we are leaving a certain group out because they are not able and because they are not represented here? If I look at this House here, besides Hon. R. Ndlovu who is disabled, I do not see many who are disabled yet there are 270 Members of Parliament. Out of 270 Members of Parliament, they are represented by one person. May you think to yourself now Mr. Speaker Sir and colleague Members? Is that fair? What have we done to be able to move that? Political parties have got people who are disabled. Why are we not accommodating them? Why are we not having a Ministry for the disabled? We have a Ministry representing the youths, women and war veterans but we have no Ministry representing the disabled.
Some of the disabled people are war veterans and being war veterans means that whether you like it or not, because of who they are and their condition - they went to war able bodied and they came back disabled. If one is given their benefit of being a war veteran, it does not stop them from being given another benefit of being disabled. In the budget, we must pass that. It is only fair. It is only right because they are not able to do what we can do at the end of the day. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important that this House takes this issue seriously. It cannot be a circus anymore. It cannot be politicking anymore but action is needed after this. That is why I am grateful to these Members of Parliament, Hon. Sithole and Hon. Ncube for having moved this because it was long overdue.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe was held in high esteem in 1992, for it was the first country to come up with the Disabled Act. Maybe you did not know Members of Parliament but that is the truth. We were the first country to come up with the Disabled Act in 1992. We were the shining light of the world in terms of the disabled but where are we today? From 1992 to date, what have we done? There is supposed to be a Director General in charge of the disabled in the Act who will be able to respond to these issues but he is not there. The ruling party I know has the position of the disabled and I think Hon. Joshua Malinga is responsible for that. There is no reason why he cannot be appointed to be Minister to look after them because when he is in that position, he is representing the disabled people; not the party.
The infrastructure that we talk about which is supposed to accommodate disabled people is not there even in this Parliament. We are constantly fixing, “tinokiya kiya kana zvave kune ma disabled people, yet vanhu.” The toilets that we go into and the male toilets, you say to yourself if anybody was disabled, how will they be accommodated? I have not been to the ladies toilets but I am hoping that one of them will speak about the condition and the infrastructure in there. To me, the basic needs of a person being the building, the toilets where they are supposed to go to is not there. The public amenities do not accommodate them. They are totally negative towards the person that they are and so forth. This Act has been talked about many times. let it be amended, let it be changed and rightfully so, it has been overtaken by events. From 1992 to now, there is not much that has happened.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Mliswa, you are left with five minutes.
HON. T. MLISWA: To give them access to medical, psychological and functional treatment, that again is not being done. I have decided to zero in on the Constitution because you cannot argue with it. It is a sacred document of the country and that motion talks to non-compliance of the Constitution by the Executive but for as long as there is somebody who is not disabled and we expect them to move the agenda, we are lying to ourselves. The National Council for the Disabled Association of Zimbabwe was critical in choosing who should be representing them from a disabled point of view but now because of politics they are no longer there. We then create factional groups so that we are able to pick who we want on political thing rather than representation yet they were the first; the National Council for the Disabled Persons in Zimbabwe led by Mai Chireya. We were the first to be able to put names forward to represent the disabled but now it has been infiltrated and more organisations are being set up for the purpose of self aggrandisement instead of national interests.
To provide special facilities for their education - which schools beside Jairos Jiri? The only name that we know of a disabled institution is Jairos Jiri. I went to St Faith in Rusape, there was a Jairos Jiri school there. It is the only institution that I know of, that I have seen physically that accommodated people who were disabled. Jairos Jiri, may his soul rest in peace and that is why he is a national hero because he stood for them and he fought for them but today there is no Jairos Jiri to be able to stand for them.
To provide State funded education and training where they need it – how many are on Presidential scholarships who are disabled? It is State funded. May we take stock of all the institutions pertaining to compliance, whether they are complying or not. There are certain things that you do from a Godly point of view. We are a Christian nation not a cruel nation. We have love, we have compassion. It is important for this to happen. From the Government programmes in terms of land reform, what percentage of the disabled has benefited? On indigenisation, how many have benefited? The Government policies have always been broad based but it is the individual who make it individual based. The land reform was broad based, so is indigenisation but in that whole scheme of things, how many? In procurement, how many disabled people are benefiting.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in closing, I want to make it very clear that as a nation and our role as Parliamentarians is to protect this Constitution according to Section 119 of the Constitution and to uphold the provisions of this Constitution; we have failed. The nation has every right to take this Parliament to court because we have not done what we are supposed to do. Because people are quiet and they do not say much, it does not mean they do not understand and they do not need to be helped.
Members of Parliament, may we also move forward in our CDF, ask for a budget for the disabled people in our constituencies. It is important that we have such a facility for them so that we help. Inputs scheme, may they equally benefit on every programme. I want Mr. Speaker Sir to thank the movers of this motion for this touching and sad development which we have watched over the years and have done nothing about it. It is my prayer that, may we now wake up and deal with this once and for all. We do not have much time left. Let us be known to be a Parliament which deliberated and helped the disabled.
Finally, as the National Patron for the National Council of Disabled Persons in Zimbabwe, I approached the Speaker to have Members who are keen to lobby for them. If there are any Members who are keen to lobby for them, may you get in touch with the Clerk of Parliament. They will come and tell you their concerns, what they want so that we equally are able to do that. We have got a Committee for Corruption and many others, it is important that those with a passion and those who see the meaning of it come forward so that we work together.
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to debate on this noble worthwhile motion. May the Members of Parliament, Hon. Sithole and Hon. Ncube be blessed for it takes a good man and a good woman to be able to come up with such a motion which really touches on people’s lives especially those who are disabled? I thank you.
*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me start by saying people living with disabilities and those who get disabled when they have grown up or those who get disabled as a result of accidents, for example where I come from Maramba-Pfungwe, I have seen many families with disabled people. There is a family with two boys who are disabled. The one was born disabled but the other one became disabled when he was growing up.
Mr. Speaker, these people are taken care of by people who are not their biological parents, they are being taken care of by relatives. Mr. Speaker Sir, some of the places where the disabled want to visit like hospitals and so on ramps must be put. I saw that there is a problem for the kids to use ablution facilities. The other problem is for them to sleep in the house. These disabled children are facing a lot of problems. The problems they are facing are also affecting people who are taking care of them.
Mr. Speaker, we must look closely at the areas where these disabled people stay. I want to thank the radio stations that came forward and broadcasted this issue. We managed to get help from the people of Zimbabwe through Ecocash. I managed to get a place for these two boys from Mutinhima to learn at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre through the help of Social Welfare. Right now, these kids are showing great signs of improvements. They feel happy and they are now very open. You can discuss a lot of things with them.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I saw a great change on these kids when they went to Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre. I advocate that these schools for the disabled people be built in every district so that the disabled people would be helped nearer not for them to travel long distances to get help. I also met other disabled kids at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre. There are some other kids who are talented in doing different works. Some are doing sewing, some farming and others are doing different activities. They are doing these activities very well compared to the able- bodied.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleading with the Government so that these kids learn things which will help them when they go to the areas they come from. They should be given capital to start different projects so that they are able to survive in the society.
Mr. Speaker Sir, still at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, I want to thank Government for what it has done at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre. It is a place where the disabled are looked after and being taught different jobs. In Africa we must be ranked at least at number five because of the infrastructure being put in that area. I am pleading to the Government, through the Ministry of Public Works and Social Welfare Department to be able to renovate this area. This area was built with a lot of expertise. I saw many people who are disabled and the workers at that place treat them very well. They feel they have parents because they are cared for like their own children. I want to thank Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre for the for the job well done in taking care of the disabled kids. I am encouraging the Government to look into other areas that need to be renovated and match the good status of the disabled people.
These boys are doing well at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre but right now, they have closed the school because of Covid-19. Mr. Speaker Sir, even the family which is taking care of these kids is testifying that they are seeing great change from these kids. Now they have wheelchairs and their lives have changed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am saying disabled people are people who are like us and I am encouraging the Government and all the people of Zimbabwe to treat the disabled well. You do not know about tomorrow, you might end up being disabled. We must treat them properly so that they can survive and leave very well.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate. I thank you.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I would like to thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion by Hon. Sithole seconded by Hon. Huni. When we are looking at disability, we see that it is the non-functionality of our body parts. When someone is disabled they also wish to live a normal life but God knows that which he would have done. People did not choose themselves to be what they are.
I am from ZANU PF, the ruling party. In our party, we have positions occupied by those who are disabled from the cell structures going up to politburo and that shows that Government has the disabled at heart. We would like to thank our Government for the things that are happening in different parts of the country, the help that is being rendered to the disabled. We heard in this House another speaker mentioning that the First Lady has gone around the country helping those who are disabled. We are very happy and grateful for such an act, but we hear that for Members of Parliament in this House, there is only one who is disabled.
It is my wish that we increase the number or we create a committee that focuses on the disabled only because there are a lot of things that are being left out. If we look at schools, yes the Government is doing a lot of building in an effort to help those who are disabled, so they are able to do as others do. It was my wish that schools that have disabled children are monitored to see that disabled children have all the necessities.
I went to one of the schools. I saw a family of five including the parents that are living with disability. For them to get wheelchairs, it was very difficult. So if such scenarios are looked at and there are people who deal with that, it is easy for them to get assistance and their living is never difficult.
We also want to look at our hospitals. Yes, our hospitals were built with the disabled in mind but they must build more. It is my prayer that those with disabilities are given preferential treatment. We saw that the HIV and AIDS pandemic was given funding by the Government to help those affected. If we have not done the same to the disabled, what it means is we would not have considered that these people need help from us. Disability comes at any time.
We are also looking at those who live with albinism. I went to one of the places in Gutu where they were celebrating the lives of those who live with albinism. The truth is that if you look at it closely, you will see that there are a lot of them in the country. So if we look closely like what those in Gutu have done, we should come up with days where we give medication to these people as well as respect. That way we would have helped the country to have all people equal. Yes, they might not be the same as others but in their hearts, they just want to be like others.
It is my wish that the Government increases on that which they are doing so that we have all the necessities especially to the children because they cannot say exactly what they want because some of the mothers lock the children inside their homes because to them maybe it is shameful. So if we have people who monitor how many people are there in the communities, no children would be locked up with no one looking after them. Even their upbringing will not be difficult.
This commission will look closely into this issue and see to it that these disabled people get the necessary assistance. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th October, 2020.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill [H. B. 84, 2019].
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the House reverts to Order Number 8 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2018
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Annual Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year ended 2018.
Question again proposed.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I rise to support the issue of national peace and reconciliation which was talked by our leader, Vice President Hon. K. D. Mohadi. Looking at unity, it means it is a very important event for the country. Our Government has put this Commission to help the country to survive in a peaceful manner. Peace is very important in the country. In our country, for example in Matabeleland, there was Gukurahundi, there was killing of people, misunderstanding between the different languages and the Government saw it fit that we form a Commission which is going to deal with these issues and encourage peace.
This helps the country because it helps those who faced the problem of conflicts. Those who faced the problem of not understanding what really happened, who speak but not knowing what really transpired, Government took it and was able to put a Commission which is going to scrutinise and analyse how people are going to live together and how they are going to solve these problems.
Therefore, I want to thank this Commission which was built by the Government to analyse and scrutinise how people live especially those who had conflicts. Conflicts are different. We have got organisations like NGOs – I encourage them to deal with the issue of resolving conflicts in a way that encourages peace in the country without looking at political parties as to how they are formed and their structures, but they must focus on how people can unite.
If we look at the other areas, we see that supporting the issue of unity among people is difficult because there is no analysis of how the programme of encouraging people to unite well. That is why you see most of the time there is conflicts between political parties. It is the manner people stay in different areas in terms of cultures and languages. Unity of people means everything including politics. We must know that from politics, we are relatives whether we are from which party, we are related. If we are not looking at unity, and about families which we are living with, it means we will remain divided. Therefore, I want to thank the Government for forming the Peace and Reconciliation Commission. That is why I said I want to add on what was said by our Vice President Hon. K. D. Mohadi about Peace and Reconciliation.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you for recognising me to add my voice on this debate. I always analyse words when something topical is being discussed and I was looking at the word National Peace and Reconciliation. I was looking at the word National and I thought we are a nation and we must live as one. Being a nation means we are together as brothers and sisters. We share common views and common values and to be diverse is something else that would bring an issue like peace and reconciliation. The word peace, as I looked at it – we all love peace, peace at home, in the country, at work and peace everywhere. Peace in the country and as a nation means we must live at peace.
The word reconciliation as I looked at it, we need to reconcile even though it is difficult. People do not like to reconcile but I want to emulate one thing that the President His Excellency has done. He has tried as much as possible to reconcile Zimbabweans to be one. People liken the issue of peace and reconciliation to the Gukurahundi issue. Yes, I remember the President going to Bulawayo to meet chiefs and other people there and he was discussing about reconciliation to come together so that the past becomes the past - bygones be bygones and then we focus on the future.
That was a correct move to try to bring people together. His Excellency, the President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa has also made an effort to consider whites in the country. He has done a lot to try to reconcile with them so that they stay in Zimbabwe at peace. What else would you like if a man of virtue and stature is trying to bring people together? I want to think that the President went ahead as well and asked all parties which participated in elections to come together and have a common view about Zimbabwe so that each one’s views is brought to the table, looked at, discussed and map a way forward.
The President has been able to do that and we have POLAD and discussions are being done. The President has taken time to listen to every bit and piece of information that is brought to him. He has a listening ear to everyone. That is peace, he likes to reconcile with everyone in this country. His Excellency has said, my door is open 247 to anyone who has issues to come to my office without any barriers and let us discuss and talk. That is reconciliation, no matter from which party you come from – whether you are from ZUM, ZAT or whatever party, you name it. You can form your own party today and our President is waiting to reconcile with you.
Personally in my constituency, I have learnt this from the President, I reconcile with members of the opposition. When I get rice I give them, when we get fertilizers and seed, they are given, that is reconciliation. I have leant that from the President, I go to their funerals, I share certain things in common, that is a lesson I have leant from the President. So reconciliation should be for all. We must have focus, oneness, togetherness and forwardness. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I stood up to support the Report which has been tabled. The issue of reconciliation, I noted that there are those who are put in leadership positions - for people to accept or receive well what the appointed board will be proposing or saying, I request that these people be people of a decent background and well accepted in society. When I say they should be acceptable to society, I mean that most of those who debated alluded to the fact that for reconciliation to take place and be well received, the appointed leadership should be non-partisan, someone who is neutral and willing to focus only on nation building. Those people should behave in such a way that they will be well received by the community because of their honesty and display of knowledge and understanding on issues to do with reconciliation as well as displaying their experience in reconciling such and other issues in the past. They should be qualified, experienced and knowledgeable whilst their character and behaviour should be well accepted in society. They should be opinion leaders whose views and opinion in the communities are well respected such that if they say ‘peace,’ people will be able to believe them.
If someone who is partisan is chosen to do this work, if that person tries to preach peace, someone will please his party first, but if it is someone who is accepted in society to be someone who is neutral to both sides, he is easily accepted with his message. Even if they bring their report here, it will be well accepted. I am also asking that they are given all the powers so that when they are working, they do not get hindrance from other people. When they are given this task, with the support of the President, when they go out to do their work, when they come back, let not their work be diluted by individuals who want their work to come out otherwise. They should be given power to do their work as they see fit, because violence has only but negative results. If we are not careful, we will end up like Rwanda where people of the same origin fought against each other, the only difference being that others were Hutus and others Tutsis. If we do not have love and forgiveness, we might have a similar situation. This Report that has been brought here, which was debated in here is alright but we keep on emphasizing that all the time people who are chosen into this Commission are not doing so because they are not from a particular party because that will be a very big problem.
HON. MUSAKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to add my voice to the debate on National Reconciliation Commission Report. This Report shows the commitment by the State to create a people with a common livelihood, vision and destiny. It shows that it is important that as Zimbabwean people, we are one. This Report seeks to address even issues to do with the registration of children who came out of a conflict era. It shows serious commitment by the State to make sure that these people are given special treatment for their registration and are assisted to live normal lives like everybody else. We must applaud the President and his team for coming up with a great initiative such as this one which brings people together.
You will find that in this Report, it is dealing with how the board is supposed to be constituted, their mandate and the areas they must look at. All of these emphasise the importance of oneness and the ubuntu of our country and the ubuntu nature of our being. I want to applaud this Report as well-written and as something that really captures the thinking and the psyche of us as a nation. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
*HON. GANDAWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity for me to contribute a few words to this report that we are debating. What I see is that the main theme of this report is the issue of building Zimbabwe together and in love, that is what is meant by peace and reconciliation. Just taking a few words from the former President of this country, he said, ‘peace begins me, peace begin with you; peace begins with all of us’. The issue that was being discussed was reconciliation of those who would have had an argument.
Now reading the report, I would like to thank the President of this country and the Commission that gave this report. Progress of all the countries in the world is possible when people are working together. The violence that we see in other countries does not yield anything. My wish as a Zimbabwean is see peace prevailing everywhere. We should shun violence and love each other. Those are my few words Madam Speaker. Thank you very much.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th October, 2020.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 13th October, 2020.