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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 1 JUNE 2023 VOL 49 NO 44
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 1st June 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
VISITORS’ IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of members of staff from the Parliament of Namibia led by Mr. Gideon Shuuya, Deputy Director Security and Risk Management who are on a benchmarking visit to our Parliament. You are most welcome. - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
HON. MUSHORIWA: I rise on a matter of national interest…
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Standing Orders were suspended by the Minister of Justice because we wanted to deal with the Bills. So I do not know why he has been allowed to present.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Matters of national interest are within our Standing Orders. The Government Chief Whip is in order. Only motions can be moved for tabling.
RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ON THE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTR OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): I rise to move that:
WHEREAS section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament.
WHEREAS the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Agreement) was made in 1959:
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Agreement;
WHEREAS article 38 of the Agreement provides for acceptation;
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is a Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a Party to the Agreement;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for accession.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE AMENDMENT TO THE CONVENTION ON PHYSICAL PROTECTION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Amendment) was adopted on 8th July, 2005;
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Amendment;
WHEREAS the Amendment entered into force on 8th May, 2016;
WHEREAS article 18 of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material provides for signature, ratification and accession:
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a party to the Amendment;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for accession in this House.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR SAFETY
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organizations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Convention on Nuclear Safety was adopted on 17th June, 1994 and was opened for signature on 20th September, 1994;
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Convention;
WHEREAS the Convention entered into force on 24th October, 1996;
WHEREAS article 30 (3) of the Convention provides that, after its entry into force, the Convention shall open for accession by all States;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a party to the Convention;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for accession.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE JOINT PROTOCOL RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF THE VIENNA CONVENTION AND THE PARIS CONVENTION
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or
international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Joint Protocol relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention was adopted and opened for signature on 21st September, 1988.
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Amendment;
WHEREAS the Joint Protocol entered into force on 27th April, 1992,
WHEREAS article VI of the Joint Protocol provides for signature, ratification and accession;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a Party to the Joint Protocol;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL TO AMEND THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NUCLEAR DAMAGE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS, Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President, with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, the protocol to amend the Vienna Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage was adopted on 12th September, 1997 and opened for signature on 29th September, 1997;
AND WHEREAS, the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid protocol;
AND WHEREAS, the protocol entered into force on 4th October, 2003;
AND WHEREAS, Article 20 (3) of the protocol provides for accession after its entry into force by any State which had not signed the protocol;
AND WHEREAS, the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a part to the protocol;
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolved that the aforesaid protocol be and is hereby approved for accession. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF ACTS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note;
THAT WHEREAS, Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President, with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism entered into force on 7th July, 2007;
AND WHEREAS, the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid convention;
AND WHEREAS, Article 24 (3) of the convention provides for accession by any State;
AND WHEREAS, the Republic of Zimbabwe is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agents;
AND WHEREAS, the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a part to the convention;
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid convention be and hereby approved for accession. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The principal anti-nuclear convention which has given rise to all these five or six conventions that we are ratifying today were signed after the Second World War in 1952. Zimbabwe signed, acceded but has not ratified. The point is, why is the Minister bringing these things today when he has had five years to bring them. I think Parliament should issue a yellow card to people who sleep on duty and then force this august House to act last minute. Parliament is two months or four weeks away from dissolution where was Cde. Soda Zhemu? Was he sleeping on duty that he now comes here and forces us to suspend the important work we have around the many Bills before the House? I think Mr. Speaker, you need to give him a yellow card. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! In this august House, no Minister is referred to as comrade. So please withdraw that.
HON. BITI: He is not a comrade, I withdraw. So my submission Mr. Speaker Sir, is that Ministers need to be put on notice. Section 314 of the Constitution says that constitutional obligations should be executed diligently and if an agreement has been signed which requires ratification in terms of Section 327, it ought to be brought before this House diligently. Some of these conventions are being brought post facto when they should be brought before. We need to give approval before they are signed.
So Mr. Speaker Sir, whilst we support wholeheartedly the convention, I think Minister Zhemu must be given a yellow card. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: A yellow card?
HON. BITI: Or a red card.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with Hon. Biti. A lot has been done in terms of ensuring that we ratify all the treaties that we are party to and the journey we started by even coming to this august House to have an International Treaties Act that would govern that.
So it is because of that work that you now see a lot of these treaties and conventions coming to the august House for ratification. In fact, we must actually applaud the Minister for bringing all these treaties and conventions for ratification. It shows that within Ministries, there is now a follow up mechanism to ensure that all the outstanding treaties are ratified by Parliament. I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NUCLEAR DAMAGE ADOPTED AND OPENED FOR SIGNATURE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENEGRY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS Section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage was adopted and opened for signature on 21st May, 1963 and entered into force on 12th November, 1977;
WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid Convention;
WHEREAS the Convention entered into force on 12th November, 1977;
WHEREAS article XXIV of the Convention provides for accession, by all State Members of the United Nations, or of any of the specialised agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) not represented at the International Conference on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage held in Vienna from 29th April, to 19th May, 1963;
WHEREAS Zimbabwe is a member of both, the United Nations and IAEA;
AND WHEREAS Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a Party to the Convention;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for accession
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day Nos 8 to 16, be stood over until Order of the Day No. 17 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 14, 2021]
Seventeenth Order read: Resumption of Committee: Labour Amendment Bill [H. B. 14, 2021].
House in Committee.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Yesterday when we reported progress, we were on the Schedule.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): We want to add another Clause on Transitional Provisions so that it will read as follows: ‘where a labour officer made a draft ruling in terms of Section 93 (5) (c) and for whatever reason, the draft ruling was not registered with the Labour Court in terms of Section 93 (5) (a) and (b), of the repealed provision, such draft ruling shall automatically be deemed to be a judgment or ruling of the labour officer which, for execution purposes, shall be registered in the appropriate court, provided an employer shall have a right of appeal to the Labour Court within 30 days after notice of registration. The quantum shall be calculated based on the currency in which the judgment was made and payable in Zimbabwean currency at the prevailing official rate’. I submit.
Amendment to the Transitional Provisions put and agreed to.
Transitional Provisions, as amended, put and agreed to.
Schedule of Minor Amendments put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, I move that we revert to Order of the Day No. 16 on the Order Paper.
Motion put and agreed to.
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 12, 2021]
Sixteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Children’s Amendment Bill [H. B. 12, 2021].
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I move that we adjourn debate because the Committee Chairperson is not around.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Friday, 2nd June, 2023.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
NON. ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Criminal Law Codification Reform Bill [H.B. 15A, 2022].
CRIMINAL LAW CODIFICATION REFORM BILL [H.B. 15A, 2022].
Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
CRIMINAL LAW CODIFICATION REFORM BILL [H.B. 15A, 2022].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed do.
Bill read the third time.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, I move that todays Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 9 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 10 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11, 2022]
Tenth Order read: Resumption of Committee: Electoral Amendment Bill [H. B. 11, 2022].
House in Committee
On Clause New Clause 4:
HON. BITI: Madam Chair, can I debate this one. I thought this was just a question of drafting because we are trying to restate what is already in the Constitution, namely that staff of ZEC should be apolitical. It was parked for rewording purposes.
HON ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, provisions of the Clause proposed by Hon. Hwende as it appears on the Order Paper are fully covered by both the Constitution and the Electoral Act and I move that we delete this provision.
Amendments to Clause New Clause 4, put and negatived.
On Clause New Clause 6:
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, this one is not necessary. The provisions as they are now, are adequate in our circumstances and whatever we require, the Commission can provide. So, I do not think this is necessary and I move that it be removed and not be adopted.
HON. BITI: When we had this debate, this is where we had discussions around the role of the Registrar-General and to quote your language, we threw away the baby with the bathwater when we removed carte blanche. Is this not an opportunity to revisit the old status quo and marry it with the constitutional provision that still places responsibility on the preparation of the voters roll on ZEC but the gathering of data et cetera, we create a symmetry between the Registrar’s office and ZEC because we cannot amend the Constitution.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, the Hansard captured what the Minister said in this Clause, where he said that ZEC could not operate without the hand of the Registrar-General and the database of the Registrar-General anyway. We will save the country a huge amount of money if, when you do your I.D registration you are also registered to vote because it is the same information that you use to register for your I.D that ZEC also wants. So, there is no need to have two databases in the current format. We understand why it was done before because it was not being operated correctly but the Minister actually agreed and it is captured in the Hansard. It was parked just for the wording but now we see that Clause 6 changes everything completely. I suggest that we look at it very carefully as this is an opportune time to cut a lot of costs on ZEC to the Registrar and the Registrar only comes when you register you I.D.
HON. MADZIMURE: I just want to buttress what Hon. Markham was saying. When you are registered, the information that you supply is exactly the same information that you also supply when you register as a voter. What will be left for you to do is when you want to be allocated to a specific polling station but as a voter, you will have been registered. This takes away a lot of work from ZEC.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. I agree entirely that we need a Registrar of Voters separate from ZEC and I agree that once that is done the Registrar of Voters, if that is the Registrar-General, then we can look at that. However, in the current format, we cannot change this without first changing our Constitution to separate the Registrar of Voters from the Electoral Vote. At the moment, the Electoral Vote is doing that and even if we are to accept what Hon. Markham is saying, we must do - and also what Hon. Madzimure is saying. For as long as we have not separated the Registrar of Voters from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), we will still have the same duplication. I suggest that this one, is not for now. What is needed is to ensure that after the elections, we amend the Constitution so that we remove the function of registering voters and we leave the independent electoral body with the core function of running elections.
Then the Registrar General (RG) will now do exactly what Hon. Madzimure was saying, when I turn 18, automatically I get a notification and then I update my database and I am a registered voter. When I am deceased, automatically the system will remove me from both the vital registration system and from the voters’ roll. Some of the arguments that they are putting forward are very valid, but they are not for now. We need now to go and amend the Constitution and clean it up so that we have separate roles for those that will be doing the job of elections.
Even the delimitation process, we do not need a hangover for the commission to be involved in delimitation; they have fights with everyone else and that is carried over to an election. The way it was - we had a Delimitation Commission which was divorced from the electoral body makes the situation even tidier. I submit that we do not need this for now and I am moving that we remove it and keep it in our minds for when we have the next Session of Parliament. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Chair, my objection is, we had 10 years to do this. With those two Constitutional amendments, why was such an important issue left out. Why was devolution left out? They were left out because you were dragging because you do not want any change anything.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, some of these issues you get to appreciate them with the experience that you get when the provisions are being put into use. We had no delimitation, even the voter registration exercise that has happened now and the attainted difficulties that have emerged. If you recall, this Constitution was put into place; there were those that were very strong that let us remove from the RG, but now we have convergence of views to say that the RG must indeed be the Registrar of voters. So it is not correct that why was it not done.
In fact, if you recall, my argument at that particular juncture, when we have Amendment Number 2, my argument was the Constitution is a living document, if we experience things that are not practical, let us change them and this is the conversation that we are now having. I submit that let us park it but it is a good idea that we have the Registrar of voters doing all these things. Indeed, we will save money. I submit that let us put it on hold, leave it for another day. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause New Clause 6, put and negative.
On insertion of new clause, amendment of Section 21: Cap 2.13:
HON. BITI: This is the one that allows the person to take photographs of the voters’ roll. So we had agreed on that one. I am saying let us agree on it. This provision is simply saying, when you go for your voter inspection and remember the voters’ roll is posted outside, you can take photographs.
HON. HWENDE: Hon. Minister, on this one, we took our time discussing. When we went to voter inspection, you remember the argument was it was no longer necessary because when you go for inspection, the voters’ roll will be already pasted outside but that is not what is happening. If you go now, nothing is pasted outside. What we were saying is it is a new practice that they would be doing and we want it to be included so that if we include that the voters’ roll must be pasted outside, then this falls out. When it is being pasted out of an amendment of the law, then you can just take a photograph outside. Right now, they just show you, there is no opportunity for you to take a photograph of the voters’ roll. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I was looking at the Act as it is. I do not see anything offensive if you take a photo of what you are allowed currently to take notes on. I think it is okay. We can incorporate this amendment.
*HON. MURAI: Madam Chair, I have an issue concerning names that appear on phones – [AN HON. MEMBER: What clause is that? This is Committee Stage where we discuss clause by clause.]-
HON. MOKONE: The issue of double accreditation of journalists should be scrapped. Journalists should only be accredited by ZNC and ZEC should not demand accreditation from journalists. The other issue is the issue of ZBC, it should enjoy its independence.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I do not agree that accreditation of observers must happen six months before elections. What it means is that we will have people who will camp in this country six months before elections pretending to be observers, in the mean time they can do anything. When the election is called after a proclamation then they can come but before proclamation, you end up with people saying we want to be in your country six months before election and six months after an election because there is a pre-election and post-election period. I think our law is very accommodating to observers.
On the issue of journalists, I tend to agree that journalists are not observers. They are on duty and they are accredited by their media council. It means that you will be accrediting them twice and I have never seen an observer reporting from journalists. They are supposed to be governed by their rules and conditions as established by their council, and I agree that journalists should not be accredited twice.
I also agree that the issue of ZBC being singled out to be impartial and what, we now have several media houses. I think that has fallen away because of technology and the times that we are in, it is not necessary to single out the State media during elections. There are several media houses and because of the advent of technology, there is no prejudice whatsoever. ZBC should be allowed to behave like any other media house according to their way of working. They should not be constrained to the rules set up by ZEC.
HON. HWENDE: Hon. Minister, I think you remember that when we parked the issue of observers, we had also agreed that the six months before should fall away but the reason why we parked it was that you were going to check whether the law currently provides for them to be accredited immediately after the proclamation. So that was the only thing that you were supposed to go and check because we are now agreeing to say if the proclamation is done, then observers can start being accredited. That was the issue that we wanted clarification on.
On journalists, we are happy that you are also agreeing but the issue of ZBC, I do not understand your logic because the reason why ZBC is being singled out is because it is funded by tax payers’ money. The reason why it is funded by tax payers’ money is precisely for them to cover all political parties, kwete zvenyu zvamunoita zvekuti ZBC is only covering ZANU PF. They are not covering all other political parties and so forth. –[HON. NYABANI: Washaya zvekutaura here, hazvisi zvezera rako izvi?]- Iwewe chimbonotenga mazino, you should have bought teeth with the USD40 000 that you were given so that you speak sense.
HON. MADZIMURE: I just want to talk about ZBC. If the Minister’s word is what should be happening, then it means ZBC cannot force anyone to buy licences because if they are going to behave like any other media, it must be able to do its own business, generating its own funds and not to be allocated any money from the State. It ceases to be a State broadcaster. If it remains a State broadcaster, it cannot be allowed to align to a certain party. I cannot fund ZANU PF’s mouthpiece. We cannot do that. –[HON. NYABANI: Inaudible interjection]- Aiwa Nyabani, musoro idemhe kani, unechiiko iwewe? What we are discussing here is beyond you. Wakarigirwa neFAZ knowing that you are useless.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Chair, I hear what the Hon. Members from the other side are saying but Herald or what they call State media is owned by ZIMPAPERS to do business and compete with other media houses. They go where they feel there is news. They cannot take everything and they cannot report on everything even trash. So, if we are clamouring for freedom of the Press, we should also give them freedom to take news where they want. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: The issue of State media is a hot topic. I understand what the Hon. Chief Whip is trying to say defending the current propaganda. The issue is very simple – not 100% of State media should cover the ruling party. The 3% or 1% on opposition parties is totally negative. That changes the State media role. In other SADC countries, depending on your proportional representation in Parliament, you are given time in the lead up to the election to carry out your debates and to carry out your party manifesto. The media should be forced to abide by the allocation we have in Parliament because it is logical that if we are one third in Parliament, then one third of the people who are invited for us, therefore we should be allowed one third of the time on the State media. At the moment, it is totally used as 100% as a propaganda piece. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I just want to speak about observers. The issue of journalists, I think we have time to discuss about it. There are several categories of people who are to observe elections and they apply to the chief election agents to be accredited and these are local observers. I believe local observers do not need an accreditation which is more than four days because this accreditation is about having access to the polling area and procedures that are happening during the polling days and they are local. Whatever they want to interrogate, they are able to do it and they do not need accreditation to do that.
We have foreign observers that apply to the Minister of Foreign Affairs by the nature of where they are coming from. There are certain procedures that need to be done to ensure the safety, security and the vetting. Again, those particular observers, they have foreign missions here. They do not need accreditation for a duration that is over and above the time that poling is happening because their foreign missions have accreditation to be in Zimbabwe and observe whatever they want to do.
So, I do not know what mischief is being solved here where an organisation called Veritas for instance, wants to be accredited for six months when they are already operating in Zimbabwe, they are not barred from going to ZANU PF rallies if they so wish, they are not barred from roaming around the country. This accreditation that is in the Act, pertains to when ZEC now deploys people to poling areas. These individuals should now be given access and observe what is happening from the setting up of tents, transportation and everything. So, I submit that the Act as it is, is very adequate and we should not temper with it. We cannot have foreigners coming here for six months, we might as well give them work permits not accreditation cards. They have foreign missions that are accredited. We have local organisations, they are already allowed to operate, so this amendment Hon. Chair, is unacceptable. I propose that we do not adopt it. The amendment that is being proposed by journalists while I agree with them, I think we can park it and we have more conversation around it, we can always have a look at it at a later stage. I so submit.
HON. HWENDE: I think the Hon. Minister did not respond to the issue. We agreed the last time we sat that the six months should actually fall off but what the Hon. Minister had actually promised to do was that he was going to consult primarily because once the proclamation is done, in this case 21st June is the nomination day. Truly, that could actually fall under the parameters and that is what we thought the Hon. Minister was going to do then come and say look, the 60 days is out but we can then simply state that from proclamation, observers can now be permitted. I think this is a good compromise which I believe the Hon. Minister must not have a problem with, because when we go to the nomination court, truly there should not be a problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. CHIKOMBO: Just to add on the issue of observers, you will see that the proclamation has been done, the electoral process has started. If we do not accredit local observers now, the time that the ballot papers are going to be printed, who is going to be there observing on behalf of the candidates? No-one because they will still be waiting to be accredited. That is what we want to say that there are importeant aspects of elections, first the nomination court, it needs to be observed by local observers and also international observers. I am happy that you are agreeing that we can bring foreign observers immediately after proclamation.
The printing is very important and all the way to the final storage is very important. We need local observers to have been accredited already.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair, Hon. Members are not reading the Act in its current form and appreciating what observers are supposed to do. Observers have nothing to do with printing of ballot papers. That is the first point – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – that is what the Act says. The function of an observer according to the Act, persons who are accredited by the Commission in terms of this party as observers of an election shall be entitled to do any of the following: to observe the election process and in particular the conduct of polling at the election.
I am submitting that what we are doing by accrediting, we are saying the election process is now starting and ZEC is now moving to polling station areas and that process starts four or so days before election day. Observers will then be accredited to observe that process until elections are over. Before that, all those so called local observers have nothing that stops them from going to attend a rally being conducted by party A, B or to go and attend any other process. By their nature, the elections, you need to identify somebody who will have access to a poling area for security reasons. So, you cannot then say you want to accredit somebody for doing nothing over a period of 2 months. Accreditation is for the process when the election process starts. Any other processes, people have access on nomination day, the Nomination Court is an open court. You are not asked to produce your identity documents. If you are not a voter and you want to walk in a polling station when they are setting up, it is a security area, you need to produce an accreditation card that gives you access into that area.
So, I am submitting that we are grappling over nothing. Foreign observers have foreign missions here, those Ambassadors have got accreditation cards that give them parameters on how to operate. Local observers are allowed to operate; that is why I mentioned an example for instance. They are allowed to do their work but on election day, they are not allowed to entre the polling station unless they are accredited. So, I am submitting that it is correct as it is. Never mind what you can say was an agreement by me. Having studied the Act, I realised that there is no need to change the law, it is correct as it is. I submit Hon. Chair.
HON. CHIKOMBO: I would like to get further clarification from the Hon. Minister. What do you mean when you say proper election? My understanding is that when proclamation has been made, it explains that the election has begun. There is this process of sitting the Nomination Court where these observers are supposed to participate and they must be given unfettered access to the process followed by the printing of ballots. So, if you then say they are not allowed to do that, then they are only allowed to access polling stations. Election is a process and it is not an event. So, what prejudice do we suffer as a Government if we are to allow observers to be accredited just after proclamation of the election? I submit.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, the Hon. Member was not listening to me – [HON. CHIKOMBO: I was listening.] – so, can we proceed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIPERSON: Order Hon. Members, he is explaining.
HON. ZIYAMBI: When proclamation is done, it is setting a road map of the election. There is nobody who is barred from attending a rally. I repeat, no one is barred from attending a rally, on one is barred from attending a nomination court, you do not need accreditation to attend a nomination court but when ballots are being dispatched and you want to access the polling area where ballots are stored before the actual polling day, it is a security area, you need to identify yourself that you have been accredited. Any other processes, nobody is barred from attending to those processes.
The printing of ballot boxes has nothing to do with foreign or local observers. The people who can talk about having access are political parties, not foreign or local observers is strictly for political parties. So it has nothing to do with those observers. I have explained that in all other processes, you do not need accreditation or to identify yourself, you are allowed. So I submit.
On Clause 18:
HON. GONESE: I move the amendment standing in my name that: The Bill is amended by the insertion of a new clause on page 7 in line 40 as follows— “18 Amendment of section 47 of Cap. 2:13 The principal Act is amended in Section 47 (“Nomination fee”) by the insertion of a new sub-section (2) as follows— “(2) The nomination fee shall neither be exorbitant nor inhibitive but reasonable enough to allow an eligible citizen to stand for election for public office.”. And the subsequent clauses shall accordingly be renumbered.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, this is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution. I agree.
Amendment to Clause 18 put and agreed to.
Clause 18 as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 20:
HON. GONESE: I move the amendment standing in my name that: The principal Act is amended by the insertion of the following Section 52B and C— “52B Printing of Ballot Paper: The Commission shall call for a competitive tender to print ballot papers and all related electoral material including the procurement of indelible ink, the supply of ballot boxes and all relevant material.
Election Commission National Logistics Committee (1) Every political party in Parliament should have one representative each in the Commission’s National Logistics Committee established in terms of paragraph 7 of the First Schedule to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act [Chapter 2:13]. (2). All other political parties that are not in Parliament shall have one representative in the Commission’s National Logistics Committee, and subsequent clauses were renumbered accordingly.
HON. MUSHORIWA: I think this one is actually a simple matter which I think we will not have a problem with as a House. We are saying that this is in terms of our Public Procurement Laws. You just need to make sure that when the printing of ballot paper is being done, the Commission shall call for a competitive tender which is in tandem with our laws.
Secondly, every political party in Parliament should have one representative on the logistics committee which is very commendable. We are not saying every political party but we are basically limiting it to political parties that are represented in Parliament. Therefore, I move for the adoption of the amendment as proposed on the Order Paper.
HON. MADZIMURE: What this section seeks to address is actually the Public Procurement Act. There is no organisation or institution in this country that enjoys taxpayers’ money that can just procure something without going through the process that is provided for by the Procurement Laws of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
Therefore, it is important that ZEC issue a tender that organisations respond to and when it comes to the actual printing, there is no harm in having each political party in Parliament represented by a single member to go and observe the printing.
The printing of the ballots must also be accounted for; how many ballots were printed, and how many extras were printed - that is very important. This will ensure that the process is credible. The adoption of this amendment will not prejudice anyone but it will enhance the credibility.
HON. BITI: Madam Chair, we want our law to comply with the 2 August 2006, SADC Protocol on Standard Elections agreed in Mauritius. Those guidelines emphasise two things; transparency of the ballot paper and transparency in two respects, transparency around who is going to print it which in any event is consistent with our Public Procurement Laws. If you go to Section 315 of the Constitution is clear that there shall be a law made for the transparent procurement of services and goods to the State. We would like our Electoral Act to be consistent with international standards. The second thing which is again consistent with the SADC Protocol on Elections is transparency about the actual process of printing. Political parties and not observers are allowed to go and witness the printing of ballot papers.
Recently in August 2022, there was an election in Kenya, we witnessed political parties going to Germany to witness the printing of their ballot paper. There was an election in Lesotho, we witnessed political parties in Lesotho witnessing the printing of the ballot paper. We are asking the Minister representing the Executive to please concede to the incorporation of this SADC Protocol into our own domestic law. After all, whatever amendments we are doing right now are not affecting this election because the proclamation was made in S.I. 85 of 2023 and therefore, this is for the next election. We hope the Minister can grant us that respectful concession. I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: This provision is not acceptable for the main reason that this is a highly security issue that does not require what they have indicated there. Having said that, I listened very attentively to Hon Biti; political parties, that is okay. That has been done but it is how they observed that as an issue. The principle of allowing them is there. It is how it was done that is being argued. Having said that, the process that happens from the time of dispatch to the time that results are announced, political parties are participants. Once the materials arrive at a polling station, political parties, presiding officers and everyone who is there is supposed to reconcile and sign for the material that has arrived.
Before you start voting in the morning, you do the same. When voting closes, you reconcile ballots that have been used and the residue to ensure that it is exactly the same quantity that you received. Sometimes we are fearing our own shadows when there is nothing to fear. The way the process is being done, if all of us as political parties are alert, we will not even spend time debating this. Over and above that, perhaps five years from now we will have voting machines. My humble submission is that let us proceed. We do not need this. Let us concentrate on what we can do to ensure that the integrity of the vote is maintained by the processes that I have said are available and we ensure that we protect it.
Not only that, after voting the results are pasted and since 2008 we have been doing that, you paste on the wall signed results. If we follow the process as it should, we will realise that we are fearing nothing. My submission is that let us park this for another day because beyond 2028, we will not be needing ballot papers. We will have machines. I move that we reject this and we proceed with the Bill. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: My contribution is that sometimes you do not know that ballot papers are printed at different places. There are some ballot papers which are specifically printed for Harare where upon putting an X, it then disappears. These ballot papers react and remove all the ink written on them. Let us agree from the onset that we need to set the rules before ballot papers are printed. By so doing, we will ensure that a transparent process is maintained.
I am sure most of us will remember the scenario in 2013 where there was Nikuv and so forth. We need to perfect our processes so that there will be no disputes after elections.
HON. HWENDE: I think when the Minister responded you went far ahead and dealt with issues that are not on the table. The issue that is on the table here is the issue of the printing of ballot papers. Our appeal to you is to incorporate the SADC Protocol on Elections. It is good that the whole world is watching you whilst you are denying the things that you agreed on at SADC. We are not asking for anything apart from what you agreed together with your colleagues that political parties must be allowed to witness the printing of ballot papers. There is nothing like security risk when it comes to printing of ballot papers. In fact, in most countries they do not use their dubious printing company like what you are doing here.
HON ZIYAMBI: On a point of clarification, can you give me the SADC provision verbatim on printing of ballot papers.
HON HWENDE: Let Mr. Dias check for you. That is his job. We are all Zimbabweans and the intention that we have is that we want to hold elections that are not contested. It is not only good for CCC but good for the country. We have simple things that even your Head of State agreed with his fellow Head of States that let us enhance electoral processes by allowing political parties – people do not even know where ballot papers are printed.
Last time you invited political parties to verify printing of ballot papers, instead of them witnessing the process, they were just shown the printing process for two minutes through the glass. In less than two minutes, everyone was being told to leave. When you ask everyone to go out you are shooting yourselves in the foot because all you are doing is cheating the people and the country will not go anywhere. We want this country’s electoral processes to be such that anyone who wins is congratulated by the loser. - [HON. NYABANI: Inaudible interjection.] - Hon Chair, can you concentrate on the debate and protect me from this toothless man here. Please protect me Hon. Chair. So we just want the Hon. Minister to clarify two things which are: firstly, you are a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Elections, so are you officially discarding the SADC Protocol on Elections and things that they have agreed to which are being done in the SADC and even in Malawi where the President is. It says that the printing process must be transparent and that interested parties must witness the printing process of ballot papers. This is what is happening in Malawi where the Head of State is. It is also happening in Botswana and Namibia. When they print their ballot papers, they invite all their political parties to come and witness. Some countries are no longer printing the Presidential ballot papers in their own country in an effort to enhance transparency. They are printing in Dubai or Germany and even invite political parties and pay for them to go and witness the process.
Secondly, we have also spoken about the security issues surrounding the observation of the printing process. Our question is, can you clarify to Zimbabweans what is so secretive about a political party representative or candidate witnessing the printing of a ballot paper, which is a public document. What security are you talking about? You cannot just throw words and sit down. Whatever we are asking, we are doing so in good faith. We just want our country to have a free and fair election so that the results are not contested and whoever wins proceeds with the business of running this country. It is good for the country, for us and for you as well as for everyone else. I thank you very much.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. The printing of our ballot papers is transparent, so it is compliant with the SADC Protocol and other protocols. Our legislation to that effect is not sufficient because they have not motivated enough. The observation, like I indicated, is not a legislative issue but how it was done that needs to be dealt with. So, the issue of procurement that is subject to a competitive tender, that is subject to amendment is the one I said we cannot do. Those that have been speaking about googling; in America, a company won a tender to provide voting machines. When the elections came, it must have been the Republicans, they lost in several States where those machines were used and they were crying foul that there was manipulation but they had done what they are calling an open and very good tendering process.
I have indicated that the issue of security of the ballot box for political parties, we can ensure that we do it and we do not need to grapple about needing competitive tenders or logistic committees. To be very honest with you, all these are populated with human beings that are capable of also being bribed even if they carry a label of a political party, but when you have a general policy that when ballots arrive at a particular polling station, every political party must ensure they do what they must do to protect the ballot. So, this amendment, I do not accept because I believe our laws as they stand are extremely compliant with all the protocols that we have signed. So, I submit that we cannot adopt it, so let us move on.
HON. DUTIRO: If you are moving to another clause, I accept it because there is no reason why Hon. Hwende was speaking of the SADC guidelines. Those are simple guidelines which we can either follow or may not follow. Guidelines is the key word.
Secondly, the idea of having the interested parties to witness the printing of ballots was given as a proposal and is yet to be adopted by SADC. I was the Vice Chairperson of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security in Madagascar. I am wondering where their fear is coming from. I am not sure if my Hon. colleagues are aware of the electoral processes in terms of printing these ballot papers. The number of ballot papers, voters, voting centres and the figures that are sent to polling stations are all known and the ballot papers have serial numbers. So, I am just wondering where their fears are coming from.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Chair, Section 7 (4) of the SADC Guidelines on elections talks about the issue of – [HON. ZIYAMBI: Guideline ka.] - Minister, even though they are guidelines, what we are trying to do here is to ensure that the result that we get out of an election will motivate the people of Zimbabwe to behave like a people who have come from an election, where there is a possibility that you can lose an election or you can win an election. So, the whole thing that we are talking about here is to ensure that our election is simply credible.
As you were saying, we have got nothing to hide. So, if you have got nothing to hide, why should you get to a point where you froth because you just do not want that to happen. If there is nothing to hide, why can we not simply do the best that we can do to ensure that after an election, there is a real feel, people think that exactly what has come out of this election is a result of the people’s will.
The biggest problem that we have, is we will continuously go in circles and we will end up even dying. The majority of the people who used to sit on these benches are now all dead and they left us in a messy because they were taking exactly the same stance that I will not change. We do not help the nation by simply saying we just do not want. You can give other reasons but if there is nothing to fear, why cannot people observe.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I also want to support the issues being raised by Hon. Members that the printing of ballot papers is very important. If we look at the SADC Guidelines, they actually outline responsibilities of Member States in holding democratic elections. One of the issues is to ensure transparency, – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.] – Ko haugoni kunyarara here, ukanyarara unobvei. Madam Chair can I be protected? – [Laughter.] –
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to add my voice to the issue of printing of ballot papers. At the centre of this issue, is the issue of legitimacy and we all know – I always want to repeat that we claim that we are in the Second Republic and in the old republic, the contested issue was the illegitimacy of elections. The legitimacy of elections needs to be enhanced by our own laws. This is the reason why we are reforming the laws, including the electoral laws, to make sure that there is legitimacy in the processes we do.
SADC guidelines, actually places on the responsibility of the member States to make sure that there is full observation of the entire electoral cycle, including the pre-election period. So, when they say entire electoral cycle, they actually include even the ballot papers. They need to be observed. Kana isusu tisiri kuisa poison muchikafu chatiri kubika, tiri kutyirei kuti vanhu vaone kuti chiri kubikwa sei. Tiri kudirei kunobika kuseri tichiti kune security. Chinhu chatoda kuzopa vanhu?
So, Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of the ballot paper is like we are cooking food for everyone. We all want to see what ingredients are put in the pot to cook the food. The issue of the ballot papers, political parties are supposed to see – that is a bone of contention that since time immemorial, ballot papers are printed in large numbers than the voters themselves. It is said there are duplicates of ballot papers. So, we need to know the printing company. If the Minister calls for tender, all political parties should have representatives to see where and how the ballot papers are printed and how they are sealed. When they come to polling stations, we are just given something which we never witnessed its origin. That is what we want to avoid. Iyi issue inoita kuti Zimbabwe ionekwe sokuti iri kufanana nedzimwe nyika. Zimbabwe ionekwe sokuti yaita mareform kunyaya dzesarudzo dzagara dziri kusiya gwapa panyika ino yeZimbabwe, yova chiseko chedzimwe nyika. Ndatenda.
* HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I was listening to Hon. Hamauswa, he is now debating something out of the Bill. He is attacking other political parties. If we go that far, a party that has Members who fight among themselves, some of the Members belong to that party. Even at a funeral, they fight but he is saying that ZANU PF this and that. He should stick to the Bill and stop attacking other political parties. If we go into attack as he is doing, as we speak, they do not have a list of contesting candidates, yet we are about to go to elections…
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): Order, Order Hon. Members! Hon. Members, I know this is a very sensitive Bill because it is the Electoral Amendment Bill. You all have got different political persuasions and come from different political parties but let us all try to stick to the principle, which is discussing the Bill and not going on to speak about political parties, political leaders and all that. So please, I am kindly requesting you to stick to speaking about the Bill. We are now on amendment to Clause 20. Let us speak about that and stop all this because we will not finish this Bill.
HON. HWENDE: Hon. Chair, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs must withdraw the issue he spoke about concerning Advocate Chamisa. Advocate Chamisa is not here in Parliament so he must stand up – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can you protect me against this man?
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order!
HON. HWENDE: Adv. Chamisa is not in here so the Minister must withdraw his reference to Hon. Chamisa.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You are out of order Honourable.
*HON. HWENDE: If he had witnessed the printing of ballot papers in Zvimba, he would not have lost the primary election – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - The issue that we are talking about could help them. They lost the primary elections because they did not see where the ballot papers where being printed. That is why you all lost in the primary elections. You are used to stealing, you steal from each other and you want to continue stealing from the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Members from the right may you please sit down. Hon. Munetsi, please sit down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Hon. Nyathi!
*HON. CHIKOMBA: Thank you Madam Chair. I want to remind the House that if there are any disagreements on the issue of allowing political parties to witness the printing of the ballot papers, it is because the ballot paper is the one which brings out the credibility of results. If a political party does not have access to the printing of ballot papers, it cannot come across the ballot paper at polling stations. If you look at what made the people of Zimbabwe to go for the liberation struggle, it was the issue of allowing the ordinary people to vote - what we call universal suffrage: one man, one vote. This starts with the printing of the ballot paper.
We cannot say elections were transparent if political parties are not allowed to witness the printing of ballot papers. The issue of security which the Minister is referring to, I think the Nomination Court scrutinises each and every paper of aspiring candidates despite political affiliation that we have passed the bar set for you to be considered a candidate. This addresses the issue of security issues.
Secondly, where ballot papers are being printed, which is Fidelity Printers - if that is where issues of security threat are emanating from, why do you go there? Why do we use those facilities because observers are not a security threat, but it is because of the environment which you would have used to print the ballot papers? You see a presidential candidate is asked to pay US$20 000 for them to witness the printing of ballot papers while they are 100 metres away. What is the use of US$20 000?
We know that you cannot effect this provision for the forthcoming elections, but for the next elections, as alluded to by the former speaker. Worldwide, there are no political parties which just wake up to see the ballot papers on voting day. What challenge do you face in allowing political parties who are already there to observe? What prejudice do you suffer as a State? One thing is that you must allow all the political players an equal chance to participate because they have shown an interest by paying the money and they have passed all the security checks which have been put in place by the State. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 20, put and negatived.
On Clause 23:
HON. BITI: This one Hon. Minister, we agreed that it does not make sense that a polling station can transmit results but the standard, Madam Chair, is that at constituency level because at constituency level, results are signed off by all the political parties. Our submission, Hon. Minister, is that if we can then have the transmission at constituency level, not at individual polling station. That would be my proposal. We accept that at polling stations, it does not work but at constituency level it works because the constituency is a collection of all the polling stations, so it makes sense.
Can we propose that the onward transmission of the real time commences at polling stations because at polling stations, everyone signs off, you sit at the main centre. If you are in Chiendambuya or if you are in Hwedza North, you sit at Sadza and you have got your own results and you transmit them. It is more practical.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. As soon as the returning officer at the constituency command centre finishes, they then go to the province. By the nature of our votes, they cannot be transmitted directly because of the proportional representation issues that need to be dealt with at the provincial command centre. They will transmit them to the provincial command centre and the provincial command centre is the one that transmits them to the national after they have collated. This amendment may actually happen in future. It is not a bad amendment, but for now, we cannot change it. For 2028, I think we will bring another amendment and we will be looking at many other issues.
HON. BITI: Madam Chair, the calculation of PR has nothing to do with the results at the constituency level. We totally agree with the Minister that allowing transmission at polling station has a problem and the Minister gave the example of Chegutu, of Hon. Dexter Nduna’s case where a wrong result was actually transmitted. At constituency level, it is different because everyone signs off to say we have got 22 polling stations in this constituency and this is what we got, councillor in ward so and so, MP Mr. Dube of party X, Mrs. Chinhamhora of party Y got this and Presidential Candidate Mr. Y got this and Mr. Z got this. There is nothing wrong with that.
We see it happening in other countries and it is best practice. That is what we are appealing for. We referred to the SADC Protocols earlier on. The African Charter also has its own principles on democracy and elections. Let us follow international standards. Let us follow African standards. A lot of these things, we are trying to remove the perception.
I was listening very carefully to the arguments on the previous subject to do with the observation of printing of ballot papers. A political party is not going to sit in a room to see the printing of ballot papers from ballot paper No. 1 to the eleventh million if there are eleven million voters in that country, but it is the symbolism that we had actually seen which helps to create an atmosphere of credibility, legitimacy and confidence in the whole system.
We are recalibrating the social contract and the social fabric of our society. We are trying to find a new consensus that we can all agree so that one who wins the election shakes the loser and the loser shakes the winner, and they go and play golf together at Harare Royal Golf Club. That is what we are trying to do. These things are important, let us follow them because since 1980, we have always been fighting on elections. VaNkomo navaMugabe had such problems and vaTsvangirai, navaMugabe, vakasvika pakufa vese, nanhasi tichirikungonetsana. Ngatimbosvikai pekuti hatinetsaneba. Tomhoresana tichitengerana doro mubhawa riri paseri apa. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. I agree with him but this amendment is not for now, so I am rejecting it.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Chair, the Minister cannot say not for now – why are we debating because it is not for now, saka ngatiendei kumba.
HON. HWENDE: We are calling for the division of the House. It is a very important issue and the Minister is not agreeing. The rule allows us to call for division. I am officially calling for a division of the House so that we can solve this problem on Clause 23.
HON. BITI: The reason for division is the question of whether or not results at the constituency level should be transmitted real time to the national constituency centre. That is the issue.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, it is on adopting Clause 23 and that is what we are arguing for and not about ballots. We had already finished about the ballots. We were now on Clause 23. The bells can now be rung. Thank you.
AYES 46: Hon. Bushu B., Hon. Chibagu G., Hon. Chikukwa M. R., Hon. Chikuni E., Hon. Chinotimba J., Hon. Chiwetu J. Z., Hon. Dutiro P., Hon. Dzepasi G., Hon. Kabozo S., Hon. Kapuya F., Hon. Kashiri C., Hon. Madziva S., Hon. Makari Z. H., Hon. Makope M., Hon. Marikisi N., Hon. Masvisvi D., Hon. Mataranyika D., Hon. Mavetera T. A., Hon. Mguni S. K., Hon. Mkandla M., Hon. Muchimwe P.T., Hon. Mudau M., Hon. Munetsi J., Hon. Muponora N., Hon. Murambiwa O., Hon. Murire J. Rtd., Hon. Musanhi K. S., Hon. Musiyiwa R., Hon. Mutodi E., Hon. Ncube E., Hon. Nduna D. T., Hon. Nguluvhe A., Hon. Nyabani T., Hon. Nyathi R. R., Hon. Raidza M., Hon. Saizi T., Hon. Samambwa E., Hon. Shumbamhini H., Hon. Sibanda O., Hon. Sithole Josiah., Hon. Svuure D., Hon. Togarepi P., Hon. Tongofa M., Hon. Wadyajena J. M., Hon. Ziyambe Z., Hon. Zizhou M.
Tellers: Hon. Raidza M., Hon. Sibanda L.
NOES 26 : Hon. Biti L. T., Hon. Chidziva H., Hon. Chikombo W., Hon. Chimbaira G., Hon. Chinyanganya M., Hon. Gonese I. T., Hon. Hamauswa S., Hon. Hwende C., Hon. January S., Hon. Machingauta C., Hon. Madzimure W., Hon. Maphosa L., Hon. Markham A. N., Hon. Matewu C., Hon. Matsunga S., Hon. Mokone S., Hon. Molokela-Tsiye F. D., Hon. Munengami F., Murai E., Hon. Mushoriwa E., Hon. Mutseyami C. P., Hon. Nyamudeza S., Hon. Nyokanhete J., Hon. Sibanda L, Hon. Tarusenga U. D., Hon. Tembo M.
Tellers: Hon. Matewu C., Hon. Chinotimba J.
Clause 23 put and negative.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Chair, we removed this Clause in our earlier discussions, so it falls away.
*HON. BITI: Madam Chair, why is it there is no longer give and take in our discussions? We were doing our business smoothly; are we now doing this? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY CHAIREPRSON: Order Hon. Members. Hon. Biti, take your seat. Hon. Members, take your seats. Hon. Biti, we have completed this Bill.
HON. HWENDE: On a point of order. Madam Chair, there is no quorum in this House.
Question that Clause 28 be removed from the Bill put and agreed to.
Clause 28 accordingly deleted.
On Clause 31:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, this clause is extremely problematic. While I appreciate the need for a code of conduct, but this clause will violate a lot of rights of contestants like it says here, Clause 31 (e) “if any party violates the provisions of the Code, the Commission may disqualify the candidate from participating in the election in the constituency or ward concerned. What this clause is saying is that there is no time for ZEC to do this when campaigning period is happening. There will not be any due process that will be followed.
We are saying this may be Mushoriwa, somebody will just go and report Mushoriwa broke the code of conduct. He did 1,2,3 and 4 and ZEC may disqualify him. There is no provision there, neither is there time to call witnesses and interrogate everything. This is dangerous for now. I think it is not appropriate. We need to put our heads together and think how we want the code applied but not to give ZEC powers that will end up all of us crying.
HON. MUSHORIWA: I am convinced by the Hon. Minister that we remove it.
Amendment to Clause 31 put and negatived.
Clause 31, as amended, put and negatived.
On Clause 33;
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): This is another one Chair. ZEC are not experts in how media practitioners are governed. It is not their business. Their business is to conduct an election. Journalists are governed by their own media council. If there are issues that you believe need to be addressed, they must be addressed to the relevant council. This one again is more or less like the other one that we have just dealt with. Let us leave journalists to be controlled by their own council and regulations and not put them in the Electoral Act. I submit.
Amendment to Clause 33 put and negatived.
Clause 33, as amended, put and negatived.
On Clause 36;
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): This one we spoke about it and agreed, so we are removing it.
Amendment to Clause 36 put and negatived.
Clause 36, as amended, put and negatived.
On Clause 38;
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): This clause is extremely problematic, if not unconstitutional. When an election is held, the President will be in charge until the next President is sworn into office. This one will create a structure where a civil servant will take charge before another President is sworn into office. I think this one, let us park it. It is not desirable because the Constitution says, when an election is held the moment the President elect assumes office, he takes the reins and the other President is no longer President. This one will create a parallel structure that maybe dangerous. I submit and indicate that we remove this one, it is not necessary.
HON. MUSHORIWA: With all due respect to the Hon. Minister, I do not think there will be two centres of power. What the transitional clause means is purely administrative, not political. We concede that the President will remain in office until the inauguration of the one that has actually won but what we do have is, we have got the administrative arm. Remember after the elections the State remains there – [AN HON. MEMBER: Zvakamboitika kwani?] Because we have never had a transition before but you can check even the American system. He is appointed by the sitting President and remember these are the permanent secretaries. Most of the permanent secretaries are appointed by the current President.
HON. BITI: There is nothing malicious. We have a Constitution with limited terms of office and I want to take the natural case. The term of office of the sitting President has ended and another one is coming in. You want a process that administratively smoothens power transfer. Our problem in Zimbabwe is that we have not heard the tradition of smooth power transfer. So, you are trying to entrench this. The unfortunate thing is that since independence we had one President, baba vaMugabe, may his soul rest in peace - but you and I know, there was no smooth power transfer in 2017, kune zvakandoitika. Madam Chair, what this does is to just smoothen the power transfer. It is not creating or taking away power from anyone, tomorrow it will be you Hon. Togarepi.
Therefore, Hon. Minister, this provision is good because we do not have a tradition of power transfer in Africa. In Africa, we have a problem that munhu akapihwa chimuti anobva amhanya nechimuti. So, this provision helps administratively.
Madam Chair, if you watch the Olympics Games; in Africa, we have boys and girls who partake in marathon races from Ethiopia and Kenya and they just perform long distances because as Africans, we are unable to partake in short distances because hatigone kupanana chimuti. This provision only assists kuti chimuti chipihwe mumwe zvakanaka. I thank you.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: I would also like to add one thing that I have observed in other countries. In other countries in the SADC region that we visited during their elections, they have got what they call instruments of power which are equally the same as what we practice here with regard to chieftainship. So, other countries actually have the symbolism of power which they call instruments of power. This means that the incumbent President, in the case that he loses the election, takes those instruments of power as a process, handing them to the winning President. So, this is what should be happening at the peaceful transfer. In Zimbabwe, the chieftainship processes practice the same thing, so I support that provision.
HON. TOGAREPI: We do not want to bring in changes to the Constitution through the back door. What Hon. Members are bringing can only come in when we change the Constitution. At the moment, we stick to the Constitution. When transfer of power happens, we will use relevant structures that are there at the moment. Therefore, we cannot be persuaded in this Act to try and do things that were never there.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: The issue of transition is very important because in some instances, those who are in power may fail to win the election and there is a runoff. It is very unfortunate that those people remain in power using Presidential powers to come up with solutions for that period. However, if we have a committee, it will run the electoral affairs throughout and work to see that there is a smooth transition of power.
HON. MATARANYIKA: Thank you Hon. Chair. The problem with the proposal is that it is unconstitutional. If you look at Section 94, assumption of office by President and Vice President, it is very clear how this is done. In any case, the proposal will not survive scrutiny by PLC, it is unconstitutional.
Let us not waste time here, let us proceed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): When an election is held and the results are clear, there is no contestation after nine days, there is supposed to be a swearing-in. You do not need to remove the powers that the incumbent President has before handing over and give them to the Chief Secretary. In any event, the person who hires and fires a Chief Secretary is the President who is there. So, you cannot have somebody who is called a Chief Secretary who may be fired for convening that by the very same President who is still there. We do not need all this. Once an election is held and everything is okay, that incumbent President will ensure that the process is leading up to the swearing-in ceremony.
In any event, it is part of the Executive powers that the President has to manage his or her own affairs. Why do you want somebody to manage the Presidential affairs as if he is no longer in office? Our Constitution does not say once the results are announced, the President ceases to have executive powers. This clause is manifestly taking away all the executive powers from the President before the swearing-in ceremony and the Constitution never envisaged such a scenario. Hence Hon. Mataranyika is right to say this is manifestly unconstitutional because you are taking away the executive powers the moment results are announced and handing it over to appointed officials by the very same President who can even fire them the day the election results are announced. Therefore, let us not worry about that and be suspicious of each other.
Allow me to respond to Hon. Chidziva who asked his question in Shona. If elections are done and they are inconclusive, the sitting President will continue running the affairs. Our Constitution does not say let us go for an election with a committee in place. That is not allowed.
HON. HWENDE: Let us divide the House on this matter.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: How many of you are present so that we can divide the House. If you are more than 15 Members we can then proceed. We cannot ring the bells when you are less than 15 Members. - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): I was using Standing Order No. 135 (b) because Hon Members on my left requested which Standing Order is it which states that if you are less than 15 you just have to stand and we do not vote.
The question over which the House shall divide is that of Clause 38. That Clause as amended, should be rejected. The Ayes are agreeing to the rejection of Clause 38. The Noes are saying Clause 38 should remain as amended.
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Madam Chair. It is this side that had put the proposal. Generally, the division should be on those people that are saying let this amendment be part of the Bill.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, we do not need to go through the processes of you debating. We are saying Hon. Members to my left are saying “No”, you do not allow the rejection of Clause 38. Simple.
AYES 50: Hon. Bushu B, Hon. Chanda G, Hon. Chibagu, Hon Hon. Chidamba S., Hon Chikukwa M. Chikuni E., Hon Chinotimba J., Hon. Chiwetu J.Z.; R., Hon. Chombo M., Hon. Dutiro P., Hon. Dzepasi G., Hon. Dzuma S., Hon. Kashiri C., Hon. Madziva S., Hon. Makari Z.H., Hon. Makope M, Hon. Marikisi N., Hon Maronge C., Hon. Masoka. N., Hon. Mataranyika D.M., Hon. Mathe S., Hon Mguni Hlalani., Hon. Mhlanga J.N., Hon. Mnangagwa T., Hon. Mpame C., Hon. Mudau M, Hon. Munetsi J., Muponora N, Hon. Murambiwa O., Hon. Murire J (Rtd) Col. Dr., Hon. Mutambisi C., Hon. Nduna D. T., Hon. Nguluvhe A., Hon Nkomo M, Hon. Nowedza E., Hon. Nyabani T., Hon. Nyathi R. R., Hon. Paradza K., Hon. Raidza M., Hon. Saizi T., Hon. Shumbamhini H., Hon. Sibanda O., Hon. Sithole Josiah., Hon. Svuure D., Hon. Togarepi P., Hon. Tongofa M., Hon. Tsuura N., Hon. Ziyambi Z., Hon. Zizhou M.
Tellers: Hon. Raidza and Hon. Chinotimba
NOES: 26: Hon. Biti L. T., Hon. Chidakwa J., Hon. Chidziva H., Hon. Chikombo. W., Hon. Chimbaira G., Hon Dube G., Hon. Gonese I. T., Hon. Hamauswa S., Hon. Hwende C., Hon. Machingauta C., Hon. Madzimure W., Hon Mago N., Hon. Masuku P., Hon. Matambo J., Hon. Matewu C., Hon. Matsunga S., Hon. Mokone S., Hon. Murai E., Hon. Musarurwa Y., Hon. Mushoriwa E., Hon Mutseyami C. P., Hon. Nyamudeza S., Hon Nyokanhete J. Hon. Sibanda L., Hon. Tembo M., Hon. Tshuma D.,
Teller: Hon. Matewu C, Hon Sibanda L.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MAVETERA): Order! I have 50 Ayes and 26 Noes. Therefore, the amendment is accordingly rejected.
Clause 38 as amended, put and negatived.
Bill reported with amendments.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Labour Amendment Bill [H. B 14A, 2022].
LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL [H. B 14A, 2022]
Amendments to Clauses 8, 12 and 31 put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, adopted.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
LABOUR AMENDMENT BILL [H. B 14A, 2022]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
Business was suspended at 1837 hours and resumed at 1925 hours.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 16 on the Order Paper.
Motion put and agreed to.
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 12, 2021]
Sixteenth Order read: Second Reading: Children’s Amendment Bill [H. B. 12, 2021].
Question again proposed.
HON. MATARANYIKA: Madam Speaker, I rise to present the second reading speech on the Children’s Amendment Bill.
The Children’s Amendment Bill [H.B. 12, 2021] was gazetted on 3
December, 2021. It seeks to align the Children’s Act [Chapter 5:06], the main statute on children’s rights in Zimbabwe to the Constitution and international conventions. The Bill essentially aims to strengthen the country’s child protection framework, in particular to afford all children needful protection and assistance to enable them to fully assume their responsibilities in the community. In addition, it seeks to ensure that children grow up in an environment which is conducive for their full and harmonious development.
In compliance with Section 141 of the Constitution which enjoins
Parliament to ensure public involvement in its legislative process and that interested parties are consulted on Bills, the joint Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; and Health and Child Care embarked on public consultations on the Children’s Amendment Bill. This report summarises the views of the people of Zimbabwe on the Bill.
As part of preparations for public consultations on the Bill, the
Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare attended a workshop to unpack the Bill on 15 June 2022.
The workshop was organised by Parliament in collaboration with
the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST). The joint Committees then proceeded to conduct public hearings on the Bill from 11 to 15 July 2022. In this regard, the joint Committees were divided into two teams that undertook consultations at eleven venues across the ten provinces of Zimbabwe as shown on Appendix 1.
Additionally, the Committees received and considered written
submissions from stakeholders including Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe.
3.0 OVERVIEW OF THE PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS
While Team A reached a total of 825 people comprising of 51.9%
(428) males, 48.1% (397) female during the public hearings, Team B interfaced with a total of 1016 citizens comprising of 450 males and 566 females. The aggregate reach was therefore, 1841 people, where 47.7% were male participants and 52.3% were females.
- 0 GENERAL SUBMISSIONS
The public applauded Parliament for the efforts made to gather their
views on the Bill and recommended that consultations cover more districts of the country in the future to allow for wider participation in the law-making process.
Members of the public noted that the law must adequately protect the rights of children including the unborn child and those affected by church doctrines. These encompass the right to health, education, clothes and homes. Furthermore, children should be protected from child marriages including harmful cultural practices such as “kugara nhaka; and kuzvarira” as these vices still affected children in some parts of our society. It was also highlighted that the Bill must eliminate any form of discrimination of children whether male female or with disability. Poverty was identified as the leading behind child marriages, child labour, early pregnancies and school dropouts. In this regard, the Government was called upon to urgently embark on poverty alleviation programmes. There was also an outcry against high levels of child labour in the country, especially in the vending occupation and the Government was implored to intervene in this regard. A penalty of one-month imprisonment or community service was proposed for any parent or guardian found guilty of such an offence.
Children called for mandatory jail sentences for perpetrators of rape and other crimes related to the abuse of children and the need to do away with any fines or bail. While a majority of students highlighted that corporal punishment should remain banned as it was a form of child abuse, some were of the view that it was necessary to enforce discipline and good behaviour. It was noted that the scrapping of corporal punishment had resulted in spiraling cases of indiscipline amongst children including drug abuse, prostitution and criminal activities. There was a popular view, especially amongst adults that children should be made accountable for their actions for the betterment of our society. Proposals were made to impose a nine months imprisonment penalty on children who engage in prostitution and a 3 - 12 months jail term for drug abuse.
In relation to the children’s right to education, the Government was urged to provide free basic state funded primary and secondary education considering that most parents and guardians could not afford to pay tuition fees for their children due to economic hardship. Students also implored the GGovernment to compulsorily introduce feeding programs at all schools to ensure that no child’s concentration in school is impaired by hunger and to fulfil the right to food for all. A proposal was also made for the law to stipulate the minimum distance which children must travel for purposes of accessing a school. Students further noted a need to outlaw the withholding of examination results on the basis of non-payment of tuition fees and depriving students of their right to education as it was not their responsibility but that of the parent. The Government was also urged to ensure that all schools install disability friendly facilities including teachers conversant with sign language and braille.
Additionally, the Government should provide assistive devices for learners with disabilities free of charges. Furthermore, a call was made for the Government to ensure equal access to education by children in urban and rural areas through uniform provision of materials for the new education curriculum such as internet, mobile network connectivity and information communication technology (ICT) equipment. Members of the public also underscored the need for provision of sanitary ware by the Government in schools as some girls were missing school during menstruation due to inaccessibility of sanitary. Finally, an appeal was made for the Government to establish health facilities at schools to ensure that students who fall ill urgently access medical care.
5.0 SPECIFIC SUBMISSIONS ON THE BILL
5.1 Clause 1: Short Title of the Bill
There was no objection raised concerning the title of the Bill in all
the ten provinces.
5.2 Clause 2: Preamble
The public applauded the effort being made by the Bill to align the
law to the Constitution and international conventions on children’s rights.
5.3 Clause 3: Interpretation
This clause defines key terms in the Bill. It is pertinent to note that
there was general consensus by both adults and children that the definition of a child should encompass any person under the age of eighteen years. In addition, a recommendation was made to add the definition of a “child with disability.”
5.4 Clause 4: Establishment of the Child Protection and Welfare Council
The Clause renames the “Child Welfare Council” to become the
“Child Protection and Welfare Council” and provides for additional representatives from organisations of parents of children with disabilities. Stakeholders applauded the move to incorporate representatives of Organisations of Parents of Children with Disabilities in the Council as it was deemed to promote parental responsibility and representation. However, it was noted that due diligence should be done to ensure the equal representation of these organisations and that various types of disabilities are represented to ensure that no child is left behind.
5.5 Clause 5: Functions of the Child Protection and Welfare Council
The Clause adds more functions to the Child Protection and Welfare
Council and obligates the Council to seek the views of children and ensure their participation in the execution of its functions.
5.6 Clause 6: Ill-Treatment or Neglect of Children and Young Persons
No comments were made on this Clause which deletes the term “an
infant| and substitutes it with “a child under the age of seven years” in the principal Act.
5.7 Clause 7: Corruption of Children and Young Persons
The public strongly supported this Clause which provides for the
creation of an offence when any person allows or causes a child to participate in child sexual abuse material or any person participates in child grooming. It further stipulates penalties for such offenders ranging from: a fine not exceeding level 12 or imprisonment for not more than 10 years for persons who allows a child to reside or frequent a brothel; a fine not exceeding level 13 and imprisonment not exceeding 15 years for persons who facilitate the sexual exploitation of a child; and a fine not exceeding level 14 or imprisonment sentence not exceeding 15 years for those who participate in child grooming.
In reaction to this Clause, the public highlighted that while it is the duty of parents to take care of the children and teach them upright ways of living, parents have lost ubuntu and socialize their children to corrupt activities such as drug abuse. It was suggested that the Bill provides for the setting up rehabilitation centres for children involved in drug abuse. In addition, members of the public noted that some children were being corrupted through sharing a bedroom with their parents.
5.8 Clause 8: Medical Examination and Treatment of Children and Young Persons.
There was overwhelming endorsement of this Clause which makes
it an offence for any parent or guardian to deny access to medical treatment to a child in their care without a reasonable cause for such denial of medical treatment. The public recommended the deletion of the term “reasonable cause” as it could be abused to justify the violation of the children’s right to health care.
In addition, a call was made for the upwards review of the penalty for denying a child access to health from a level 5 fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months to 5 years and extension of the same penalty to religious leaders who encouraged congregants to engage in such practices. A proposal was also made for the Clause to provide for free medical care for persons under 18 years of age in line with the National Health Policy. This would facilitate the full realization of children’s right to health as most parents and guardians could not afford to meet the cost of health services for their children, for instance the consultation fees were identified as a prohibitive factor.
Finally, members of the public noted the need to repeal the requirement that children be accompanied by parents or guardians for purposes of accessing health services.
5.9 Clause 9: Duty to Report Abuse of Child
This Clause imposes a duty on teachers, medical practitioners, legal
practitioners and ministers of religion, amongst others who in their professional capacity are likely to interact with children, to report any case of abuse or suspected abuse on a child to a police officer or a child protection officer. The Clause further provides for the disciplining and sanctioning of any individual who fails to do so by their professional or vocational body. Members of the public widely supported this Clause and recommended that the Bill extends the duty to report child abuse to every adult. A proposal was also made for the Clause to specify the time frame for reporting the abuse or suspected abuse and penalty in case of failure to do so. It was suggested that the reporting period be limited to 3 days and penalty be 5 years imprisonment.
5.10 Clause 11: Power to Bind Over Person Having Custody of Young Girl, Child or Young Persone to Exercise Proper Care
No comments were registered on this clause.
5.11 Clause 12: Conducing to commission of offence by child or young person
This clause will replace section 13 of the principal Act to make
provision for an offence where parents and guardians conduce the commission of an offence by a child or fails to take reasonable steps to ensure that the child does not commit an offence where they could prevent such offence. There was general consensus that adults who encourage and train children to commit offences should be punished severely as it was morally their responsibility to guide children in good ways. The following penalties were suggested for offenders: 5 years imprisonment for those who facilitate drug abuse, withdrawal of liquor licences for bars which sell alcohol to children and 15 years imprisonment for those who aid children to indulge in sexual intercourse.
5.13 Clause 13: Registration of Institutions
Members of the public registered their support for the registration
and regulation of voluntary institutions that accommodate children. Emphasis was made on the importance of maintaining a family type environment in these institution as it is the most suitable set up for the upbringing of responsible members of society. Furthermore, members of the public indicated that individuals intending to register such institutions should undergo a thorough vetting process lest children may fall prey to abuse. It was suggested that these individuals be assessed by the local leadership and local Government structures before they can be granted the permission to register any institution that accommodates children. In addition, it was highlighted that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should ensure that each district of the country has a facility to cater for children in need of care.
5.14 Clause 14: Early Intervention and Family Preservation
This clause provides for the insertion of a new Part V in the
principal Act on early intervention and family preservation programmes that may be provided either by the State or through private organisations. It provides for norms and standards for national and private early intervention and family preservation programmes as well as court orders for the participation in such programmes. The Government was urged to fund early interventions, particularly in the case of families of children with disabilities.
5.15 Clause 15: Restrictions on Making Adoption Order
This clause provides for consultation of a child on any issue
pertinent to their adoption, considering the child’s capacity to form his or her views in accordance with his or her age. Members of the public expressed their support for this clause and noted that most orphaned children are at risk of being abused by relatives. However, a proposal was made for the Clause to specify the minimum age for consultation as 12 years as your children were deemed to be immature to form opinions on such matters. Furthermore, a call was made for the Government to establish mechanisms to monitor the welfare of adopted children to ensure that they do not face any form of abuse.
5.16 Clause 16: Access to Identity Documents
This clause allows a Child Protection Officer to obtain a birth
certificate for a child without parental care and is identified as a child in need of care and protection. The public applauded this provision as it would offer some relief to a considerable number of children who were experiencing challenges in accessing birth certificates. A recommendation was also made to enable guardians and specific duty bearers in the community such as headmasters and traditional leaders and pastors to exercise the same function in order to facilitate a wider realisation of the children’s right to identity. Furthermore, a call was made to impose a six months imprisonment penalty on parents who fail to obtain a birth certificate within a period of 48 days after birth of a child.
5.17 Clauses 17 - 21
There were no comments from members of the public and
stakeholders on these Clauses.
5.18 Additional Clauses
Members of the public proposed addition of the following clauses
in the Bill to make the proposed law more robust in addressing current child protection issues:
- Child assessment – this will seek to determine the needs of a child who is at risk of child abuse. This will involve partnering with police, health personnel, social workers and teachers to carry out an inquiry and assessment of the child’s needs.
- Duty for investigating child abuse – The clause will give mandate the department to make or cause child assessment inquiries as they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.
- Victims of gender-based violence –The public urged that there is need for a Clause which caters for the rights of children who are victims of gender-based violence.
6.0 COMMITTEES OBSERVATIONS
6.1 The Bill embraces the children’s “nothing for us, without us, is
not for us” adage as it promotes the participation and involvement of children in the determination of issues that affect them. Clause 5 of the Bill enjoins the Child Protection and Welfare Council to seek the views of children and their full participation in the execution of its functions. In addition, Clause 15 which stipulates that an adoption order can only be made after the courts are satisfied that the child concerned has been consulted.
6.2 It is commendable that the Bill seeks not only to align the law
to the Constitution and international conventions, but endeavours to respond to the current socio-economic environment. An illustrative example is Clause 19 of the Bill which defines “earnings” to incorporate income generated through informal trade in relation to the Maintenance Act [Chapter 5:09].
6.3 The Bill makes great efforts to promote the welfare of all
children and protect them from abuse through provisions such as Clause 8 on Medical Examination and Treatment of Children and Young Persons, Clause 9 on the Duty to Report Abuse of Child by professionals and Clause 12 on Conducing to Commission of Offence by Child and Clause 13 on Registration of Institutions, amongst others.
6.4 There was a general public view that stiff penalties should be
imposed on perpetrators of child abuse.
6.5 The efforts made by the Government to provide sanitary wear to
girls in school in line with Section 3 of the Education Amendment Act (No. 15 of 2019] are commendable. However, the accessibility of these materials remains a challenge which disrupts the education process for the girl child as some have to miss school during menstruation due to lack of the same.
6.6 Child indiscipline is a serious challenge afflicting our society
today and we seem to be grappling in terms of ways to deal with the issue since the outlawing of corporal punishment.
6.7 Adoption is an underutilised option which has the potential to
afford a considerable number of vulnerable children a home(s) and better life prospects. This can be attributed to ignorance and cultural beliefs which discourage living with “totem-less” children.
6.8 There are a myriad of challenges impeding the realisation of
children’s right to education in Zimbabwe including incapacitation to pay tuition fees by parents and guardians, lack of disability friendly facilities, disruption of learning for the girl child due to early marriages, teen pregnancies and during the menstrual period for those who cannot access sanitary wear.
6.9 The abuse of drugs and other substances by children is a major
challenge currently being experienced in the country.
6.10 The current legal framework limits children’s full access to
health services, in particular, section 35 of the Public Health Act [Chapter 15: 17] which provides that children require parental or a guardian’s consent to access medical health services. In practice, this provision is usually applied to prohibit children from obtaining contraceptives and other sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR), thereby exposing them to sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
6.11 Cases of teacher or pupil love and sexual relationships are a rife occurrence in Zimbabwe.
7.0 COMMITTEES RECOMMENDATIONS
7.1 The Bill should provide for the establishment of state funded
drug and substance abuse rehabilitation institutions for children, at least one per province by 31 July 2023.
7.2 The insertion of a clause which provides for the provision of free medical services to children at public health care institutions. In addition, health care centres should provide these medical services indiscriminately, including those relating to SRHR, regardless of whether the child is alone or in the company of a parent or guardian.
7.3 The insertion of a clause on mandatory imprisonment of
perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
7.4 The Public Service Commission in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should dismiss all teachers found guilty of engaging in love or sexual relationships with children or pupils.
7.5 While the country should maintain the ban on corporal
punishment in accordance with current international human rights law and practice, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and other relevant Government Ministries, should come up with a holistic framework of dealing with child indiscipline suitable for our local context by 31 December 2022. This should include strengthening child counselling and probation services in the country.
7.6 The Ministry of Primary and Secondary in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development other relevant Government departments, should address challenges in the education sector by 30 June 2023 in order to facilitate the full realization of the children’s right to education in Zimbabwe. This includes the provision of free basic state funded primary and secondary education, adequate sanitary wear for girls in schools, establishment of disability friendly facilities and feeding schemes at all schools, amongst others.
7.7 The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should conduct public awareness programmes to demystify the adoption process in Zimbabwe by 31 March 2023.
7.8 Parliament should expeditiously pass the Children’s Amendment Bill so that we afford our children the needful protection and assistance for them to fully assume their responsibilities in the community and to ultimately ensure that they grow up in an environment conducive to their full and harmonious development.
The Children’s Amendment Bill is a progressive piece of legislation
which is set to robustly protect and promote the rights of children in Zimbabwe. Once it is enacted into law, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, should embark on countrywide educational and awareness campaigns to conscientise the public of the Bill within a period of three months after it is passed into law. In this regard, deliberate efforts should be made to engage children, religious leaders, law enforcement agents, headmasters and community leaders, amongst others.
Stanlely Hall, Makokoba
Murambinda BSPZ Hall
Tabudirira Secondary School,
Neuso Business Centre,
Pashu Business Centre, Binga
Ingwizi Business Centre,
Cross Roads Business Centre,
HON. BITI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am going to be very brief. I think this is a very progressive Bill. Children are the future and foundation of any society; which is why Section 81 of the Constitution gives children such paramount importance and place in our Constitution. I would like to see this amendment Bill capture the spirit and ethos of the constitutional protection that is given to children in Section 81of the Constitution.
Why do we want to protect children? We want to protect children because the challenges that children face keep on evolving and therefore, this Act needs to be modernised. To me, this Parliament must focus on the mischiefs. What are the biggest challenges that children are facing at the present moment? I would say, number one is the issue of education. The fact that children are dropping out – if you read the April, 2022 ZIMVAC report, in some provinces, for instance in the Gokwe area, as much as 50% of the children are failing to write Grade Seven examinations. So, I think we need to insert in this Bill, a provision that deals with the issue of education because there is a mischief there, there is a problem.
Number two, something we have spoken about, the issue of child marriages. We have communities that are preying on children, 14-years olds are getting pregnant; 9-year olds are getting pregnant. We have some religious sects that are perceived not to be respecting children. So, let us ensure that we put in this Bill, concrete provisions that prevent child marriages and that impose harsh penalties on those that convert children into wives as if Zimbabwe has a shortage of women that are above 18 years. That should be seen in this Bill.
Another thing is the age of sexual consent, 16-year olds; 14-year olds, are being abused and ravished upon. There is a Constitutional Court judgement handed down in the past year, the case of Diana Eunice Kawenda versus Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, which nullified provisions of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that allowed sex to take place and presume that a child at 14 could have sex. We need to ensure, in this Bill that only a child above 18 can engage in sex. We need to put the penalties.
The third thing, after marriages and child sex, is children’s immorality. There is one thing that we need to emphasise, the issue of pornography. I do not see a lot of it being in this Bill. If you look at the Cyber-Security Bill and the amendments of the Criminal Code that were made in the Cyber-Security Bill, there are certain things, I submit we should take and put them here. For instance, the reproduction of child nude pictures, et cetera. We need to see that happening here so that children are not exploited by pedophiles and other sick people vakazadza nyika yese iyi. So, I would like to see the extraction of some of those provisions on pornography, on child pictures and so forth. There are sick people in this world who get satisfaction from looking at pornographic pictures of children.
The other issue, is human trafficking in children. It is a big business and I think my brother, the Minister of Justice will confirm that Zimbabwe has been cited, unfortunately as some centre of human trafficking and children are involved. We have children that are being taken and being sold in certain parts of the Middle East. Our own children. So, I would like to see this Bill speak to the issue and the challenge of child trafficking.
Also another challenge, is the issue of drug abuse. If you go to Court 14, Court 14 is the one that is dealing with prosecution of drugs and there is a prosecutor there, Mr. Tsopotsa. You will be shocked by the number of high school students that you see. I shall not mention the notorious schools but the notorious schools are very close to Harare CBD. So, there is something that is happening amongst our youths viz-a-vis the consumption of drugs. I would like to see this Bill protect children by imposing harsh penalties on those that are peddling drugs to children. You see these drug dealers selling drugs pabreak. It is a big industry. Let us deal with this big industry because it is rampant.
There is also the issue of mental health and the mental well-being of our children. COVID affected our children because a lot of them were kept in isolation. A lot of them could not travel from their homes. So, depression; mental illness has become so rife amongst our children. I would like to see how we are going to deal with these issues and the issues I have spoken above, drugs and mental health require an approach that goes beyond punitive measures. So, we need psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical scientists, homes that cater for these children. So, I would like to see this Bill recognising the importance of this psycho- treatment that is now so necessary in respect of children that are victims of drugs and children that are going through mental challenges. Mental well-being has become a challenge.
The other issue is, some years ago, 2016, I did a child marriage for Loveness Mudzuri, Ruvimbo Tsokodzi versus the case that outlawed child marriages. In the process of the research to that case, I was shocked by statistics that show that the majority of abuse; the bulk of abuse that takes place against children, actually takes place inside the household. The majority of abuse, either vana varikutambwa navo chiramu, vovatiwa and so forth. The majority of people that abuse children are actually known to that child. So, to the average child, the home is not a safe environment, particularly the creature called stepfather. The creature called stepfather is a terrible creature. I am not a psycho-specialist. I am not a psychologist but I would like to see the law reinforced to protect the child in the family unit, particularly our traditional cultures dzechiramu. You will find zirume ziguru richitamba chiramu nekamwana richibata mazamhu, we should proscribe those kinds of things. The household is not a safe environment for the child. I do not know how we are going to deal with that.
I now come to social welfare issues. In the 80s, we used to have programmes where children would get milk or mahewu pabreak because for 90% of the households in Zimbabwe, children are leaving for school without eating. I can speak for my own experience, my parents used to go kumusha. I used to cook porridge, that porridge would last me the whole week. So, kamukaka kandaipuhwa kuchikoro, kuGombo Primary School, kuDzivaresekwa ndokaitondi chengeta. It is not happening now. I would like to see a situation where this Act makes it compulsory that a child get supplementary feeding scheme at school. So, it is important.
Then, the quality of education, we should speak about it in this Bill. Our children are being trained to be workers. To look for jobs. Children are taught to say, dear sir, I am looking for a vacancy when we have moved to an era where they are startups, there is entrepreneurship, there is creativity and so forth. So, I will conclude, Madam Speaker by saying that this is a good start but let us not miss this opportunity. Let us protect children, let us enhance children. I thank you very much Madam Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just want to touch on a few issues that are in this report as a Member of the Justice Committee. I also want to applaud the Chairman, hoping that what we put in as recommendations is going to be adhered to to its expected end.
Madam Speaker, on Clause 7, the Hon. Chair and the proposal by the Hon. Minister in terms of the habitat or the accommodation for children is quite key and needs to be adhered to, to its conclusive end. I will give you an example of N23A where I come from in Pfupajena, Ward 5 in Chegutu West Constituency. There are three families of 10 each and the two rooms are separated by a curtain, and one is separated by a wall but each family of ten has got children – girl children, boy children and parents in one room. What it means is there are no conjugal rights, copulation and procreation and there is rampant child abuse, girl child marriages and such because of lack of accommodation.
It is my hope that this Bill is going to speak to such issues so that we can use this Bill as a pedestal and as a platform to make sure that we reduce and completely annihilate the scourge of child marriages, child abuse because of a void in accommodation. How do I propose that this happens Madam Speaker? As we change the Child Act, we need to also look at the Urban Councils Act, Section 152 and 205 that speaks to how estate management can be conducted in the urban centres so that we can use these Acts in order that we completely reduce the housing backlog so that there is no child abuse, early child marriages and children do not get to see adult action and that way they have no appetite for adult games.
There are three ways to alleviate the housing backlog which urban councils can actually indulge in. They can either sell a stand or lease it and there is a third provision where they can donate it. It is allowable, it is there. The two sections speak to one another and they have got those three provisions. I want, Madam Speaker, at the end of this debate, that we amalgamate or get those sections to be in sync with the Constitution which is sui generis. There is no way, in this day and age, where the pensioners can buy the stands, they earn US$50 maximum per month. They continue to live in those dilapidated, deplorable, disused state of situation like for example in N23A. There is no way that the teachers and nurses are able to buy stands. They will continue to be packed like a bus full of molecules or a test tube in a place of residence. It is my thinking, Madam Speaker, that we can use this Child Act in order to get these other subsidiary Acts to be in sync with the Constitution which is sui generis in order that we deal with Clause 7.
Madam Speaker, Clause 8, I think as I end, also talks to issues to do with registration of children and also Clause 9 deals with the issues to do with access to health for the children. Madam Speaker, we spent a lot of time the other time talking about how children can, without guardians, be able to access health care institutions. As has been said, children are getting pregnant at the age of 12, 13, 14 because of the onset of puberty stage at a very early age because we are now getting food stuffs that are not traditional. So, our children are getting pregnant at that age.
My clarion call would be to use this Act in order that the children get to have access to free medical healthcare institutions even without the parents. Some children need guardianship. They have no parents. Both parents are late. I would want us to use this Act in order that the children are registered on Clause 8, the children get free access to medical health institution. Yours truly was the advocate and called for the feeding of children at primary schools because when we went to primary school, we used to access what is called umkara in Ndebele. That is very cold milk at the gate. You would get that and you would also get something for the left hand and you went to class.
During the time of Dr. Dokora, I called for school feeding and it was taken on board. It is my thinking that there is need to robustly have continuity on that and how do I intend that there is the support of school feeding programmes especially at primary school? Section 13 (4) of the Constitution speaks to the resources of those areas helping the development of the same areas in the advent of the abolition of the community share ownership trusts and such like, Madam Speaker, that spoke of empowerment of the formerly marginalised black majority in those communities. It is my thinking that the mining houses and the construction industry should pour in a lot of money to enhance the spoon feeding of our children in those areas and the issues to do with guardianship. Madam Speaker, the laws should be loosened up a bit. I know of people that are still in the courts that are trying to get guardianship of minors. We need to use this child Act in order to elaborately make sure that there are ways that children can find comfort in guardians that want to adopt them.
Having said that, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively, efficiently and elaborately put across what the people of Chegutu West would have me put across especially Chairman Lameck Nyamarango, Sarah Chikukwa, Majory Ruzha, Patricia Nyamadzao and indeed Mr. Jones. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. Allow me to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Health for a very good report which, by and large, supported the Bill. Also allow me to thank Hon. Biti and Hon. Nduna. I am very pleased because there is support for the Bill.
Hon. Biti had issues about education, marriage issues, age of sexual consent and the good thing is, we are all in agreement. In our previous Bills, we discussed extensively some of these issues, the Marriages Bill, the Child Justice Bill and we put in provisions. I believe that we will always continue to improve our laws.
At this juncture Madam Speaker, and looking at the clock, I believe we can tackle and zero in on the specific provisions within the Bill and discuss those. My plea to the House is, given the time that we are doing it, the majority of the issues are covered, we do not have a lot of time to look at improving beyond what is there. We have a very good Bill and I would want to plead that the Hon. Members allow me to move that the Bill be now read a second time so that we can discuss clause by clause in the Committee stage. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 12, 2021]
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 15 put and agreed to.
On Clause 16:
*HON. CHIDZIVA: On this clause, how is the practice of asking relatives to come and witness so that the child can be issued with documents? My suggestion is that since the National Registration number will have already been issued at the time of acquiring a birth certificate, the child should automatically get the National Registration Card.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: The clause is not related to this but I will try to help him. When a child is issued with a birth certificate, the process does not require fingerprints. Whether the mother or the father or any other relative if the biological parents are not there, a child can acquire a birth certificate then proceed for his or her national identity document. The reason why they do that is for security reasons because this is a document that will identify the person for the rest of their lives. So, it would not be ideal for any holder of a birth certificate to just go and get a national identity document because we will end up having people with multiple identity documents since they would have obtained birth certificates. No-one would have proved the issues of security and this will reduce fraudulent activities.
If you lose your identity document, all the witnesses will not be necessary for replacement. This issue that we are discussing about has got nothing to do with the clause. It is just to help the child to access a birth certificate so that they can attend school or use it wherever it is required. If the Child Protection Officers see it fit, they can even proceed to acquire the birth certificate for the child, I thank you.
Clause 17 put and agreed to.
Clauses 18 to 21 put and agreed to.
Schedule put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BIL [H.B. 12, 2021]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Members of Parliament who worked hard this week starting on Tuesday working for long hours from 2pm until 10 to 11p.m and I want to commend the hard work and the patriotism that was shown. Here and there, we would argue but this has been commendable.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes to Nine o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 6th June, 2023.